When Sarah McLach­lan does a cov­er for any song, my heart just melts…and when I dis­cov­ered her ver­sion of “The Rain­bow Con­nec­tion” it pos­i­tive­ly dis­in­ter­grat­ed into marsh­mal­low goo. My eyes get teary when the mup­pets sing this shame­less­ly sap­py song…so when I heard Sarah sweet­ly lilt this song of my child­hood I was a mess of snot and tears.

A link to this song on iTunes here. and the lyrics are below. Enjoy. 😉

The Rainbow Connection

Con­tin­ue read­ing enchant­ed

recipes to try: appetizers

I’m going through stacks of old mag­a­zines and try­ing to gath­er togeth­er the recipes from them that I have want­ed to try, and am putting them here so I won’t for­get. For­give the plethera of upcom­ing recipes I will post here, but hope­ful­ly they will be deli­cious­ly worth it.

This post includes:
Grilled Aspara­gus Bruschet­ta with Chevre and Tapenade
Eng­lish-muf­fin Egg Pizzas
Phyl­lo-wrapped Baked Brie
Con­tin­ue read­ing recipes to try: appetizers

god and utlititarianism

I just came across an inter­est­ing post from David Hunter at Pros­blo­gion. A while back I talked about the argu­ment from evil and the result­ing theod­i­cies that try to rec­on­cile the exis­tence of evil in the world with the exis­tence of God. Hunter argues that these theod­i­cies will only work “if some­thing like consequentialism/utilitarianism is true.”

To give a crude exam­ple sup­pose the free will theod­i­cy is being used as a glob­al response to the argu­ment from evil. Often at least some of the ben­e­fits of the exis­tence of free will will accrue to those who suf­fer from the neg­a­tives of the exis­tence of free will. But this will not always be the case, nor will the dis­tri­b­u­tion of these ben­e­fits be com­par­a­tive to the harms, some­times some will ben­e­fit very lit­tle but be harmed very much.

Giv­en this then a pro­po­nent of the free will theod­i­cy as a glob­al response to the argu­ment from evil must also endorse this unequal dis­tri­b­u­tion, and claim that some­times the harms to one are jus­ti­fied because of the ben­e­fits to others.

I claim (though I won’t defend it here) that most oth­er theod­i­cies face the same prob­lems, and that there are at least some evils which can­not be explained except by ref­er­ence to ben­e­fits to others.

Take for exam­ple the rape and mur­der of a small child.

I have heard of respons­es to theod­i­cies that cite the fact that God (by allow­ing cer­tain evils) seems to be using peo­ple as a means to oth­er ends (often thought of as immoral)…but this post seems to cite the more gen­er­al assump­tion upon which “using peo­ple as means” seems to be jus­ti­fied on: the acts are jus­ti­fied so long as it results in over­all ben­e­fit. And, as Hunter goes on to point out, utl­i­tar­i­an­ism is itself quite con­tro­ver­sial, and if many theod­i­cies depend upon this prin­ci­ple to jus­ti­fy their claims, then they need to either state this as an assump­tion or, bet­ter yet, defend this principle.

on idleness

From Quit­ting the Paint Factory:
On the virtues of idle­ness By Mark Slou­ka
(from the Novem­ber 2004 issue of Harper’s Magazine):

Idle­ness is not just a psy­cho­log­i­cal neces­si­ty, req­ui­site to the con­struc­tion of a com­plete human being; it con­sti­tutes as well a kind of polit­i­cal space, a space as nec­es­sary to the work­ings of an actu­al democ­ra­cy as, say, a free press. How does it do this? By allow­ing us time to fig­ure out who we are, and what we believe; by allow­ing us time to con­sid­er what is unjust, and what we might do about it. By giv­ing the inner life (in whose precincts we are most our­selves) its due. Which is pre­cise­ly what makes idle?ness dangerous.…If we have no time to think, to mull, if we have no time to piece togeth­er the sud­den asso­ci­a­tions and unex­pect­ed, mid-show­er insights that are the stuff of inde­pen­dent opin­ion, then we are less cit­i­zens than cur­sors, eas­i­ly manip­u­lat­ed, vul­ner­a­ble to the cur­rents of power.

Poignant and pow­er­ful. Lat­er in the arti­cle, on the “church of work”:

It is this will­ing­ness to hand over our lives that fas­ci­nates and appalls me. There’s such a love­ly per­ver­si­ty to it; it’s so won­der­ful­ly coun­ter­in­tu­itive, so very Chris­t­ian: You must emp­ty your pock­ets, turn them inside out, and spill out your wife and your son, the pets you hard­ly knew, and the days you sim?ply missed alto­geth­er watch­ing the sun­light fade on the bricks across the way. You must hand over the rainy after­noons, the light on the grass, the moments of play and of sim­ply being. You must give it up, all of it, and by your exam­ple teach your chil­dren to do the same, and them som; because even this is not enough; you must train your­self to believe that this out­sourc­ing of your life is both nat­ur­al and good. But even so, your soul will not be saved.

Rein­forces how vital vol­un­tary sim­plic­i­ty is for liv­ing an exquis­ite life. I do need to embrace it much more than I do.

lefties flourish in violent society

From an arti­cle at news@nature.com:

Among the Jula (Dioula) peo­ple of Burk­i­na Faso, the most peace­ful tribe stud­ied, where the mur­der rate is 1 in 100,000 annu­al­ly, left-han­ders make up 3.4% of the pop­u­la­tion. But in the Yanoma­mi tribe of Venezuela, where more than 5 in 1,000 meet a vio­lent end each year, south­paws account for 22.6%. Fau­rie and Ray­mond report their find­ings in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Roy­al Society.

Appar­ent­ly this is because left­ies have the advan­tage in hand-to-hand fight­ing since most expect a right-hand­ed oppo­nent. So, in sum: watch it, or I’ll kick ALL y’al­l’s asses!

tickle tickle

The most fas­ci­nat­ing thing I’ve read in a long time: Why We Can’t Tick­le Our­selves, from Mind Hacks:
Tips & Tools for Using your Brain in the World

As I under­stand it, appar­ent­ly there is a way by which our body dis­tin­guish­es between stim­uli that is self-inflict­ed or exter­nal­ly inflict­ed: when­ev­er we act, our brains pre­dict the effect of the action…and that predici­ton is then com­pared to incom­ing sen­sa­tions. If the pre­dic­tion match­es up with the sen­sa­tion, then we know that the sen­sa­tion was caused by us, and not by some­thing exter­nal. (The way they explained it was a bit more com­pli­cat­ed, but this seems to be the gen­er­al idea).

We feel exter­nal stim­uli more intense­ly because it is exter­nal stim­uli which is more impor­tant to attend to — what we are doing to our­selves is real­ly not as (evo­lu­tion­ar­i­ly?) impor­tant as what some­thing (or some­one) else may be doing to us. Hence…when we are tick­led by oth­ers it feels more “tick­ly” then when we tick­le ourselves.

What was the most delight­ful to learn: mice are ticklish.

milk balls

I’ve had this in a local Indi­an restau­rant, and it’s beyond delicious…so I googled the recipe, and came upon this one. I’ll try this recipe some­day and tell you how it went:

Gulab Jaman (Milk Balls in Syrup)

Gulab Jaman is pop­u­lar through­out the Indi­an sub-con­ti­nent, and is served on fes­tive occa­sions includ­ing Eid. They are very sweet and make a syrupy rich dessert.

Serves 6–8
Prepa­ra­tion time: 30 mins
Total cook­ing time: 45 mins

125g koya or dried milk powder
1 egg
1 tbsp plain flour
250g sugar
12 tsp oil/ghee
½ tsp saf­fron (option­al)
4 green car­damoms, ground

1/ Grind the car­damoms and saf­fron and mix in the koya
2/ Mix egg white and plain flour into koya to make nice dough. Make small round balls or egg shapes (about 16–20)
3/ Mix the sug­ar with 200ml water, bring to boil and sim­mer for 15 min­utes until the syrup is a thick consistency.
4/ Heat the oil in a deep fry­ing pan. Fry the dough balls until they are gold­en brown, take out from the oil and place straight into syrup. After a while they will be ready to serve.

Serve Gulab Jaman in a bowl with car­damoms and a sprin­kling of des­ic­cat­ed coconut and a few rose petals and a few sil­ver leafs.
They are deli­cious served hot or cold and great with some sin­gle cream poured over.
They can be kept frozen and then lat­er warmed in a microwave for 30 sec­onds each.

my buffy tribute

Anoth­er tran­si­tion from my old fidlet pages to my blog — my buffy page:

buffy pic

Like many, I have devel­oped an unhealthy obses­sion with Buffy the Vam­pire Slay­er (and, Angel is not too shab­by either). So, I’ve made a hum­ble lit­tle trib­ute page that includes some inter­est­ing Buffy links. Per­haps some of you won­der why I chose the includ­ed pho­to as my rep­re­sen­ta­tive Buffy picture…for those of you that rec­og­nize the scene from which this frame was tak­en, and know a bit about me, you can prob­a­bly guess my moti­va­tion. For the rest of you, if you’re curi­ous, you’re wel­come to ask me…I may tell you.

the links

If you know if any oth­er inter­est­ing links that I may want to include on this page, don’t hes­i­tate to tell me.