November 29, 2005


I know we were all hurt by what happened to Grandma, but 40 at once?

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November 28, 2005

I Sure Feel Safer

Lastango at the Daily Pundit has linked a report on a campaign by Georgia law enforcement to arrest small merchants for the felony of selling common legal household items. The proclaimed purpose is to prevent tweakers from cooking their own meth. The criminal organizations (violent motorcycle "clubs" and Mexican cartels) who, by DEA estimates, supply 80% of the country's crank, will have little trouble picking up the slack, and "drug money" which would have returned to the local economy will instead remain in the gangs' coffers.

Emrack has shared with me an anecdote which fits with the problem of immigrant shopkeepers not comprehending the ramifications of some of the items they carry. He had walked into the corner market by where he is staying in the Kansas City barrio looking for papers. When he responded to a wave toward the newspapers with a shake of his head, the man behind the counter said "Ah, you want weed papers." My son felt it important to explain the game they needed to play. "We need to pretend that I am buying these for a legal purpose" even tho he'd never bought a sack of Drum "or at least that you don't know why I'm buying them." A simple lecture like that would have made it harder for the Georgia cops to entrap so many people, especially since aluminum foil is almost as good as rolling paper as a test shim for tight fits.

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November 27, 2005


Emrack drove up from Kansas City to get a turkey sandwich (and to deal with possesions he hasn't moved yet) and brought Hunter with. Thanks to recent progress on the move to the you know house, I succesfully took well lit (I hung a much better light in the master bedroom) canine pictures against a solid background (walls are painted and the bed is set up). To conserve your bandwith and further my blogging skills, half-size linked thumbnails are in the extended entry below.

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Quote For The Day

One of many recurrent events in human history is what we call a return to basics. Jazz began as an elemental alternative to more formal music. But when Dixie had become bebop, a cerebral exercize that was so complicated only the musicians themselves knew what they were doing, we invented rock 'n' roll.
from American Road Race Specials 1934-1970 by Allen Girdler.
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November 26, 2005

Aiding And Abetting

Wisconsin has a long tradition of Socialism. Rural grange socialism and urban "sewer socialism" held to the simplistic notion that "labor creates all wealth" but there was an understanding that commerce and industry were the framework in which this wealth was created.

This is not the case with today's Wisconsin leftists. Madison is a college town, but it is also the state capitol, so the townies aren't far behind the students. Nowhere else would I have seen a bumpersticker as unparseable as "Fight Poverty, Not War". The local attitude toward business is evident in the implementation of the local smoking ban, with the mayor and council totally unconcerned about the financial impact upon local employers. Hopefully their heads will explode when they learn that they have in fact been tools of corporate greed.

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Picklish Cucumber Salad

Pickling is the process whereby vegetables, usually cucumbers, are pickled, thereby turning them into pickles. This process serves first of all to deter spoilage, and secondly to do interesting things to the flavor and texture. Refrigerator quick pickles depend on the refrigerator for the preservation, and thus focus on flavor and texture. This particular recipe manifests as a salad, but imparts a modicum of pickling in the process. Because it uses sufficient liquid as to cover all the cuke slices, draining, or serving with a slotted spoon, is recommended. Altho I haven't tried it, dumping the cucumbers and liquid into a bowl full of salad greens, and/or including sliced onions along with the cucumbers, would move the dish further into the salad category.

3 large cucumbers -- peeled, sliced thinly
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash red hot pepper
1 dash dried parsley
1 dash black pepper
1 dash basil

Combine all ingredients except cucumbers and heat until sugar melts. Note that we found that a quarter teaspoon, rather than a dash, of the flavoring ingredients, is not excessive. Pour over cucumbers. Store in airtight container. Improves noticeably for at least 24 hours, so make it in advance of serving, and keeps well for several days.

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November 22, 2005

Quote For The Day

Apparently you believe that living free is not worth fighting for, a position only ever taken by spoiled free people.
From a comment to this post, itself well worth reading.
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November 20, 2005


I accomplished what I was hired to do, and the project is complete. I've shipped back the issued laptop, turned in the rental car, and entered my last day's hours and miles into the tracking program (I like that far better than faxing in timesheets). For those who like to track how many jobs have been lost since Dubya took office, this makes about six for me, except that I know where every one of them went, and I know there are plenty more out there.

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November 18, 2005

Phase Two

Phase one -- steal underpants. That part is well known. Now, thanks to The Armorer, we know what happens next. You get sent to Leavenworth.

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November 17, 2005

For Every Drop Of Rain...

Glenn quotes Hitch asking "What do you have to believe in order to keep alive your conviction that the Bush administration conspired to launch a lie-based war?" You'll find the perfect answer in the second comment here, in response to Jane Gal't link to a worthy article on another topic of debate.

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There is a popular comedic quote, seen in email signitures and on tee-shirts, about the mornings when it isn't woth the effort to chew thru the leather restraining straps. What nobody never bothers mentioning is that there are other mornings where it is just too much trouble to put them on in the first place.

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November 15, 2005

Auto Rant

Bizzyblog has found the most militant statement I've ever seen in favor of personal ownership of motor vehicles. The foes of the automobile are as militant and as irrational as all the rest of the naysayers, and this rant spells out how wrong they are.

The first batch I've had to deal with are the ones who are able to get by just fine with a bicycle so everyone else should be able to also. Typically a grad student in a college town, transporting groceries for no more than one other person. At the time I was frequenting the same fora as this crowd, I was transporting groceries for, and the members of, a household of twelve. One was a wheelchairbound dementia patient and another was an autistic six year old. Thru death and dispersion we are just about down to just the two of us, but even after the wee wifey has the long-delayed knee replacement it won't make sense for her to bike to work thru our part of town at 10:30 at night.

The other batch are the mass transit crowd. The fact that mass transit can work in cities where the investment has been long sunk and destinations cluster around the terminals is not evidence that it makes sense to invest the money to build a system now in a city where destinations are scattered. Here in Milwaukee the light rail advocates based their criticism of its opponents consistantly on the mysterious accusation that anyone who didn't want to see a capital-intensive inflexible transportation system built here was therefore obviously racist.

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Cult Of The Non-Victim

Whilst trying to keep up with the output of my fellow Munuvians, I happened upon Mark Nicodemo's link to a report on 2005's top victim stories. Mark asks, rhetorically, "Wouldn't you like to be a victim too?" There are those for whom it is essential to their ideology and objectives that we in fact accept that invitation.

This is why the gun-banners are the same people who raise the bogeys of racism and sexism and economic inequality. I have long referred to the anti-gun crowd as the victim-disarmament movement, and now it occurs to me that this is exactly their purpose. The woman I married could have been a victim of the White Male hegemony, as manifested by a drunken neighbor kicking in the door of her apartment, but she chose not to and capped off a couple rounds in his direction. In choosing not to be a victim she was rejecting their entire package, and this is why possesing the means of self defense is is a right they seek to deny us.

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November 14, 2005

When I'm 65...

The latest Carnival of the Recipes is up. It is Carnival number sixty five, and it is the latest (distinct from most recent) because a posting glitch. As usual, there is something for everyone, even us Modified Hippies.

Professor Bainbridge didn't submit a recipe this week, but he reports that he made a previous submission for himself again, which amounts to something of an endorsement. In the process he gave us all a lesson in winebiber's jargon and gave me a lesson in Latin.

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Banner Bait

Eating spiders while asleep is certainly easier than eating spiders after they wake up, but as long as you chew before swallowing you don't need to worry about them wiggling and jickling and tickling inside.

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November 13, 2005

She Sure Can Cook

A word to the wise from Brian J.

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Study History

Ayman al- Zawahiri, second-in-command of Al-Qaeda, has issued a statement calling Queen Elizabeth the 2nd an ‘enemy of Islam’.

Perhaps he should take a look at how Elizabeth the 1st treated the secret agents of Catholicism in England during her reign.

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November 12, 2005


Some people with asthma, some long distance runners, and, of course, the activists claim that marijuana is an effective bronchodilator. If it helps with this the consequences could be real interesting.


M. Simon (solidly in the activist category sited above) links research on pot and asthma, and a quick google suggests that the congestion mechanism in avian flu is similar. Note that a medicinal vaporizor is far gentler on the lungs than a blunt or bong when considering the possibilities.

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Turnip Pick Quickles

My various pickling posts have been popular search items, but many people are put off from trying to make pickles by uncertainty about canning. Both pickling and canning were developed as ways to preserve food before the invention of modern refrigeration. Today you can enjoy the flavor and texture benifits of pickling without the complications, altho it will limit your storage capacity. If you are going to pickle for the fridge rather than the pantry there are quick pickling recipes which won't tie up space while curing. I have been slicing carrot strips and sticking them in the brine of commercial pickle jars for decades, but the impact is minimal. It takes more than that; just not what it takes for a slow-cure pickle. The red version of the following recipe comes from Quick Pickles, by Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby & Dan George. I worked up the white version to suit the Veteran's Day Carnival theme. There is of course no blue variant.

It is interesting to note that the George Carlin assertion regarding the absence of blue food has been brought up in the context of mushrooms. I am willing to wager that George Carlin has seen the color blue occuring naturally on some of the mushrooms he has eaten.

1 1/2 cups grape juice
2 cups white wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup coarse non-iodized salt (sold as kosher or pickling salt)
4 cloves garlic -- peeled and crushed
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
2 pounds white turnips, cut lengthwise into 1-inch-thick wedges

Combine the grape juice, vinegar, water, salt, and garlic in a medium nonreactive saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring once or twice to dissolve the salt.

Meanwhile, toss the horseradish and turnips together in a large bowl. When the liquid comes to a boil, pour it over the turnips until they are well covered. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. Either the bowl or storage containers must be able to take the boiling brine; pack before or after cooling as appropriate.

The authors suggest grating your own horseradish. Having breathed in a house where this was done I do not.

For the red variant, substitute

2 cups cranberry juice
1 1/2 cups red vinegar vinegar

for the equivalent liquids and add

1 medium beet -- peeled, halved, and sliced about 1/4 inch thick

Proceed as above

The pickles will deepen in color and flavor within 24 hours and will keep, covered and refrigerated, for several months.

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November 11, 2005

Quote For The Day

"Meow is like Aloha, it can mean anything."

Hank Ketchem, Dennis's father

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A True Classic

NP, my sort of nephew/sort of tenant, is moving out of the you know house. His long-time accomplice Timmay has come up from Chicago and they are finding more formal quarters.

After we finished discussing the move, the subject shifted to gaming. They are weighing the option of passing up the coming XBox360 and waiting for the next Playstation to follow, but they still enjoy more traditional pastimes. We were talking about board games, and Timmay mentioned a Monopoly set he had picked up at an antique store. This game was so old that Mr. Moneybags was young and slim.

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Interesting Distinction

As recently as this week, in some comment thread or another, I saw the long-popular assertion that after the first attack on the World Trade Center, and the law enforcement response thereunto, there were no further terrorist attacks on American soil. On last night's broadcast news, which I happened to catch closed-caption on a screen in the restaurant where we were dining, the bombing of the Jordanian hotels was described as an attack on American people.

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Still It Continues

The price of gasoline in Milwaukee is now fully 9% lower than when I began posting about the ongoing decrease. It has fallen now to two thirds the peak price I saw before Katrina damage to the petroleum infrastructure had been assessed. The major media, which was all over the shift in the other direction, continues to ignore the drop.

Dean has pointed out an article which reveals that the coverup actually extends beyond the price of gasoline. A commenter to my previous post on this subject has a theory as to what the coverup is about; the fact that the invisible hand of the marketplace is doing just what the capitalists claim it will.


Link corrected in response to comment.

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November 10, 2005

It Shoe Is

Today's Bleat is full of broganositude, clunky but comfortable like a well broken in clodhopper. Some well crafted observational prose, a bit of Gnattering, a succinct insight into the sociopolitical turmoil in France, a Joe update, and a word which deserves to enter our vocabularies.

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November 09, 2005

Not As I Do

I'm skipping this goofy quiz due to the absence of the appropriate conclusion. You, however need to check it out.

No time to explain, Fred, just do as I say!

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November 07, 2005

No End In Sight

In the week and a half since I noted the lack of outrage, the price has plummeted another six percent. The news media continues to ignore the story. Who is behind the coverup, and what are they trying to hide?

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November 06, 2005

Sex Sandwich?

There is a comment conversation at Ann Althouse's blog which reinforces my notion that Lettuce, Guacamole, Bacon and Tomato belong together between two slices of bread, and that people should speak of the result by an acronym just as they do if the avacado component were absent.

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November 05, 2005

Rum Tum Tiddy

A recent addition to the wee wifey's vaste horde of cookbooks is the second edition of Campbell's promotional pamphlet "Cooking With Condensed Soups". It cost me 35 cents at the "Dress For Less" and would go for roughly ten times that on Ebay. There is no copyright date, and by the graphic style it could have been produced any time from the late '30s thru the early '50s. I'd be interested to know when it was actually published because the listed canned soup selection lists only one clam chowder, and tomatoes are among the ingredients.

Some of the recipes sound simply awful. Anyone who would use cream of celery soup in lamb curry or chop suey probably wouldn't even bother making such dishes. The tomato soup gingerbread cake doesn't sound half bad, but I wouldn't bother making it unless I ran a school cafeteria. The one recipe I found to be of interest is for something called Rum Tum Tiddy.

1 can condensed tomato soup
2 cups shredded American cheese
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 egg, slightly beaten (edged, as the sportswriters would say)
6 slices toast

Heat soup over low heat and stir in the cheese until melted and blended. Add the mustard and egg, continue stirring over the heat until completely mixed. Serve by pouring over toast.

The wee wifey came up with a recipe, out of some ladies magazine from the '50s, called Ringtum Tiddy, which adds sliced onions, black pepper and whatsthishere sauce, and substitutes racing cheese slices for the easier to stir grated stuff. The biggest difference is that it uses three eggs, seperated and beaten. Folding in the stiff whites as a final step will completely change the texture.

An online search produced no hits for ringtum (or ring tum or rumtum) but consistantly bought up a Rum Tum Tiddy recipe which splits the difference. It calls for

1 tb Butter/margerine
1/4 cup Finely chopped onion
1/4 cup Chopped green pepper
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Dry sherry

in addition to the canned soup and one beaten egg, and substitutes 3 cups of shredded cheddar (clearly an improvement) for the 2 cups of American cheese. The vegetables are sauted and set aside. Everything but the egg and sherry are heated together. The instruction to blend 1/2 cup of the cheese sauce into the beaten egg in a bowl, add it back into the remainder of the cheese sauce in the saucepan and continue heating no doubt avoids the risk of lumpiness. The sauted vegetables and sherry are added just before serving over crackers and toast. With the rest of the sherry on the side, it sounds like a perfect dish to serve on a crisp autumn morning.


The magazine which featured the ringtum variant was the May 1958 issue of Woman's Day. The wee wifey has issues; she formats the recipes in them for use with the Mastercook program. Anybody remember when home computers first hit the market? Standard question: "What would you use one for?" Standard answer: "Well, um, you could store your recipes in it..." The future is here, and we're part of it.

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Compare And Contrast

Mark Steyn has written an excellent school composition (scroll down) on the subject of the recent animated films Corpse Bride and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Any high school teacher would surely give him an "A" for the way he discusses the stylistic and socio-economic similarities and differences of the two works As a review, however, it fails to tell me whether I would enjoy watching either of them so in that regard the article is a failure.

I am not put off by the presence of class as a topic. Given England's relatively stratified society class issues have been a mainstay of their entertainment industry. One of our all-time favorite classic films is about how a group of working class Ladies Who Do afterhours office cleaning defeat a dastardly developer so wealthy that he even has a phone in his motorcar.

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November 01, 2005

Geography Lesson

Owen is posting the question "Where's Tabor?" It's right where it's been since immigrants from Bohemia started settling the area in 1852, north of the city of Racine. The name supposedly comes from a Gypsy word meaning "gathering place". The area is being subsumed in development bearing other place names, but there is still a historic marker on the old Bohemian school.

The other place in Wisconsin people ask about is in the middle of Sheboygan county, south of Plymouth on Hiway 57. The name comes from O.H. Waldo, a prominent Milwaukee lawyer who was president of the railroad company which developed the area.

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