Thursday, December 31, 2009

We all got 'em. Here are some of mine in no particular order:
Use the terms "wanker," and "cracking" more frequently.
Try at least two new kinds of toothpaste.
A moratorium on fast food for three months and then re-assess the situation.
Bake more. Give more baked goods to friends.
Vacuum more frequently.
Hit a blogger's tip jar at least once a month.
Set up a for-real practice schedule for the guitar.
No more playing online mahjong! (Dammit!)

That's all for now. I've shown you mine, now you show me yours.
UPDATE: (Stolen from Maggie's Farm) This year, I resolve to think more.
It's The Last Day!
Let's all run around like decapitated barnyard fowl! Scream and cry! Fill your bathtub with gin and toss in an Olive. Not that there very many girls named Olive any more. But we all have our crosses to bear.
Happy New Year's Eve ever'body! I will *clink* you in absentia as I relax at home with some basquetbol on the televising masheen. I believe in 2010. I don't believe in Tinker Bell, the transformative power of Barack Obama and restrictions on our personal freedom. Ah, but I repeat myself.

Y'all go run along now. There's confetti to toss, booze to drink, cookies to toss and police checkpoints to be avoided. Not that I advocate the consumption of anything that our elders' warned us would make us weak and foolish though! But have some fun, dammit. If not on the Eve, then in the New Year. There remains much life to be lived and it's up to us to do so!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In Honor Of The Latest Islamic Splodey Dope
Ladies and gentlemen, Blue Öyster Cult!

Hmm, needs more cowbell.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ginger Dust
Let me say this about myself first: I am the son of my Scots-blooded mother. There is much McMullen in me. This is often manifest in my desire to not waste a damn thing. And that often comes to bear in the kitchen. Thus beginneth the saga of "ginger dust."

I make my own ginger syrup. It's very simple. Two cups of sugar, one cup of water and a peeled hand of ginger (roughly palm-sized) sliced as thin as possible. The mixture is brought to a boil and simmered on heat for about 15 minutes and then left for about 24 hours for the flavor to strike through as much as possible. The syrup is then strained off. But this leaves a good wad of sugar-infused ginger slices.
One thing to note about ginger is that it contains two distinct type of flavor molecules, water soluble and fat (or oil) soluble. The aforementioned wad of ginger slices still have a lot of flavor in them but it's the oil soluble flavor that remains. Obviously. But I am loathe (note aforementioned Scots blood ) to discard a utile comestible. So I have a bowl of ginger chips
that are 'wet' in the fridge. But I also spread a bunch of the chips out to dry on a cutting board. Those turned into crunchy little chips with very respectable ginger "bite." The trouble with them was that they were a bit too "bitey" and hard for use as they were. So, inspired perhaps by the freeze-dried ginger I have in the pantry, I wondered if I couldn't make a powder of the chips.
Story short - yes I can. I used a mortar and pestle and a lot of elbow grease to grind down the chips which I filtered through a fine mesh strainer into a pale yellow powder that has a sweet ginger tang. I haven't figured out how to use it - yet. But with the preservative effect of sugar, I think I have something with an infinite shelf life so there will be chances to try my invention.
One note - a spice grinder would probably make short work of the chips but I rather enjoyed the Zen of the grinding. Your mileage may vary.

So, the final question is what am I going to do with the "wet" ginger in the fridge. Well, I just some rice bran oil from the 'Zon (love the 'Zon) and I'm going to "fry" those to see if I can't make a light, crispy little ginger chip that can be used in a crouton-like manner on a salad or Asian noodle dish. If I manage the heat properly, I may end up with ginger-flavored oil as well.
Like I said: I don't waste anything in the kitchen.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Little Enya For Ya
Merry Christmas everyone. (hat tip to Maggie's Farm)

Something New
I made what I call "ginger dust" yesterday. I'll detail the process in a weekend post but for now, I'm intrigued by what I've done and am a little bit proud of the idea.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

TV Show Of The Year
Glee. Hands down. Or rather: jazz hands up.
It's fresh, there are evil characters, there are characters to root for and some performances that deserve more Emmys than are handed out. I'm looking at you Jane Lynch, and you Kristin Chenoweth, and really, the entire cast of "high school" students who rock the musical numbers week after week.
Honestly. Top marks and great praise to the creators of a show that's proving itself to be fresh and consistently interesting.

Not Gonna See It
I was highly intrigued when I saw the early trailer for James Cameron's "Avatar" but now that I can see that the story is a standard lefty group trope, I'm not going to give it a dime of my money. And I'm going to call it, from this moment on, "Battlefield Smurf."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Discount Woot
I have a coupon code for $2.00 off an order from Daedalus Books and Music. It expires on January 15 and I'm not going to use it by then. Anyone who wants the code can leave me a comment or e-mail me and I'll pass it along. Needless to say, it's only good once.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Raging Rudolph
MadTV's greatest Christmas parody EVAR. Have a Merry Freakin' Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Day!
I finally watched Pixar's "Up." Charming. Wonderful. Another homerun for the animation studio that seems almost incapable of making a mistake.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I Just Realized
When Obama made that stupid speech all those months ago, maybe he did not intend that the world would "heal" but that the world would HEEL! And he was expecting to be holding the leash of course.
Not so much any more Barry.

Where I Try to Unpunch That Ticket

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Once Again I Punch My Ticket To Perdition

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Have A Dream!
Like the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream!

Unlike the
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., my dream pretty much resolves to the deep-frying of bacon in actual bacon grease.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Heard Today
I'm hearing from the radio machine that a 14th woman has come out of the Woodswork. That's just a putting green. A full round is 18 holes.
(Dang this stuff just about writes itself.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just So Un-Christmas-y
I could so kill a container of Popeyes Cajun rice right now. I suppose i should figure out how to make it myself but the fact will remain that for about four smacks, I get a stryo pot full of rice, hamburger and jalapenoy goodness. Hmm. Come to think of it, that's kinda pricey.
UPDATE: Or more accurately, ADDED: I recently made a road trip of sufficient length to necessitate stopping for food as well as gas. The stop had Popeyes and my traveling companion had a yen for bird so we got some of their strips. Boneless, so good finger food for eating while driving. I give Popeyes full marks for their strips, basically the best I've had from a fast food joint. Moist, flavorful, served nice and hot, crispy exterior. They're not particularly cheap but in this case, tey are well worth the price.

I see our old pal busted-ass Gordon Ramsay is going to have a "teach people to cook" special on Fox this week. I'll probably watch that. Maybe he'll make Cajun rice.
I Love Technology
I just downloaded a free app for my iPhone that takes dictation. That's right, I said "free." I tried it last night and it's not perfect (though spelling a name in a standard way for someone who uses a variant spelling really can't be faulted). But it works pretty darn well. I can talk to the phone and then have the text sent to an e-mail or a text message.
This stuff rocks so hard. Honestly, we live in magic times.

Magic times demand a Magic Mouse of course (see how I did that oh-so-seamless segue). I'm loving the Apple device in all sorts of major ways but I have found that it just drinks battery juice like a wino with a credit line at the liquor store. I use rechargeable batteries of course but I'm wondering if Apple might consider making a recarging cradle for this wonderful rodent as Logitech does for its MX Lazer mouse. Not a necessity, but it could make life just a wee bit more smooth.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright
In the fleshpots of the night.
You'll notice that I have resisted an comment on Mr. Woods and his ... ahhh, activities of late. There's something about it being a "target rich environment" for snark that makes me eschew the easy joke. But, really, could there be a sport more open to making mock what with things like "playing a round" of golf, his "woods," "driving." And now he's taking an "indefinite" leave of the links. I'd bet there are a thousand professional golfers who are now thanking their household gods for Tiger's wandering eye.
I will make one observation and then lay out one full-on snark after which I will never revisit the subject again. First, the women that Eldred has been linked with are about as nasty a collection of skanks as I've seen. A man of centi-millionaire wealth should have better taste. And then, it's probably good that he's leaving golf for a while. His driving seems to have suffered even as he's had no problem holing his putz.

UPDATE: How could I have fogotten this April Stevens classic?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not On My Blogroll
Maggie's Farm is a daily read for me so I probably should add it to the 'roll. But there's a post there today that should be read by everyone. A statement in favor of freedom is one way to put it. If you don't visit the site, at least read the post. It is most excellent.
Coming Soon
I listen to talk radio a lot. More than anything else, really. But there's a huge drawback. I hear the same ads over and over and over. I'm going to start a list of ads that make me change channels immediately upon hearing them.
I'll start with these:
1. The "Zapper Credit System." Oh my long-suffering ears! Shut up. Just STFU. If I wanted to listen to an annoying sterotypical New Yawk yenta voice, I'd ... I wouldn't do anything because I don't want to and never will. Ugh
2. "The Talker" for the Ooma web-phone device. Annoying me with drivel will not make me want to buy this device. Pick another gimmick now.
3. The free credit report ads. Nuff said. Die you godless maggots.
4. The "Smart Cookies." AmEx (if I remember correctly) is pushing some gaggle of women who screwed their credit to the max and then realized that was unsustainable. So they formed a group and two years later got out of debt, or something like that. Holy crap. These women did something that was evidently moronic and now AmEx is paying them to lecture us. How about featuring people who never were that stupid in the first place? "Smart" cookies my achin' butt. Go away.

There are others and I'll be making notes on them as I listen but I invite you to add to the list in comments. I know you have something to add.
ON THE OTHER HAND: The home drug test ad where the mom asks the high school kid if he's used "beanies, hydro, whiffle dust, disco biscuits" is still funny. "Shabu shabu, dear." Heh.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ow! Dammit!
Something very evil is happening in my right shoulder. Which sucks because that's the arm I use to support myself against the bad hip joints. My life would be vastly better if I were a masochist.
UPDATE: I'm pretty sure I'm dealing with a rotator cuff injury. Dammit.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I Tend To Do Things That Don't Make Sense
Especially when it comes to ordering online. I really don't like to pay for shipping. I'll go through contortions to avoid shipping charges. Case in point is my first purchase from I prefer one particular brand of cheap bar soap. Which is not carried at Costco and is no longer carried by my local grocery store. So I checked the 'Zon. They have it but the "prime eligible" "free" shipping soap cluster was about three times the price of a similar cluster from and, my first order, if I bumped it up to $25 gets shipped free.
You know what that meant. I then spent about half an hour trying to track something, anything to add to a couple of soaps. Men's scents? Nothing I like (dang! no Cool Water? no Fahrenheit?) Well, I do need some lip balm. I now have a free-shipping package consisting of nothing but soap and lip balm headed my way. At least I'll have enough Blistex to put in every room in the house and in the car. Saves wear and tear on the pocket. Yeah. Like that's the reason why.

A Quick Question For You
What's your favorite candy? Drop a note in the comments if you please. I am rather fond of gummi candies (recently tried the pink grapefruit gummies from Amazon and they are go-ood!) but if I had to pick out an absolute favorite, I'm going to go with a variation on the basic marshmallow I found several year ago at my local CVS drugstore: The marshmallow itself is cut into cubes which are then coated with toasted coconut. Oh baby!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

One Of Few
There are not too terribly many "modern" songs that I find to be real Christmas classics (this dates back to 1975) but Greg Lake's "I Believe in Father Christmas" is one. The original video for this is marred by an unthinking reflexive anti-war imagery that I'm sure seemed right at the time but now looks both dated and silly. So I post a mid-2000s version which hews closely to the original song. It has always seemed a pessimistic song to me but on reconsideration, and watching some YouTube video interviews, I see that the song was intended as a real Christmas song with a heart. And the music is brilliant. I hope you like.

Monday, December 07, 2009

One Of Those Days
Do you ever have a day where you just can't shake the 'tired' off? that's today for me. I've manged to do some household chores (my kitchen is almost clean!) but now in the shank of the afternoon, I'm sitting her yawning and rubbing my eyeballs into a state of (probably) red-rimmed moistness. A nap would be good but I don't have the impulse for that. Which means I might just nod out at the keybosasnsdfglrr l sdfm .............dfbklv....,vad;;ad ; ;la ;l a

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
And it's already significantly melted. Ah well. It was fun while it lasted.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Alert The Media!
How exciting! There is snow falling at Chez BlogDog even as I type (I'll drag the camera out for a couple of pix today just for giggles). And I got my first InstaLanche! Brought to me by knifeblogging and pancakes. Mmmm! PANcakes!

I apologize for the over-use of exclamation points in this post. Really! I do!

Friday, December 04, 2009

It's All About The Bass
Them low frequency vibes that is, not the fish. Though I have great appreciation for the fish too. I listen to a lot of my music off the computer as the subwoofer gives it a fullness that's rich and buttery. And though I've always liked Apple's earbuds for listening to the various iPods, I miss some of that rumble in the belly that a good bass response gives.
Luckily for me, the good folks at Amazon put these V-MODA Bass Freq Earbuds on sale cheaply enough that I went for it. Yeah. Nice. Of course there's no bass rumble to shake the digestive juices but there's definitely more thump! in the ear. There are little silicon sleeves around the earbud "speakers" that pretty much seal the ear for the sound. I don't know if that's essential to the sound but if i wanted to put in the 'buds to close out the world, these are the thing. I tried it on my test platform which is Donald Fagen's "What I Do" from the "Morph the Cat" disc. (polite golf applause) That'll do nicely. With, of course, the exception of the Nano which needs the control-chipped earbuds. I can make some sacrifices.
IN OTHER NEWS: I'm thinking of making this Celtic Woman disc as my addition to the Christmas music this year. Anyone care to disabuse me of the notion?
End Of An Era
Before I get too melodramatic, let me just say that I have been a newspaper reader since childhood. That may mean I read the comics, and then added the sports section to the read and then added the rest of the paper as my understanding of words progressed. But the "morning paper" was an important and as close to a constant as I care to think in my development. My mother, an early riser, would have the whole paper read, articles to share marked for note or clipping, as well as breakfast and school lunches made for the chilluns by the time we arrived at the breakfast table. I even subscribed to the Washington Post for a year when I was down in the Old North State for the collegiate experience.
Needless to say, it has been easily a decade and a half since I last regularly read the Washington Post due to its fierce leftist stance, regardless of facts or its allegation to be an "independent newspaper." I've read the Washington Times. And, generally, been happy with it. It's certainly more honest than the Post. But the Times has suffered of late. Scroll through ex-Timesman Stacy MacCain's blog (The Other McCain in my blogroll) to read the story. The Times is going to shed anything but its "core" so there'll be no more crossword puzzle and sudoku (actually already gone for a couple of weeks). Sue me but I enjoy those things as part of the whole newspaper read.
I'll still get the paper until my subscription runs out but I doubt I'll resubscribe.
This may give me one more hour a day but I will have lost something in that gain. It leaves me sad. I can hope that at some point a full-on newspaper will arise to compete with the Post but I think that the era of newsprint is essentially past us now. So here I go, posting this lament on the internet which is the very instrumentality that has eaten the lunch of the medium whose decline saddens me. O tempora, O mores! Sic transit gloria mundi.
On the other hand, jumping off at Glenn Reynolds's InstaPundit is a very good way to get a whole lot of the news of the day before the paper can deliver it and there are news aggregators like Drudge so I won't be without news. I just won't have it in the form to which I've grown accustomed.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Things To Keep In Mind
1. Jake Armerding with Eddie From Ohio at the Birchmere in mid January.
2. Al Petteway and Amy White at Jammin Java in March.

Must see both shows. This after totally forgetting the Al Stewart show I made such a big deal about. Sheesh.

Just a note for the day - Amazon is offering a Shun Ken Onion 3-Piece knife set which is nominally a $595 set for $200 today. These are truly awesome knives and though I can't justify the purchase of any more kitchen cutlery, my cooking eye is twitching as I look at these beauties.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

If You Love Mark Steyn
And really, who doesn't? If you visit Blazing Cat Fur, you can hear him sing "Sweet Gingerbread Man" with Jessica Martin. It's a little bit of wonderful. I wish I could imbed it but it's a non-clickable player so I have no idea where to go. But you can buy a copy of "Gingerbread and Eggnog" from the Steyn Store. Link to buy is at the link above.
In other holiday-related news, the iTunes Christmas playlist has been officially re-authorized and playing begins immediately. Have a holly jolly!