Szymborska’s “Nic Dwa Razy” (Nothing Twice)

Nic dwa razy sie nie zdarza
i nie zdarzy. Z tej przyczyny zrodzilismy sie bez wprawy
i pomrzemy bez rutyny.

Nothing happens twice
and nothing will.  For this reason, we were born without training
and we will die without a routine. 

Chocbysmy uczniami byli najtepszymi w szkole swiata
nie bedziemy repetowac
zadnej zimy ani lata.

Even if we were the dumbest students in the school of the world
we won’t need to repeat
any winter nor any summer.

Zaden dzien sie nie powtorzy, nie ma dwoch podobnych nocy, dwoch tych samych pocalunkow,
dwoch jednakich spojrzen w oczy.

No day will ever repeat, there aren’t any two similar nights, no two of the same kisses,
no two identical gazes into the eyes. 

Wczoraj, kiedy twoje imie
ktos wymowil przy mnie glosno, tak mi bylo, jakby roza
przez otwarte wpadla okno.

Yesterday, when your name
was spoken next to me aloud, it was for me as if a rose
fell in through an open window. 

Dzis, kiedy jestesmy razem, odwrocilam twarz ku scianie. Roza? Jak wyglada roza?
Czy to kwiat? A moze kamien?
Czemu ty sie, zla godzino,
z niepotrzebnym mieszasz lekiem? Jestes – a wiec musisz minac. Miniesz – a wiec to jest piekne.

Today, when we’re together, I turned my face towards the wall. Rose? What does a rose look like?
Is it a flower? Or maybe a stone?
Why do you, evil hour,
get confused with an unnecessary anxiety? You do – so then you must pass. You will pass – so then it’s beautiful.

Usmiechnieci, wpolobjeci sprobujemy szukac zgody,
choc roznimy sie od siebie
jak dwie krople czystej wody.

Smiling, half-embracing, we’ll try to find agreement,
although we’ll differ from each other
like two drops of clear water. 

Southern-style Biscuits [Daring Bakers]

This month was a real treat. First, I’m swearing off sugar for 2012. I’ve got pounds to lose, and sugar’s ability to drive me into a fervent hunt for food does not help. Second, the recipe was simple, extensible, and reproducible enough that I could try it 3 times over the course of the month…which Audax suggested and I did.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

To be clear, these are what Americans call biscuits, and what are called scones in most of the British Commonwealth.

Here were my three variations.

The first used a blend of whole-wheat flour and all-purpose flour. I also went relatively easy on the salt, and used equal parts butter and (natural, palm oil-based) shortening. I didn’t have buttermilk on hand, so I curdled some whole milk with vinegar instead.

The biscuits turned out nice, although a tiny bit heavy (probably the whole-wheat thing going on) and a bit insipid-tasting (I really needed to add more salt). They were still flavorful and my DH and I gobbled all 6 of them fairly quickly. We ate them with poached eggs (here’s how to make them) and veggie bacon strips. A nice twist on a traditional Southern breakfast!


Why SOPA and PIPA are worth fighting

Amusingly illustrated in this minute-long animation by The Oatmeal:

Wislawa Szymborska’s “Some Like Poetry” (Niektorzy Lubia Poezje)

Niektorzy –
czyli nie wszyscy.
Nawet nie wiekszosc wszystkich ale mniejszosc. Nie liczac szkol, gdzie sie musi,
i samych poetow,
bedzie tych osob chyba dwie na tysiac.

Some –
Meaning, not everyone.

Not even a majority of people, rather a minority. Not counting schools, where you have to,
and poets themselves.
People like this are maybe 2 out of a thousand.

Lubia –
ale lubi sie takze rosol z makaronem,
lubi sie komplementy i kolor niebieski,
lubi sie stary szalik,
lubi sie stawiac na swoim,
lubi sie glaskach psa.

Like –
But chicken noodle soup is also liked.
So are compliments and the color blue,
As is an old scarf
As is standing one’s ground
And petting a dog.

Poezje –
tylko co to takiego poezja.
Niejedna chwiejna odpowiedz
na to pytanie juz padla.
A ja nie wiem i nie wiem i trzymam sie tego jak zbawiennej poreczy.

Poetry –
Only, what exactly is poetry.
No single, wobbly answer
has been given to that question.
And I don’t know and don’t know, and hang on to it like a grip handle.

Sweetness: the evolutionary trigger to eat more and gain weight

I’m not a scientist of any kind (although I did kick ass in my high school and college science courses, because I love the topic), but I suspect the reason we’re collectively having difficulty with weight is because of one taste in particular: sweet. I don’t pretend to know the full biochemical mechanism behind it, but I think foods/drinks with a sweet taste impel us to eat more than any other taste, and, because of that, should probably be avoided by people trying to lose weight. Here’s a bulleted list of my observations that point to this.

  • Everyone I know that is overweight has a sweet tooth. Friends I know who don’t have a sweet tooth are thinner.
  • Sweet-tooth people I know (myself included) are much more likely to binge than people who don’t have a sweet tooth.
  • Cultures (like Japanese and Chinese) that don’t eat a lot of sweet foods tend to be thinner than those that do (like tropical islands, Mexico, the United States).
  • Pretty much the only dietary change in the American diet that has been consistent in the last half-century is the explosion of sweet foods, sweet drinks (even diet ones), chewing gum, etc. The percentage of fat in our diet, for example, has actually gone down, but sugar has lost its status as a dietary danger because it’s fat-free.
  • It would seem that the only source of sweet food until very recently was fruit, which typically has a very discrete harvest period in the wild. So it would make sense to engorge on fruit and even fatten up a bit when it was available, because its availability came in spurts and, unlike grain, was almost impossible to store until refrigeration.
  • Fructose, unlike starch’s sugar components (glucose), does not trigger a satiety signal. I think this very much evolutionarily related to my previous point; when mankind has traditionally consumed fructose, it’s been in the form of fruit, and it might not be around for much longer, so chow down!
  • NOTHING makes me want to continue eating more than eating something sweet. I read recently in RuPaul’s autobiography that he avoids sweet food for the exact same reason, and RuPaul is thin.
  • People who drink lots of diet sodas are actually heavier than those who don’t, even though sodas don’t have any calories.

I know, I know, I know there are lots of people who eat sugar all day long and they never gain weight. There’s an exception to every rule, so I’m focusing on generalizations based on my own personal experience and what I see at societies at large.