Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
You'll notice a change to the blogroll. The brilliant African American blogger Kim Du Toit has abandoned the field. His link has been moved to the "In Memoriam" section which, I suppose, really should be renamed now to something on the order of "Gone But Not Forgotten." I really should add the late and wonderful Cathy Siepp but perhaps I have missed the proper timing of her passing.
Ah. Regrets. We haz dem. I will miss the graceful prose and appreciation of guns, cars and women with which Kim routinely favored his readers. But I deeply and unutterably support his decision to retire from blogging as he is the best judge of his own life. I will, though, hope we will be favored by his return to blogging one day when feels the time is auspicious. But for now, ave atque vale good man, ave atque vale.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things I Do Not Understand
I went to the Post Office today. The lady behind the counter was very nice. I understand that.
I had a couple of packages to mail, both of which contained the same things. One I packed in a used Amazon box, the other in a box I cobbled together myself out of a larger box I'd saved. The first (Amazon) box went for about $10 and the second, which weighed, if anything, a tad less than the first, was clocked for way more coin. So the nice lady (see above) says, "You can put it in a flat rate box and save some money." Um, yeah, OK. I can put my box in another box and save money. How exactly does my shipping more cardboard and a greater volume of package result in a savings for me?
It did, mind you. But I don't have any conception of why that is.

My New Irish Name
Lack O'Posting. Sorry for diminished output but I've been spending a lot of kitchen time lately and there's road work (driving) to do. Still need one more splat of orange blossom honey for my final round of cranberry sauce. All the cran-maple chutney I'm going to make has been made. All four batches of rum ice cream have been whapped up (yet there are only three in the freezer - what's going on here?) Then the stuffing/dressing cooking starts and pies are to be picked up, paid for and dropped off. It's going to be a busy two days.
I wish you, who happen by here or who stop by with full intention, a very happy, fulfilling (and filling full) Thanksgiving. Remember to take joy where joy is to be taken.
UPDATE: Turns out that Safeway does not carry orange blossom honey (more than that: I had to explain what orange blossom honey is since the manager thought it might be a brand name). It turns out they carry honey from Virginia which limits it to clover and "wildflower." Now, I've had some startling local honey when my family ran three hives in my yute (locust, the tree not the insect, makes some insanely dark, dusky honey which is not to everyone's taste). But I wanted, nay, needed the citrus flavor. And I decided in the end to just finish off the sweet with sugar. Sigh. The tradeoffs we make. The lesson is that next year I go into November with a serious amount of the right stuff. I use a lot of cranberry for the holiday. This year: three 3 lb. bags and one 12 oz. bag. A three pound bag makes a quadruple batch since recipes are expressed in the usual grocery store 12 oz. unit.

Sunday, November 23, 2008



If this isn't one which would make a Mom proud, and at the same time provide some much needed entertainment and commentary for the rest of us, then I don't know what could top it.

She always said you were the one among her children who thought the quickest on their feet. If you had your own show it would give you the opportunity to prove it. The best part is you wouldn't have to drag your bad hips down to a radio station.

Give it a look.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

This Year's Christmas Music
I'd scoped out a CD earlier in the year that, of course, was not available when I went to actually buy it. So I was forced to find something else to add to the (checking iTunes....) 118 songs in the "Christmas" playlist. I feel rather lucky to have found "A Scottish Christmas" with Bonnie Rideout, Maggie Sansone and Al Petteway. If you follow that (Amazon) link, which I put in because Amazon offer a full preview of the songs, and you decide you like the disc too, don't buy it there. Buy it at Daedalus instead. That's $6 versus $14. That's way too great a differential to ignore. Especially since we Scots are notoriously tight fisted. Och. Ah'll mayke tha pound noht scream afore ah'm done wi' it!
Ah'm shoor mah fellow Scot McCubbin wuld agree wi' mah!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just another Friday at the office with EM..

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Conversation
I post, as a sop to the widespread tsooris, a little viddy of two cats chatting amongst themselves. Perhaps my cat fancying fellow blogger the Enigmatic Misanthrope might feel a heartstring tugged. Or not. But the cuteness is undeniable.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Thanksgiving food situation continues apace. I have a round of New England Cran-Maple Chutney in jars and a round of "Ric's Own" Cranberry Sauce also jarred. I've got to send out sets to a couple of people and have handed a couple to friends so far.
In other fun stuff - I have the custard base for rum ice cream cooling in the fridge. If it turns out well, I'll make a batch to bring to friends for the day itself ... along with the cranberry duo, apple pie from the best place in the world for those and my dressing which I have yet to work up. I should have that together by Sunday. If it works, I'll post the recipe.
Tonight I'll be making myself some brussels sprouts. Maybe that should capitalized. But so should the American automakers and I don't see that happening either! Ar! Ar! Ar! I tell jokes.
UPDATE: I processed the rum ice cream this morning. Oh my. Oh. My. I'm going to make another batch so I can share with more people (and use up the ingredients on hand). I highly recommend the recipe at the link above. It's a custard based recipe and rich as hell. I used Myer's rum.
In Space No One Can Hear You Curse
Astronauts working on the International Space Station have lost a tool bag.
Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper watched helplessly as the kit drifted away from her as she serviced the solar array system on the orbiting platform.
The briefcase-sized tool bag is one of the largest items ever lost on a spacewalk.
The event occurred during the first spacewalk of the latest shuttle flight to the ISS, which is intended to give the orbiting platform a major makeover.
(full story here)
OK. If you're going to "give the orbiting platform a ...makeover," send a woman. (If Ty Pennington's not available. And he's pretty close to being a woman at this point anyway.) But if you're going to do repair work, like a lube job on grinding parts (dang but the wording for this post gets increasingly troubling) send a man! Dammit. A man would not let a tool bag go drifting off into the void. He'd have it tied to his junk if that were the only way to keep it handy.
If a space grease gun exploded while a space guy was working on a space job, he'd say "Cool!" and screw around with the grease-covered space tools until his space wife called him in from his space garage for his space dinner.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Spade, A Spade
The "bailout" legislation, I see, is being called the "Troubled Assets Relief Program" or TARP. I suggest that the proper name is "Congressional Re-covering Asses Program." There's truth in naming for ya.
McDonald's claims that it has sold over 99 billion burgers. Finally, the truth behind this claim is exposed.

And...(I had to read this one twice) but apparently even superhero's run this risk of STD's
more Robin woes...still have doubts?
and if that wasn't proof enough...

Case Closed!

EM is currently reading " Supermans Girl Friend Lois Lane " Issue: April No.73 and while initally attracted to the suggestive S&M cover, the content certainly dosn't disappoint either..WoW!!... who knew?


Monday, November 17, 2008

Witness if you will Kevin Joseph Aloysius Connors, a/k/a Chuck Connors, a/k/a Lucas McCain, a/k/a The Rifleman. Age: mid- thirties. Occupation: American actor. Formerly a fixture of the Enigmatic Misanthrope’s preoccupation with another time, a time of childhood, a time of growing up, a time of street games, stickball and hide-'n-go-seek. Formerly a rather minor component to a nostalgic look back at hot endless summers, comic books, memories and daydreaming. But throughout his life, a man beloved by the children, and therefore a most important man. Couldn't happen, you say? Probably not in most places - but it did happen… in the Twilight Zone.
Recent Netflixery
The "Get Smart" movie - wretched. When will Steve Carell make a movie worth watching? With the exception of the "40 Year Old Virgin," it has yet to happen. Anne Hathaway is totally wasted in this execrable sub-mediocrity. And I say wasted because she is a total babe (those giant eyes! Was her mother Margaret Keane?) and a talented actress. She's better with the material she's given in this flick than is Carell. Oh and Dwayne "Not The Rock Anymore" Johnson shows he can rise above the material even if it ultimately drags him back down into the morass of craptacularity.
Do not bother with this movie.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'll probably be lite blogging for the next few days. I've started outlining a story called "The Fourth Exquisite Thing." I will however entertain guesses as to what the first is. In comments if you please.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Anyone Do Craigslist?
I have an idea for distributed small monetary gains, relying on disaggregation and putting only a few dollars in any one persons pocket. But it has the benefit of using "government largess" at a time government should be spanked hard for offering this in the first place.
No doubt you are aware that the broadcast television world is changing from analog to digital broadcasting in February. And that the febrile gummint is doing out $40 "coupons" to households to acquire digital converter boxes. I have my coupon (which I'll probably use at Circuit City out of pity - heh, Circuit Pity) so I can't participate in this setup. Those people who run all of their TVs off cable or satellite can, though.
Even if you don't need a coupon, order one (I'm pretty sure the limitation is "one per household"). Then, when you find someone who runs more than one TV from a broadcast signal, sell your coupon to him or her for $20. You're $20 ahead, the person needing more than one converter has saved $20 and this rotten government welfare program will cost astronomically more than projected. The long-term benefit of this is that when jackass Congresscritters propose legislation like this in the future, there will be a concrete example to point to for a demonstration of how wrong the program will turn out to be.
I'm not saying it will stop a program but an instructive example is always good to have.
And why Craigslist? I figure it's a perfect forum for connecting buyers & sellers of the coupons. Short of having flea markets for them all over the country.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quote Of The Day
I don't do QOTDs normally. But I want to extract something from the increasingly valuable Billy Beck. I readily admit that it is lacking context so if you don't read the whole thing, shame on you.
"One could perhaps be forgiven for thinking the 20th century's great moral argument had been settled."

Of course, the change does not survive examination against actual history -- nothing about these arguments was ever "settled" -- but that has nothing to do with general ignorance of the fact that the "economic argument" is an argument over consequences of a moral system. It is not fundamental in any way.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I just can't help myself...more questionable comic book covers..and panels..
A.) B.)

A.) Robin?... hmmm..some A-M action..
B.) Another of the old Archie series..Superwhore?

D.) C.) I dont want to think about this..
D.) More Robin issues..

and this Spiderman..I would never have thought he was into this...


Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Sip Of Sweet Wine Amid The Bile
I've been hesitant to post for a while as I seem to have moved from "a bile chaser" to making it the main beverage. So I decided to lay off the whizzing on Indiana Jones and Maya Angelou for another day or so. Instead I figured I'd pick a weekend music embed that is sweetness and light. So I found Carrie Underwood singing the closing theme from the delightful Disney movie "Enchanted." If you haven't seen it and are willing to let Disney do all the regular Disney nonsense for a while (spontaneous song anyone?), please do see it. It prominently features the simultaneously gorgeous and endearing Amy Adams. Patrick Dempsey performs admirably as the male lead. Didn't think I'd ever type that line let me tell you what!
Bu I digress. The viddy has an unfortunate introduction from the brilliantly talented Ms. Underwood so please ignore that. Instead listen to the spectacular pure tone and sustained power of the first singing of the word "after" (20 seconds in). I'm no fan of the whole "American Idol" gig but I was in full agreement when this little lady won. What a set of pipes! She can hit and hold a note unlike the singers of melismatic sludge usually celebrated on that show. I'll claim that this is a shout out to the upcoming CMA awards show as well.
The actualy video is a bit on the cutesy side but pleasant enough. The "true love's kiss" line refers to one of the central themes of the movie wherein the princess was searching for "the most powerful thing in the world" being said kiss. Sounds cloying but Amy Adams carries it off nicely. That being said, I hope you like it:

PS My opinion is that the only other modern American female singer who could knock this one out of the park is another "country" (I'd say crossover) artist: Sara Evans.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Whole New World Part The Second
I heard on the radio last evening that Maya Angelou is going to write a new poem for her maximum leader. Lord save us. Maya Angelou is very possibly the worst famous poet this country has ever produced. Pretentious, banal and small minded. I'll dig up the "poem" she wrote for Clinton and demonstrate later this afternoon.
After I go shopping and make cranberry sauce.
UPDATE: Make my into ripping tomorrow. Never got away from the house today and it's too late to adjust my expectations. Got to write another letter to the editor first.
A Whole New World
This morning I couldn't even get out of my driveway what with all the unicorns prancing around farting rainbows and reflecting the morning sunshine off their glittery gold horns. Though since they crap gold and jewels at least the financial crisis will be over soon. No, wait, once we being collecting all the gold and jewels in out pooper-scoopers, gold and jewels will become worthless due to the supply. Dammit Obama! We need a limited number of unicorns!
If we could the unicorns that whizz gasoline, I'd be happier. I guess we'll have to wait for a Republican administration for that.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Another Comic book cover...that is just..well wrong...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

We Interrupt This Blog
OK, I interrupt my own blog. Don't pick nits. I'll have my ripping up of "Indiana Jones Gets Some Skull" in another post. I just want to start the pre-Thanksgiving blogging here and now.
The return of my own recipe cranberry sauce is due. i have a 3-lb. bag of fresh cranberries and a bag of tangerines. I have port in the cabinet and need only walnuts to complete the ingredients. And I'll also be making the cran-maple chutney again. But I haven't even begun to assemble the ingredients for that yet.
New on the list is the development of my own recipe for wild rice stuffing/dressing. I've trolled through a few recipes online but I want to do it my own way. This will involve white bread cubes (toasted) instead of spiced bread stuffing mix, sage sausage, mushrooms (chanterelles by the pound, baby!), rosemary and possibly apple chunks (Costco has wonderful honeycrisp apples). Oh, I'm also going to try it with a shot or two of bourbon purely for flavor reasons. My only hesitation is that it's going to take a lot of testing to get this recipe right. I guess that I'm going to have to run about ten iterations before I get it the way I want it. So I'm working on making small batches which I can scale up for feasting purposes.
I'd love to hear what anyone thinks about the idea.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

To Change The Subject
Rather than penalize myself for the decision of the just-about-every-network in creation to spew wall-to-wall election coverage (even if I expected McCain to win -and i actually thought he would pull it off), I Netflixed up the latest eructation of the Indiana Jones series.
Oh my sweet, forgiving Lord what an awful movie. Of course there were some moments that were wonderful and I'll hit them first so the bile doesn't overspill the esophageal dam and ruin and otherwise sucky day. Number one: Karen Allen. How great to have her back in the series after attempts to make Kate Capshaw and ... and ... (crickets) somebody else I'm sure into love interests. I kept looking as closely at her as I could because I'm trying to figure how she's aged. It was only after a snippet from the original in one of the special features that I saw it. She's heavier in a way: her face is wider (yeah, I know it's strange but trust me). She had a kind of fresh, even dewy beauty originally that she's lost but she's still cute as hell and an inspiration to women as to how to age well. Karen - love ya! On the other hand, the usually enchanting Cate Blanchett is lousy in this flick. If this was all you'd seen of her work, you'd thnk she must be sleeping with producer to get the part. Pity.
Next, production design is first rate. The crystal skeletons are works of art. And all the set design, CGI work and costuming is top notch. Though I take great exception to the absurb Marlon Brando call-back of the damn cap Shia LeBeef (yes - I know!) is wearing when he first rides in. So unnecessary.
But then, later, the monkeys with DA hair that come in like the cavalry are very amusing. Poor execution of CGI (unusually) but amusing enough to make up for it.
Despite what Spielberg & Lucas think, Harrison Ford was too old to play the swashbuckling hero of old. But he is an actor of remarkable empathy so I daresay we give him a pass on this one. I like Ford too much to denigrate him on this role.

OK, that said, the rest is a total crapfest. The eeeevil Soviets are cartoon characters - Boris Badunov and Natasha Fatale writ large with no moose and skwerl to lighten the load. I suppose they had to gin up an idea (that the Georgian butcher of millions Stalin was interested in psychic weapons) but it was, charitably, poorly done.
(Oh my. I have to attend to something else. There is so much more to screed about. I'll continue this later with an update and a snipping out of this note. BD)

No, I Didn't Watch
And as far as I'm concerned massive resistance starts now.

I will be keeping an eye on the military as an indicator of America. I expect both recruiting and re-enlistment to start falling off immediately. Barney Frank could get his wish of 25% cuts in the military just through attrition alone. And the world, in a just a few years will start to cry and beg for American help that will not come. Tsunami relief? Earthquake relief? Not from this man's army.
UPDATE: Steven Den Beste lays it all out. All.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Travels With The EM
Go places. Meet interesting people.

Full disclosure: Pic is of a Sulawesi black-crested macaque taken by Italian photographer Stefano Unterliner who won the award noted in the picture credit from the BBC. I think this is one of the greatest animal faces I've seen possibly ever.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Returned from the "Triangle"...nothing strange or out of place occurred..well...then I looked at the photos..hmmm..something I just can't put my finger on..Bermuda is truly a beautiful place. I brought back a few bottles of Outbridge's Original Sherry Pepper Sauce, a Bermuda specialty that will bring the wonderful memories back with my morning eggs, chowder, fish stew, spagetti, pizza, pasta, hamburgers, beer, etc..
I hope to return there one day...
Only One Day Late
I was turning over the idea of the latest "weekend" music embed and thought I might take a cue from my recovery - something smooth and creamy, something delicious. I was considering Johnny Mathis for a while ("Chances Are" - a wonderful song from a modern master of style) when my iPod served up something to which I hadn't listened in a while and (luckily!) which was also available to embed. I present Polish songbird Basia (Basia Trzetrzelewska) with "Yearning" from her disc "The Sweetest Illusion" (Amazon link). The last name is, I swear, pronounced "chev-chev-levska. Well, that's how I remember that it's said.
I won't pretend that the viddy part of the embed is something earth-shaking but listen to that voice. She's a jazz singer with a strong samba influence and she's a knockout talent. Her live disc "Basia on Broadway" is simply amazing if you have any affection for jazz at all - high energy, lush music beautifully produced to an appreciative audience. That she works with guitarist extraordinaire Peter White is no surprise. I can't recommend her work highly enough and it goes to show how astonishingly beautiful Polish women are as well. I hope you enjoy the vid:

Only During Elections
For one (endlessly repeated) shining moment it is an eternal verity that REDDER IS BETTER.
And the devil take you if you don't understand.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

After all my bitching and moaning, I'm reasonably well today. I had an actual night's sleep for a change and I don't feel like anything on my stomach is destined for a round trip anymore. I'm jonesing for something smooth and creamy like mac & cheese. But I probably won't have any. But I just may get some rice and make a nice potful with chicken stock.
Which calls to mind a cooking question that perches in my mind like a disgruntled parakeet. Two of the most readily available fast foods are hamburgers and fried chicken. And two things that I really, really hate to cook in the kitchen are hamburgers and fried chicken because they both kick off ungodly amounts of aerosolized grease. So, given that one can get really good (maybe not excellent) hamburgers and fried chicken, why should I
ever bother with cooking those in my own kitchen?