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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Televsion actors were the stars of the Emmys

Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston poses with his fourth best drama actor Emmy. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision AP)




Movie stars such as Julia Roberts, Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey had VIP seating. But the 66th Annual Pimetime Emmy Awards were all about television and its stars including a long list from 'Breaking Bad" proving voters have a long memory since the finale aired 11 months ago.

Sporting a Clark Gable mustache and obviously enjoying the evening was Bryan Cranston. That actor who played the meth dealer Walter White on Breaking Bad captured his fourth best drama actor Emmy -- tying him with another four-time winner, Dennis Franz - and the audience's attention after grabbing Julia Louis-Dreyfus for a long kiss - as she made her way up to accept the award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her work on Veep. 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP).


Here is the full list of winners at Monday's 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences:

— Drama Series: "Breaking Bad," AMC.
— Actor, Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad," AMC.
— Actress, Drama Series: Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife," CBS.
— Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad," AMC.
— Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad," AMC.
— Directing, Drama Series: Cary Joji Fukunaga, "True Detective," HBO.
— Writing, Drama Series: Moira Walley-Beckett, "Breaking Bad," AMC.
— Comedy Series: "Modern Family," ABC.
— Actor, Comedy Series: Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory," CBS.
— Actress, Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep," HBO.
— Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Ty Burrell, "Modern Family," ABC.
— Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Allison Janney, "Mom," CBS.
— Directing, Comedy Series: Gail Mancuso, "Modern Family," ABC.
— Writing, Comedy Series: Louis C.K., "Louie," FX.
— Miniseries: "Fargo," FX.
— Movie: "The Normal Heart," HBO.
— Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Benedict Cumberbatch, "Sherlock: His Last Vow," PBS.
— Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story: Coven," FX.
— Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Kathy Bates, "American Horror Story: Coven," FX.
— Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Martin Freeman, "Sherlock: His Last Vow," PBS.
— Directing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: Adam Bernstein, "Fargo," FX.
— Writing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: Stephen Moffat, "Sherlock: His Last Vow," PBS.
— Variety Series: "The Colbert Report," Comedy Central.
— Writing, Variety Special: Sarah Silverman, "Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles," HBO.
— Directing, Variety Special: Glenn Weiss, "67th Annual Tony Awards," CBS.
— Reality-Competition Program: "The Amazing Race," CBS.
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AAP contributed to this report

Friday, August 22, 2014

Omlet survey says men hate 'funky spelling' when texting

Flickr/Trevor Cummings


I am a writer.



So naturally I love words.



To this day I remember how excited I was as a child learning new words, big words, like encyclopedia. EN-CY-CL-OP-ED-IA, don’t you just love how it rolls off the tongue. Alas, this is probably why I have not conformed to the condensed version of the English language used when texting. No matter how many nanoseconds it takes, whether it is a text for my editor or a note for the family I must spell it out.



This is why I found a new national survey by Omlet (www.omlet.me), which is a chat app developed by a group of Stanford students interesting. The question they posed to 1,000 adults and young people participating was this, "If I holla at u w/flirty msge 4 possibull date, do u care ‘bout my cr8tive spellin?



According to Omlet’s Digital Flirting Rules survey – most men (58 percent) and women (73 percent) consider funky or very informal spelling to be their #1 biggest turn off, when receiving chat or text messages.



The second biggest turn off for the men in the survey was the use of multiple exclamation points in chat messages!!!! (47 percent disapproved). The men also frowned on a lack of punctuation and grammar (46 percent disapproved) followed closely by the use of all lower case words (41 percent disapproved). Almost as bad in their opinion was excessive slang as in LOL, BRB, WTF (40 percent disapproved).



The women in the survey were a little harder on the lack of punctuation and grammar. It was their second biggest turn off at 59 percent, followed by excessive slang (54 percent). One thing the men never mentioned but was a big turn off for the women was messages received during sleeping hours (51 percent disapproved). Fifth-biggest turn off for women was the use of all lower case (50 percent disapproved).



What both sexes did approve was the use of multiple emoticons and emojis, so keep those smileys and winks coming.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Farmer shares his secret to picking the cream of the crop

Ken DeCock, owner of Boyka's DeCock Farms and Greenhouses.

I should have listened to my grandfather. When I was a kid I would travel with him to area farms to visit with people he knew or to buy bushels of something for my grandmother. Whenever he was buying fruits and vegetables he would try to show me how to make the best selections -- even the best tree to climb for cherries and apples. But I never paid attention and often joked with him saying I didn't need to know because I had him.


Grandpa passed away long ago. And now that I am the one picking out produce I wish - and I'm sure my family wishes - I would have listened. I can pick out a good avocado for guacamole. That's easy but a sweet watermelon or cantaloupe, forget it.


As luck would have it a produce farmer recently offered me a second chance to learn the teachings of my grandfather and I took it.


"This is the first day we've had white sweet corn," said Ken DeCock of Boyka's Farm Market in Macomb Township, pointing toward a green wagon filled with corn that DeCock had picked while the rest of us were just thinking about waking up. Ken's farm and produce stand are named after his father Sylvester DeCock. If you're of Flemmish descent as Ken's father was you know that Boyka is Belgium for little boy. It was the nickname given to Sylvester - who was the oldest of three sons born to Hilaire and Mary DeCock. Sylvester and his wife Virginia had four sons who became the third generation of Boykas to work the farm. They were the entrepreneurs who began selling their fruits and vegetables off wagons parked on 23 Mile Road. Two-years later they expanded their services to include bedding plants and hanging baskets. So began the produce stand owned by Boyka's DeCock Farms & Greenhouses and operated by Ken and his brother Bob. As when their parents were running things, the stand offers bedding plants and hanging baskets from May to June and fruits and vegetables from mid-July to Oct. 31.


How to choose a good ear of corn?
There are several varieties of corn sitting on the wagons outside the family's stand this week including bi-color and white sweet corn.


"What you don't want to do is rip it all the way down," Ken said. There's no need for tearing off the husk and if farmers were anything like retailers they would have a sign on their stand warning customers: You rip it. You buy it. Instead pick up the cob and inspect the husk for holes and black marks or blemishes. If you're still not convinced you have a good cob peel back a small section of the husk at the top of the corn and check there for worms or holes. If you cannot see it there chances are it's a good piece of corn. Also, if you like small sweet kernels choose a cob with a narrow top. If you like big kernels choose a wider cone. "I have a friend who likes it so mature the kernels stick to his teeth. To each his own I guess," Ken said. The bi-color and sweet white corn costs around $4.25 a dozen but the cost is likely to go down as more varieties become ready for harvest.  


How to pick a good cantaloupe?


It's much easier than one might imagine. At the bottom of the cantaloupe where the melon was attached to the vine you'll see a small circle. If the middle of it has a portion of the vine attached it means the melon had to be torn from the vine and is probably not quite ready. It will be good to eat but not as sweet as one that's had time to ripen. If the circle has an indentation at its center and surrounding edge it means the melon has had time to sweeten and probably fell from the vine. The skin also says much about the melon. If it has an indented circle but a green cast give it a day or two to sweeten as in the case of a green banana. Also, a cantaloupe with a visible netting or web-like surface also means it's ripe for picking. A melon with a smoother surface or balding means it might be ripe but its flavor is questionable.


How to pick a sweet watermelon?


This is a tad more difficult as it requires you to hold the melon with both hands while tapping the side of it. As you tap the melon pay attention to the tone and vibration created by the tap. A green melon will have a high tone and barely any vibration because of its density and lack of water. Now tap another. If you hear a thud and feel no vibration chances are its meat is overripe and saturated with water. What you want to hear and feel with a tap is a medium pitch sound and somewhat of a vibration. A yellowing on the surface and a dry squiggly vine attached to the melon also means it's ripe for picking. If you really want a sweet watermelon put up with the seeds.



"We lost a little of the sweetness in the process of breeding watermelons for convenience sake as in no seeds," said Ken, who added one final tip for anyone shopping for produce.

"Please don't squeeze the merchandise," he said. That won't help in finding a good melon or cob or tomato. It just ruins the produce for the next person - and in some cases destroys the product all together. If you don't know that a ripe tomato is going to be dark red or how to choose any other fruit or vegetable just ask.


"Why do they have to squeeze it?" Ken mused, before heading into the field.


Gina Joseph is a multimedia journalist and columnist for The Macomb Daily. Send comments to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com, follow @ginaljoseph on Twitter



 



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Learn how to dry the blueberries you pick in July for recipes this December



Last week I was on holidays. So, the first thing I had to do Monday morning was sort through the mail that arrived in my absence. Among the items piled on my desk, though no longer a big pile thanks to digital mail, was a new book. My first thought when I saw it was, ugh, another self-help book that doesn’t help. Then I opened the package to discover Teresa Marrone's, "The Beginner's Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods" (Storey, $16.99) and proceeded to lose a good portion of my morning delving deeper into its pages. The book is not only well-written but interesting.
Each section offers a food-by-food guide with clear preparation instructions - whether you choose to use a fancy schmancy dehydrator, a home oven or the sun. It all starts with the basics of drying foods and then moves on to cover a variety of topics organized according to food type and equipment. Each chapter contains a pantry of information on everything from turning fresh fruits into wholesome baby food purees to instructions for drying fresh pasta and making vegetable snack chips and all-grain crackers. How about a DIY plan for building and assembling their own dehydrator?
What I love about the idea is being able to pick blueberries in July that can be used for a lemon-blueberry muffin recipe, come a snowy day in December?
Beef jerky?
Naturally, there's a section on that, which is probably the first thing people think of when it comes to dried foods. Also known as "Ch'arki" a word derived from the Quechan language of the Incas that translates into "dried meat" the discovery of jerky not only served as food that could be stored for long periods of time but as a source of nutrition that could be packed in a saddlebag for easy transport. Every kind of meat - except pork - can be made into jerky. By adding dried berries and fat one can also make a variation of jerky known by Native Americans as pemmican.
As Marrone points out, jerky also can be used as an ingredient for stew and she provides the recipe to do it. There are also recipes for while-muscle jerky, which is made of strips of lean meat that have been marinated in a flavorful liquid or sprinkled with a salt mixture. In some marinades, the salt comes from a condiment such as soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. What's also nice about Marrone's book is all of the recipes can be made without the use of curing compounds or chemicals perceived by many researchers to be possible carcinogens.
Why practice the ancient art of food preservation?
As Marrone notes in her book: drying food from your garden or bought in bulk is less expensive than buying prepared products, saves on the space that canned preserves take up (four-times less) and is considerably lighter. That can make a huge difference to those packing it for a trip or hike in the woods.
It's also healthy alternative. "Drying preserves more nutrients than canning or freezing and offers variety to raw food diets," according to Marrone. "Cooks who dry at home can also better control the amount of sodium and gluten in their foods."
Lastly, it could be a lifesaver. Dried goods are a recommended source of emergency supplies in case of adverse weather, power failures and other catastrophes.

For those of you excited to start the process the following is Marrone’s recipe for muffins.

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Muffins
Makes 12 muffins


INGREDIENTS
1 cup dried blueberries
1 cup lemon yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin plan or line with paper liners. In a bowl combine, dried blueberries, yogurt and lemon juice. Set it aside. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and set it aside. After 15 minutes, add the sugar, butter, honey, salt and eggs to the blueberry mixture. Give it a good stir with a wooden spoon. Then add the flour mixture and gently stir until moistened. NOTE: Do not over mix the muffins. Spoon the batter into the greased muffin tins or paper liners and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (until golden brown). Serve with lemon curd and a hot cup of Earl Grey tea.
Gina Joseph is a multimedia journalist and columnist for The Macomb Daily. Send comments to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com. Follow @ginaljoseph on Twitter.