Thursday, November 27, 2008

“I was told there’d be biscuits.”

...and there are! :D

EDIT: Okay, as of September 2010, I have finally found the original paper copy of this damn recipe and have fixed it. The actual amount of milk is 3/4 cups. If you are using soy milk, per the lovely Calista, you will likely need one and one quarter cups of it.

They were born from the barely legible photocopy of a recipe, originally produced on an electric typewriter, handed out in seventh grade home economics class. The amounts of each ingredient were written entirely in teaspoons and fractions thereof, I suppose as an exercise to teach seventh-graders the conversion from teaspoons to cups and tablespoons. (We had yet to be visited by the saving grace of online unit-conversion sites, nor even desktop converter widgets.)

The title of the recipe is “Delicious Biscuits.”

The title is correct.

So delicious are the biscuits, in fact, that I have been compelled to keep safe the original page for more than a decade, render the teaspooniness out of it, and at long last commend it to the open internet where it can spread its powers of biscuitry to the ends of the earth.

Here y’all go:

Delicious Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted*
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

*can switch to 1 cup all-purpose and 1 cup wheat flour if desired; increase milk to one cup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) together in a bowl. Add the shortening and cut it in with a pastry cutter or a fork until it’s in small enough crumbly pieces that it sorta vanishes into the dry ingredients. Add the milk all at once and stir it in to make a sticky dough. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead 8 to 10 times. Roll dough to about 0.5 inch thick (or a little thinner) and cut out circles with a cutter or a floured glass. Place biscuits on a baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until biscuits are lightly browned and delicious-looking.

Godspeed, biscuits. Godspeed.

(Happy Thanksgiving! 感謝祭おめでとう!)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pants. (a 'brief' essay)

When people in the US say "pants," we're making reference to things like blue jeans, slacks, trousers, etc. The outermost layer of clothing that covers one's legs.

They look like this:

Elsewhere, this is not necessarily so.

For example, when folks in the UK say "pants," they are speaking of underpants. (Tightie-whities, boxers, briefs; you know what I mean.)

These things:

As a matter of fact, I have it from a reliable source (read: a JET from London) that when a British person of a certain age and subculture wishes to describe something (say, a cheap beer) that we might call "crappy" or "bullshit" in the US, they may choose the phrase "this beer is pants" to express their displeasure.

Naturally, I find this hilarious. Especially because it pertains to Japanese culture as well.

Many Japanese words are derived from the western pronunciation of the very same word. Some examples:

ketchup --> kechappu --> ケチャップ

coffee --> kouhii --> コーヒー
(note that the lack of a pronunciable "f" means that all F's become airy H's in Japanese)

personal computer --> pasonaru konpyuuta --> パソコン
(shortened to "pasokon" for ease of pronunciation)

Ergo, should you find yourself suddenly lacking a word in Japanese conversation, you may very well be able to fudge your way through by simply stuffing the equivalent English term through the filter of Japanese pronunciation.

Or not.

Having been adopted from the Queen's English before it was a term en vogue in the States, in Japan the word "pants" (pantsu [パンツ]) has retained its UK references. That is, "pantsu" refers to underwear, just as it does in the UK. If one wants to say "trousers," one should use the word zubon (ズボン).

American students forget this all the time.

Sure enough, led into a false sense of security by the comfort of so many English pronunciations translating directly into Japanese, most US students of Japanese language are doomed to commit a thousand errors with the word "pants" through the course of their linguistic exploration.

"I've got the room key in my underwear pocket."

"Hey, cute underpants. Are they new?"

Upon spilling coffee:
"Damn. Stained my underpants again." infinitum. There are, of course, many other tricky words that don't mean the same on the J-islands as they do in the states, but "pants" will forever be my favorite.

"Please pardon the small puddles on the floor.
I have only just come in from the rain,
and the cuffs of my underwear are wet."

Heh, brief. Get it? Brief essay? (In any case, back shortly...)
Lulz, shortly. *snrk*

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Since 1968

Selvidge Middle School, Nov 4th, 7:00AM: Missourians gather to cast their votes.

Despite long waiting times and a cold morning, we watched for an hour and a half as not one person left the line. An old man came in a folding chair and sat just beyond the limits of the no-electioneering zone, wearing Obama pins and handing out leaflets to anyone who showed interest. "I've been waiting for this day since 1968," he told us.

I have never been so proud of my nation as I am today.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Lo, Samhain! Tonight's for gathering with friends and a fire, and maybe the extra candy from the night before.

But first, Halloween pictures. Hah.

Rachel; an Egyptologist, and David; a mummy. Both are awesome. They introduced me to the big crazy costume party in the central west end, whereupon the following images were collected.

The whole Mushroom Kingdom turns up in St. Louis. (Bonus points for giving the Toad costume to the biggest guy in the group.)

Going to a costume party with your buddy dressed like Goose and Maverick would be acceptable effort, but these doods built themselves a goddamn cardboard fighter and wore it all night. F*cking impressive, gentlemen. XD

I am a Carmen Sandiego nut, and I think I scared this poor girl. Much to my disappointment, no-one came dressed as Inspector Gadget... we could have had an epic battle of early-90s crime-themed cartoon characters.

Why dress up like a vampire or witch when you could be the happy lady from the Honey Bunches of Oats commercials? I bet Michael Phelps wishes he'd thought of that.

A vampire apple and a battered banana. No, I don't know why, but damnit, I liked their style.

Thanks, guys. I'd never get out of the house if it weren't for you. :D