Weird natural beings can be found in the suburbiest of places

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A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… 10 Crazy and Unusual Book Designs, “No, you can’t deduct that…”

-o- No, you can’t deduct that -o-

I thought I was almost done with my taxes when I remembered I was a Teaching Assistant at George Washington last Spring and forgot to include that. Talk about a con of a freelance (read: unorganized) lifestyle.

Anyway, for a piece that ran this weekend, the NPR staff spoke to several accountants and other knowledgeable sources and asked them to list some of the most off-the-wall attempts their clients made at deductions. Among them? Cosmetic surgery, haircuts, and vet bills. Check out NPR‘s article by Jacob Goldstein.

-o- Weight as factor in employment decisions? -o-

A Texas hospital that includes body mass index (BMI) in their hiring policy has come under criticism. Well, yeah, it’s hard not to feel upset about that. Here’s the HLN article.

-o- Eggs as Art from all over the World -o-

Easter is over for another year, and pieces of plastic eggs litter my apartment. Ah, cats. Before leaving decorative eggs and nostalgic memories of hunts behind for awhile, check out this gallery from NPR.

-o-  Snow White’s in, Vampires are out, but at least Kristin Stewart is still around -o-

(Image source: Wikipedia.com)

Vampires, werewolves, dystopian futuristic worlds… Snow White? Not so much a logical progression. But Annalee Newitz makes some intriguing arguments in her piece on io9.com “Why is Everybody Obsessed with Snow White?” Check it out.

-o- 10 Crazy and Unusual Book Designs -o-

This is my favorite thing I found last week: “10 Crazy and Unusual Book Designs” by Emily Temple. Here’s the list from Flavorwire. Among them, and my favorite (perhaps predictably)… edible books! The first book on this list is an edible cookbook with pages that can be baked into a lasagna.

-o- Cherry Blossom Festival in pictures -o-

I was just on the Mall this weekend and, sadly, I think the blossoms are mostly gone for the year. Check out 100 years of cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. in pictures from the BBC.

-o- Best and Worst Beers -o-

Worth a read, but I wish “taste” were a category. Here’s the slideshow of 40 beers by calorie-count, carbs and alcohol percentage by Eat This, Not That. Going through this was actually kind of a bummer but… drinking beer was never a super calorie-conscious option to begin with…

-o- Recipe of the Week: Over-the-top Mushroom Quiche -o-

Cooking this week! Amazing-looking mushroom quiche. Here’s the recipe from Punchfork.

(Image source: @ Deb Perelman)

Sadly, Brian doesn’t like mushrooms, so we’ll also be making this soup with the abundance of asparagus in our fridge right now; here’s the recipe from thesolitarycook. Mmm… what an unusual and delicious-sounding combination: “Asparagus Soup with Sriracha and Avocado Creme Fraiche.”

A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… Salvador Dalí gave outlandish dinner parties; Dozens of chicken recipes from Punchfork and Cooking Light

-o- GOP: Romney v. … Santorum? Gingrich? -o-
I’m sticking with Romney (as is most of professional and popular opinion), but the news this week is still looking at Gingrich and the newcomer, Rick Santorum. And, despite numerous press gaffs, Rick Perry vows to press on.

Here’s The Washington Post‘s take on the state of the race; read NPR‘s article for more. Here’s the AP‘s story on Perry.

-o- Nicholas Lemann’s commentary on Ron Paul -o-
It’s been awhile since I had the time to read The New Yorker, but suddenly I spend hours (and so much money…) on the metro during the week and so have returned to reading it whenever possible.

Read the fun and fascinating commentary “Enemy of the State” here.

-o- Salvador Dalí gave off-the-wall parties -o-
Well, yeah… I have personally visited the Salvador Dali museum near Barcelona, Spain, and I would never have imagined otherwise. Check out the video below of one of Dalí’s dinner parties. I  wish I could see the full menu!


(image from Photos of Spain)


(image from my trip to Spain in Fall 2007)

View the video of the party here on Foodista.

-o- 10 most popular stories on TheNewYorker.com this year -o-
I really enjoy reading The New Yorker. Thanks to the sensitivity and generosity of my mom, I’ve had a subscription for a few years now. Though I have gotten very into the headline-based news gathering Twitter offers me, I still cling to “knowing a lot about a few topics” as a worthy pursuit. The New Yorker offers that, with features by regular and constantly improving writers such as Jeffrey Toobin and Malcolm Gladwell.

Among this year’s most popular stories: “The Tweaker” by Malcolm Gladwell, November 14, 2011 (“the real genius of Steve Jobs”) and “Looking for Someone” by Nick Paumgarten, July 4, 2011 (“Sex, love, and loneliness on the Internet).

Here’s the collection.

-o- Fantastic Collection of Chicken Recipes on PunchFork -o-
On top of my list to try: Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Melted Mozzarella.

Check out the whole gallery.

Also, get some of the featured chicken recipes in the January/February issue of Cooking Light below. Find all of the recipes from this issue here.

-o- Balsamic Chicken
-o- Chicken and Rice
-o- Chicken and Rice with Mushrooms
-o- Chicken Enchiladas
-o- Chicken Piccata
-o- Chicken Pizza
-o- Chicken Quesadillas
-o- Chicken Spaghetti
-o- Chicken with Olives and Lemons
-o- Chicken with Pepperoni-Marinara Sauce
-o- Chicken with Root Vegetables
-o- Chipotle Chicken
-o- Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms
-o- Green Curry Chicken
-o- Maple-Brined Chicken with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
-o- Maple-Mustard Glazed Chicken
-o- Moroccan-Style Chicken Tagine
-o- Sautéed Chicken with Olive Tapenade
-o- Sautéed Chicken with Onion Jam
-o- Sautéed Chicken with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
-o- Spicy Chicken Quesadillas
-o- Szechuan Chicken Stir-Fry

-o- 6 Startups to watch this year -o-
Where would my weekly post be without a Mashable mention? Here are the 6 companies to watch in 2012, according to Sarah Kessler:

-o- Skillshare (website)
-o- Zaarly, Taskrabbit or something similar (Zaarly website | Taskrabbit website)
-o- LevelUp (website)
-o- Dwolla (website)
-o- Eventbrite (website)
-o- Codecademy (website)

How many of these have you heard of? Can you guess what they offer?
If you are part of a startup company, what is your new idea, and why does it deserve a place on this list?

Read Kessler’s article here.

-o- Where does the Nook stand in the eReader game? -o-
The New York Times looks into the eReader market and reports that, according to its sources, Barnes & Noble holds around 13 percent of the market. That’s certainly more than I would have guessed, considering the number of die-hard Apple fans and the fact that Amazon.com is a giant, and the Kindle was around first.

Read the article here.

-o- Nature’s Weirdest Events -o-
BBC Nature‘s  list of eerily strange natural events.

Among them: the tongue-biter, or Cymothoa exigua, one of hundreds of an isopod or louse which attaches itself to a fish’s tongue after entering through the fish’s gills.

Ceratothoa imbricata in Blacktail (c) Nico Smit
(image via BBC)

-o-  Random House’s collection of “Best of 2011” Book Lists -o-

Random House collected dozens of the year’s “Best of” lists in one place! Here’s the loot.