April Witt has written a wonderful non-fiction piece published in the Washington Post magazine this past Sunday. She writes about an unlikely pair who find heaven on the dance floor. Read it. See also her Q&A on Live Discussion yesterday.
The Alito nomination will go to the Senate for vote today. The filibuster failed on a vote of 72-25 yesterday (see Washington Post). Michelle Malkins reports on Teddy Kennedy's histrionics on the floor of the senate. I think its fair to say that the man is unhinged. Other commentary on where this leaves the Democrats at Captains Corner and Big Lizards. The Corner at National Review has a selection of censored commentary from the left. See also James Taranto's Best of the Web. The Moderate Voice discusses how the Democrats were tactically outmaneuvered, quoting a very interesting New York Times article.
Do you have dry or wet ear wax?? Well, the NY Times has an article about how ear wax type relates to your genetic heritage. The Bunny Rabbit with her solid Asian credentials most likely has dry ear wax, while the rest of her fine family is stuck with the wet variety. On top of this, apparently ear wax type is correlated with sweating and the related body odor. Unfortunately, wet ear wax and sweating goes together. Oh well.
See this Mainichi article for great photos of preparing for the Chinese New Year around the world. (Click on the first small photo at the bottom and you then enter a slide show.) Evidently, while dogs are in favor now, many get abandoned later in the year creating a serious problem (just like chicks or rabbits at Easter I imagine). According to Northwest Asian Weekly, we need to watch out for natural disasters in the coming year.
Earlier this week, the number two man in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Georges Sada, revealed that he moved WMD via airplane to Syria. See this article in the New York Sun. Today, the Jerusalem Post reports that, according to Sada, Saddam Hussein ordered a WMD attack on Israel via bombs, which Sada persuaded him not to carry out. Apparently Sada is flogging his new book, which is the source of these recent revelations. I have to agree with GOP Bloggers about being skeptical about all this, and would like to see some independent validation (but I'm sure finding the WMD in Syria is not going to be the validation we can accomplish!). Excellent discussion at Right Wing Nut House putting together all the various pieces. Mark in Mexico has more on the book and the man.
A prior post here discussed an analysis that economically free societies are the most successful. While the analysis has its flaws, as my commenter pointed out, in the case of Ireland, the proof is in the reality. So, in the American Spectator, Neal Freeman, a Maine resident and corporate executive suggests that perhaps Maine should follow the Irish example. He itemizes some of the characteristics that have made Irish development successful. These include active solicitation of outside business, a top notch educational system, and creating a "tax haven."
A story getting under-reported in the U.S. is the predicament that Georgia is in after natural gas pipelines and electrical powerlines servicing the country were destroyed, leaving Georgians in a serious crisis in frigid winter weather. See Jane's. Georgians believe that the Russians are intentionally doing this or encouraging others to destabilize the government which is friendly to Europe and the west. EurasiaNet puts this in the broader context of Russia's efforts to use its resource base to extend its political and economic influence. The LA Times reports this morning that Georgia has struck a deal with Iran to obtain necessary fuel. Stratfor points out that Georgia was ultimately wanting to separate from the Russian sources in any case and has a good map of the region. Stratfor also discusses the geo-political issues as does Jamestown Foundation.
Time to clean house and prepare for the Spring Festival In China, things are shut down for at least one week during the celebration. See Wangjianshuo's blog for the view of his computer. He says offices will reopen Feb 5. Stories From China has a wonderful entry describing the history of this festival and the traditional celebrations.
Tonight we're going to make home-made dumplings with the Bunny Rabbit who was born in Hunan Province. Jiaozi are boiled dumplings. According to TravelChinaGuide, this is the story of jiaozi:
"A well-loved story tells how long ago during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) a doctor named Zhang Zhongjing travelled back to his hometown in the county of Nanyang. He found the people were suffering from an outbreak of typhoid and dying from hunger and cold. In fact the weather was so cold that many had frostbitten ears to add to their troubles. The kindly doctor set about concocting a mixture of mutton, cayenne and a special medicine that he wrapped in a piece of ear-shaped dough. The dumplings he created were fed to the starving people and by New Year's Eve, not only were they saved from the typhoid epidemic but also their frost bitten ears were healed. The doctor's fame became legendary and thus the dumpling became a favourite addition to the Chinese diet."
Here is a fabulous photo of a Chinese woman making lots of jiaozi. See also the English Channel of CCTV for background and photos, and a nice steaming graphic of jiaozi ready to eat!
Here are several recipes for Jiaozi: Worldwide Gourmet (I think the dough needs a little salt! but it has a good picture); a more traditional method at Cooks.com (including the adding cold water and bringing to another boil, and shaping dough by hand rather than rolling out like cookie dough); another traditional recipe at cdkitchen.com; see also Globaldreamers' recipe. Here is a recipe using premade wrappers, but some good pictures and discussion of when jiaozi are eaten in China. I'm expecting to have fun making Chinese food for a couple of weeks!
One good place to stay up on the latest news from China is the China Syndrome at Pajamas Media.