Thursday, January 31, 2008

25 Skills Every Man Should Know

Back when The Dangerous Book for Boys came out, there was a lot of discussion about what we should include in the same book for girls. Ultimately, The Daring Book for Girls came out and served as a good complement to the boys’ book.

Last week, Uncle John posted about Popular Mechanics’ “25 Skills Every Man Should Know.” Now, we could certainly make the case that a woman should know each of these things, too. After all, we drive cars, use computers, watch television, etc. But I’m interested in the Noah’s Ark approach – if a man can do all of those things, what should a woman bring to the table? After all, our manly man still hasn’t eaten or slept, even after using all of those macho skills.

BTW, I’m leaving out generic, but useful, life skills like “decline an invitation to a Pampered Chef party” or “fake happiness;” those are child's play.

A man should know how to…

A woman should know how to…

Patch a radiator hose

Figure the sales tax on an item that is 42% off of $107.13

Protect your computer

Change the toner in the copy machine

Rescue a boater who has capsized

Sense when a kid is in the pool, unauthorized

Frame a wall

Sew a straight hem on a machine and a button by hand

Retouch digital photos

Find beauty in the imperfect

Back up a trailer

Iron clothes

Build a campfire

Pack up the supplies so that they stay dry

Fix a dead outlet

How to cut off the electricity AND the gas AND the water in an emergency.

Navigate with a map and compass

Navigate with a map and compass AND ask for directions

Use a torque wrench

Use a whisk without making a mess

Sharpen a knife

Get blood stains out of laundry

Perform CPR

Perform first aid for adults AND infants and children

Fillet a fish

Cook a fish AND get the smell out of the house

Maneuver a car out of a skid

Slow down in the rain

Get a car unstuck

Get gum out of hair

Back up data

Organize information like shot records and family birthdates

Paint a room

Consult the color wheel

Mix concrete

Get mold out of grout

Clean a bolt-action rifle

Patch a head wound

Change oil and filter

Find a garage that doesn’t screw over women

Hook up an HDTV

Find the best no-load index fund for an IRA

Bleed brakes

Corral a group of preschoolers

Paddle a canoe

Navigate minor bureaucracies without having a stroke

Fix a bike flat

Check the air pressure regularly

Extend your wireless network

Extend your social network

And I leave you with this thought from Heinlein:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Image: Asia Society

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Soda Web

SodaWeb[1], originally uploaded by houston mamacita.

Via the Freakonomics blog, this soda display/Mondrian homage.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A White Chick Singer

A White Chick Singer, originally uploaded by houston mamacita.

This will make you snort coke out of your nose: Cracked magazine's Six Musicians With Pasts They Hope You Will Forget.

It's true, I had already forgotten about Alanis' foray into rap:

My name is Alanis, I'm a white chick singer
The drums are a-smokin' and so's the bass
Shake your thing (chika chika chika, cha)
When you sing (chika chika chika, ooh yeah)
Just sixteen (chika chika chika, cha)
No disco queen (chika chika chika, oh yeah)

HT: Mental Floss

Monday, January 28, 2008

What mamacita is ...


Images: Oxford Press, Encyclopedia Brittanica

Happy Birthday, Colette!

I have to admit, I've never read any of her books, but I liked the movie Gigi. I love Leslie Caron.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mamacita Needs a New Pair of Shoes

It's hard enough for me to resist J. Crew, but when you throw the word "sale" into the equation... Do I get any credit for not buying everything I wanted?

BTW, the coupon code FS0121 was still working this morning for free shipping, not that I'm trying to enable you.


DUDE! Check this out: Musicovery. Similar to Pandora, in that it streams music to your computer (so you don't have to download anything), but in this case you get to decide what kind of music you want to hear based on your mood. You can specify a mood, a tempo, a genre, a decade, and either "hits" or "non-hits." I selected "dark" and "energetic," but left the other options open; right now I'm listening to a James Brown song I'd never heard before. I'm in love.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What mamacita is ...


Hooray for InterLibrary Loans!

Images: Amazon

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Uncle Miles

This is Uncle Miles. He wants to come back in his next life as a whale, because they get to eat all the shrimp they want and have orgies twice a year. Happy Birthday, Uncle Miles!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Who's Your Mamacita?

June Cleaver is crying into her crinolines. Carol Brady has turned to a life of crime. It’s all because they know that they’ve been pwned in the mothering department. I am the MOTHER OF THE FREAKING YEAR.

We had an impromptu playdate the other day, and I had to come up with a snack for everybody. Hence, Nutella Puffs. Here’s the drill*:

Preheat oven to 400.
Unfold a sheet of thawed puff pastry.
Spread Nutella all over the pastry.
Roll the pastry into a log and cut into discs about ½” thick.
Lay the discs on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in oven until they are golden, brown and delicious.

But don’t take my word for it – ask one of my satisfied customers:

And how does the MOTHER OF THE FREAKING YEAR top herself? By forgetting to pay the water bill (for two months straight) and having the water cut off. Yesss!

*Incidentally, if you replace the word “Nutella” with the word “pesto” you have the recipe for The Amazing Pesto Pinwheels. Also, skip the sugar sprinkling part.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dispatch from Nerd Land

Unless you are married to a SuperNerd, you may have missed this: a short film about Bill Gates' last day at Microsoft, starring every A-list celebrity who might need a favor one day.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jane on TV

The complete works of Jane Austen are airing on PBS over the next few weeks. In Houston they're on at 8 p.m. (regular and HD channels). Here's the schedule:

Jan. 13-- Persuasion
Jan. 20-- Northanger Abbey
Jan. 27-- Mansfield Park
Feb. 3-- a Jane Austen biography film
Feb. 10, 17 and 24 -- Pride and Prejudice, in three parts (Colin Firth edition, Emily!)
Mar. 23-- Emma (Kate Beckinsale edition)

Click here for more details. Check your local listings for times. Your mileage may vary.

10 Things I Didn't Know Last Week

1. As struggling young actors, Robert Duvall and Dustin Hoffman were roommates.

2. They were pals with Gene Hackman.

3. The real-life wife of R2D2 (Kenny Baker) played an Ewok in Return of the Jedi.

4. Fernand Leger made a movie (you can catch it on YouTube).

5. There is a museum dedicated to barbed wire.

6. Most birds have a poor sense of smell.

7. Woodstock is for sale.

8. The Supreme Court didn't have a permanent home until 1935.

9. The UN has declared 2008 "International Year of the Potato."

10. Maybe it was supposed to be a rope, not a camel, through the eye of the needle.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Top Five Favorite New Things Not Made By Letitia Last Year

  1. Sechler’s Sweet Heat Mixed Pickles
  2. Hamilton sugar cookies
  3. Nutella cookies
  4. Homemade limoncello
  5. Pesto pinwheels

Top Five Favorite Things Letitia Made Last Year

  1. Plum ginger jam
  2. Green chili chicken stew
  3. Chili mole
  4. Blueberry jam
  5. Coco jam
Use the comments section to demand the recipes. If she doesn't comply, I'll give you her home address.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy Epiphany

Okay, I will finally take down my Christmas decorations now. I just couldn't do it before I got some cake. Clockwise from the top: Rosco de Reyes, from El Bolillo bakery (a little dry and disappointing); some leftover Christmas cookies my neighbor Lisa brought over; chocolate mendicants, which I made; Gallette des Rois, made by Letitia (definitely the day's favorite); Epiphany Tart, also by Letitia; and Nutella cookies by Uncle John (so, so yummy. He made up the recipe, and will be famous for it one day.). In the center are the crowns Letitia made for the person who found the Baby Jesus (i.e. the whole almond) in the cakes. I'd show you a picture of the lucky winner, but I may want to blackmail Angela one day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Word of the Year, 2007

I subscribe to both A Word A Day and the Urban Dictionary's Word of the Day; I am what you call a "logophile" (if you are a huge nerd). So, without further ado, let me present to you my favorite word of the year for 2007. Here is the Urban Dictionary's semi-literate definition:

stabby: The feeling one has when one is in a particularly bad mood about wither nothing or something. It doesn't matter. You are feeling borderline homicidal. Ideas of stabbing things to relieve the seething anger come to mind.. Then you get distrated or blog about it and it goes away. [sic]
That covers soooo much territory, doesn't it? And it beats the crap out of locavore.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Lorenzo de Medici

And thanks for all that Renaissance Italy stuff.

Cool hat, BTW.