Saturday, January 23, 2010

Top 10 Ways Not To Be Bored This Weekend!


MrBill's Top 10 Ways
to Stave Off Boredom
this weekend:

10. Take a nap.
9. Daydream.
8. Lie still and pretend to be dead.
7. Listen to some good music (if using your iPod, this can be combined with #8 ... just be sure you don't lay there twitching in time to the music, otherwise people won't think you're dead ... they'll just think you're having a seizure!)
6. Laugh. (laugh at something, laugh at anything, or laugh at nothing-at-all!)
5. Read books by people with interesting ideas.
4. Look at art.
3. Make some art.
2. Look at MrBill's photos, art, and read his Blogs on RG! [shameless self-promotion but what the heck!] (-;

And MrBill's #1 way to stave off boredom ... Tonight's Nibbles

1. Get together with friends and solve all the world's problems over a bottle of wine ... or drink in your friends, enjoy the company of the wine, and just forget about all the world's problems for a little while!!!

Cheers! everyone and have a great weekend!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Make Your Own Peanut Butter and other Nut Butters

Make Your Own Peanut Butter
and other Nut Butters at Home

Basically you can make "butter" out of almost any type of nut and also from many types of seeds and grains. If you have access to peanuts, then you can make your own peanut butter at home. It would help greatly to have an electric food processor/chopper like a Cuisinart or other similar brand. You can use an electric blender, but you have to do it in small batches as the butter will be too thick for the blender blades to chop except right around the blade area.

- Prepare the nuts by removing shells. Or you can skip this step by buying already shucked nuts! I use about 3 to 4 cups of nuts for a batch.
- Lightly toast shelled nuts in oven, just a few minutes at medium heat, 350° F, don't let the nuts burn. Optional but highly recommended.
- Place nuts in food processor. Fill half full.
- Begin chopping nuts with a few short bursts to break up the nuts evenly. Continue chopping until nuts have been chopped and pureed into a smooth consistency. You will have to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula several times to get the nuts smoothly ground into butter.
- If you like chunky style peanut butter, I suggest saving out a 1/2 cup or so of the nuts to add after the bulk of the nuts have been chopped smooth. Add the reserved nuts and chop to your desired chunkiness.
- I do not add salt, but adjust to your taste.
- Scrape into a container with a tight fitting lid.
- Store in cupboard or cool dry place for up to 2 months.
- The longer the nut butter is stored, it may separate the solids from the nut's oil. No worries! just stir it back together and use.

I have made Nut Butters from many different types of nuts - almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans.

Butters can also be made from seeds, though they are often called pastes instead of butters. One of the most famous seed type butters is widely used in Eastern Mediterranean and the Arabique cuisines - Tahini. It is made from ground sesame seeds. Seeds are easier to do with a food grinder than a food processor. If you have a food grinder you can also make nut butters using the grinder instead of a food processor.

Buon Appetito!

Leno-vs-Conan: Is There a Fox In The Hen House?

LenoWhile not yet officially announced, word on the street (or at least in the back alleys of TV-land) is that NBC will put Jay Leno back in the driver's seat of the Tonight Show and partially pay-off Conan O'Brien's remaining 3+ years of contract and might even allow him to pursue a new show on a competing network as soon as fall of this year.

The NBC Leno -vs- Conan late night talk show show-down may have been settled.

Since taking over the Tonight Show from Leno in May of 2009 Conan had struggled to maintain the lofty ratings the show was accustomed to with Leno hosting, much less when Leno's mentor Johnny Carson established the Tonight Show as the premier late-night talk show. Meanwhile, Leno was also having troubles getting an audience for his new 10:00PM prime-time show.

NBC exec's had proposed moving Leno to a half-hour slot at 11:35 and pushing back Conan and the Tonight Show to just after midnight. But O'Brien balked at the idea claiming that NBC should give him more time to bring up the ratings. Rumors had surfaced that NBC CEO Jeff Zucker might just take O'Brien off the air and hold him to the current contract and not pay Conan any of the remaining money if him tried to move to another network. There have possibly been talks between Conan and the FOX network to launch a new late night show.

If this settlement comes through Conan could be off the air on the Tonight Show as soon as the end of this week. This purposed end to the late-night dispute would allow O'Brien and FOX to pursue a new show that could debut in September.

It is also rumored that O’Brien placed his TV studio set on Craigslist for sale.
TITLE: 4 SALE: Barely-Used Late Night Show - Make Me An Offer
DESCRIPTION: This is a chance of a lifetime to own your very own late night talk show–guaranteed to last for up to seven months!! Really must see to appreciate.
Information for potential buyers:
- Measures 100’ x 100’ x 32’ – plenty of room for a futon!
- Designed for 11:35 PM but can be easily moved to another time slot
- Band can be sold separately
- Buyer must honor Barry Manilow booking next Thursday!
MAKE ME YOUR BEST OFFER!!!!! (Also willing to trade for Coldplay tickets.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haitian Earthquake Relief - OK to Give - But Beware of Scam Artists

Haiti Earthquake Relief Effort Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, was still recovering from a series of devastating hurricanes over the past few years, and had suffered under a long string of vicious dictatorial regimes. The need of humanitarian aid for Haiti was well established even before the January 12, 2010 massive earthquake. Tuesday's 7+ magnitude earthquake in Haiti destroyed much of the capitol city of Port-au-Prince, possibly killing thousands, and leaving in its wake hundreds of thousands without food, water or shelter. Yet the call for aid for the victims has brought the scam artists out in droves!

This most recent tragedy has brought out the spirit of giving around the world as global efforts are quickly being mobilized to set up relief centers, distribute food and water, and search for survivors in the rubble.

However, this call to action and for donations has spawned a wide spread series of scams to solicit funds from unsuspecting donors that will never reach Haiti nor the victims that need help!

The FBI, Attorney Generals of the United States and many individual states, along with Better Business Bureaus are warning people to be very cautious when making donations for Haitian relief. Be most wary of any group that contacts you directly by phone, email, or mail. Also, do not give out personal information when making donations, legitimate charities will accept contributions without asking for things like Social Security numbers, etc.

The U.S. Department of State has identified two organizations that can be trusted:
Of course, the Red Cross is given the seal of approval.
The other is YELE , which was established by the musician and native of Haiti - Wyclef Jean.

The public can go to to research charities and relief organizations to verify that they are accredited by BBB and meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

You can also visit a national clearinghouse of information about charities and their performance.

BBB Foundation offers the following six tips to help Americans decide where to direct donations:
1. Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity. Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other Web sites.
2. Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims.
3. Be cautious when giving online. Be cautious about online giving, especially in response to spam messages and e-mails that claim to link to a relief organization.
4. Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.
5. Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.
6. Ask before giving gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations.
Top 6 tips from Better Business Bureau

The Oregon Attorney General's Office offers these 4 basic tips about charity giving:
1. Do not give out personal information such as credit card or bank account numbers over the phone.
2. Beware of callers who want your money fast.
3. Do not donate cash. Legitimate charities will be pleased to receive a contribution by check.
4. Be sure you are contributing to a legitimate organization registered with your state's Attorney General’s Office.
Top 4 tips from Oregon's attorney general

Scammers, identity thieves and unscrupulous charities pose a significant threat not just to would-be donors for Haitian relief efforts, but for future relief efforts as well.