Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is A Poltergeist Controlling Your E-Mail Account?

 I was really surprised a few weeks ago when I received an e-mail from a friend of mine that contained a link to Canada Pharmacy to buy Viagra and Cialis. “Did you really send this to me?” I asked her in a return e-mail. “Or did someone hack into your e-mail?”

Not surprisingly, a day later, I received a group e-mail that said, “Friends, someone [not her] is using my e-mail for nasty purposes.” I wasn’t at all surprised.

A couple of months ago, I received an e-mail from an acquaintance of mine stating that while traveling in India, her wallet and passport had been stolen. Would I please send her money right away so that she could come home? Since I hardly know her, I was somewhat annoyed by this until I read in the newspaper that this is a current scam making the rounds. This woman most likely didn’t send the message and would be mortified if she knew that it had been sent in her name.

We’ve all received communications from the ubiquitous Nigerian Prince stating that if we’d just send our passport numbers, they would send the five million dollar inheritance to which we were entitled forthwith. I think he’s given up on us as I haven’t heard from him in years. Even a cat has only nine lives so I guess there were only so many times that the Nigerian Prince could die (depending on your religious beliefs about death.)

All this leads me to say that if you receive an e-mail message that sounds preposterous, the Nigerian Prince who’s had so many rebirths probably sent it. Technology is great, but it also provides yet another opportunity for us to treat each other abominably. We have to be really careful how we use it.

This subject can be really upsetting. I sometimes wonder if anyone has hacked into my e-mail and sent out insulting messages to my friends. Well, if you get any from me, ask me if I really sent it. Well, if you get any from me, ask me if I really sent it first. Let me apologize in advance if my poltergeist hurts your feelings.

 With all these computer capers, I’m all wound up. It’s time for some comfort food. Here’s an easy chicken recipe that can be prepared in 10 to 15 minutes. It will give you time to make amends for all the fake messages sent in your name.

                                                          Sesame-Soy Chicken
One whole chicken cut up
Soy sauce
Lemon juice
Ginger powder
Garlic powder
Sesame seeds

The second through sixth ingredients are to taste.

1.Preheat the oven to 350 fahrenheit.
2.Clean the chicken and place skin side up in a baking pan.
3.Sprinkle ingredients two through six on the chicken and bake for about an hour or until skin becomes crispy.   

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fishing For A Recipe for Peace In the Shadow of 9/11

Nearly everyone had something to say about the 10th anniversary of 9/11, that day that changed our lives forever. Whatever I had been planning to say has already been said. Like every other American, I’ll always remember where I was and what I was doing at that Moment. As with the assassinations of President Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King, sharing my personal experiences of that time with other Americans will always create an instant connection with everyone who experienced it.

Now that tragic day has passed. We have to look ahead to what kind of society we want America to be. We all have a role in shaping that society by our actions. Will we forever view anyone [especially Moslems and people from the Middle East] differently with suspicion or will we honor each other’s differences and treat each other with mutual respect?

Often it feels that there is little that we as individuals can do to influence national trends or politics. On a local level, however, we can often exert some influence in our own communities. We were privileged on 9/11/2011 to participate in a local event that promoted interpersonal understanding across the gulfs of racial, ethnic, and age differences. The Walk and Talk was spearheaded by Peaceable Cities ( in Evanston, Illinois. Over 70 organizations both faith based and secular participated. We marched through Evanston for about three miles from the Dar el Suna Mosque to the Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue (JRC). Every couple of  blocks, volunteers would hold up signs saying “Time for a Change” at which point we were instructed to change partners and dialogue with someone new.  I spoke with people from the Mosque, members of the Friends Meetinghouse, and a mom and her little girl who was being home schooled. We all gained from hearing each others’ stories. We arrived at JRC that much richer having met fellow marchers we would have been unlikely to spend time with otherwise. It was a beautiful day and I hope the first of many similar dialogues.

I usually share a recipe that fits a theme but alas, this week I needed to eat something soft. I hope this recipe that I got years ago also bridges the great divides. After the Walk and Talk, I made tilapia in saffron tomato sauce. Preparation time was 25 minutes.

                                                Tilapia in saffron tomato sauce

1/8 tsp saffron threads
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 each onion chopped and small red bell pepper
1 ½  pounds ripe tomatoes chopped or one can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ pounds tilapia fillets
3 T basil, oregano, and parsley

1.slightly crush the saffron and add to the oil. Let stand.
2.Put saffron and oil in a skillet and sauté. Add the onions and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper, other seasoning. Cook on medium heat stirring until in thickens for about 10 minutes.
3.Add the fish. Cook on low to medium heat until the fish flakes on a fork usually 5-8 minutes.



    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Art So Green - A Recipe for Preserving the World

    Are you pondering what to do with objects that you no longer need? Why not turn them into art? At the Remix Art Fair in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago, artists exhibited their works all of which were made from recycled materials. We attended the fair this past weekend and were impressed by the ingenuity shown in creating beauty from what would have previously been considered garbage.

    On my first stop, I bought a notepad from Sara Hindmarch that was light enough to put in my purse without weighing me down. A useful and decorative concept. Sara said that she makes her notepads and other things  from recycled paper. The recycled paper had been used to make calendars and beer cartons. She used them for covers and then made pages from other recycled paper. Armed with this little notepad, I was able to jot down ideas from the rest of the fair. If you would like to buy one from her, her website is


    Other art we saw was earrings and mobiles created from crystal pieces from old chandeliers. They were really exquisite. Another artist had a booth displaying what she called Slag Archaeology – earrings and things made from objects washed up on Lake Michigan’s shores. We saw earrings made from old gears and some beautiful glass objects made from recycled glass. Another artist displayed purses made from castoff burlap bags that had previously held basmati rice and other products. It was amazing how decorative all these items were.

    Some dismiss the existence of  climate change and other threats to our    environment. Others may still say that the world is flat. I don’t know. Nevertheless, for those of us concerned about our environment, this art fair showed an effort to make a difference on a local level. It should be applauded.

    I wanted to keep to the spirit of the art fair by cooking something green. Why not spaghetti with zucchini and mushrooms in pesto sauce. You can put in whatever amounts you want based on how many are eating. Preparation time was 15 to 20 minutes.

       Spaghetti with Zucchini and Mushrooms in Pesto Sauce

     Spaghetti, boiled
                         Zucchini cut in thin slices
                         Mushrooms sliced
                         Sun dried tomatoes
                         Green olives
                         Minced garlic
                         Olive oil
                         Grated pecorino or mozzarella cheese
                         Pesto Sauce (You can make your own or get lazy and buy a package of it)

    Put the water on to boil for the spaghetti

    While waiting for the water to boil, saute the zucchini, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, minced garlic, and olives in olive oil. Add some oregano.

    Grate the cheese.

    Mix the pesto sauce according to directions in recipe or on package.

    When the water is boiled, add the spaghetti. Boil until it’s al dente. Then drain in a colander.

    Replace in the pot with the vegetables and pesto sauce and let it cook together on a low heat for 2 to 5 minutes.

    Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.