Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Joe Sherlock Saves Us $1.6 Billion
That's with a "b." I'm going to vote for Joe as Secretary of Energy. If I could. He's got more energy than I do and that's not even before the savings of the billions. In his own words:
A Government Accountability Office report released last week shows that the Department of Energy has spent more than $1.9 billion in stimulus funds to create 10,018 jobs through May, an average of $194,213 spent per full-time job created.
I believe I can create 10,018 jobs for $26,000 each ... or a total $260,468,000. Even if I need an extra 25% to administer the program, I'll still save taxpayers over $1.57 billion dollars.
Joe the Saver. Makes Joe the Plumber look like a piker.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Appear To Be Leaking Ocular Fluid

I bought the song from Amazon. Hat tip on this to Don Surber.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Quest Continues!
I have been seeking salt rising (or 'salt risen') bread ever since Lycurgus reminded me of it in comments. I believe I am nearing the acquisition of same. My favorite baker tells me that her first assay at the starter did not work out to her liking but she is going to continue to work on it for me. Woo hoo! She is indeed a sweetheart. I'm looking forward to that tomato sammich I tell ya whut.
I've also put in for a particular cake. But more on that as it develops.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Free Wine Day
Now there's one that doesn't come around too often. But let's start from the beginning rather than in medias res. I ordered a half case of wine from the Wall Street Journal "wine of the month club" which, so far has delivered rather exceptionally for me. I wanted to try a nice looking 2009 Malbec and an intriguing Muscat so I ordered a half case, split between the two. I was probably more interested in the Muscat than the Malbec but I did want to try both. Said half case was delivered today by the smiling FedEx guy (who has a great lilting accent that may be Caribbean) yet, when it was opened actually contained the Malbec and three bottles of a 2009 Bordeaux. I called customer service and was first connected with a CSR who immediately launched into excuses. Strangely, that conversation was suddenly terminated (not at my end) before I could explain that substituting a Bordeaux for a Muscat was not a "like" swap had they run out of the Muscat.
Being charitable and cautious, I called back. This time I connected with a CSR who actually listened to me, checked to be sure the Muscat was indeed in stock and promised to send me the three bottles I had ordered. So, what becomes of the three bottles I didn't order? Well, just as with wines the customer doesn't like, if there are less than six bottles, customer keeps the bottles. I don't think it's economic to arrange and pay the return shipping. Woot!
This makes a total of six bottles I've not paid for as three bottles of a blush pinot grigio I did order were just ... nothing. Like Gertrude Stein's Oakland. Not just forgettable but not even notable when on one's palate. So they refunded my purchase price of those. That is the mark of real customer service as far I'm concerned. Oh, I must also say that I bought a case of this Limonetto and it's purely delightful. As refreshing and bright as any summer deck/pool wine could ever hope to be. Adult lemonade of the best kind.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Having Received The Art Book
In my long post below I mentioned the art book of my late friend. Well, it arrived in the mail today and it's fascinating to see the works I'd never seen before. But what's most intriguing to me are the self portraits at the end of the book. They are so severe. Is this really how she saw herself? I recall that face smiling more than anything else but I did see her in social settings conducive to conviviality so perhaps my perception is skewed.
I am, though, immeasurably delighted to have this as I now have a tangible, physical connection to her. I can recall her quick, cat-like eyes as I look at her self portrait. I can recall the smile even as I see the picture of lips pulled straight. And in one picture, I can see her mother in her more than I ever realized. My delight has the taste of bittersweet. I have a little something to keep her in memory but I'm left without her in a vastly deeper way. I will probably miss her all the more for having this wonderful show catalog.
Oh, and she was the only human being I've ever known who could tie a bowline with her feet.
Even A Blind Pig
Time magazine may be an infestation of leftoid bedbugs in the American household but they had the wit and sense to put a pug on their cover. We endorse that here at Pugs of War. (Hat tip to XMBD NMSE.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Make So Many Spelling Mistakes
I think I have typo blood.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Time Passages
Many years ago in the Gothic Bookstore at Duke I attended a reading by Reynolds Price of a passage from his then new book, "Surface of the Earth." I couldn't, if my life were on the balance, tell you what it was that he read. But I carry the memory of at least one moment in the discussion afterward with me. The editor of the Duke poetry magazine (full disclosure: I managed to get one poem therein, a nasty bit of business) got into the concept of "place" and Prof. Price made sure the undergrad got a full dose of the importance of that concept to the Southerner. I am a Southerner. By heritage and "a Virginian by the grace of God" as the saying goes. So "place" is practically built into my DNA. One particularly marvelous thing about the world today (and here the praise of modernity by a traditionalist, as all true Virginians are, is to leap forth) is that Google Maps and Google Earth allow us to see distant or remembered places in startling detail. I won't even go into the utilitarian advantage of "street view," I just mean the zooming in and seeing one bit of the world as it has been captured at the moment the image was taken.
Recently I wanted to take a look at an overview (literally) of the Great Falls Park (Virginia side) wherein I spent many a youthful hour clambering over rocks, riding the now-gone Merry-Go-Round and generally having a ripping good time. After checking the park out for a few minutes I began zooming out and took a look at what used to be the house of a good family friend. He has passed several years now and he, as nominally one of my parent's friends, was not in my direct ambit but I am much diminished by his loss. He was a scientist who retired from government service to become an artist. However, what I found in the place of the old familiar house was a huge new construction of a house on the property, with only the angle of the road off the park access road and a tennis court identifying what I intended to see. So, obviously, the house has been taken down, the garage/workshop, the separate "art studio," the horse barn. All gone. As is the way of life and sadness is allowed at such, as long as it is not dwelled upon.
What strikes through the reminiscence is particular things, particular memories. The house had a huge windowed living room - dinning room area and on the dinning room side there was a marvelous stained glass window that was done in setions representing the four seasons. I wish I'd taken a picture of it but one doesn't think of that in the moment. Then there were particular pieces of "small art" inside: a lead "tree" that was made by pouring molten metal into an ant hill - absolutely fascinating even if a visually dull grey thing. A two stick-figure sculpture of fencers. A lump of raw metal ore set beside a metal model of a nosecone. And a clay work-in-progress model of a horse, a horse named Ichabod ("Icky") particularly, that the artist never, to my knowledge, finished because it was never "right." Ross loved that horse, and horses generally I suppose but he and Icky were tight.
Art seems to have been in the family's genetic heritage as the two daughters were artists and the son decided he preferred to farm, I'll admit there is a certain artistry to that as well. I knew that the elder daughter passed away some years ago from non-Hodgkins lymphoma (if memory serves) and the younger daughter turns out to be a photographic artist living in New York and spending some time on a farm in Northern Virginia. I e-mailed her recently to catch up, having had my memory jolted by my Google map excursion as mentioned above. I don't know that we'll ever see each other but it's rather nice to touch base with someone who shares a history, albeit tangentially. And, of course, I got to thinking about her sister who was one of the few people who visited me (on a trip with her grandfather) while I was teaching in Japan. It was a wonderful couple of days and I will always regret that I did not keep up with her more. But I thought I'd search her name just in case.
And now I have, on its way to me, an art book of hers that was put out in 2000 even though she passed away in 1997. 1997. 13 years. It doesn't seem that long ago. She was beautiful, smart, talented and strong-willed. I should have known her better but I do have one small piece of her art, a little geometric paperboard construction in black and red that I couldn't lay a hand on right now to save my soul. But I also know I absolutely saved it. And I will find it. And I will have her book. It seems the least I could do to keep her in memory.
These are the lessons in life that start with a visit to Google Maps.

Monday, August 09, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?

OK, I've already marked it as to what's wrong. Click to embiggen.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

One Thing I Admire About Gay Men
Is their willing to think outside the box.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

An Auspicious Day Indeed
Today is blog friend and otherwise friend in many ways Joe Sherlock's birthday! We here at Pugs of War take great delight in wishing Joe a very happy day and many more to come. It would be a lesser world without him.

Monday, August 02, 2010

I Can Honestly Say
That maple macadamia nut ice cream is fantastic. I will have to make more. In fact, I may need to get a larger ice cream maker....
OK, not really. But the flavor is killer.
UPDATE: After having the ice cream in the freezer for a couple of days I have to say that my opinion of it has dialed down a bit. It's damn good but the flavor is mild. I'm going to make it again but use the full cup of maple syrup. My house guest says that it tastes like eggnog to him. Which is understandable as there are six egg yolks in the recipe. But more maple is in the future.