August 31, 2004

Good News?

Well no, not really, but certainly in the well, it could be worse catagory. Imagine if The Man Who Would Be Kennedy had chosen this one as a role model instead of the one whose initials he shares.

Posted by triticale at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2004

Tequila Boogaloo Waltz?

Or, more generically, Distilled Beverage Dance Dance. The best known example is Whisky Tango Foxtrot, and it is used as an expression of wonder, curiosity, disbelieve and the like, combined in suitable proportions.

So anyway, said expression was evoked by the probability that these people are serious. This one evoked a similar response, even tho I've heard jokes about similar beliefs for decades.

Posted by triticale at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2004

Making It Easy

We spent the first few decades of our life in Chicago, a town widely reputed to be the capital of Democrat vote fraud. It is widely acknowledged that a drive by the father of Al Gore's 2000 campaign manager to decide the governor of Illinois contributed to John F Kennedy's presidential victory. The only time I witnesses any overt fraud myself was an aldermanic election way back in '62, when our precinct showed fewer votes for the challenger than were cast from our house alone. My wee wifey never witnessed any, even with serving for twenty years as an election judge. When we moved to Milwaukee we were surprised at the laxity of voter identification and angered by the difficulty of removing past residents from the voting roll for our building.

After the aldermanic primary, we received "Thank you for voting" postcards from the incumbent. Three of them. One was for someone we had never heard of. We made a couple of phone calls and then let things slide. Had we foreseen what would happen in November of that year, we would have kept better track of that postcard. Gore carried Wisconsin, but by barely enough votes as to avoid a recount. Some of these votes were purchased by a woman from the Democratic National Committee She was of course acting on her own, and just trying to encourage voter turnout. There were also reports of college students bragging of voting multiple times, but they disappeared when criminal charges were mentioned. Since the state Attorney General and the local State's Attorney were Democrats, no action was taken in resonse to these irregularities. As a matter of fact, there was at least one interesting incident when that same Attorney General ran for governor.

Since this time Wisconsin has been showing signs of becoming more Republican. It has been suggested that this will simply mean more votes will be stolen. That is why I want the entire nation to know that when my wee wifey went to update the address on her State I.D. they geve her back the old one. That is correct. She has valid identification for two different addresses. Were these addresses not both served by the same polling place, it would now be that much easier for her to cast two ballots. I'm going to see if I can get the two foster nephews still under our roof off their duffs to make the same update. If the first one also gets the old I.D. back, then I would, in the interest of science, send the second one in a pro Bush t-shirt and see if that makes a difference.

Note: this expands upon a preliminary post I put up yesterday. I did that because I promised this whole thing in a comment elseware. The first paragraph has been added to, and all the remaining material has been added. I'm not sure if I've expressed myself any better than in the original version lost when I closed the wrong browser tab.

Posted by triticale at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2004

Black Walnut Baklava

My wee wifey is seriously into competitive cooking and baking. We have had health issues pop up the last three years in the time approaching the Wisconsin State Fair, but before that we consistantly brought home ribbons and occasional bonus prizes. She took the blue ribbon for honey baklava with the first batch she ever made, and the recipe is posted below, much as she provided it to her blue ribbon recipe mailing list. It is a lot of work to prepare, but the result is something far beyond what you would get from a bakery. The good news is that the preparation time is far less than the two solid days it takes to make the mini peaches with which she took the blue ribbon for sandwich cookies our first year in Wisconsin. These are the cookies about which she says "You know those things that look like they take a lot of work but really don't? This isn't one of them."

NOTE: If you don't have chinese cinnamon, use 1 to 1-1/2 tsp of regular cinnamon. Chinese cinnamon is subtler than regular. As an aside, this seems complicated, but if you read the directions it isn't--just time consuming. I created this recipe by combining 3 other recipes & then making the adaptation of black walnuts. I had never made baklava in my life until I submitted this to state fair. I wasn't even going to submit this, but I had extra time & decided to go ahead & make this up. It gets better if you let it set awhile. I took the leftovers to church about 5 days later and it was to die for!!

Also, for some reason the top sheet of phyllo popped up & would not stay down. I didn't think this would impress the judges, so I literally glued it down ... I used a bit of egg white as the glue and after it had dried (about 15 minutes) that top piece of phyllo wasn't going anywhere. If you aren't trying to score points on appearance you probably won't need to worry about this, but it's always nice to know this trick.

2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tbs lemon juice
2 teaspoon black walnut natural flavoring

Nut mixture:
1 1/2 lbs walnuts (1# English walnuts, 1/2# black walnuts)
2 tsp Chinese cinnamon - powdered

1 lb phyllo dough - thawed
1 lb melted butter


Tall large pot for making the syrup.
Ladle (optional)
Candy thermometer.
Baking pan about the size of the phyllo sheets. I've used
stainless steel and have even used a jelly-roll pan.
2-3 inch paint brush for applying the melted butter.
Food processor for chopping the nuts with the powdered cinnamon
Electric Knife (optional) for cutting the pastry before baking.
otherwise a good, very sharp knife.


Thaw the phyllo dough inside it's plastic package, and don't open it until you're ready to go. If you forget, and you need to speed it up, you can thaw it in its sealed plastic package in warm water, but better to remember (I forgot once, can you tell? :-) ).

Chop the nuts with the powdered cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse it to get good control on the size. You want a fine chop, but not powder. This takes about 5-10 seconds. Do it in batches if necessary. You can do this by hand, but it's easier to find a friend with a food processor. :-) Put the chopped nuts in a medium-large bowl.

Put the sugar, honey, cloves, and lemon juice into a tall pot. Stir well and boil until 220 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer (soft ball). Remove from heat, skim any scum off the top and let cool. When cooled add black walnut flavoring.

Melt the butter in a saucepan while the syrup is boiling. Some people clarify the butter, I don't bother.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

OK, time to assemble, open the phyllo and unfold it.

Brush the inside of the pan with melted butter. It really goes much faster with a 3 inch brush for the rest. A larger brush will tear the phyllo, and smaller ones take more time and the phyllo can dry out.

You can cover the phyllo with a wet cloth if you want, (I use an apron). But if you open it and spread it out and do it straight through, I've been told you won't have to cover it. Make sure your butter is very liquid when you start.

Put six sheets of phyllo in the pan, brushing each sheet with melted butter before adding the next sheet. Put about 6 sheets of phyllo dough aside for the top layers. Actually, I just book-mark the last six sheets on the pile.

After the first six sheets, sprinkle some of the nut mixture over the buttered sheet in the pan (about 1/3). It's easier if you have two people, one to do the nuts, and one to put the sheets down and butter them.

Add another sheet of phyllo covering the nuts, then butter that sheet. Repeat the process until you get to the last six sheets (See the notes).

You want to use up the nuts at the same time you run out of phyllo, not counting the six sheets for the top layers, so try to plan it out. This is a little touchy, but if you get it secured at the edges first, it helps, just be delicate, but quick. :-) Don't worry about torn or broken up sheets, just put them in and butter them down. In the end, no one will know. Have no fear and keep working. :-)

Now place the last six sheets on top of the rest, one at a time, brushing each with butter after it is added. You should have a little butter left over. I just pour it over the pastry after I cut it, but that's not necessary, and after you've done it a couple times you can adjust the amount of butter you use.

Cut the pastry into triangle shapes, all the way through. My great aunt used an electric knife, and thought it made the cutting very easy. If you don't have one, use a *VERY* sharp knife. If it's not sharp, it's a real pain/disaster cutting the pastry. Make sure you cut all the way through the pastry.

Sprinkle the top with water.

Put the pastry into a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven. Bake for 1 hour, the top should be a medium golden brown when done.

When done, remove from the over and ladle the cool syrup over the hot pastry. Hot pastry - cool syrup, cool pastry - hot syrup. Let it sit for about 5-15 minutes, then drain off the excess syrup by tilting the pan, as much as as much as 45 degrees.

Let it cool to near room temperature before taking the baklava up, if you can wait, but you can eat those thin edges now, if you want. :-)

All told, it takes about an hour to make and an hour to bake.

Makes 60 to 90 pieces, depending upon size.

This baklava keeps well and freezes well, although I've never found a need to freeze it, it just disappears too fast. :-)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


The lemon keeps the syrup from crystallizing.

Don't worry about broken sheets, or stuck together sheets of phyllo, just piece them together and butter it down. Depending on the size of the pan you use and the size of the phyllo sheets, you probably will not fit the pan exactly, if it hangs over the edges, just fold it back over to the inside of the pan, and butter it down. Do this every 2-4 sheets. If the pan is slightly too big, just lay the phyllo well into each corner or if only one dimension is too large then alternate sides to get coverage. Remember there are a lot of sheets and it all works out, just have no
fear. Turn the overlying edges in and butter them down.

Posted by triticale at 12:30 AM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2004

Research Question

My wee wifey was watching the video of one of her favorite movies, Ladies Who Do, the other night. It is about a group of cleaning ladies who outwit a dastardly greedy developer who is plotting to have their homes condemned so he can put up luxury residences. I happened by during the scene when, to prove what a bigshot he was, they showed him getting a call on a telephone in his limousine.

This is something I've tried researching, without success. Could someone point me toward information regarding the cost of mobile radio telephones in the pre-cellular days? I remember the call going thru a "land operator" and being half-duplex (push to talk) but I have no idea how the cost compares with mobile telephony today.

Posted by triticale at 09:28 PM | Comments (1)

August 24, 2004

A Keeper

My recent post about the failure to rationally evaluate health risk statistics inspired Brian B. to comment by rephrasing Pastor Niemoller's classic enumeration. He has reposted it on his own blog, and I am bringing it here to the main page because it does tell us where the battle line needs to be drawn.

First they came for Logic, and I did not speak out, for I did not think logically.

Then they came for Thesis and Synthesis, and I did not speak out, for I did not think synthetically.

Then they came for Reason, and I did not speak out, for I did not think reasonably.

Finally they came for me, and I could no longer think for myself.

Posted by triticale at 06:38 AM | Comments (1)

August 20, 2004

Not Just Empty Promises

When Kerry was in Milwaukee recently, he announced at the rally that he would go to Leon's for frozen custard and Speed Queen for barbecue, but never did. Instead he went to Pieces of Eight, an upscale seafood place on the lakefront. That fact makes this news so much cooler.

Posted by triticale at 07:12 PM | Comments (1)

To Feast With

This week's Friday Feast wasn't up yet when I first logged on this morning, and Beth is launching a Carnival of Recipes, so here is the barbecue sauce I tossed together a couple of weeks ago.

1 large jar pineapple preserves (actually too chunky; next time I'll try jam)

2 cans tamarind nectar

1/4 cup honey

1 tbsp dehydrated garlic

1 tbsp cilantro flakes

2 tbsp sriracha chili sauce

Simmer overnite in the crockpot on high.


Note that if brushed heavily onto the skin of a split Cornish hen (or anything else) before grilling, the sugars will cause it to char. Brushing it on the top side of burgers every time I flipped them worked quite well, and Emrack and the others of his generation slathered it on everything I grilled except for the corn, with popular local and national brand sauces being ignored.

Posted by triticale at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004


Out of all the dying mainstream media, I have a special hatred for my local daily newspaper, the Milwaukee Jourinal. There is a collective subscription at work, and it gets spread on the breakroom table, where, being hyperlexic, I end up looking at it. They recently ran a cartoon on the editorial page showing Chimpy McSmirk claiming to have turned the corner on the economy while walking Escher's endless stairway.

First of all, the caricatures have lost all resemblance to the man they mock, and have become a self-referential symbol. More important are the stories this same newspaper has published in the business section, which it seems they are ignoring and hope people have missed. Manitowoc Corporation and the reorganised Harnischfeger are both enjoying boom times, with huge orders for construction cranes and mining equipment for China and the rest of the Far East. A Wisconsin paper mill has taken a huge contract away from China because of their expertise with coated stock. Milwaukee industrial subcontractors are turning down orders because they can't hire enough skilled machinists. All of this local news is of course on top of month after month of generally positive national economic numbers. Could it be that they believe the entire economy is in bad shape simply because their sales and influence are waning?

Posted by triticale at 11:45 PM | Comments (3)

Hidden Meaning?

The post is entitled Pollution & Dementia and quotes an article suggesting an increased death rate from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other brain diseases has a direct correlation to pollution levels. The title identifies the topics of that article, but also its tone.

I had a coworker who bought into every new Luddite panic which came along. She also had her young daughters watch Jaws the day before their first trip to Chicago's Lake Michigan beaches; maybe she thought it best that one be scared of dangers beyond one's control. So anyway, she came into work one day all het up about how much the death rate from cancer had increased in the past hundred years. It was probably polychlorinated biphenols. They were big that year.

The first thing I offered in response was that I had heard that on the frontier, 150 years ago, being thrown from a half-broken wild horse was a fairly common cause of death. She missed my point and bought up automobile accidents as an equivalent. I started to list other things which used to kill people. Cholera. Smallpox. He took sick and just up and died (which may well have been cancer). Still didn't get thru to her. We have to do something! Diabetes was below my radar back then, but even if I'd known that until 1921 a diagnosis of diabetes meant a year to live she wouldn't have made the connection that more cancer deaths didn't simply mean more evil horrible causes of cancer that we have to sacrifice to get rid of.

Posted by triticale at 12:17 AM | Comments (4)

August 14, 2004

Hijacking Averted

I'm certainly glad these guys were stopped, but the world would be safer now if they'd gotten Glasered after pulling out their boxcutters.

Posted by triticale at 08:22 PM | Comments (1)

Stale Feast

The old Friday Five was my favorite everybody answer the same question thing, but the creator of it ran out of steam and bandwidth. The new Friday Feast looks like a good contender for that status, so I'll have a go at it even tho I didn't discover it till this morning. I found it at Para-bellum, which in turn I found this morning via Joanie.

Who is your favorite news anchor/reporter? Why?

I don't remember having a favorite even back when I watched television as a source of news. Last ones I paid any attention to were David and Chet.

Name 3 foods that are currently in your freezer.

Sliced Pepperoni - we bought a 5 pound at the Samuel Society and split it up.
Dim Sum Dumplings - I steam them sometimes for a Sunday morning treat
Gumbo Blend Vegetables - to be stewed with green tomatoes and garlic.

If you were to have the opportunity to name a new town or city, what would you call it?

As an armchair model railroader I have plenty of these on tap. My two favorites are Effigy and Absentia. Guess which one gets the court house.

Main Course
What will most likely be the next book you read?

The one on the top of the current to-be-read stack. Bolt of Fate - Benjamin Franklin and his Electric Kite Hoax by Tom Tucker.

What's the first thing you notice about the opposite gender?

Presence, size and direction of motion. Thirty plus years of monogamy has left me less inclined to, um, evaluate.

Posted by triticale at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2004

Formal Notice

Time's up on being able to say "I was reading him when..."

Noted commenter Varifrank has, under pressure from the overwhelming response to what he'd had to say at the Vodkapundit, launched his own blog.

I took an active part in applying that pressure, and I'm pleased with the results. I'd offered him my old blog-city space, premium hosting paid up thru February. Can anyone suggest another commenter worthy of blogfathering?

Posted by triticale at 10:44 PM | Comments (1)

August 12, 2004

Middle Initials

In the previously mentioned uproar about the gun t-shirt, one of the frothers offered up two dots for which we are expected to believe a connection. In the same year that the Ku Klux Klan was first outlawed, the National Rifle was founded. Not mentioned, because it doesn't fit the agended stereotype is that the NRA was founded in New York by generals from the Federal side who saw that the forces of good would have prevailed more quickly if the U.S. were a nation of riflemen. One other significance, aside from casting doubt on the alleged racist history, is that this is why it was New York state law which prohibited the NRA from cancelling their annual meeting in Colorado so soon after the evil at Columbine.

There were other interesting events which took place in the year 1871. There were simultaneous fires of suspicious origin in Peshtigo, Wisconsin and Chicago Illinois. U.S. Patent #110,626 was issued to Henry W. Bradley of Binghamton, New York for an "improved compound for culinary use" called margarine. Things got so bad in Paris before the surrender to the Prussions that a zoo elephant was killed for food.

The event of 1871 which has the most relevance to the Internet took place in Africa when the explorer Stanley found Dr. Livingstone I. Presume, obviously the precursor of such spamming entities as Handgun P. Osprey, Pesticide O. Oxidizer, Wandering L. Shrews, and Creepies J. Clergyman, none of whom know how to spell.

Posted by triticale at 09:13 PM | Comments (1)

Advance Notice

You'll be hearing from this fellow more, once he gets comfortable in the blogosphere. Read the comments to this post, and someday you'll be able to say "I was reading him when..."

Posted by triticale at 03:58 AM | Comments (2)

August 11, 2004


An art magazine for Milwaukee dentists?

I fear such a magazine would expose Milwaukeeans as rubes for having rejected the Big Blue Shirt.

Posted by triticale at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

Like They Say...

The Vodkapundit has posted one of those Whole Things. You know what to do.

Posted by triticale at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2004

Tolerance and Diversity

One of the most influential books I ever read was The Scientific American Book of Projects for the Amateur Scientist, published in 1960. The book, and then further Amatuer Scientist columns thruout the '60s, shaped my understanding of how things happen, work, and are made. I especially recall one of the last I read, about a homebuilt ruling engine for optical gratings. The machine was controlled by a laser interferometor, kept in a bell jar in an air conditioned room and run for days to let its temperature restabilize, but still produced two ten millionths of an inch of random error. With this as my evidence that nothing is perfect, I had little difficulty understanding fits and tolerances when I became involved in machining metal during my decades in manufacturing, where measurement is done in thousandths rather than ten millionths. They may speak of one thumb and two thumb fits in old time British handwork practice, but zero tolerance is unattainable.

Now that I am working in the radio end of cellular communications, diversity has replaced tolerance as the relevant term of art. It crossed my mind to make a t-shirt which proclaimed "Celebrate Diversity" and depicted a cellular antenna array, but the hassle of explaining multipath distortion outweighed the amusement of my friends. When first I saw the similar t-shirt which inspired all the hooraw, I saw it mostly as a tweak at gun enthusiasts who favor one style and knock another. If it had included a CZ52 and an SAA I'd have gotten one myself. I realized that it would offend the perpetually offended who blame guns for what some people use them for and believe that diversity should be imposed, but it never crossed my mind that there was anything inherently racist in the message of the shirt itself.

Uniformity is being enforced in the name of diversity, which is as oxymoronic as quotas for tolerance. Someone, possibly an actual racist, circulated an offensive racist manifesto around Milwaukee's gentrifying Brewer's Hill neighborhood. The community responded with meetings and yard signs. I wondered what the reaction would have been to a yard sign which proclaimed individuality, rather than diversity, is our strength, and on which the stick figures standing in solidarity were not all the same size, shape, and shade of purple. Because I live in the more integrated yet less liberal West End, I didn't bother to create one.

Posted by triticale at 07:52 AM | Comments (1)

August 05, 2004

Attack Machine

I have on more than one occasion seen commenters accuse conservative bloggers of having gotten their "talking points" direct from Karl Rove. As such, it is interesting to note how the callers to Milwaukee talk radio this afternoon who criticized the Swift Boat Vets used exactly the same "talking points" as were in the threat letters sent out by Kerry's lawyers.

Posted by triticale at 10:43 PM | Comments (1)


Nykola pointed us to the Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age page, which she had found at the other end of her blogging spectrum.

At my age of 53, Ludwig van Beethoven completed his Ninth Symphony and Sidney Sheldon began writing his first novel. The latter is digging into me, a bit spurlike. Any novel I would write would be very different from Sheldon's, but I doubt it would be any more a work of literary art, and I could only hope it would be as well crafted.

The entries I really want to discuss was found by paging ahead a couple of years. At 55, "Painter Pablo Picasso completed his masterpiece, Guernica." A wondrously evocative painting which makes exceptional use of a limited pallette. It als happens to be a falsehood. Whether civilians were the intended targets, or the German bombardiers simply missed the intended military targets, which happend more often than not until quite recently, Guernica was more than just a fishing village.

Also at age 55, Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, which publicized the indiscriminate use of pesticides and helped rally support for environmental protection. That's what the age page had to say about her. Nary a mention of the questions raised about the validity of her conclusions, let alone the charge that the DDT ban she inspired has been the cause of massive death and despair across Africa.

Posted by triticale at 07:23 AM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2004

Of Or From?

Altho the Establishment Clause is getting applied in a manner far different from the Framers' original intent, the Constitutional protection of the free practice of religion remains in force. This is why there is no law banning prayer in the government schools. This is also why the Native American Church is rarely prosecuted for the sacremental use of peyote (altho, oddly, Lao Buddhist use of opium is not accorded the same dignity).

Occasionally, however, the suppression of religious practice is embodied in laws which purport to have a totally unrelated intent.

Posted by triticale at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2004

Answering Bumperstickers

I saw a bumper sticker this morning which got me to thinking. It read Real Women Ride Harleys. My immediate thought was "Yeah, but imaginary women ride polar bears and winged unicorns."

I also saw the classic If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. I don't think education is expensive. Education is a bargain, and an excellent investment. What I object to is the cost of schooling. Face it. When the Milwaukee School Board thinks it makes more sense to raise property taxes than to reduce the travel allowance for board members, that expense has jack to do with education.

Posted by triticale at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)