Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dr. Frankenstein's Monster
That would be the big green guy with neck bolts and flat head and the GLAVIN (sorry - just had a Prof. Frink moment there). Often mistakenly called just "Frankenstein" but then, being all fraught with perspicacity as you are, you already knew that. But such technicalities are not the point of the post. What called this little disquisition on the nature of fictional monsters was a captured random thought as I was exiting the shower this day.
To wit: What if Mary Shelley had pulled a different name out of the aether? What if the great, clomping monster of celluloid fame had been made by Dr. Finkelstein? Would children run in fright from "Finkelstein!"? It is possible. Yet with the freight of horror that time has accustomed us to on the name Frankenstein, the idea that we would run screaming from "Dr. Finkelstein's monster" is risible, not horrible. Indeed, the comic possibilities are nearly without limit: Monster rises from its slab, Dr. Finkelstein screams to the storming cosmos, "It's ALIVE!" and the monster says in a nice Yiddish accent, "Oy. Would it kill you to have a little brisket on hand?" (Of course I also picture Igor then using one of my favorite lines: "I could eat.")
In any event, after running those ideas around the cranial blender a few times, I was struck by another thought. What if Dr. Frankenstein were a Jew? Not a great leap from the Finkelstein name change, really. I don't imagine that Mary Shelley particularly intended a Jewish connection but what if? Could we not then say that the monster is a modern golem? I see from the Wikipedia page that I'm not the first to draw this connection but I don't recall anyone ever having made that connection explicit to me before. I rather like this line in the Wiki: "The golem became a creation of overambitious and overreaching mystics, who would inevitably be punished for their blasphemy, as in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the alchemical homunculus."
So I am left with questions. Monsters, by definition, must be evil. Are our most feared monsters out of our traditions? Is there a necessarily religious aspect to them? Are the monsters defined by their Godlessness (in too many ways to conjure in a blog post)? Is the very definition of evil spun into the thread that is life force without the tempering of the divine spark within?
Too many questions actually. I may have to spend some time pondering on the nature of man and monster and God. It's difficult enough to figure out what I want for lunch much less think so hard on such philosophical questions. Perhaps I will be granted some measure of deeper understanding of my own human condition. And there is much to be gained in that.

Petite And Furious
Sometimes an addition to the blogroll is long overdue. In this case, I'm adding Kathy Shaidle's Five Feet of Fury because she's tough, smart, uncompromising and ("guy" alert! "guy" alert!) damnably cute. But it's her conservative smarts that make the addition necessary. If you aren't a regular reader of FFoF, you should be. Kathy (may I call you Kathy?) writes in the tradition of the great Canadian right (and her book on the Canadian "human rights" commission "The Tyranny of Nice" has an introduction from the great and hilarious Mark Steyn - there can be no greater endorsement, eh?). It's got to be tough for conservative Canadians to be surrounded by the apparatus of a
massive entreched statist system so Canadian conservatives have got to be tough. And furious. God bless 'em.
The blog writing is spare and direct. Not overdone and pumped with verbiage like some outposts on the b'sphere(*cough*pugsofwar*cough*). I hope you'll make her as regular a read as I have.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flew
When pigs fly.
Hiatus Interruptus
A week away from the keyboard has left me with some perspective and the desire to do some longer form blogging. But don't worry. It's not going to be this post. I'm doing the toe-back-in-the-water thing this morning.
One side effect of the hiatus was that I spent a little TV time and come away from that experience with increased disdain. Maybe it's the season but there's so little that's worth watching. Got some reading done. Need to update the books on the sidebar. Ray Bradbury's new book of Stories, We'll Always Have Paris, is wonderful. A fairly quick read but full of stories imbued with his unique understanding of youth and age, of people whose lives take turns and then turn back. He is indeed a modern master.
So, OK. All for now. More blogging will happen later after I do such exciting things as cut the grass and plant some hosta. And I'll post pictures of the Aero-Garden that's growing on my kitchen half-wall.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Starting after this post I turn the blog over to the Enigmatic Misanthrope and Paul for the next week. I am tired and achy. I'm going to try to start exercising again and something tells me that any mental energy I have will be drained down to the bottom of the gumption sump.
I hope to be back with lots of new stuff but I'll settle for a clean desk and no lower back pain. Oh, for you junk food junkies out there, Popeyes is having a special one-day sale on its chicken tomorrow. Something like 8 pieces for 5 bucks. Go - git yoOWNse'f some o' dat Cajyon yardbird.

I Don't Play Video Games
But I love the final song in "Portal."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Good Customer Service
Part of my mission to be grateful in life as well as in belief is to recognize when a company or a person does the right thing. Today's winner in the appreciation sweepstakes is I bought some digital downloads the other day (songs I did not have from a "best of" disc of an artist [Basia] whose work I have pretty comprehensively collected). Yet one of the songs gave me a "you've already downloaded this" message. I then set about to search all the digital nooks and crannies to see if the song went astray.
Nope. Nowhere to be found on the iMac (Source Of iTunes Central). So I e-mailed Amazon's customer service saying that I didn't get the download for which they'd charged me. That was yesterday. This morning's mail had a very nice note from an un-named customer service person (I almost said "drone" but then realized how unkind that would have been) who re-authorized the download for me.
Clickety clickety and I'm enjoying the song and thanking Amazon for good customer service. And telling you because gratitude demands acknowledgment.

I'd also, almost parenthetically here, call your attention to a product line at Bath & Body Works: Rainkissed Leaves. The name is a bit fruity but the scent is just amazing. Think of all the good things in freshly cut grass and the sweet edge of a cool morning where the dew chills the air as the sun rises. A friend of mine used the moisturizer in my car recently and I had to ask her what it was because I loved it. I've ordered some for my guest bathroom and powder room. So if you come for a visit, you'll be able to wash your hands and then moisturize them with a most remarkable fragrance. So, when are you going to be here?

Friday, April 17, 2009

BlogDog & The Enigmatic Misanthrope Discuss
The dialog is almost verbatim from an e-mail exchange between the two of us. I think I may be making our conversations public this way a lot more in the future. Be warned.
One should not laugh at one's own jokes yet I am still laughing after making this myself.

UPDATE: Commenter Meatros has availed himself of the services of after finding it here. His creation, which has had significantly more work put into it than my hastily cobbled together effort, is here. Next time - the colorized version, eh?
I hope others might want to have some fun making some cartoons there.
My iTunes music library has now reached an even 4000 "items" with a playtime of 11.2 days which takes just a shade over 24 GB. When the new iMac goes online, there will be a vast increase as I add classical music and opera. Digital music just so rocks. And with an iPod rolls too.

And In Other News...
A trip to Trader Joe's Emporium of the Weird and Delightful yesterday resulted in a new find: Wasabi Tempura Seaweed Snacks." I'll scan the bag and post the pic (done - see below) which will give you a better idea of what the snacks look like but consider a rectangle of nori with a striated layer of wasabi-heated tempura on top. Crisp, spicy and delicious. Of course I grew up eating dried squid as a snack so YMMV and all that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Musical Interlude - Freddy Mercury
Notice the way he brings it down with about 30 seconds left. Fantastic. And the closeups of Brian May's guitar work. Exceptional. Wish there were more of that though.

Fun With The iPhone
I managed to do something today that I've been wanting to do for a while. The ringtone I've always wanted for my phone is the "red phone" from James Coburn's Derek Flint movies. Now that I have an iPhone, and since I grabbed an mp3 of the sound a while back, I've made that a ringtone for myself.
It means probably nothing to anyone else but it amuses me to no end. And it was dead easy. One can take any clip from a song and with a little futzing, make a ringtone out of it without having to cough up a greenback or two to the good folks (peace be unto them!) at Apple.
I may use the opening bass line to Queen's "Under Pressure" for my next ringtone.
OK, OK, No More Foot
Apart from the big larf I got on my co-blogger's post below, my foot is inching back to normal so I'll kvit kvetching about it and instead post a pic of my new guitar. It's a PRS SE ("Student Edition") Custom Semi-Hollow. It doesn't have the tonal variation of my others (notably the 513 and the Swamp Ash Special) but a guitar doesn't need to have a huge tonal range when it sounds as good as a PRS. Even a Korean-made PRS.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All this talk about "grout" prompted this submission..."giggle"
OK, This Has Gone On Long Enough
My toe is still in the enemy camp - red, puffy and painful. I am thankful though that it's not as touch sensitive as yesterday so perhaps it's "on the back nine" albeit with several holes left to play. But I'm so tired of the foot hurt. I can't get around as I need to. I ended up going out to Trader Joe's last night (dolmas for dinner - mmm!) and in getting out of the car my right shoe touched the top of my left at just the wrong point. Oh my. The pain was intense. I'm talking wince your eyes shut, eek out a squeek of pain and hope that there's no leaking of ocular fluid painful.
Not that bad today but damn. I guess I'm going to have to give up bacon at breakfast. And that really hurts!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Monday Miscellany
First up: Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow. I have a gouty left big toe "knuckle." Walking, not my strong suit lately, is even more painful today. If I mash the hell out of my foot by pulling the shoelaces as tight as possible, it actually seems to help. Probably squeezes out some fluid. But Advil has helped and I'm going no further than the house today so I'll get through this 'un.
Maybe I'm channeling Kim du Toit as a Gout Blogger.

Then: Oh my. This is not going to help with the gout. My new wonderful, wonderful friend sent my a box of Stam chocolates. Oh bless you beautiful one! I opened the box and held myself to a mere 2 pieces (hazelnut & maple cream filled). I promise I'm going to make this one last. The cream-filled mouse shaped pieces are MINE! All mine!
Seriously folks, these are world class chockies.

One other thing in the food realm: I tried the new Taco Bell "Chipotle steak" taco salad. Not bad. The steak bits are very good but the rice at the heart of the tostada is disconcerting to say the least. And for all the taco salads I've had at Taco Bell, they don't seem to be able to deliver a fresh-tasting tostada. Maybe it's the oil they fry them in. I've come to the point of just eating the gooped-up bottom and leaving the sides for the trash. Bottom line: not bad. Entirely reasonable for a fast food place. Not as good as a nice, fresh one from a dedicated sit-down restaurant though.

And finally, since I'm talking food: I made a batch of ginger syrup yesterday and I thought I might give the quick and dirty on it. It's just a simple syrup flavored with fresh ginger. I like it a bit thicker than The Ginger People's version. So I use 2:1 sugar to water (3 cups of sugar to one and a half of water), take a fresh ginger root about the size of my palm all told and slice into thin discs. Ginger goes into the sugar water and bring it to a boil. Then kill the heat nd let it sit on the stove overnight. Then strain it into a ginger syrup bottle (repurposed from maple syrup in my case). And I pour tea over the strained out ginger to collect all the sweet out of it and ginger-flavor the tea. Tasty? You bet.

The Adventures of BlogDog "Mac Boy" and the PC ..

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen!
Happy Easter to those who stop here on my electronic veranda. I want to converse with you but lately I've been talking to myself. Senility is not yet galloping but it seems to have reached an easy canter at this point.
Actually, I want everyone, from those I love the deepest to those I never wish to see again a joyous Easter in the glory of the gift that was given to us those centuries ago. Only Christianity celebrates the victory of life over death and, though there are other reasons, that alone is sufficient for me to accept the faith unto the passing of this flesh.
When He Rose, we rose with Him. When He was made made flesh, our flesh was sanctified. Rejoice in the sunshine, feel the glory of the spring flowers. Sing a song of wonder today. I'm not saying it has to be a hymn, just a glorious noise in celebration of your own life. And may God fill that life with blessings this day and all the days hereafter.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

An Idea For You To Weigh In On
I'm considering making a salmon dumpling. I'm thinking that it would be like a little croquette in a wrapper: flaked salmon, a hank of chopped dill, maybe a dab of brown sugar and even a touch of butter to bind it. Probably some breadcrumbs even if it is in a wrapper.
Is this too weird? Or is the BlogDog version of the tasty fish taco?
Fish taco - me likee. Better even than the hard shelled devices that Taco Bell purveys.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bug In Your Ear
If you don't back up your hard drive, what's wrong with you? That is a prime qualification for dumbassery. But my intention is not to insult. It is to inform. To wit: if you are a Costco member, a $30 coupon discount (for which a coupon is not needed in an online purchase) is about to go into effect on a Seagate "Free Agent" 1.5 terabyte external drive. That would give you a lifetime's storage space for just about $115. That's just a sick amount of drive for not much money. I think I might get one.

And Talk Me Out of This
I've been keeping a weather eye on good quality stand mixers. With said eye peeled most for KitchenAid (I may be a little easy for a Brand Name - I said "a little," not "an appliance slut"). I'd been deeply considering this 250 watt model at Amazon but Costco is dropping one of their coupons ($40 this time) on this 475 watt model with a built-in timer. The coupon would bring the price differential to $60 which now makes me hesitate. 475 watts is a commercial grade, beefy device. I doubt a lifetime of everyday baking at home would cause it to hiccup. And I digs me a built-in timer.
So I ask you, dear reader, what you think of the comparison of the two. Does one really need more than 250 watts of spinning, whapping power at home? Is the timer like the short skirt on an otherwise average-looking streetwalker? As the Bloodhound Gang said, "I appreciate your input."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I don't think there's any secret to friendship. Sometimes you share an interest in something with someone and you spend enough time together that rough edges are ignored and friendship grows. Then there are time you just fall into it. One of my very good friends is the relative of the wife of a couple whom I know quite well and from the moment I met said relative, I knew we would be great, great friends.
Then there times you have yourself a friend and he or she says, "You have to meet my very best/very good/long time friend!" Of course you agree because, well, it's your friend that's saying it. But you worry about it. What if I don't particularly care for this new variable in the friend equation? But, face it, you have to meet the person.
This past weekend one of my dearest friends introduced me to her best friend. I was somewhat worried as we'd each heard a lot about the other and one can't always live up to a mental image formed by one's very own PR person (the mutual friend). After saying all that, I have to say that I had one of those superior experiences where everything my friend said about her friend was borne out in spades. In clubs, diamonds and hearts for that matter. I hope the same can be said of me but let me tell you, there is a word for people like my new (ha!) friend: delightful. We live in different time zones so it's not like I'm going to be hanging out with them but I'm willing to bet that they'd be OK with me doing so. Not all the time of course. But a lot of the time, yeah.
It's a mitzvah. And I made it a point to be grateful in church on Sunday.

A Little Non-Enya Enya
Celtic Woman with "Orinoco Flow."

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Computer Violence And Nursery Rhymes
I am about to assay the task of reformatting a hard drive and installing XP Home on a Dell computer. Such aggressive action as I have never undertaken on a friend's PC. So, as I jump blind and heedless into the task, I start sotto voce to myself: "The firmware in the Dell/ The firmware in the Dell/ Hi ho the derry oh/ The firmware in the Dell."

When I then realize what I'm softly singing, my gorge rises at it.

Monday, April 06, 2009

A Most Delicious Hiatus
There was, for those keeping track, a decided lack of posting for the last few days as I had houseguests at Chez BlogDog over the weekend and we were doing fun stuff. I got to introduce my new friends to the Peking Gourmet Inn and the local Burmese restaurant and I passed along the Tao of the Bao to another couple. Soon, the Gospel of the Dumpling will be a worldwide phenomenon and I will have played my small part in it.
There was much eating and every single slurp was delicious.
Oh, and as a host gift I was given chocolates from Stam Choclaterie. Oh ... My ... Oh ... My. I'm not a chocoholic but let me tell you these little gems are what Godiva hopes to be and the little man in the Whitman's Sampler can't even dream of being. I'm not going to eat any peeps this year as they might drive some lingering molecule of candy goodness off some hidden surface of mouth where said molecule avoids the toothbrush. Oh yeah: yummy.
Luckily my dumplings passed muster as well. But now it's back to real life. Oh well.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

What they call over on the Birds and Moons Forum "new guitar day." PRS (of course! except for the Telecaster) SE Custom Semi-Hollow. The one you see is exactly the one I got: Natural color, tortoiseshell pickguard, "moons" inlays and the humbucking pickups.
I still suck at the playing thereof but the guitar sounds great. Actually amazing for an inexpensive (PRS inexpensive that is) guitar. There's a viddy at the link that does a short demo of the tonal range - not extensive but wonderful for what it puts out.
The Guitar Nazi, on the other hand, got a seriously sweet new axe. I'll post a couple of pics when I sync up the iPhone next. His has alll sorts of special built into it. Mine is just one of those exceptional guitars that PRS makes as a matter of course. OK, the SE range is manufactured overseas but not a one is sold unless it passes muster at the 'home office.'

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"Ridicule is the Burden of Geniusssth"...only one rude comment per posssthter pleasssth!!!
This is not an April Fool's joke.