A St. Paddy’s-ready reader on the Coast wants to make sure we don’t miss MS Public Safety Director Steve Simpson in his incarnation as King of Biloxi’s Hibernia Marching Society parade (which happens this Saturday afternoon). He shares the honor with Tulane-senior Meghan Elizabeth Delaney of Ocean
April 22nd, 2013 · Herald & Examiner
I mentioned yesterday a WaPo story about an arrest at the DC (municipal) Office of the Chief Technology Officer. Former CTO Vivek Kundra left there on March 4 to become the Obama Administration’s chief information officer.
Hours after the first report, a second arrest revealed that a mid-level employee in the CTO’s office and a businessman who contracted with it had been charged in a bribery scheme. Today, WaPo says three other lower-level people in the office are also involved but haven’t been charged.
The earliest stories failed to make clear whether Kundra himself was implicated. Although the White House told CNN that he’s taking a leave from his post at OMB “until more details become known,” “A law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that Kundra is not involved in the case.” The AP quotes DC Mayor Adrian Fenty saying the same thing.
So it’s hard to figure out why Kundra (who was reportedly giving a speech when the FBI raid and arrests took place) is taking leave, unless it’s just a matter of over-abundant caution. I’ll watch for developments and keep you posted, but for now this is raising as many questions as answers.
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April 22nd, 2013 · Uncategorized
All right, this is pretty sappy, but if you don’t like sappy, you probably bypass Saddy Animals already, so no harm no foul. MSPolitical sent in Jasmine and her story:
In 2003, police in Warwickshire, England, opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog. It had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished and clearly had been abused.
In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a greyhound female, to the nearby Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, run by a man named Geoff Grewcock and known as a willing haven for animals abandoned, orphaned, or otherwise in need.
Geoff Grewcock and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved.
They named her Jasmine, and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home. The dog had other ideas. No one remembers now how it began, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary. It wouldn’t matter if it was a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or a rhinoceros, Jasmine would peer into the box or cage and, where possible, deliver a welcoming lick.
Geoff Grewcock relates one of the early incidents. “We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line. One was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the centre and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee. Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them.”
“But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits. She takes all the stress out of them and it helps them to not only feel close to her but to settle into their new surroundings.
“She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose.”
Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary’s resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, 15 chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and 15 rabbits.
And one roe deer fawn. Tiny Bramble, 11 weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full foster mum role. Jasmine the greyhound showers Bramble the roe deer with affection and makes sure nothing is matted in her fur.
“They are inseparable,” says Geoff Grewcock. “Bramble walks between her legs and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary. It’s a real treat to see them.”
Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life. When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely. She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse.
From left, Toby, a stray Lakeland dog; Bramble, an orphaned Roe deer; Buster, a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; Sky, an injured barn owl; and Jasmine, doing what she does best.
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April 22nd, 2013 · Uncategorized
This week I confronted myself: “Now really, which do you prefer, blogging or eating?” Okay, it isn’t quite that stark a proposition — but close enough that I finally said to Tom, “It’s time for me to hush and you to start your own blog.”
Which explains why he’s been scarce around here these last few days — he’s been busy crafting a fine place for this party to continue. He calls it “NMissCommentor.com (A blog from the hills in North Mississippi),” and when you see it, I think you’ll feel at home.
So what happened to me? Well, the truth is, addictiveness runs in my family, I’m our test case on blogging, and it proved a bad one: sucked all my time and attention right up and became impervious to my attempts at self-regulation. So tomorrow after Sunday Dinnah, I’ll be going cold turkey.
folo, though, will stay right here, accessible for your reminiscing and/or researching pleasure. Who knows — maybe at some now-unforeseen point, I can revive it as an active (though not as constantly-active) blog. But in a couple of days, I’ll be closing the comments and converting folo.us into the attic of NMissCommentor.com’s living room.
Thank you, you wonderful people, for supplying and supporting all this unforgettable fun. I’ll join you as a commenter over at Tom’s as possible but after this weekend will be refocusing the time and energy I’ve devoted to folo on my real life (which needs them more).
My very best to you, my dears, always.
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April 19th, 2013 · Uncategorized
Has it ever happened that you opened the paper or browser to see, splashed across the New York Times, your hometown and some names you actually have faces to put with? Lo & behol’, happened to me this week — thankfully, due not to crime or disaster but on account of a stunning success.
Coming at it from my angle rather than NMC-friend/food-writer John T. Edge’s, the saga starts 50-odd years ago, when I’m in fourth grade in Springfield, Mo. Ling and Evelyn Leong show up in, respectively, my brother’s first-grade class and a third-grade one. Ling and Evelyn are very shy but sweet and smart, the first Chinese kids we’ve met. We find out their daddy and uncle work for Mr. Bill Grove at The Grove supper club, where moms and dads go for martinis and steaks.
After a few years Daddy Leong (David) and Uncle Leong (Gee) open their own restaurant on what’s then the west end of town: Leong’s Tea House. The first time I see it, I’m awed: outside it’s big and beautiful, pagoda-roofed with lion statues at the door, and inside, elegant and quiet. I have a dish called Cashew Chicken.
One bite and wow, I love that stuff! In fact, from now on, I’m up for Leong’s practically anytime the question is where-to-go-to-eat. Nor am I an outlier — families, couples on dates, tourists in town, everybody falls for cashew chicken and practically wears grooves in West Sunshine Street going for it.
More time passes. David and Gee Leong have a falling-out, and the next news is a big beautiful restaurant on the east end of Sunshine Street, Gee’s East Wind. It too is a temple to cashew chicken (though I’ll try my first crab Rangoon and various other more-adventuresome goodies there). Springfield generates enough cashew chicken fiends to keep both Leong restaurants busy.
Gradually, “Springfield” (that is, Leong-style) cashew chicken proliferates throughout Missouri, even to St. Louis and Kansas City. Of course every local Chinese place has it (one of John T.’s restauranteur-interviewees quotes his father: “Are you stupid, son? Are you that stupid? You can’t cook Chinese in Springfield without cooking cashew chicken”); but even not-Chinese places (like the public-school cafeterias) do too. Drive-thru joints — Chinese, Korean, Thai, whatever — all offer the same marquee dish:
As an old playmate of mine will tell John T., “Cashew chicken is a kind of inside joke in Springfield. But it’s also our daily bread, our defining food. And it starts with David Leong.” Here is he with a plate of it recently, at 88:
Now picture some of us hicks finally scouting around the larger world and for the first time ordering our hometown favorite elsewhere — in, say, London (in my case) or San Francisco or Shanghai. Soo-prise soo-prise: stir-fried, not breaded and deep-fried, and with a lot more goodies than just green onions to partner the cashews. A revelation!
Still, wherever we eventually wash up and no matter how we manage to sophisticate our palates, we remain Springfieldians. The Leongs (or their imitators) set our default a long, long time ago. So a few times a year, we who’ve moved away must improvise to satisfy the letch. Here’s how I do that:
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (per person)
2 eggs per pound of chicken
1/4 cup milk per egg
salt & pepper
peanut oil for frying
2 chicken bouillon cubes per cup of water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
chopped green onions
hot rice for serving
Heat water to boiling and dissolve bouillon cubes. Stir 1/4 cup of broth into cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. Stir cornstarch slurry into broth with sugar and oyster sauce. Set aside and let sauce thicken as chicken cooks.
Heat oil to 350-400° in deep pan or fryer. Cut chicken into small pieces, dredge and let stand in flour for 15 minutes. Mix together egg, milk, and salt & pepper. Remove chicken from flour and let stand in egg mixture for 10 minutes. Roll chicken pieces in flour and deep-fry, in batches if need be, until golden. Drain well on paper towels and keep warm in covered pan in 200° oven.
Serve chicken over hot rice, topped with sauce, cashews, and chopped green onions. Pass soy sauce at table.
P.S. Is cashew chicken good for you? Well, all I can tell you is that my brother says the last time he ran into used-to-be-skinny-and-shy pal Ling, here was “this big, muscular extrovert with a hot girlfriend.” That‘s what Springfield Cashew Chicken does for a person (especially, a Leong). Haw!
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