Saturday, February 27, 2010

In Honor of Johnny

Yesterday would have been Johnny Cash's 78th birthday. In honor of the occasion, I bring you this:

(Hat tip to my friend Nigel for sharing the video!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Royal Mile 

Victoria Street
 Headquarters of Royal Bank of Scotland
City Centre: Balmoral Hotel in the shadow of the Waverly Train Station

Barth on Forgiveness

"... let us not nurse our grudges with pleasure ... let us retain some humor with respect to our offenders. Let us have toward others this small impulse of forgiveness, of freedom." - Karl Barth in Prayer

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Calling Out an SOS

Oh the cultural differences! They do exist. Even after living here 2 1/2 years, I'm still amused by some of the differences.

Just this morning I awoke with a slight medical problem and called my doctor. After explaining my ailment to the receptionist, she calmly said she could work me in to emergency surgery at 10 til 5. EMERGENCY. SURGERY. What are they going to do? Removing the ailment surgically would entail removing my face.

What's even more humorous is that what Americans refer to as the "surgery room," Brits call "theater" or maybe "theatre." I mean, I know it can be a traumatic experience and possibly entail some drama -- but theater????

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Top 5 Dishes to Try in Scotland

# 1 Haggis

 I know I've been talking about Haggis a lot lately .... but it's true: you must try Haggis on your visit to Scotland. Ideally your Haggis (lamb innards, oats, and suet) will be served with neeps and tatties (mashed parsnips and mashed potatoes). However, in these parts -- you could find Haggis on your nachos or stuffed into a bell pepper. It's everywhere!

#2 Cullen Skink Soup

Cullen Skink is a delicious, thick soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes, and onion.  Normally served as a starter for a formal dinner, I recommend eating this soup any chance you get! It's relatively easy to find it in a Scottish restaurant, but it's definitely not everywhere. It's so nice and hearty on a cold Scottish day.

#3 Fish and Chips
Fish and chips with mushy peas: a classic British dish. In Scotland, the fish is usually beer-battered, fried cod.  However, the fish could also be rolled in oats. Chips actually refers to what Americans would normally call French fries. They're usually quite good and chunky. However, don't expect to use normal ketchup on this dish. You'll want to douse your fish and chips in either brown sauce or salt & vinegar. And don't forget the mushy peas! Your peas could come looking like the ones above or they could be so mushy that they're actually completely mashed. Sometimes your peas might also be mixed with a bit of horseradish sauce.

# 4 Stuffed Potatoes
This particular potato seems to be stuffed with cheddar cheese and pineapple. Have I mentioned they'll stuff anything into a potato over here?  Cottage cheese, baked beans, tuna salad -- even pasta salad. The motto here is that anything goes in a potato. It's surprisingly super good. My latest favorite is haggis and cheddar in a baked potato.

# 5 Scone with Clotted Cream
Not specifically Scottish but definitely British, scones are like semi-sweet biscuits. They're not overly sweet like a cinnamon roll or danish. They do get quite sweet when you put a dollop of clotted cream and jam on them. And that's a must! According to the Ritz Carlton in London -- the institution of high tea -- the jam is supposed to go on first, then the clotted cream. Thus, the above picture is not in accordance with Ritz etiquette. I do think it is easier to put the clotted cream on and then the jam. But that's just me. And have I mentioned how heavenly clotted cream is??? Clotted cream is simply butter and cream mixed together. Quite possibly one of the best things you could put in your mouth!

I'll be posting soon on the top Scottish desserts to try! Even yummier!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Few Pictures from the Weekend

Friday night, MBA and I spent the evening with Scotty & Rebecca.
Rebecca, Scotty, & MBA with the Royal Bank's Headquarters in the Background
Rebecca & Moi

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Edinburgh: MBA & Old Town

Channeling the Sartorialist? 
I wish!
Regardless, I do like how this picture of MBA turned out. 

This is a fun one, too. On the Mound, you can almost make out New College in the background.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Come March ...

We'll be visiting this lovely place. MBA is thrilled we're going somewhere in the north of Europe instead of the south. Somehow I usually manage to drag him closer to the equator whenever we leave Edinburgh. This time - not so much. However, I'm equally thrilled with this short city-break. 

* Photo courtesy of the talented Gloria Green. If you're in the entertainment industry and need a manager or rep, she's the one to call!


MBA and I have been reading The Roger Scruton Reader.  I am so pleased to find that he has a blog and a nice website. While he hasn't posted to the blog since December, I'm hopeful there will be intriguing posts in the future. Here's a link to one of his articles in The Times.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


The grass seems slightly greener. Small buds are peeking out in random places.

Dare I say it ---

The sky is actually blue today. It's not gray!

This has me hopeful for spring. Anyone else out there itching for green, growth, and less frigid temperatures???

Monday, February 8, 2010

Did You Know?

Did you know that if you have a dog, you are legally required to keep the dog from "running at large"? This requirement amounts to a legal duty. Hence, if you breach the duty and your dog injures someone while they're at large, you'll be civilly liable for any injuries sustained by someone regardless of whether your dog has shown previous propensities of being dangerous.


And this one you might be surprised by:

Did you know that there is a cause of action for "breach of marriage promise"? Translation: if you call off your engagement, you could be sued by your former fiance/fiancee. Presumably, this was of greater importance in a world lacking equality between the sexes; however, it's still law in Tennessee and likely elsewhere in America.

* The above is law on the books in Tennessee. But my communication of this information to you via the world-wide web doesn't mean you and I have a lawyer/client relationship. If you need a lawyer -- and I'm a fan of people being legally-informed and represented -- I'd be happy to recommend one to you. Please feel free to email me.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Breaking News

I got a .............

library card!

Whoot Whoot!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Discoveries in Edinburgh

We now have real Tex-Mex. Welcome to town Illegal Jacks!

We're also getting a Nando's on Lothian Road.

The French Institute offers free admission to art exhibits and film viewings.
(Romanian film showing this Monday night)

The Filmhouse offers bargain matinees on Friday afternoon for £3.60. I like that!

~ and ~

A new restaurant and patisserie just opened on George the IV: The Cellar Door.
The patisserie even has chocolate workshops. Yum!
I had a free sample of their hot chocolate on the street yesterday, and it was incredibly delicious. Seems like a great place to pop in on these cold, cold days.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hannah Arendt on Revolutions

"If you look at the history of revolutions, you will see that it was never the oppressed and degraded themselves who led the way, but those who were not oppressed and not degraded but could not bear it that others were." - Hannah Arendt in Crises of the Republic


Is law meant to make men good? Or should law liberalize choices where men and women have the choice to make good decisions? Is this what we associate with "freedom"?  Does it have to be either/or?

"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it." - G.K. Chesterton

Ode to Haggis: A Celebration of Robbie Burns

MBA and I celebrated Burns Night, a celebration of Robbie Burns' birthday, with a gathering of friends. The celebration revolves around haggis and all things Scottish.
Check out all that haggis!

This is a real-live glimpse of the intermediary stage of haggis. It's baked in this shell, then cut open to eat. It comes out looking like the stuff in the above dish I'm holding.

On this particular occasion, it was the birthday of Robbie Burns. Certain traditions are practiced on Burns birthday, including giving an Ode to the Haggis. 

One of they key celebrations on Burns Night is the Ode to Haggis. On this occasion, our friend Marilyn coached Ian (an American) on how to give the Ode.
Here's Ian in action! (And don't worry -- he's supposed to have that knife in his hand!)
When he got to this part: "His knife see rustic Labour dight"-- he dug the knife into the haggis.
I have absolutely no idea why part of the tradition is to stab the haggis. Odd -- right?? However, I did enjoy my haggis with neeps and tatties. 

If you want to learn more about Burns Night, go visit this BBC website for loads of info.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Das Weisse Band

MBA and I saw Das Weisse Band, The White Ribbon, yesterday afternoon. I'm still mulling over the movie; it's quite thought-provoking. MBA liked it. I found it interesting. One critic states that the film is "an oppressive and impressive moral painting, in which neither the audience nor the people in the village find an escape and a valve from the web of authority, hierarchy and violence. [...] Everything in The White Ribbon is true. And that is why it is so difficult to bear." (Translated from German in "Eine deutsche Gewaltgeschichte"). I agree. It is a difficult movie to bear. The maker of the film, Michael Haneke, described the film as an exploration of every type of terrorism. The dark portrayal of fallen humans might, at times, be accurate; yet, life in Eichwald seemed hopeless. Realistically, redemption was never mentioned or portrayed. Possibly for the audience to deduce?

I don't know.

If you're interested in the film, I would do a bit of reading and research prior to going to determine whether it's well-suited for your tastes.
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