September 30, 2006

Tarred With A Dry Brush

A link to an odd news story led me to the Daily Mail, where I spotted a headline whch claims that "Harry Potter author tops list of writers Americans most want banned". Not me, pal. I don't even want Michael Moore banned. The article, based on a report from the American Library Association, gives the impression that censorship is rampant in the United States, which may well be the impression they intended to give. They report that there were 3000 attempts to ban the Harry Potter books. This doesn't mean that all the peasants in the village marched on the local bookshop with torches and pitchforks, it means that some nosyparker stood up at a PTA meeting and said "I don't think the school library should be exposing our tender youth to those awful books".

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Crock-Pot Red Beans & Smoked Sausage

It's getting to be the dried bean time of year. During the summer we use canned beans, but now having something cooking all day is no big deal. The slow cooker is a great way to do things with beans; the ever popular "set it and forget it" really works.

The wee wifey made this for dinner the other night. The recipe said it would feed fourteen as a side dish. It certainly wouldn't serve four teens as a main course. Serving just the two of us, there wasn't ANY left over. She's going to double it next time.

1 lb. dried red beans
6 cups water
1 bellpepper -- chopped
2 onions -- chopped
3 celery stalks -- chopped
1 Tablespoon garlic -- minced
1 lb smoked sausage -- sliced
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 Tablespoons sriracha sauce -- (or any hot sauce to taste)
salt -- to taste optional

Place ingredients in Crock-Pot. Cook covered on high for 7 hours or until beans are tender. You can mash up the beans a bit to make the texture creamy

Serve over hot cooked rice, which can be prepared quickly in the microwave per the method I posted last week.


I've gotten some questions from commenters regarding this recipe. If you don't like celery you can leave it out, or, if it is the texture you dislike, one commenter suggested using celery in pieces large enough to pick out. What we really have here is a cooking procedure. Beans, sausage, water and stuff you like. You could substiture pinto beans or vega beans, chorizo or bratwurst, and whatever vegetables and seasonings those you feed will eat, and the process will still work. Because of the long cooking time and large amount of water, no presoaking of the beans is required.

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September 28, 2006

Clueless Bumper Sticker

Seen yesterday parked under the Pizza Shuttle, where I parked to grab my 6 for $5.00 burgers from the George Webb across the street, along with one supporting the teachers union, and one proclaiming "Choice", which is something the teacher's union opposes:

Don't like abortion?
Don't have one
I'm centrist on the issue, which means both sides reject my position, but I still see that assertion as morally and philosophically equivalent to
Don't like murder?
Don't commit one

Posted by triticale at 08:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 27, 2006

Morale Muscle Needed

Operation: Take a Soldier to the Movies, which I have posted about before, has been given a gift almost beyond measure. They will be receiving a donation of somewhere between 13 and 15 PALLETS of movies for the project. They were told it could be as many as 10,000 movies. The problem is that they will need to unload the movies themselves when they arrive on the truck.

The person donating them must free up storage space, and they will be receiving them next Thursday October 5th after 4:00 p.m.

They will be trying to implement an old fashioned “Fire Bucket Brigade”, but will need lots of bodies to pull it off. They believe the movies will be in boxes of a very manageable size, but plastic wrapped onto pallets.

They are located at 14775 W National Avenue, New Berlin, WI (western suburb of Milwaukee) and are very accessible from 3 different Highways. They would like to have enough people there that everyone can work for a while and then rest for a while. I'm back on hight shift that week and won't be able to help, but if you can, let them know, and tell 'em I sent you.

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September 26, 2006

Wounding For Chastity

Would whichever clever right-winger created this site please admit that it is a parody? Otherwise I'll have to believe that there are actually people out there who think the process they advocate will contribute to world peace. Warning- NSFW at any decent place of employment.

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Guilt Is Proven

I didn't pay much attention to Ms McCardle's first post on the Enron verdict. I read her blog for the discussion of non-emmiseration. After seeing the Econblog post on the topic I went back and read it along with her second one. All this debate is unnecessary.

Enron was an energy company.
Energy companies are evil.

That second premise may undergo some adjustment as avoidance of Citgo spreads. I suspect it is already having some impact, their local retail outlets are pricing regular a penny or so below their neighbors.

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September 25, 2006

Word For The Day

Stagflation: (N) That condition which manifests itself in response to the viewing of a blue movie.

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September 24, 2006

Me Neither

As part of his ongoing song lyrics theme, Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy posted a Toby Keith song in which he declares "I'll never smoke weed with Willie again." I've already made light of the facts of Willie Hugh Nelson's recent arrest, but consider this. They had a pound and a half on the bus, for five people. That's close to five ounces per person. With the quality I have access to, I could expect that to last two years even if my only abstention was during Lent, and these days I'm taking other long breaks. With the stuff Willie no doubt gets, which if I had I'd save for Friday nights with nothing major planned for Saturday, it would last me forever. They probably to go thru most of it before the tour was over. I really wouldn't care to get that swacko, but the the fact that he does, and remains a productive, contributing member of society is pretty good evidence that our nation's drug policy is unnecessary.

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September 23, 2006

Mortgage Matters

One of the great strengths of the blogosphere is that we are not professional journalists. As a result one or another of us is going to be a professional in any field to become a subject of discussion. In the case of the recent allegation that mortgage approval decisions were being influenced by consideration of race, Casper is able to present an informed rebuttal. Similar charges have been raised before. Some years back Mazda's auto loan policies were called into question, and they were able to document that the difference in car loan interest rates paid by minority buyers which couldn't be explained by credit scores could be explained by relative negotioating skill. Those who are concerned about people's ability to get affordable credit would do better to educate would-be borrowers rather than criticize lenders.

My real purpose in posting about credit was something else entirely. I recently received a mortgage company's advertising video from the one person who persists in forwarding everything which hits his inbox to me. I want to share it, and had no trouble finding it at Youtube.

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Correlation is not causation, but I have to wonder if the fact that the mainstream culture in the US is WASP has any connection with the fact that the land is named after Amerigo Vespucci.

Posted by triticale at 05:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sage Advice

The Manalo, he persistantly recommends the superfantastic shoes which will eventually cripple his Internet friends with deformed muscles and feet if they don't first fall and break an ankle. But the Manalo, he sure has a way with the words and images.

Posted by triticale at 08:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kernalades Ham

No, it isn't a traditional Greek recipe. It isn't Greek at all, and that isn't the real name. The first time the wee wifey served it to me I misheard "The Colonel's Lady's Ham" and have maliciously persisted in misidentifying it ever since.

The recipe was found, under the original name, in "The Compleat I Hate To Cook Book" by Peg Bracken, one of the first of the now obiquitous quick and easy few ingredient cookbooks. We've added garlic and green pepper, and doubled the original recipe. Given that it the leftovers are delicious as a cold nosh straight from the fridge this produce just enough for the two of us. It would probably work just as well as a side dish for a banquet.

1 pound ham -- diced or cut into fork-sized chunks
4 Tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic -- minced
2 onions -- chopped
1 green bell pepper -- seeded and chopped
4 teaspoons flour
2 cup sour cream -- or yogurt
1 pound mushrooms -- sliced

Saute ham, onion and garlic in butter until onion is tender, adding green pepper partway thru. Sprinkle flour on top and then stir in. Turn heat down to low (this is why real cooks use gas stoves). Gradually stir in sour cream and mushrooms. Stir conscientiously for a few minutes while this thickens.

This is traditionally served over rice. To make the rice: Put 1 cup rice and 2 cups water in a good sized bowl. The wee wifey likes the Watkins Chicken soup base, and adds a well rounded tablespoon of it to the water. Otherwise just use a couple of chicken boullion cubes or leave it plain.

Place a plate on top of the bowl to cover it (we use the large Corelle bowl and the small Corelle plate; they match up perfectly) and nuke for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes check it. Our microwave cooks it nicely in three 5 minute increments. The microwave where she work is bigger and takes only 12-13 minutes total to cook. Check after the 10 minute cooking time to decide. If the rice looks pretty well cooked, nuke it in 1 or 1-1/2 minute intervals. After you have learned how your microwave works you won't need to futz so much with microwaving rice. The 5 minute cooking times seem to work better than nuking it for 10 minutes or 15 minutes.

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September 20, 2006

Quote For The Day

This is all pure conjecture, probably wrong, on my part. But hey, what is a blog for if one can not make wild guesses on insufficient data?
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September 18, 2006

Dog Bites Man

And in other news, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.


Here's a nifty new word we can appropriate to describe what Willie and friends were achieving.

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Cake Mouse

I will give you this Caution,never to Dispute the Will of a Pirate: For, supposing I had cleft your Scull asunder for your impudence, what would you have got by it but your destruction? Indeed you may flatter your self, I should have been put to Death for killing a Prisoner in cold Blood; but assure your self my Friends would have brought me off on such an occasion.
Being the contrarian that I am, I decided to find an actual quote from an actual pirate for posting on Talk Like a Pretend Pirate Like Long John Silver Day. The quote is reported to come from Walter Kennedy, one of the Dread Pirate Roberts’s lieutenants. He is speaking to Captain William Snelgrave after the captain dared to resist Kennedy's attempt to snatch his wig. I found it in the book Villains Of All Nations, Atlantic Pirates In The Golden Age, by Marcus Rediker. The author is a professor of history, and he explains piracy and the folk popularity of piracy as a proletarian reaction to the depredations of the successful classes. This really isn't surprising. I have a book in my collection which examines the Hatfield - McCoy feud as class struggle.
Posted by triticale at 08:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Starting Off Right

One of the greatest ways of wasting valuable time ever invented is the Blogspot "next blog" button. Most of the time the result is in some unfamiliar language or otherwise unreadable. Sometimes I find information which is actually usable, but not by me. Another common find is the brand-new blog with, if we are lucky, a little "why I am doing this" babble and not much else. I was thus very much impressed with Y | O | Y's third post, in which he spells out one of the world's current problems as well as I've seen so far.

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September 17, 2006

Messing The Sendage

Over at the Assistant Village, the Idiot has a great post on the all too popular notion of furthering one's political philosophy by the act of declining to vote for the candidate whose position somewhat more nearly resembles your own. He points out that except in the primaries, any single vote conveys very little information.

The logic is actually quite simple. Altho primaries offer more possibilities, general elections are binary. You can vote for - A and not B - or you can vote for - B and not A -. Abstaining or voting for a noncontender is a vote for - not A and not B - but it conveys very little information.

The gubernatorial election in Wisconsin four years ago is an excellent example of this. A popular Republican governer had moved into the Federal government, leaving his lieutenant, viewed by many as a RINO, as incumbent. In the Democratic primary, the winner had positioned himself as the moderate. Into this non-fray the Libertarian Pary introduced a candidate with name recognition, the younger brother of the former governor. The only issue on which he had credibility was racial discrimination with regards to gambling, but the incumbant was seen as generally weak on conservative issues, specifically gun rights for one, many people who otherwise wouldn't have chose to vote Libertarian and he pulled ten percent of the vote. End result? The Democrat won, and immediately showed his true colors. On the gambling issue? New pacts with the tribal gambling syndicates which amounted to a total giveaway. On the gun rights issue? Wisconsin is now one of only two states with not even a limited licensed recognition of the right to bear arms. Did the Republican Party recieve any sort of a message? Based on who the party organization has supported in primaries since I don't think so.

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September 16, 2006


If I were ever to go to prison for having hired a hit-man to murder my ex-wife (speaking hypothetically here; I don't have an ex-wife) I really wouldn't want my fellow prisoners to find out that the way I had gotten caught was that said ex-wife had killed the hit-man with her bare hands.

Posted by triticale at 04:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pizzadillas, Elvis Burritos and S'moretillas

The standard quick bite around here for the last few weeks has been something which the wee wifey developed, to which I have given the name pizzadilla. We used to create complete homemade pizzas, and more recently we've enhanced frozen pizzas with sliced olives and onion and extra cheese, but with our lax eating style (we almost never have meals at home) these result in considerable leftover. Instead we take

1 pound Italian sausage meat OR 1 pound hamburger + 3 TBSP Italian sausage seasoning
2 green peppers diced
3 onions diced
3 garlic cloves minced

and brown and saute everything together. The advantage of the seasoned ground beef is that it breaks up much finer than the bulk sausage. Drain agressively; she dumps it all in the colander and squish squish squishes the grease out. This gets stored in the fridge, and when we get hungry we take

flour tortillas
bottled spaghetti sauce
above-listed meat mixture
mozarella cheese

combined in the above order, flashed for one minute, folded over and allowed to cool till the cheese isn't a hazard to the roof of the mouth.

She had this in mind when a sandwich from her own childhood, from her father's side (they've been American for over 300 years), showed up on one of her recipe mailing lists. The combination is commonly associated with Elvis Presley, who went too far by having it fried, but it wasn't unique to him.

flour tortillas
marshmallow fluff
peanut butter
sliced banana

One banana should be enough for three or four mini-burritos
Fold ends over and eat.

This in turn led her to try adapting a recipe from her decades as a Girl Scout leader.

whole wheat tortillas
peanut butter
mini marshmallows
mini chocolate chips

Microwave for one minute. Fold ends over and eat.

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September 14, 2006

Silly Rumor

There is reportedly an urban legend going around to the effect that several of the major lefties in the Democratic party mysteriously just happen to have been born nine monthes after the supposed date of the alleged UFO crash at Roswell. Of course a quick check of the facts shows that in fact most of the people on the list were conceived before the crash. This should have been obvious. Hard to do abductions and inseminations when your craft is all bent up.

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September 10, 2006

It's Happening Again

I can't complain about a lack of outrage this time, because the upswing didn't provoke as much, but it certainly is suspicious how little coverage the downswing is getting.

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Absolute Security

The essays, presented as speeches by the characters, which make up much of Atlas Shrugged, did much to shape my worldview, but aside from the fact that I did not buy the entire package, as a work of fiction the book sucked. The only bit of action I enjoyed was near the end when Dangme shot an underling of the other side not for blocking the heroes' way, but for refusing to take the responsibility to either block them or let them thru. This is one of the great evils of the modern era, institutional structures which deny individual responsibility. I refuse to buy my liquor any place where local ordinance or company policy requires the clerk to see my identification instead of judging my age by the laugh lines around my eyes and the grey in my hair. This policy purports to adress underage drinking, which is ultimately a cultural problem, but in fact presumes incompetance on the part of the clerk. The stupidities in the name of zero tolerance for drugs and weapons are too many to count, and some surely have tempted people to shoot those who refuse to make a decision which requires anyone to accept responsibility for that decision.

I don't tend to agree with the opinions of the person who sent me this link, but I am willing to accept his assurance that the poster is a reliable individual, and pass this on with the presumption it is accurate. My take, as per above, is that as important as ity is to keep the tools of terrorism of our airplanes, the people responsible for doing so need to be people capable of intelligent thought.

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September 09, 2006


This afternoon, while we were in one of the thrift stores we frequent, I overheard a man say that he wasn't too crazy about a particular set of dishes. My question, which I didn't ask loudly enough to get answered, was "How crazy is too crazy?"

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Humpin' To Please

My Alderman is Smiling Bob Bauman. It could have been worse. Vince Robot also ran for the office (altho that would at least have protected Milwaukee from the risk of having him as sheriff). Given Bob's support for light rail (if not the even stupider Circulator) I am not surprised that he takes pride in being responsible for the hazards recently installed in the pavement of McKinley Boulevard. I received a letter from him asking for feedback on the project.

My opinion of the so-called "speed humps" which are actually unpleasant to drive over at 15 mph? Thank goodness they didn't go in until after I moved off McKinley. I've adjusted my routes so that I can avoid them at all times, and this includes more driving thru alleys. The rare incident of someone driving moderately quickly down the street was less of a problem, and could have been dealt with by effective law enforcement.

You say you are worried about your kid getting run over? I dealt with that concern by taking Emrack for a ride in the country and stopping by the side of the road to point out roadkill racoons, particularly three day old gas-bloated ones buzzing with flies. "This is what happens if you play in the street."

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Fireball Pickles

My coworker's cherry tomato bushes produced so abundantly this year that he picked me a bunch while still at my preferred stage of ripeness. I had a neighbor back in Chicago who pickled green cherry tomatoes in vodka, but this was the same fellow who lost ownerrship of a popular Lincoln Avenue tavern because he drank up the profits so I'm not going to follow his example. Instead I've tuned a recipe the wee wifey found among the half million in her Mastercook=formatted CD library.

7 lb small green cherry tomatoes
8 garlic cloves
4 celery stalks
4 hot red peppers
4 tbsp pickling spice
4 cups water
1/4 cup pickling salt
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups white wine viinegar

Twist the petals off the top of any tomatoes on which they remain, and cull any bruised or mushy ones. Preheat and sterilize four widemouth pint canning jars in boiling water. Pack 1-3/4 lbs. cherry tomatoes in each of the hot pint jars. To each jar, add two garlic cloves, a jar-length segment cut from the top end of a celery stalk, a hot red pepper, and a tablespoon of pickling spice. Combine water, pickling salt and vinegar. Heat to just short of boiling until salt is fully dissolved. Fill jars to 1/2" from top. Can per your best practice or store in the refrigerator. Allow a month or so for flavor to develop.

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

September 08, 2006

Deck Heck

I was greatly concerned when I heard about the major recall of brand name laptop computers (the corporate brand, not the addictive one) because I spend up to eight hours a day with one on my lap. Given how uncomfortably hot they get, I very much want to believe the client's IT guy when he tells me that the particular model we are using is not at risk of catching fire.

The fact is that the so-called laptop computer is not really intended for laptop use. In the years I've worked with them I have encountered several display failures resultant from the flexing which results from the screen swinging back and forth, and more than one hard drive failure which had to be cumulative because they never took serious shocks. On this job the biggest problem I've had, other than continuous discomfort, is printer port failure. After ten weeks, I am on my third computer because the test hardware with which the computer communicates gives the port more of a workout than an occasional spreadsheet would, and it simply can't take it. The manufacturer of the test gear reports that they hear of this often with these top-name laptops. I'm not sure what the solution is. Industrially hardened portable computers would be overkill, both in cost and in load on my knees, and it will take more complaints than blue-collar users such as myself can generate to get the manufacturers to toughen up the mainstream product.

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September 07, 2006


There is a movement afoot to boycott Miller beer because of a recent corporate sponsorship. Glenn suggests that the best way to do this is to support your local brewery. Miller is my local brewery; a few years back I used to walk thru Miller Valley on my way to work.

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September 06, 2006

It's A Dumb Joke, But...

Did you realize that "What do you do when you have an elephant with three balls" is a quastion of ethics?

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September 04, 2006

Killer Corvette

After getting away with poking all those crocodiles with a stick to see what happens, Steve Irwin was done in by a Stingray.

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September 03, 2006

Relative Ignorance

This is the same corporation which has declined to re-hire my foster nephew Mister Chin despite his having gotten excellent reviews during last year's "holiday" season.

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September 01, 2006

Green Tomato Enchilada Sauce

My wee wifey developed this from a recipe which called for canned red tomatoes and canned diced chilies. Altho salsa verde is usually made from tomatillas, there was some green tomatoes in the kitchen I hadn't decided what to do with, so she had at it.

1 large yellow onion -- chopped
2 cloves garlic -- crushed
8 green tomatoes -- diced
2 jalepeño peppers -- seeded
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1 TBSP chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 cup water
2 TBSP sriracha sauce
1 TBSP soy sauce

Saute the yellow onion and garlic, in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until the onion softens slightly. Add the tomatoes, chilies, and the spices; Stir. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Add the water and the soy sauce. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Add a little more water if sauce becomes too thick. Cumin and heat work very nicely together, but she wound up making a double batch because the finger peppers from the farmers market were hotter than jalepeños. and it needed correction. The posted version is changed accordingly.

Posted by triticale at 10:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It's Not Too Late

E. Michael McCan't, Milwaukee County's soi desant prosecutor, declared, before this was confirmed, that no perjury had been committed and no charges would be pressed. I know he announced that he would not run for re-election and will be out of office in January, but I think he should be impeached for malfeasance and non-performance. He should not be able to enjoy retirement without the stigma of his systematic failure, and it will also serve pour les encouragement des outres.

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