October 31, 2005

Word For The Day

Scalito's fifteen minutes have about run out. I suggest Alitists as a "clever" label for supporters of the Alito nomination.

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October 30, 2005

Competitive Advantantage

This is obviously a factor in the opposition to school vouchers, and probably in the opposition to home education as well.

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October 29, 2005

Just Might Be...

I have maintained since we moved up here that it is possible to live in Wisconsin and still be a redneck. My primary argument was that Jeff Foxworthy's classic "If you've ever been too drunk to fish..." applied all too often to those who fish thru holes in the ice. Here's another bit of evidence.

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Ferric Ferrocyanide

So I went to Technorati to see what the latest guzz is, and saw "Prussian Blue" among the popular search terms. I didn't think the pigment had suddenly became newsworthy, and guessed that it was the name of a new Goth or Metal band. Altho there is a blues rock band by that name, the actual topic of discussion is a performing group scarier than any wearing black and chrome, underage twin girls who have been led to believe that their Prussian blue eyes means that they aren't full of what the old joke suggests colors other eyes brown.

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I'll Take Manhattan

New York is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to. I hardly care to go even to Chicago these days except for the fact that "Chicago-style" just never quite makes it. Fortunately, those things with Manhattan in their name which I enjoy consuming do not require travel.

The Manhattan cocktail is made with bourbon or similar American whiskey andsweet vermouth at proportions ranging from a "sweet" 1:1 to a "dry" 4:1, and perhaps a dash of bitters or maraschino cherry juice. Here in Wisconsin, brandy, the most popular tipple, is commonly substituted, so I order very clearly. In the current era of anything is a martini, the preparation of this drink can get overdone. It is okay to stir the ingredients with ice and strain into the serving glass, and acceptable in some circles to use a stemmed cocktail glass rather than a hefty rocks glass. Shaking, subject to debate for martinis, is out of the question. It harshes the whiskey's mellow. I simply pour the ingredients over ice cubes and circulate the ice to mix the ingredients. My preference is for a whiskey with more, hmmmm, call it character. From the current collection it is the George Dickel Tennessee sour mash over the Woodford Reserve, whose best features gets lost in the vermouth. I also enjoy the same drink made with Scotch, in which case it is called a Rob Roy. This is the one form in which I still use low-end blended Scotch even as my sipping standards have become more sophisticated. The difference between Clan MacGregor and Highland Park in a Rob Roy is nowhere near that between them in a wee dram.

There is also controversy attached to Manhattan Clam Chowder. My father, who spent his early adult years on the island, argued vehemently for it. Others question whether it is a chowder at all, asserting that the label attaches expressly to the use of milk, rather than to the potatoes or to the cooking process which is the actual source of the name. Chowder and cauldron both derived from the same root word, thru the same process whereby ask is turning into axe. Nowadays a cauldron is used for little else than a prop for making indecisive predictions over. The functional equivalent today is a Crockpot or other slow cooker. Here is a Manhattan Clam Chowder recipe which uses one.

5 to 6 sliced bacon, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 onions, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 medium boiling potatoes, diced
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 cans (10 oz each) baby clams with juice
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Render diced bacon by frying in its own fat until crispy. When nearly done, add garlic and sauté. Drain off the bacon fat, saving it for the final touch if you are hardcore. Put the bacon, garlic, and all other ingredients except the bell pepper into the slow cooker / Crock Pot and stir to blend. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. One half hour before completion, add the chopped pepper and a roux made by heating the bacon fat, or butter if you are sweating that last milligram, and stirring the flour into the hot lipid until it turns brown. Traditionally served with oyster crackers, which are hexagonal puffy bland saltines, or with crumbled saltines, but I think a crusty Greek or Italian bread is a much better accompaniment.


I neglected to mention how I prefer my Manhattan cocktails. I make them in the manner of one of Louis L'Amour's novels.

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October 27, 2005

Where's The Outrage?

Gasoline prices have plummeted precipitously, off a full dollar now from their post-storm peak. There have been allegations that some stations in Wisconsin are charging less than the legal minimum yet nobody is calling for an investigation. I seem to remember the cost of fuel getting far more notice when it was going the other way.

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October 26, 2005

Harmless Monikers

The Barcepundit has decided it is appropriate for him to reveal his true name. In doing so he has some significant things to say about the merits and demerits of what I prefer to call nicknonymity, including a relevant Supreme Court decision.

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Given that people from the UP are known as Yoopers, would it then be appropriate to call people from the UK Yookers?

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October 25, 2005

Quote For The Day

Bauer never blamed the railroad for his father's misfortunes and the family's poverty. He figured it was his father's fault. His father and Karl Marx.

In Bauer's eyes, Marx's social theories had victimized his father far more than the railroad ever did. Karl Marx invited his father to hide from himself and from the reality around him. It was Marx who fed him the excuses he needed to explain away his miserable lot in life and to justify his not making any effort to improve it. It was all somebody else's fault—the fault of the government, the fault of the system, the fault of the ruling classes. His father was a sucker, he decided. He had let others control his life.

From Seven Days To Petrograd, by Tom Hyman. It isn't quite a thriller; we know Bauer is going to survive but his mission, to kill Lenin aboard the sealed German railway car, is going to fail, but still a thoughtful and exciting novel.

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October 24, 2005

Revisionist History

For the second time in about a year the truth has come out because someone who conservatives mistrust has been casual about the use of Microsoft Word. Maybe Bill Gates isn't evil incarnate after all.

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Tralities, Old And New

I am neutral on the Miers nomination.

N.Z. Bear is running an an online poll of bloggers on their position on the Harriet Miers nomination. Interestingly, he is using his mad Ecosystem skilz to find and count bloggers' positions, based on the presence of the above catchphrase or its affirmative or negative equivalents.

Nuetral would not be how I'd describe my position otherwise. Where I'm at is that I think she was a bad choice, for political rather than judicial reasons, but that if she would in fact prove to be a good justice it would be best that she is affirmed, for political rather than judicial reasons. The fact that she is so difficult to evaluate is one of the arguments against her, and if it was one of the reasons for the nomination it has backfired. She is on record as holding that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right; the opposite position would be sufficient to reject her but this alone does not outtweigh the uncertainties.

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October 23, 2005


The wee wifey and I shared many a complaint about our respective mothers in law, but neither of them could hold a candle to Deb's. Jay has a list of criticisms of his own mother that we can't touch, except possibly on the bad housekeeping. It took us half an hour to move enough trash to be able to transport the wee wifey's mother to the ambulance after her stroke, but at least she had never presumed to nitpick the conditions in which we lived.

This is one of the great things about the blogosphere. It provides perspective.

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Self-Unfullfilling Prophecy

Dean, who has himself made career jumps, brings to our attention a review of a book about failing to find a job. It would appear that failing to find a job is exactly what Barbara Ehrenreich set out to do, pretending to have had a career exceptionally hard to fake. A public relations consultant should have a web portfolio going back close to ten years, including both personally created sites (doing pro bono sites for churches and community groups is a great self-promotional tool) and professionally created sites overseen for the client. Without web skills even a real PR consultant would have a hard time finding employment any more. Had she instead posed as an administrative assistant to some downsized middle management team, all she'd have needed is a few people to back up her story. It should also be noted that in her persona as a PR consultant, she could have landed a job as a new car salesperson or a mortgage brokerage loan officer within a week.

I myself could have been in the situation she found to write about, but I chose not to. Nine years ago, at 45 years of age, I walked away from a 22 year career and started over. The company I had worked for was so small that I'd never had a job title, and I'd done everything from payroll to product design to press operation, but none of it had I done enough of to do full time. So I reinvented myself as a plug and play computer geek. I worked a couple of Y2K conversions (one company was moving their inventory to PCs from mid-range software which hadn't been supported for ten years), and then supported industrial controllers for a year and a half. Now I work in an industry which didn't exist when I entered the workforce, and if I weren't inhibited from taking out-of-town contracts by my wee wifey's mobility issues I'd be turning down two job offers for every one I accepted. This spring I worked for a couple of weeks with a travelling engineer who had to spend much of his time fielding calls from three different head-hunters, each trying to find the angle which lure him away from his current long-term position. This is the current state of the job market thruout much of the world in mobile telephony, but I am also going to be exploring the expansion of my current skillset so as to also work with wide area WI-FI. No Bait And Switch required, just having had the lack of dullness to have realized back when one had to be a hobbyist to operate one that microcomputers would be found along any future career path.

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October 21, 2005

Neologism For The Day

Now, how are you going to use this in presenting your product or service?
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Keep Scrolling

Beth WWBO linked to this page so you can follow the Wilma link, but what makes it worth reading is down in the comments; a synopsis of success.

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October 20, 2005

Such A Deal

I saw a sign today, on an old boxy building northeast of Madison, advertising "Effiiciency for rent." I could certainly use some. In fact, I'd settle for effectiveness.

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October 18, 2005

Actually Accurate

It appears to me that there are two groups of people in this country who hold strikingly similar beliefs regarding black cultural identity and negative stereotypes, the avowed white supremacists and those who tell young people that striving to advance oneself thru scholastic excellence is "acting white". It is possible that whoever wrote this headline sees things the same way.

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Check Taranto

I expect that he has tried unsuccesfully to obtain a comment on this report.

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Vroom Vroom

Much has been made of late of a shift in society away from the behavior of the herd, but the result of this shift is dependent upon the leader of the pack.

The detective shows up and tells us that the woman is still alive but in a serious condition and, if it weren't for us, she'd be dead. Am I a hero? I was too hesitant. The man who went in first is the hero. Without him maybe the rest of us wouldn't have joined in. I couldn't have been the first.

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October 17, 2005

Wishful Thinking

Someday the technology will be developed which which will take us from a viral genome direct to the antibiotic which will resist it. Wouldn't it be nice if we have it in time.

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October 16, 2005

Lots Of Three Thingses

It isn't a new meme, dagnabbit. It is merely the latest iteration of the "Lets all answer the same bunch of questions" meme. But Kimberly's doing it, and Sheila's doing it, so what the hey...

1. Mac addiction
2. the orthography of written Hmong (Hmoob???)
3. the notion that my opposition to light rail in Milwaukee was motivated by racism

I don't have a desk. Three things on my portion of the bench at work:
1. most of a spindle of CD-Rs
2. printouts of some old emails about the login issues regarding various client networks
3. soda cans awaiting removal for recycling (why throw them in the box in the breakroom when I'm getting 55 cents a pound)

1. uh ... writing this?
2. installing OCR software on the wee wifey's rebuilt PC
3. converting a Ronco food dehydrater from using heat to using dessicant and airflow

1. move somewhere rural
2. build a 27 T track rod
3. forge a knifeblade in cable damascus

1. walk and chew gum at the same time
2. optimize GSM cellular RF
3. navigate the southeast Wisconsin better than most natives

1. accurately
2. critically
3. presumptively

1. install Linux without dependancy hassles
2. comprehend the CDMA RF environment as intuitively as I do GSM
3. dance

1. the Hot Club of Cowtown
3. the Grateful Dead at their best, rather than the mediocre sampling which gets on the radio
3. their conscience

I wouldn't presume to say

1. "Yes dear, what is it dear?" (this is how I answer my mobile at work if it shows our home number)
2. "If their's one thing I learned in the Girl Scouts, it's never volunteer for anything" (not true; I had an idea what I was in for when I married a leader)
3. "The seven words you can't say on television" (either the phrase, as a symbolic link, or the actual list)

1. computer aided drafting
2. analog electronics
3. why must jay see be you najer in love

1. dihydrogen monoxide
2. Royal Crown Cola
3. beer

1. Garfield Goose
2. Community Space Theater
3. Carmelita Pope's cooking show

1. drive
2. leave me alone
3. understand basic economics

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October 15, 2005

Nothing To See Here

One has to wonder why the blog which had this report in December of 2004 has not been updated since.

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Herself, Of Course

It was the banner headline on one of the celebrity magazines in the grocery checkout aisle, a celebrity being by definition someone written about in said magazines.

Revealed Inside:
Who Jen is really in love with

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October 14, 2005


There is a place of worship in the Milwaukee area, one which might be St. Martin of Wittenberg in some other timetrack, which has the following sign out front:
Someone obviously thought this was a clever play on letters, but, setting aside any issues of my own spriritual wellbeing or lack theereof, if my attendance is actually needed to turn the place into a church, they have serious problems.

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October 13, 2005

Just Wrong

About twenty years ago, when my son's life was full of smurfy goodness, I downloaded an R-rated animation of Smurfette doing a striptease. Four color, 320 by 240, running on my CocoII. Emrack's comment was "That's just wrong."

As sick of the Smurfs as I was back then, so is this.


So's this.

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Getz Mart

It is a matter of public record that I have never been a fan of Star Trek, let alone a Trekkie or Trekker (I understand there is a subtle difference between those two). I was totally unaware of the tribble tie-in when I chose to identify with my name grain; otherwise I would have chosen something else. From a viewpoint of tie-in coolness I would, without having been the relevant sort of fan, rather have a shoe phone or a wrist phone, but I have to admit that for actual use one of these would be much more practical.

I saw the announcement of the Communicator in an industry-specific weekly, and while researching it online I found a related item which I hope never to see in use.

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October 12, 2005

The Real Reason

According to one of the commentors, this is the real reason the rest of the world hates the United States. I would say that it is as much the grin on his face as any other part of the image.

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It is often claimed, especially here in the home of Harley-Davidson, that loud pipes save lives. From what I've read, no studies have ever proved this, but even if it were true, the only lives saved would be those of people inconsiderate enough of others as to ride noisy motorcycles.

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"Seldon was the forerunner of the wonks we see today, he popularised policies in a readable way. Policies that now seem mainstream, but were at the time incredible, came into being through his efforts."

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Play Right

I always understood that a plagiarist was somebody who wrote plays, but it seems that soi desant journalists indulge in plagiarism also.

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October 09, 2005

Fortune Favors The...

Jane Galt quotes William Rasberry"s quoting of William Galston on the relationship between magical thinking and poverty. I have witnessed the same pattern quite often in the course of our economic climb, and now, in people's reaction to it.

My current contract, thru a national telecom consulting firm, involves driving to each sector of each cell site in the client's Southeast Milwaukee coverage area in order to test an upcoming high speed Internet service. Because of the driving involved, I have the use of a monthly unlimited mileage rental car. The job-related mileage is expensed at a rate which has succeeded in covering all of my gasoline.

Because the rental is monthly, I have wound up driving the wee wifey to and from work in a sequence of like-new vehicles. When I picked her up Sunday morning one of her coworkers (like most third shift nursing assistans, a graduate of the Wefare 2 Work program, asked what happened to the minivan. Herself explained that I had to exchange it because it was a monthly rental, and the comment in responce was that "You two are the luckiest couple in the world."

First of all, altho our situation may look great to someone who has only recently made the important step from welfare recipient to "working poor" we really aren't that well off. we are, overall, around the median, and we've had a couple of lean years of late. I think we could actually have claimed poverty in 2002.

More importantly, this current contract didn't just drop into my lap. To make a long story short, I went to some effort to put my lap in the job's path and to make it a suitable one. It was good luck that I got into the telecom field, but I got that first call because my own actions had kept my name at the top of the staffing firm's list.

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But I Do

From an outpost far outside the the cheddar curtain comes the suggestion that a certain widely used acronym be replaced with others purportedly more appropriate for the intended situation. I consider the entire practice of using any such acronym to describe ones current behavior while online to be silly, but, altho I've never actually rotfilled any mayo I could ligitimately use to one under assault.

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October 08, 2005

Pickled Garlic

I acquired a bulk tub of peeled garlic cloves at Samuel's Society in the mistaken belief that the added convenience would mean that they would get used up quickly enough to be a worthwhile investment. It soon became obvious that I'd need to find additional uses for them, so in addition to putting four cloves into each jar of whatever else I was pickling I put up a jar of straight garlic pickles. I used the same recipe as for the green tomatoes I was pickling at the time. The results proved to be better than I anticipated; the flavor and crunch both came out just about right. I truly enjoy nibbling on the pickled cloves. There were flaws, however, and the following procedure includes corrections for them.

Trim the rooty bit from the bottom of each clove with a sharp knife. It does not pickle prettily. Fill sterilized canning jars with the trimmed garlic, stopping 3/4 of an inch below the rim ring because they absorb a lot of liquid. Add, at a bare minimum, an entire jalepeno pepper, cut lengthwise in quarters with all its seeds. If you want actual heat from the pickles a serious hot pepper is in order. Place it prominently at the side of the jar. Add one tablespoon of commercial pickling spice to each jar.

Put one gallon of cider vinigar in a non-reactive pot, and add two cups of sugar. This resulted in a distinctly sweet green tomato pickle but is a perfect balance for the garlic. Heat to just short of boiling, while stirring to dissolve the sugar, and then pour this, hot, over the garlic, filling the jars to just above the rim ring. Make sure the sealing rim is clean, cover, and hot water process per your best practice.

The resultant pickles can be included in a relish tray, or an antipasto if you are troubled by pastos. They would work quite nicely, perhaps sliced a ways, in a potato or egg salad, or sliced thinly into a salad of interesting greens. I would also include them in meatloaf, along with the traditional green olives, except that the wee wifey takes the meatloaf to work for her lunch.

The juice from these pickles produces a truly striking dirty martini, with a pair of the cloves on a toothpick as a garnish, but this is most likely a solitary pleasure.

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October 06, 2005

The Perfect Date

My sister tells me these were taking place off the Point way back in the '50s.

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October 05, 2005

Back Into

Those who enjoyed the rantings of a certain grocery marketing guy / home education support guy (who was once my neighbor in Chicago, little did we know) will probably take interest in the rantings of The Gun Guy.

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Glittering eyes the notion of an "insult price". What makes a wildly low bid an insult is that is a comment on the perceived worth of the item, and thus on your sense of self-worth. Sometimes, of course, ego does in fact distort valuation.

There is an aside about Bill Gates in the comments to the second link which is worthy of note. Keep in mind that he personally designed and did much of the coding for Microsoft's first product, which shipped on punched paper tape.

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Freedom Of Speech

Here in the United States, one could wear this tee-shirt anywhere without getting arrested. Doesn't say much for our alleged incipient police state.

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October 04, 2005

Word For The Day

Cronyism: (n) The practice of selecting a crone for a decision-making position

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October 03, 2005


The well-read Red concurrs with the Overhearder that this gets funnier every time they read it. I see different humor in it than they do, and there are two reasons for this.

First of all, I live around "ghetto girls" like that. My wee wifey works with them. They routinely talk like that and shit. I was in JJ's Subs at 35th and Wells one day, and a pair of such aforementioned individuals came in also. The first one told the counterman, via the buzzy intercom set in the thick plexi shield, that she wanted a beef sandwich. "You want the meal?" "Yeah, gimme a beef sandwich, fries and shit." Her associate saw the situation-specific humor in this, and we shared a laugh over it. When the scatalogical menu selection was repeated a little later, I pointed out that it was in fact gooood shit, which really caused the second girl to crack up. The first girl seemed totally oblivious to this.

Aside from having already had my laugh over this shit, I am also thrilled that these girls have some inkling of what trigonometry is about. I like to think that had my high school trig teacher had such an inkling I might not have flunked out of engineering school.

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Word For The Day

Codpiece - (n) Pretty fly for a white guy

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The Da Vinci Clue

It turns out that it actually is possible to gain knowledge, previously hidden, by studying the works of Leonardo Da Vinci.

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October 01, 2005

Word For The Day


We ain't had nobody to do the crap jobs round here since ubiquitous.

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Poke-O-Nut Cake

Another superior pickling project next week. This week I'm taking it easy

1 quality box whitecake mix
1 set of what the instructions call for
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can cream of coconut (not coconut milk or juice)
1 tub extra-carrageeny whipped topping
1 fistful shredded coconut (toasted would be a nice touch)

Make the cake mix per instructions, in a 9 x 12 pan. Mix the two canned liquids, and pour three quarters of the result over the cake while it is still warm and in the pan.

You could probably do something with the remaining liquid, crushed ice and rum, but we just poured it all on the cake and found it to be a bit much. Anyway, let the cake set in the refrigerator for at least a day, then spread the whipped goop and sprinkle on the coconut. Have pretty little paper napkins available when you serve it - great for church fellowship or the office break room.

Oh, by the way, I neglected to send out thankyous to last week's Carnival contributors. I couldn't have done it without youse guys. Thanks.

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