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"Have you ever wondered if penguins fall over backwards while they're watching an airplane fly over? Of course you have; it's just the sort of thing that keeps you awake at night, right? Think about it. They're such ungainly animals at best, when they're on land. In the water, of course, they're sleek, streamlined and fast. But on land, the silly things look like bowling pins dressed in tuxes. And if a plane is flying over and they all point those black, skinny beaks straight up to watch it, and it flies straight overhead, will they fall over backwards trying to keep it in sight? It's a wonderful mental picture; dozens of penguins flopped over on their backs, still watching an airplane as it gradually disappears from their view. Oh, I know. You all think I've totally flipped over myself, don't you? Well, before you call The Record office to inquire as to my mental health, let me just inform all you skeptics that the toppling penguin problem is not to be taken lightly. It's of sufficient importance that two British scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) are traveling to an island in the south Atlantic to find out if, in fact, that's what happens when planes fly over the 400,000 King penguins living on the island. Inquiring minds obviously want to know. It seems these scientists are concerned that if this happens while the penguins are incubating eggs, they'd presumably be falling over backwards on each other's (or their own?) eggs and this could be quite devastating for them. (That is a direct quote from Dr. Richard Stone of the BAS, who sounds a brick short of a load himself). There was no mention of the cost of the project nor whether the BAS would be sending over special planes to test the theory or if the scientists would just camp in the midst of the penguins until a plane came over. I wonder what the flight schedule is over this remote south Atlantic island?You think this is all very silly and a waste of money? Well, before you decry the idiocy of this penguin project, consider for a moment these past weeks of pre-election campaigning and the incredible amounts of money that have been poured down the rathole of vote getting. Frankly, it makes studying whether penguins fall over backwards while watching planes seem very reasonable.RecipesAnd now that the voting is, at last, over, perhaps we can return to making our holiday plans. But first, in honor of our odd black and white friends, the penguins, here's a recipe I resurrected from my files that was popular in suburbia many years ago, at about the same time Stingers were hitting the party circuit (as well as the party goers). It's called a Penguin, presumably because it is in black and white layers in the glass. Enough of these and you'll fall over backwards even if there's no plane overhead. PenguinBlackberry or black currant cassisHeavy creamClear schnapps, your preference as to flavor1. In a small bowl, whip the cream just until it forms very soft peaks. (You may sweeten it a bit with sugar, if desired). Gently stir in schnapps, to your taste.2. In tulip-shaped wine glasses, or tall slender glasses, place a small amount of black currant cassis; over this gently spoon, so that it floats on top, some of the cream, then over this carefully pour another layer of cassis. Some of it will trickle down the sides, supposedly making it look like a penguin's markings. As long as we're on the subject of drinks, how about a couple of punch recipes suitable for your holiday party? If you serve either of these first two, be sure there are designated drivers who do not partake. The first, Artillery Punch is a very old punch recipe and was supposedly so named because more than a couple of shots of this would take you out of action.Artillery Punch1 quart rye1 quart Claret1 quart strong black tea1 pint Jamaica rum1/2 pint gin1/2 pint Cognac1 jigger Benedictine1 pint orange juice1/2 pint lemon juiceBlend all ingredients and allow to sit for a couple of hours to ripen. When ready to serve, pour over ice in a punch bowl. This is a very dry punch, so if you prefer it a bit sweetened add sugar syrup to taste. Float some very thin lemon and/or orange slices in the punch.Cardinal Punch is a beautiful red color, great for Christmas parties.Cardinal Punch1/2 pint sugar syrup1 pint lemon juiceGrated rind of 4 lemons1 quart Rhine wine2 quarts red Burgundy2 quarts club sodaBlend all ingredients except the soda; allow to ripen, then add club soda and pour over ice in punch bowl when ready to serve.And let's talk for a minute about eggnog. If you're buying that awful ready-made stuff at the market then pouring in some liquor and calling it eggnog, you'd be better off to forget it altogether. Real eggnog is a true holiday treat and it really doesn't take that long to put together yourself. Try it - you'll never go back to the carton stuff.Holiday Eggnog10 egg whites1/3 cup superfine sugar10 egg yolks1 quart cold heavy cream2 T. superfine sugar1 fifth blended whiskey12 oz. Jamaica rum1 pint cold milkGrated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemonGround nutmeg1. Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl and add the 1/3 cup superfine sugar. Beat whites and sugar until they thicken somewhat and foam.2. In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks until they thicken enough to make a ribbon when the beater is lifted out. Pour the foamy egg whites into the egg yolks and beat them together until they are thoroughly combined.3. Put the cold heavy cream and 2 T. of sugar directly into the punch bowl and beat until the cream doubles in volume and is thick enough to hold its shape softely. Then, beating constantly, slowly pour the egg mixture into the punch bowl with the whipped cream. When thoroughly combined, slowly add the whiskey and rum and then the cold milk, beating all the while. The eggnog should have thickened somewhat and will thicken even more as it chills. Sprinkle the top of the nog with grated lemon and orange peel and ground nutmeg and chill for at least 2 hours (even overnight; it will ripen nicely). Serves 12.And for an alcohol-free party punch, tryWhite Angel Punch1/2 pint sugar syrup (or to taste)1 pint lemon juice1 quart strong green tea2 quarts white grape juice2 quarts club sodaIn a punch bowl, mix all ingredients except club soda. Chill until ready to serve, add club soda and any garnishments, such as lemon slices, etc. and serve. "