Friday, October 31, 2008

I survived the night. But I'm still feeling like poo. Haven't tried to put anything onto the stomach (milk? water? cool tea?) and, as much as I need to re-hydrate, I'm not looking forward to having anything drop into the emptiness.
Thanksgiving. Much appreciate the offer but I'm dialed in to spend the holiday with friends in Sharpsburg, Md. I hope to quaff some Golden Apple Cider and I suppose I'll have to start ramping up the production of my very own cranberry sauce. Must buy cranberries, walnuts and tangerines for that. And maybe more port.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why No Posting?
Nothing to say. Though God knows I don't live up to my ideal, I try to post when I have something interesting, enlightening or humorous. Hasn't been much of that lately. The only thing I've seen recently on the intarwebz which actually made me laugh is not something I'd post here. Too naughty.
UPDATE: Well, sickness has set in. I've managed to acquire some kind of stomach flu despite my studious attempt to avoid human contact. Then again, it may be a bout of food poisoning. Though my experience with that has been a rather violent onset and this seems to have been ramping up on me since this morning.
I'm crawling under a comforter and keeping the trash can nearby. At least I haven't had the dry heaves. I hate the dry heaves.

Monday, October 27, 2008

But Not .com
Really - do I have to explain this one?

It's Called "Progress," Try It
I clipped a couple of items from last Thursday's newspaper. First, a story of interest that comes to light somewhat locally in Annapolis, Maryland.
Scientists Find African slave `Spirit Bundle'
300-year-old object predates assimilation

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) ―University of Maryland archaeologists have found what they believe to be one of the earliest examples of the spiritual traditions brought to North America by African slaves. The bundle of sand and clay, packed with metal bits and a stone ax, is believed to be about 300 years old.
University of Maryland anthropologist Mark Leone said the object appears to be an example of African religious practices and not a later mix of African and American practices. The discovery also shows "an unexpected level of public toleration" of spiritual displays around 1700, said Leone, who directed the project.
The archaeologist noted other African spiritual items found in Annapolis are at least 50 years younger and believed to have been used in secret while the object found in April is believed to have been openly displayed in front of a home.
Annapolis' newspaper at the time, The Maryland Gazette, was filled with accounts of English magic and witchcraft, so African and English spirit practices may have also been tolerated, the archaeologist said.
"English witchcraft in this period existed openly in public and was tolerated," Leone said in a statement. "It's intriguing to speculate how English and African spirit beliefs may have interacted and borrowed from each other."
After 1750, references to witchcraft and magic disappeared from the newspaper, indicating the changing philosophy of the times, Leone said.
The archaeologists believe the bundle containing hundreds of pieces of lead shot, pins and nails was used to ward off spirits. The bundle went on display Tuesday at the Banneker-Douglass Museum, which is devoted to African-American history and culture.
The bundle was believed to have been wrapped in cloth, leather or hide with the stone ax protruding from the top. Researchers believe the 10-inch tall bundle was placed in the gutter because running water was believed to carry spirits.
The dig was conducted before a project to lay utility cables in an area that was once part of the city's early waterfront. The bundle was found four feet below street level in the city's historic district, about 1,000 feet from the statehouse.
Leone said that after consulting with experts on West and Central-West African culture, he believes the bundle may have origins in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea among Yoruba or Mande speakers.
I probably should have snipped that down but I wanted to pass along the rich, chewy contextual goodness of information about the prevalence of magical thinking at the time to which this object is dated. Why? Because the same paper had an article in the "Regional Briefing" section (that's Africa on Thursdays) which is headlined, and here I present the headline with only a couple of snips for context. In light of the title of my blog post, that is: (Tanzania) Albino girl killed for 'luck.'
"Attackers killed and mutilated a Tanzanian albino girl who became the latest victim of gangs who sell body parts as lucky charms to sorcerers." (insert leprechaun saying "They're after me Lucky Charms!" for comic relief)
"She died just hours after President Jakaya Kikwete called for an intensified crackdown, saying the killing of albinos has 'stained the country's good image.'" (Good image? It hurts to elect the delusional and Africa should know this by now.)
And finally, an indictment that goes beyond mere hoodoo, juju idiocy: "Discrimination against albinos is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, but in Tanzania, it has taken a twist with victims, including children killed or mutilated. Witch doctors beleive that albinos have magical powers to bring fortune." Discrimination based on skin color? In Africa you say? Egad! Life might be better if albinos in Tanzania had magical powers to escape being killed and sliced up.

But the larger idea is that in 300 years, how much has changed in Africa?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Have To Add
My friend the EM missed one product he should add to the Christmas list:

A few EM Xmas gift's never too early to shop..
I really like this pillow..
The Great Slumber
The pillows are inspired by those suspenseful moments when a sleeping loved one is a little too still for a little too long. Using an irreverent combination of comfort & fear the pillows parallel sleep & death. Project goal: taking ownership of morbidly intrusive thoughts through humor & play.

This one is not bad either..the old Horsehead in the bed..

and here's a knife block for the foodie..

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Serendipity In Everyday Life
As I read the weekend's book reviews, I came upon the following phrase from Joseph Epstein's biography of Fred Astaire. "... what the French call a belle laide: a feature-by-feature homely woman who is somehow nevertheless stunning."
I have thought this of several women over time about whom I could not make the case for their beauty even in my own mind yet I still thought were absolutely beautiful. I'm cheered to know that there exists a term for just this thought.

Wherein We Celebrate
Joe Sherlock is back in the blogsaddle again. Actually he was back on the 20th but I had it in mind that he'd return on this day. So there are two posts worth of chewy, bloggy goodness. He was in philly. He should have called. I'd have made the drive.
Also, some autumn blogging later today. My favorite season.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Light Posting
Apologies. I've been hurty and had a houseguest for a couple of days. I'll make one suggestion that you should go to Varifrank's place and read his post on Obama and failure. Sharp observations well made.
I'm unsure of return to regular posting. A punkin' carvin' (Ohh! Peggy Noonan would hate me for dropping those g's!) might lead to some picture posting. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Addition To My Scots Joke Collection
A Scots boy came home from school and told his mother he had been given a part in the school play.
"Wonderful," says the mother, "What part is it?"
The boy replies, "I play the part of the Scottish husband!"
The mother scowls and says, "Go back and tell your teacher you want a speaking part."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Next Question
Is it possible to have less than two hijinks? If so, what is it called. A hijink?
I Forgot To Say
Orenthal James Simpson jailed. Hey dumbass! What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and this means YOU!
In LA - not so much.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Updating The Coffee Blogging
As usual I perused my latest issue of "Cook's Illustrated" to find another coffee making nugget. I put this one to the test this morning and I can report that it worked wondrously well.
Without further ado:
"Heating Up a Better Brew"
If you're dissatisfied with the quality of brew from your drip coffee maker, two factors may be contributing: The brew time may be too long (studies have shown that six minutes is optimal in a drip coffee maker) or the machine may not be heating the water to the ideal temperature range necessary to produce a really good cup. You can't adjust the brew time but here's something that may help with the water temperature: Try adding warm, versus cold, water to the coffee maker.
When we brewed coffee in these three machines (mentioned in the snipped section
-Ed.) starting with water that had been preheated on the stove to 100 degrees, we found the flavor of the coffee improved significantly – even with a too-long brew time. For best results, make sure you start with cold tap water, as hot tap water contains fewer dissolved minerals than cold and can impart a flat taste to your brew. (Note: Our advice contradicts manufacturer's instructions to add regular cold water to coffee makers.)

I used water that had been Brita filtered rather than "tap water" so I'm a little confused that dissolved minerals would be better for the brew. I think the filtered water makes superior coffee. But the heating of the water worked wizard well. I had my best cup this morning in a long time. Maybe since I've using that drip maker.
I can't recommend this technique strongly enough.
This Is Not The Post I Was Planning
I've been turning over a re-post of a sort. One of my favorite poems is Ranier Maria Rilke's "Herbsttag" (Autumn Day). I even posted it a couple of years ago. Part of my fascination with the poem is that translating it forces one to confront, essentially, all the issues of translation and poetic device (meter, rhyme, rhetoric). Well, I figured I'd Google it and found this page. Okay then. Done deal. I have nothing more to add.
If the very idea of poetry starts that glaze creeping across your eyes, fight the feeling. Click the link and read the page. There is a rich goodness there.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

You Take Inspiration Where You Find It
After the now-missing comment by my co-blogger the Enigmatic Misanthrope, I have started writing a short story called "The Day Lee Harvey Oswald Saved America." So far, there is much that's just plain perverse and I need to get funnier on this story's arse. I can do that.
Small Changes
Altered the color and font of the title bar. Now I want to open up the left column (the blog posts) by about half again as much. But that involves changing the body width, changing the width of the background color column, changing the width of that oh-so thin blue box around the column and then changing the width of the text column. That's a lot of futzing. I'm not ready to hack on the main trunk of this blog's tree of life. Yet.
Too much inside baseball? Then how about this for an idea:
I use Verizon's FiOS service for my television connection. It allows a user to define a couple of sets of favorite channels. What I want is a mondo-cheapo printer connected to the set-top-box which will allow me to print a TV guide of only my favorite channels for a user-defined period. So I can ask for, say a 6 hour guide to my favorite channels for tonight. Of course there are limitations. Since programs are subject to change, the printouts might be limited to only a 24 hour period.
For me, this would save a lot of scrolling through guide channels.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Yeah. New look. Gotta richard around with the design sometimes to keep the interest level up. Looks like it might take me some time to get things the way I want them. But a nod is as good as wink to a blind bat.
OK. Bugger. Comments appear to be lost. And I have to do some fancy footwork to get the page elements (stuff over there to the right) to line up the way they should. But comments come first. Sunday may be a day of multi-taking ... by which I mean having a feetsball game on the televising masheen and Blogger up on Firefox. Blogger and HaloScan too. Maybe.
Hmm. Comments have been enabled but they're Blogger comments, not the HaloScan comments I had before. So, as of now, new commenting is possible but past comments are teetering dangerously at the lip of the memory hole. What to do, what to do....
I've lost some of my blogroll as well ("Links"). I may have to resurrect my old template and make sure I copy all the info. But now it's late and I'm tired so I'm going to sleep.
UPDATE: OK. The blogroll has been resurrected with the exception of Rob Smith's blog not being set aside in an "In Memoriam" section. I need to add a new page element to make that happen and that involves digging down into the code. But I'll give it a shot.
OK. That didn't work quite the way I wanted it to. But it worked.
Next - fun new gadgetry from the Blogger folks. And a new post. THis one is long enough.
Rewritten By Machines On New Technology
I've tended toward videos that had some personal resonance for me or that I thought had some intrinsic importance. It struck me (as my iPod was shuffling along) that I've neglected perhaps the seminal video of the whole genre: The Buggles's "Video Killed The Radio Star." 197freaking9. And the first viddy played on MTV two years later. Here is the Wikipedia page on the band for lots more information that you'd ever need or want. Yet there is a kind of perverse comfort in its being there. (A note on sources: Wikipedia is not to be trusted on anything of substance as it's run by left-wing ass-wipes. But when it comes to pop culture, the Wiki is very good at accumulating details. So I will definitely use it when it comes to things like this.)
I see that the band actually preferred their name without using the definite article but I don't care. PoW uses its own style book.
There's no question of the dated look of the viddy. The rippling plastic sheet under the fake moon light source to simulate water. The over-exposed black and white. The silly glasses. The whole woman-in-a-tube thing. But the music still holds up. It's pure pop. It's got more hooks than a charter fishing boat. And, at a very basic level, I totally dig the song. I hope you do too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

More On The Celebrity Front
I see that David Duchovny is getting out rehab for "sex addiction." Okayyyy. I'll be spending the next couple of days studying that "condition" so I can fake it and get put on a "detox" regimen. I wonder if my HMO will cover that.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Snarking Of The Hunt
One thing I really don't get about the current campaign is that when Bush The Younger ran for office, liberals hated him at least in part because he believes in God. But now they're slavishly devoted to a candidate who believes he is God.
(I'm thinking of starting a political blog under the name of this post's title.)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Rare Mid-Week Embed
Occasioned by the Enigmatic Misanthrope's tongue-in-cheek post below. A classic - of overblown 60s scare mongering. And a song that actually rhymes the word "coagulatin.'" Gotta give it up for that one.

Well I'll Be!
I was just looking at some celebrity gossip sites and it seems Lindsay Lohan is now addicted to crack.
I do have to wonder about that Sam Ronson guy. He's not that good looking.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hard Times Coming?

I thought I would post a few photos of my most recent purchases made in an effort to support our beloved economy and standard of living... and to offer some ideas for alternative investments ..Yea... sure the stock market is down and the writings on the wall..but I am going to do my part. Starting next month I'll be throwing an entire paycheck into Mega Millions lottery tickets and Morgan Silver dollars... Damn it's great to be an American!
Blogless Monday
Just a note to say I'm down for the day. The weather and my joints have conspired against me to the tune of a sleepless night and one of those lovely, vise-grip right-behind-the-eyes headaches. If I manage to get to the store for some groceries, I'll have made progress on the day.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

On Time Weekend Embed
We return to those hazy days of the mid-1980s when MTV ruled the known universe and a remarkable confluence of talent conjoined to produce the music and lyrics of "Chess." My first hearing of "One Night in Bangkok" was enough to make me rush off to buy the CDs. The music was certainly good but the intelligence of the lyrics really sold me: "Tea, girls, warm and sweet/ some are set up in the Somerset Maugham Suite." Not that often you get literate references in popular music. Though, it's being part of a musical might mitigate that circumstance. In my estimation, this is one of the "must have" CD sets of all time. The embed is not even the best song. "I Know Him So Well," "Heaven Help My Heart" and "Anthem" are all superb.
Nonetheless, here's the lead-out song for your delectation:

Saturday, October 04, 2008

This morning I thought I'd check the number of posts here on PoW: 1,710. Though this would make that 1,711. Neither too many not too few. I figure I post at a reasonable pace. I hope you think so too.

Friday, October 03, 2008

"Now I know why I never excelled at sports in gym class—I didn't eat Little Chocolate Donuts for breakfast." - John Belushi -
Little chocolate donuts may have been the superfood of the 70s, but Pork Brains in Milk Gravy have now supplanted them. wonder my LDL is thru the roof..

Cholest. 3500mg 1170%
So Sick Of The Democrap
This idea that Joe Biden is a working man's hero is such unbelievable bullshite. The last time he wore a hard hat was when his scalp was tender from the hair plugs.

And my next graphics project is a bumper sticker that says: Obama / Biden: Because corruption and stupidity are too important to keep in Chicago and Delaware.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Something So Good
I believe I have my projected recipe for "Barramundi en papillote:"
Two slices of lemon on the parchment paper
Barramundi fillet on top of those with a drizzle of sesame oil and a sushi ginger layer over the top (and some alongside)
a small clump of fresh cilantro
one small garlic clove, pressed
some soy sauce and chardonnay
then fill the packet with snow peas and carrot (slices & slivers)

About 12 minutes in a 400 degree oven (probably the toaster oven) and then opening the packet to expose the fish and broiling for just a couple of minutes to try to get a little color on the fish
I hope it's good. The idea of it just seems yummy as hail to me.

The other thing I wanted to add to the "something so good" idea is a starch - potatoes. I start with a nice waxy potato (I prefer Yukon Golds). I use my mandoline to schnitz the potato in to thin strings. Then fry with a preference of flavorful oil. I like a combination of olive oil and bacon grease just because the flavor is ... It's bacon dammit! Do I really have to say?
Do the salt and pepper thing of course. So far so good but at this point it's not much different than a morning serving of hash browns. What takes it into a whole 'nother level? I hit it up with Black Chinese vinegar. Just insanely good.
Why I Read Achewwod
Chris Onstad's use of language: "There are some things a man doesn't talk about, particularly when a lady wisdom-rocks his bonch so hard that he forgets who's on the penny."
Busy, Busy, Busy
Posting today (I'd like to rant about the bullshite "bailout" bill) will be late in the day. The weather has gathered a delightful autumnal chill unto itself and I'm doing housework, desk work, writing a letter to the editor of the Washington Times, and starting to outline a new story idea I had as I emerged from sleep this morning. The opening rips off Tolstoy but in the "homage" way - not the "gimme your idea" way. Opening is fine, the REST of the story (oh great - now I rip off Paul Harvey) is the work that needs to be done.
UPDATE: It looks my letter to the editor is indeed going to be printed though the date of its appearance is uncertain. But periodicals always try to be timely with letters so I expect it'll be soon.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This Whole Bailout Thing
I can support an effort by government to end the insanity we're going through but I want one thing out of all this: The elimination of the Community Reinvestment Act. The CRA was the thin end of the wedge that socialists in government (I'd say "Democrats" but I wanted to be more precise) used to pry up the foundations of our very economy. Kill it. Do away with it. End it. Now is the time.

(No more blogging today, FYI. I feel wrong today - clammy, kinda weak. Had a lousy night's sleep and I need a long, hot shower to drive out the grumblies within.)
But one more thing before I go, recipe blogging. I have barramundi fillets (Costco - frozen) which I'm going to try cooking en papillote with sushi ginger, lemon grass, cilantro, touch of soy sauce and sesame oil with snow peas and carrot slices. Need to buy supplies though.