Monday, August 31, 2009

Size matters when talking about dumplings

Oh yes indeed, size does matter ladies and gentlemen when you are talking about dumplings. For me, the operative word would be SMALL. Oh, that is OK -- not to worry as small CAN be good and delicious. Especially, now that we are talking about little dumplings aka what I call Hungarian Spaetzle.

Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, we were privileged to learn from a master chef of Hungarian and Slavic cooking. It was our grandmother Julia Nagy who made not only the best Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, but she also was a master at whipping up the most tasty Chicken Paprikas and Veal Paprikas.

I can remember sitting in the kitchen with grandma as she mixed up a seemingly easy to prepare recipe for spaetzle aka Hungarian Spaetzle aka little dumplings. She was very proficient at the way she would put the batter on a flat plate and then start cutting the batter from the edges of the plate into the boiling salted water. How something of such a simple recipe could always taste so great! One of life's great mysteries I think.

spaetzle little dumplingsGrandma's Chicken and Veal Paprikas had such a yummy taste, only improved upon by the little dumplings. I think it was also the sour cream that she used in her recipe that provided that recognizable taste that I can imagine in my mind. This is a really great picture to demonstrate WHAT little dumplings aka spaetzle should look like! Photo Credit: Spaetzle taken by Kobako.

big bread dumplingsNow ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the BIG dumplings! This is a pretty funny story that demonstrates a miscommunication or culture difference. These are, yes, BIG. They are commonly thought of as simply dumplings -- they are the bread dumplings.

Let me tell you that I knew NOTHING about big dumplings when we vacationed in Eastern Europe, The Czech Republic. We arrived in Prague and headed out for dinner. Oh boy, I thought, that sign says Hungarian Goulash with Dumplings. Ah, my mouth and taste buds were at attention. We sat down and the plate arrived. "What the heck is that?" I asked. Oh, those would be dumplings!

Nay nay nay! Those are not the dumplings of my youth. Those are not the dumplings that grandma Julia Nagy whipped up in her Cleveland kitchen. So, arriving home, I emailed mom a copy of this picture. Mom laughed and said to next time ask for Spaetzle if I wanted little dumplings! Thank you mom! We should have brought you along on vacation.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thank You Martha Stewart

First of all! Where in the world has JaguarJulie been for the past 3 weeks and why the heck hasn't she been blogging? Holy moly batman! Dude, that is one excellent question. Gosh, this has been one hell of a month. Hell? Can I say that if this is a PG-rated blog? Oh, I think so! Heck doesn't seem to quite get it enough. Sheeesh, the stuff I've seen this month. I really need to start blogging more so that I can get all of that stuff off my chest.

OK, so I've established the fact that I am 110% aware that I've not been blogging to keep my interested readers interested. I had finished up Summer School and felt I needed a bit of a self-enforced vacation. So, here we go!

You know, I've been thinking and talking about Martha Stewart for years and marveling how she has worked through obstacles to build a credible and renowned brand that just seems to get more vital each day. Well, I finally opted in March, 2008 to put my thoughts together in an article, Martha Stewart is Reading MY Lenses, because there was a bit of tangible evidence to support that fact that Martha Stewart and staff are reading lenses. Yes! We've actually seen visitors from Martha Stewart Living reading lenses. Yes we have! That's OK Martha, we still love YOU! Wouldn't it be pretty cool to actually see Martha adding her comments to our guestbooks? Ah, I'd like to see that!

So, what is one of Martha Stewart's favorite recipes to talk about on her show? Why, it is Polish stuffed cabbage! I'm personally an advocate for Hungarian stuffed cabbage as I remember my grandma Julie Nagy made the best Hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls.

** Have you participated in the Hungarian vs. Polish debate to scientifically assess the better stuffed cabbage rolls?

** Have you also participated in the debate about the seasonality of stuffed cabbage rolls?

Now, it has been established that somebody at Martha Stewart Living is reading our lenses, right? Well, how coincidental is it then to see two search results from a Google search for "stuffed cabbage" as shown in this screen capture. Look closely, for you will see my article on Stuffed Cabbage that I talk about watching my grandmother Julia Nagy make the best stuffed cabbage rolls.

OK, look at the second search result -- Hey, it's Martha Stewart's website -- and it says something about her growing up and watching HER grandmother make stuffed cabbage! I thought that it was her mother that made the stuffed cabbage? Oh, grandma probably taught her mother too! Well, I surely do love grandmothers for they have popularized so many memories and recipes which are sure back in style today. Thanks grandma!

stuffed cabbage hungarian vs polish

So, "Thank You Martha Stewart!" You know Martha, I've commented a number of times on your blog, but you've been busy in the kitchen whipping up some delightful goodies that you've not stopped by to say hello! Well, hey, that's OK. But, you know, you are missing out on a future guest for your show.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Has Social Media Contributed to Your Life Interrupted

Can we be honest? Answer this question, "Has social media contributed to your life interrupted?" Have you found that your daily schedule embraces a variety of social media platforms? That you perhaps kick your day off with some tweets to friends and followers on Twitter? Or do you perhaps connect through Facebook? Or, maybe you are connecting through Squidoo and the Squidu Forum? Or, some other social media platform? What happens to your routine when you find you cannot access those platforms?

Well such was the case on Thursday, August 6, 2009, at approximately 9:20am EST. For me, it was another of my multitasking days with my work job and my online job. I was communicating via tweets just like so many of you. However, when I was hitting the submit button on Twitter, it would spin and spin and spin without sending my tweet. Refreshing helped a couple of times until 9:20am EST. I typed in a tweet and found it wouldn't register. Then, I refreshed the page and totally lost Twitter. For me, I found I could not access Twitter for more than 4 hours; probably closer to 6 hours. OMG, did that NOT seem like a lifetime?

So, what is this all about? Why do we seem to have such a reliance on Twitter? And, would you have thought one year ago that we would be sitting here talking about this reliance that we have on Twitter? That Twitter has taken hold of our daily lives. Well, I think it is quite a phenomenon.

I've recently been addressing some topicable issues which all taken into consideration raise the need for a reality check! Yes, I think it is time to assess what it is that we are doing -- what really matters? And, maybe thinking to the extreme -- time to 'stop the insanity?'

While you are contemplating some of these issues, may I offer up to you some reading material?
  1. First, you must recognize that you experienced this: Life Interrupted -- Yours, Mine and Ours!
  2. Next, you want to have this: Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki -- Thank you Guy!
  3. Last, go ahead and shout this: Stop the Insanity -- Feel Free to Vent!
Join me on Squidoo to express yourself and get a load off your mind! I know I've gotten LOADS off of my mind over the past several years thanks to Squidoo!

TWEET, TWEET, TWEET! -- Follow me, JaguarJulie on Twitter too! Let's kick our days off together!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Which is King - Content or Keywords

Can we equate this debate to one of the world's biggest mysteries? What came first, the chicken or the egg? Which is king these days? Is it authentic and unique content? Or is it keywords and keyword research? Can it really be that keywords are driving the 'need' for original content? Yes, keywords, the right keywords are paramount to your article being found and generating traffic. But is that what drives you? Can it have come to this that we writers are making determinations on what we will be writing about so that we can gain traffic and readers?

Personally, I am still a bit old school. I like to write about those things that interest me; about those things I am most passionate. I love writing/authoring lenses on Squidoo. I did love writing on my blog and striving to be an original. I derive my authenticity from my passions and interests. I am thrilled that I have amassed a great group of readers and friends and fellow associates who value what I might have to say.

So, I'm sitting here this morning with a LOT on my mind. I'm thinking about blog content scrapers, syndicating of blogs, authenticity, value, -- lots of information, perhaps too much information. Where do we go from here?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Stealing People's Blog Posts is Just NOT Cool

Today I was made aware of another blog that is building their blog from other people's blog posts -- using FULL blog posts to build their blog and then try to sell stuff. Ironically, I was alerted through Google Alerts of this Google blogger stealing content. I have taken the time to leave my comment on those blog posts of mine that I've spotted. Since that blog is stacking some blog posts, I might have missed all the blog posts of mine that they've 'stolen.'

I have made it fully clear that I do not condone them using my content without permission. It seems they have found a number of other people's blogs from which to take content -- full blown blog posts.

The offending party's blog: http://governmentworkathome-admin.blogspot.com

There have been discussions recently on the SquidU Forum about this happening with Squidoo blogs. I'd read that this is sometimes seen as a form of syndication in providing the USED person's blogs or lenses with backlinks and traffic. However, to me this is unauthorized use of other person's content. I was never contacted by that Government Work at Home blog and asked if I would like to have my content used for their purposes of making money!

I have taken the time not only to advise that Google blogger to remove my content, but I have reported them to Google using the online webmaster tools.

Have you spotted your personal content at that Government Work at Home blog?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

JaguarJulie Just Finished Summer School

What's that you say? JaguarJulie has just finished Summer School? Huh? Yep, JaguarJulie, as a member of the Giant Squids, attended an 8-week Summer School course to hone her writing skills. In fact, she is already a member of the Giant Squid 100 Club, but still opted to try her hand at Summer School. All the Giant Squids were tasked with a different weekly assignment each Friday. JaguarJulie was chopping at the bit to get that last assignment in and finally get to enjoy her Summer!

Where am I going next? Ah, NO, not Disneyworld or Disneyland -- ha, gotcha on that one! Why it'd be the Jacksonville Zoo! That's where you can find JaguarJulie -- at the Jacksonville Zoo.

By the way, before you head out to visit the Jacksonville Zoo, do pay your respects and visit these lenses that JaguarJulie authored for the 8-week Giant Squid Summer School course. By the way, many have now been deleted!
  • Rocky the Raccoon -- Caption Me!
  • Pug the Cat -- Caption Me!
  • My Mind -- My Most Prized Possession!
  • Meyer's Latin Flair in Jacksonville, FL
  • Thank You Mom!
  • How to Create a Patio With Stone Pavers
  • Our Favorite Tool -- What is Your Favorite Tool?
  • My Favorite Lipstick -- Revealed
  • Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki
  • Jacksonville Zoo -- Your Entertainment Destination
Oh -- and this would be the sounding of the school bell -- the announcement that JaguarJulie is a graduate of Giant Squid Summer School -- oh, for old-timers like her, you can learn new tricks you all.
  • Summer School for Old-Timers -- A Graduate!

time to visit the jacksonville zoo
Wake-up you sleepy head -- meet me at the zoo -- the Jacksonville Zoo!