Friday, July 11, 2008

VAY KAY

You know how you know I'm on vacation this week? Because (a) I have not been posting, and (b) what I am about to post about.

First, the EA Baseball 2005 for PSP season that I started almost two years ago is over. I played the full 162 games plus playoffs as the Colorado Rockies circa 2005, with a few free agent additions (Estaban Loiza, Magglio Ordonez, Barry Larkin, and Robbie Alomar). The 2005 Rockies are your World Champions, having defeated the Indians 4-1 in the World Series. Todd Helton is your MVP with a .305/75/160 line. Joe Kennedy went 30-1 with an ERA of about 1.70 and did NOT win the Cy Young. What is that? Anyway, I started this season before U was born, and finished before he turned two, so that's pretty good. Now that I've won the World Series with the 2005 Cubs and Rockies, I may try an American League team. Maybe the Mariners so I can have Ichiro.

Second, I find Central Europe and the Habsburgs very interesting. Ironic, since I hated Vienna. Anyway, I often wonder if the so called "Prison of Nations" could really have been the model for the EU. I won't go into all of the parallels here. The point is that I like history of this region, and this family. Thus, I finished Timothy Snyder's The Red Prince, which is about Archduke Wilhelm von Habsburg. I had not realized that one wing of the Habsburgs decided to address the growth of nationalism by "going native" and trying become native kings, subject to the Habsburg emporer, of some of the restless nations. Wilhelm's father turned himself and his family Polish to try to become the King of Poland and keep Poland loyally Habsburg. That's really interesting. Wilhelm's story? Well, it seems pretty interesting, but it kind of seems like when you really boil it down, he's sort of a Zelig character. Wilhelm does try to be the leader of the heretofore leaderless Ukrainians. He does ultimately (eventually) oppose Hitler, then Stalin. He is murdered by the Soviets. Still, it is not clear from the book that he was ever more than a semi-clueless front man for others. The book is a fascinating look at the period 1905-1951 through the lens of Ukrainian nationalism, and therefore worth the read.


Third, I learned how to make a kind of sorbet this week. L's sister B has been making sorbets, sherbets, and ice creams and directed me here for the general idea. The proportion of 1 cup of fluid to 1/4 cup of sugar is the key. Also, since I do not have an ice cream maker, I had to read this. So far I have made an orange sorbet and a cherry sorbet. For the orange, I juiced two cups worth, strained the juice, and followed the basic instructions. For the cherry I pitted ripe cherries and liquified them in a blender. I did not strain the result. Both taste great and are very refreshing. The cherry has a better texture, perhaps because it contains liquified cherries? Anyway, I have three pounds of lemons and three of limes from the store, so we'll see what I do this weekend.

Can you tell I'm on vacation? Some pictures from the St. Louis Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, etc. to follow.

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