Writer of fiction, chronicler of foibles, wrangler of chaos.
67 stories
·
15 followers

Lin-Manuel Miranda Made You a Playlist to Help With Your Writer's Block

1 Share

If you’re having some trouble getting your ideas down on paper, this playlist from the multi-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame will help get those creative juices flowing.

Read more...

Read the whole story
cygnoir
1 day ago
reply
Portland, OR, USA
Share this story
Delete

A Beautiful Longhaired Tuxedo Cat Goes Nighty Night All by Herself In a Tiny Human-Styled Bed

1 Share

When her humans go to bed, a beautiful longhaired tuxedo cat named Sophie knows that it’s also time for her to go nighty-night. At whatever time they decide, Sophie puts herself to sleep on her tiny human styled bed that has everything she needs to get a good night’s sleep, including at least one human who’s always willing to tuck her in.

via reddit

Read the whole story
cygnoir
1 day ago
reply
Portland, OR, USA
Share this story
Delete

Trump budget plan cuts the arts

1 Comment

A community orchestra performance, a new work from an emerging playwright, art therapy for a returning veteran, local ­library classes in Braille, free standardized-test preparation, and Bert and Ernie. Thousands of such programs could be gutted under President Trump’s proposed budget.

The budget plan, which calls for the elimination of four independent cultural agencies — the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — also would radically reshape the nation’s cultural infrastructure.

Although the budgets of the four organizations slated for elimination are negligible as a percentage of the larger federal budget, they play a vital role in a cultural economy built on a system of federal stimulus. Federal dollars are used to leverage state, local and private funding that supports a complex network of arts organizations, educational entities, museums, libraries and public broadcasting affiliates.

[Everything Trump cut in his budget, and what that means]

For decades, arts and cultural leaders have fought regular battles to maintain federal funding, and they now find themselves part of a larger, unprecedented attempt to dismantle the federal government’s role in American life. As they struggle to explain why they deserve federal dollars, other federal departments and agencies are fighting for their share, which in turn could put increased strain on philanthropic funding for a large range of social services, including health care and education.

(Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

President Trump just released his budget plan for the next fiscal year, which proposes some big changes in government spending. Here's a look at what agencies are helped and hurt by the proposal. President Trump just released his budget plan for the next fiscal year, which proposes some big changes in government spending. (Video: Jenny Starrs/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The president’s budget would eliminate the NEA’s $148 million budget, the NEH’s $148 million budget and the CPB’s $445 million budget, as well as $230 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which supports libraries and museums across the country. Additional cuts could affect the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.

“The idea that civil society is going to step in and take up all these shortfalls is far-fetched,” said Suzanne Nossel, the executive director of PEN, an organization of writers and editors that focuses on free expression. PEN has organized a petition with more than 200,000 signatures calling for the preservation of the NEA and NEH.

Not all cultural sectors would be equally hard hit, at least not initially. But all of them would be forced to rethink how to survive, and what they would be able to preserve of their fundamental mission.

[Arts leaders react to possible cuts to cultural programs]

“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting money is actually crucial to keeping stations alive,” said Patricia Aufderheide, founder of the Center for Media and Social Impact at American University. “That is what pays for the electric bill, that is what pays for upgrades in the equipment. Without that money, I think there are very few stations that are going to operate purely on donations.”

Aufderheide sits on the board of the Independent Television Service, which was created by Congress to produce and distribute documentaries for public television stations, including the critically esteemed “Independent Lens” series. Aufderheide said the cuts would significantly harm the independent programming that gives voice to marginalized or minority communities without access to other funding or broadcast platforms.

Robert Lynch, head of Americans for the Arts, an organization that was instrumental in helping to create the NEA more than 50 years ago, worries about small arts groups that face a daily struggle to stay afloat. His group regularly researches the state of the arts economy and has found that many groups operate at the edge of solvency. In 2013, for example, 42 percent of nonprofit arts groups operated at a loss.

What's getting cut in Trump's budget

“There are a few arts organizations at the top that are very, very stable, but most of them are struggling every day,” Lynch said. “They are not bottom-line driven; they are mission driven, trying to do something good, something for the public.” Cuts, he said, might soon be felt by smaller groups. “Any interruption in that fragile ecosystem has an effect.”

[Trump’s not only going after the arts. Expect a seismic disruption in medical and science research.]

Over the years, the federal government’s cultural funders have become increasingly horizontal, spreading funds widely throughout all 50 states. “The NEA is the only funder in the country that makes arts grants in every congressional district,” said Marc Scorca, president and chief executive of Opera America, a national service group. That outreach has traditionally helped the agency maintain support in Congress across party lines, and it has been a powerful incentive for states to maintain their own arts agencies.

Last year, the NEA sent $47 million to 50 states and five jurisdictions, funds that helped to leverage $368 million from state governments. Together, those funds were distributed through 24,000 grants, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).

“The NEA doesn’t tell states what they have to do with [the funds]. The NEA says these are for your state priorities, and that makes them uniquely powerful,” said Kelly Barsdate, chief program and planning officer at the NASAA. “It’s a true model of how the federal government can work in effective concert with the states.”

Those state grants are crucial to arts organizations, including those that help young actors get their first roles and young writers develop their voices, said Edgar Dobie, executive director of Washington’s Arena Stage, which has been awarded grants of $30,000 to $50,000 in recent years.

“It’s the R&D the field needs,” Dobie said. “It’s so shortsighted to say it’s not as important as a new helicopter.”

Although all states would suffer under the proposed budget, poor and rural communities would be hardest hit, according to the NASAA. About 25 percent of NEA block-grant funds go to rural communities and 54 percent to low-income areas.

“We are gravely concerned about the impact on rural areas, low-income areas, school­children, seniors and veterans,” ­Barsdate said.

The loss of NEA funding would cripple Vermont’s Poetry Out Loud competition, a statewide poetry recitation program that involves 5,500 students, about 25 percent of Vermont high-schoolers. The finals are broadcast on public television, said Alex Aldrich, executive director of the Vermont Arts Council, and the winner goes on to the national competition.

“More students participate than play organized high school football,” Aldrich said, adding that NEA funds account for 45 percent of the arts council’s budget. “This program cuts across all ethnic, socio-economic and religious lines, which is where the arts strength lies.”

Trump’s proposal will meet stiff — and bipartisan — opposition in Congress. If the president’s goal is the wholesale elimination of these agencies, he will need Congress to repeal the legislation that created them.

“A budget document is merely a blueprint. It does not appropriate any funding at all,” said Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), co-chairman of both the Congressional Arts Caucus and the Congressional Humanities Caucus. “I will be working as hard as I can, internally and publicly, to make sure these programs are funded. All of my peers have arts venues in their districts. This affects all states and all congressional districts.”

Today's Headlines newsletter

The day's most important stories.

Please provide a valid email address.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who was one of 24 lawmakers who wrote to Trump last month in support of the cultural agencies, said the budget proposal is a “huge and irresponsible mistake” that would have widespread consequences. She vowed to fight the cuts.

The NEA and NEH, she said, “make it so parents and teachers who don’t live in big cities or don’t have the most resources can still take their children to learn from and be inspired by history museums, art exhibits, and music and theater performances.

“Congress must look out for the millions of American families that can’t always travel to big cities to visit a museum when they want to learn about art and history.”

It is difficult to compare total arts spending in the United States to that of other advanced nations, given the complexity of the federal budget and the number of programs that might be considered arts-related (including military bands and educational efforts). But per capita federal funding for the arts through the NEA is minuscule compared with that in such countries as Finland, France and Germany.

But the United States has a unique arts funding system that has proved effective in the past 52 years at growing the larger arts economy. NEA funds, for example, are predicated on matching funds from state arts agencies, a powerful incentive to states to keep local arts funding alive. That has helped spur the creation of state arts councils in all 50 states, as well as about 5,000 funding groups at the local level.

Read the whole story
cygnoir
4 days ago
reply
Not surprised in the least, but disappointed all the same.
Portland, OR, USA
Share this story
Delete

Creamy Cashew Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

1 Comment

Sorry! We're currently performing maintenance on the site. Certain actions are not working at this time. Check back later.

There aren’t any notes yet. Be the first to leave one.

Excellent soup. The only modification was to bloom the spices for 30 seconds prior to adding the rest of the ingredients.

As a person who is deathly allergic to cashews, I really don't recommend playing the "secret ingredient" game described in the article. Tree nuts are a common allergen, and that would be a really good way to put somebody in the hospital, or worse.

Try this as a garnish: about 1/2 cup each unsweetened coconut flakes and cashew bits, teaspoon of mustard seeds and optional but delish 10-15 fresh curry leaves cut in ribbons.

Toast cashews and coconut separately. I use the microwave about one minute each.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a small skillet for 2 minutes, throw in mustard seeds and cook 'til they pop, remove from heat stir in curry leaves then coconut and cashews. Takes about 5 minutes.

Roasted my squash. Used 2 lbs of cooked squash. Followed the recipe using homemade turkey stock. It was delicious. Added broth gradually to maintain the consistency we prefer. A definite keeper.

Finally a recipe that gets the spices right on! Just enough to give a lovely, subtle flavor. I used the whole 14 oz can of light coconut milk - delicious. Rosemary sprig at the end adds the perfect final fragrance.

Roasted the butternut squash and followed the recipe. Wow, this recipe is delicious!

Love this! Roasted the squash (eliminates the second simmer and easier to handle the squash), also no coconut milk (too many calories and fat). I'm on a no-salt diet, and even with no salt anywhere, this soup is spicy and delicious! I had 1/4 less squash than called for, but I used the full spice measurements - great!

Does this soup freeze well?

Question for anyone...are we talking about canned coconut milk or the pasteurized milk in the dairy section? Does it matter?

Heck ya. I couldn't find butternut squash in my grocery store for some reason so I used sweet potato. Still bangin'. Also I browned butter before putting onions in. Definitely gonna make this again. PS it scales down well

I followed the recipe exactly. I had thought about roasting the squash first, but didn't feel like doing the extra step (in fact, I was surprised and then relieved that it didn't call for pre-roasting). I thought it was a phenomenal recipe, and so incredibly easy. I'm looking forward to reheating it this week to see how the flavors come together.

I like others' suggestions to roast the squash and use an apple. If I have more time/energy, I'll do that next time.

I followed the suggestions of others and roasted the butternut squash for 45 minutes at 350. Someone said this soup needed a lot of salt in the reviews, maybe it's because I used store bought vegetable stock but I only added maybe a teaspoon and it was perfect. I used 2 pounds of diced squash, not a 2 pound total sized squash.

This was wonderful. As others did, I also roasted the squash first for about 45 minutes. After sautéing the onion and roasted cashews, I added a grated apple to the mix. Since I was out of garlic and rosemary, they were omitted this time as well as the salt. I used a 15 oz can of Thai coconut milk. I also lightly sautéed red onion and baby spinach; which I put on top of the soup (from another recipe). What a delicious soup!

I used am immersion blender. It's much less work. Served as a starter for company, so cooked through step 2, left on stove top until ready to reheat (about 2 hours). Began step 3 about 20 min before sitting down to eat. Everyone liked it. I followed the recipe. It needs a lot of salt.

Absolutely love this soap. I have a family with lots of dietary restrictions. RA need to stay away from nightshades so I did not use the Curry and used a bit more pepper, garlic, and a little ginger. I left out the coconut milk all together (high fat content, calorie counter) blended it in a nutria-blast this gave it a better consistency then the blender. Thanks

I belatedly realized I didn't have coconut milk and substituted evaporated, which did create the right texture. The flavor was still very good.

Very nice. Also briefly sautéed the spices in the oil (used safflower oil) before adding the liquid and squash. Added a little cayenne at the end and garnished with chopped cilantro.

this is amazing. made it exactly as written.

Fantastic recipe! I made this tonight with a few changes. My local market sells packages of butternut squash that they skin and chop daily. I tossed the chunked squash in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in a 400 degree oven for about 50 minutes with a peeled apple, turning halfway, until golden brown. I used coconut oil instead of olive oil to cook the onions and added the spice mixture to the onion and cashew mixture and let it bloom before adding the garlic.

Wow. This recipe is bomb! The only thing I changed is that I threw an overripe apple in there, which added a bit of sweetness. I also used homemade chicken broth, which I think always makes a big difference for soups like this one. I was skeptical about the cashews at first, but they add texture and extra body to the soup, which is great. Will definitely make again!

Thank you so much for the phenomenal recipe Dawn! I made it this evening and it definitely won't be the first time. The blend of spices is terrific and I love that it is dairy free.

Turned out very well-- I added about a tablespoon of honey for the final few minutes, which seemed to bring out the sweetness of the squash. I will definitely make this again!

I don't like to peel butternut squash if I don't have to. Options: microwave unpeeled pieces in a covered bowl or add the pieces to the soup and cook until tender. When cooled enough to handle, scoop out the pulp and continue with the recipe.

I always roast squash for soup. It gives it a rich flavor, and is much easier than peeling and chopping.

I agree with Ingrid. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and roast for 45 min to 1 hour at 350 (or until soft enough to scoop out with a spoon. Acorn squash would work equally well in this soup.

I use reduced fat coconut milk.

Fantastic recipe! I made this tonight with a few changes. My local market sells packages of butternut squash that they skin and chop daily. I tossed the chunked squash in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in a 400 degree oven for about 50 minutes with a peeled apple, turning halfway, until golden brown. I used coconut oil instead of olive oil to cook the onions and added the spice mixture to the onion and cashew mixture and let it bloom before adding the garlic.

I agree with Ingrid. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and roast for 45 min to 1 hour at 350 (or until soft enough to scoop out with a spoon. Acorn squash would work equally well in this soup.

I always roast squash for soup. It gives it a rich flavor, and is much easier than peeling and chopping.

Private Notes are notes that only you can see. Leave a Private Note.

For example: "Made for Alex's birthday. Next time double the recipe."

Show More Notes

Dawn Lerman

Sorry, your changes didn’t save.

Unlock New York Times recipes and your
personal recipe box with a free account.

Unlock New York Times recipes and your
personal recipe box with a free account.

NYT Cooking recipes
will sync to your
Evernote account

Evernote recipes
will sync to your
NYT Cooking Recipe Box

Prior to receiving The New Essentials of French Cooking for free, please confirm your email address below.

Prior to your purchase of The New Essentials of French Cooking for $1.99, please confirm your email address below.

Prior to your purchase of The New Essentials of French Cooking for $4.99, please confirm your email address below.

Prior to your purchase of The New Essentials of French Cooking for $9.99, please confirm your email address below.

You now have full access to The New Essentials of French Cooking. We've saved the recipes from this guide to your Recipe Box for easy access anytime you visit.

As appreciation for your interest, we're giving you free, unlimited access to The New Essentials of French Cooking. We've saved the recipes from this guide to your Recipe Box for easy access anytime you visit.

As appreciation for your interest, we're giving you free, unlimited access to The New Essentials of French Cooking. We've saved the recipes from this guide to your Recipe Box for easy access anytime you visit.

As appreciation for your interest, we're giving you free, unlimited access to The New Essentials of French Cooking. We've saved the recipes from this guide to your Recipe Box for easy access anytime you visit.

Signed in as cygnoir

Share this story on NewsBlur

Shared stories are on their way...

Read the whole story
cygnoir
4 days ago
reply
Yum! Going to try this soon.
Portland, OR, USA
Share this story
Delete

A Hypnotically Beautiful Animation of a Forgotten Penny Arcade Wooden Doll Endlessly Wandering

1 Share

by Lori Dorn at on

Animator Uri Lotan has created an absolutely hypnotic music video for the Jane Bordeaux song Ma’agalim (Circles). Throughout the video, a wooden penny arcade doll endlessly wanders into different scenes and exiting quickly, visually representing the lyrics of the song.

Nights turn into days
Days turn into years
And among them I was going faster in circles
Winds are blowing on me
Blow on the back of my neck
Everything seems too far too big
I’m not moving forward
It’s the time that drifts away
This is another passing train
It’s a further tightening rope

translation by xChipsus

via Vimeo Staff Picks

Advertisements

Related Laughing Squid Posts

Penny Arcade Expo 2007, A Giant Three Day Game Festival

Penny Arcade Expo 2007, A Giant Three Day Game Festival

The annual Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), a giant video and computer game festival produced by the guys behind the popular online comic Penny Arcade, takes place this weekend in Seattle from August 24th through 26th. This year's keynote speaker is Wil Wheaton and musical guests include MC Frontalot and Jonathan…

August 20, 2007

In "Blog"

Penny Arcade Expo 2008 (PAX)

Penny Arcade Expo 2008 (PAX)

Penny Arcade Expo 2008 (PAX), the annual gaming festival organized by the online comic Penny Arcade, takes place August 29th-31st in Seattle. This year's keynote speaker is game designer Ken Levine and both MC Frontalot and Jonathan Coulton are returning again this year as part of PAX's music line-up. Penny…

August 18, 2008

In "Blog"

Penny Arcade Expo 2010 (PAX)

Penny Arcade Expo 2010 (PAX)

Penny Arcade Expo 2010 (PAX), the annual gaming festival organized by the online comic Penny Arcade, takes place September 3-5 in Seattle. PAX is a three-day game festival for tabletop, videogame, and PC gamers. We call it a festival because in addition to dedicated tournaments and freeplay areas we've got…

August 25, 2010

In "Blog"

PAX East 2011, A Penny Arcade Gaming Festival In Boston

PAX East 2011, A Penny Arcade Gaming Festival In Boston

PAX East 2011, a 3 day gaming festival run by Penny Arcade, takes place March 11-13 in Boston. This year's featured music guests include our friends MC Frontalot, Paul & Storm and Jonathan Coulton. PAX East is a three-day game festival for tabletop, videogame, and PC gamers. We call it…

March 4, 2011

In "Blog"


  
Read the whole story
cygnoir
4 days ago
reply
Portland, OR, USA
Share this story
Delete

4 Step Guide to Letting Go of the Past

1 Share
By Leo Babauta

We’re constantly struggling with the past, in so many ways:

  • Mistakes we’ve made that we regret or that make us feel bad about ourselves
  • Anger about something someone did to us
  • Frustration about how things have progressed up until now
  • A wish that things turned out differently
  • Stories about what happened that make us sad, depressed, angry, hurt
  • An argument that we had that keeps spinning around in our heads
  • Something someone just did (a minute ago) that we’re still stuck on

What if we could just let go of things have have happened, and be present with the unfolding moment instead?

What if we could let the past remain in the past, and unburden ourselves?

What is we could see that our holding onto the past is actually hurting us right now … and look at letting go as a loving act of not hurting ourselves anymore?

It can be done, though it isn’t always easy. Here’s the practice I recommend, in four steps.

Step 1: See the Story That’s Hurting You

In the present moment, you have some kind of pain or difficulty: anger, frustration, disappointment, regret, sadness, hurt.

Notice this difficulty, and see that it’s all caused by whatever story you have in your head about what happened (either recently or in the more distant past). You might insist that the difficulty or pain is caused by what happened (not by the story in your head), but what happened isn’t happening right now. It’s gone. The pain is still happening right now, and it’s caused by whatever story you have about the situation.

Note that “story” doesn’t mean “false story.” It also doesn’t mean “true story.” The word “story” in this context doesn’t imply good or bad, false or true, or any other kind of judgment. It’s simply a process that’s happening inside your head:

  • You’re remembering what happened.
  • You have a perspective about what happened, a judgment, a way of seeing it that has you as the injured party.
  • This causes an emotion in you.

So just notice what story you have, without judgment of the story or of yourself. It’s natural to have a story, but just see that it’s there. And see that it’s causing you difficulty, frustration or pain.

Step 2: Stay with the Physical Feeling

Next, you want to turn from the story in your head … to the feeling that’s in your body. This is the physical feeling: it could be tightness in your chest, a hollowness, a shooting pain, an energy that radiates in all directions from your solar plexus, an ache in your heart, or many more variations.

The practice is to turn and face this physical feeling, dropping your attention out of the story your head and into your body.

Stay and face this feeling with courage — we usually try to avoid the feeling.

Stay and explore it with curiosity: what does it feel like? Where is it located? Does it change?

If this becomes unbearable, do it in small doses, in a way that feels manageable for you. It can get intense if the feelings have been intense.

But for most feelings, we see that it is not the end of the world, that we can bear it. In fact, it’s just a bit of unpleasantness, not all-consuming or anything to panic about.

Stay with it and be gentle, friendly, welcoming. Embrace the feeling like you would a good friend. You’re becoming comfortable with discomfort, and it is the path of bravery.

Step 3: Breathe Out, Letting Go

Breathe in your difficulty, and breathe out compassion.

It’s a Tibetan Buddhist practice called Tonglen: breathe in whatever difficult feeling you’re feeling, and breathe out the feeling of relief from that difficulty.

You breathe in not only your own pain, but the pain of others.

For example:

  • If you’re feeling frustration, breathe in all the frustration of the world … then breathe out peace.
  • If you’re feeling sadness, breathe in all the sadness of the world … then breathe out happiness.
  • If you’re feeling regret, breathe in all the regret of the world … then breathe out joy and gratitude.

Do this for a minute or so, imagining all the frustration of those around you coming in with each breath, and then a feeling of peace radiating out to all of those who are frustrated as you breathe out.

You can practice this every day, and it is amazing. Instead of running from your difficult feeling, you’re embracing it, letting yourself absorb it. And you’re doing it for others as well, which gets us out of a self-centered mode and into an other-focused mode.

As you do this, you’re starting to let go of your pain or difficulty.

Step 4: Turn with Gratitude Toward the Present

As you feel that you’ve let go, instead of getting caught up in your story again, turn and see what’s right here, right now.

What do you see?

Can you appreciate all or some of it? Can you be grateful for something in front of you right now?

Why is this step important? Because when we’re stuck on something that happened in the past, we’re not paying attention to right now. We’re not appreciating the moment in front of us. We can’t — our minds are filled up with the past.

So when we start to let go of the past, we have emptied our cups and allowed them to be filled up with the present.

We should then turn to the present and find gratitude for what’s here, instead of worrying about what isn’t.

As we do that, we’ve transformed our struggle into a moment of joy.

My Upcoming Course: Dealing with Struggles

I wanted to let you guys know about an upcoming video course that I’m launching next week — it’s called Dealing with Struggles, and I’m very excited about it!

This course is aimed at anyone who has struggles:

  • Anxiety about life or social situations
  • Frustrations with themselves or other people
  • Difficulty with procrastination
  • Trouble forming new habits or quitting old habits
  • A feeling of unhappiness with ourselves
  • Struggles with finances, clutter, productivity, health issues
  • Stress about work, life, relationships

As it turns out, we all have struggles.

This video course will aim to get to the root of our struggles, and learn how to apply mindfulness practices to work with them.

It’s a four-week course, with two video lessons and two mindfulness practices a week … and it will start in April. More next week!

Read the whole story
cygnoir
4 days ago
reply
Portland, OR, USA
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories