Maroon Velvet cocktail

img_3584A sparkly cocktail suitable for all formal Aggie occasions. Seniors may garnish with a dainty curl of lemon peel. 🙂

Proportions are

  • One part Chambord liqueur (black raspberry liqueur)
  • Four parts pomegranate juice
  • Six parts champagne

Lucky’s in the news because he got hit by a car yesterday — a university staffer took him to a vet but he didn’t survive, the UNT Staff Senate said on Twitter.

But there is hope!

Central Track delved further to find that UNT has *plural* albino squirrels, since at least 2000. The first was named Thelonious, which is perfect for a school with strong jazz heritage.

The university’s official account, @UNTsocial, confirms there’s more than one:

UNT is my “other” university. Having grown up a Fry rat in Denton, I have long been unimpressed with other Texas cities’ claims to weirdness and unique music scenes. I’m also a UNT alum, having taken photojournalism and other classes there between semesters at A&M, and justifiably proud of their music, journalism and history programs.

As @UNTsocial says, “Lucky is remembered in our hearts. Hope mourning will lessen in spring when we see Lucky Jr. We’ll be on the lookout.”

The terrific “Corps of Cadets Moms Updates” blog does a great job of mixing events, news and useful info. Here, republished with the blogger’s permission, is a list she compiled of  “stuff you can do on a non-football weekend.”

(I’m quoting the list directly, so modify “your cadet” to “your student” or “your friends” as needed!)

George H.W. Bush Presidential Museum: I’ve been twice and could easily go again. I’m a museum person, so I’d say allow 3+ hours. Students get in free with a TAMU ID.


Bonfire Memorial: It’s very cool. Free. Allow 1 hour.


MSC: Check the calendar to see if there are any performances the weekend you plan to be in CStat. There is nothing posted yet for next year, but you can see what’s happened in the past to give you an idea of what the future may hold.


Messina Hof: This is an adult thing, but fun! Bryan’s own winery — and while I’m no connoisseur (I typically select wines by the graphic quality of the label), I do like their wines.


Aggie Stores: There are a lot to select from that specialize in cute stuff for Aggies. The biggie — Aggieland Outfitters — is a palace dedicated to Maroon. College Depot and CC Creations also have tons of stuff. For CC Creations, on non-football weekends, you need to go to the warehouse on Holleman Drive, south of campus. For girly stuff, go to Heartworks. And for old-time Aggie prints, stop by The Benjamin Knox Gallery. (This is a great place for a glass of wine and a snack, as well.)


Other Sports: Yes, TAMU has teams other than football, basketball and baseball. If you’d like to see one of the other sports teams compete, check out the composite 12th Man calendar. Again, most schedules aren’t posted yet. It’ll happen.


The Dixie Chicken: Even if your cadet is not of age, go to The Chicken for a hamburger and Dr Pepper. It’s part of Texas A&M. You just gotta do it. Ditto for Layne’s Chicken.


Bonfire Cut: Last but certainly not least, if your cadet is doing cut, and if it’s the right weekend, parents are invited to cut on Sunday morning. (Yes, it’s during church time.) Not all cadets do cut, but those who do, love it. And parents who go have very special memories of time in the woods with their cadet and buddies.

Great list, Jeanne! Thanks again!


Don’t wait – your vote in the Texas primary can count much more than in November. Texas can affect presidential races, most Texas statewide races are settled in primaries and a lot fewer people vote.

The Brazos County polls close at 8 p.m. Friday for early voting in this presidential primary. Let’s do this!

  • Any day this week between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Grab your driver’s license (or other government ID from this list)
  • Bring a sample ballot “cheatsheet” if you want — printable here
  • And head to any one of these five locations: http://brazosvotes.org/when

If you wait till election day, March 1, you’ll actually have 26 locations to choose from in Brazos County — you can vote at any of them, but you have to do it that day, and the polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

(Click here to check whether you’re registered to vote: http://brazosvotes.org/register/ami)

You’ll be voting on an electronic machine that will automatically know what precincts you’re in and will let you skip a race if you’re not sure who you want to vote for in it.

Everybody gets to vote on the presidential candidates and the statewide races such as Railroad Commissioner, Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals and State Board of Education (some nonpartisan info on these candidates is here).

Each party will also ask for your opinion on several issues (referendum/proposition) that may help decide the state parties’ platforms. These items have no weight in law.

Contested local races (see below for how to find your district/precinct):

  • On the Republican ballot, there are contested races in U.S. Congressional District 17, State House Districts 12 and 14, county commissioners in Precincts 1 and 3, and for Brazos County sheriff. Go here and scroll down to read recent Eagle news stories on some of these races: http://www.theeagle.com/news/elections/
  • On the Democratic ballot, there is only one contested local race, and it’s to determine who will be the party’s chairperson for Precinct 17. I couldn’t find any more information about this race other than the names.

(Voting in the Democratic or Republican primary doesn’t mean you have to vote for that party in November, but it does mean you’ll have to stick with that party if there is a runoff election in this current primary.)

Finding your district and precinct:




Just a protein out for a stroll

This animation of a “walking” protein inside a cell is going viral, and I became briefly obsessed with figuring out what’s going on here. Behavior that looks conscious and deliberate can’t, of course, be deliberate or conscious at the subcellular level. It’s just as fascinating, though.

What it is: A kinesin protein hauling a vesicle (pouch that can contain various things the cell needs) along a microtubule.

How are its “feet” moving? Reactions (see video, below.)The protein floats around till one of its feet hits a microtubule, where it binds. Then that foot releases a nucleotide (ADP), which leaves a site on its surface open that gets filled by a different nucleotide (ATP); this triggers the kinesin to wave its other foot forward. The front foot attaches and starts the same cycle; the back foot processes its ATP into ADP, releasing phosphate, and detaches from the tubule, then waves forward and “takes a step,” attaching to the microtubule again.

Why does it look deliberate? The process isn’t as smooth or clean as depicted in some animations like this, which are simplified to show the essential motions. In real life, there’s more jiggling and colliding. In fact, all the floating confusion is one reason why the “two-feet” method works — the kinesin is never completely detached from the microtubule, so it doesn’t float away.

Why is it moving in a particular direction? Microtubules have polarity, and some types of motor proteins will move toward the plus-end or minus-end.

I hat-tip @picpedant, where I first saw this, and recommend this by the artist who created the animation shown above, as well as this discussion of some of the misconceptions surrounding the viral version.



This is a few months before he starts singing for the Harry James orchestra; he’s 22. The charge of sleeping with a woman is revised to adultery when she turns out to be married, and eventually dropped.

Sinatra’s life makes an interesting way to look at 20th-century America. Just this famous mugshot shows things have changed a bit since 1938: The charge is seducing a single female of good repute.

He was born in 1915 and died in 1998. Crowds screamed for him two decades before the Beatles. The documentary “Sinatra: All or Nothing at All” grounds young Sinatra in an America where race hatred commonly extended to Italians, Irish and other groups and where the Depression meant not just working hard to survive but possibly literally not surviving. Once a singing waiter, he becomes famous in every medium from radio onward; gets credited for destroying American morality by adultering with Ava Gardner; from JFK to civil rights, mobsters, Vegas and Reagan, that’s a pretty good shuffle through the decades.

He became a cliche partly because of age (paunch, fading vocals, less self-reinventing) but also by the “Seinfeld is unfunny” principle — so successful in his groundbreaking that he became the status quo. (One of my favorite moments in “High Society” is when Bing says “You must be one of the newer fellas.” Turnover is always with us.)

Late-era Sinatra parodying himself is painful, but earlier in his career, when he’s still doing it straight and singing with sincerity, the power is clear. You can probably hear it even through the audio flaws in this film of him singing to a roomful of WAVES in 1943. Criminal seduction, you say? 🙂

imageThis isn’t a Dr Pepper smoothie, of course, because the ingredients in Dr Pepper are secret, right? (See below.) But it is a quite good smoothie that soothes my Dr Pepper cravings.

  • 1 cup pomegranate-cherry juice, chilled
  • 2 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen fruit — H-E-B cherry/blueberry/currant mix
  • 1 cup frozen fruit — H-E-B blackberry/blueberry/raspberry mix

(Makes about 1 pitcherful, say two 16-oz smoothies)

Internet speculation on the secret 23 flavors in Dr Pepper follows. Bear in mind it was invented in 1885:

  • Cherry, vanilla, almond, plum, blackberry, raspberry, apricot, coriander, clove, amaretto, anise, caramel, molasses, birch beer, allspice, ginger, sarsparilla, sassafras, juniper, spikenard, wintergreen, burdock, dandelion.