January 29, 2007

A Less Wretched Hive

It is not uncommon, when the seething vileness encountered at certain leftish fora is mentioned at center-right blogs, to offer up Little Green Footballs by way of moral equivalency. Fortunately this is an exaggeration. Had I found the comments in this thread to be ugly and hateful, I would never have encountered this invaluable link.

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January 27, 2007

Latest Meme Variant

Uncle says everyone should consider themselves tagged with the three questions that are going around. Might as well give it a shot.

1. My: You’ve heard the saying “I’d give my right arm for…”. So, what would you give your right arm for?

2. Me: What’s one word that describes how you want people to see you?

3. Meme: If you could be any blogger, which blogger would you be… and why?

1. I'm left-handed and I still can't work up any enthusiasm over this. That which I deeply wish for myself is something which would also benefit others, the wherewithal to devote myself to making things and showing people how it is done, would become much more difficult. Especially if "right arm" means bodyward of the elbow.

2. Clearly.

3. Myself, only having had the foresight to have gone pseudonymous rather than nicknonymous before I reached the point of having established an identity. I assume that most of those people referred by searches on my name grain are disappointed rather than merely distracted.

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Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken soup is widely recognized as the ideal comfort food. Nowadays it is even being prescribed for the souls of nearly everyone, woth the possible exception of vegetarians. This variety offers the added mid-winter benefit of clearing your sinuses.

Fans of Eric Flint's 1632 series may feel free to omit the nouc mam.

4 cups water
1/2 cup sliced shallots
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
5 teaspoons minced garlic -- (about 2 large cloves)
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce - nouc mam
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 15.75 ounce cans chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 pound uncooked rice sticks or vermicelli -- (rice flour noodles)
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
4 lime wedges
chopped hot red or Thai chile -- optional
fish sauce -- optional
chili oil -- optional

Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large Dutch oven, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until the chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan; cool slightly. Cut into bite-size pieces. Cook rice sticks in boiling water 5 minutes; drain. Divide chicken and noodles evenly among 4 large bowls. Ladle 2 cups soup into each bowl. Top each serving with 1/4 cup sprouts and 1 1/2 teaspoons each of onions, cilantro, basil, and mint. Serve with lime wedges; garnish with chopped chile, nouc mam or chili oil, if desired.

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January 26, 2007

Old Question Answered

Is it true blondes have more fun?

Posted by triticale at 11:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 25, 2007

Equal Protection

The governor and legislature of Wisconsin are sufficiently concerned about the well-being of their constituents that they are putting their protection ahead of individual property rights and freedom of choice. Unfortunately, they are neglecting to extend this zeal to many who need it the most, the typically older and poorer people who frequent the gambling casinos. Due to the limitations on the number of casinos in this state, these people do not even have the option, available to tavern and restaurant patrons, of choosing a location where they are free from exposure to second hand smoke.

I therefore call upon the good caring people of this state to see to it that equal protection is extended to all who deserve it, by contacting their legislators, and if that is unsuccessfull, thru a constitutional referendum.

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January 23, 2007

Not My Problem

Banks have started treating identity theft as a business opportunity. This is exactly the wrong approach. Identity theft is a crime against the person whose identity was stolen, and any debt which results is a fraudulent debt. When the law starts treating anyone who attempts to collect such a debt as an accessory to fraud, banks will start finding ways to to solve the problem.

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January 21, 2007

Team Spirit

When it became evident a few weeks ago that the Chicago Bears had a shot at the Superbowl, my son decided it would be fun to travel from Kansas City to Chicago in order to watch the game in a sports bar. Since he informed me he would come up to Milwaukee to see us as long as he was close, I started paying attention to the radio sports coverage. As a result of this, I have thought of the greatest team name ever. Unlike the last batch of team names I posted, it doesn't matter where their home field is or what sport they play. Every fan wants to know if their team can beat the Spread.

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January 20, 2007

More Lentil Soup

THe other morning, my wee wifey called upstairs asking if I had a couple bottles of cheap beer. I knew she wasn't going to drink it. All she drinks is rum and she goes thru about a fifth per decade. I understood she had a recipe which called for beer, so I didn't need to explain that I don't drink enough of it to bother with cheap stuff so I just brought down two bottles of the less expensive variety currently in inventory. The results were worthy of the sacriifice.

1 pound lentils
1 bag frozen carrot slices -- defrosted
1 bunch celery -- sliced
2 medium onion -- diced
3 heaping eating teaspoons minced garlic
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried dill
1 pound kielbasa -- or smoked sausage sliced thin
24 ounces beer
4 Teaspoons beef boullion
4 cups water

Soak lentils overnight or cook 5 minutes in 8 cups boiling water and then let stand for 1 hour. Drain.

Saute celery carrots onion and garlic in olive oil in a heavy skillet. Combine lentils, vegetables and remaining ingredients in a stockpot. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 1 hour.

Makes a big pot, which I believe is a standard measure for soup production.

Variation: Substitute black beans for lentils & bacon or smoked ham for the kielbasa. Serve with a bit of sour cream and diced tomatoes. Yoou could of course add our traditional two tablespoons of sriracha, but it would overwhelm the flavor contribution of the beer.

The recipe was modified from one found in "Desperate Gourmet" by Lois Schenck. We got our copy at the library bookstore. If you can get your hands on a copy it will save a lot of googling, as it is based on the premise that you have a collection of ingredients and need to put them together into a great meal.


The Recipe Carnival is up now, at the Diabetic Recipes blog. I failed to note the theme, and simply posted a current recipe. One could substitute a light beer, but the previous lentil soup I posted would be a better idea. It should be noted that the sriracha chili sauce I often recommend contains sugar, and that when cooking for diabetics a small amount of ordinary hot sauce to taste would be an appropriate substitution.

My wee wifey learned that she is a Type II diabetic just after completing two years training as a pastry chef. She abandoned this career, since any cook needs to sample her work on a regular basis, but I haven't noticed that I've had to forego anything in the food she cooks for us. The fancy baked goods to be found in my Recipes category are made for major occasions only, and she does not allow herself more than a mere taste (which means more for the rest of us).

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January 18, 2007

No Glow

Altho it has not been getting much attention, I learned thru an email circulating among my family that mail going into Washington DC is being irradiated. My reaction was that it is a grave injustice that this process is used to protect government employees from anthrax but not to protect spinach eaters from e. coli. Sadly, the reaction from people I know to be generally intelligent and well educated has been to joke about mail, and even congresscritters, starting to glow.

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January 16, 2007

Binary Logic

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You can be as pure as you like in the primaries,m but under the US electoral system, when the main election rolls around refusal to vote for the lesser evil amounts to voting for the greater evil.

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January 13, 2007

Not Me

Megan McCardle, AKA Jane Galt, AKA a staff writer for The Economist whose style and opinions we might recognize, has compared herself to a list of supposedly world-view linked behavior characteristics, and concluded that she must in fact be a liberal. I refuse to be manipulated that way. I've been voting Republican since Reagan, and I voted Libertarian before that. When I disagree with the Republican position now, it is more likely to be as a conservative than as a libertarian.

Liberals are messier than conservatives. Their rooms have more clutter, more color. Conservatives’ rooms are better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional. Liberals have more books and their books are on a greater variety of topics.
This is an obvious attempt to paint conservatives as narrow minded tight-asses. My computer room/hobby room/office is obviously the room by which to judge me. The walls and ceiling are mustard yellow, and it is lit right now by two computer monitors and the daylight flourescents over my model-building bench; even when I turn on the ceiling light it isn't spectacularly bright. The room is so cluttered with computers, stacks of books, and cartons of stuff I don't have enough shuffle space to straighten it out. As for number and range of books, I'll have to address that in the extended entry to keep from pushing every other post off the front page.

Fist of all, here is a listing of books which I currently have checked out of the library, cut and pasted from the Countycat online record. Note that in addition to the book by Clinton Hull, I have in the past checked out The Shortline Railroads of Arkansas, by Clifton Hull.

A second Mencken chrestomathy / H.L. Mencken ; selected, revised, and annotated by the author
The corporate blogging book : absolutely everything you need to know to get it right / Debbie Weil
Fiery appetizers : seventy spicy hot hors d'oeuvres : a Chile pepper magazine cookbook / by Dave DeW
In fury born / David Weber.
Folding hard top and tent top trailers; plans for 10' camping trailer which opens up to give 124 square feet of living area. Prepared by Clinton R. Hull.
The curry book : a celebration of memorable flavors and irresistible recipes / Nancie McDermott
Chevy TPI fuel injection swapper's guide / by John Baechtel.
A+ certification for dummies / by Ron Gilster.
The politics of industrial change : railway policy in North America / R. Kent Weaver.
The art & craft of making jewelry : a complete guide to essential techniques / Joanna Gollberg.
Spice : flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean / Ana Sortun with Nicole Chaison
More anguished English / Richard Lederer
Saints behaving badly : the cutthroats, crooks, trollops, con men, and devil-worshippers who became saints / Thomas J. Craughwell.

Now some of the books around my room, either near the top of a stack or on one of the several sets of bookshelves. These are not all books I have read recently; just evidence that I love books and have a wide range of interests.

The American Standard Of Perfection, by The American Poultry Association, 1940 edition - a must for visiting the State Fair

Mortal Error, by Bonar Menninger - A ballistics experts take on the Kennedy Assasination, weirder than any of the conspiracy theories I've encountered.

The Pawprints of History, Dogs And The Course of Human Events, by Stanley Coren

Assorted engineering texts, including the Steel Construction Manual, Formulas for Stress and Strain, and Design of Machine Menbers

Predecting Dangerousness by Stephen J Pfohl, which I thought would be an engineering text but turned out to be psychology. Still interesting.

The Joy of Lex, How to Have Fun With 860,341,500 Words by Gyles Brandreth. Some of these will wind up posted as word for the day.

Investing At The Racetrack, by William F Scott. We only just broke even during our one spell of handicapping, but it's alway fun to tempt oneself.

Various paperback fiction, including Most Secret, by Neville Shute, Digital Knight, by Ryk Spoor, Mona Lisa Overdrive, by William Gibson, and books from W.E.B.Griffen's Marine Corps series, and Larry Niven's Man-Kzin Wars

Various hardcover fiction, including Target Lock, by James Cobb, Have Space Suit, Will Travel, by Robert Heinlein, A Civil Campaign, by Lois Bujold, and Pride's Castle, by Frank Yerby.

Hysteria 1964, the Fear Campaign Against Barry Goldwater, by Lionel Lokos

The Velvet Prison, Artists Under State Socialism, by Miklós Haraszti

And this is just the tip of the icecube, speaking more to breadth than depth. In the second floor living room is a stack of milk crates, 4 deep, 5 wide and 5 tall. Half of these are magazines, mostly, but not entirely, car magazines, gun magazines, model railroad magazines and computer magazines. The other half are paperback books, including but not limited to, science fiction, thrillers, true crime, Regency romance, and popular history. Also in that room is a pile, not yet unpacked, of hardcover books, range hinted at above, about the size of a sofa. Downstairs, on bookshelves in three rooms, are some of my wee wifey's collection of cookbooks and craft books. Any liberals who have more books on a greater variety of topics is liable to be pressed for space.

Posted by triticale at 07:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Word For The Day

Obnubilate - v: To burden with the sort of mistakes made by the inexperienced.

Found here.

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January 12, 2007


Avocados are in season right now, which means that it is time to make guacamole. The trick to perfect guacamole is using good, ripe avocados. Check for ripeness by gently pressing the outside of the avocado. If there is no give, the avocado is not ripe yet and will not taste good. If there is a little give, the avocado is ripe. If there is a lot of give, the avocado may be past ripe and not good. In this case, taste test first before using. Best place to buy avocados is a Mexican produce stand, the ones from the supermarket are never ripe. Besides, right now in Milwaukee, they are $.69 each at Pete's and a dollar each at the major groceries.

3 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1/8 tsp ground cumin
2 ripe Roma tomatoes seeded & finely diced
1 sweet white onion, minced
2 TBSP dry cilantro leaves, chopped OR 6 TBSP fresh
2 TBSP lime juice
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP sriracha sauce or a few drops of hot sauce
3 TBSP minced garlic (from a jar)

Cut avocado in large chunks and mash coarsely in large bowl with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and blend gently - leaving some small chunks is fine. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your own preference. With sriracha sauce the heat is sneaky, so take your time adding more.

For fancy presentation, rinse avocado shells out and pile guacamole into shells.

Posted by triticale at 11:23 PM | Comments (63) | TrackBack

January 11, 2007

Sorry, Jeff

"David Beckham will have a greater impact on soccer in America than any athlete has ever had on a sport globally," according to Tim Leiweke, president of the pro soccer organization which has just signed Beckham to a $250 million contract.

Milwaukee talk radio host Jeff Wagner, a former Federal prosecuting attorney, said that he would like to have some of whatever Leiweke was smoking when he made that evaluation. He would be disappointed. I believe it was isolation in the world of soccer, and not intoxication, which is clouding Leiweke's judgement, as even the top grade Humboldt County kind bud I have enjoyed has not led me into that serious of an error.

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January 09, 2007

And The Snows Were Deeper

Tam noticed with concern recently that she only has 87 gigabites of free space left on her hard drive. This has generated a comment thread in which people report on the capacity of their first drive, or of having used 5-1/4 inch floppies, or 8 inch floppies, or cassette tape, or paper punch tape...

My first computer game was an electical logic puzzle. It was a chunk of 2 X 4 with some double throw knife switches (like the ones in Frankenstein's lab, only smaller) and a light socket, wired in such a way that it modeled the problem of the fox, the goose and the grain. Later, I upgraded to a system called the Brainiac. This was a perforated masonite board, with six perforated masonite disks. By arranging contacts and wires on the board and disks, many such puzzles could be "programmed".

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Right Now He Ask

I stopped by Casper's to confirm the detail's of tonite's Drinking Right, and his next most recent post is a review of unfulfilled science fiction promises.

Some of his complaints are old hat. "Where's my flying car?" is a cliche on the order of "I want a pony." The tragic failure to achieve meaningful space travel resulted not from overly wild vision on the part of those who predicted, but lack of vision on the part of those who should have implemented it.

There are things worth discussing about some of his other points. Monoraiils are not widespread simply because they really aren't an improvement. There was another sort of science fiction attire he completeley ignored, that of the scantily clad female. Closest thing I've seen lately was a grotty old tranny in a haltertop at Mayfair Mall.

As for computers and robots, this is something science fiction, and for that matter many scientists, simply got wrong. Artificial intelligence was a gimmick consisting pretty much of a person in a metal costume. My computer isn't self-aware, but it is more powerful and compact than the old predictions, and rather than requiring a second mortgage, as did some I've read about, I pulled it out of an office park dumpster. As for having an anthropoid robot to wash our dishes, a better sensor suite and embedded controller in our under-the counter dishwasher will do just fine.

Oh, one more thing I almost forgot. We are undergoing an alien invasion. It's just not as interesting as science fiction predicted,

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January 08, 2007


Is there a way I can backtrack a referral in the form

to the comment which generated the visits? It would be nice to know what I said which attracted people's interest.

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January 07, 2007

Locksley We Roll Along

I just happened upon an issue of the Congressional Quarterly Weekly (a non sequitur publication on the order of the monthly Australian Women's Weekly) from last October. In it there is an article regarding John Edwards' efforts in the name of the poor which suggests that Democrats are wary of being labeled as "big government Robin Hoods". This label perpetuates a popular misconception of what Robin and his band of merry men were all about. It happens to be true that in the economy of his time, taking from the tax collector and giving to the productive was synonymous with taking from the rich and giving to the poor, but in no way does taxing the productive to subsidize poverty equate with their actions.

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January 06, 2007

Today's The Day

It's time to have yourself a merry Little Christmas.

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Gras Bilong Fes

Owen wants to know: does any married man grow a beard except when his wife is out of town?

It has been about twenty years since my wee wifey has been away long enough for me to raise any more than stubble. It has only been about twelve years since I stoped shaving my beard off in the spring. Depending on how one counts, one could thus assert that I've grown several beards, altho all on the same face and all trimmed similarly, while she's been at home.

In the comments, Wendy notes that Owen had grown a beard in anticipation of moving to Wisconsin and needing it to keep his face warm. I have in fact proved to my satisfaction that a beard does keep my face warm, not only thru my former practice of shaving it off before the last chill, but also thru the use of thermal imaging equipment to measure the amount of heat given off by various portions of my face.

As for the post title, it means beard in the Tok Pidgin used in Papua New Guinea according to the book The Meaning Of Tingo. I took it out of the library hoping to find a word for the day or two, but there are just too many to choose from.


The word for the day is Pogonotrophy.

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January 05, 2007

Paprikash Con Carne

I've been planning to try this recipe for a long time, ever since I happened upon a blog post which, well, sort of suggested it.

4 cloves garlic, diced
4 medium onions, chopped
1 can black beans (nominal 15 oz.)
1 can kidley beans (nominal 15 oz.)
1 can diced tomatoes (nominal 15 oz.)
1 can tomato sauce (nominal 8 oz.)
1 pound ground beef
1 Tbsp paprika

Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan, and saute the garlic till it starts to brown. Add the onions, and continue frying till they start to translucify. Dump said vegetables into a large pot along with the various canned goods, turn on a medium flame beneath it, and stir.

Brown the ground beef in the abovementioned pan, stirring and chopping so as to avoid any of those annoying big lumps. Drain off the fat and add the meat to the vegetables. Add the paprika, and stir well. Ordinary paprika probably wouldn't do much by itself, but I used the smoked variety, and the result was quite tasty. It would probably be fun to serve at a potluck or a chili competition, and is certainly preferable to marrying a sibling.

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Quote For The Day

That indoor cats live longer, healthier lives did not seem an adequate trade-off to me for robbing an animal of its freedom.
from ask now the beasts by Ruth Rudner.
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