Tulula's Blog
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
  La Gran Manzana
Esta noche vi el final de la serie de los documentarios sobre La Ciudad de Nueva York por Ric Burns. El tema fue la concepción y construcción de Las Torres Gemelas, y incluyó una historia conmovedora sobre un hombre francés que al leer sobre Las Torres en una revista, se decidió a aprender la arte del funámbulo y caminar en una cuerda floja encordada entre las dos torres. A la gente que estuvieron pasado por casualidad las torres por la mañana del 7 de agosto 1974, la visión inesperado y espectacular les dio mucha alegría.

El documentario fue también sobre la destrucción de las torres y exhibió en nítido y traumático detalle visual los acontecimientos del 11 de septiembre. Pero el anterior gobernador de Nueva York, Mario Cuomo, expresa unas emociones y lecciones constructivas que mucha gente comparte de esa experiencia.

Tonight I saw the final of the series of documentaries on the City of New York by Ric Burns. The theme was the conception and construction of the Twin Towers, and included a moving story about a French man who upon reading about the Towers in a magazine, made up his mind to learn the art of a tightrope walker and walk on a tightrope strung between the two towers. To the people who happened to be passing by the towers in the morning of August 7, 1974, the unexpected and spectacular vision gave much joy.

The documentary was also on the destruction of the towers, and it showed in sharp and traumatic visual detail the events of September 11th. But the former governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, expresses some of the emotions and constructive lessons that many people share from that experience.

Friday, March 24, 2006
  Brooklyn Follies
Anoche leí el nuevo libro “Brooklyn Follies” por Paul Auster, un autor de Nueva York. No leo ficción con mucha frecuencia, pero me divertió este libro muchísimo. Fue tan apasionante que me costó dejar de leerlo. Entonces, seguí leyendo hasta el final del libro.

En una entrevista con el periódico El País, el autor Paul Auster dice que su novela es “un elegía a una forma de vivir que desapereció de un plumazo el 11 de septiembre.” La historia es bellísima, y me pone nostálgica de ese tiempo y ese lugar. La novela sigue las vidas de cuatro personajes principales, que comienzan de circunstancias bastante descontentas – relaciones fracasadas, carreras fracasadas, decisiones descaminadas – luego encuentran felicidad en reestableciendo los vínculos de familia, amistad y amor. Al encontrarse, se aguarran el uno al otro y saborean el placer del momento.

Last night I read the new book “Brooklyn Follies” by Paul Auster, a New York author. I don’t read fiction very frequently, but I enjoyed this book very much. It was so gripping that I had difficulty putting it down. So, I continued reading until the end of the book.

In an interview with the paper El País, the author Paul Auster says that his novel is an elegy to a form of living that disappeared at a stroke on September 11th. The story is very beautiful, and makes me nostalgic for that time and place. The novel follows the lives of four principal characters, who start from rather unhappy circumstances – failed relationships, failed careers, misguided decisions – then find happiness in reestablishing bonds of family, friendship and love. Upon finding each other, they cling to one another and savor the pleasure of the moment.

Sunday, March 19, 2006
  To Bil and J
Happy Spring! Here is your baby in bloom! Its sister is in the lab lunchroom and is spectacular!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Desde hoy, voy a intentar practicar espanol en mi blog. Ahora puedo leer espanol bien, pero escuchar, hablar y escribir es mas dificil. Si encuentra errores, no dude en corregirme por favor.

Hoy voy a escribir sobre un de mis temas favoritos -- comida. Hace un mes, una amiga mexicana me introdujo al mundo maravilloso de chiles. Ella me mostro como hacer un plato delicioso usando picadillo, cebollas, papas/patatas, tomates, y chipotle. Chipotles son jalapenos ahumados y secados. Puede comprar chipotle enlatado en muchos supermercados.


Tome una mezcla de carnes molidos -- carne de res, carne de cerdo, carne de pavo -- cualquier carne molido que tiene. Fria estos carnes con cebollas cortadas in pedacitos. Si hay mucho liquido, lo drene o lo hierva hasta esta desaparecido. Despues, anada comino en polvo, sal y pimienta, y mezcle.

Usando un robot de cocina o una batidora manual, haga un pure de una gran lata de tomates con dos chipotles enlatados. Tenga cuidado, porque si usa demasiados chipotles, va a sufrir -- chipotles son muy picante. Ponga algo de la mezcla de tomate en la mezcla de carne.

Corte papas in pedacitos, sin o con piel, segun su preferencia. Ponga las papas/patatas en la mezcla de tomate y carne, y anada agua, si es necesario para hervir los papas/patatas. Hirva hasta que las papas/patatas estan blandas. Lo probe y salzone segun su preferencia. Sirva con tortillas o arroz.

From today, I am going to try to practice Spanish on my blog. Now I can read Spanish well, but listening, speaking and writing are more difficult. If you find errors, please do not hesitate to correct me.

Today I am going to write about one of my favorite topics -- food. About one month ago, a Mexican friend introduced me to the wonderful world of chilis. She showed me how to make a delicious dish using ground meat, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and chipotle. Chipotles are smoked and dried jalapenos. You can buy canned chipotles in many supermarkets.

Take a mixture of ground meats -- beef, pork and turkey -- whatever ground meat you have. Fry these meats with chopped onions. If there is a lot of liquid, drain it or boil it until it is gone. Then add ground cumin, salt and pepper, and mix.

Using a food processor or hand mixer, puree a large can of tomatoes with two chipotles from a can. Be careful, because if you use too many chipotles, you are going to suffer -- chipotles are very spicy. Put some of the tomato mixture in the meat mixture.

Chop potatoes, with or without peel, according to your preference. Put the potatoes in the tomato and meat mixture, and add water, if it is necessary in order to boil the potatoes. Boil until the potatoes are soft. Taste it and season according to your preference. Serve with tortillas or rice.


Saturday, March 11, 2006
  Jared Diamond, Forward Thinking Guru

Yesterday and today, my friend and I went to see Master Diamond speak on the collapse of societies (the subject of his recent book) and thoughts he's formulated since then on avoiding collapse. Yesterday's talk was pretty much a summation of his book -- a framework of five factors that contribute to the collapse or survival of a society, applying these to Easter Island, Montana, Iceland, the Mayas and Native Americans of Arizona. These factors are environmental damage, climate change, enemies, friendly trade partners, and the ability of society to respond to its problems. He talked about how Easter Islanders over several hundreds of years shortsightedly cut down all their trees, the wood of which they used to help erect those mysterious and extremely heavy statues and to build canoes in order to hunt tuna and dolphins on the open seas.

After they cut down the last tree, they lost their ability to fish, had no friendly neighbors to whom to turn for help, had nowhere to which to escape, so they starved to near extinction. The example of Easter Island attracted the most interest, he said, for its similarities to Earth: we are isolated in this universe and have nowhere/nobody to turn to if we are careless in managing our resources and end up depleting them. He concluded by reminding us to remember above all else the number 32 -- i.e., the number of times of resources that first world nations consume over third world nations.

The topic of tonight's talk was his thoughts since writing Collapse comparing individual and society survival of crises. Drawing on his wife's clinical psychology background, he began talking about coping factors that enable crises victims to and survive. These were: the ability to fence in a problem and tackle it while preserving what's not problematic outside it, I guess, like compartmentalizing; "ego strength" or self-confidence/self-love, which he likened to cultural pride and preservation on the societal scale; flexibility/rigidity in adapting to deal with crises; exposure to of alternative models of coping or something like that; the ability to reappraise one's core values in order to cope with a crises; and a bunch of others in between that I can't remember. He interspersed societal examples rather than analyzing them systematically under these factors -- for instance, marveling at how a tribe of Papua New Guinea in first learning the existence of helicopters asked all sorts of questions about them, then quickly decided to charter their own in order to import birds of paradise from elsewhere and sell them in their own villages for a profit, yet maintaining their culture (wearing grass skirts) throughout. As for implications for our own society, he quoted Dick Cheney saying something to the effect that our core values as Americans were nonnegotiable -- implying that we ought to redress our rigidity, unwillingness/inability to adapt if we are to survive future crises.

Whether or not Diamond's approach is novel or earth-shattering, or he is repetitive or long-winded -- some criticisms made of him -- I find his problem-solving approach systematic, useful and applicable to many areas of life. Whether or not he is unique in doing so, I like very much that he puts "us" -- Americans and humankind -- to the same analyses as to societies in history, warning us of some fairly dire implications of our attitudes and behavior now while it is not too late for us to change course and take control of our destiny. Many of us are hard-pressed to think beyond our households, let alone our lifetimes. He would make a great advisor to leaders -- enlightening and shaping our policies to strategize and plan for the long-term -- alas, if only they would listen.


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