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HAPPY NATIONAL SPANISH PAELLA DAY!

That’s right, its that time of year again. Happy National Spanish Paella Day, folks! This dish is regarded as Spain’s national dish, it’s named after a pan that is used to make paella (meta), it can be made so big that it feeds 110, 000 (Guinness Book of World Records), and it can be made vegan too!

So, at the latest meeting our lovely chef and social media guru, Adam Labriny, whipped this delicious treat up for us. It’s vegan, filling, and awesome. Give it a try!

Happy National Spanish Paella Day, folks!

What you’ll need:

  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • Generous pinch (about 1/2 teaspoon) saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 green pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 cups medium-grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 oz chopped cilantro
  • 1 package cherry tomatoes (about 25-30), cut lengthwise
  • 6 oz (1/2 a bag) frozen cut green beans
  • 12 oz (1 bag) of frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper

Ingredients 1Ingredients 2Ingredients 3

1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Crush the saffron threads between your fingertips, and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon warm water, and set aside.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy frying pan, an earthenware casserole (cazuela) set over a flame tamer, a paella pan, or a large wok (what we used!). Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, peppers and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the peppers begin to soften, about three minutes.

Peppers

Add the tomato paste, paprika and rice. Cook, stirring, for one minute until the grains begin to crackle.

Rice

Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they cook down slightly and smell fragrant, about five minutes. Stir in the saffron with its soaking water, scraping in every last bit with a rubber spatula. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Tomatoes

3. Add the stock, green beans, artichokes and chickpeas. Bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer without stirring until the liquid has just about evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Broth and Veggies

Continue to simmer until the rice is dry, another 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Remove from the heat and serve. (Serves six to eight.)

Plate 1

Plate 2

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Swipe Right History: Rosa Bonheur

Rosa Bonheur

Don’t hold your horses: This French animaliere is ready to fulfill your wildest fantasies.  Hailed as the most famous female painter of the nineteenth century, an early feminist and—don’t forget—a well-versed anatomist, Bonheur surely lives up to her namesake, fellas.  If you’d like to go Ploughing in the Nivernais  with this firecracker, show up to your date with some cigs; unlike her ladylike contemporaries, Bonheur smoked and sported trousers.  A “New Woman” of the 19th century, she supported female education and freedom, and even said, “I was forced to recognize that the clothing of my sex was a constant bother.”  Are you hot enough to help her disrobe?  Swipe right!

RosaTinderProfile

 

Rosa Bio 1 Rosa Bio 2

 

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Swipe Right History: James Madison

James Madison

It’s hard to say no to one of America’s O.G.’s.  This big daddy of the Constitution and author of the Bill of Rights may be an imaginative political philosopher, but he’s even more imaginative in the bedroom.  Still turned off by his 5’4’’ height and 100 lb stature?  Let’s just say that when he helped double the nation’s size with the massive Louisiana Territory purchase, he wasn’t compensating for something.  While you may only win 3/5 of James’ heart, you’ll end up stroking more than just his ego by taking him on a hot date to the Virginia Historical Society.

But would you swipe right?

James Madison on Tinder

 

James Madison on Tinder

James Madison on Tinder

James Madison on Tinder

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Live long and prosper

Leonard Nimoy is an institution for science fiction fans around the world. His work as the half human half vulcan character, Spock,  on the original Star Trek series brought him into living rooms all over the world. He went on to narrate a lot of science documentaries and help promote the concepts of learning, education, curiosity,  discovery, and peace.  Beyond his work on the TV series he also put out some records, did a lot of fundraising for various science organizations, and over the past several decades had become a cultural icon for a small, but dedicated slice of humans on this planet. His passing is a tragedy, but for those of us that don’t know him personally do have the ability to celebrate his personality, quirkiness, and unique presence in the world of science fiction. To celebrate his legacy any other way than fondly would be…highly illogical.

some great Spock moments…



At tonight’s Gather Happy Hour a few people threw up the vulcan fingers to pay respect to one of the most interesting and beloved people in science and entertainment. Leonard Nimoy, you will be missed.

Live Long and Prosper Live Long and Prosper Live Long and Prosper Live Long and Prosper

 

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Let There Be Mozart!

Last year we had the honor of partnering with Classical Revolution RVA to put on the first ever Mozart Festival located in Carytown, in the heart of Richmond, VA.  We could not be more excited to be bringing the second year of fun to life now! The works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will remain as some of the greatest contributions to art ever. A very passionate community of musicians here in Richmond have taken on the task of celebrating the genius composer’s work and you are invited. All the events are free and open to the public, that’s how we celebrate genius folks! Oh and speaking of which, here’s the facebook invite, pass it on!

One of the best parts of working on this event is the opportunity to have some fun with the man’s legacy and get everyone amped about the upcoming day of awesome music. With that said, ladies and gents, please enjoy this year’s Mozart related fun.

Mozart vs Most Art: The works of Mozart and the impact he left on the world can only truly be understood by comparing him to some of our more recent and current celebrities.

Mozart Vs Most Art

Mozart Vs Most Art

Mozart Vs Most Art

Wolfgang Wednesday: If you are a fan of Wednesdays and have an appreciation for Wolves, puns, and nonsense then this is your lucky day!

wolfgang_justawolf fast food

 

wolfgang_justawolf ouch

wolfgang_justawolf piccolos

wolfgang_justawolf wolf it down

 

This year’s visuals bring the old world composer into some new world technological capabilities. Selfies, man…

Mozart Festival 2015

 

Poster images by Katie McBride. Wolfgang Wed illustrations by Mary Fichtel.

 

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Darwin Day Y’all!!

Happy Darwin Day everyone, the best day of the year to go look at a monkey. Well, really, any day is a good day to look at a monkey, but today we celebrate the birth of the person that would open up the masses to the notion that perhaps long before God there were other forces at work as well. Evolution could easily be placed in the top 5 strongest forces studied by science category no problem. However, the general public seems to be a bit hesitant on accepting this as a reality. While we can’t look in the jungles today and see half monkey half human critters walking around, we do have the ability to look at survival rates of species, conservation efforts that span decades, and even our own cosmic and technological capabilities. All of which are subject to the awesome force of evolution.

Evolution comes in handy to answer some of the biggest questions we have asked:

Why Do Zebras Have Stripes? 

What Came First, The Chicken Or The Egg?

Can Mutations Really Happen?

How Did We Become What We Are?

Darwin Day

 

Mel And Melanie

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Alexandria, Congress, and Wikipedia – A thought for today’s anniversary

Here’s an interesting thought for the mind to wander around in today.  On this very day, January 15th, all the way back in 2001 a little website by the name of Wikipedia was launched. Fourteen short years go by and it is now one of the most consulted sites on the web. This internationally used website brings up a very curious train of thoughts. One would not be considered crazy to say that Wikipedia is a collection of knowledge and information. Sure, there are some accuracy issues for sure, but all in all if you look up ducks, Wiki’s going to totally help you get your quack on. This massive collection of knowledge that is available for the whole world certainly bares a lot of resemblance to a free for all digital library. Incidentally, before the internet’s massive expansion, libraries were the original places to gather knowledge. Of course they still continue to do so, but no one can deny the awesome force that the internet has had in making knowledge accessible to the masses.

Wikipedia

So, if we were to consider this website (on its very special day) to be a great collection of knowledge, then how does it stack up with some of the previous recipients of such high praise? How does Wikipedia stack up to some of the greatest libraries that humanity has produced? To ponder this question it helps to temporarily exchange the Clarks and the hoodie for some sandals and the stuff that Michael Jackson wore in the “Remember The Time” video. That’s right, we’re heading back to ancient Egypt. One of the largest tragedies in human history took place here and the victim was a library, knowledge more specifically. In Alexandria, Egypt around the start of the 3rd century BC construction began on what would become the world’s first great library. The Royal Library of Alexandria was a massive collection of knowledge, science, births, town records, astronomy documentation, poetry, recipes, stories, surveys of land, and various other bits of knowledge from wherever they could get it! Keep in mind this was the era of scrolls, not books, and there were a lot of scrolls here. This library had so many scrolls…(how many scrolls did it have?)…it had so many scrolls that historians estimate that around half a million of them resided in the library in its heyday. At the height of the city there were about 300,000 people living there. Meaning there were 1.7 scrolls for every person that lived in the area. Considering the time and technology that is a remarkable achievement. Eat, drink, love, learn, wonder, and be merry. Those were the objectives from the various thoughts located in this giant hall of knowledge. Sadly, as all good things must come to an end, as did the Royal Library of Alexandria. You know how it takes years for a tree to grow, but just a few moments to knock it over? Well, the same case applies here. Replace the tree with the library and the axe with Julius Caesar. After centuries of growth the mighty library was set to flames and reduced to ruins in a few short battles. The knowledge of the cosmos, the organization of numbers, the history of one of the earliest civilizations of humans ever, destroyed. A little under 1% of the library’s collection survived the battles. And so goes the story of one of the greatest collections of knowledge humanity ever had. No, its not wikipedia, but its a remarkable thought.

Alexandria

Let’s trade the sandals and Egyptian garb for some tight white leggings and a triangular hat. That’s right people, the next stop on this Wikipedia roller coaster takes us to Washington, DC in the year 1800. First of all, not many stories start at such an epic year. It’s very rare that a big historical event starts with a year you can totally remember. That would have made third grade way easier (and of course if bullies didn’t pick on kids with glasses). Regardless, in the year 1800, another great institution of knowledge was established. The Library of Congress opened its doors to the nation with a pretty impressive and ever growing collection. This library also doubles as the copyright registry for the nation so they’re adding to the collection all the time. Don’t roll your eyes and think that most of it is just your brother’s band’s first album or your ex-lover’s shitty novel that never amounted to anything. No, this place has some very exciting stuff. For example, the Gutenberg Bible, the rough draft of the Declaration Of Independence, 61 million manuscripts, the largest rare book collection on Earth, and millions upon millions of scores, recordings, etchings, prints and photographs in addition to the usual books about planets, farts, and jazz. This place has it all folks, 155 million items and growing. There are so many books here…(how many books are there?)….there are so many books here that if you laid them next to one another they would stretch 838 miles! That’s enough to go from Richmond, VA to some bar that Nelly‘s at in St. Louis, folks! That’s a big row of books. So, how does it compare to the Great Library of Alexandria? Sure it has more contents, but its got technology on its side, right? Don’t forget, The library in Alexandria could provide 1.7 books for every person who could access the library. Currently there are about 316 million Americans that technically have access to the library’s giant collection. If we do the numbers it does not work out too favorable for the mighty Library of Congress. 155 million items shared by 316 million people means that each person would basically end up with a little less than half of one item. That’s okay though, the country has many great libraries and thus this one does not need to be the only big one like Alexandria’s was. Washington DC’s Library of Congress is actually currently the world’s largest library. So, even though the collection is percentage wise smaller than that of Alexandria’s, it’s still a force to contend with. It’s no Wikipedia, but it is definitely worth a visit many times in one’s life.

Library Of Congress

So, that phrase keeps coming up, “It’s not Wikipedia, but….”. So, is Wikipedia that great? On it’s birthday its hard to say no, but the numbers will tell the truth, right? How many entries are there on Wikipedia anyway? Keep in mind this is a totally digital platform and just about anyone has the ability to add some content to it from around the world. Our world currently holds 7.2 billion people. Alexandria had 300,000 people and the library’s collection was at 500,000. The United States holds 316 million people and the collection at the Library of Congress is 155 million items. So, how many articles are there on Wikipedia compared to the 7.2 billion people that have access to this digital library? Surprisingly, all of their long entries and small blurbs and quick sentence description pages all add up to about 750,000 entries. This works out to a staggering 0.0001 entry per person on the planet. How can this be? How is it possible that the numbers don’t come anywhere near making sense? Well, how much can you expect out of someone that’s turning 14 years old? Sure they can make good decisions, but they probably can’t tell you much about mortgage refinances because they just have not gotten there yet, the knowledge has not been accumulated yet. Wikipedia is only 14 years old and has 750,000 entries. It took centuries to get The Library of Alexandria up to 500,000 scrolls. The Library of Congress has needed 215 years to build up 155 million items. Wikipedia is hitting 750,000 entries by year 14. Not bad. If that exact rate keeps up then there would be about 1.5 million entries by 2029. The chances of a steady rate of entries is highly unlikely though. The world is waking up to the vast opportunities available once technology is introduced to their lives. There are more humans than ever right now and the same goes for computers. The gap between those with and without technology will only close in as advancing technology makes previous innovations more affordable. In the event that humanity and Wikipedia survives a few more centuries, how many entries would be in there by then? Would we run out of things to even report, document, and collect? Who knows! Anyway, just an interesting few thoughts on the many faces of collected knowledge over the years. Happy birthday Wikipedia, wishing you many happy returns of the day!

Alexandria Washington Wiki

happybdaywiki

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The Caesarean Section – Today’s History Story

Sometimes you run across something so interesting that it makes you appreciate things that you sometimes may take for granted.  During a recent research binge I stumbled upon an interesting story about the first American c-section operation.  Turns out that it was done not far from Richmond, VA.  A quick trip west (about 140 miles) from the state capitol will take you near the rural and forested area of Rockingham County, VA.  About ten minutes from this community is a shack basically on the outskirts of Edom, VA. That shack is the scene of the first caesarean section surgery performed in the United States all the way back in 1794.  Before we go any further just keep in mind that in this time period the latest technology available was being used to build the US Navy’s first six vessels, made of wood and the president at the time was good old George Washington. Okay, that’s just to set the tone, back to the story. On a cold Jan 14th Dr. Jessee Bennett had to make an urgent decision for the sake of his wife and their soon to be born daughter. Dr. Bennett had requested that Dr. Humphrey of Staunton, VA be present for his wife Elizabeth’s delivery. After an unexpectedly long time spent in labor the doctors had reached the conclusion that either a cesarian section would need to happen or they would need to perform a craniotomy on the child inside the mother. This of course leads the mind to wonder, what’s a craniotomy? This process involves temporarily removing a flap of skull to access the brain or impact the skull shape. Needless to say this is not an easy decision. This was such an uneasy decision that Dr. Humphrey’s of Staunton, VA refused to be a part of this any further. He felt as though both the c-section or the craniotomy are incredibly dangerous and he would not want that decision to rest in his hands and apparently just left the house. Upstanding guy. So, what does the good Dr. Bennett do? Using a board resting on two barrels, he lays his wife there and begins taking care of business. He asked his two servants and his sister in law to assist during the operation. He cut into Elizabeth’s abdomen and ushered their daughter Maria into this world. Soon after he removed his wife’s ovaries and stated that she would ‘not be subjected to such an ordeal again.’ Now, in 1794, retail shopping was not the readily available luxury like it is today. Clothing was rare and when you got it, you kept it for a long time. Tears and cuts were fixed using some of the strongest thread they had available at the time, stout linen. Since that’s what was available, Dr. Bennett used it to suture up his wife’s incisions as the final part of this incredible procedure.

A month later Elizabeth was able to get out of bed and a few short weeks later Dr. Bennett claimed she was completely healed. Maria, Elizabeth, and Jessee Bennett lived happily together for thirty six more years until Elizabeth passed. Maria herself grew up to marry twice and birth six children. No, no one’s sure if there were c-sections or not…

So, how did this story not get all over the late 1700’s media? Well, first of all news traveled a lot slower than we can possibly imagine and Dr. Bennett never reported the story in the first place! Why?  Out of privacy? No. As a request from his wife? No. This story was kept secret because of his pride! Keep in mind that news moves real slow back then, so a story would originate from one location and slowly make its way around long before any follow ups, praise, or revisions could follow the story. Most doctors at the time did not believe that a woman could even survive such an operation and Dr. Bennett thought he would be “damned if he’d give them a chance to call him a liar.” Pride, man. Okay, so how did this story make it from the backwoods of Virginia to the international digital information superhighway?  Though they were separated by a chunk of land, the Knights were the closest neighbors to the Bennetts. A.L.Knight, a childhood friend of Maria, would later grow up to become Dr. A.L.Knight! He recalled hearing the stories of Maria’s birth and eventually decided to investigate. Luckily he was able to track down Dr. Bennett’s sister in law and one of the servants, both present at the time of the delivery, and got their eye witness testimony.  This information rattled the medical world and dethroned Dr. John Lambert of Ohio from the prestigious acclaim of being the first person in the United States to perform the caesarean section operation during child birth. After Dr. Knight’s published article the world knew that the honors belong to Dr. Bennett who had performed this remarkable procedure thirty three years earlier on Jan 14, 1794. What an incredible species we are.

dr. bennett

drbennet

Yes, the cesarean section operation had been performed much earlier by ancient Chinese, Indian, and even Roman people, but this story felt like it was worth sharing.  It’s pretty remarkable to learn about such historic things happening so close to home while also just being amazed by the seemingly never ending amount of incredible stuff there is to know out there.  Make some noise if you’re a c-section baby, its kind of a weird anniversary for all of us.

C Section Represent!

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Mel and Melanie – Cold

For those of you that have not left your warm houses for the past 48 hours we have an important meteorological update for you.  It’s cold out there!

Holy smokes y’all…stay warm, stay safe.  Here’s what Mel and Melanie have to say about today’s chilly weather.

Mel and Melanie

Why is it cold? 

When will it get warm again?

Will I ever be happy?

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LET THERE BE GWAR!

Jackson Ward is one of the coolest spots on planet Earth (duh) and lately it seems like it keeps getting cooler!  A few days ago GWAR Bar opened its doors to the public bringing yet another cool hang to the neighborhood.  A quick drink trip on First Friday took place and the reviews were all big bloody thumbs ups!  GWAR is an awesome band and an established part of Richmond history.  GWAR bar is such a great way to extend their fan base while also bringing another layer to living here. This is a great spot for super fans and people who are ready to become fans too, man.  Great menu, awesome prices, super casual vibe, and some really great visuals of blood, guts, monsters, and so on.  If you have not been then check it out, its super fun!

 

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