The Hexacoto

Listening to the sound of one hand clapping

Neither rain nor snow shall keep the one wheel from ruling them all

15348[1]Some two weeks ago, Utah had a snowstorm, and the picture above was circulating around the internet. Where cars skidded and crash, that lone unicyclist calm rolled on.

So did NYC.

a_560x375[1]A unicyclist was seen rolling through SoHo last night in winter storm Hercules, like a boss.

Unicyclists: Clearly the master race

 

 

It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!

shakshouka

I made shakshouka, but this post isn’t about the shakshouka. In fact, it’s about the pita in the background, which I made.

Did you know how cheap it is to make your own pita? Had I known how cheap it was, I’d never have bought those commercial pita. Plus, home-made ones are so much fluffier! Seriously, the initial crunch and then the yield of the white, soft fluffy interior is so luxurious, I could sleep in it.

Let me break down the cost it takes to make pita:

  • 1 lb all-purpose flour costs maybe $1 – 1.50. A 1lb bag yields about 7 cups of flour. The recipe I used to make the pita uses 3.5 cups of flour to make 12 pita, so 24 pitas for $1 – 1.50.
  • 3 packets of active dry yeast for $1, and it’s 1 packet for 12 pita, so 60 cents for 24 pita.
  • Salt, sugar, and olive oil, which are hard to calculate.

So it’s approximately $1.60 – $2.10 to make 24 pita, when most commercial pita sells for, I don’t know, $1 – 2 for 8? This makes it a cost of $3 – 6 for 24, nearly triple the price. Plus most commercial pita are quite tough and flat.

This is the recipe I used, from allrecipes.com.

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  1. Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a mixing bowl and allow to stand until the yeast forms a creamy foam, about 5 minutes. Mix in 2 cups of flour, salt, and shortening; beat for 2 minutes with a fork. Stir in as much of the remaining 1 1/2 cup flour as needed.
  2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, kneading in more flour if dough is sticky. Form into a ball, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest in a warm area for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
  4. Divide dough into 12 equal portions; flour your hands and roll each piece into a ball. Cover dough balls with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Flatten the balls into rounds on a floured surface, cover with kitchen towel, and let rest 10 more minutes. Gently roll each dough ball into a circle about 6 inches in diameter on a floured surface. Place pita breads in a single layer on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until the pita breads puff up, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip breads over with a spatula, return to oven, and bake 2 more minutes. Let cool on wire racks before cutting pita breads in half and gently separating tops and bottoms to form pockets for filling.

I didn’t have shortening, so I altered the recipe and used somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 cup of olive oil instead. I ended up using all 3.5 cups of flour. The trick to fluffy pita is to really just give them time to rise. Total time taken is about 1 hour 20 – 30 minutes.

Of course I understand that not everybody has the luxury of time to splurge on making pita, when the convenience of just buying them from the store appeals so much more to the time-pressed. But I assure, that oh-so-soft fluffiness of home-made pita is worth it, the lack of preservatives in it makes it healthier too.

So I made a batch of 12, I’m not going to be able to finish all of it in one sitting. I figure it’ll keep fairly well in the fridge in a ziploc bag until when I need it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some fluffy pitas to roll around in.

 

Are You Qualified to Be a Journalist in China? Take the Test

Previously, China was last seen refusing to renew the visas and press passes of nearly two dozen foreign journalists from American news organisations, leaving them uncertain as to whether they can continue reporting China’s issues from the ground. This has prompted chastisement from Vice President Mr. Biden himself.

Now, it seems that China has made its decision: for foreign journalists to remain in the country, they must show themselves understanding of what is expected of them and of journalism in the country — that the role of journalism is not to the truth, but a service to the people? The Chinese government has decided that foreign journalists will have to take tests to show they they know these concepts. From the New York Times:

What is the essence of the Chinese Dream? What did Marx and Engels ask of newspaper reporters? How do Chinese and Western views on journalism differ?

Those are some of the questions Chinese journalists can expect to be quizzed on when they renew their press cards in early 2014.

This is the first time that all Chinese reporters have been required to take a test as part of the annual press card renewal process. In theory, journalists need the press card to work legally in China, although some commercial media companies employ reporters without the certification. Those who fail will be permitted to take it again.

The goal of the test is to “educate and lead news gatherers to uphold the Marxist journalistic ideals more consciously, to better serve the people, socialism, the work of the party and the country,” according to the General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Can you also be a journalist in China? Take the test to find out! Answers at the end.

1. What is the essence of “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”?

a. Social harmony.

b. Comfortable standard of living.

c. Comfortable standard of living for all.

d. The Four Modernizations.

2. Comrade Xi Jinping has said that the Chinese Dream is essentially the dream of __?

a. The people.

b. The working class.

c. The Communist Party of China.

d. All Chinese people around the world.

3. Comrade Xi Jinping said that, in order to realize the Chinese Dream, we must take the road of __?

a. Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

b. Modernization.

c. Peaceful development.

d. Opening up and reform.

4. Comrade Xi Jinping said that, in order to realize the Chinese Dream, we must unite the power of China, which is:

a. The power of the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

b. The power of the unity of all ethnicities of the Chinese people.

c. The power of the unity of the working class.

d. The power of the unity of all Chinese people around the globe.

5. The ultimate mission of socialism with Chinese characteristics is:

a. Opening up and reform.

b. Improving economic structure.

c. Raising GDP.

d. Emancipate and develop social productivity.

6. Comrade Xi Jinping points out that, in order to realize the Chinese Dream, we must carry forward the Chinese spirit, which includes: (May choose more than one.)

a. The spirit of the nation with its core in patriotism.

b. The spirit of the our time with its core in reform and innovation.

c. The spirit of rule of law with its core in democratic politics.

d. The spirit of tradition with its core in honesty and honor.

7. How can news and media workers improve their ability of leading public opinion? (May choose more than one.)

a. Insist on principles of the party.

b. Insist on being people-oriented.

c. Keep on innovating and reforming.

d. Strengthen cultivation of talents.

8. “Prime Minister Zhu Rongji looked stern, and pointed out solemnly: ‘Whoever promotes Taiwan independence will not end up well!’ His words rang in our ears and shook our hearts.” What is good about this quote?

a. It vividly sums up the speaker’s view.

b. It gives the facts in a nutshell.

c. It is concise.

d. It provides a smooth segue.

9. What is the most basic principle of news ethics in our country? What is the most basic principle of Western news ethics? (May choose more than one.)

a. The principle of social responsibility.

b. The principle of serving the people.

c. The principle of journalistic professionalism.

d. The principle of freedom of the press.

10. What is the most important difference between our news ethics and that of Western developed countries?

a. Our news ethics belong to the theoretical system of socialism ethics; news ethics of Western developed countries belong to the theoretical system of capitalism ethics.

b. The most basic principle of our news ethics is wholeheartedly serve the people; the most basic principle of news ethics of Western developed countries is freedom of the press.

c. Our news ethics emphasize the people; Western developed countries emphasize the media’s social responsibilities.

d. Our news ethics emphasize the principles of the party; Western developed countries emphasize that individuals should be independent of political parties.

Answers:

1. a; 2. a; 3. a; 4. b; 5. d; 6. a, b; 7. a,b,c,d; 8. a; 9. b,d; 10. b

Read the full article on the Times here.