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I have been in an appalling summer food rut, on account of it being THE END OF SEPTEMBER and EIGHTY DEGREES OUTSIDE. By this time in the year, I have been eating light, tasty, varied salads, and smoothies, and couscous since June or thereabouts. If I marinate one more bean salad, I may turn into an oiled legume.

Enter the New York Times, which I am beginning to believe can solve many problems: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/18/dining/18mini.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin (Does this thing work?) This is a lovely article with 101 "simple meals" which, unlike most things described as simple meals, actually are simple. Nothing earth-shattering, of course, but some nice, easy, healthy and not overly expensive options, and it had never occurred to me that one could do quite so many interesting things with poached and boiled eggs without making fifteen-minute French sauces.
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I adore Porter Square Vet (which confusingly is located near Davis). My neurotic dog is being neurotic in a new and special way this week, so I called his wonderful vet, Dr. Parker. He explained in detail (over the phone! the same day! at no charge!) what I should do in order to improve the situation, while sympathetically acknowledging that it's okay for me to not make certain sacrifices or take certain actions, even if they would better my dog's mental health. I realize that most of you are cat people, and I don't know whether he sees cats, but if you're vet shopping, you might want to check--he's fine with the "normal" physiological stuff, understands mixed breeds and rescues, and is especially sensitive and learned in behavior issues.
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Dear universe (all five of you),

I have broken a necklace of glass and metal beads strung on what appears to be fishing wire. It seems that the fishing wire has snapped at one point. Anyone know where I would go to get this restrung and repaired? Or, is this easy for someone who doesn't do any bead crafting--that is, could I and my three left thumbs do it myself?
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Got your attention? The University of Texas at Austin, having nothing better to do with the gobs of money they get from their oil wells, has sponsored a study of why people have sex. That is, one relying on self-reporting--the psychologists asked people why they had sex, and wrote down the answers, coming up with 237 different responses from about 2000 people. While it seems a rather, um, imperfect method (it's a study of what people say when they're asked why they have sex, not even a perfect study of why people think they have sex), it looks like it might be an interesting read. The actual article will appear in Archives of Sexual Behavior, but the NY Times has a short piece on it.

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Anyone know where I could find the lyrics or an MP3 for the WROR parody "Fung Wah Bus" to the tune of "Magic Bus"?
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Comics and self-proclaimed dominance.

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From Wired, "Robot Scans Ancient Manuscript in 3-D". Perhaps computers are a good thing after all.

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Masses of female readers, if you have tiny feet (sizes five and six), and if you like high-end high heels, you should visit the downtown Filene's Basement. As of earlier today, they have several pairs of shoes by Domenico Vacca and Dolce and Gabbana, among others, which generally retail for $450-$500, for about $35 with all the markdowns.
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A meme that seemed to be going around--and unlike the one word meme, one I have half a chance of accomplishing with pleasure. One is meant to put the names of the books in the following list that one has read in bold.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) (Ah, the early chick-lit.)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien) (What an odd order.)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) (Over, and over, and over.)

9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)

16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) (And the others.)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) (One of my favorite rereads, although I think I like the third one better.)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley

36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) (And the sequels.)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)

43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) (I should read this again, both because I've heard about an interesting new translation, and because I'm in a quite different place relationally than I was the first time.)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) (Fond and troubled memories of high school!)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood) (Yes, although I think Oryx and Crake was much more interesting.)
60. The Time Traveller's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) (I wonder, now, whether the female protagonist's name is an homage to Outlander--aren't they both Claire?)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) (And still more high school--mostly troubled than fond memories for this one.)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)

65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo) (And I've sung the musical--does that reduce my points or give me extra ones?)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones' Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) (Yes--and Melancholy Whores is more beautiful, although Autumn of the Patriarch is more interesting.)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)

79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard's First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)

86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) (As you can see, I have a serious thing for utopias.)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer) (But now that I live here, I'd best.)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce) (Heh--in college, a professor informed me that nobody ever finishes Ulysses, so I finished it. Stubborn creature, I was.)
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Recently I roasted a duck. That's not terribly exciting, either to write about or to do. But some time ago I determined that one can make a quite passable "cheat" version of Julia Child's Caneton Montmorency, or roast duckling with cherries. The recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, one of my favorite cookbooks, is niggly and fairly labor intensive, so cheating is helpful. Instead of cooking and jelling cherries, I simply take a jar of cherry preserves, boil it a bit, add cognac and lemon juice, boil some more, and serve it. Splash water and sugar on your forearms and cheeks if you want to persuade people that you made the real thing, and burn yourself if you're very dedicated to subterfuge--or to algolagnia, as the case may be. Of course, this sauce is not quite as good as the real thing, but duck flesh and cherries have long been regarded as ambrosial--and with good reason--so that pairing makes up for the less-subtle sauce.
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