Monday, August 28, 2006

Not Dead
But still not healthy. I am mending but will be off from blogging for another few days while healing progresses. Thanks for the notes to all who e-mailed.

Monday, August 21, 2006

No blogging forthe next few days. I've got some thing that's just way too gross to go into. Think Cruex and you're on the right track. But there's ever so much more to it than that. Dip me a vat of cortisone cream and nuke whtever has found its way into me and I'll start to feel better. Not to mention the sunburn from AtlanticCycling support. Oh Lord, just kill me now. I promise I won't complain.
Sorry. Didn't mean to get into it.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Just A Grace Note For The Weekend
I was come over all of a sudden with a desire for blueberry pie so I went to my favorite purveyor of pies. I had a lovely lunch of the "Thnakgsgiving sandwich" (turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce on choice of bread. And a cinnamon roll. I had a piece of the pie at home later. I was only disappointed in that there were no deviled eggs to be had there. I love deviled eggs.
Still, I have consumed comfort food. And the pie was (is) absolutely fantastic.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Another Great Name For The Collection
Tamsin Grieg. She's a British actress who is featured in BBC America's short serial "Love Soup." She is, in my estimation, the quintessential image of the woman who is referred to as "handsome" and it's not meant in any way as a slight. She has a lovely, low-key (at least in "Love Soup" it may be part of her character) voice and a sort of hesitating style of movement as if she never approaches the central point of the scene directly. She implies where it is without having to be in the center of it. Yet the central wouldn't be there without her acting style creating it.
She is enjoyable to watch and she has another great name. Add her to my previous selections: Botti Bliss and Tierney Thys.

Self Aggrandizement
A transient thought alit amongst the bare branches of my mind long enough for me to recognize it. Bloggers love traffic. We want those counters to click over like the digits on a gas pump. Does it makes sense, then, to pull one's blog into one's real world?
The thought I had was blog "business" cards. Instead of telling people: "I blog. Visit or Google the term 'Pugs of war," I hand them a business type card that says: "I blog!" and gives the contact details. Is this over the top? Is it presumptuous and self aggrandizing? And even if it is, is it unwarranted self aggrandizement?
Leave a comment, let me know what you think. I really want to know.

My Friend The Enigmatic Misanthrope
Let me start by saying that the EM came into my high school class many years ago as the quintessential outsider. Yet we fell into a fast friendship when I approached him about the track spikes he was wearing in gym class. I'd never seen track spikes before and I thought they looked really cool. In any event, I was thrown back to those most irritating of salad days by a commercial I saw on TV. I won't say what the commercial was for but it reminded me of one of the EM's contributions to that hoariest of school traditions, the "Senior Wills."
The Enigmatic One willed to a socially ... what do I say, not "outcast" but perhaps "misfit" classmate of ours: "A woman who would not make his pores slam shut." Odds are the legacy was never realized but it still makes me laugh to this day. The man has a perverse and fascinating sense of humor.
I didn't clear this post with him beforehand because I figure the "Senior Wills" were about as public a thing as our little class put out. And I have, in the past, extended him an invitation to blog here on PoW. As yet, he declines.

Upcoming Music
I had it in my mind that the superb Carbon Leaf was getting to the point of releasing a new disc so I cruised over to the web site (a permanent fixture on the sidebar of course). I suggest you do the same. They offer a stream of the songs on "Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat." Listen. These guys are sharp, talented and write terrific music. And buy the disc when it come out! Dang ye! Support these guys. They deserve it.

Movin' To The Country
My favorite purveyor of peaches has Loring freestone yellow and New Jersey white peaches currently for sale and I must say these two varieties may be the best of the season. The Loring are flavorful and the term "freestone" hardly does them justice. Cut open the peach and the pit will fall out of its own volition. How conVEENient! And the flavor of the New Jersey is just top notch. I wish someone would make a white peach sorbet. That sort of perfume-y delicate flavor with a sort of vanilla overtone is just ... well, if you've had a good white peach, you know what I'm talking about.
And speaking of crops, I made another step toward the pepper jelly. The recipe calls for liquid fruit pectin and all I could find at my local Safeway was powdered pectin. I bought a couple of boxes but I wanted what the recipe called for. So (stop me if you've heard this from me before) I searched Amazon now that amazon is doing groceries. Bingo! And I bought some Zatarains gumbo mixes to get free shipping. I like gumbo. I really should learn how to make it myself.
Rodentia Morituri
I was crusing around Amazon, looking for innovative and fun ways to nuke the rat bastid on my deck when I noticed one of those interweb things that just would never happen without modren computators. On the page that the search string "rat poison" pulled up, one listing is in the so-called "sponsored links" is "Get Poison Ringtones."
I think they're missing my point.

Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is a Norwegian Buhund - affectionate, compact and hard-working.
The pug would exchange butt-sniff greetings while admiring his new friend's cobby body and elegantly curled tail.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Final Post For The Day
I wanted to be able to post a pic of the snapped spine of a rat bastid. Instead, I just have a tripped rat trap and no rodent to go with it. Bastage!
On the other hand, I bumped a pepper plant during watering and a pepper fell off. I take that as sign it was ready. Still no blushing though. Just a very pale jade green color to the peps. If I can pull my act together on Saturday, I might pluck enough produce to try to cook up a round of the pepper jelly.
I saved several clever hexagonal jars from Trader Joe's and I made up a label for them. Hey, I might as well show it off:

Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is a Swank - a peculiar breed in the working group that has inexplicably won Best In Show twice.
The pug, in a rare circumstance, would not exchange butt-sniff greetings but stroll away laughing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Star Trek" Inspirational Posters
Just go there and look at three pages of rib-ticklin' goodness.
The work speaks for itself. Anything I would say is just gilding the lilly.

And oh yeah, since these are posters, consider this also the final poster of the day.

In These Parlous Times
I have to ask myself one question:

(Who is Michael Garibaldi?)
The superb columnist John Leo has penned his final column and I just want to take note of it to memorialize the end of one part of a great career. I worked with John when I was at "US News & World Report" and he was a wonderful person to work with. He is a gentleman, he was probably the most widely recognized moderate conservative pundit in the weekly newsies and he deserved the recognition. His intelligence was active. His sense of humor was excellent and he treated the trench workers with grace and good cheer.
I hope his new endeavors will bring him great pleasure.

Browse With The Best
I am an ardent proponent of Firefox so I have to include a link to the Firefox crop circle made by the OSU Linux Users Group. Bravo!
And By The Way
Head on over to Gradual Dazzle and scroll down to Kris's Monday photos from the Dallas Farmers' Market. Just gorgeous. I want me some a them okra pods! And the cukes. And the .... Well, you get the idea. Even the broccoli is beautiful.

Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is a Catahoula Leopard Dog - versatile, energetic, hard working and requiring a lot from the owner.
A pug would exchange butt-sniff greetings but not if it's going to take a lot of effort to do so.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Final Post For The Day

These Things Happen
Inauspiciously, the Atlantic Cycling website is in hock. Changes in the background meant the webmaster thought the registration was re-upped when it actually hadn't been. D'oh! So we are webless for a bit before the upcoming Easton, MD ride. Too bad - it's a great ride.

Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is a Lowchen - a spunky, foofy son of a Bichon (maybe cousin of a Bichon) that likes being a lapdog.
The pug would exchange butt-sniff greetings with suspicion that his new friend is trying to horn in on his territory: the human lap.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Final Post For The Day
Call it a "reknewel post."
TV Tonight
I have studiously avoided commenting on Hell's Kitchen save for an early comment that I thought Heather was the leading contender. Obviously, my instincts were good. She's one of the final two. But as much of a fan of Gordon Ramsay as I am, I find this incarnation of HK to be of poor quality. I want haute cuisine from Gordo and he's given me The Olive Garden. I'm almost tempted to say Applebee's but I would never insult him so greatly.
I am deeply suspicious of the selection of chefs this time around. I could easily see several (well, a couple at least) of the first season's combatants as running their own restaurants. I don't have that confidence of any of this year's crew. Not that they are without talent. But to take the last three. Heather still strikes me as the most likely to put together the full package of capital-C Chef. But her over-emotional reaction to some situations leaves me a bit flummoxed. There was a competition where the chefs made lunches for construction workers who then selected their favorites. Heather's menu was the least favorite. Her crying breakdown was embarrassing.
Virginia, who seems to have won way more than her share of challenges, was manic depressive. Swoop way up then crash way down. "Oh I can't do this! ... Yes I can!" Oy. She demonstrated an excellent palate but seemed to have massive difficulty every time she actually ran a station in the kitchen. And she can not just shut up! For someone who showed a lot of pluck in surviving, when she was in social sitiuations, she was practically unable to form a thought. The mouth ran way faster than the brain methinks. That said, if Virginia had about two years of Gordon's tutelage, I think I would love to be in her restaurant.
And finally, that Chunk-looking jackass, Keith, or "K-Grease" as he liked to call himself. (And I was tempted to call him "Dim" instead of Chunk.) He really seemed to have an inside track on the win until he got just way too over-confident at the challenge. Where to begin? He wears his underwear showing in the kitchen because "That's the way I rock it." Oh fer whigger moronitude. And he persistently told other contestants that he would do something for them, like select them to go along on a challenge win, and then not do it! Oh come on! Have some integrity. I thought he might win until I flipped over into absolute hatred. Ramsay told him that he could cook but having seen him in action, I would not go to a restaurant run by Keith.

OK. I'm done with the post before the final show is done. I guess I hope Heather wins.
UPDATE: Winner, winner, chicken dinner! I hope she is a great success.
New On The 'Roll
I've added The Daily Gut to the blogroll. I can't help it. The combination of snark and really funny stuff is irresistible. I used to be that funny.
Crop Report
What would PoW be without a report from the Deck Farm? (A lot less boring -Ed.) Ed, I've told you before - shut up!
Tomatoes are starting to come off in greater numbers. But I discovered that there is a rat bastid bastid rat eating my produce. I thought it might be a squirrel but I stepped out to water yesterday and I saw that damned hairless tail following a skedaddling rodent. I now have a rat trap and I'm going to set it up this evening. A trip to the grocery for some peanut butter is called for. I wouldn't mind if it were one tomato here and there. But this little scuzzball has eaten at least five of them and has chomped into at least as many more. Its life is now forfeit.
And just damn. If it had been a squirrel, I would have been able to make a meal out of it. I ain't eatin' no got dam rat.
Moving right along.... Peppers. The jalapenos are coming on like gangbusters. I have another one sitting on my kitchen table and handed off two to my nice new next-door neighbors who moved early this year from Texas. Thank goodness I have good neighbors on
one side! I'm going to let the hot peppers stay on plant for a while to see how they develop. But I'm seriously going to make the pepper jelly from them. Though I'm not going to put food coloring in it. That's just cheap.
And finally, the bell peppers. I picked the first two. I have to double check the type I ordered as the peppers are a very pale green. Almost a yellow-green. It's entirely possible that they need more on-plant maturing but the first two that developed had a dark spot in the bottom middle, where the flower was. I thought it prudent to pick them in case the bad spots were intent on taking over the whole pepper. I ate one and I have to say that it was a little under done. The other I gave to the aforementioned neighbor.
I may have selected the wrong bell pepper seeds. I prefer a nice, deep green bell pepper. But I'm willing to see what happens. After all, I have 10 of the plants. Oh and they are just all over with growing bells. Oh yeah.
UPDATE: I took the bell pepper too early. I have the Sweet Pepper Blushing Beauty Hybrid. Please follow the link to see the picture. They are indeed a yellow bell which goes red on maturing. These guys are going to get pretty. I seem to have an affection for stylish produce.
Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is an Alapha Blue Blood Bulldog - protective, sturdy, muscular and a great companion.
The pug would exchange butt-sniff greetings while realizing that this is the dog he wants to be when he plays pug-based first person shooter games.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Down Time
PoW will be dark a couple of days. My lower back is completely blown out for what reason I know not. I'm going to track down the very bestest pain killers i have in the house and try to get this to ease up.
Dang but getting older hoovers like madness.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You'll note a few changes in the template. Colors of sideheds, slight changes in sidehed size, addition of a permanent link to the Paul Reed Smith site. Nothing earthshaking. Let me know if you think they're improvement, eh?
Actually, I'd like to make the sideheds the green color of the tag line. Anyone care to weigh in on that idea?
How Much Good News Can One Stand?
First, the knives. In a word: Su-frickin-perb. Nicely formed handles lie well in the grip while cutting. The blades are wonderfully sharp - I sliced with ease through the tomato skin that usually resists a non-serrated knife blade. On the sharpening steel, they hone with that ever-so slight tug of resistance that shows the steel is having an effect. The steak knives have a sort of scimitar-ish upcurve that is not my favorite but that's a very minor quibble. And the "tower" (not block) works perfectly too. It fits under the cabinets on the counter and when it tilts forward, all the knives are free to draw out without bumping the cabinet bottom. I had to position my previous knife block forward of the backsplash in order to draw the longer knives freely. Last but not least is that the top of the tower is a flat space on which I can put some pot holders.
What else is good? The pepper. Oh baby! I thinly sliced that fellow pictured below and put it on the tomato I was cooking for my morning eggs. Woo hoo! Wonderfully, perfectly hot. Enough heat to wake up the entire mouth and yet not so overwhelming that I couldn't eat a whole pepper mixed into two eggs. I'm loving the crops I tells ya!

Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is a Fila Brasileiro - massive, courageous and obedient.
The pug would exchange butt-sniff greetings ... if there's a step-stool to be had.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Post Haste, Repent Leisure
I have been asked to "stop already" with the final post of the day. I am nothing if not responsive to the requests of readers. Thus yesterday's final post was my final final post post.
Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is a Pharaoh Hound - smart, playful, fast and a dog that blushes when excitied.
The pug would exchange butt-sniff greetings with a tightly curled and wagging tail at the meeting of a fellow play hound.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Final Post For The Day
Sometimes "Pug" Is Spelled With An "I"
Wizbang Pop has a picture of Percy the miniature pig, chillin' in a deck chair.
So cute it'll make you diabetic just lookin' at it. But go ahead. You could use an "Awwww!" moment, couldn't you?

Stand Back! Hot Stuff!

My first jalapeno. I'm not sure that it's fully done but it hasn't been getting any bigger for the last week or so. I risked the pick. Even though it's in my hand for scale, the total length from the top of the stem curve to the bottom of the pepper is two inches.
This will be going in my eggs tomorrow at brekkies. Along with a tomato. Woot!

Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is a Pink - loud, annoying, little talented but surprisingly popular.
The pug would not exchange butt-sniff greetings as the pug has standards.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is an Otterhound - large, strong and dignified but with a secret desire to be a lapdog.
The pug would exchange butt-sniff greetings with great glee at finding a big ol' goofy brother under the skin.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Final Post for The Day
Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - strong, reliable, flashy and ready to jump into icy water at a moment's notice to lure a duck.
The pug would exchange butt-sniff greetings with great pleasure as long as there was not a great spray of icy cold water to contend with.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Final Post For The Day

If You Can't Get Enough Christopher Walken
And I can't. The Census sketch. It's brilliant even if it was on Saturday Night Live.

A Bit Of Footy
Just an aside really. As it stands today, the Premiership Ladder reads thus: Adelaide, West Coast, Melbourne, St. Kilda, Collingwood and Sydney. Or, by team name: Crows, Eagles, Demons, Saints, Magpies and Swans. So we have a flock of birds interrupted by sinners and saints. Not a big deal but it amused me.
And, I just noticed that the second eight teams are lead by Geelong, Richmond and Brisbane respectively. Which would be the Cats, Tigers and Lions all bunched together.
The Hawthorn Hawks are the exception - the only bird named team standing third from the bottom.
Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is a Giant Schnauzer - high spirited, intelligent, loyal and just on the cute side of shaggy.
The pug would exchange butt-sniff greetings with a certain stretch-necked gravitas.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Final Post For The Day

That's the name of the food tabloid that my noisepaper includes on some kind of regular schedule. I don't do much cooking (staying out the kitchen is a good thing for the morbidly obese) but I do like a leisurely stroll through the pages of the popular culture. So, in the interest of blog-clogging (posting more useless crap than is really necessary), here are the titles of some recipes in the latest issue: "Grilled Tomoatoes Marinated in Basil Vinaigrette," "Bell Peppers Lemonly Dressed and Cumin-esque," and "Lemony Chicken and Red Grape Salad."
All look rather tasty. and since I should have tomatoes and bell peppers aplenty to deal with, perhaps those first two might be pressed into service. If I do, I'll report on it.

Another Good Buy
Since I posted about the Vizio deal at Costco, I thought I might post about what looks like a hella deal at Amazon. A Cuisinart knife "block." 14 pieces in a stainless steel "block" that swings forward to allow the knives to be pulled. It's ostensible price was $285 and the sale price is $90. That's some discount! And not only that, Amazon is offering a $25 discount when you spend over $125 on Kitchen & Housewares or Bed & Bath so you could get some $35 item for, effectively, $10 more. Can't beat that with a stick.
I'm sorely tempted to get one of these even though I have a nice Sabatier knife block. But my knife block is an actual block and I've moved to stainless steel appliances. If you dig back on the blog, you'll see pics I posted of the range and microwave. Yeah - stainless steel. Also, my knife block is tall enough that I have to pull it forward from the backsplash to draw the longer knives. This one puts the steak knives at the top so when it tilts out, the shorter knives are there to draw against the cabinet bottom.
The customer reviews of the knives themselves are intriguing. I'm not sure what the knives are made of but I've always preferred non-stainless knives which the user can put a razor hone on even though those knives tend toward rust-ability. And these knives seem to be at a point along the continuum closer to my preference. My Sabatier knives are stainless and don't really take the edge I want them to have. Of course, I use the sharpening steel on them every time I pull one.
If I decide to go ahead and but one of these, I will post a review after use.
UPDATE: I couldn't resist. A knife block, a mandoline-type slicer and a stainless steel utensil holder with the promotion discount and super-saver shipping all for $110.
Today's Crop

Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days Of Summer
Today is a Xoloitzcuintli - sensitive, smart and an aggressive defender.
The pug would initiate a butt-sniff greeting with open playfulness.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Final Post For The Day

TVs These Days
I've been enjoying my big plasma TV (can I deduct it if I blog about it? ... rats) and found that the customer service of the maker (Vizio) was really very good when I had a problem with the first unit I bought. If you happen to be in the market for a new thin screen HDTV, Costco has a pretty good coupon deal coming up next week. A Vizio 42" LCD unit at $300 off for a price of $1,300. That compares with a recent Costco offer of a Phillips 42" LCD unit which had a $200 coupon off a $2,000 price. $500 less for a TV that isn't made by as famous a maker as Phillips but from my experience a reputable maker. Not bad at all.
Maybe I should ask Vizio to advertise on PoW.

Ummmm, OK
Headline on the "Outdoors" column in today's Washington Times sports section: "Keep an eye out for rabid Bobcats."
It almost goes without saying.

Farm Report
The plants are going through water like madness what with all the hothothot, nasty, ugly weather. I put one watering can into each of the pepper boxes and was schvitzing so bad I decided to do the tomato watering after I cooled down. Ick.
Took two smallish tomatoes with some damage each for my morning scrambled eggs. So good. I find these tomatoes to be quite sweet. Not a criticism of course! It looks like another half dozen or so are coming on line for pluckage in the next three or four days. And these are big ones. The largest yet. I'll take pictures when I pick them.
The jalapeno plants continue to set peppers passing well. I have to figure out what their proper size is so that I can pick 'em at the proper time. I'm investigating pickling so that I can pick a peck of pickled peppers. Heh.
I'm also a fan of pepper jelly so I hunted up a recipe online. It uses bell peppers too which is a bonus because the bell pepper plants are really starting to produce. And the initial pepper is puffing right up. It's a lovely shade of pale green now. Hmm. Better take a picture of that too.
Anyway, my apologies for my continuing obsession with my deck garden but it's new to me. Next season I'll be more restrained. Promise.

Pugs Of War Welcomes The Dog Days of Summer
Today is an Irish Wolfhound - shaggy, galloping and of great size.
The pug must use a step stool for the traditional butt-sniff exchange of greetings.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

For The Real Music Lover

Can't decide whether to rock out or just be classical? Behold! The STRADocaster!

That's a combined Stradivarius and Stratocaster. Rock me Amadeus, fer sher, fer sher.