Monday, December 29, 2008

Look what Santa brought EM.....
Now don't go rolling those "Manson Lamps" at me...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

BlogDog, Thanks. We all miss my Dad, just like we miss your Mom and Dad.


Paul, Ana, and, Angus

Christmas Eve Day
I wish you, one and all, a very Merry Christmas, a blessed time of peace and joy. PoW blogger Paul has recently lost his father and my feelings for the season have been overlaid with sadness for his loss. I knew him and he was a good friend of many years, going back to the Navy Language School in Boulder, CO with my father. My hope is for for his family's finding rest in a time of turmoil and that the new year brings them blessings and the memories are only the good ones.
Paul, Ana, I love you (and Angus too). May you find the joy even if a teardrop hangs over a smile.
For you other friends, readers and fellow Americans, I hope to re-make the blog in the new year with all sorts of expanded and fingers crossed, interesting content. I have committed myself to guitar lessons which I will be reporting on as a method of forcing my hand. Don't worry though - I won't subject you to videos of my learning to play!

God bless us, every one.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

So, Anyway...
The Enigmatic Misanthrope and I are on the same page about one thing for sure: grocery shopping at Wegman's is a peak acquisition-of-food experience. Not that I'm going to detail it all but it does serve as introduction to this morning's trip to acquire a cauliflower (yum!). The store was crowded but in one of those amazing instances which may be due to the more upscale shopping experience and the holiday season, everyone was polite, friendly and generally nice. And by everyone I mean store staff as well. Which, by the way, is not out of the ordinary for Wegman's.
That being as it is, as I was exiting the store, a lady was being helped with her purchases out of two carts into her car. The store employee was saying that she should put the fragile things up front while the rest could be stored in the back. "Oh like the eggs." she said. So I, of course, stopped, pointed to the cart she was looking at and said, "Did you put all of your eggs in one basket?"
She was nice. She laughed. I enjoyed the moment.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Blast of Christmas
Courtesy of quondam Stray Cat and the swingin'est guy around, Brian Stezer!

I Consider It Good News
Yet I am still trepidatious. Emm Gryner has a new disc coming out in February. That's the good news. It's called "Goddess" which is the worrisome part. I, of course, preordered it since I am such an abject fan of her music. But I've seen too much of the use of "goddess" amongst women who creep me out. The XMBD NMSE adopted the appellation "Queen of the Universe" which is less annoying than just "Goddess." At least in part less annoying because she recognized her mother as the superior with the title "Dhalia Queen." It may seem strange to you but it was a lot of fun actually.
The talented and lovely Amy Alkon (soon to have her new book "Revengerella" in stores - buy it!) understands the proper use of the term in that she is the "Advice Goddess." Choosing a limiting descriptive before the word is the right way to use the term even if some super-annoying women manage to use it properly that way (cough)kimkomando(cough).
Oh well. I hope the music is as good as the last four discs she's put out. I should be hopeful - four successive releases that are very nearly without a single flaw is one hell of a string. She has the talent to make it five. But "Goddess?" I'll accept it if it's as good as "The Summer of High Hopes."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Today's Whyzzat
I am just so in the mood for kebabs today. And I'm in the mood for "kebabs" (Brit spelling), not "kabobs." I don't know why. Donner kebab. That would be nice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!
The Fellowship of the Ring..

One of EM's favorite deleted scenes
Truth Is Where You Find It
And today, I find it on the intarwebz:
Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you baby. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of sh!t.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Out And About
No, no, no! Not that way! Not in my unrequited man-crush on the Enigmatic Misanthrope way at all! I just mean running errands. I got a wreath today. As I was driving to the local nursery, I was behind a van of a sort of ugly brownish-maroon color. Appropriately so as the person who owned it was definitely a maroon. When I first looked at the back of the van, I could see the usual three words on the back of self-owned postal vehicle - Caution Frequent Stops.
Where does the maroon come in? Well, it didn't say "Caution: Frequent Stops" or even "Caution - Frequent Stops." It said "Caution; Frequent Stops."
This, naturally, put me in mind of something else I saw on the back of a car this year. It was a license place holder that read: "I touch the future - I teach." My first thought was "I've seen students these days and you need to know the difference between good touch and bad touch." I'm all about the comedy. Not so much about the pedagogy.

Have Yourself A Sultry Little Christmas
Eartha Kitt, looking as luscious as ever back in the early Fifties, sings her Christmas classic "Santa Baby." This is just the kind of song writing that's missing in the modern world - funny but not ugly and draped with class like a Christmas tree in Swarovski crystal. Today we get things like "White Trash Christmas." which, while laugh-inducing is like watching a Keystone Kops movie instead of a Cary Grant screwball comedy. And Miss Kitt just wears the song. Brilliant.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Apart from this, no blogging today. Sickness afflicts me again today though yesterday was the pits. A headache that just could not be dislodged and a sort of pre-flu chill that could only be checked by being under a quilt. I'm better today. Thank goodness as yesterday was spent mostly abed. Thank goodness for the NFL as there was something to watch as I laid there and whined, bitched and moaned. I am a lousy sickie. Unpleasant, ungrateful and wretched. Which is strange because when I'm actually sick enough to be in hospital, I'm quite compliant and thankful for company.
I am a seething mass of contradictions. Emphasis on mass.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Moment of Christmas Gaiety
Yeah, that's right. I said it. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
All right, all right. Snark aside, I present Johnny Mathis, one of the few remaining modern masters of song styling, singing just for you. You who click on the viddy that is.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Last Sunday I had a dear friend over for dinner. Her birthday is in December and since December babies usually have to suffer the indignity of combined "birthday/Christmas" presents, I've made it a point in the last few years to either have her out to dinner or cook something for her and take the opportunity to be an autodidact in the kitchen. This year I thought I'd cook in. (Is that a real term? "Cook in?" I'll say so and move on from there.)
The meal was all right. Not overwhelming but good. Wild rice (cooked beforehand and served cool - should have heated it up), a Costco Caesar salad (legitimized by our getting her a card at the same time), a rather nice roasted cauliflower and red pepper dish (with a caper vinaigrette), a ham steak with maple/dijon sauce (a whole ham would be thusly glazed but since this was just a steak, a sauce was more reasonable) and rum ice cream for afters. It was all pretty good and I taught myself the sauce and made the cauliflower dish for the first time. By the way, roasting cauliflower is just the superior way to prepare it. It comes out with a delightful nutty flavor and I roasted it tossed in a very good olive oil which doesn't hurt the flavor either.

All of which is prologue to what left me speechless. My friend asked me the question, "Do you remember a Christmas where you got what you really wanted?" (insert long pause here ... getting longer ... silence ... pondering annndddd ... nothing)
I've had a lifetime of wonderful Christmases. I've gotten wonderful things from my parents, my siblings, my ex-wife, my in-laws and friends. Yet I could recall no single instance where I had some overweening desire which was satisfied at the tearing open of a package on Christmas morning. This makes me sad. Not as sad as the photo over on Curmudgeonly & Skeptical makes me but pretty darn sad nonetheless.
Is this what it coems down to then? The failure of memory? The idea that all the gifts which were so desired and so appreciated fail in the face of the attempt to extract a deeper meaning out of the getting? I am nonplussed. A more likely explanation is a failure of my imagination that those things seem, after all these years, to have not had as lasting an impact on me as I was sure they would.
I am left with a palpable sense of disappointment with myself. Merry Christmas? Yeah. Sure. I guess.
Christmas is for kids anyway. Really. I'm getting a tree and a wreath tomorrow.

Anybody know if it's true...
that if you send your favorite brewery a plastic gallon milk jug filled with beer can top tabs, they will in turn, send you a keg of your favorite brew..for FREE?? Please let me know ASAP...
(now if I could just find a recycler to take these cans off my hands)
At least I could use the empty kegs as furniture...and yes..I've been known to toss back a few cold ones now and then..

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In The Spirit Of The Holiday
As it is presented here on PoW. (And with a wink and a nod to the Jolly Old EM.) This one I know by heart.

Oh yea..almost forgot.. Happy "F"ing Holidays
I know it may be hard to see..but I wanted to post this recipe I came across the other day. The photos pretty much tell the story..
The Bacon-Weave Cheese Log.
A few notes about prep:
.Put the bacon in the freezer for about 1/2 hour prior to weaving. (makes it easier, less floppy)

.You can also bake it on 400 degrees about 12-15 min

. Cheddar is fine, but I was thinking of adding Jalapenos..maybe jamming a wheel of brie in there or even peanut butter..

Don't get greedy with the cheese..too much and when you cut it, it will explode like a cheesy-napalm cannister.

Angioplasty comes to mind..

Monday, December 08, 2008

Guaranteed To Piss Me Off
Watching the televising machine as I try to clear some paper off my desk. An ad for Pizza Hut comes on, features the "Pan-normous" pizza (or some such idiot locution). Yet when they show "the" pizza, it's not "a" pizza; it's two pizza in one box. O F U Pizza Hut. It's not "pan-normous." Call it a "double special" or something. But don't try to sell it as "a pizza."
Maybe I shouldn't get pee oh'ed but it's just stupid shite like that bugs the hell out of me.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Weekend Embed Celebrates Christmas
This week I have what I consider a special treat. The late John Fahey, guitarist extraordinaire plays and teaches "Auld Lang Syne." It's moments like this that I thank God uToob was invented. 5 minutes and 22 seconds of a now-dead man who produced several discs of the finest interpretations of sacred and secular holiday music ever sold. Here is an Amazon link to a page of his music. There appear to be more discs than one should buy as my investigations tells me that the songs have been cut & pasted to make the diffierent albums. My opinion is that you acquire these: "The New Possibility (John Fahey's Guitar Soli Christmas Album)," "The John Fahey Christmas Album" and "Popular Songs of Christmas & New Year's" (also featuring Terry Robb).
With all that as prelude, I present Blind Joe Death himself, decidedly looking worse for the wear of his life, with the Scots' contribution to sentimental reflection. As ever, I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wherein Fantasy Asserts Itself
Today the serial (and surreal) failures that constitute the management of the major US-based automobile manufacturing companies came to Washington DC to plead for the new Nanny State to open the nursing bra to their questing mouths. I won't go into any details because if you haven't seen the numbers splashed over the main stream media and the news spots of the internets, you don't really care. So, you either don't care or you already know. Either way there's just no need for me to go into all the who-shot-John.
No, I'm a big picture guy. So big a picture that it becomes a cartoon. And my mind keeps spinning a fantasy that should be done in bright primary colors and printed on cheap pulp paper - a cartoon. A Christmas cartoon. Starring the incipient messiah Barack Obama as the incipient Messiah, the Baby Jesus. Featuring the decked halls of the US Capitol as the hay and jackass-filled manger in which the Bama Jesus lies. Looking on adoringly as the Holy Family stand the Unholy Duo of Joseph Harry Reid and Mary Pelosi. You could throw Oprah Winfrey in as the Star of Bethlehem but it's not part of the official fantasy, just a lagniappe for the star-struck.
Into this tableau stride the Magi from Far Detroit. But ratherthan bring gold, frankinsence and myrrh, these Magi just want whatever gold the Baby Bama, the Unholy Family and the Roman soldiers, who in this cartoon world are under the direct orders of the Baby Bama, have taken from the citizens at sword point.

And there it ends. The story of the Detroit Magi. Though I'd prefer it ends somewhere in Chapter 11.

This Annoys Me
I have over 1200 messages in my "Inbox." Read ones of course.
I have over 6100 messages in my "Sent" folder.
What the hell? Why have I not deleted these down to, say, a couple of dozen, in each folder? Do I really need to hang on to the fwd'd jokes? The messages I didn't reply to when they were fresh? And why don't I ever delete the crap I sent? This is like the garbage where the pews used to be in Alice's Restaurant and I've got no hippie with a VW microbus to take it out for me.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Wherein I Punch My Ticket To Perdition (Annual Edition)

A Thought For The Day
I'm usually not terribly aphoristic but I hew firmly to this belief: To avoid being stereotyped, avoid stereotypical behavior.

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?

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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Delayed Embed
Suggested by the Enigmatic Misanthrope and seconded by me, PoW presents a blast from the past, Joe Cocker offering birthday greetings back in the (Woodstock) day.

And PoW wishes the Misanthrope family (Enigmatic and Enigmatic Missusanthrope, not sure about the Enigmatic Offspringanthropes) on their impending scuba trip. Keep the tank side up!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Coffee Blogging
Haven't done any coffee blogging in a while. And my mind lately has been all over the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT-741 out of Holland. It's not cheap at $265 (and seems to be getting progressively more expensive as I've tracked it over time). "Cook's Illustrated" had this to say about it:
In the end, only one coffee maker stood out in our tests as exceptional. The Technivorm Moccamaster (model KBT741), made in the Netherlands, consistently brewed smooth, full-flavored coffee that our tasters rated highest. Tellingly, it was the only model to get close to the ideal six-minute brewing time, averaging 7½ minutes to completely finish dripping, though the water was fully dispensed within six minutes. Unlike any of the other coffee makers, its internal heating element brought the brewing water to the correct temperature range within seconds and kept it there through the brewing cycle.
It turns out that in contrast to most coffee maker heating elements, which are made of aluminum, the Technivorm's heating element is made of far more expensive copper. In coffee makers, the heating element usually runs alongside a tube containing water. As the cool water drips down from the tank, it passes through the heated channel, then boils up to the top of the machine, and finally drips down onto the grounds. A copper heating element has higher thermal conductivity than aluminum, meaning it is more responsive and can reach a higher temperature more quickly. The Technivorm is also more powerful, operating at a higher electrical wattage than most coffee makers - with 1,400 watts compared to the average 900 watts of the rest of the lineup - making its brew time correspondingly more efficient.
Of course I wonder whether putting a 1400 watt appliance on the circuit shared by my microwave might be problematic (don't nuke while you brew I hear you say - one does not always remember these things!) And a friend of mine just repaid a small loan I made to him so I'm sitting on the cash to get one ... but no. Gotta hold onto them greenbacks until the economy starts improving. I am, however, going to get one of these firstest when I get my mitts on some real cash.
I'd love to hear if anyone else has some bitchin' brewing equipment that they'd recommend. Comments please.
Got To Give 'Em Credit
I sure as perdition don't watch TV for the ads but I've got to throw some major praise Glade's way. They seem to have found an actress that they're using in all their ads of late. I have no idea who she is. I don't recall ever having seen her in an ad before but what a babe! Lovely face, maybe a touch on the horsey side but I seem to have no problem with that. And the red hair that's knuckle-chewingly gorgeous. Amy Adams gorgeous.
Glade also doesn't make her the infallible mom but the goofy, willing to try to get over on her friends about the source of the lovely household scent yet gets caught out on it. It's nice to see some humanization of the "star."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Just trouble everywhere so it seems. and yet we'll emerge from this as we always do. Older not necessarily wiser.
Personally, as much as I like the early autumn rain, I'm running one of those "throbbing at the neck" headaches that makes me want nothing but cool (got it) and quiet (don't even have the radio on). If you're thinking of calling me - don't. Send me an e-mail. The mail alert sound is much calmer than the ringing of the phone.
In other news: Shopped Costco yesterday. They have a dim sum dish (gyoza, shumai and one other little bao which name I know not). I tried it for dinner last night. Meh. Not actively bad but not really particularly good either. I stick to just making my own dumplings and have a better expereince. But the Costco milk is still the best buy in bovine lactation.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I want to try a display trick. The MOA.

OK. A little over dramatic but it does work.

And one other thing I've been meaning to mention, though it doesn't fit the "site" tag. I browse with Firefox, as I'm sure I've said a number of times. One feature that I use constantly is the built-in search function. At the upper right hand corner of the browser window is a search bar. In the search bar you can select from a number of different search locations. There's Google for everything, IMDB if you're getting all Hollywood on something. Wikipedia if you want teh questionable info. But an even more useful aspect of the function is that if you highlight a text string right on any page you're reading and right click on that string a menu pops up that offer a search on that text using whichever search engine is currently selected in the search box. For me, that's usually Google. And the results open in another tab. Saves much text entry or even cutting and pasting. Firefox - great browser. Despite the occasional disappearing flash content.
Keeping Up
I owe you all who've looked in on me a debt of gratitude but I'm looking a government bailout on that so expect your thanks to come directly from the US Treasury. Kidding aside, we here in NoVa have the onset of delightfully cool weather which is just so to my taste that I'm soothed thereby. Rain is forecast but rain is not a bad thing. Autumn is officially on us (which may require the reposting of one of my favorite poems, Rilke's "Herbsttag") and I'm taking care of some business.
Life is not perfect but I'm most definitely on the enthusiastic side of the scale. Later today, planting hosta, shopping at Costco (which has some killer chicken wraps made from their rotisserie chicken) and advancing on all fronts for the benefit of family and mankind! Huzzah!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Brief Thought on Racism And The Campaign
I have no doubt that there will be a quantifiable number (or percentage) of people who will not vote for Barack Obama purely on the basis of race. But given the number of those who are planning to vote for him purely on the basis of race, I think it'll probably pretty much even out.
So, despite the persistence of racism in the human heart, those trying to ascribe Obama's coming loss to racism are unutterably full of it. I say "in the human heart" in the previous sentence because those who tell you that the United States is particularly racist (in a world full of nations peopled by other humans) are simply lying. Whether they believe it or not makes it no less the lie.

"Yeah, jackpot: There's no weed, but there's monkeys"
We break headline format to extract the best line from this story. Further comment would be superfluous.
And a tip of the hat to Dr. Hardcrab.