Happy Halloween: Beautiful Winter Squash and an Excerpt from an Early Gothic Novel

"She was enchanted with the new world now exhibited to her, and she was not cool enough to distinguish the vivid glow of imagination from the colours of real bliss. The pleasure she now felt she believed would always be renewed, and in equal degree, by the objects which first excited it. The weakness of humanity is never willingly perceived by young minds. It is painful to know, that we are operated upon by objects whose impressions are variable as they are indefinable--and that what yesterday affected us strongly, is to-day but imperfectly felt, and to-morrow perhaps shall be disregarded. When at length this unwelcome truth is received into the mind, we at first reject with disgust every appearance of good, we disdain to partake of a happiness which we cannot always command, and we not unfrequently sink into a temporary despair. Wisdom or accident, at length, recal [sic] us from our error, and offers to us some object capable of producing a pleasing, yet lasting effect, which effect, therefore, we call happiness. Happiness has this essential difference from what is commonly called pleasure, that virtue forms its basis, and virtue being the offspring of reason, may be expected to produce uniformity of effect."

-Ann Radcliffe, A Sicilian Romance


Sorry for the lull. I've been dreadfully busy of late.


"They tippled like Fishes, and prattled like Parrots, / And Gobbled down Cakes, as a Sow would do Carrots. -Ned Ward, "A Walk to Islington"

Kenneth buys me the sweetest, most beautiful, and most strangely erotic cakes for my birthday celebrations. This year's cake nods to the similarity between two creams-- shaving cream and buttercream.

I helped choose this design, but in the past Kenneth surprised me. In 2001, he won my heart with this one.


"...with the Modesty of a Learner, not the Forwardness of a Teacher. You'll pardon me for it, but I once, to try her only, desired her Opinion...

...on a Point which was controverted between Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square, To which she answered with much Sweetness, 'You will pardon me, good Mr. Allworthy, I am sure you cannot in Earnest think me capable of deciding any Point in which two such Gentlemen disagree.'"

facebook.com is now a networking site like friendster.com and myspace.com; until very recently, the community was limited to people with .edu addresses-- high school and college students, staff, and faculty. The last couple of semesters, I've read my students' facebook profiles so that I can ask them impertinent questions during the class meeting we use for introductions: "On your facebook profile, you write, 'You know how at parties.. there are the "drunk drunk" people, and the "sober sober" people... well I was one of the "drunk-sober" people.' What does it mean that you're a 'drunk-sober' person?" I swear there's a pedagogical function to this, but I'll sidestep that digression. Another bonus of facebook.com and its popularity is that I can easily capture pictures of almost all my students and use the images to learn their names very quickly. When I printed out their pics in September, I promised Bradford I would post the image so that my friends and readers could take a gander at my students and get a sense of who I'm teaching. That was before I had a sense of what a super group I have this semester. You'll have to click on the image to really see them.

Here they are identified by their research topics. They're still in the earliest stages of the project, so don't balk if some topics sound dangerously broad. I can't wait to see their work: I mean, a paper about the cowboy hat!? about fingernails!? What could be better? Seriously!

Dispatch from Wausau: the Watermelon Radish

My brilliant friend kittyklive and I made a trip the the farmer's market last Saturday during her brief visit to Madison. I sent her back up north to Wausau with a couple of farm-fresh treats. She just reported back on the pleasures of her watermelon radish:
"I ate this with no seasoning or dressing at all--just straight up, crisp, slightly sweet and beety gorgeous magenta goodness. What bliss! I might have found my spirit vegetable." She explained that we see her dining in hat and zippered jacket because she's keeping her thermostat low, despite the snow falling outside.


Too busy to cook?

Fall picnic during our recent trip to see Julius Caesar at APT.

Dessert at APT: delightfully fudgy brownies

Salt and Pepper shrimp is old news. Here, I'm proud of the arroz a la Mexicana.