Butter is interesting

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The Star Tribune ran a feature today about buying the best ingredients for the best baking results for the upcoming holidays.

Pat Sinclair pulls off being educational in tone without sounding like a page out of a textbook.  It is not the most entertaining feature, but I kept reading based on all the new information revealed about baking ingredients.

Each ingredient entry is short and to the point, making it a good quick read for anyone quickly scanning the lifestyle section of the Star Tribune.

The feature was effective in its message because I was quite hungry after reading all three pages, yet I was curiously unmotivated to go out and bake something myself.

Sinclair's feature is full of facts, yet short on entertainment value or motivation to push the reader into exploring the topic further.

After reading this, I now have valuable knowledge about butter, milk, and all sorts of baking ingredients that are foreign to me.

A Man of Justice

            Vanity Fair recently profiled the life of famed magazine writer to reveal the fall and rise of a morally motivated individual.

The magazine paid tribute to Dominick Dunne, one of its key contributors over the past decade, who spent 15 years of his life covering the biggest celebrity murder cases of the time.

Michael Hogan drew me into the story of Dunne's life, focusing on the pivotal events that defined his career. 

Hogan deftly accents key moments of the story with both the larger events of Dunne's life along with the more intimate nondescript moments.

Hogan is able to write about the most tragic of moments, mainly, the murder of Dunne's daughter, with a sense of genuine empathy.  I did not feel as if it was exploitative, since that would have been an easy way to draw interest.

Overall, it was a great feature that used its length to its advantage by providing an in-depth look into the life of a man that I did not know about.

A Lifetime of Gaming Achievements

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1UP.com did a retrospective three weeks ago on Nintendo, the company responsible for popular video game franchises such as Super Mario and Pokemon, highlighting its biggest accomplishments and its most unique characteristics.


Chris Kohler gives a brief, but informative, look at different aspects of Nintendo's history, design philosophy, key individuals, and its most influential products.


Having much experience with Nintendo's products, I found the retrospective to be engaging yet nothing surprising.  This feature serves more as a quick guide for anyone who is unfamiliar with gaming's most enduring company.


The feature suffers from what I have come to expect from 1UP's features: lack of depth.  The websites feature's are never that long, and leave one more curious than satisfied.


Regardless of depth, the feature is still a good read either as a refresher on Nintendo or as a decent introduction to its inner workings.

Mother and daughter convicted of day care manslaughter

A Bloomington daycare provider and her daughter were both convicted of second-degree manslaughter, according to a Star Tribune report.

Doris Meeks, 48, and her daughter Harmony Newman, 22, neglected to watch over 22-month-old Demar Joseph-Amir Hicks who died of asphyxiation at their Bloomington home.

Meeks left the home to run an errand, leaving Newman alone to baby-sit 23 children.  This exceeded the daycare license limit of 14 children, and it also violated the requirement of two adults supervising at all times.

The child was left unsupervised in their basement when he was strapped into a playpen car, while Newman was upstairs watching television.  He was later found unconscious by one of the other children.

Paramedics arrived in time to get his heart beating again, but Hicks died two days later at Minneapolis Children's Hospital, according the Pioneer Press.

Meeks and Newman face up to 10 years in prison.

Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan

            The New York Times has reported that President Barack Obama will send as many as 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.

            The estimated 30,000 additional troops would bolster the 68,000 American soldiers already stationed in Afghanistan.

            The final troop numbers are still undecided, as Obama plans to announce his strategy for Afghanistan after Thanksgiving.

CNN.com has reported the troop increase is part of an effort to combat the activities of Al Queda in the bordering nation of Pakistan.

Having met with top advisors, Obama made it clear that his strategy would be different than previous President George Bush's, and he was confident in the American public's support of his plans.

Despite these talks, Obama did not specify any timetable for exiting Afghanistan.

Death toll continues to rise in wake of Philippine massacre

BBC News has reported the death toll for a recent devastating attack in the Philippines has reached 57 as of Wednesday morning.

President Gloria Arroyo has declared a state of emergency in two provinces on the southern island of Mindanao.

Electoral candidate, Ismael Mangudadatu, has suspected the local Ampatuan clan as responsible for the attack because of their family ties with incumbent governor, Andal Ampatuan.

Mangudadatu's wife was killed along with at least 13 journalists.

The New York Times reported the election violence is linked to warring clans vying for political power.

The Ampatuans are close allies of Arroyo, and have aided her in previous elections.

Political violence is not unprecedented in the Philippines.  Previous elections have seen much bloodshed, with 126 deaths in the 2007 elections and 189 in 2004.

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