Dobie Gray Drifts Away

I was saddened to read of the passing of Dobie Gray, the singer and musician most famous for the classic song Drift Away.

Drift Away was recorded when I was in high school, and it almost immediately became, and for nearly 40 years has remained, a staple of FM radio playlists.  Everyone seemed to like the gentle tune and the lyrics, with their universal message of people turning to music and getting lost in song when they were down or confused.

This YouTube video of Gray performing the song on the BBC isn’t of the greatest quality, but I can’t let Gray’s death pass without posting him performing this terrific song.  Dobie Gray was 71.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2011 (V)

I like bar cookies, because I think the rectangular shapes help to make any cookie tin look more visually appealing.  This cookie would make a tasty addition to any cookie collection.

Brown Sugar-Almond Bars

Ingredients:  1 cup butter; 6 tablespoons butter; 1 cup confectioner’s sugar; 2 cups flour; 1 cup brown sugar; 2 tablespoons water; 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice; 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.

Baking:  Grease 13 by 9 inch pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cream 1 cup butter and confectioner’s sugar.  Add flour and mix well.  Pat mixture into pan.  Bake 15 minutes, until light golden color.  Remove and allow to cool. 

In a saucepan, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter.  Add brown sugar, water, and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in almonds and vanilla.  Spread almond mixture over crust.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool until warm, then cut into bars.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2011

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2011 (II)

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2011 (III)

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2011 (IV)

Eye Of Newt

There’s a new flavor of the month among the Republican presidential candidates — at least, according to the polls.  Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and intellectual gadfly, apparently has become the frontrunner.

The Republican campaign, if you can call these tedious months of “debates,” fund-raising, straw polls, and polling a campaign, seems like an exercise in Fortune’s Wheel.  Every so often the wheel is spun, the candidates at the bottom move to the top, and the former front runners tumble to the bottom.  Right now, it’s Gingrich’s turn at the top of the wheel.

It’s not surprising that Gingrich should get traction.  He’s glib, has performed well in the debates compared to the stumbling performances of other candidates, and has a track record as Speaker of the House that features balanced budgets.  Of course, his record as Speaker includes other, less positive actions and ethics claims, he’s had some personal issues over his lifetime, and his activities during the years after his tenure as Speaker have yet to be fully explored.  We know he shopped at Tiffany’s, wrote books, was involved in some kind of work for Freddie Mac, and was part of the stew of consulting firms, advocacy organizations, tax-exempt groups, commissions, and task forces that are found everywhere in Washington, D.C., but that’s about it.

Now that Gingrich is at the top, his record as Speaker and his activities since then will get lots of attention — and we’ll see if the scrutiny causes another turn of Fortune’s Wheel.