Sunday, November 29, 2009

Good Eats? You Betcha!
Prodded by a post of Elisson's, I grabbed a copy of food celebrity Alton Brown's recipe for "instant" pancake mix. I am quite fond of the flapjack and have yet to find a commercial pancake mix that really does the job. This afternoon I had a visit from my favorite starving artist and flapped some jacks for the both of us off of the recipe linked above. Oh hells yeah. This is the bomb diggity of BlogDog-made pancakies.
The set up is that you can mix up all the dry ingredients and use eggs, butter and buttermilk to mix up the batter when the time to nosh rolls around. I will contend that there is no more noble use for buttermilk than in the production of these pancakes. They are that good. I strongly suggest that you give this one a try. It's not at all onerous to make and you'll get a superior breakfasting experience. Thank me later. And drop by Elisson's to thank him.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Author At Work
As Jerome pushed back the clattering sectionate wood that comprised the cover of his ornate roll-top desk, he took pen in hand. Pausing to think deeply on the scene, he incised a nearly perfect image of the leading edges of his bicuspids into the soft, yielding plastic of his inexpensive ballpoint. Realizing that he was going to have to describe a dark and stormy night, he thought, "This is not going to end well."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Serendipity Woot!
My nice mail carrier brought me an unexpected envelope from Amazon today which contained some too, too cool items that Lycurgus culled from the vasty warehouses of the 'Zon. Having replaced my little cheapie LED light with a whiter, brighter name-branded Photon light, I ripped into the Mark Knopfler CD "Get Lucky." Hyeah. That's the stuff.
It's lyrical, elegiac in many ways and though his voice won't ever win awards for range, he knows precisely how to use it. Warm, intimate and as comfortable as the smoky peat taste of a neat Scotch. Though it's not really featured on the disc, his guitar wok is never short of superb. Which is not news to anyone who cares about music of course. Those who only know his work in Dire Straits probably won't thrill to this effort but trust me - buy this, wait for a cold winter evening where you curl up with a good novel and either a glass of the aforementioned Scotch (give me two fingers of The Glenlivet, please) or a pot of good black tea (milk tea for a winter's eve), put this on repeat and spend a couple of hours letting it pour all over you.
Knopfler is an international treasure.

You've Waited Long Enough
Context. Is that not sweet?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And totally lacking in context.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sad News
I recently read a report about a de-feathering worker in a chicken processing facility who was asphyxiated when a container of fowl offal* accidentally tipped over.
Poor smothered plucker.

*which was awfully foul

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Is The Day The Lord Made
As was yesterday. As tomorrow will be.
Enjoy it. Have a beer. On me. As long as you drink with me and not against me.

God made the grains, and the waters, and the tiny, tiny yeasties. He wanted us to have beer. Because He loves us and wants us to be happy. Talk about a blessing! And I'd like to point out in grateful anticipation that He set the world in motion that brings us massive breasted turkeys, (watch it! I know what you're thinking!), pumpkins that are made into pies, apples that are made into pies, cranberries, sage for sausage. Oh, just so many, many wonderful things. Here's something that I saw online that I think I have to add to the mix:
Cranberry Truffles

Heat 1/2 cup simple syrup and 1/2 cup bourbon or water; add 2 cups dried cranberries and steep until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid. Pulse the fruit in a food processor, adding just enough liquid so the mixture comes together. Roll spoonfuls of the cranberry filling into balls, then roll them in cocoa, mixed with pulverized nuts if you like.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dang It!
It's around 11pm and I could just about kill for a beer. A clear wheat beer, a light beer with a touch of Rose's Lime. And I have no beer in the house. In point of fact, I usually don't. And yet right now, nothing in creation would be better than a beer. And I'm not going to gear up to go out and buy any. Don't be absurd. That would mean a trip to 7-11 at this hour.
I don't buy beer at 7-11. Not gonna happen. I'll buy a bag of chips, a flagon of Gatorade, even a half gallon of milk (for which I'll pay just about as much as for a gallon thereof at Costco). But I won't buy beer at 7-11. For myself. If you are visiting and want me to get you beer at 7-11, I will. Because I'm so darn giving.
Since I'm going to need milk, I may see what kind of 24-pak the Co of Cost has to offer tomorrow. Then I'll probably have a six month supply on hand. Unless you come to visit. All bets are off if that happens. And by "you," I don't mean you. I mean you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

One Measure Of True Devotion
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, or whatever the specific name they arrogate to themselves, is already advertising its summer 2010 schedule on the local radio. What they're specifically pushing are performances of "Cats" and "Mamma Mia." If I get out-of-town guests in the summer, I am actually willing to go to see a performance of "Mamma Mia."
Not that I object to ABBA, mind you. But without cover, you'd never catch me at the musical.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Joy Of Techs
Hmmm. There's a book title if ever I saw one. But it'll have to be a blog post for the nonce.
Last night my starving artist friend came over so I could give him an early Christmas present. Or late birthday present. Or ... you get the idea. He has been essentially sans TV since the digital conversion after darfing the whole coupon thing and he is, I repeat, a starving artist so it's not like he has cable or sat TV. But he does have a laptop and I saw a TV tuner USB dongle on Woot the other day. That's right. We set it up last night and watched a few moments of TV on his computer. Moreover, he can use it to record shows and play them back. The antenna that came with the dongle didn't get a great signal in my kitchen but he lives in a highrise so should be able to get the local channels fairly well.
TV is not a big deal but he's been cut off from the flow of human interaction as defined by the broadcast medium for some months now. He can now participate in the culture a bit more broadly than only watching Univision and some evangelical channel that gives just a little too much Joel Osteen for comfort.
Needless to say, I wouldn't have bothered to ensure his broadcast experience save that I saw the TV tuner on Woot at a very good price. Serendipitously, I looked at Woot just before he came over and saw a laptop bag for $8.00. It was something he explicitly told me he needed. So I went ahead and snagged him one of those as well. If it only lasts a year, it's still not a bad buy. There is some serious Wootoff action going on the last couple of days. A Shun knife carving set for $185? I don't need one but that's a hell of a price for Shun.
Got Nothin' This Morning
So I give you the fantastic Eddie Izzard as rendered into video via the magic of Leggos. Language warning though. It is Eddie Izzard after all.

Now I want Penne Al'Arrabbiata for lunch.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why Am I Not Rich?
Because, if I were, I would be wasting my assets on a self- build P-38 Lightning replica. I have always harbored the desire to build a kit plane but the idea of building my own scaled-down P-38 is just so perfectly insane that I fall in love with the world that offers us humans such things all over again.
Of course I would also have to find Lycurgus a ranch with a landing strip so we could do fly-ins. Yeah. I so would.

Wondering At Its Cosmic Significance
I'm aging. You'd think that such a basic fact would be evident from, oh, about the time rational thought began to arc between neurons in my young cerebroverse. But such a fact is easily ignored as one "develops." Grows up. Aging then is good. "I can drink when I'm how old then? But I can drive now, right? Good enough."
I'm not past my unsell-by date (it's a Brit term, you can figure it out) but the process is having effects that bother and, quite frankly, annoy me. Specifically, my vision is not what it once was. Of course, in a number of ways my vision is never what it once was but that's a philosophical question I'd rather not think about (fingers in ears, "La La La"). I need more light to read now than I did before. I recently went to dinner with a friend and in the ambient light I could hardly make out the menu. Holding up the tealight candle to the menu is ... inelegant.
So I've decided that I need one of those little keychain LED lights which I seem to recall paying about a sawbuck for the last time I got one. Resorting, of course, to Amazon, I found these: a five pack of the little goobers for $7.00 and free shipping. Maybe they're just gawd-awful crappy but there's something encouraging about facing advance and decline and, in dealing with it, finding a surprising bargain.
Life, which sucks, is good. As long as you can find the good.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This just about sums it up...

Insomnia - It's Magic Too
For example, I now know that my newspaper is delivered at quarter to four.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This Whole World Is Magic!
I just ordered octopus from It's sold tinned, not fresh of course, but still .... I can sit in a seat that's the equivalent in comfort of any in my house and drive through a pestering rain on the New Jersey Turnpike at 70 miles an hour in perfectly dry comfort. I can sit in a somewhat less comfortable seat in an airplane and thanks to the partial vacuum formed over the wings of the plane be pulled 30,000 feet into the sky where I'll travel at more than four times the speed I can drive anywhere in the world.
Yeah, there are problems in the world. We have a boob for a president and mental midget Islamists want to kill the infidel (Can you just kill the Fidel? We'll be OK with that.) But I can sit at my desk and order tinned octopus which will be delivered to my door. Sweet.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baby Got Back
Baby being me! Sometimes life serves up a slice where the cake is no lie (which reminds me - have you ever had red velvet cheesecake? It's red velvet cake layered with cheesecake and it is amaaazing) and the last few days were freakin' wonderful. A good out of town trip, doing things way outside the comfort zone (I mean, visiting friends in Delaware and going to a little totally Eye-tie restaurant that I wouldn't have found with a raging hunger and a Baedecker) that are just fabulous. I don't know if I'll do quite the same things ever again but I sure am glad I stepped out for a bit. And now I'm flapping my digits at my usual keyboard and running a couple loads of wash. All the 'settle back in' things.
SPECAT: Love you dolly girl. You should be an instructor at Hogwarts, you're so magic.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Y'all Play Nice
I'm going hiatal on your monkey asses. Don't worry. I'm headed off for a brief sojourn in Le Pome Grande, Ooki-na Ringo as 'twere. So have fun. Just don't set the drapes on fire.
OK, you can set the drapes on fire but put it out before any real damage is done.
If you want some good reading, I added Coyote Blog to the blogroll. (inhaling deeply) good stuff man (letting out breath)

Oh yeah: I made a pilgrimage to Costco this evening. It was mixed bag if ever there was one. The bad consisted of first, finding that Costco carries, at a much lower price, the precise brand and package of yeast I just bought from Amazon even with the
free shipping. D'oh! (I'm thinking of making these.) And the other drawback was the bill. Oy! Double my usual and over half of that was in three items: One set of USDA Prime steaks, one set of USDA Choice steaks (compare and contrast) and Gillette "Fusion" razor cartridges. Holy cow them little knives is expensive. But the best damn shave I've ever had.
The good stuff, on the other hand was multifold. I found kimchi there, for the first time ever. Decent stuff too, made either by Koreans or in Korea. Either way, it's as it should be. Then, I got some smoked salmon spread. Which I had to try when I got home. Oh yeah. Smoked salmon. What's not to like about that. If I'd gotten crackers on this trip, I'd be jamming that stuff down my maw even now. OK, not really, but it is good. I restocked my favorite shampoo after letting my supply run down to one leetle hotel give-away I stashed against just such an emergency. Which is good because my stylist (yeah, I have a stylist, what's it to ya?) just gave me the treatment today. Damn I look cute. And I got some "Le Grande Creme" soft cheese. It is the ice cream of soft cheese - mild, not even a hint of the brie ammonia in the crust and as snowy white as a cone of soft serve. It would be effectively useless to cook with but as a snackin' cheese ... oooohhhh baby!
What's Wrong With This Picture?

UPDATE: I realized after posting that I didn't provide any context for this. The ad was in the monthly magazine that my homeowners association puts out. And, to give the teachers their due, I did e-mail the person posting this and the mistake was made by the HOA. Still, sucks to be you, teach.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Free Pumpkin Pies for Thanksgiving!
Stop. Just Stop. Now
Phrases that should be stricken from ever being said again:
It's how I roll
Dass what I'm talkin' 'bout!

There are more but these two cropped up in particularly egregious ways lately. I invite readers to add to the list in comments.

Shameful Admission
For a real logophile, I find that I bump into certain words like roadblocks and, even when I can wrap my mind around the definition, my thought process grinds to a halt until I can process that particular word. An example is the word stochastic. I twig to the idea that it means "random" but what is it that necessitates its use instead of the word 'random?' This comes from a dyed-in-the-wool sesquipedalian as well.
"Quondam" is another one of those words. I should come up with a name for this phenomenon.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Today's Woot
If you need a good flashlight at a good price, today's Woot is a Brinkmann 3-watt LED aluminum flashlight. Think Maglight but apparently withput the beam focus capability. On the other hand, commenters say that the Brinkmann is brighter. $15 straight up including shipping. Can't touch that with a Maglight.
Remember, it's Woot so even if it doesn't sell out, it's only good for today.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Greatest of All Time
By which I mean the incomparable Gene Kelly.
Debbie Reynolds, not so much. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Absolutely Gorgeous
And Mythbuster Kari Byron is pretty cute too. I'd say from the looks of things, there's a little rugrat Mythbuster somewhere in the SoCal area. Pugs of War applauds the reproductive activities of any Mythbuster. Congratulations Kari!
The pic is totally stolen from The Firearm Blog. Click that link and scroll down for context.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Just Say No
"Vote?" Like hell. I'm not going to stand for this nonsense any longer.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Holy Cow!
The Apple "Magic Mouse" arrived today. Two words: A Mazing. Scrolling is like a whole 'nother world and the ability to zoom the screen by holding down the "option" key is just silly. This thing rocks. Hard. Like Metallica trying to prove they're a better band than Anthrax.
UPDATE: There is something of a learning curve in using a new mouse, tweaking the tracking settings for example, but even after this short time of using the new mouse, I have to say - this is brilliant. Guinness scientists must have invented this. Scrolling across the smooth top is going to become the new, albeit pricey, paradigm for mousing.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Another Movie I Won't Be Seeing
George Clooney in "Men Who Smell Like Goats." Or some such. I don't care.

On the other hand, I now live in a properly red state (dammit Jim, I'm a
doctor commonwealth not a state!) again. Good news in bad times.

In other news, I put my Thanksgiving pies order (I give them to friends, don't assume!) in and had one of those sublime things for lunch: the Thanksgiving sandwich (roasted turkey breast, stuffing and cranberry sauce on sourdough bread) at my favorite bakery, the Little Apple Pastry Shop in Aldie, Va. If you visit, I'll take you to lunch there. Yes, really. One thing I'm going to have to try is the Thanksgiving pie: a "crust" of stuffing, turkey and veg filling with a mashed potato topping. Looks quite toothsome.
One more thing: One topping pizza. Really? Why bother.

Monday, November 02, 2009

So Busy Yesterday!
I hardly had time to think. I mean, the clocks back an hour and the calendar pages to turn! It was dizzying. I may need a couple of days to recover.