Saturday, 15 October 2011

Bye bye, Sarah

This week has been very liberating for me. I'm convinced that I wrote everything I could possibly have written about Sarah Palin. However outrageous her behaviour from now on, it would just be a replay of some previous idiocy.

There are excellent blogs on my blog list where you can follow her antics, some of them still pursuing the truth about Babygate, always a very popular topic.

I won't be writing main posts anymore and I think it's pointless to keep a political blog running on open threads alone. I designed a new blog back in February, when the fate of Palingates was uncertain. The idea was to do what we normally do on the open threads: A mix of everything, with contributions from the readers or anything that took my fancy. It's time to bring it to life!

As Palingates will be frozen in time and comments will automatically close after fourteen days, all readers are invited to continue chatting, sharing and venting HERE. I believe this community deserves a dedicated space to continue to pursue their friendships and I hope you'll feel comfortable in the new home. That means there will be no open thread on Palingates today... or tomorrow or the day after.

I may not post on Palingates anymore, but the blog list will be automatically updated as usual, so you may continue to use it to access other blogs, if you wish.

It's been fun for two and a half years and I'm grateful to Sarah Palin for bringing us together.

Bye bye, Sarah.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Open Thread - Friday

Mrsgunka sent me some photos of this aeroplane. The airline definitely has a good sense of humour.

Another funny design:

Their announcements are quite amusing too:

On a Kulula flight, (there is no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced,

"People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!"


On another flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said,

"Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."


"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane."


As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Durban Airport , a lone voice came over the loudspeaker:

"Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"


"Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Kulula Airlines."


"Your seats cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."


"As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses.."


"Kulula Airlines is pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"


Overheard on a Kulula flight into Cape Town, on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain really had to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said,

"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to The Mother City. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"


An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline". He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said,

"Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?"
"Why, no Ma'am," said the pilot. "What is it?"
The little old lady said,
"Did we land, or were we shot down?"


"Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing... If you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em."

Thank you, Mrsgunka!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Open thread - Thursday

Today we're taking a trip to Algeria, a country of constrasts. It has a beautiful coastline and a vast expanse of desert. The original people of Algeria were the Berbers, then came the Arabs and the French...

North African food is delicious, with very deep flavours. The smells in the kitchen are something else when a tagine is being cooked!

A tagine is a North African stew made in an earthenware dish that has a conical top. You can make a tagine in other types of heavy casseroles, like enameled cast iron, but you can use an earthenware set over a flame tamer. I selected three different recipes, the first two cooked in heavy saucepans and the third using a slow cooker.

Vegetarian Tagine


1 1/2 pounds okra, ends trimmed
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 1/2 pound small boiling potatoes, like fingerlings
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound tomatoes, seeded and grated; or peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 teaspoon spice mix (see below)
1 teaspoon turmeric
Pinch of saffron
2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup water
1/2 preserved lemon, thinly sliced (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Place the okra in a large bowl. Salt generously, douse with the vinegar, and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour while you prepare the remaining ingredients, tossing from time to time. Drain the okra, and rinse thoroughly. If the potatoes are not very small (no more than 1 inch wide and no more than 2 inches long), quarter them or cut them in half.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy casserole or (preferably) an earthenware pot set over a flame tamer. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, and stir for about half a minute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, parsley, cilantro, spice mix, turmeric, saffron and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, and simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly and smell fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the dissolved tomato paste, and bring to a simmer.

3. Add the potatoes, okra and the preserved lemon. Cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour, adding a small amount of water if the mixture seems dry, until the potatoes and okra are tender and the sauce they have cooked in is thick. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Algerian Spice Mix

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon powdered turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1. Mix all of the spices together. Keep in a jar in a cool place or in the freezer.

Lamb Tagine


1 pound lamb (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch saffron
1 teaspoon lemon (zest)
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon garlic (grated)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (or chopped sun dried tomatoes)
1-2 cups beef stock
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons harissa
1/4 cup pistachios (chopped, optional)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped, optional)
1/4 cup parsley (chopped, optional)
1 cup Greek style yogurt (optional)


1. Mix the paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, cayenne pepper, saffron, lemon zest and oil in a ziplock bag.
2. Add the lamb, mix well and marinate the fridge for a few hours to overnight.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan.
4. Add the lamb, brown well on all sides and set aside.
5. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
6. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for about a minute.
7. Add the lamb and tomato paste and cover with beef stock.
8. Bring to a boil, reduce the meat and simmer covered until the lamb is fall apart tender, about 2-3 hours.
9. Add the apricots, raisins and more beef stock to cover.
10. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
11. Add the honey and harissa.
12. Serve on couscous and garnished with pistachios, cilantro, parsley and Greek yogurt.

Chicken Tagine 


8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 large carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup green olives, sliced
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


* Searing the chicken before adding it to the crock pot is important to lock in flavour.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken pieces and eggplant in the heated oil; stir and cook until the chicken is browned on all sides but not cooked through. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Place the browned chicken and eggplant on the bottom of a slow cooker. Layer the onion, carrots, cranberries, and apricots over the chicken.

Whisk together the chicken broth, tomato paste, lemon juice, flour, garlic salt, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and ground black pepper in a bowl. Pour the broth mixture into the slow cooker with the chicken and vegetables.

Cook on Low setting for 8 hours.


1 cup water
1 cup couscous

Bring water to boil in a saucepan. Stir in couscous, and remove from heat. Cover, and let stand about 5 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork.


I'm a great fan of Algerian music. The three singers in this video are very popular in France.

And here is Rachid Taha on his own, in a strange, weird video, but I like the song.

Just for fun

A reader sent me this:

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Open Thread - Wednesday

This is a lot of fun. It starts slowly, but soon builds up.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Open Thread - Tuesday

Grasshopper sent me the following joke:

A while ago a supermarket near my home was revamped.

It has an automatic water mister to keep the produce fresh.
Just before it goes on, you hear the sound of
distant thunder and the smell of fresh rain.

When you pass the milk cases, you hear cows mooing and
there is the scent of freshly mowed hay. 

In the meat department there is the aroma
of charcoal grilled steaks with onions. 

When you approach the egg case, you hear hens
clucking and cackling,  and the air is filled with
the pleasing aroma of bacon and eggs frying. 

The bread department features the tantalizing
smell of freshly baked bread and cookies. 


I  don't buy toilet paper there anymore.

Thank you, Grasshopper!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Open Thread - Monday

Without further ado, here's a shiny new open thread, courtesy of Mrsgunka:

Thank you, Mrsgunka!


I haven't written any main posts for a couple of days and did a lot of thinking about the blog during this break. My original idea was to start campaigning for Obama as soon as Sarah Palin made her announcement about not running. I would have turned Palingates into a satire blog, with Sarah Palin as Obama's most enthusiastic cheerleader.

But after a couple of days away, I realized that I have reached my limit and that I can't be a slave to the computer anymore. Following Sarah Palin in recent months wasn't the most arduous of tasks, the posts wrote themselves. If I tried to turn my attentions to Obama, it would be a very different ball game, as I would have to spend much more of my time doing research about him than I did about Sarah Palin. There are many excellent blogs covering general politics and they do a better job of it than I could ever hope to achieve.

Another added factor is that our Billy is coming back from Australia in a couple of weeks. We haven't seen him in two years, so I doubt I would find the time to write many in-depth posts about anything in the coming weeks.

I would love to continue posting the daily open threads, though. I enjoy them too much! They would give the community their usual meeting place and you could still send in your contributions, exchange views, ideas and links, discuss politics or whatever took your fancy.

After two and a half years of a daily dose of Sarah Palin, I'm more than ready to take a breather from the topic. I'll continue to follow the events and if anything worth commenting comes up, I'll write a post, but I simply can't find the energy to do it on a daily basis anymore.

Sarah Palin has always been irrelevant because of who she is, because she has nothing important to say, but for three years she was a dangerous irrelevance. Now that the immediate threat has passed, I think I've earned a bit of downtime.

That's how I feel at this very moment, but you never know, I may miss it too much, make a full comeback and resume business as usual, especially if Sarah Palin proves to be too much of a nuisance, albeit without a "title."

Please let me know how you feel about having only the open threads. Would you find Palingates still worthwhile? Would you continue to visit and have a chat? Do you think Palingates has run its course? If you decide* you don't want a blog without the regular "meat" I'll call it a day. I would miss the community, but I wouldn't miss Sarah Palin, that's for sure!

[*I would not delete the blog, it would stay as it is and become a reference blog, with all the Palingates and other resources intact.]

Here's a bonus photo, she looks really hot: