Saturday, October 27, 2007

Noble but utterly and unsurprisingly failed

I started working at Philadelphia's Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, where, under the pretenses of working on a research project, I've been going through the treasure trove of documents that disorganized governmental organizations never throw out. From a 1964 issue of "Library Journal":

"AURAL READING MACHINE: A new machine to enable the blind to read ordinary printed material is being evaluated by the Battelle Memorial Institute. At the present stage of development of the reader, the sounds produced by the device do not resemble speech but are patterns of musical tones similar to chords played on an organ. By interpreting these tones, trained users should ultimately attain a speed of 15 to 30 words per minute."

Which led Mr. Wiegle and I to envision the following fantasy history:

"ORAL READING MACHINE: At the present stage of development, the machine converts inputted text into an omelette recipe, then makes an omelette. By interpreting these omelettes, trained users should ultimately attain a reading speed of 300 words per meal (wpm). Users will be able to program the machine to automatically process the morning newspaper and create omelettes before the user awakes. The user can then consume breakfast and the news simultaneously. A meal of 36 omelettes will result in the reading of the major sections of a standard local paper."

NY Times Headline, 6/27/1965: "Study shows blind people gaining weight more rapidly than other demographic groups"

Monday, October 15, 2007

Don't That Look Like a Tasty Bowl o' Mush?

I have been experimenting with an innovative and delicious new dessert concept. At first glance, you may be tempted to call it little more than warm, undercooked rice pudding, but I prefer "dessert risotto." Here's how the inaugural Nailgun Alley version goes:

Make some jasmine rice. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir said rice with butter, peanut butter, cream, and sugar. (Don't get all high and mighty with cooking technique and when to add what. It's all gonna turn into the same delectable slop no matter how it goes down.) Remove from heat. Fold in frozen chocolate chips. Consume.

The man of the house was so keen on the idea that tonight he made a big pot of rice, ate half of it with chili for dinner and then ate the rest as chocolate-peanut-butter dessert risotto. Though I think he now regrets that plan (note: best to precede dessert risotto with dinner of healthy green salad), we at the Dessert Risotto Foundation applaud his ricely efforts.

Next adaptation will be an autumnal blend of canned pumpkin, pie spices, and graham cracker chunks.

The only thing that might theoretically be able to top this: deep-fried dessert risotto.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Up and clickable

My other Web site is up. You know, the one that may make me some money. I'm assuming this one won't, but if you'd like to prove me wrong by sending a check, by all means.