March 29th, 2011


Poetry Fishbowl on Tuesday, April 5

This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, April 5 2011 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "Mad Science."  I'll be soliciting ideas for mad scientists (as heroes or villains), their assistants, their heroic allies or adversaries, hapless victims, sentient creations, nonsentient creations, bizarre weapons, lab equipment or scenery, things that would be special effects in a movie, plots that happen in labs, mad science saving the day, scientific mishaps, science gone horribly wrong, moral quandaries, religious morasses, folding or spindling proper scientific methods, mad scientist lairs and hideouts, other places where mad science might happen, settings you wouldn't expect to find a mad scientist who is there anyhow, stuff you always wanted to see in old shows about mad science that nobody ever forked over, and poetic forms in particular. 

NEW PERK:  I'm trying out a new perk this time.  If donations total $150+ then I'll write an extra series poem after the Poetry Fishbowl, and post it for free.  Everyone will get to vote which series gets a new poem.  April donors will get some kind of input into the poem's content; I'm currently thinking I might ask them for prompts, but it could be something else.

If you're interested, mark the fishbowl date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week.  (If you expect to be unavailable on that day, you can give me advance prompts.)  Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here, repost this on your blog, tweet it, etc.

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Grass-fed vs. Grain-fed Beef

Here is a detailed and thoughtful article which touches on the politics of food but primarily analyzes the kitchen potential of grass-fed beef.

Personally, I prefer grass-fed, free-range livestock products when I can get them.  I'm okay with supplementing  pasture with grains, as many farmers do.  I just don't think feedlots and other mass-confinement practices are good for animals or humans eating them.  I particularly like shopping at a nearby Amish meat market; we often buy a package or two of meat per year there.  (It is MUCH cheaper in bundles.)  Those animals have a fairly natural life, and I can see cows, horses, pigs, chickens, etc. outdoors on the way to the shop.  Our food co-op is also a good source, as is the farmer's market in warm weather, and one of the international food stores carries farmed lamb.  My preferences are based on a mix of philosophical, practical, and culinary points.

The article does raise a point that grass-fed beef is easier to wreck.  If you're going to swap beef into venison recipes, buy grass-fed.  If you're going to try grass-fed for the first time, read instructions on how to cook venison (also very lean) nicely.  The grass diet makes for a leaner cow with less marbling, which is awesome if you want a low-fat diet, but you have to cook it gently or it will turn to leather.  I recommend a crock pot for many cuts.  Another good safety catch is to use a sauce with enzymes or acids, to help keep the meat moist and tender.

Vote for Torn World!

Now with a Top Web Fiction voting link that actually works.  See the post on torn_world for details.  If we get high enough in the rankings, our banner will appear on the page.  This attracts more eyeballs.  More eyeballs can translate into more permanent participants, thus helping to raise the amount of material that gets produced.  So go vote, and help roll some eyeballs!

BioWare Games for the WIN!

Spliced together from a conversation elsewhere ...

BioWare is a Canadian game developer that has included gay/lesbian relationships in its games for years, with varying degrees of accessibility. In Dragon Age 2 all potential love interests will respond to both genders. Mass Effect is another of their games.  Bioware is all-around inclusive because you can be a person of color and/or queer and build a character who resembles you in a fantasy or sci-fi milleu!
Here is a YouTube clip from one such game, featuring lesbian characters.  Very sweet!