Sickening

There is a video currently getting a lot of attention here on the internet. It was filmed in 2004 by a 16 year old girl with ataxic cerebral palsy. The video is a seven minute long real life portrayal of abuse masquerading as discipline. It is sickening, and may very well contain images which might be a trigger for people who have gone through similar abuse.

 

The girl being beaten in the video is Hillary Adams, the daughter of Judge William Adams. The instance of abuse shown in the video resulted from Hillary downloading software illegally. The description on the original video is as follows:

2004: Aransas County Court-At-Law Judge William Adams took a belt to his own teenage daughter as punishment for using the internet to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time. She has had ataxic cerebral palsy from birth that led her to a passion for technology, which was strictly forbidden by her father’s backwards views. The judge’s wife was emotionally abused herself and was severely manipulated into assisting the beating and should not be blamed for any content in this video. The judge’s wife has since left the marriage due to the abuse, which continues to this day, and has sincerely apologized and repented for her part and for allowing such a thing, long before this video was even revealed to exist. Judge William Adams is not fit to be anywhere near the law system if he can’t even exercise fit judgement as a parent himself. Do not allow this man to ever be re-elected again. His "judgement" is a giant farce. Signed, Hillary Adams, his daughter.


I have seen people defending William Adams’ actions in comments across the internet. The beating itself does not sicken me as much as all the people who can watch it and not feel that it is wrong and evil to do that to a person, especially a person who is physically helpless. A couple of the comments I’ve seen mention that the girl did not share this video until her father threatened to cut her off financially and take away her car. I have not yet been able to corroborate that piece of information, but lets just assume for a moment that it is true. How the hell does that make the original beating in any way justifiable? I just do not understand.

Unfortunately, this man cannot be held legally accountable for this because the statute of limitations for assault is 5 years and this happened 7 years ago. He could, however, lose his position as a judge in three years if the people in his county vote him out. And I sincerely hope that people remember this in three years so that they can vote him out, because this kind of person is not qualified to make judgments about much of anything.

Tiny Houses & My Unhealthy Addiction To HGTV

Don’t ask me why, because there really is no good reason for it at the moment, but The Keeper and I (more I) have become completely addicted to HGTV. It started with the House Hunters series. Especially House Hunters: International. It was just so cool to see living spaces in other countries. And so cool to see living spaces that we could probably never afford. And so much fun to yell at people being stupid or ridiculous in their expectations or overly picky about things that really should not matter. But it didn’t stop there.

We started watching My First Place, Property Virgins, Holmes Inspection, Room Crashers, Holmes on Homes, Yard Crashers, Curb Appeal, and now All American Handyman. We’ve also watched a couple episodes of Design Stars, though neither of us is really all that interested in it. That one has mostly just been background noise once it gets too late for us to want to switch the channel and get invested in something. However, the most recent episode of Design Star introduced me to something that I think is super fun: Tiny Houses.

 

Apparently, these itty-bitty homes are a new trend among individuals and couples who want to live more of a green, small carbon footprint lifestyle. And they can be SUPER CUTE!

On the aforementioned episode of Design Star, the three remaining contestants each had to design the interior of one of these types of homes. The idea was to see who could use the minuscule space best while also making it aesthetically pleasing. 

They all did a pretty good job, but I realized something tonight when this episode was re-run and I had it on in the background. Every single one of them used the space just above the rafters as a sleeping space. They each had a carpenter assigned to them who could make anything they wanted to put into the space, but all of them chose to put the bed in the rafters. How did this show get down to the final three with such uncreative people?

The rafter space could have been some truly awesome storage. I’m sure they could have figured out some kind of drop down drawer configuration that would have been totally unique. And all of them missed the PERFECT opportunity for using Murphy Beds. They could have made a single person Murphy Bed that had a fold out table on the bottom so when the bed is up, a table could come out. Or, they could have made a two person Murphy Bed in two sections. One section could serve as a couch when the other section is folded up against the wall, and that other section could have the table underneath.

And that is exactly what I’m going to do if The Keeper and I ever decide we want a vacation home.

Super Easy Cheddar Crackers

Cheese Crackers Pre-Cook

A while back I happened upon a recipe for Cheese Nip-like cheese crackers. Today I actually tried this recipe out. And they are FANTASTIC.

Cheese Crackers 2

I’ve included the recipe as I prepared it below, but you can find the recipe without adjustments as well as instructions to make a tiny goldfish shaped cookie cutter on the blog Miss Anthropist’s Kitchen.

 

Cheddar Crackers

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 8 ounces grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (around 2 cups). Note: you can experiment with other cheeses.
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

  1. Pulse the flour,onion powder, salt, pepper, and baking powder together using a food processor.
  2. Add the butter and cheese, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Pulse in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade.
  4. Remove dough, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  5. Heat oven to 350*F and line 2 or more baking pans with parchment paper, silicone baking mats, or aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray. Set aside.
  6. Roll the dough out to 1/8th-inch thickness, using flour if necessary to prevent stickiness. Cut out as many crackers as possible.
  7. Place crackers on the prepared baking pans. Bake until golden and crisp (13-18 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Sporcle

I read a blog post recently about making sure you learn something new every day. It was one of those “keep your mind active”, “exercise your mind” type posts. And it put me in a mood to do one of those timed “name all the _______” quizzes, which is something I do from time to time anyway when I’m bored.

So I did a quick google search and I was soon on Sporcle. I’m not really sure what the name is supposed to mean, but the “games” section is fantastic. Especially with regard to the type of quizzes I was looking for. I started out with the simple “U.S. States” quiz where you have to name all the states in something like 5 minutes. Usually when I haven’t done this in a while I’ll miss one or two of the states I never have cause to think about in my daily life. Like Nebraska. Who thinks about Nebraska? Ya know, unless they live there. Anyhow, I don’t like to do these over and over because when you run out of time the ones you missed are displayed, and I feel it’s kind of cheating to look over the answers and then immediately go and retake the quiz. So I had to find another one to divert my focus before going back to try again.

I chose Countries of Europe.

Europe 

Then, after switching back and forth between the US and Europe, I added South America.

South America 
Since there are only 12 countries in South America, it didn’t take me long to get them memorized. So I added Africa.

Africa

Once I had all 47 countries of Europe, all 12 countries of South America and the majority of Africa memorized, I decided to take on naming all the countries of the world.

World

I quickly realized that this was going to be more difficult than each of the little regional quizzes, because the world map is so much smaller that once you start naming things the names start to cover up the map and I had been remembering some countries based on their location on the map. I’m not doing too badly though. I can name about 150 of the 196 countries on the World quiz.

How many countries can you name?

Apparently Michael Pearl Thinks Children Are Dogs

I just read an article on the CBS News website about a child who was beaten to death with “religious whips” for mispronouncing a word.

Apparently this couple in California adopted 3 kids from Liberia. One of those kids mispronounced a word and the “parents” decided they needed to “train” the child. By beating her with quarter inch plastic tubing. They got this idea from an evangelist named Michael Pearl, who has written a book called To Train Up A Child.

Now, there are numerous, numerous things wrong with this whole situation. I don’t have the time or the emotional energy to get into them all, but there is one thing that’s I’d like to address. I read the story on CBS’s website, I read the comments, and I read an article that was linked in the comments about Pearl’s reaction to all the criticism this story has brought his way. Nowhere in any of my reading so far have I come across a single person who is bothered by the implication that children should be trained like they are dogs or horses.

Pearl even specifically mentions in his response to his critics that the same techniques he advocates and used on his own children were used to train his dogs not to eat his chickens.

Well, I’d like to go on record here and say this bothers me.

CHILDREN ARE NOT DOGS.

Children are people. And they should be treated with just as much kindness and respect as any adult.

Spreadable…… Bacon?

Bacon. One of nature’s most perfect creations. It’s good on its own, it’s good on sandwiches, it’s good sprinkled on things like salads or donuts, it’s good wrapped around other meats, it’s good chopped up and used in casseroles and as part of stuffings. Hell, it’s even good covered in chocolate. What other meat can boast that? A month ago I would have thought I’d just listed all the ways bacon can be prepared and eaten. I would have been wrong.

I recently came across a recipe for Bacon Jam. That’s right, bacon you can SPREAD on TOAST. 

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I found this recipe on a blog called Not Quite Nigella, which is a pretty fun food/recipe blog. I’ve linked directly to the bacon jam recipe; but in case you don’t want to follow the link, here’s the recipe:

An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella

  • 500grams/1 pound smoked bacon (or use regular bacon and liquid smoke)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium brown onion sliced
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Tabasco sauce (according to taste)
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Black pepper to taste
  • extra water

1. In a non stick pan, fry the bacon in batches until lightly browned and beginning to crisp. Using a pair of scissors cut into 1 inch pieces.
2. Fry the onion and garlic in the rendered bacon fat on medium heat until translucent.
3. Transfer the bacon, onion and garlic into a heavy based cast iron pot and add the rest of the ingredients except for the water. Simmer for 2 hours adding 1/4 of a cup of water every 25-30 minutes or so and stirring.
4. When ready, cool for about 15-20 minutes and then place in a food processor. Pulse for 2-3 seconds so that you leave some texture to the “jam” or of course you could keep whizzing and make it a smoother and more paste like.

If you’re going to attempt this recipe, I would suggest actually following my link because Nigella has some really helpful photos on her post. For the recipe itself there are a few things I would change/add/suggest. First, if you don’t have a heavy based cast iron pot, don’t worry. A large heavy based pot of any material will work, and even one that’s just cheap-o will work, you just might get a little stuck on burnt stuff in the middle at the bottom of the pot. Second, I’ve made this twice now and the first time I didn’t have any apple cider vinegar on hand. Instead, I used a mixture of about half and half plain distilled vinegar and balsamic vinegar. The difference I’m noticing is that the apple cider bacon jam is a bit sweeter, whereas when I used the balsamic it was more savory. Third, when you’re transferring the mixture from the pot to the food processor, do so with a slatted spoon and then add a little of the liquid from the pot. The first time I made this, it took a couple of tries to get the mixture to process because I had to keep stopping, opening the lid and smooshing things down. But, don’t add all of the liquid unless you want a very soupy consistency.

And the best part about this stuff is that it’s not just good on toast. I added bacon jam to grilled cheese and it was fantastic. Stirring a spoonful or two into alfredo is excellent. And there are probably many, many other ways to use it. You just need to get creative.

Dancing With The Stars?

A few weeks ago I convinced The Keeper to subscribe to Hulu so that I could watch the most recent season of Bones. Being unemployed, it didn’t take me long to get through Bones and then I needed to find other things to watch so as not to waste the free trial period. During my search for other things to watch I found a clip of Penn Jillette talking about his experience on Dancing with the Stars.

Now, I’m not big on reality TV. Especially the shows that compile a hodge podge of amateurs and have them compete. I tend to prefer the skill shows, like Top Chef or Project Runway, where professionals or people who are talented and skilled in a specific area compete and are judged by other professionals in that area. But, I LOVE Penn Jillette and the thought of him on a dance floor was just too much fun. I had to see it. And I really didn’t expect to watch past his elimination. But I realized during the first episode that Penn wasn’t the only celebrity on the show who would have caught my interest. The same season as Penn there was also:

Adam Carolla, of The Man Show fame.

Cristian de la Fuente, who I know from the USA show In Plain Sight.

And Marissa Jaret Winokur, who despite my doubts did a fantastic job as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray.

Not only were there lots of fun personalities on the show, but the dancing itself was a lot of fun to watch. So, basically, I think that as long as there are at least 3 people in the cast that I’m interested in I’ll probably be watching a lot more of Dancing With The Stars.

And since coming to that realization I’ve been thinking a lot about what celebrities I might want to see on the show. Here are some of the celebrities I would most like to see on Dancing With The Stars.

Troy Polamalu
Peyton Manning
Drew Brees
Bruce Campbell
Michael Weatherly
Jamil Walker Smith
Robert Carlyle
David Blue
Michael Shanks
Dennis Leary
Erik King
Michael C Hall
T.J. Thyne
Daniel Sunjata
Dean Winters
Alan Doyle
Josh Turner
Kelci Bryant
Elena Hight
Heidi Klum
Pauley Perrette
Cote de Pablo
Kat Dennings
Julia Benson
Mary McCormack
Lauren Velez
Michaela Conlin
Mariska Hargitay
Lisa Lampanelli
Florence Welch

And I’m certain there are more, but I can’t think of them right now.