Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It’s August so we must be celebrating catfish

Did you know catfish can be found on every continent except Antarctica? Yup, they aren’t just a southern staple. Catfish are fresh water bottom feeders. This has led to many people comparing them to garbage collectors. Despite a somewhat disparaging reputation in the States, in Central Europe they are considered a delicacy. I have to go with the Europeans on this one. Catfish is one of my favorite fish.

Since the 70’s, catfish have also been raised on farms.  A pond can cover 10-20 acres. The catfish in these ponds are harvested after 18 months. That’s a lot of space and time, guess this I won’t be starting a catfish farm in my backyard.

The farming industry produces over 10 million pounds per week. The high production of farm raised fish along with wild caught fish keeps the price of catfish affordable.  Yeah, I’ve been looking for low cost, high tasting dishes to make. Tonight, dinner is spicy catfish, corn on the cob and green beans. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cleopatra - the Search for the Last Queen of Egypt

While I was in Philadelphia I went to the Franklin Institute’s Cleopatra Exhibit.  Archeologists have been digging in the Mediterranean Sea for the old city of Alexandria, home of Cleopatra.  The exhibit contains the finds from the bottom of the sea.  Among them are a couple of huge statues of pharaohs. Watch while the archeologists pull the pieces up from the sea floor then reassemble the statues for the first time in several centuries. It was fascinating watching the film then turning around to see the statues up close. Somehow they survived not only centuries under water, but a Tsunami and earthquakes, it’s amazing.

Another intriguing artifact was a papyrus document signed by Cleopatra. In the note to an official of the government, Cleopatra forgave all taxes for a friend of Marc Antony. Even in ancient Egypt political favors were the normal course of business.

Archeologists are currently on a quest to find Cleopatra’s final resting place which they now believe is 30 miles away from Alexandria. In a few years, we may be able to see the final resting place of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. I look forward to seeing what the archeologists find. In the mean time, if you’re in Philly, stop by the Franklin Institute. The Cleopatra Exhibit is worth the price of admission.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today's Successes

In my continuing quest to de-clutter my life, today I managed to sort my purses, added clothes to the donation pile, emptied 2 drawers and found a home for my parents’ photo albums. The purging netted 1 bag for donation and another for trash. Phew, I’m tired just reading through the list. I am beginning to feel the feng shui of de-cluttering beginning to take hold. A few weeks ago we brought my parents photo albums to my house to scan pictures for my Aunt’s party. Since then, they have been sitting on my coffee table, waiting for a home. Today while clearing out drawers in my guest room, the perfect place for the albums struck me. They now have a new home on a recently emptied shelf in my bookcase.

I really wish the video shop in Mendham was still in business. They had a great side business selling on Ebay.  You could drop off knick knacks and such; they’d handle all the details of transacting with Ebay. If the item sold, they mail the item to the new owner and a check to me. If it didn’t then they’d donate the item to charity. Either way, it was out of my house and hair. God bless them. Unfortunately they are no longer in business. So now I’ve got a bunch of collectables as well as other knick knacks that I’m sure would net a few $$ however, the thought of hassling with Ebay has the stash sitting in my house. If you know of anyone who loves to sell things on Ebay let me know.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Citizens' Campaign = political activism

I attended an inspiring meeting where Harry Pozycki of the Citizens’ Campaign spoke on citizen activism. The Citizens’ Campaign cultivates a culture of service to develop a new generation of leaders – “leaders who put service over personal gains”. To accomplish this they hold live events and online classes to educate New Jersey residents how to “navigate the power structure of government and to exercise leadership beginning with their own hometowns.” After the speech I went to their website and took their online appointed office course. The course highlighted some of the boards towns typically create such as the planning or zoning boards. The Citizens’ Campaign developed the Citizen Service Act, opening appointments to government policy boards and commissions. In November 2009, Governor Corzine signed the Citizen Service Act into law. Now interested citizens can obtain a list of boards and commissions as well as vacancies from the Municipal Clerk or from the town’s website. Now that’s a step in the right direction. Next I think I’ll take the Citizen Legislator class so I can learn how to present local cost cutting proposals.