Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fresh Tomato Pasta

This is another of our favorite dishes, a delightful change of pace for pasta lovers. It is meant to be a  “fresh from the garden”  taste experience, that does not need the typical overload of garlic, spices and onions associated with the usual spaghetti sauce.  Serves 2

6-8 large tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil 
4 ounces vodka
4 tablespoons butter (more or less to taste)
½ cup Asiago or Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and fresh ground pepper
½ pound angel hair spaghetti
Optional: substitute cream for 2 tablespoons of butter

Peel, core and chop the tomatoes.  Roll cut the basil into slivers. Cook the tomatoes in a sauté pan just enough to break down the chunks (10 to 12 Minutes).    Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti.  

Add 2 ounces of vodka to the sauce (reserve 2 ounces for the chef) and cook another 2 minutes.  Turn off heat and swirl butter into the sauce, then add the basil, cheese, salt and pepper. Drain the pasta, place in individual bowls, and pour sauce over the pasta. 

Serve with a mixed green salad and bruschetta or crostini. A fruity red wine, like a beaujolais, pinot noir or a good sirah, goes well with this dish. 

"Many People Have Eaten My Meals and 
Have Gone on to Live Normal Lives"

Monday, January 2, 2012

Our Cosmic Address

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists 
elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
       --Bill Watterson

It’s Sunday afternoon, there is nothing of interest on TV, the weather is too nasty to walk about and I’m not weary enough to take a nap. I just received an e-mail with an interesting  “signature,”  which reminds me that I have not set up automatic signatures in my email program, different ones for letters to family, friends, businesses or strangers. 

Some signatures require a full location address, email address, and telephone number. Opening the signature template, I typed in our street number, street name, town, state and zip code. Then it occurred to me that our address system is out of touch with the real world, completely devoid of information to communicate with the other planets. Currently, many countries are spending huge amounts of money and time searching for Alien habitation:

The NASA Kepler spacecraft’s, sole mission is to find Earth-size orbs in the "habitable zone" around stars -- planets with the right conditions for liquid water and life to exist.

The Hubble Space Telescope, focuses on and photographs objects in deep space, staring continuously at a field containing millions of stars. 

The French Corot,  a spacecraft with a specialized telescope that uses a technique called astrometry, to detect planets outside of the solar system in deep space.  

Astronomers have come up with a new way of identifying close, faint stars with NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer satellite to also hunt for planets that lie beyond our solar system.

The Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, the largest radio telescope in the world, is observing 86 planetary systems that may contain Earth-like planets in hopes of detecting signals from intelligent civilizations.

Recent discoveries from these sources indicate that the prized quarry of exoplanet hunters - an alien Earth - could be just over the horizon. In fact, such a planet may well pop up in the next round of announcements which should be released in early 2102 The count of now stands at 2,326 candidates and thousands more are waiting in the stellar dust.

Well!  What are we waiting for?  How are we going to communicate with someone on an Exoplanet if we do not know our Space Address. To avoid embarrassment and mental discomfort,  here is your  Domus Terra

Street Address
City,  State,  Zip Code
Middle Atlantic Region, The East Coast
United States of America
North American Continent,  Northern Hemisphere
Planet Earth, The Solar System
Orion-Cygnus Arm,  Milky Way Galaxy
Local Group,  The Universe
The Cosmos

That’s the most comprehensive address I can determine, given my limited knowledge of Astrophysics. Hopefully, the US Postal Service (if it survives) will hire experts from NASA to verify these locations.  

In the mean time, perhaps we should learn  to use the 5 Music Tones d e c C and the Curwen Hand Signs used to communicate with ExoPlanetarians just in case they show up again for another Close Encounter (of the 4th Kind).

Stop the presses!  Just as this post was being published, astronomers announced that each of the 100 billion stars in our Milky Way probably has at least one companion planet, confirming that planets might be as common in the cosmos, as grains of sand on the beach. Our own solar system, considered unique not so long ago, turns out to be just one among billions. 

Is it possible that Richard Dreyfus, Sigourney Weaver, ET and Hal 9000, know something beyond our comprehension.