June 29, 2006

Till You Drop

"She was a compulsive shopper and was one of the most extreme cases I'd ever seen."
A woman buying one hundred pairs of shoes is not unknown, and joining when others are grabbing what appears from the report to have been easy money is understandable. Buying sixteen chainsaws you have no intention of using for the gratification of acquiring and possesing them is the sign of a disturbed individual. I suspect they were purchased at a discount off the compare-at price large enough that she believed herself to be saving money.
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June 26, 2006


Decades back I used to pick up an occasional copy of Mother Earth News, for the build-from-scrap articles. I vividly remember one, however, which snagged my attention with a writeup of an experimental hybrid automobile. It was a Ford Granada which got an astounding 38 mpg thru the use of a hydrostatic drive augmented with accumulators. I figured that the ideal application would be a 1948 Cadillac hotrodded with an Eldorado engine, and continued to have that concept pop up on the to-do list ever since. The general notion of hybrid drive switched almost immediately to electric hybrids, and has stayed there ever since.

Now I see that the hydrraulic hybrid has come around again, in an application even heavier that the old uptrimmed compact. It may well be that between computational fluid dynamics and CNC machining the thermodynamic losses inherent in converting motion to pressure and back to motion have been reduced, just as the similar losses in electric hybrids have. Between this progress and increasing fuel costs, such a system might actually pay off when the duty cycle is sufficiently stop-and-go.

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Urban Legend

Verbose Jay has had a problem with the power for his net connection being unplugged by nice men working on the gutters or something. Until today I would have sworn that only happened to life support equipment in the ICU of some hospital in Jo'burg.

It so happens that I just started a new cellular contract. I'm working with a guy who started wireside back when Mother Bell owned everything. He told me about an ongoing service problem he worked wherein a company's phone system would die at 5 PM about once a week, taking out the alarm and anyone working late. Serviceman would come out the next morning and not find any trouble. Finally my cow-orker told his dispatcher he was taking a late lunch break in the telecom closet there. Sure enough, the guy from the cleaning crew came in and unplugged the PBX to plug in his vacuum cleaner. I told him it was an urban legend but he swears it's true.

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June 24, 2006

Road Trip

Time to stick the right tunes in the car's CD player (or whatever you younguns use now) and head out on the highway. Destination, recipes.

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Chicken Fried Rice

The cellular network I signed up to verify and optimize is finally up and running, six weeks after the start date originally discussed. Yesterday was our last weekday off together for rather a while so we went out for breakfast. The wee wifey ordered what she usually does when our fast breaks anywhere fancier than the Parkview; chicken fried steak. As we were dining I suddenly had an insight. This must be how that Chinese food I hear about, chicken fried rice, is made.

Cook the rice so it is sticky. Japanese sushi rice is ideal. Roll large spoonfuls of rice between the palms of your hands to form spheres. Dip the riceballs in buttermilk and then dredge thru a breading of finely crushed cornflakes with salt and pepper to taste.

Melt vegetable shortening in a cast iron skillet and heat to 350 degrees F. Fry the rice the way you would fry chicken, or steak.

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June 23, 2006

Loaded Question

Which cleverly selected phrase carries emotional overtones such that it better fits your feeling about things in Wisconsin?

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June 22, 2006

Team Trivia

In what leagues do the following teams compete?

Houston Ravens

Harrington Treecats

Orlando Furioso

Nashota Ramblers

Scoville Units

Chicago Geese

Bonus question: quote the fight song of one of these teams.

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June 21, 2006

Pickup Site?

Someone at one of the technical fora I read was shopping for a small truck and happened upon this.

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June 19, 2006

Selective Editing

Tim Blair is being just plain mean, even compared to his usual snarkitudiness.

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Quote For The Day

The Princess looked at her more closely. "Tell me," she resumed, "are you of royal blood?"

"Better than that, ma'am," said Dorothy. "I came from Kansas."

Actually, this is a quote for yesterday. Emrack called me from Kansas City. His Father's Day present for me was the announcement that he has found someone.

He is confident that she is a true soul mate for him. She wants him to accompany her to a Melissa Ethridge concert - wearing a tee-shirt proclaiming "It isn' rape if she blinks twice for yes."

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Another Dumb Bumpersticker

This one's so ignuntaited you can't even debate it:

Always? On every issue? However presented?

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June 18, 2006

Guyboat Update

The dinner was a success, but I learned a few things along the way.

The underlayment in the kitchen is even more interesting than I realized. When I got to the edge by the shelving I discovered that the crappy plywood sheets are on top of two other layers of tile. I think I will be required to disclose this when we put the little house on the market. Job finished in (if not on) time.

Side dishes were family standards I've posted before, but we learned things about them this time around. Substituting a balsamic vinaigrette for half the Italian dressing improves the pasta salad. We did this to make up for only having "Lite" Italian dressing in inventory. It darkened the pasta slightly, but it looked earthy and natural, not yucky. The flavor didn't shout "pine tar"; there was just something interesting in the background. Using a large Vidalia onion in the salsa did not work out as well. The salsa was OK, but the drained liquid completely lacked the brisance which makes it so good in a bloody mary.

The lurking gun magazine went totally unnoticed. Future attempts to raise the consciousness of our guests will need to be less subtle.

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June 14, 2006

Attention To Detail

My wee wifey has invited 3 couples from the church she attends to a guyboat dinner Saturday evening. Altho this is very much her thing and her event, she asked three things of me beyond showing up and participating.

First of all, she wants me to finish tiling the kitchen. When we pulled up the old torn linoleum we encountered some interesting underlayment, thus this has been the most procrastinated task. One alcove and some trimmed inderts around the edges. Shouldn't be a problem.

When the occasion rolls around, I am to grill burgers and chicken. Again not a problem; I would likely be doing this for us anywhom. This time I get do break out the special marinades.

Finally, in anticipation of company, I am to make a couple adjustments to the magazine rack in the bathroom. In particular she asked that I dig up a gun magazine and set it front and center. It has been our experience that this is always good for starting a conversation, and it looks like she is up for having that particular conversation with these church folk. Activism takes many forms.

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June 11, 2006

Do It Right

If you decide to try the recipe modification Crystal suggested, I would strongly recommend using the good stuff.

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A Select Company

Owen is surveying his readership in reaction to national surveys which suggest that 24 percent of Americans between 18 and 50 are tattooed. I could perhaps have claimed 3+ rather than 2 in Owen's survey. When I had Mr Bluebird on my shoulder touched up 15 years ago (when the ink was 18 years old) I had a heart added either side of the wee wifey's name.

My wee wifey and I got our first tatts, at her suggestion, instead of engagement rings. Matching flowers, over our hearts. By Cliff Raven no less. Having run out of earlobe to pierce, she has gone back to collecting tattoos, with a bouquet around one ankle and a Crown of Glory (she drew the flash) on one shoulder. She is now working on the art for a butterfly garland for her other arm.

Altho the article he links speaks of tattooing exploding in popularity in the last few years, we really weren't out on the radical edge of young folk on the North side of Chicago. While we were getting our flowers done there was a sweet young thing in the Chicago Tattooing Company exploring the possibility of getting a small, inconspicuous crescent moon near her navel. She was really being daring.

I didn't think I was near the radical edge when I got my ear pierced 35 years ago. Guys in my high school had been getting an earlobe (always the left one) as early as 1967, as a mark of gang affiliation. Even before that, there had been Mr. Clean and Captain Blood. Nowadays a single pierce is almost square, but for me it is still the sign of a swashbuckler.

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June 08, 2006

Usage Nitpick

They say "Once a Marine, always a Marine." It is therefore incorrect, as this 78 year old man demonstrated, incorrect to refer to him as an ex-Marine.

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Just A Prank?

Reportedly, the vandalism at Wisconsin's Holy Hill shrine was a simple act of immaturity, not guided by any actual beliefs of the participants. Just to be certain, however, I suggest that they should be handed over to the Inquisition and questioned rigorously to root out any incipient heresy.

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June 06, 2006

Snakes On A Plane

Well it was only one snake, but it was a very small plane. I bet if you scaled this up it would be exciting enough to make a plot for an action flick.

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June 04, 2006

Quote For The Day

"I like cigarettes, Miss Taggart. I like to think of fire held in a man's hand. Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his fingertips. I often wonder about the hours when a man sits alone, watching the smoke of a cigarette, thinking. I wonder what great things have come alive from such hours. When a man thinks, there is a spot of fire alive in his mind---and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression."
A classic example of how Ayn Rand can be so tempting and ultimately so wrong. Found in the .sig file of a commenter at an underground Web forum.
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June 03, 2006

Rhesus Peanut Butter Cookies

The person who came up with this recipe thinks the way I do, both in creating it and in naming it.

1 box chocolate cake mix (ignore the preparation instructions, just use the dry mix)
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 tablespoons of water
2 large eggs

Mix all ingredients together, (dough will be stiff), then prepare as you normally would peanut butter cookies (you know, roll it into a little ball, flatten with a fork to make the cross hatch pattern on top) Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

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Bad Penny

Sebastian took off on another two week adventure, and we effectively moved in the time he was gone. He wandered back around the time I stopped by for another load, and started yowling at me from under the nextdoorica's bushes. I let him into the big house and he was still all like it was my fault he'd been so miserable, and he kept it up the entire time it took to find a cat carrier and haul him to the other house. We got in, I let him out, and he settled in instantly like he knew this was home and he'd just been away. Looks like aromatherapy really works.

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