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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sketching @ the LA Zoo

I felt a little rusty, but it was a perfect day for drawing out there last Thursday


Your chance to get your hands on the creations of some of Japan's funkiest and talented independent artists and designers.

The next multifaceted Sunday afternoon event brought to you by TOKYOMADE will be held at Wedge in Shimokitazawa.

June 29, 2008 from 3pm - 9pm.

1000 yen gets you a tasty beverage and access to the creations of over 30 Japan-based designers coolness as well as live painting, DJs and other music makers.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Tom Colicchio Responds to Scallopgate

Possums, earlier this morning we received an email from the Ursus Major himself, Tom Colicchio, regarding our post about the now-infamous frozen scallops. The subject line was “scallopgate.”

With Colicchio’s permission, we are running the email in its entirety and without any editing, so that you, possums, may have the benefit of his side of the story:

Tom Colicchio here. In my blog on I stated that the scallops were in the kitchen because the were provided by Allen Brothers.

Allen brothers sponsored the challenge, and all of the Allen brothers products were placed in the kitchen by the culinary producer.

This statement does not contradict Rick's [Tramonto] assertion that the producers put the scallops in the kitchen.

I hope this clears things up.

An Essay : My Life as a Singer Sewing Machine

This picture from the American Heritage series has inspired me to write the story about Singer Machine. My grandfather Lau Kah Chui was a tailor who used a machine very well. Had he gone to America, he would have been one of these Chinese men who helped California garment to earn more than $3 million in the early 20th century in making garments alone.
One of my favourite movies is "Fiddler on the Roof", which has a very touching scene centred on a sewing machine. The setting of the movie was turn of the 20th century, before the then Russia turn Communist. Great musical. If you can see the actual musical, it will be even better.
A Singer Sewing Machine below - a very important and beloved household appliance.

This is the story of my Life as a Singer Sewing Machine

July 12th 1948 - My beautiful mistress was married as a post war bride when the economic situation was not even recovering yet. She wore a beautiful flowing white gown. Every one was dressed in colonial style and the two cute flower girls were enchanting in their white frocks.

The wedding was held in Sibu and many photos were taken in Hua Hong Ice Factory, owned by her new father in law.

Although I was not bought as part of a Foochow dowry for my owner it was nevertheless considered so because it was so lovingly bought by the happy bridegroom a few months later when I arrived in Sibu. He was handsome, tall, and purposeful in life. He wanted to make sure that his young bride would lack nothing. And one of the biggest gifts he bought her was me.

In fact I even considered myself an important part of the "dowry". Life had been hard for many after the war and rubber price had hit rock bottom.Sibu brides did not receive much dowry from their families, perhaps three pieces of the most essentials like a set of bedding, a wardrobe, and a dressing table. The more prosperous brides would get five or even seven items. For years, the married ladies would talk about how generous their parents were.

As I stood upright, glistening in the sunshine I was happy to be within the midst of this happy new family. My wooden panel was brown, polished to a great shine, my body was black, wrought iron, with lots of beautiful European designs. My needle was sharp, ready to eat into any material which came into my teeth and clamp.

I met many women and even men who came to have a look or a respectful touch all over my new body. In the days and years which followed , these men and women would be frequent visitors and supporters of this new family. There were many visitors to this new home. Grandmother Tiong Lien Tie was a frequent visitor who came to help out. I was glad I came to a good and happy Foochow home which was open to lots of visitors.

I was eager to serve my mistress because I knew she had lots of plans to use me.

She was a brilliant wife and housewife. She would use me to sew everything she and her husband needed:pillow cases, bolster cases, cotton underwear, curtains, and even handkerchiefs!! Anything. Friends would ask her to sew too and she would gladly and generously sew for them. She said, "What is a small seam? Nothing my sewing machine cannot do!!"

I was glad that she was expecting. And she made so many of those little tops and bottoms for her unborn child. Her mother came and helped her do some hand stitches. Mother and daughter formed such a good team.

Other children followed and she did the same. Sewing clothes, simple ones, without much pattern, made her happy.

I remember her eldest daughter, when she was in form One, making her first skirt following the pattern given to her by her home science teacher. She did not get an excellent mark though. The skirt was a patterned maroon pleated skirt. She made her pleats quite well. she wore this skirt until it was too old and too tight for her. It was quite a feat for a 12 year old to put a zip on for her skirt. Never mind the "B".

But great unhappiness came one day when she lost her beloved husband all too soon on the 16th year of their marriage. On that day, friends and relatives used me to make all the mourning clothes from thick muslin or belachu cloth, all the black patches that the children must wear for 100 days. Her hair turned white just overnight and it was hard for her to smile again from that day onwards.

Her second daughter took over the sewing. She made beautiful clothes for all her siblings, and her nieces. She made doll clothes from the scrap materials. She was very very intelligent and creative. The frugal life of the family continued and I was so glad that the family was together . They held on with their love and strong spirit.
Every one of her daughters and even sons, learned to use me and were fairly good at what things they made. I was an appliance that could not be "spoilt" because I was so well made. Luckily I did not have to be sent to a workshop for maintenance or overhaul. I was placed in the living room, with a fine window to look to. Just a little bit of Singer oil here and there would be enough for me to run beautifully and hum gently.

The years quickly passed, the children graduated, my mistress started to say that she could not see to sew and left me entirely to her daughters who sewed quilts, little things, and others, including baby clothes again!!

I continue to be well maintained and well oiled by her daughter. when the wood became frail, I was given a good formica top. But my mainframe is still as good as new!! My American factory had made me well.

And I continue to enjoy the presence of the grandchildren waiting expectantly by my side for the goodies that they can get from their aunt. "Aunty , please make me a doll dress. Aunty, please make me something. Aunty please patch this up for me." These were beautiful words that I love to hear.

And of course there has been a lot of mending and patching. I have served the family well and lovingly. They have been a great family to me. A garment is considered new for three years. It can still be worn for another three years with a little patching. A few more patches, the garment can still be worn for another three years. Finally, when the garment's life is all gone, the material will be taken apart and cut into patches to become part of a patch work. This has been the way the Chinese look after the cloth they have been given in the olden days.

In July last year, I was wondering if I had made my final journey ! They moved me to Kuching after I have stayed in Sibu for 59 years!! Almost sixty and I have moved house three times. Each move made me feel good because I was a treasure to the family. they would never sell me off.

There is still a lot of life in this old girl yet! Yeeeeeeeee Ha!!

Written by a 60 year old happy and grateful Singer Sewing Machine, 31st May 2008.

extra notes

Brand History The Early Years (1850 - 1899)

Isaac Merritt Singer, with US$40 in borrowed capital, develops the world's first practical lock stitch sewing machine at a machine shop in Boston.

Isaac Singer and a New York lawyer, Edward B. Clark, form I.M. SINGER & Company.

Factory moves to New York City. The first machines sell for US$100.

A SINGER sewing machine takes first prize at the World's Fair in Paris.

Edward Clark originates the hire-purchase plan, the prototype for installment selling. A new lightweight machine - the "Turtleback" - is introduced.

First SINGER showroom and headquarters is located in New York City.

The SINGER Manufacturing Company, holding 22 patents, is incorporated. Some 20,000 home sewing machines are sold annually.

The SINGER Manufacturing Company opened sales and distribution centers in England.Red "S" girl trademark made her debut-destined to become one of the best known emblems in the world.

SINGER introduced the first practical electric sewing machine.

To find out more about SINGER Corporation Limited, click

Amuse-Biatch Public Service Announcement: Help Dale Levitski Get Laid

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mung Bean Cookies/Leh Tou Koh

These are mung bean cookie moulds from a well known food blog called "Roses' Kitchen". Not many Foochow housewives have them. A Foochow housewife who can make mung bean cookies often become the envy of the other housewives because it is an extremely tedious, difficult and dainty job.
These are green or mung beans and are used to make mung bean flour.

This photo was taken a few months after the Chinese New Year 2008. I "preserved" these mung bean cookies (at RM22 per jar) for my two daughters who are working outside Sarawak. The background is the book cover of Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis and Other Stories". The green of the cover highlight the beauty of the mung bean cookies .

Here's my tale of mung beans cookies :

I think i have two left feet - so I cannot dance like other girls. I have butter fingers - so I am not at all good with so many household chores. But I do admire those who are very skilful in making of small dainty Hokkien cakes like green bean cookies, which require the frying of the mung beans in a dry kuali and the careful shaking of the cookies from their moulds. Later when these cookies are dried in the sun, the cookie maker has to watch over the sun drying very carefully, otherwise any accident can occur. I suppose I am never meant to make these cookies.

But I have a lovely tale to retell .

My Indonesian grand aunt told me this story a long time ago, as she thought I must be given this story to be motivated and initiated into an aggressive world. She wanted to bless me with the tale so that I won't give up life as a girl.

In Indonesia there were two girls , Kim Neo and Gin Neo,who were well sought after for marriage because they were so beautiful. The eldest, Kim Neo, was married to a good family and she was well accepted and blessed by a lot of wealth and children.

The second daughter , Gin Neo, was married into a big family but she was not so blessed because the family had many other daughters-in-law who were just as beautiful and just a skilled.

One day, during Chinese New Year,Gin Neo's family had a competition to select the best mung bean cookies. The daughter in law or daughter who made the best one would be given a gold bracelet. The price was high. However mung bean cookies was the only cookie that Gin Neo could not make because she had big hands unknown to many.

So she did all the preparation and she was not successful in making the nice patterns on the cookies as this was quite skilful. But surprisingly, in the very chauvinistic society, Gin Neo's husband, who truly loved her, woke up in the middle of the night to redo all the cookies for her. Early in the morning, Gin Neo woke up to find that her cookies were perfect and she took the almost perfect cookies out to dry in the sun deck to the surprise of her sisters-in-law and mother-in-law.

By then, the mother-in-law realised that her second son truly loved his wife Gin Neo and she was very proud of him. So she kept the secret. In fact, she suddenly remembered that her second son had always hovered around her whenever she made mung bean cookies and in fact she had allowed him to help her make her cookies all those years ago. No one knew about this as the making ofmung bean cookies was a very secretive and individual work.

Gin Neo was given the gold bracelet but because she was so good natured, after she gave birth to a boy, she secretly gave the gold bracelet to her mother in law as a token of appreciation.

Many years later, when Gin Neo and her husband had to leave Indonesia for a better future elsewhere, they brought only the moulds of the mung bean cookies and other cookies. Thus,they survived the upheavals of Indonesia's early history and had a very good and fortunate family life.

This little story reminds us that in a marriage, the husband must always cherish his wife and keep his vows and the heavens will bless the family until eternity.

Do you have a green bean story to tell?

Barefoot Dentist of Sibu

In parts ofChina far away from the big cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guanzhou,street dentists like this man still performs teeth extraction. . this picture was taken in Youlou.
This is a very old picture taken of the street dentist or barefoot dentist of Sibu. He had attended even my grandfather and my grandmother. Many children had their milk teeth taken out by him too. when he had no business, he would sit in a coffee shop or visit Hock Chiong, a very popular import-exporter of cigarettes. I was too young to know him. My first dentist was Tiong Teck King who was famous for giving the Foochows their good teeth capping. (Read a forthcoming story)
Ouch!! that's painful!! (English)

Oy Yo Lo!!!!! Ching Tiang Yoh!! (Foochow)

Adui!! Alamak! (Bahasa Malaysia)

Akai ngngai!! Apo!! Pedius amat! (Iban)

wow! How Tung!! (Mandarin)
Ai yo!! Chin tiah oh!! (Hokkien)
Oi. How tungh ngoh. Um how yi sii. (Ouch, that's painful. Embarrassing - Cantonese)

Going to the dentist increases our heart beats by more than 50 beats. Our stomach will growl as if we were hungry. Even the most qualified dentist would send us shivering in our chair and we would wish that the earth would swallow us up when we heard the sound of the drill.

So how did our ancestors feel when they were given treatment by this street or barefoot dentist in Sibu? The pain that they were having would propel them to undergo the rough treatment and final extraction of a troublesome teeth. As dentures were not yet the style in Sibu in the 40's or 50's, most older people had a choice - poorly treated teeth which were blackened and part rotten, or complete lose of teeth by the age of 70. Many were toothless ah moo and ah pek.

I was told that this dentist would sit on the shoulders of his patients if they gave a struggle! Can you believe that?

Watch out for my next posting on Dr. Tiong Teck King, the famous dentist of Channel Road who started his business in the late 50's. Yes, his clinic is still there. It has become a sort of tourist spot now.

Miss Chieng Chung Hua

I am wondering if any one has actually done a research on the forerunners of "women politicians and brave leaders" who took official posts in the Sibu District Council in the early 60's after the departure of British Colonialists. Where there were many who were leaders in the Women's Institute, there was one strong woman who was fearless, thoughtful and selfless. She was Miss Chieng Chung Hua. She was the first Foochow woman leader of Sibu.

She led the Chinese men and women in political thoughts by speaking out to both the public and students. She helped many people to become aware of their social rights. And she went every where riding on her bicycle. In a way she was an early people's leader.

One of her greatest contributions was organizing gotong royong to help the needy and the helpless.

And just as if to punish her her suspected crime, she was arrested and put under custody in Kuching New Village for several years.

Apart from being a clear thinking and a good reader, she was recognised as a young lady who knew what she was doing. Her support of the SUPP was very clear and obvious. And she was really a very good hearted person. She was compassionate as a person. She was daring to speak up against any injustice. She was truthful as well as hardworking.

What ever the police thought of her, it did not really matter to me. She was just a good person, who happened to be able to speak her mind during a very chaotic period of Sibu history.

Her sincerity is also shown today in the fact that she never "made a lot of money" out of her contacts with political leaders and her stint in police custody for years did not make her a bitter person. She has no regret serving the people.

It is good that we do have selfless, sincere and helpful, honest and hardworking women leaders who were like her during those days. She definitely has a good thinking head on her shoulders. It is a pity very few people remember her sacrifice.

Toilets on the River in the 50's and 60's

If you remember your air travel with MAS nowadays - when you flush, the blue and refreshing liquid comes out. You feel good in Malaysia because MAS air travel can be so pleasant. You won't feel as if you were cattle being herded from one point to another. But the popular no frills air travel is beginning to make one feel that they are perhaps just animals. Hopefully the toilets will remember clean and pleasant.
This is a very modern toilet in a new train. Exceellent and comfortable for a traveller who is tired from a very long long journey. Respect for other users also contribute to pleasantness of travelling and hospitality in this country.

India is beginning to train the local people against indiscriminating defacating in open grounds. This is a toilet built especially for the country side.

About fifty years ago, I travelled in these boats up and down theRejang River, very often to accompany my grandmother for a town visit, or go alone to visit my relatives about two hours slow journey away from Sibu. A very remarkable feature of these motor launches which could seat at least 80 people and some more on the roof, was the hanging toilet at the back. These were roofless, box like rooms which just stick out precariously at the back of the launch. A hole is made in the middle of the floor for your convenience. It could be a very unnerving experience for the uninitiated because of the churning water below and the moving clouds above. And accompanied by the din of the engines,your screams remember, could not be heard by anyone. This was a great stuff for 007.

We were not aware then of the possibilities of our polluting the river water with our human waste. We were not even aware that the water we used for washing our vegetables could be contaminated. Life was simple and no hazards had come into our lives.

Each journey would demand at least one toilet break. And the churning river water below the toilet would frighten me to say the least. If I was travelling with grandmother, she would be waiting for me just outside the hanging toilet. I would always be thinking that the toilet would break away and I would be floating down the Rejang, with my underwear half way up my thighs!! Such a childlike thought!! But it got stuck in my head.

I often wonder how these hanging toilets would stay so well fitted to the back of the motor launch. Huge Foochow men would go in and be seemingly comfortable in side answering nature's call. Sometimes when they stand up, their heads could be seen above the low walls. And we would all know who went to the toilet!!

Just outside the toilet was the open area. This was where the boat men who dip their bucket, attached to a long rope, into the river and then pull up the bucket full of water to bathe. They would wear their little red cotton sarong around their waist when they bathe. It was just so natural for them to bathe in this way. then they would soap themselves from head to toe and then wash themselves with three or four buckets of water again. They felt no danger at all, dropping their pail into the churning water, as the boat moves up and down the river.

Actually if the engine was running, and if one of them dropped into the river, no one could hear them. They would only be missed when their slippers or wooden clogs were seen standing there at the back of the boat, so lonely and so unclaimed for sometime. But these drowning cases were fortunately very rare. the risks were however there.

Cooking was also done in the same way. A little stove was at the side of the boat. And simple cooking was done at a suitable time. Again, a bucket would be thrown into the river and water pulled up and the food washed, chopped and ready for stir frying or boiling. The cook was so good that he could even steam a good fish just as they were travelling from one village to another!!

A meal could easily be cooked an served at the back of the motor launch.

At one time, before the motor launches disappeared into the pages of our economic development I was wondering how nice it would be to organise a river motor launch trip for tourists, with a or even two meals served and cooked right on the boat. This would show how skillful our boat people were. But it was just another famous day dream of mine.

A point has come to my mind at this moment. With white water rafting becoming very popular as another progressive tourist activity for Sarawak, I have taken a good article on clean camping practices are we going to dispose of the human wastes? Here, read on.........

Clean camping practices and river rafting regulations dictate that white water rafting groups carry all solid human waste with them, and out of the river corridor at the end of the trip. That means we all use portable toilets and pack out the contents. Personally, I really enjoy a dramatic view!
River toilets are referred to by many river runners as 'groovers'. As the story goes, the name 'groover' is due to the fact that back in the day, river runners used surplus ammunition containers called 'rocket boxes' as their toilets. Users would obtain 'grooves' in their cheeks from trying to sit on the sharp edges of the box. Some still use rocket boxes, but usually have adapted them with regular toilet seats!
There are several other types of toilets and each has their advocates and detractors. I'll skip that religious war. But if you'll be handling the groover, be sure to remember to take a supply of rubber gloves. They sure help when dealing with the toilets on the river and when things get out of hand during the dump process after the trip.
It is absolutely imperative that nothing but human waste and toilet paper goes into a groover. If you have never taken a rafting trip, you need to know that this IS A HUGE DEAL! We use devices called 'scat machines' to clean river toilets. Think of them as giant dish washers for your toilet. Anything besides poop and toilet paper plugs them up. Anything. Too many times I've had to dig toilet paper tubes, feminine products, fabric, and sticks out of a full groover tank before emptying it in a scat machine. These items can clog scat machines with nasty consequences and make me liable for big repair bills. While the machine is out of service for days or weeks at a time, every other group coming off that river needs to go search for another way to dump their tanks. I'm a pretty thick-skinned guy. But this is one offense that really sets me off. I expect it does the same for others who must deal with river toilets after a trip.
Urine Goes in the River
Regulations on most rivers require that urine goes into the river itself. Deal with it. This rule does a great job of keeping campsites from becoming stinky. And don't worry about the hundreds of people peeing upstream from you. The dilution factor is so great that you shouldn't worry about swimming in contaminated water. And some biologists even think that adding urine may actually improve the subsurface river environment.
Hand Washing
Be sure to set up a hand washing station. There are several ways to rig up a means to apply water to hands without touching anything. Some are as simple as a tank of water with a spigot that sits on the edge of a table. Others use a foot pump, and there are even battery powered electric models. Make sure the soapy water from your hands drains into a container. Make the hand washing station one of the first items to set up when you make camp, and that last to pack away when you break camp.
Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on the kitchen counter or a camp table. Also, keep a box of alcohol baby wipes handy. They're great to clean surfaces and hands, and can be used in a pinch to clean a piece of silverware or a kitchen knife.
Strain Your Dish Water
All liquids from cooking and dish washing must be strained. We do so over our infamous 'ca-ca bucket', a special bucket clearly labeled for waste water. We then discard the water according to the regulations for that river.
Waste Water Disposal
Know the local regulations for disposal of soapy or contaminated water. Use a catch-bucket and then cast the water above the high water line or into the main current of the river, depending on the regulations for the river you are floating. Spit your toothpaste into the waste water bucket. Dump all your soapy, strained dishwater and your bleached rinse water into the waste water bucket. Strain and left-over soups and liquid foods, and dump empty left over beer or soda pop in there too. Strain all liquids as necessary, and then dispose of it all properly.
We keep three garbage bags open at all times for burnable, non-burnable, and recyclable items. Also, discard cooking greases and oils in a container in the trash or burn in the fire pan.
Taking baths and showers
Sun showers are great little devices, but soap should not be used anywhere near the river or in any hot springs. Use sun showers according to the regulations for disposal of waste water, that is, either capture and cast soapy water into the current or shower above the high water line.
Handling Fresh Water Containers
Procuring fresh potable water is sometimes a challenge. But more challenging is making sure that people handling the water jugs don't contaminate your precious supply and the containers you carry it in. So be sure to wash hands before working with water jugs and handling spouts and spigots. Bad hygiene around the water jugs puts the entire trip at risk.
Water Filtration
Potable water is available at the put-in for many of the most popular western rivers. Also, with a little research you can find sources at ranches, river stores, and springs to allow you to restock your water supply midway through the trip. If you plan properly, you can make due with these sources. But be sure to carry filters. Personally, I will drink out of a spring or side stream if I can get a good read on the source of that water. If it's coming crashing down a steep hillside and there is zero chance of creatures living in it upstream, and if I need to, I'll drink it. But mostly we filter from side streams to refill our jugs. The same precautions for handling water jugs apply to handling the filtration equipment.

Sibu's Oldest Mosque

A twin set of minarets adorn an ancient mosque.

An unique wooden (belian) roof distinguishes the Sibu Mosque fromothers. The Wooden three storeyed minaret was equally unique but it was unfortunately demolished for road expansion. I often wonder if any one could rebuild such a unique minaret again. The old Malay craftsmen and their craftsmanship are probably gone.

As a young child I would enjoy walking along the unpaved Kampong Nyabor Road and having a look at the nice wooden minaret . the call for prayers was so comforting and gave one a peaceful feeling.
I like looking at buildings. The other building in Sibu I liked to look was the old Masland Church which held its own beauty with its coloured windows, the solid black timber pews and the lovely low fans. The church gave cool comfort.
The Mosque at Kampong Nyabor was not a place for non Muslims to visit. But from outside I could see that the minaret was beautiful and unique. There was a bathing place for the Muslims to wash before they prayed.
although most mosques inthe world had round domes for their roofs, the Sibu Mosque is rather unique because it has a square roof made from belian tiles. This could be the only one in the world with this kind of roof and Sibu should be very proud of it.
According to Wikipedia, in 630C.E. the Prophet Muhammad's army reconquered the city of Mecca from the Banu Quraish tribe. The sanctuary of Ka'ba was rebuilt and re-dedicated to Islam, the reconstruction being carried out before the prophet Muhammad's death in 632C.E. by a shipwrecked Abyssinian carpenter in his native style. This sanctuary was amongst the first major works of Islamic architecture. Later doctrines of Islam dating from the eighth century and originating from the Hadith, forbade the use of humans and animals.[1] in architectural design,in order to obey God's command (and thou shalt not make for thyself an image or idol of God..)and also (thou shalt have no god before me)From ten commandments and similar Islamic teachings.For jews and muslims veneration violates these commandments.They read these commandments as prohibiting the use of idols and images during worship in any way.
In the 7th century, Muslim armies conquered a huge expanse of land. Once the Muslims had taken control of a region, their first need was for somewhere to worship - a mosque. The simple layout provided elements that were to be incorporated into all mosques and the early Muslims put up simple buildings based on the model of the Prophet's house or adapted existing buildings for their own use.
Recently discoveries have shown that quasicrystal patterns were first employed in the girih tiles found in medieval Islamic architecture dating back over five centuries ago. In 2007, Professor Peter Lu of Harvard University and Professor Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University published a paper in the journal Science suggesting that girih tilings possessed properties consistent with self-similar fractal quasicrystalline tilings such as the Penrose tilings, predating them by five centuries
Influences and styles

Arabic Calligraphy on large pishtaq of the Taj Mahal
A specifically recognisable Islamic architectural style developed soon after the time of the Prophet Muhammad, developing from Roman, Egyptian, Byzantine, and Persian/Sassanid models. An early example may be identified as early as 691 AD with the completion of the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhrah) in Jerusalem. It featured interior vaulted spaces, a circular dome, and the use of stylized repeating decorative patterns (arabesque).
The Great Mosque of Samarra in Iraq, completed in 847 AD, combined the hypostyle architecture of rows of columns supporting a flat base above which a huge spiraling minaret was constructed.
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul also influenced Islamic architecture. When the Ottomans captured the city from the Byzantines, they converted the basilica to a mosque (now a museum) and incorporated Byzantine architectural elements into their own work (e.g. domes). The Hagia Sophia also served as model for many of the Ottoman mosques such as the Shehzade Mosque, the Suleiman Mosque, and the Rüstem Pasha Mosque.
Distinguishing motifs of Islamic architecture have always been ordered repetition, radiating structures, and rhythmic, metric patterns. In this respect, fractal geometry has been a key utility, especially for mosques and palaces. Other significant features employed as motifs include columns, piers and arches, organized and interwoven with alternating sequences of niches and colonnettes.The role of domes in Islamic architecture has been considerable. Its usage spans centuries, first appearing in 691 with the construction of the Dome of the Rock mosque, and recurring even up until the 17th century with the Taj Mahal. And as late as the 19th century, Islamic domes had been incorporated into Western architecture
Minarets or towers (these were originally used as torch-lit watchtowers, as seen in the Great Mosque of Damascus; hence the derivation of the word from the Arabic nur, meaning "light").
A four-iwan plan, with three subordinate halls and one principal one that faces toward Mecca
Mihrab or prayer niche on an inside wall indicating the direction to Mecca. This may have been derived from previous uses of niches for the setting of the torah scrolls in Jewish synagogues or the haikal of Coptic churches.
Domes and Cupolas.
Iwans to intermediate between different sections.
The use of geometric shapes and repetitive art (arabesque).
The use of decorative Islamic calligraphy instead of pictures which were haram (forbidden) in mosque architecture. Note that in secular architecture, human and animal representation was indeed present.
Central fountains used for ablutions (once used as a wudu area for Muslims).
The use of bright color.
Focus both on the interior space of a building and the exterior.
One of the most beautiful mosques in the world has recently been built and has attracted thousands of tourists. Do you know what it is? Where it is?

Graduation Dresses II

Of course my thoughts on graduation dresses could not all be expressed in just one post. I do love to overanalyze things and this is a topic that has occupied my thoughts for quite some time now (in between, 'Why oh why, is paper writing so hard? It should've gotten easier after four years...'). So here are some more of my thoughts:
Usually the saying goes, 'when all else fails, turn to the LBD.' I think graduation is the exception, because it would just be! But if you must, I think these black dresses with some prints and patterns would be a great option to offset the blackness (left: Donna Ricco, right: Cynthia Steffe). I actually quite like the Cynthia Steffe. The cutting is simple and the pattern is subtle but interesting.
In the case for graduation, I think the saying should be, 'when all else fails, turn to the white dress.' Here we have a very classic white dress from Theory (left). Maybe you can add personality to it with some accessories? The other day, I saw graduation pictures of people with pearl necklaces and matching earrings, and it looked very elegant. For a bit more fun, this dress from Carmen Marc Valvo (right) is cute.
Of course, all else has not failed yet. You might want to go to the other extreme and go for bright florals. That would definitely brighten up the gown. The thing about graduation dresses, is that they should be daytime, but not too casual, maintaining a bit of modesty and decorum.
That is a hard line to balance. You'd notice that I haven't picked anything too revealing nor too casual so far. The trick for floral dresses is to choose one with a clean cutting so it won't look too much.
You can also take a book from my page (I think I've decided on wearing my purple Marc by MJ dress from the last post) and go for a dress with a simple cutting but a bold color. I LOVE the simple yet elegant cutting of the blue Burberry dress (left), even though this blue is not my best color. My best color is of course, purple, like this purple on the Rory Beca dress (right).
I know I said nothing too low cut, but if you can carry it off, I LOVE this purple Nanette Lepore dress (left). The details are just so feminine and PRETTY. On the opposite end, there is this bolder block dress (right), from Theory. Whichever one suits your personality better.
Another great summer color (especially for SS08 as it is THE color) to think about is yellow. It is summery, refreshing, not too girly nor too dark and just super fun. There is this simple one from Vince (left). But personally I ADORE this yellow block dress from T Tahari (right). My friend got this (and I hope she keeps it!). The cutting is simple and elegant, and the block colors highlight the cutting of the dress, making it even more flattering for the wearer. Come to think of it, I want a yellow dress like this too!

Image Source: Saks, Nordstrom, Shopbop and Bloomingdales

Tell Me

Yes I am still here in Planet Tokyo. Sharing the Hoop Love. Tell me what is up with you. I would love to hear it and will share all my news soon!

Beginner's Hoop Dance Class tomorrow! Yay!

Shrinky Dink Time

today's craft time produced all of this good stuff :)

1. Mushroom, 2. the magic unfolding, 3. Cine-bunnies, 4. Carter, 5. Gerbil, 6. Princess Meech, 7. Piglet & Mario, 8. Kitty, 9. Obama Shrinky Dink, 10. Birdies & Mushrooms, 11. Donkey, 12. Star bit, 13. Kirby and Star, 14. 3 Little Birdies, 15. watching the magic, 16. creating the magic

Photoessay: “If I Keep My Head Down, Maybe He’ll Go Away; Besides, I Already Look Like I Shaved My Head, and Bisexual Hung Has a Full Head of Hair”

Amuse-Biatch Photoessay: Gail Simmons Asks Padma Lakshmi for Wedding-Night Advice: “Wait, How Does the Peacock’s Foot Go Again?”

For your reference, possums.

Amuse-Biatch Photoessay: “I Know! Can You Believe We’re the Two Remaining Specimens of Manhood on This Show?”

Amuse-Biatch Photoessay: “If You Cross Me Again, I Will Snap You Like a Twig”

In Shakespearean Monologue About Frozen Scallops and Free Will, Machiavellian Trickster Spike Mendelsohn Decries Bravo’s “Trickery at Its Best”

As apparently free of irony as he was of hats in this interview, Spike—who, if you will remember, engaged in trickery during the block-party and boxed-lunch challenges—railed against (presumably) the show’s producers for providing frozen scallops, calling the move “trickery at its best.” Yes, possums, we also wondered whether he ducked to avoid the lightning bolt coming his way after that statement. Is it any wonder that Anthony Bourdain predicts a bright future in politics for Spike?

Perhaps the most interesting statement of all (alas, sadly clipped by Bravo) was this tidbit about Lisa Fernandes: “You know, she came for a job at my restaurant [Mai House] two days before we flew over here [to film the show], ironically.”

Ah, there; he’s recovered his sense of irony. Is the irony sharpened, we wondered, by the rumor that Spike was fired from Mai House and replaced by none other than Lisa Fernandes?

Guest Judge Rick Tramonto Denies Frozen Scallops, Tom Colicchio Denies the Denial

It goes without saying, possums, that we thrilled to Scallopgate last night, and Spike’s “If I’m going down, I’m taking your reputation with me” stance. Let’s be honest; all of us had the same question of guest judge Rick Tramonto, and for all his asshattery, Spike had the gumption to ask it. We thought that Tramonto himself handled Spike’s jab rather graciously, but of course it don’t look real good for a restaurant of such aspirations to have frozen scallops on hand.

In his interview with Bravo, Tramonto categorically denied any knowledge of the existence or provenance of frozen scallops in his walk-in freezer: Spike won the Quickfire and got to choose his proteins ... the big scallop question: Did you know there were frozen scallops in the pantry?....

No, didn’t know there were frozen scallops in there. We never ever purchase frozen seafood, so it isn’t anything that’s kept in my coolers normally. In the real world, when you’re a chef, you may get something you didn’t order from the purveyor, or there are other people there accepting your product and it does make it into your cooler, but you as a chef need to know when there is an inferior product, and you need to be able to say no. As a top chef, your quality conscience needs to be at a top level. Spike failed that test.

Ok, fair enough. Now here is Ted Allen’s take on the matter:

So an issue that comes to my mind, and one that Spike unwisely and impertinently (if fairly) raised at Judges’ Table, is this: Why *were* there giant bags of frozen scallops in Rick’s walk-in? Perhaps he uses them in some kind if mousse, or other dish where the superior sweetness and texture of fresh shellfish isn’t required? I’m not going to ask Rick that question -- he clearly didn’t like it.

Oh dear. Ah, but take a look at what the Tom Colicchio, who himself presides over a burgeoning steakhouse empire, had to say:

Rick Tramonto took Spike to task over this, which brought on Spike’s feisty reply, “With all due respect, the scallops were in your walk-in.” My heart sunk when I heard this because I’ve known Rick for years and can say with certainty he doesn’t use frozen seafood in his restaurant. Along with the high-end steaks they had provided for the show, Allen Bros. had included a variety of other products to round out the restaurant’s existing stock, including frozen scallops, which is how they came to be in Tramonto’s walk-in. I learned later that Rick knew this when we taped the show, but chose not to make a federal case out of it. But as a colleague and fan of Rick’s, I feel it’s important to set the record straight.

Oh, so, contrary to his denial, Tramonto did know there were frozen scallops and knew how they got there. This seems just the teensiest bit awkward. Paging Scott McClellan!

Oh, and is it just us, or are scallops cursed? After all, the wee coquilles St. Jacques have disposed of two cheftestants in a row.

Update: Apparently, Tramonto's PR rep is claiming the scallops were planted by Bravo.

Further Update: Now Tramonto says the scallops were, in fact, planted by Bravo's production team to trip up the cheftestants (what Spike calls "trickery at its best"): “Their team purchased all the food and put it in the coolers,” [Tramonto] explained, saying he felt that most people realized it was part of the challenge. He just wants to set the record straight. “They put those in the mix to see ... who would use them or not.”

Also, when our pal Meredith at asked Spike about the scallops, she had her hand slapped in best Dana Perino fashion by the Bravo publicist. Could this be the same Bravo publicist who told The Chicago Tribune, of the scallops, “Sounds like there’s something fishy going on here …”?

Yet Another Update: Tom Colicchio responds to our post.

Bourdain: I’m Not Blogging for Bravo Because of Product Placement, and Dale Talde’s Dish Was the Worst I’ve Had on “Top Chef”

Well, that explains it, possums.

As you may remember from last season, Anthony Bourdain's Top Chef blog on Bravo's website was far and away the most entertaining--who could forget his picking a fight with poor, little freeze-dried Rocco DiSpirito?--and Bravo recognized it. It was nominated for a Webby, and Bravo encouraged readers to vote for it.

So it was rather surprising when the blog did not return this season. And now, courtesy of Bourdain himself on his Travel Channel blog, there seems to be an explanation:

A final note to conspiracy theorists. There is no pressure from the producers to either keep particular contestants--or send others home. In all my appearances on Top Chef, I've never seen it, never felt it. I pity any producer who'd dare suggest to Tom Colicchio that he send someone home who did not deserve it--or spare the poorest candidate for reasons of greater drama. In fact, it's his moral gravitas that makes Top Chef worth watching, in spite of all the heavy-handed product placement and occasional silly challenges.

As for me? I could give a rat's a** who the producers or Bravo want to win or not win . What I've traditionally used the Glad Family of Bags for would probably not make a good commercial. When I read the surprising announcement that Michelob, a beer I don't drink and don't much like, was going to be "sponsoring" my Bravo blog, I advised them that I felt compelled to disappoint them.

Ah, so that was it. Michelob, eh?

As you can probably guess, this came in the context of the controversial decision on last week's episode to oust gayfaced, crotch-grabbing, locker-punching, weepy, gangsta wannabe and walking Napoleon complex Dale Tale. But Bourdain explains all:

So what did happen? How come the more talented Dale, with a far more distinguished record of wins than his teammates, was the one to pack his knives....and...go? Lisa, it appeared, had two seriously screwed up dishes. Dale only had one!

True enough. But oh, what a one.

Dale's "Butterscotch Scallops were supremely bad. Jaw droppingly bad. So bad that there was a long, awkward moment at the table when all the judges just sat there, silent, stunned with disbelief that anyone--especially Dale--could serve something so...disgusting. It's the only time on Top Chef that I literally could not take another bite.


Lisa's laksa was screwed up. Unpleasantly smoky. But I could eat it. Her "sticky rice" dessert was awful. But not dig a hole in the ground-stick my head in--pour in Clorox bad. Like those scallops. They were distinguished by their sheer degree of awfulness, sucking everything around them down with.

Judging on Top Chef -- as has been pointed out repeatedly (most recently and succinctly by my learned colleague, Ted Allen) is on a "What Have You Cooked For Me Lately" basis. We are not supposed to care what has been achieved previously. In fact, guest judges don't even know. The shows air long after filming. So Jose Andres, for instance, can in no way be expected to know--or care--if Dale won previous challenges, deserved to win them, loves puppies and long walks on the beach--or tortures hamsters in his spare time. After deliberation, the judges were unanimous in their feeling that it was Dale who--this week--f**ked up worst.

Well, we're convinced, possums. What say you?

Bleeding Hoot Baby

Robert Jarrett

Dogs on Hoot

Sam Rulz


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hoot In My Mouth


Nike Dri-FIT Technology

When I was an early teen, I used to think sporty graphic t-shirts were the best. They were comfortable, matched with all my jeans and pants, and just seemed so cool. This was when I still had to wear school uniform to school and all before fashion made any sense to me. Thankfully I have grown up since then, learnt more about fashion and have realised that I am simply not the type of girl to wear sporty clothes in a cool way. The Nike tees I favoured weren't even the fashionable styles like the images above -they were the 'performance' types.

I am not saying that sporty tees are not cool. I'm just saying that I don't pull the style off. Actually, if I see someone in magazines wearing a sporty tee in a casual style and pulling it off, I automatically think she's either really pretty (thus manages to pull off all sort of style,) or that she's one of those cool, boyfriend-jeans-type-of girls. Although now that I think about it, those have usually been Adidas shirts.

In the past, I've always chosen white or light-coloured graphic tees by Nike. I've tried a Filas tee, but that didn't fit as well or look as pretty. Usually, the Nike tees are made of Nike's Dri-FIT material, which like the label above says, helps absorb sweat and helps cool you down. While I wouldn't say the shirts feel 100% 'breathable', they did feel air-ier than the tees by other brands. But for the past five years I've slowed down buying these tees until last month, I realised that my old ones either have holes in them or the colour has faded, so I visited sports shops and bought two. The strange thing is, after trying the two new tees for a month, I actually think the tees have improved a lot!

The shirt is really what the description says it is -the fabric is seriously 'breathable'. It absorbs sweat and allows air to get through to cool your body down. And very importantly, for such a 'breathable' shirt, it is not see-though, which you should not take for granted when it comes to light-coloured, airy, sporty tees.

I'm not sure what has changed. The label on the shirt looks slightly different -it now says FIT DRY instead of Dri-FIT, and there's the little label (image above) printed on the tees, but aren't they the same thing? The new tees also feel smoother and more slippery, like satin, than the old tees. OK, this is not worth over-analysing -Nike has probably just improved its material technology. But seriously, I love the material.

Nike has also used the technology for its other products. I bought a pair of sporty pants last December on sale (like this pair except mine is longer,) and they are so comfortable. I was walking in them on the streets and I could actually feel the cool London wind. So if you're the athletic type of girl who enjoys running outdoors, a pair of these breezy Nike pants would be perfect, (or at least I imagine it would be, since I don't actually run outdoors.)

On top of the two Nike tees, I also ignored my brand loyalty for Nike for 10 minutes and bought a tee by Adidas. While I love the design by Adidas a lot more (-I love the three gold stripes on the sleeves,) the fabric just felt like normal, sporty, cotton material. It definitely didn't feel as breezy as Nike's.

Which brand do you prefer your sports tee from? And if you've bought a Nike Dri-FIT tee recently, do you think they're actually more breathable, or am I just imagining it?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When did Chinese Women Start to Wear Trousers?


My grandmother looked a little like the lady in the picture. She wore the same kind of clothes. However, as my grandmother had straightened her feet and let them grow, she did not have those three-inch brocade shoes.

We were young and full of questions.

One question we asked grandmother was "When did Chinese women start to wear trousers?" Of course at that time we were asking only in the literal sense. (When we grew older, we understood from family tales that our grandmother wore the trousers /pants, metaphorically as well as literally)

Grandmother said, "As far as I remember, we Chinese women have always worn trousers. Only the very educated would wear Western clothes , that is, blouse and skirt. So you understand why I don't wear dresses. I am not educated." Although my grandmother never went to school, as she was "bought" by our grand uncle Lau Kah Tii in Fuzhou , China, as a child bride, she was smart enough to listen to school children reading aloud. She could memorise the lessons read out. And furthermore, she had a wonderful memory of all the Foochow verses and phrases, proverbs and sayings often quoted by people. We used to be very entertained by her during the TV-less days and asked for "encore" all the time. She was in a way very educated to all of us.

She was a good tailor like my grandfather, Lau Kah Chui. She would lay out the material and properly measure the material, and then had everything cut very properly and neatly. Then she would hand stitch her trousers and blouse. One would never know that her clothes were handsewn. Her stitches would never break and each seam would stay neatly in place. Her cutting was so emaculate that some modern designers would be envious.

We were very curious about trousers then because we children had nice European dresses with frills and ribbons and nice materials like viole. We were so impressed by her brocade that we set out on the discovery of how the trousers came about in China.

While most of my aunts occasionally wear modern well cut trousers, only one did wear samfoo and cheongsam until she passed away. She was our Second Aunt, wife of our second uncle, Siew King. Other aunts who have been living overseas naturally wear dresses with great style. Two of our aunts who live in Hong Kong are exceptionally beautiful and youthful. They wear modern Chinese styled samfoo, or a great samfoo top with embroidered skirt for parties.

However there were not many books to give us the answers during our younger days.

But for modern day children, if you are interested, below is an excellent article from Wikipedia

A painting of Emperor Zhenzong of Song, showing the long robes and official headgear of the emperor. This type of headgear, along with the headgear of officials and merchants, was made of black-colored silk.There were many types of clothing and different clothing trends in the Song period, yet clothes in China were always modeled after the seasons and as outward symbols of one's social class.

Coal used for heating one's home was scarce and often expensive, so people often wore clothing with extra silk-floss and fur-lined coats in the winter. The clothing material preferred by the rich was silk, and for special occasions they had silk robes with gold brocade. The clothing material used by the poor was often hempen cloth, but cotton clothes were also used, the latter being most widely available in the south. The types of clothes worn by peasants and commoners were largely uniform in appearance (with color standard of black and white), and so was the case for the upper class and elite. In fact, wealthy and leading members of society followed accepted guidelines and ritual requirements for clothing. In the upper class, each stratified grade in the social hierarchy was distinguished by the color and specific ornamentation of robes, the shape and type of headgear, and even the style of girdle worn. This rigid order was especially so during the beginning of the dynasty. However, the lines of hierarchy slowly began to blur as the color purple, once reserved solely for the attire of third rank officials or higher, began to diffuse amongst all ranks of officials who bore the color indiscriminately. Along with lower grade civil officials in the government protesting the rigid regulations for attire, the wealthy members of the merchant class also contributed to the disintegration of rules for ceremonial attire worn only by certain members of society. Yet there were still visible distinctions between civil officials and the class of rich merchants and business owners; the officials were distinguished by their long robes reaching to the ground, while merchants often wore a blouse that came down below the waist with trousers. Pants and trousers were introduced to China during the Warring States in the 4th century BC, and were not exclusive to merchants; every soldier wore trousers as part of his uniform, while trousers were also worn by the common people. Although most men were cleanshaven, soldiers, military officers, and professional boxing champions preferred side-whiskers and goatee beards, as they were a sign of virility.

A painting of court ladies and one man on horseback, dressed in upper class outing apparel, a 12th century painting by Li Gonglin, as well as a remake of an 8th century original by Tang artist Zhang Xuan.The attire of Song women was distinguished from men's clothing by being fastened on the left, not on the right.

Women wore long dresses or blouses that came down almost to the knee. They also wore skirts and jackets with short or long sleeves. When strolling about outside and along the road, women of wealthy means chose to wear square purple scarves around their shoulders. Ladies also wore hairpins and combs in their hair, while princesses, imperial concubines, and the wives of officials and wealthy merchants wore head ornaments of gold and silver that were shaped in the form of phoenixes and flowers.

People in the Song Dynasty never left their homes barefoot, and always had some sort of headgear on.Shops in the city specialized in certain types of hats and headgear, including caps with pointed tails, as well as belts and waistwraps.Only Buddhist monks shaved their heads and strolled about with no headgear or hat of any sort to cover their heads. For footwear, people could purchase leather shoes called 'oiled footwear', wooden sandals, hempen sandals, and the more expensive satin slippers.

In many ways we were thankful that Grandmother was wise enough to allow her feet to grow into normal size (not too big actually) and she could walk normally. This was indeed a big blessing because she had to do so much in her life for her children and grandchildren. But in retrospect, we were glad that her children and her grandchildren later blessed her with good materials for her blouses and trousers. She was always very appreciative of such feminine gifts.

Salman Rushdie: Padma Lakshmi Dumped Me by Email!

To which we say, oh buck up, possum; it might have been worse. She could, for example, have dumped you via text message.

But we have to hand it to her; she's a sly one, that Padma. (Still, we wonder whether telling him by email, rather than in person, was at least in part responsible for his response: issuing a press release and throwing her out of his house.)

At any rate, though the emailed "Dear John" is possibly the most interesting tidbit in the piece published by The New York Times over the weekend, the author of the piece also engages in a little biographical criticism of his new novel, The Enchantress of Florence, that is most suggestive:

Beauty and betrayal are both elements of “Enchantress.” “That a woman so beautiful should not be tender, this I did not expect,” says the lover of the mysterious Qara Köz when she leaves him. “I did not expect her to turn away from me so casually, as if she were changing a shoe.”

“I did not expect her to break my heart.”

Even more suggestive is another nugget dug up by Joyce Carol Oates in her review of Enchantress:

She was adept at the seven types of unguiculation, which is to say the art of using the nails to enhance the act of love.... She had marked him with the Three Deep Marks, which were scratches made with the first three fingers of her right hand upon his back, his chest, and on his testicles as well: something to remember her by.... She could perform the Hopping of the Hare, marking the areolas around his nipples without touching him anywhere else on his body. And no living woman was as skilled as she at the Peacock's Foot....

If you are suitably intrigued, then, possums, you should know this, straight from the horse's mouth: “I’m totally eligible, single and available.” So, ladies, start reaching for those nail clippers now.

Sydney Pollack, 1934-2008

I don't have a lot of time to devote to this, but I just wanted to point out that filmmaker Sydney Pollack died at the age of 73 from cancer. Read Glenn Kenny's remembrance of Pollack here. I think the comparison to Alan J. Pakula is an accurate one. Both made classical American films that usually lingered a little too long, but you never cared because they contained wonderful acting. Pollack's films were never concise and he never really made anything that was a huge box office hit, even though he was known as a mainstream Hollywood filmmaker. His films have a strange aura about them and the length of the films create a reverie that lets you know you are in the company of a storyteller who demands attention and dedication to watching his films. Two examples are with the wonderful thriller The Firm and its unconventional score, and the romantic comedy Sabrina which had no business really being anything but a love letter by Pollack to a bygone era of filmmaking. However, the films work, and even though both are waaaay too long for their respective genres, you don't mind because the acting is so great, and it has all the qualities of a classical American film (great art direction, cinematography, score, and wonderful supporting characters and performances). His films have a sort of hypnotic pull to them -- sometimes that pull works as in The Firm or Sabrina, and other times its a mess as in Havana and Random Hearts, but rarely are his films uninteresting -- the viewer is pulled deeper and deeper into a state of reverie by his films lulls and wandering. If you haven't seen any of Pollack's films, check out...

The Firm -- a long and sometimes flawed film, but saved by great performances (a staple of Pollack's films) by Gene Hackman, Gary Busey, and Holly Hunter. All wonderful, eccentric supporting characters; like the ones that use to inhabit Hollywood thrillers in the 30's and 40's.

Three Days of the Condor -- one of nine films Pollack would work on with Robert Redford. The film is classical in its handling of the espionage/spy genre and you can really see how the pacing of the film translated into a film he would later star in and produce Michael Clayton.

Sabrina -- it's nothing special but it's an interesting addition to his filmography and it has a great looking cast doing some great acting. It's long and would overstay its welcome if it weren't for how endearing the characters are and how good looking and old fashioned the film looks.

Absence of Malice -- one of Paul Newman's best performances and wonderful script. A classic and probably Pollack's best film.

The Interpeter -- a flawed film and not one of my favorites, but it's the last film Mr. Pollack left us with. Check it out.

Changing Lanes -- Pollack was also a great actor, who had one of those great gruff and distinct voices, and I am sure most people will remember him for his most famous films (Tootsie and Out of Africa), but some of his roles as an actor have been just as impressive. Case in point: a small film with big actors, Changing Lanes is one of the most overlooked and under-appreciated films of the last decade. Yeah, it's a little contrived and heavy handed with its moral message, but it is some of the finest acting you'll see, and I love how Pollack plays one of the most evil and reprehensible characters I have seen in film, and yet, his character is really good at convincing you that he's doing the right thing. A wonderful performance.

He was also the producer for tons of amazing and award winning films, my favorite being The Talented Mr. Ripley which sadly was directed by the late Anthony Minghella who also died this year. Pollack's attention to detail and patient pacing were evident in the film which contains the best performances you will likely see from Matt Damon and Jude Law.

He will be missed.

Inspired by Chris Marker’s “La Jetée,” Amuse-Biatch Presents a Foodie Photoroman

Possums, once upon a time, in the era of the Restaurant Wars, the chef whose story we are about to tell decided to serve not only shank and loin...

but also rack....

For dessert, she served cheesecake.

Padma Lakshmi was none too pleased that anyone would dare show more cleavage than she.

And yet she somehow ended up with sticky fingers, which, as ever, she felt obliged to lick in front of the menfolk.

For their part, Bravo's sponsors were "Glad."

And Bravo's editors were suggestively happy, too.

Fin. The End.

And now, possums, if we may be serious just for a moment, and if you have 20-odd and 20 odd minutes to spare, do take a look at one of the coolest films of all time, the inspiration for Terry Gilliam films and David Bowie videos, “La Jetée.”

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