Saturday Open Thread: Discontinued, Old and New

All my favorite soup mixes are out of business. First Aunt Patsy's and now Bean Cuisine. Today I'm trying to replicate the Bean Cuisine Thick as Fog Pea Soup from scratch. So far, so good, but I hate when things get discontinued.

In the new department, Facebook will be announcing its offering of e-mail through the domain FB.com on Monday. The reason: to compete with G-mail. Sunday, AOL is expected to launch their new e-mail, Project Phoenix, through phoenix.aol.com.I'm sticking with G-mail and AOL. FB is just so privacy invasive and they add things to your page you don't want and can't get rid of. Like chat with a photo gallery of your friends -- and events. I still prefer the AOL program to the web-based email, and I don't like having all my e-mails stored in "the cloud" but times change and we are forced to change with them. [More..]

And some things get more difficult. I spent hours this week testing programs that let you download online music videos to your hard drive so you can upload them to your iPod. Lots of places let you convert You Tube videos, but the live performances from TV are not so easy. This one's not bad for a freebie, but for one concert I was downloading, all it would record was the front end 30 second commercial. So I bought this program and am going to finish testing it out today while my soup cooks. The first time I downloaded it disabled my internet connection connection by installing some new adapter. I finally got that fixed but am still a little apprehensive about it.

And I finally got my last tech snafu fixed. IPro, the e-discovery program the U.S. Attorney's office here uses to provide discovery, finally figured out what the bug was.

As commenters szielinski and steviez314 suggested, it was a Lead Tools dll file that was causing the problem. Seems everyone uses Lead Tools, from scanners to other imaging programs, and when you install a new device it sometimes moves critical dll files to another folder. IPro set up a webex conference where they took control of my computer and moved the files to the right place. They also had me download a program called Dependency Walker that shows the files being moved so if they move the wrong one they can see what they did and change it back. And now everything works perfectly.

Other things I did this past few weeks instead of blogging much: I switched gyms from one downtown near my office to one closer to where I live, started working out with my new trainer (weights) and restarted pilates training. It's definitely more convenient and I actually go three or four times a week instead of just thinking about going.

So, is anyone going to try out FB email? And what are some of your favorite things that have gone by the wayside and frustrated you while trying to find something equivalent?

If you'd rather discuss politics or something else, feel free. I'm headed back to my soup and trying to get a concert recorded onto my iPod. Then it's back to draft 14 of an 18 page brief I've been writing all week that's due Monday. Hopefully it won't take 25 drafts. This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    We went to see Skyline last night (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 05:17:14 PM EST
    I seemed less disappointed than most of the people in the theater.  When it ended, a guy sitting in front of us yelled at the screen, "Really?" It was fast paced and a ripoff of a lot of different scifi stuff, but the boys have dragged me to worse.

    Before we left though I did five miles on the elliptical trainer.  Being asthma free is so awesome!  I woke up this morning though and my older body informed me that if I didn't carb out right now it wasn't going to move for the whole day.  So I did.  At lunch I was eating cut up apples and my husband saw me and said, "Oh good, you are eating the apples".  I asked him what that was supposed to mean?  He said he was glad to see me eating healthy.  I demanded to know when I was eating unhealthy and he says, "Ummmm, this morning when you had potatoes in the form of chips and cheese in the form of puffs for breakfast".  He is like living with the police.

    Alaska Senate (none / 0) (#1)
    by CoralGables on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:06:32 PM EST
    JUNEAU -- The Division of Elections has finished reviewing the write-in ballots for nearly three-quarters of the precincts, and the results show Lisa Murkowski on track to be the first write-in candidate elected to the U.S. Senate since 1954.

    To me, this remains the most interesting of all the races this cycle. I'm not sure if this was a repudiation of Tea Party candidate Joe Miller or a repudiation of Sarah Palin in Alaska.

    Brian Bolduc of the National Review (none / 0) (#9)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 07:38:29 PM EST
    claims a conservative member of the Tea Party has indicated that he intends to challenge Snow in the Maine 2012 Republican primary. Name disclosed after the first of the year.

    Moderate Republicans love Snowe. They give her a 70% approval rating and a strong majority say they'd vote to nominate her for another term. But those folks make up only 30% of the GOP electorate in Maine. It's now dominated by conservatives and they're particularly negative toward her, giving her just a 26% approval rating and saying by a 78-15 margin they'd like to trade her out for someone to the right. PPP

    That will be a pass the popcorn moment for the Dems.

    That would definitely (none / 0) (#43)
    by CoralGables on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 09:41:04 AM EST
    be the crack in the door for the Dems to get back into a senate seat in Maine for the first time since George Mitchell...or for an independent and likely successful run by Snowe.

    Wonder if Maine has a sore loser law (none / 0) (#44)
    by MO Blue on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 10:35:52 AM EST
    Also, it would be interesting to see if Snowe is forced to run as an independent, if it would have any effect on her voting choices.

    Maine? (none / 0) (#46)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 11:41:50 AM EST
    I don't know if Mainers are ripe for this.  For one thing, Snowe is practically an embodiment of Maine.  She's not just one more pol up there.  And although Maine isn't exactly the most liberal state in the country, I don't have the sense that they're chronically boiling with rage.  NH, which is loaded with resentful anti-taxer Massachusetts expatriates, is a different story.

    I agree with your assessment (none / 0) (#48)
    by MO Blue on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 12:21:34 PM EST
    of Maine as a whole but not sure that it applies to the those who will vote in the Republican primary. If, as the prior quote indicates, 70% of the Republican party is more conservative than Snowe then it is possible that she could be defeated in the primary by a conservative or Tea Party candidate. It could mean that Snowe would run as an independent or best case scenario it could be a repeat of Delaware.    

    Palin didn't help (none / 0) (#45)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 11:37:47 AM EST
    but Miller is such a horror, I think it had much more to do with voters recoiling from him than anything else.

    I don't think Sarah Palin is all that much a part of Alaskan politics anymore.  Former governors lose traction and become irrelevant to voters incredibly rapidly, especially those like Palin who were never tied into the state party establishment to begin with but got into office by fighting it.

    I also suspect Alaskans, who weren't particularly unhappy with Murkowski, got a kick out of the feisty, never-say-die determination she showed in even trying to do the write-in campaign.  Heck, from the other side of the country, I even thought it was pretty cool, and I'm certainly no Murkowski fan.


    On the soup (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 04:50:59 PM EST
    I know how you feel.

    I keep a wintertime emergency pack in the trunk of my car, right next to the snow shovel, plug in tire pump/air compressor, old bath towels, a roll of TP (wrapped in plastic), camping bow saw and a couple 2 liter PET soda bottles sorta full of drinkable water.  The pack has a couple good-sized candles, a Bic lighter and a pack or two of matches, some bandaids, adhesive tape, gauze pads, a wire survival saw, some extra bootlaces, tinfoil, hard candies (butterscotch and peppermint swirlies), a couple envelopes of hot chocolate mix and of oatmeal, some teabags, a couple envelopes of instant soup, a little heat-tab stove and fuel tabs, a clean old soup can and one of those blue-enameled camping coffee cups, and a camping knife-fork-spoon set.  While there's a lot of stuff, it all fits inside a little surplus backpack about the size of a big set of binoculars.

    Winter can be rough here and, if a traveler gets in trouble, it can be lonely for a long time, too.  When I moved here, one of the things I brought back was the winter emergency pack for the car.  

    I loved Lipton's instant green pea soup - the infamous Cup-a-soup.  It was a favorite of mine as a kid in Scouts and in my earlier adult years. It had the essential things any wintertime outdoors soup should have:  served hot it has a bulky stick-to-the-ribs character  to it, lots of salt, and it'll tend to keep you warm.  So, in preparing the emergeny pack the first thing I started looking for was Lipton's green pea cup-a-soup.

    To my horror, it seems they discontinued it so long ago I might be the only person alive who remembers it.  I had to settle for (yuk) cream of chicken.

    When it comes to split pea soup, though, I say go for the scratch method.  I just finished consuming, over week or so, a pound of peas' worth of it.

    I make mine thusly: put a good quantity of water in a soup pot and throw in the peas.  Throw in a ham bone, preferably one with a little meat stuck to it.  If you were smart enough to retain the cooking liquid from your ham, you can substitute that for an equal quantity of the water.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Cube 4 or 5 good-sized potatoes (3/4 inch or so), a pair of carrots (1/4 - 3/8 inch), and dice a medium onion finely.  Once the peas start softening, throw all these in. (If you throw the potatoes in too soon, they will overcook and start to crumble.  Not necessarily a bad thing - they'll help thicken the soup - but you should be aware of it.)

    Cook at a low simmer, stirring frequently lest it burn on the bottom of the pot, until the peas crumble and you have a smooth soup.  Cut some of the cooked ham into the soup at time of serving.

    Alternatively, if you do not have a ham bone, you can chop some (very smoky) bacon finely and try it out in the bottom of the soup pot, then gently saute the onions before deglazing with the water and ading the peas, then proceeding as above.

    Serve with strong bread and slices of a sharp cheese like cheddar or swiss.

    If only I could really cook :) (none / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 05:09:03 PM EST
    My recipe is (none / 0) (#6)
    by scribe on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 05:59:36 PM EST
    basically the one on the back of the plastic bag in which the peas come.  I just make it sound like I know what I'm doing.

    What do I miss? Campbell's Chili Beef (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:49:10 PM EST
    soup, which was an essential ingredient of a wonderful chili made after game parties in Ann Arbor soooo many years ago.

    I remember this soup (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:49:48 PM EST
    It was very good.

    I use that Bush's chili starter (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:50:53 PM EST
    and I confess that to nobody in my real life.

    Must find. I still have Dottie's chili (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:01:01 PM EST

    Turned out to be my best pea soup ever (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 05:49:35 PM EST
    • 1/2 medium onion, diced
    • 6 mini-carrots, sliced thin
    • 2 celery stalks, chopped small
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 Tb olive oil

    • 1 16 ounce package of split peas (green or combination green and yellow)
    • 1 32 oz box of organic or kosher chicken broth
    • 32 -48 oz water
    • 1 1/4 to 1/12 pound Neiman Farms Applewood Smoked uncured ham hock (available at Whole Foods)

    • 1/2 tsp turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp paprika

    In 6 to 8 quart soup pot, saute the veggies and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Rinse the peas in a strainer (no soaking necessary.)

    Add the box of chicken broth, water, peas,  ham hock and spices to the sauteed veggies. Bring to a boil, remove scum, cover and simmer on very low for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so.  

    After 2 hours, remove the ham hock. The meat should be falling off the bone. Remove any fatty membrane that clings to meat, cut meat into tiny pieces and return to pot. Cook 1/2 hour more.

    Note: No salt needed because the ham hock is salty. If you like your pea soup perfectly smooth, run it through a blender before you add the meat back in. This batch came out so smooth I didn't even need the blender. I usually use Pacific Organic Chicken Stock but today I used Imagine Organic Kosher Chicken Broth.


    Sounds good. (none / 0) (#7)
    by scribe on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 06:03:42 PM EST
    I dunno how the turmeric and other spices would affect it, but if you say so, I'm sure they can't hurt.

    I'm partial to bigger chunks of ham in my soup, but that's just me.


    forgot to add (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 07:00:35 PM EST
    a handful of fresh parsley (chopped)

    The turmeric is good. I also use it in chicken soup. And it was in the bean cuisine version I liked so much.


    got my pot of pea soup (none / 0) (#11)
    by nycstray on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 07:57:47 PM EST
    simmering on the stove now :)

    i used thick cut applewood smoked bacon as the store was outta shanks. for seasoning, bay, oregano, parsley, white pepper. and the stock was turkey as i just cooked some up last night.

    i haven't cooked with turmeric. i'll have to get some and try it in my next batch of soup.


    oops forgot the celery seed (none / 0) (#12)
    by nycstray on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:19:05 PM EST
    and thyme :)

    I love pea soup (none / 0) (#10)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 07:49:15 PM EST
    And usually make it pretty much like scribe does. I'll try these new additions from Jeralyn next time.

    One addition I make- add a little half and half or heavy whipping cream to tast. delicious!!


    I love some cream in a good soup (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:52:13 PM EST
    The one and only time I made split pea (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:51:52 PM EST
    soup from scratch (Larousse Gastronomique) the quantity was so vast, even with copious freezing, we were entirely sick of it b/4 the supply ran out.  Good at the beginning, although very labour intensive.



    I still (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 08:55:24 PM EST
    have some in my freezer from last year. One pound of split peas goes a looong way it seems.

    I'll be distributing mine :) (none / 0) (#33)
    by nycstray on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:14:43 PM EST
    some in the fridge/freezer for me. some to mom. some to niece and family :) since I work at home, I can usually handle a few rounds of leftovers (especially ones I find in the freezer!) Mom will appreciate a jar and I'm sure my niece will appreciate a couple . . .

    and there's always The Dot, who really likes my cooking, lol!~


    Same here. It is wonderful for a few days (none / 0) (#16)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:00:40 PM EST
    and then i'm spinning my head and puking it like in The Exorcist.

    One of the restaurants in the area, (none / 0) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:07:51 PM EST
    had fantastic cucumber bisque. A friend of mine spent years trying to talk the owner into giving him the recipe. Finally the owner provide it to him. Of course, the recipe was geared to producing soup for a large restaurant. My friend tried numerous times to cut the recipe down to a normal size but was never able to come close to producing the same great tasting bisque.

    Cucumbers. Ugh. (Direct result of (none / 0) (#19)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:10:16 PM EST
    economy legal study tour to USSR in 1983.  Lots of cucumbers.  

    Oh I love good cucumber bisque (none / 0) (#21)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:23:54 PM EST
    I also like the dish that people in India and the middle east make with cucumbers, yogurt and various unknown spices.

    Of course, I can understand how someone can become put off on certain types of food due to overexposure. From the bits and pieces I read on this blog, it sounds like you have lead an interesting life.


    I did enjoy the yogurt side dishes (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:29:15 PM EST
    in India, as I am not all that tolerant of spicy food.

    I have eaten some authentic India (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by MO Blue on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:47:12 PM EST
    food prepared by some acquaintances that were originally from India. It was spicier than what I have eaten at the Indian restaurants here. I think the restaurants tone it down for our tastes. At a dinner at the home of a friend of a friend, as they say, corn on the cob was fixed on the grill with some type of spices (flavorful but not hot) that was really great. Wish I could remember what they put on it. No longer in touch with either party so haven't been able to find out what they did to the corn.  

    I ordered tandoori chicken three nights (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:59:37 PM EST
    in a row in the same hotel dining room.  Got spicier each time.  I don't think they really believe anyone wouldn't want the spices.  Kind of like the assumption any tea drinker wants milk.

    I've (none / 0) (#41)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 05:47:20 AM EST
    never had cucumber bisque but one of my favorite cuisines is Greek and I love their use of cucumbers.

    Cucumber Kimchi!!!! (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:58:52 PM EST
    I can never make enough of it around here between my husband and my daughter if she is in and out.  I'm a great cutter of foods :)  And the woman who owns Korea House here loves my husband, he brings her a lot of business.  He takes everyone there for Bibimbap because she does that so well too.  So I have a very good recipe for the kimchi.  I love vege bisque soups though and gazpachos.

    Yeah, but (none / 0) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 11:47:04 AM EST
    the Russians grow delicious cucumbers!  The time I was there was the last week of April, so the ever-present cukes were greenhouse grown, and still delicious.  This was in the country about 20 miles outside Moscow, though, so maybe they do them better there?

    I'm sure the Russian cukes were superb. (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 02:31:15 PM EST
    I just got really tired of eating them, as many meals (low cost @ InTourist hotels) were included in our package.  When I arrived at JFK en route home, my sister-in-law told me she had prepared a special Russian dinner.  Started off with cold cucumber soup!

    Gah!! (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 08:11:07 PM EST
    I was only there for 10 days, but when I got home, I demanded to be taken to a place I could get a big fat hamburger and a milk shake.

    Something that had been discontinued has come back (none / 0) (#17)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:03:06 PM EST
    to my local freezer case, much to my joy/dismay. Sara Lee Banana Cake. It is my favorite comfort food. May get one tomorrow, as a matter of fact.

    I recently saw a headline stating Sara Lee (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:11:11 PM EST
    is shedding its baked goods division.  What's left?  Amazing.

    So, I should stock up! (none / 0) (#23)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 09:46:10 PM EST
    Maybe bringing back the banana cake was their last ditch effort to save the baked goods division. If they had never discontinued it I would have been buying one a month for years!

    Oh no! (none / 0) (#53)
    by sj on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 09:36:34 AM EST
    I already have a tough enough time getting the Sara Lee Butter Streusel Coffee Cake.  Definitely one of my guilty pleasures.  

    But yeah.... what is left?


    Saw the movie 'Morning Glory' today (none / 0) (#31)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:02:46 PM EST
    I thought it was very entertaining. Great cast, used effectively. I liked it more than I expected to - the writing was better than the previews led me to believe. For once the trailers do not really have the best scenes.  Not great, but better than most mainstream movies IMO.


    Harrison Ford looks great in it (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:08:00 PM EST
    He was. So was Diane Keaton. (none / 0) (#37)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:29:42 PM EST
    They had some great scenes together. He was more of a pivotal character though, and really gave the movie a little oomph it would not have had with a lesser presence.

    Have to mention Rachel McAdams too. (none / 0) (#38)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:31:35 PM EST
    She really fit right in with those old pros.

    Thanks for the review (none / 0) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:35:45 PM EST
    And the reminder.  I had sort of forgotten about this film and they have don't have a complex here.  All the films are split up between three small theaters.

    Speaking of movies, saw RED last night. (none / 0) (#34)
    by caseyOR on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:16:17 PM EST
    I had a great time. It's really much funnier than I expected it to be. Helen Mirren is wonderful as a professional assassin and B&B proprietor, and John Malkovich is, well, it's worth the ticket price just to see him.

    Lots of laughter in the theater.


    We were thinking about seeing that next (none / 0) (#35)
    by ruffian on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:27:33 PM EST
    Looked good to me!

    Centralia (none / 0) (#36)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 10:29:28 PM EST
    I heard a podcast recently that reminded me of Centralia in Pennsylvania.  The old coal mining town that has been on fire for over 30 years.  No one talks about it anymore.  Go to Youtube and check out the clips, truly scary.  

    I miss the old Breyers mint chocolate chip (none / 0) (#40)
    by andgarden on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 12:02:45 AM EST
    It came in a flip-top cardboard box and had REAL chocolate chunks that lasted in your mouth after the ice cream melted.

    Yes! (none / 0) (#42)
    by ruffian on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 05:57:08 AM EST
    Good stuff.

    I tried to get a to-go carton of French Vanilla (none / 0) (#50)
    by oculus on Sun Nov 14, 2010 at 02:33:19 PM EST
    at Baskin Robbins.  Not only did they not have it, the guy behind the counter had never heard of it.  

    The recipe change? (none / 0) (#52)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 08:35:19 AM EST
    One of my favorite flavors too, I never noticed a difference besides the better packaging to avoid freezer burn.

    No green dye!