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Friday, February 12, 2016

Here are 11 reasons why Halloween is better than Valentine’s Day

Here are 11 reasons why Halloween is better than Valentine’s Day:

You don’t have to be popular or attractive to get candy from a lot of people on Halloween.

You can give people candy on Halloween without worrying they’ll “take it the wrong way.”

Wearing a costume on Halloween is considered normal. Wearing a costume on Valentine’s Day is considered kinky.

It’s easier to get last-minute dinner reservations on Halloween than on Valentine’s Day.

Female friends can hang out together on Halloween without feeling the need to call it “Gal-loween.”

If you don’t want to celebrate Halloween you just leave your porch light off. If you don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day you may need to break up with your significant other or at least fight about it.

Halloween doesn’t feel discriminatory to single people. (In fact, since they avoid the pressure to have to do a “couple’s costume,” it may be better to be single on Halloween.)

Halloween has better movies. (Okay, I haven’t actually seen the 2010 ensemble rom-com Valentine’s Day, but I’m guessing.)

Halloween has better yard decorations.

Being “scary” or “creepy” are compliments on Halloween but are generally adjectives to avoid on Valentine’s Day.

If someone does something romantic on Halloween you don’t wonder if they are only doing it because of societal expectations for that day.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentine's Day links

An animated history of Valentine's Day, plus why the heart is associated with love.

Forget chocolate on Valentine’s Day, try semen, says Surgery News editor. Retraction, resignation follow.

Video: The Science of Chocolate (aka the real meaning of Valentine's Day).

Aphrodisiac Cocktails to Put You in the Mood.

dose of cynicism for Valentine's Day.

Everything you ever wanted to know (and more) about My Funny Valentine.

Prepare to be offended (or don't click on this link) - the Holy Crap worst Valentine's Day card ever, plus runners-up.

ICYMI, Wednesday’s links are here, and include pancake physics, lots of ape-men other than Sasquatch, a gallery of photos from inside the wreck of the Costa Concordia, and hair dyed to look like art masterpieces.

An animated history of Valentine's Day, plus why the heart is associated with love

One for Valentine's Day:

And here's How The Heart Came to Be Associated With Love:

A dose of cynicism for Valentine's Day

Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.*

~ H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) (Chrestomathy, Ch. 30)

Love. n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like caries and many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.

~Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) (The Devil's Dictionary)

When love congeals
It soon reveals
The faint aroma of performing seals,
The double-crossing of a pair of heels -
I wish I were in love again!

The broken dates,
The endless waits,
The lovely loving and the hateful hates,
The conversation and the flying plates -
I wish I were in love again!

~ Lorenz Hart (1895-1943) ("I Wish I Were in Love Again," from Babes in Arms)

Love conquers all things - except poverty and toothache.

~ Mae West (1892-1980) (attributed)

Parrots, tortoises, and redwoods
Live a longer life than men do,
Men a longer life than dogs do,
Dogs a longer life than love does.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) ("Pretty Love I Must Outlive You")

February 14 is the feast day of St. Valentine, (wiki) Christian martyr of the 3rd century and the patron saint of lovers. By 100 years later, there were already two martyrs of that name commemorated on Rome's Via Flaminia, one a priest, another a bishop - perhaps the same man - for whom Pope Gelasius established "his" official observance in 496. 

More recently, it has been adduced that St. Valentine was executed for conducting weddings of Roman soldiers against the order of the emperor Claudius II (reigned 268-270), but in fact, this prohibition, decreed by Augustus, had already been repealed by Septimus Severus (reigned 193-211). In any event, the saint supposedly cured the blindness of the daughter of the judge that condemned him and sent her a letter signed "your Valentine," thus starting the tradition of Valentine greetings on this date.

It is also attested by Chaucer, among others, that 14 February is the date on which the birds start to sing and choose their mates, lending further significance to the occasion. Be that as it may, one of my favorite observations in this context comes from American poet John Ciardi (1916-1986), who said,

"Love is the word we use to describe the sexual excitement of the young, the habituation of the middle aged, and the mutual dependence of the old."

* N.B. George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) said something similar in the third act of Major Barbara:
"Like all young men, you greatly exaggerate the difference between one young woman and another."
Lots more Valentine's Day links here.

The new love of my life - Addie, born February 4, 2016:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday links

The physics of perfect pancakes, and why it applies to glaucoma treatment.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here and include history's most impressive fortresses, the movie supercut of "I should have killed you when I had the chance", a roundup of recommendations for beer, wine and whiskey pairings to go with Girl Scout cookies, and a photo gallery of early supercomputers ("Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons!").

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday links

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include a canonical list of recipes for World Nutella Day, lots of Super Bowl links, the top 10 Pyrrhic victories, and a discussion of the fact that humans are the only animals with chins.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Here's a roundup of recommendations for beer, wine and whiskey pairings to drink with all those Girl Scout cookies you're buying

It's Girl Scout cookie time again - I always associate them with the beginning of Lent, when I'm contemplating giving up chocolate. Below, by cookie type, are wine pairing recommendations from Wine Club Reviews and Ratings and beer pairing recommendations from Beer and Brewing. Further below, an infographic with suggested whiskey pairings:

Thin Mints
Wine: There are two types of Thin Mints made today, but both combine a wafer, chocolate, and peppermint flavoring. To truly experience the mint & chocolate combination, however, don’t reach for the milk – try a Syrah instead.
Beer: These dark and roasty stouts deliver a mouthfeel that pairs well with the crisp, minty crunch of the wafer cookie (especially if you keep your Thin Mints in the freezer). Consider yourself warned, though, as these beers range from 9—13 percent ABV and you’ll likely find yourself reaching for a second sleeve of cookies in record time.
Perennial Artisan Ales 17
Alesmith Speedway Stout
Shipyard Mint Chocolate Stout
Epic Big Bad Baptist
Hardywood Sidamo Coffee Stout
Samoas (Caramel deLites)
Wine: Banyuls is a red dessert wine from Southwestern France, which pairs amazingly with the dark chocolate stripes on Samoas. For a Plan B, pick up a Port.
Beers: Match the toasted coconut of these cookies with even more toasted coconut and the roasted caramel flavors in these beers:
Creature Comforts Koko Buni
Oskar Blues Death By Coconut
Bruery Mash & Coconut
Funky Buddha Last Snow
Wormtown Norm Chocolate Coconut Stout
Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties)
Wine: You’re going to see a trend here: when the cookie has chocolate, grab a bottle of red wine. Tagalongs are no different – find a fruity red wine such as Beaujolais or Zinfandel.
Beer: The vanilla, chocolate, and peanut butter flavors from the Tagalongs sound like adjuncts in a stout. So grab these flavor-filled stouts to heighten the insanity of this pairing.
Off Color DinoS’mores
FiftyFifty Vanilla Eclipse
Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb!
Stone W00tstout
Terrapin Cinnamon Roll’d Wake-n-Bake 
Trefoils (Shortbread)
Wine: Light and refreshing, a Trefoil shortbread should be paired with Pinot Noir or even Sparkling wine if the mood is right.
Beer: Stick with tradition by pairing these classic cookies with traditional beer styles such as Baltic porter’s cheek-warming notes of dark fruits and coffee or a Scottish ale with notes of cocoa and coffee and a dash of smoke.
Smuttynose Baltic Porter
Founders Dirty Bastard
Jack’s Abby Framinghammer
Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale
Oskar Blues Old Chub
Wine: When snacking on these shortbread cookies with lemon-flavored icing, grab a buttery Chardonnay like the 2009 Cambria Chardonnay from Uncorked Ventures.
Beer: The shortbread texture of the cookies and lemon flavors in the icing make an excellent contrasting duo for these citrusy IPAs.
Ballast Point Sculpin
Night Shift Santilli
10 Barrel Joe
Neshaminy Creek Shape of Hops to Come
Against the Grain Rico Sauvin
Wine: Shortbread dipped in rich fudge. It’s a tough one, as it combines the light shortbread with the chocolatey fudge, but try a Pinot Noir from Gold Medal Wine Club.
Beer: These shortbread cookies have had one side dunked in chocolate fudge. Keep the two-faced theme going by pairing with a contrasting beer such as these imperial IPAs:
Odell Myrcenary
Bell’s Hopslam
Firestone Walker Double Jack
Or reinforce the cookie flavors with the roasted goodness and creamy mouthfeel of these milk stouts:
Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout
4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout
Savannah Smiles
Wine: These are a lemon-based cookie similar to the Lemonades but covered with powered sugar. Try a Pinot Grigio/Gris.
Beer: Push aside that lemon wedge you occasionally put in your beer and, if you must add a wedge, consider accenting your beer with the Savannah Smile instead. The lemon-flavored cookie wedges have been dusted with powdered sugar and pair well with these witbiers and bières de miel.
Allagash White
Westbrook White Thai
Jester King's Bière de Miel
Casey East Bank
Brasserie Dupont Bière De Miel Biologique 
Cranberry Citrus Crisps
Wine: Both sweet and tangy because of the cranberry, a good match for these would be a Viognier or the more popular Riesling.
Beer: Try these bières de garde for toffee notes and a subtle spice from farmhouse ale yeast that plays off nicely with the cranberry inundated cookies. Make sure to let these beers warm up a little for maximum intensity.
Lost Abbey Avante Garde
Two Brothers Domaine DuPage
Schlafly Bière de Garde
The Commons Bière De Garde
Hill Farmstead Bière De Norma
 By the way, Samoa fans, you can buy Samoa-flavored coffee creamer.

Maxine’s Tap Room in Fayetteville, Arkansas has whiskey and Girl Scout cookie pairings:

Beer and Brewing, source of the beer recommendations above, also has a roundup of pairing suggestions from around the intertubes: 

Suggestions from The Beer Chicks include these pairings:  
Caramel DeLites (aka Samoas) with Maui Brewing Co.’s CoCoNut PorTeR
Tagalongs with Wells & Young’s Brewing Company’s Banana Bread Beer
Thin Mints with Kiuchi Brewery’s Hitachino Nest Beer Espresso Stout
Trefoils with North Coast Brewing Co.’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout 
Central Track’s Melissa Mackaly suggests these pairings: 
Samoas with Founders Brewing Co.’s Dirty Bastard
Thin Mints with Great Divide Brewing Co.’s Yeti Imperial Stout
Do-Si-Dos with Founders Brewing Co.’s Imperial Stout 
Suggestions from the Brooklyn Brewshop include these pairings: 
Thin Mints with Bootlegger’s Brewery’s Mint Chocolate Porter
Tagalongs with Brooklyn Brew Shop’s own Peanut Butter Porter
Dulce de Leches with Revolution Brewing’s Mad Cow Milk Stout
Lemonades with Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace 
And finally, Flying Dog Brewery includes the following pairings with its own beers:
Trefoils with Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
Do-Si-Dos with Lucky SOB Irish Red Ale
Samoas with Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA
Tagalongs with Gonzo Imperial Porter
Thin Mints with Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

How to Deliver a Baby

I hadn't seen any of them before, but check out the youtube channel for Epic How To. Subjects include how to fight a bear, start your own country, be a ninja, break out of jail, start a religion, fake your own death, and/or survive the zombie apocalypse.

This baby-delivering video was posted on February 4, 2016, which is the same day that my new granddaughter was born. ;-)

Anyway - enjoy:

h/t Neatorama

Friday, February 5, 2016

The physics of perfect pancakes, and why it applies to glaucoma treatment

This is quite fascinating, especially since the underlying geometry/physics of pancakes apparently have a lot in common with the geometry/physics of glaucoma. The hope is that better understanding the textures and patterns of pancakes could improve surgical methods for treating glaucoma.

"I should have killed you when I had the chance" - the movie supercut

NSFW language. Also includes also "You should have killed me when you had the chance" and "You should have killed him (or her) when you had the chance", and a few longer/shorter versions thereof and permutations. List of films below:

Featured titles:

Star Trek
Hercules Reborn
The Frozen Ground
Drop Dead Gorgeous
This Means War
Game of Death
Enemies Closer
Pit Fighter
Born to Be Bad


Cold Mountain
Ella Enchanted
Harbinger Down
Vampire Academy
No Way Out
Bend of the River
21 Grams
The Dead Pool
Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth


Bad Medicine
Life During Wartime
Valdez Is Coming
The Lion in Winter
Street Trash
Gorky Park
Lost Command


Psycho IV: The Beginning
Brick Mansions
Who’ll Stop the Rain
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Expendables
Point Break


Gran Torino
Animal Factory
Blade: Trinity
Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves
The Emperor’s New Groove
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation


The World Is Not Enough
Run All Night
Lost in Space
Above the Law
The Getaway
Sergeant Rudlege


Law and Order
The Two Faces of January
Hard Rain
Get Lucky
Mission: Impossible II
Quo Vadis
Red River


The Perfect Sleep
Black Mama White Mama
Welcome to the Punch
Your Highness
Tall in the Saddle
The Wild Bunch
Without a Clue
The Desperadoes
Hard Candy


Invasion U.S.A.
Heavenly Sword
The Rookie
Alex Cross
Last Knights
The Ant Bully
New Jack City
A History of Violence
The Night of the Generals