Showing posts from April, 2005

LAT Festival of Books - Chef of Everyday Italian, Giada De Laurentiis

Giada DeLaurentiis is the chef of Everyday Italian on the Food Network and she now has as a book based on the show.

Giada started her demonstration off by preparing white bean dip.

She said that whenever you use items from a can, it is a good idea to rinse and drain them or else you will carry over the flavor of the liquid in the cans. She also said to use the flat leaf parsley that is also known as Italian parsley. She said the curly parsley has very little taste.

She then worked on a pasta dish. She stressed that when cooking pasta, use plenty of water so the pasta can swim in it and won't clump together. Also, add salt to the water for flavor and when it is done to save a cup of the water for the sauce. While the ziti was boiling and her helpers were preping the asparagus (she told them to cut the asparagus into pieces the size of the ziti), she fielded some questions from the audience.

Someone asked which brands of pasta she likes.

Giada said she likes Barilla and De Cecco.


LAT Festivals of Book - Plaschke & Deford

The 10AM session I attended had Bill Plaschke and Frank Deford talking about baseball and plugging Deford's new book The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball.

Below is my attempt to reconstruct the session from quickly scribbled notes and my memory!

Thus, the first part of the session was Deford giving a quick summary of the book.

He explained that John McGraw was the manager of the NY Giants and Christy Matthewson was the star pitcher. These two men were opposites. McGraw was a profane, hard drinking self-educated man who only got as far as the 7th grade. Yet, he read a lot and knew many things beyond baseball. Matthewson was the "All American Boy." He was tall and college educated at a time when only 6% of the population graduated from high school. Prior to Matthewson, the only "star" sports figure was John L. Sullivan the Irish boxer revered by many.

Despite the differences between McGraw and …

What's new on this blog

Yup, I've gone commercial.

On the right hand side of the blog are Google Ad Sense items.

I wonder if by the end of the year the revenue will be enough to buy a cup of coffee?

The Pay Pal tip jar remains at the bottom of the page if you would like to use it! 8-)

D'backs 6 Dodgers 3

Dodgers continue to struggle dropping 3 of 3 against the Diamondbacks tonight and fall 1/2 game behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West.

For those of you who know Dodger stadium from last year but haven't seen the renovations, take note of four of the most obvious new features:
(1) See the video band along the bottom of the loge level (orange seats)
(2) The new dark blue seat sections which occupy what used to be part of foul territory
(3) The new dugouts are more open and larger and also take a bite out the old foul territory
(4) Advertising on the outfield walls

See the Dodger press release regarding all the renovations and other changes to Dodger's Stadium.

By the way, if you got the fleece blanket at tonight's game and were wondering what the mistake was in their production, according to Yahoo! Sports, the blankets have the Dodger winning championships in 1962 and 1966. It should have said 1963 and 1965.

LA Press Club: Hewitt Speaks at LA Athletic Club About Blogging

First some relentless "name dropping!"

As a low in the food chain blogger, it was pretty neat to see some of the bigger fish in the blogosphere.

Talked to or saw the following: World's Laziest Journalist, Justene of CalBlog, Baldilocks, Gay Patriot, Boi from Troy, Jill Stewart, LA Observed, SoCalPundit, LA Guy of Pajama Guy, Cathy's World, and Advice Goddess Amy Alkon.

It is really interesting to see that there are actual people behind these blogs.

My biggest highlight was talking for a few minutes with Hugh Hewitt! He asked me what I did for a day job and where I went to school. He also mentioned he saw my blog come up when he ran a Technorati check on his blog. He mentioned, you had a post about tonight's LA Press Club event. I told him I listen to his radio show and have enjoyed blogging.

The other highlight was meeting Mickey Kaus of Kausfiles at He and Pajama Guy debated the merits and problems of the filibuster on judicial nominations. I told…

Radio Baseball Blogging

Bottom of the ninth. Dodgers down 3-2. Repko pinch running at second. Izturis at first. One out. Choi at the plate ...

Choi pops out for the second out ...

Drew at the plate. Ball one.

Low ... ball two. Kent on the on deck circle.

Strike 2-1.

Fouled back. 2-2. Last strike of the last out.

Ball three. Full count. Runners on 1st and 2nd. 2 outs!

Yahoo! Sports box score.

Fouled off.

Grounder off the pitcher's glove and Counsel gets it and throws to first ending the game.

Dodgers drop fifth game out of the last six.

Hugh Hewitt at LA Press Club Tonight 4/26

Got the following bit of information from Hugh Hewitt and

WHO: Amy Alkon, Emmanuelle Richard, Cathy Seipp and the L.A. Press Club invite you to:

WHAT: A Blogs and the Commentariat evening, starring guest-of-honor Hugh Hewitt: author, radio host, constitutional law professor, blogger and opinion columnist (for the Weekly Standard's online site The Daily Standard.) Hugh will discuss his new book "Blogs: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World," along with related topics such as bloggers vs. the mainstream media -- which means in particular of course, our own favorite mainstream media the Los Angeles Times.

PLUS: Special appearance by L.A. Times Sunday Opinion editor Bob Sipchen, who edits the Times-criticizing Outside the Tent feature, along with Outside the Tent contributors Mickey Kaus, Matt Welch and others (whose names will be added here as soon as they RSVP).

WHEN: Tuesday, Apr. 26, 7-10 p.m. Short talk and Q&…

More book blogging ...

My current dog-eared books ...


Am told this book gives a good overview on how the world economy got to be what it is today.

PBS site for Commanding Heights documentry.

"Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist" by John Piper

Many people have mentioned this book to me. Finally, decided to pick it up and read the book with the provocative title. Sounds almost "sacriligious" doesn't it? Speaking of titles meant to raise an eyebrow, check out Disappointment with God. It is one of those books I couldn't put down.

Author John Piper's web page.

As a biochemistry major science nerd, classic literature was something I didn't get much of in college. So I'm trying to work some in these days.

2005 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Photos first.

Saturday 10AM session with Los Angeles Times sportswriter Bill Plaschke with Author Frank Deford. They talked baseball in Schoenberg Hall.

Deford's new book is The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball.

UPDATE: Summary of the Talking Baseball session with Plaschke and Deford is now up.

Giada DeLaurentiis of Food Nework's "Everyday Italian" does the 12:30PM Saturday session at the Culinary Stage.

Giada with her mom. The audience called out, nah, she is your sister!

She was very charming inviting people on stage to help her cook, answering questions from the audience and shamelessly but with good humor plugging her book.

I was sorely tempted to go to the post-demonstration book signing where you can buy the book while waiting in line and then get the author to sign it. However, since the event ended at 1:30 and I had a 2PM session to go to, I had to pass up the chance to meet Giada in person. 8-(

Readability Statistics

Saw this readability calculator from Bainbridge who saw it on Kevin Drum's site.

So how did my ramblings rate?Readability ResultsSummaryValueTotal sentences704Total words7,370Average words per Sentence10.47Words with 1 Syllable5,235Words with 2 Syllables1,333Words with 3 Syllables541Words with 4 or more Syllables261Percentage of word with three or more syllables10.88%Average Syllables per Word1.43Gunning Fog Index8.54Flesch Reading Ease74.90Flesch-Kincaid Grade5.41
Fog index ratings for comparison:
Reader's Digest: 8
Most popular novels: 8 - 10
Time, Newsweek: 10
Wall Street Journal: 11

According to Bainbridge:
Instapundit: 8.53
The Corner: 9.37
Hugh Hewitt: 10.98
Volokh: 11.03
Bainbridge: 11.57
Kevin Drum: 12.10

So my ramblings are "on par" with most popular novels and the Higher Being of the blogosphere, Prof. Reynolds, a.k.a. Instapundit!

ACLU vs. the LA County Seal

See for yourself if you have never seen the LA County seal ...


image source:

So what do you think?

Does this seal violate the First Amendment which says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.If you think the ACLU is wrong, then go to and sign the petition.

I'm open to being persuaded - filibusters and judicial nominees

Sometimes I just don't know what to think.

On one hand, the idea of basic fairness leads me to support the idea of up/down votes on judicial nominees. The filibuster is only useful if the opposition knows the nominee would garner 51 to 59 votes which is enough to pass but not enough to end a filibuster.

So is this fair?

Hugh Hewitt has been on this soap box on his radio show and on
his blog. Excerpt:All weekend long every GOP senator should tell every newsman and constituent: "There was exactly one refusal to close debate on a judicial nominee in the entire 20th century, and that was a favor to a sitting Supreme Court justice about to be embarrassed by defeat who withdrew his nomination immediately afterwards and resigned soon after because of ethics problems.

Since January, 2003, there have been 20 different refusals to close debate on judicial nominees. This disfigurement of Senate tradition, disguised as the appropriate application of a rule intended for legislative debates…

Mayor James Hahn Speaks to LA GOP Audience

Went to Level One to hear Mayor Hahn speak to a group of Republicans.

His stump speech stressed his "law and order" credentials. He cited his move to replace Chief Parks and support of Chief Bratton as key to the recent drop in crime and better LAPD officer retention rates. He also pointed out that the move was not politically popular and is part of the reason he is trailing in the polls.

He then drew distinctions between himself and his opponent. He cited repeatedly Villarigosa's involvement with the ACLU and the ACLU's consistent opposition to crime fighting initiatives and laws.

Hahn also cited his working with Governor Schwarzenegger on Proposition 1A which prevented Sacramento from raiding city and county revenues for the state budget problems.

He mentioned that the primary had a very low turnout. He said about 20% of the Republicans voted in the primary. If that number reaches 30% and supports him, he could be re-elected mayor.

He finished up his speech by c…

Why do people become atheists?

As someone who believes in God, I've often wondered how people arrive at atheism. I confess there are times my belief in God wavers but far more often than not, I believe there is someone out there.

In conversations over the years, I have heard people describe their youth as attending Catholic school or being raised in a strict Christian home and so upon reaching adulthood, they quickly discard religious attendance and formally announce their non-belief in god. For these people, it would seem that institutional religion has soured their willingness to believe in a personal god.

Upon conversation with them, their initial atheism and hostility toward god and religion sometimes drifts into a less aggressive agnosticism. They might say: well, I don't know if there is something out there or not but it sure ain't what I was taught as a kid. Sometimes they might even get to the point of saying that religion and belief in god can be a force for good but they would simply rather …

Milton Bradley Clears the Game Board

Wow! It is like the playoffs already.

Dodgers down 8-5 in yesterday's game in the bottom of the ninth with two outs with bases loaded and Kent the former Giant is walked making it 8-6.

Milton Bradley, he of infamy last year for being a hothead, goes opposite field and clears the bases for the improbably 9-8 victory!

I go to my first Dodger game of the new season tonight!

LA Dining: Prado

I'm continuing to eat my way up and down Larchmont. My recent dining adventure was at Prado. I'd give it a thumbs up but it is a bit expensive. Though the atmosphere is nice, I'm not sure it justifies the extra cost for food.

It bills itself as "Cuisine of the Americas." We had the breaded shrimp for appetizer. It had a nice cilantro-honey sauce with a little zing. For entrees, we had seafood paella and lamb chops. I had the lamb chops and they were delicious. My dining companion had the paella and was pleased. Dessert was raspberry cake.

Our waitress was friendly and attentive.

Two small dining areas so tables are a little close together so probably not ideal for the romantic dinner.

One appetizer, two entrees, one dessert with tax and tips $82.

Prado Restaurant
244 N. Larchmont
(323) 467-3871

Dodger's Win!

Dodgers beat Giants 6-0 take take 2 of 3 in San Francisco!

The worries: Valentin has 3 errors in 3 games playing third base, Brazoban the "closer" while Gagne is on the DL was a disaster in game 2, J.D. Drew and H-S. Choi are batting .000 so far!

The good news: Lowe, Perez and Weaver have had solid outings and Jason Philips seems to be settling in behind the plate well.

We shall see how Dessens and Erickson do as the 4 and 5 starters down in Arizona.

Dodger offense got 16 runs in the last two games after the 2 run showing in game one. Maybe, we need to give credit to Giant Schmidt for shutting down the Dodgers. Anyway, most experts are picking either the Giants of the Padres to win the NL West. I think the Dodgers will have a say in the end! 159 games to go!

Pope John Paul II - Masculine Spirituality

There has been much said about the Pope and with the funeral Friday, the coverage by mainstream media and by the blogging community will be huge.

Being a Protestant Christian, I am not very familiar with Catholic matters and I'm only familiar with the Pope to the extent of news coverage. However, seeing some of the profiles on TV, I have to say the life and times of John Paul II were remarkable. Some commentators place him in the top tier of influential people of the 20th Century and they are probably right on.

Talk radio host, Dennis Prager who is Jewish and politically conservative, remarked on his program that there were areas where his disagreed with the Pope's views. However, he respected Pope John Paul II's "masculine spirituality." He believed there is simply too little of that in the world these days. I think what he meant by "masculine spirituality" was that the Pope was the kind of person who knew what he believed and fought for what he bel…

Neighborhood Watch Walk

This evening I joined about a dozen or so residents and about eight LAPD officers for a neighborhood watch walk. We passed out flyers with contact numbers, advice to prevent crime and a Yahoo! Groups address to inform people of community events and criminal activity in the area.

I looked over the site and found out that one recent tactic has teams of criminals knocking on doors asking for help to look for a cat and while the person is distracted the other criminal steals jewelry and other small valuable items.

We need to all watch out for each other and keep informed.

It is only one game but ...

... the concerns about this Dodger team were in evidence in the season opening 4-2 loss to the Giants yesterday.

No run support for Derek Lowe who did well (one bit of good news) and a fielding error lead to the defeat.

I go to my first game next week when the Giants are in town!

G4 white spot problem

My computer is back at home and I can start blogging up a storm.

I finally got the white spot problem fixed. At first, it was just a few white spots. Eventually, it grew into many spots and I was told by a Mac savvy friend that Apple offered to fix it for free. So now, my screen looks completely normal!

You have 2 years from date of purchase to make the repair.