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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Queen Ginger Waxes Politic....

The Queen is finding herself to be alarmingly political this year... much more so than ever before.  She thinks it a bit odd, really, to be so interested in things political. In college, she found the poli-sci majors to be the most boring of the nerds, and did her best not to invite them to parties lest they spoil the fun and bring their downer views around to cancel out everyone's excellent "mood stabilizers".  But this year, for some reason, she kinda smells what they were stepping in!

Maybe it's the parade of mormons morons coming from the far right....



Maybe it's the horribly ill-fated attempt by the worthless Governor of my own bankrupt state to gain a spot on the ballot:

Maybe it's the "we're not gonna take it anymore" spirit of  my friends on the left who are making their voices heard:

And maybe it's Queen Ginger's newfound confidence in her own personal spirituality...


Regardless of the cause, Queen Ginger has become more and more irritated by people who will not think for themselves, and insist on aligning with a movement, or defining themselves as a member of a party, without thinking about what they are saying!


Case in point: "tea party" acquaintances who want to support the Republican party's stance on government regulation, and scorn the "Occupy" movements as extremist.  Queen G wants to scream at them: "BITCH! You work at Wal-mart- you are NOT part of their 1%!!"


Another one that floors the Queen: people who want to label themselves as "fiscally conservative, socially liberal".  Honey, that's like labeling yourself a "Jewish-Christian"- it ain't gonna work!!  The fact that Republicans want to paint liberals as fiscally irresponsible just burns Queen G's biscuit! Those of us who want social liberty don't expect to gain it by bouncing checks all over the world- we just want to spend the wealth of our country, still the richest nation in the world, on things that will benefit ALL people in our nation, not just the ones living on Park Avenue or Boardwalk!


Queen Ginger has said all along that she will do just about anything to keep Rick Perry out of the White House, and it's looking more and more like she's going to make good on that promise. Even with Obama's popularity at a relatively low position, the Republicans may make this the easiest reelection any Democrat has ever seen!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

How About a Nice Slice Of....

October 22nd is National Pie Hole Day!  You'd better make sure your comments have the phrase "pie hole" in them!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

GingerSnaps: Meet Fiona!!

If you've not heard of Fiona, Queen Ginger is working hard to change that!  As you may have read here, her friend Fiona Dawson entered a contest to get her own show on a little known, relatively unwatched new network. (Just kidding, Momma O!) That attempt was ill-fated, but Fiona's determination to make it happen was not, and she soldiered on to find a way to celebrate diversity and open the world's eyes to everyday miracles that people are accomplishing  to end discrimination! So moved was the Queen by Fiona's pitch and passion that she made a small donation to her campaign on Kickstarter to help her find a way to produce the show herself, and with that seed money, Fiona was able to travel to India to visit a hostel for women who are rescued from the red-light district in Mumbai, where they had been sold into prostitution.  She filmed miles of footage, and is ready to pitch the show to production companies and television executives to find a partner to produce the episodes.  Take a look at her pitch reel:
Fiona Sizzle Reel from Fiona Dawson on Vimeo.

So, whaddya say, GingerSnaps?  Does this look like a show that would interest you?  Queen Ginger thinks Fiona's positive, fresh take on the GOOD things people are doing to END the oppression of discrimination is what sets this show apart from any others on the air!

So, in support of Fiona's efforts, the Queen herself is throwing open the gates of the palace to host a little cocktail party in Fiona's honor! At the party, Fiona will explain what she is accomplished so far, what still needs to be done, and what her friends and supporters can do to help her make this lifelong dream a reality!  Being new to the American television scene,  she looking for advice, contacts, leads, introductions, or any other "insider tips" she can get to help move the project forward.  Since she probably will need to produce a full episode up front in order to pitch the series, she will also be making an offer to potential investors who may wish to support her endeavor.

If you are interested in attending the party, hit up Queen G for an invite!  And if you've got advice, contacts,or just words of encouragement for Fiona's efforts,  leave them in the comments or email them here and we'll get them into the proper hands!

Take care, and love to all!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

When Is a Blender not a Blender?

When it is a SOUPMAKER!  When Queen Ginger first saw the Cuisinart® Blend and Cook® Soup Maker, she knew it was perfect for a Consumer Product Review®!  At $200, would a blender with heating elements REALLY be worth the money?  Inquiring GingerSnaps want to know, and so does Queen G, so she bought it and headed home to test it out!


You may ask "Queen Ginger, why not just open a can of soup and pop it in the microwave?"  Well, dear 'Snaps, I suppose you could, but have you read the nutrition label on most canned soups?  They are mostly salt, with some fat stirred in, and enough little cubes of ingredients to give the soup a name.  They are delicious, but terrible for you!  And the so called "healthy" soups just taste, well, healthy.  Homemade soups are relatively easy to make at home, but can be a bit of a mess by the time you use a blender, and perhaps a food processor, and a pot on the stove- that pretty much leaves you cleaning the whole kitchen!  Wouldn't it be nice if you could do it all in one unit that can just pop into the dishwasher?


First, a little about the machine itself.  It looks for all the world like a regular blender, although when you compare it to a regular blender, it's a bit taller, and the bottom of the jar is somewhat wider than most. There is a knob to control the blend functions, buttons to control the cooking temperature, and a timer that must be set in order for the elements to heat.  The blending and cooking functions cannot be operated at the same time, but there is a "stir" function that will turn the blades at a slow speed while cooking to mix the ingredients.  The jar and lid can go into the dishwasher, and the blade unit with the heating plate is easy enough to rinse clean in the sink. Used without the heating elements, it can be used just like a regular blender to make margaritas. Or margaritas. You could even make a pitcher of margaritas!  Aside from that, Queen Ginger has found most blenders to be relatively useless... until now!


Queen Ginger had not sent a waif to the grocery store in ages, but she managed to find a recipe right there in the book to make with ingredients she had on hand!  She had an onion, some dried lentils, and a couple of carrots that were just beginning to get a bit flabby, but hey, that's another great thing about making soup: you can use vegetables that are a bit too ripe to serve raw or whole, but no quite putrid enough for the compost heap!  Queen G just loves a chance to be green!


The process for most soups starts, like all things delicious, with a bit of fat and some onions.  Here you can see the butter cholesterol-free margarine sizzling in the bottom of the jar as it melts, which only takes a couple of minutes.  


Once the margarine melts, the onions go in.  Cut them into 1/2" pieces, and drop them in.  A few pulses of the "stir" button breaks them up a bit more and distributes the butter.














The lentils are added, with some of the Queens delicious and healthful homemade stock that she put away last spring, and seasonings over which Queen G has complete control! She used Tony Cachere's Lite:  Nothing unhealthy in this bowl!  


After about 30 minutes cooking and a few "stirs", the soup was just the way the Queen likes it: rich, with a bit of spice, and recognizable lentils.  The stirring process broke them up enough to make the soup creamy, but no so much that the soup was smooth.  If one prefers smooth soup, a few whirls in the "blend" mode and that's what they'd have!


The soup turned out delicious!  It made about 4 cups of soup, and since that was the main part of Queen G's meal, she had 2 cups for dinner, and saved 2 cups for lunch the next day. It was just as good the next day, and the machine makes it so easy, she could see herself making several batches of different soups on Sunday to have a week's worth of lunches at the ready! Next on her list of recipes to try:  Asparagus and Leek Soup, and Cream of Broccolli.  Don't think it only makes cream soups, however!  There are recipes for Pasta e Fagioli, and Chicken Noodle, too;  the texture of the soup is all according to the order in which you add the ingredients and when you blend the "base".


Queen Ginger is going to give the Cuisinart® Blend and Cook® Soupmaker 4 lipsticks!  While it certainly is an appliance once could survive without, it does make it easy to take control over your own nutritional destiny.  It's easy to use, easy to clean, and does what the package says it will do!



Friday, October 14, 2011

Ah, Youth!

When one of us would say something with youthful exuberance or naivete, Momma G would say "Ah, youth!  It's wasted on the young!"  She probably would not have sad that about this sign; she, like many posters on facebook, would probably congratulate this young person, and herald them as exemplary among today's youth. If Queen Ginger had remained in the small southern town where she was raised, she might think the same thing!


But lucky for Queen G, she moved to the big city!  She has seen a little bit of the world outside the US.  And she has met many friends and acquaintances who have opened her eyes to such naivete!








Queen Ginger would love the opportunity to pose a few questions to this smug, overconfident young graduate:


1. Do you suppose you would be so smug if you had contracted a debilitating disease or developed a devastating handicap?  Do you think you could work 30 hours and week and carry all that course load if you came down with mono?  Hepatitis?  Pneumonia?  All three are common in the tight environment of college campuses and take you out for an entire semester.


2. How do you think you would handle 30 hours a week and all of that course load with a child to raise?  Along with bathing, feeding, educating, nurturing, studying, working, and trying to get a few winks of sleep, do you supposed you would have time to pen signs to post on the internet?


3. What would you do if your parents, a sibling, or another loved one took gravely ill and needed your care and attention?  Would you be by your families side in their time of need, and perhaps their last days on earth, or would your midnight shift at IHOP be more important to you?


4. What do you think would happen if the companies who funded those scholarships you covet had a financial crisis and failed?  Do you think fulfilling their scholarships would be their first priority? 


You've been very lucky, you little shit- and don't you EVER take that for granted!!  Otherwise, the sign you are holding may look more like this:







Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Royal Observation....

As Boy G was going through drawers and closets trying to make some sense of the Palace, Queen G came across the set of plugs that go with her cell phone, and they got her to thinking.  Scary when that happens, huh?




So here they are, for comparison.  The one on the left, with it's heavy-duty looks and ample design, is the British standard.  To Queen Ginger, it seems kind of fitting, really.  Almost orthopedic looking, like QE II's footwear! It looks like it could withstand a bombing, which may be why the Brits built it to be so substantial!

In the center is the rather delicate "Europlug", used extensively across the United States of Europe the European Union.  Rather demure in design, this plug has surely been the bane of every American tourist who has ever tried to use it with a converter to charge a cell phone, read their email, or dry their hair!  The outlets are slightly recessed to provide some slight hope to Europeans that their appliance will actually stay plugged in, and this makes it even harder to try to plug in a voltage converter, an adapter plug, and then the big block plug that charges whatever it is you've depleted.  And don't EVEN get Queen G started on what it's like to try to keep all of that connected on a smelly Italian train!  She's pretty sure this design was developed by the French, as a way to discourage American tourism across the Continent! 

Finally, on the right is the familiar plug used in North America.  Rather small and diminutive by comparison, this plug appears to be designed for cheap manufacture and throw-away design. Interestingly enough, this is also the outlet that Japan adopted, which seems to prove the Queens point, don't you think?  The best feature of the American plug, however, is the 2 little divots on each side of the blade, which mate with matching bumps inside outlet, which will keep your appliance firmly plugged until it's time to replace it in, say, a year or 2!

Queen Ginger leaves you, as always, with a question to ponder.  How is it that Australia got their own plug, instead of the British one? And why did her cell phone not come with a plug for there?

A Blast From the Past!

These didn't seem nearly as cheesy 20 years ago! 







Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Cleaning?

While Princess Shelby enjoys her little romp in the fall leaves, Boy G has decided he cannot stand another moment of Miss G's clutter- something must be done!


It all started when Queen G had to haul all of her stuff down to the dining room table to make her new fall frock, since she couldn't even GET to the sewing nook in her closet!  Boy G had enough, so he started sorting, pitching, and organizing! It took two days to rifle through dresses, jewelry and other unmentionables to get our gurl (mostly) back in order!








Boy G was actually quite surprised that he was able to mate  up all of the earrings except for one, and he hasn't given up hope on that one!  As he emptied all of her finery from the jillions of ziplock bags that contained it, he sorted it into these nifty little containers that have adjustable compartments to keep the earrings together and the necklaces untangled.  Each layer contains a specific color of jewelry, and Miss G can pop out only the colors that match her outfits for the night, and take them along without having to haul the whole collection!  She so enjoys selecting the perfect stone to match her outfit, so play along with me and don't let on that you know they are all paste!




Once the jewelry was done, it was easy to sort through the rest of the various and sundry accessories she uses to accent her wardrobe, and Boy G labeled them boldly so she can find what she's looking for, even without her glasses. 


After that was all cleaned up, Boy G poured himself a stiff cocktail and took on the biggest project yet- her makeup box!  This is the Queen who has collected every free gift-with-purchase from every cosmetic brand that ever cluttered a counter, so he knew the project was going to be a big one!  Plus, he knew she had her stuff scattered through every drawer and cabinet in the bathroom, as well, so he'd really have to go through all of to get it all together! 




Now, Boy G thought he would have an easy time finding the expiration dates on all of the Queens products, but guess what: in the US, "cosmetics" don't have to have an expiration date printed on them!  "Drugs" and "medicines" do, but not cosmetics. (Incidentally, I am of the opinion that the cosmetic companies have lobbied for this to save money!)  A quick internet search brought up lots of dissenting information, depending upon who published the info, but basically, we discovered that the closer a product is used to mucous membranes, and the more liquid its form, the shorter it's useful life. It doesn't last long once the package is opened!


Here are some guidelines developed by the Queen herself:


Liquid eyeliner and mascara- 6-8 months.  Here's a trick to making mascara stay fresh longer- after the first use, break the wand off and throw it away.  Then, use disposable wands from the beauty supply store to prevent transferring bacteria from your eyes to the tube.  Ditto for liquid eyeliner- use the package brush only once, then break it off and toss it.  A quality reusable liner brush will give you more control and can be washed and sanitized. These tips are especially important for a group of drunk drag queens who tend to share everything!
Eye pencils and shadows- 8-18 months.  Each time you sharpen a pencil you are giving it a sanitary point, so as long as the color stays creamy you are probably okay. Remember to put the cap back on to make it last longer!  Use disposable wands for shadows, and ditch them when they dry and crack.
Lipsticks and lip pencils- 6-12 months. Lipstick will stay sanitary longer if you use a clean lip brush to apply it, instead of wiping the stick on your lips... but really, who does that?  When it loses it's fragrance, it's probably time to ditch it.
Foundations- 12-24 months.  Cake and powder foundations last the longest; liquid foundations spoil the fastest.  If the cake has flaked and cracked, toss it.  If the liquid has separated or lost it's fragrance, it's time to ditch it, as well.
Lotions, creams, and cleansers- 6-12 months.  Lotions with natural oils, such as almond, jojoba, etc, will spoil fastest.  As the oils become rancid, they will change the fragrance of the product, and it should be discarded.


Once the cosmetics were cleared out, Boy G went through the drawers and cabinets to ditch all of the old cold medicines, pain relievers, and vitamin supplements that were past their expiration dates.  He was certainly surprised by how much old stuff he had- some of which he had been using!
















After hauling 2 cans full of old stuff to the dumpster, Boy G organized all of the rest of the Queens stuff by use and color. Now, she can get her face on and be out the door in a flash!


When was the last time you went through your stuff? Better question- what's the expiration date on the aspirin bottle in YOUR medicine cabinet?













Monday, October 3, 2011

It's Finally Fall in the South!

Now, don't be thinking we're putting on sweaters, or raking leaves, or anything CRAZY like that!!  Here on the Gulf Coast,  "Fall" simply means the end of an infernal, humid-as-hell, seemingly endless summer, and the arrival of more moderate temperatures and a humidity level several notches below "sweaty". Lately, our nighttime temps have dropped to the 60's, with a daytime high of about 85, with an extremely comfortable 30% humidity!

Queen Ginger was REALLY reminded of Fall in Louisiana when her business trip took her down I-10, from Baton Rouge to Lafayette.  As she drove through the old plantation country, she saw truckloads of sugarcane going one direction, with truckloads of bagasse and tankers of syrup going the other!!

In the "old days", cane and bagasse were hauled by train, and every Fall, Momma G would reminisce about the cane trains coming by Aunt Nen's property, and Momma and her friend would wave to the conductor, who would throw them pieces of the sweet, stringy cane, already peeled and ready to chew!  Nowadays, most the cane is hauled by truck, and there's a lot more bagasse to haul than their used to be!

For those not "in the know", bagasse is the by-product of sugar production. Basically, it's the fibrous stems of the sugar cane that are left after they are pulverized to remove all of the sugar-rich juice.  Perhaps one of the original biofuels, bagasse made the sugar plantations some of the most efficient industries in the world at the time, because the bagasse was burned in furnaces to boil the sugar down into syrup and provide the heat for the refining and crystallization processes.  Today, most Louisiana processors create syrup from their cane, which is trucked to crystallization plants around the country.  This preserves the bagasse to be sold for more modern uses.  Today, bagasse is used to create paper, biofoam plates and cups, fuel pellets for home heating, and recently, scientists at Louisiana's ag schools have even developed liquid biofuels from bagasse! 

And worry ye not that the poor folks of the South don't have the delicious smell of burning leaves to celebrate Fall- we have our own version!  Sugar cane is a 2-year crop, and typically, what is planted in the spring is harvested in 18 months, the following October.  A farmer can get a couple of good harvests out of a field of canes, and then, he must replace them to maintain a good yield.  After harvesting the last crop from a set of roots,  the farmer will set the field afire, to burn the stubs and roots into carbon, which he will then till into the soil to provide additional nutrients to next years crops! More efficiency, and the fragrance of the burning fields can be smelled for miles- our own version of burning leaves! The burning also keep the rodent and reptile population in check, lest the farm become overrun with those nasty creatures!

My next post will cover another South Louisiana Fall tradition, and I recenlty saw Nutwood Beth's post about making apple butter.  What are the Fall celebrations and traditions in your neck of the woods?


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