Stuff and Nonsense: February 2011


Great Speeches on Gay Rights

Perhaps the Right is right about something. We stand for the end of the world as we know it. We call for the end of racism and sexism and bigotry as we know it. We call for the end of violence and discrimination and homophobia as we know it. We call for the end of sexism as we know it.

We stand for freedom as we have yet to know it. And we will not be denied.

-- excerpted from Urvashi Vaid's "Speech at the March on Washington," Washington DC, April, 25, 1993, as published in Great Speeches on Gay Rights (Dover, 2010)
Great Speeches on Gay Rights might not provide as thorough an overview of lgbtq rhetoric as, say, Ridinger's Speaking for Our Lives: Historic Speeches and Rhetoric for Gay and Lesbian Rights, 1892-2000 (Routledge, 2004), but is much more affordable and more easily acquired. Seriously, for a mere $3.50, you too can cry your way through over a century of lgbtq struggles and victories.

(What I'm really waiting for is the day Library of America publishes Reporting Gay Rights or Gay Speeches. I expect it to happen in my lifetime, but then I expect a lot of things to happen in my lifetime, cock-eyed optimist that I am).



Yummy, Elegant Salmon & Asparagus Crepes

Kitchen of Light: New Scandinavian Cooking with Andreas Viestad (Workman Publishing, 2003) is due back to the library by the end of the week and there are still four recipes I really want to make, so I'm trying to cook through my bookmarks before I have to let Kitchen of Light go on to some other deserving patron.

Monday being a holiday, I was home for lunch and decided to make a half recipe of Viestad's "Smoked Salmon, Asparagus, and Potato Cake Canapes."

Smoked Salmon & Asparagus Canapes

Ingredients: crepes, asparagus, lemon, smoked salmon, sour cream, dill.

Spread crepes with a thin layer of sour cream and top with salmon. Place an asparagus spear (I used two per crepe, arranged top-to-tail) on each crepe and roll up the crepes around the asparagus. Cut each rolled crepe into 6 slices and arrange on a serving plate. Sprinkle with dill. If you can find it, garnish each canape with a little salmon roe.

Overall, these canapes made for an easy, elegant, and tasty lunch. I look forward to making them again with Viestad's "Simple Salmon Mousse" and salmon roe. While the recipe works well with smoked salmon, it would be even better with Viestad's mousse but, as he writes, smoked salmon is an acceptable substitute if you're not sure of the freshness or hygienic handling of the salmon at your grocery store (and I wasn't). You could also probably use a commercially prepared smoked salmon spread, if you could find a good one.

(I appreciated Viestad's suggestion to add lemon juice and rind to the asparagus's cooking water as it did seem to keep the asparagus from yellowing as it cooked).


You got cheesy blasters!

Alright! Cheesy blasters! You take a hot dog, stuff it with some jack cheese, fold it in a pizza, you got cheesy blasters!

Yes, I made cheesy blasters. It wasn't particularly hard -- just follow the song -- and making them just amused the heck out of me. Would I make them again? Maybe. If I were hosting a LAN party in, say, 1996.


  • Pillsbury "Classic" Pizza Crust
  • Sclafini "Home Style" Pizza Sauce
  • Kraft "Pizza" Mozzarella Cheddar
  • Cabot Monterey Jack
  • Hebrew National Quarter Pounder Beef Franks
  • Price Chopper's Central Market Salsa Con Queso
Cheesy Blasters, Ingredients

A lot of my ingredient choices came down to size/geometry. I wanted large franks, because I didn't want to make many cheesy blasters -- four at most. I used block monterey instead of shredded because the block was just slightly shorter than the franks. I used refrigerated dough because the tube was just a little longer than the franks.

I preheated the oven to 425°F. While it preheated, I cooked the franks as their packaging instructed and then set them aside to cool down a little (stuffing hot franks with cheese is not a good idea).

I rolled out the pizza dough, spread it with sauce and cheese, and then set it aside while I prepared the franks.

Cheesy Blasters, Stuffed Dogs

I cut a thick strip the length of the cheese block and then halved that strip lengthwise to make what was essentially a cheese stick. Then I cut a deep slit in two franks to within a ½ inch of their ends and inserted the cheese into each slit.

Cheesy Blasters, Layout

I arranged the two franks in the middle of the pizza to make sure they would both fit, then cut the pizza in half. I rolled each half around a frank and put them on a greased jelly roll pan (pizza stone and less dough would have been better, I think). I put them in the 425° oven and baked them for about 18 minutes.

Cheesy Blasters, Insides

(When The Husband saw them, he thought they looked like pasties or calzones and he's quite right. They're like calzones stuffed with a cheese dog).

While I had purchased nacho cheese for the cheesy blasters, I hesitated to use it as it wasn't in the song. In the end, we did not end up using it at all as the cheesy blasters where plenty cheesy and good all on their own.

Did we like them?

Cheesy Blasters, Remnants

Oh, I think we did!

Now, of course, I have a lot of leftover ingredients! Extra Cabot cheese is never unwelcome in our house and will be quickly nibbled away. As for the franks, they will go into tomorrow's scrambled eggs -- my mother used to do this a lot when I was a child and it remains one of those comfort foods I crave every once in a while. The extra pizza sauce, pizza cheese, and nacho cheese will get used up in the turkey stuffed peppers I was planning for Sunday dinner.

I shared this post for Gold Star Wednesday on 23 February 2011, because that is just how proud I am of my little project!


(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

My life a week ago today:

Feeding giraffes is infinitely preferable to working the reference desk of a public library during tax season. Many patrons are (understandably?) angry with the IRS and inclined to share their anger with me. It's not personal, but it begins to feel that way after a bit. Especially as I'm the librarian managing tax forms. Yay, me.


No Holly For Miss Quinn

She liked her own company.

One of my elderly library patrons has been diligently reading her way through all the Miss Read books and has had nothing but good to say of them. I'd read a few Miss Read books, years ago, but did not enjoy them very much. They seemed hideously dated and so full of small town bigotry that they quite set my teeth on edge.

But my little old lady ... she had quite liked Flora Thompson's Candleford books, too, and kept telling me I would like the Miss Read books if I just gave them another go. She particularly recommended No Holly For Miss Quinn to me and I, conditioned not to disappoint dear little old ladies, reluctantly agreed to follow her recommendation.

And I was pleasantly surprised! The story, while wrapped in Christmas trappings, is quite a modern one and its protagonist, Miss Quinn, is so sensible and self-aware that I could not help liking her.

Miriam Quinn is "an attractive, efficient business woman in her thirties" who is used to managing other people and keeping her personal life in apple-pie order. She has recently moved into a new home in the small village of Fairacre and is looking forward to a quiet, solitary Christmas with a little Trollope and some excellent brandy when her sister-in-law is taken ill. Miss Quinn must leave her solitary comforts to help her brother and his family.

It was amusing to see Miss Quinn realize that her sister-in-law was not quite the flibbertigibbet she had dismissed her as and that small children are not as easily managed as office workers. Eventually, she gets the household under control and everyone has a very merry Christmas indeed.

I was worried at points that the author, thrusting Miss Quinn into such a situation, would cause some kind of hackneyed "feminine" awakening in the character. That Miss Quinn would suddenly realize the error of solitary pleasure and convert into a sociable little hen who would hook up with her old beau and live "happily ever after." However, this was not the case. The narrator makes it clear Miss Quinn is content in herself and with her life -- she does not require rescuing from spinsterhood.

But this was where she was happiest. For her, spinsterhood was truly blessed. She walked into her empty sitting-room and closed the door behind her, the better to relish that sweet solitude which to her was the breath of life.
A vision of the vicarage rose before her -- the paper chains, the expanding fans and bells, the tinsel, the mistletoe, the holly.
Here there was no holly for Miss Quinn, but she felt a glow as warm as its red berries at the joy of being home, a joy which, she knew, would remain ever green in the years which lay ahead.

No Holly For Miss Quinn by Miss Read with illustrations by J.S. Goodall (Houghton Mifflin, 1976)


Arizona Comic Shop Loot

No library loot this week as I'm still in Arizona. We should have returned yesterday, but because of the horrible storm(s) blanketing Connecticut in snow and ice, opted to reschedule our flights to Thursday morning.

Despite my lack of library loot, I do not lack for reading material as I have been to not one but two comic book stores. Two. In one city. This place is a paradise, I tell you.

My first stop was right down the street from our hotel at Ash Avenue Comics where I was extremely happy to find Castle Waiting Volume 2, the first two volumes of Greek Street, and many other splendorous things. The Husband, upon seeing my pile of loot, reminded me that I shouldn't buy more than we could fit in our suitcase. I didn't tell him, but I'm pretty sure a few of his shirts can be (accidentally) left behind if necessary ...


  • Killer Princesses by Gail Simone & Lea Hernandez
  • Castle Waiting, Volume II by Linda Medley
  • A Friendly Game by Joe Pimienta, Lindsay Hornsby, & Laurie Affe
  • Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson & Ernie Colon
  • Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story by Mat Johnson & Simon Gane
  • Seven Sons by Alexander Grecian & Riley Rossmo
  • Greek Street: Blood Calls For Blood & Cassandra Complex by Peter Milligan & Davide Gianfelice
The Husband found Pop Culture Paradise when he was wandering around the ASU campus during FUDCon and suggested I "might" want to shop there. I actually visited the store three times before I bought anything -- the first three times, the small store was full of gamers and I never made it across the shop's threshold. Finally, I decided to be sensible and visit at opening on Monday morning. The shop was deserted and I plundered at will. I am thankful the store owner gave me a student discount (I told him I wasn't an ASU student, but we agreed I was a student of life) as I spent a little wildly at Pop Culture Paradise:

More Comics

  • Pumpkin Scissors, Volume 1 by Ryotaro Iwanaga
  • Ignition City, Volume 1 by Warren Ellis & Gianluca Pagliarani
  • American Jesus, Book One: Chosen by Mark Millar & Peter Gross
  • John Woo's 7 Brothers, Volume 1: Sons of Heaven, Son of Hell & Volume 2: The Blood That Runs by John Woo, Jonathan Hickman, Jeevan Kang, & Garth Ennis

Wordless Wednesday: Dappled Sunlight

Tree in Leaf