May 31, 2005

Revolutionary Humor

This joke was found by someone awake enough to notice it. It reminds me of one my mother, who had done her own share of exhorting the workers of the world to unite and throw off their chains, used to tell:

Brother workers! Today you are oppressed and have nowhere to live but shacks and nothing to eat but bread and water while those who live off the sweat of your labor live in mansions and eat strawberries and cream. But come the Revolution you too will live in mansions. Come the Revolution you too will eat strawberries and cream.
But I don't like strawberries and cream!
Come the Revolution you'll eat strawberries and cream!
Posted by triticale at 11:36 PM | Comments (3)

Them Old-Time Feudin' Folk

Alaa, the Mesopotamian, has posted the beginning of an analysis of the millenia-long conflict between urban and rural cultures in the Middle East, which I found thru the Carnival of the Liberated. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. I've been interested in the impact of this long conflict on everything from American popular music to the whole Red State - Blue State thing.

I have a book around here somewhere which asserts that the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys was part of the same conflict. Rural Hatfield believed in barter and honor; urban McCoy believed in cash money and contracts. Hatfield took the law into his own hands and McCoy used the law as a weapon, but neither of them acted lawlessly. It is worth noting which of these backgrounds Sid Hatfield the sheriff of Matewan who shot it out with the strikebreakers from the Baldwin-Phelps detective agency came from.

Posted by triticale at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)


I just happened past a radio carrying Sean Hannity, and he was talking to a high school girl who had dared to speak out against discriminatory scholarships and the recipients who did not appreciate them and had been suspended for doing so. No doubt coverage of the incidient is to be found amongst the edublogs. Claiming to play Devil's Advocate, Hannity asked what had prompted her to voice such an opinion where it would be upsettinng to her fellow students.

Her answer? "Hey, I'm an immature sixteen year old school girl." I like that. She is not complaining that she is being punished; only that the severity is out of proportion to what it would have been had the content been different. Shouldn't happen under zero tolerance.

Posted by triticale at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2005

Traditional Gifts

Regardless of Brian's recommendations, I wouldn't mind being given one of these.

Posted by triticale at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2005

Slippery Slope

You say you don't see any problem with banning those .50 caliber long distance rifles which a handful of enthusiasts use for precision shooting competitions and which could conceivably be used by a terrorist to do something horrible? You say you don't see any problem with banning those scary looking so-called assault rifles which are after all only barely powerful enough for deer hunting and therefore serve no legitimate purpose? Well, my friend, once you let that particular camel's nose into the tent, this is where it leads.

Posted by triticale at 09:34 AM | Comments (2)

May 26, 2005

Almond Orange Cake

I don't think I was any more than ten years old the first time I baked a creative cake on my own. I had fallen in love with the Mandarin Chocolate sherbet sold at the local Bask & Robbins, so I substituted orange juice for some of the liquid called for in the directions of a dark chocolate mix, and folded in a small can of mandarin oranges. It was pretty good, but didn't have the bittersweet intensity I sought even then. Some day I'll experiment once again with this premise and will post either a chocolate orange cake recipe or one for chocolate marmalade.

In the meantime, here is a recipe which has almost nothing in common with that one; only the orange flavor is a link but it still caught my attention when it showed up on my wee wifey's Blue Ribbon recipe mailing list. This cake was a State Fair winner, and the recipe is presented straight out of the Gold Medal cookbook because it doesn't need tweaking. In particular, it doesn't need a heavy gream cheese orange almond frosting.

2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch
or 2 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 cup ground almonds -- (2 ounces)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter -- softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 12 ounce can almond paste or filling
1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine -- melted
1 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon orange extract

slivered almonds
orange zest -- if desired

Heat oven to 350°. Grease bottom and side of 12-cup bundt cake pan with shortening; lightly flour. Mix flour, almonds, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in marmalade, coconut, almond extract and almond paste until blended. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until blended. Pour into pan.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.

Drizzle Almond Orange Glaze over cake. Garnish with almonds and orange zest.

Almond Orange Glaze:
Mix all ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.

Posted by triticale at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2005

Lamer Disclaimer

In the course of driving around the Chicago suburbs, I happened to drive past an unusual place of business. It was in a residence next to the expressway, and reachable only via a long gravel driveway. Curiosity led me to check out the website (Not Safe For Work). Somehow I get the impression that what ultimately goes on is exactly what the disclaimer says doesn't.

I would like to point out by the way that whatever social cost one might account to such an operation, it is surely less than that of a skank standing under a streetlight.

Posted by triticale at 10:39 PM | Comments (1)


Well, which one was it?


I notice this page is getting hits from people looking for posts relating to the O'Hare girls. Google is misdirecting you. It's the next post.

In case it gets corrected (does he bother?) Glenn is reporting that "The Liberals have survived in Canada, by the skin or their teeth." My spelling errors are never that good.

Posted by triticale at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

Microwave Cereal Candy

My wee wifey was browsing the cookbooks at the Bookcellar, and made a comment about there not being any interesting microwave cookbooks there. One splendid gentleman nearby responded that there could not be such a thing. As a gourmet he considered the microwave to be only suitable for defrosting and reheating, and marginally acceptable even for those tasks. We responded by asserting that the microwave is the ideal place to prepare that quintessentially gourmet vegetable, the artichoke. I made the same point as a comment to a Carnival recipe a couple weeks ago, and will track down the link when I get home.

I stopped at a St. Vinnie's thrift store in the course of my travels this week, and did find a worthwhile microwave cookbook, Southern Living's Microwave Cooking Made Simple. Southern Living cookbooks are all excellent. One entire shelf of the wee wifey's collection contains nothing else. Being on the road it is not yet practical for me to experiment with anything which will require refrigeration before and after preparation, so I'm offering my take on one of their recipes aimed at young microwavers.

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
I cup peanut butter
6 cups cold cereal

Careful selection of peanut butter makes a difference. Some of the cheaper brands are highly sweetened. This is never good, especially in combination with the rest of the sugar here. I like chunky, but for this purpose it should be a brand with really small chunks.

The recipe called for wheat or corn flakes, but I suspect that was done to avoid the crisped rice traditionally and commercially used for this purpose. I went with tradition, but if I'd had access to an earthy-crunchy store I'd have tried something more exotic. Come to think of it, a syrup with more flavor, such as Alaga, would also be interesting.

Combine the sugar and syrup in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat on HIGH for five to six minutes, until it starts bubbling. Stir in the peanut butter, and then fold in the cereal. Make sure the cereal is all well coated, but don't get so aggressive that you crush it.

You could line a pan with wax paper and pour the goop in, slicing bars with a sharp buttered knife once it sets up, but I just followed the cookbook's suggestion due, once again, to the exigencies of travel, and put teaspoon dollops onto sheets of wax paper and chilled until firm.

You will be glad to know that I packed toothbrush and toothpaste, and that coworkers protected me from overdose.

Posted by triticale at 10:30 PM | Comments (1)

Wine Joke

I was staring at the restaurant wine list for lack of anything else to read, and a variation of a much-mocked wine slogan popped into my head.

We will Pinot Grigio before it's time.

Posted by triticale at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2005

Local News

One of the differences we encountered when we moved from Chicago to Milwaukee is the difference in the meaning of "neighborhood". Here they are are formally defined and boundaried, so that the hot real estate names can't be spread wider by promoters. The neighborhoods are also political entities, with associations having some degree of clout. This weekend, our neighborhood association held an official cleanup, complete with roll-off dumpsters provided by the city, which I only saw once in four decades in Chicago.

My son, who broken off his wandering in order to be around for my wee wifey while I'm on this out of town contract, responded to the announcement of the cleanup by declaring "I don't care what they say, I ain't leaving."

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

May 15, 2005

All Too Common

Fuzz Martin has been out warparking. He didn't even plan to, but he has discovered just how unsecure a lot of wireless networks are. It isn't unique to Brookfield, either. One of the other contractors at the advance meeting for an upcoming project had a similar tale of what he found trying to use the wi-fi in the parking lot of the McDonalds in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. He couldn't access the McDonalds because open corporate networks had stronger signals. He logged onto one of these, and started poking around. When he found he had access to the CEO's financial records, he brought his laptop to the company's office to let them know what he'd found. Once the CEO understood what was going on, he ordered the network shut down NOW and handed my coworker a hundred dollar bill. Not much money for a security consultation, but a nice reward for doing a good deed.

I myself do not have WiFi, but I have encountered similar sloppiness when scavenging computers. One desktop unit pulled from the dumpster of an accounting firm was able to dial into the company network. Another one, from a computer support company dumpster, had been used at college by an empoyee's daughter, and contained intimate emails to and from boyfriends and sorority sisters. One scavenged laptop still had, along with assorted business data, a sales manager's collection of transvestite porn.

Some companies, however, err in the opposite direction. The laptop I've been issued for use on my current contract is so secure I cannot change how long it waits after the last keypress to start the screen saver and other power-saving measures. The computer is locked at this point, and needs a three finger salute and a password to resume. One of the power-saving measures is to disable the USB connection to the GPS unit by which I navigate from site to site; this means I either deal with the petty nuisance or continue by memory and risk winding up slightly lost. I have wasted a non-trivial amount of time each of these ways.

Posted by triticale at 06:35 PM | Comments (0)

Computer Prescription

My wee wifey is recovering nicely from her previously reported medical issues. thanks to painkillers and muscle relaxants, physical therapy and time off work. She is confident that she will be in fine shape in time to start the new job she recently interviewed for.

One of her medicines, the cyclobenzaprine, carries instructions likely to be of interest to anyone who uses the Internet: Take one tablet by mouth three times a day as needed for spams.

Posted by triticale at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2005

Another Ration Of Frust

That's what I've been getting of late. Lots of frustrations. The laptop I was issued for this job, which I am using to post this, has a WiFi card installed, but not the right drivers, so right now I'm pushing this out where I can get an Ethernet cable to it, but I've got no power so the battery is going out, and, because of where I have to sit for the cable to reach, so is my back. The basic task of the job is going well, but the ancillaries are all problematic. When I get home this weekend I'll try to make up for the recent lack of posts.

I'm working in the Chicago west suburbs thru a week from Wednesday, and would love to get together with anyone in the area for a bite, a drink, or a handshake. After that, Indianapolis, then the big cities in Ohio which start with C and then Michigan, but no specific schedule yet.

Posted by triticale at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2005

One Of Those Weeks

I was to have begun an out of town contract this week, but, as has happened before, the previous stage was not finished on schedule. This proved to be a blessing, as I was needed at home. I could have done some hospital blogging on Wednesday, as the wee wifey was stricken with the worst pain I've ever seen her in. Once we managed to convince them that she wasn't faking it to scam drugs, they finally gave her enough painkillers and muscle relaxants to let the spasming muscles in her back relax, and she promptly recovered enough to go home.

On Thursday she went for a previously scheduled job interview, and was offered the position even after warning the Director of Nursing that she would surely fail the drug screening after intravenous morphine plus Percs and T3s. With higher base and less shift differential her pay will be about what it was, and the health care package is far more attractive. Best of all she will be getting away from what she politely called "a change in company culture" when giving her reason for leaving. Unfortunately, as she got home from the interview the knee the doctors have long wanted to replace buckled, and she came down in a way which bent it well past its effective travel. Once she got the leg straightened out it locked in that position. Another doctor visit, more Percocet, and a prescription for physical therapy which she is confident will have her mobile enough in three weeks as to be able to start the new job.

What with all the excitement I've had no time for blogging. As of now I don't know how much I'll be able to blog over the two month run of this contract. I'll try to post my schedule Monday night from my brother's place, where I'll be staying the first few days. I'll be traveling thru Illinois. Indiana, Michigan and Ohio and would like to connect with as many bloggers as time and communications will permit, for anything from a brief hello to a place to spend the night.

Posted by triticale at 11:14 PM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2005

Blogstream Media

Captain Ed posted his take on a news report about Pat Robertson expressing his position in his usual over-the top manner. The interesting thing about the post is in the comment thread. Readers questioned the context of the reported quote, and the author of the original article in the New York Daily News showed up and posted a more complete transcript. This seems indicative in a shift in the relation between the various media streams.

By the way, Robertson's overall position comes across as more typically conservative and less milleniallist theocrat in the longer transcript.

Posted by triticale at 10:02 PM | Comments (1)

May 01, 2005

They Kend Survey

I happened upon Weekend Survey 9 without ever having seen the previous eight. It has been a while since I've done one of these, but some of the questions caught my fancy so here we go. The questions were cut and pasted from the source, and some changes for context have been made, and show in italics.

1. What movies would you like to live in? (Note: This question was directly lifted from The Sheila Variations, where I found the survey. Link here is back to that original post.)

Amazingly, most of the respondents picked exciting movies to be in. I really don't want to live in a world where life is riskier and more difficult. I could do quite nicely without cab drivers who are really angels, zombies, and criminals who have to kill more people to get away with the one big score.

If I had to pick a fictional world to live in it would be one from text, specifically the world of Eric Flint's 1632. I could make something of myself in that world by applying my accumulation of knowledge and industrial computer scrap. That cast iron-framed band saw I dragged home from the old butcher shop would be worth a fortune.

2. Name one thing you do better than anybody else.

Outside of the specifically personal, which I hope we all have, my strength is as a generalist. Others outshine me in any one catagory, but there is nobody in the world who is better at GSM network engineer while not educated as an RF engineer, and better at conceptualizing oddball projects in both moder railroading and hot-rodding, to the point of working out required tools and fixtures, with the occasional hand-cranked racing tricycle or high resolution studio camera built around a scanner for variety, with a smattering of skills in metalworking and cooking thrown in.

3. What's your background?

I am in front of a wall in faded off white with a pea green stripe above where the dropped ceiling was, ornamented with a pair of taxidermied trophy fish on a piece of driftwood, said ornament having been found in an office park dumpster.

4. If your friends would be completely honest and tell you what they think about you, would you want to know?

G-wd, I hope it ain't any worse than what they tell me.

5. What's the last good book you read?

I find it necessary to combine two which I read together. After happening upon Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation it was immediately needful to also find Thinking in Pictures. Dr. Grandin is significantly autistic and designs specialized equipment which has one third of its total market in the US>

6. If you were a cartoon character, what would your name be, what would you look like, and what would you do?

Name: Joe Tomkalert
Appearance: Asperger's level geek - taped glasses and shuffle.
Duty: Wandering into a Simpson's-to-South Park range social situation and interrupt conversations with borderline non-sequitors.

7. Are you going to buy a copy of the survey creator's new book?

There is a writing sample in the post on either side of the survey post. If the stuff in the book is like the prose sample I would indeed.

8. Tell me one thing you are glad you finished.

Replacing the legs on the stupid little balcony on the smaller house.

9. Give me one piece of wisdom your mother told you.

Revolutionaries shouldn't spit on the sidewalk.

10. Name a few overrated blogs and a few underrated blogs.

I don't track ratings. I read stuff I like, however I find it, and I do return to blogs I disagree with.

Posted by triticale at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)