January 31, 2005


As well as being my home these days, Milwaukee is also the ome of the Sawzall, a powerful tool for construction or demolition. I always figured it was a tool The Great Carnak would have used when he knewzall and toldzall.

In reviewing posts here and about regarding voting irregularities in Wisconsin, I recalled having posted about the prospect before the election. I swear I predicted that Wisconsin's swing to the right would require stealing so many votes to overwhelm it that the fraud would be visible. It must have been in a comment somewhere, as I wasn't quite that prescient in any of these three posts.

Posted by triticale at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2005

Risk Analysis

Blaster noticed the significance of the story of the kid who survived driving a truck bomb in Baghdad. "[T]he terrorists can't even scare up enough suicide bombers. They have to resort to lies and trickery." It would seem that U.S. policies are not in fact creating terrorists faster than our soldiers can kill them off. I will take it one step further. If this is what they have to work with there cannot be a large enough supply that they can skim off the cream and then send them to carry out autonymous operations in the Unites States. I guess that when I assert that I am safer now than I was before it is not only because when I go walking north of Vliet after dark I am accompanied by an intimidating canine who loves me.

Posted by triticale at 09:37 PM | Comments (1)

Playing With Fire

M Simon has long been exploring what motivates people to use mind-altering drugs. Scroll down and watch the sidebar for a list of essays. It has occured to me that there is another area for research. Different people use different drugs for different reasons, and some are able to maintain a succesfull life while others are devestated. It would be interesting to see how drug choices and consequences relate to personality types. Might as well use Meyers-Briggs typing as a handy framework to get things started. Some people reject this sort of personality typing, but strong correlation here would tend to validate the theory. It would be interesting to test whether those who reject the MBTI in fact tend toward a particular profile.

In any case, it is not necessary to wait for the results of such research to make some basic recommendations. For starters, those who seek excitement in their live would do well not to experiment with high-power stimulants.

Posted by triticale at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2005

Dragon Wings

I was in the break room at work a couple of weeks ago, preparing my lunch, when the on-site engineer for our E911 provider came in for his. He was curious about what I was making, and I explained that it was microwave fried rice which I got at the Asian store by my house.

"An Asian grocery? I've been looking for one up here. I want that chili sauce, you know, in the squeeze bottle."

"Sriracha sauce," I answered. "I went thru half a cup of it last night."

That raised his eyebrows. I explained that I was trying out a new recipe, and had achieved proof of premise but it needed some tuning. I have applied what I learned, the results were everything I hoped for, and here is the recipe.

2-1/2 lbs chicken wings
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter (or, I suppose, margarine)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup sriracha chili sauce
1/2 tspn Thai red curry paste

You can buy the whole wings, disarticulate them yourself, and dispose of the tips, or pay a bit more and get the prepared drumlets. Either way, pierce the skin with a fork where there is fat under it. Preheat the oven to 425F and put the chicken in it on a cookie sheet.

When the wings have been in the oven about 20 minutes, start on the sauce. Finely dice the garlic. Melt the butter in a medium pan. Cutting it into pats will conserve a little energy. Fry the garlic in the butter until it turns frothy, then turn down the heat, and stir in the curry paste, stirring until everything is the same shade of red. Now add the sriracha sauce, and stir until blended. If you pour the melted butter into the sauce instead it will congeal and not blend properly. Turn the heat down to the minimum.

Now get the wings out of the oven, noting the time, and transfer into a heat-resistant bowl. Don't dump them in; you want to get rid of the hot grease in the pan per your best prectice. Pour the sauce over the wings and toss (stir deeply and forcefully enough that the wings are trading places) until well well coated. Now you dump the wings back onto the cookie sheet, and ladle any remaining sauce over them. Return to the oven and bake for a total time of an hour. If you put the sauce on for the entire oven time the sugar in the sriracha chars, and if you follow the common practice of applying sauce to cooked wings the flavor is external to the wing. This way you get a complex flavor with a smoky note similar to that of the cheap oatlay peppers.

This recipe produces significant heat, and as I expected, they are hotter when the sauce bakes for only the second half hour. They are, at least for my taste, into the pleasure-pain realm suitable for bar wings. They are not so hot that the first one numbs you and the rest don't hurt. If you think they should be, as for a Mancamp type occasion, you could experiment with additional curry paste, or add a few drops of ego-grade hot sauce. I don't see the need.


I was negligent, and took the announcement that the Carnival of Recipes was delayed till Sunday meant that I had till Sunday to get my submission in, and thougght I was doing just fine getting it in late on Saturday. Anyway, it is up, and my entry is in.

I must point out that if made per the recipe, the wings will tingle the taste buds, not incinerate them. In fact, upon extended eating, I am not getting the cumulative burn I got from the first test batch. If you like the heat of common commercial wings you will like these. If you need to do damage, increase the amount of curry paste or resort to your show-off hot sauce, as suggested above.

Further Update

I've made a couple more batches of these wings. I can go thru a double batch - 5 pounds of wings - all by my lonesome in about three days. I found that 1-1/2 times the curry paste (3/4 teaspoon in a standard batch) noticeably increased the heat, and a double dose (1 teaspoon in a standard batch) got my nose running. More interestingly, I found that adding ground cumin (1/4 teaspoon in a standard batch) to the sauce at the same time as the curry paste enhances the dragon nature of the wings.

Posted by triticale at 07:12 PM | Comments (1)

January 28, 2005

Another Point Made

Radley Balko is another blogger I read on an irregular basis. He is the one strict Libertarian I find I can agree with; maybe I'm at that end of my cycle but nothing he wrote in the last few days tripped my Government has its functions trigger.

In one recent post he is addressing nannyism rather than statism, and once again numbers are put to a notion I've espoused, altho in this case I was looking at somewhat different longterm trends.

Posted by triticale at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)


"Wow, that's something you don't see every day." In fact, you won't get to see it at all at its intended venue. I still wouldn't buy Budweiser, I belong to that population who gets Bud-specific headaches, but I wish they had the fortitude to disregard that someone out there who is always offended about something.

Posted by triticale at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

Presidential Promise

"Read my taxes, no new lips."

Posted by triticale at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)


Well, holy smoke, for one thing.

Posted by triticale at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

Illinois Alert

This came to me from the Illinois Conceal Carry list. When the opportunity came for us to move from Chicago to Milwaukee, the difference in gun laws was one of the clinchers. I still care about the people of my former home state, and am passing this on without comment for the attention of any there who might be reading this:



The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a luncheon program on how to grab
guns from law abiding citizens. The even will be held in a public library,
so it has to be open to any citizen - including you!

It is important that a sizeable number of law-abiding gun owners turn out
for this event for a couple of reasons. First, it will let the gun grabbers
know that we won't stand for their anti-Constitutional activities. Second,
the cast of characters scheduled to speak at the luncheon reads like a Who's
Who of the gun control movement. This will give you an excellent
opportunity to hear first hand of their morally bankrupt plan to deny you
your right to keep and bear arms.

All the information you need on this event is contained below. Please
distribute this Alert to all your firearm owning friends. Please post this
Alert to any and all Internet bulletin boards to which you may belong.


Here is all the info on the event:

Program to focus on gun violence

The League of Women Voters of Evanston, Wilmette, Glenview and
Winnetka-Northfield-Kenilworth are co-sponsoring a luncheon program, "What
Citizens Can Do About Gun Violence" at 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9 in
the Wilmette Public Library auditorium, 1242 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette.

The moderator will be Cornelia Maude Spelman, an Evanston League member and
Issue Specialist for the Illinois League. Speakers include Martha Witwer,
executive director of Help, a public health effort at Children's Memorial
Hospital; Thomas Mennard, executive director, Illinois Council Against
Handgun Violence; Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, Bill Jenkins and Jeanne E. Bishop
from Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation; and Bob Jones, president,
Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Bishop-Jenkins and Bishop are the sisters of Nancy Bishop Langert, who was
shot to death along with her husband and their unborn child in Winnetka in
1990. Bill Jenkins is the father of William Jenkins who was shot to death in
a robbery in Virginia in 1997. All three have been active in humanitarian
and reconciliation work.

Jones is a frequent speaker about gun violence prevention and has a special
interest in promoting child-safety locks on firearms.

The Help Network is an international network of medical and allied health
organizations dedicated to reducing firearm injuries and deaths.

The meeting is open to the public and cosponsored by the Wilmette Public
Library. Boxed lunches from Panera Bread will be available at a cost of $12,
payable at the door. To request a lunch, make a reservation by calling the
LWV, Evanston office, (847) 866-7844. Parking will be available in the lot
at St. John's Church on the south side of Wilmette Avenue.

Posted by triticale at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2005


I stop by one of my less regular reads, a blog named after an railway operation walking distance from my home, and after reading and thinking about his post about the economics of school choice, I went over to his blogroll.

I am astonished that I had never noticed No Oil For Pacifists before. He doesn't play Whack-A-Mole but he hits an interesting range of nails on the head. His first post of what is to be a series on poverty gives the numbers, and the sources and significance of the numbers, for several points on which I have only given generalities and personal examples.

By the way, I was reminded recently of how many ways the general populace is living better today. I was going thru a coffee table book of exotic automobiles, and happened upon a spread depicting the Jensen FF, the four-wheel-drive version of their Interceptor performance sedan. In 1970, when my father bought a BMW 2002 (equivalent to the current 3 series) for $3500, Jensen offered the first anti-lock brakes, as an option adding $5000 to the price of the car. Cars may cost more now, but anti-lock brakes certainly don't.

Posted by triticale at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

Nonzero Impact

Jeff writes about the stupidity of zero tolerance policies in schools, and suggests that kids will think "Hmmm... They have lied to me about aspirin, what else have they lied to me about? Booze? Pot? Heroin?".

This really happened. At the tail end of the Peruvian Marching Powder era, it was not unusual to hear "They lied to us about pot; how were we to know they were telling the truth about cocaine?" Marijuana, while not harmless, is innocuous. While many of us wasted much time while wasted, few people did themselves any obvious harm by using it. When cocaine first appeared on the scene it seemed similarly innocuous, and when it was a rare delicacy, it was. Then it became readily available. I saw many people decide that potsmoking wasn't for them, and simply stop, but I saw people realize they had a problem with cocaine, and proceed to put their businesses up their noses. Having reasonably evaluated the Reefer Madness warnings as bogus, they disregarded warnings about cocaine until it was too late for them.

Today we have a subtler problem. For various reasons, a certain percentage of the population will choose to use one or another intoxicant. Misguided policies addressing this make this more of a problem than it could otherwise be. When I knew several people in my dormitory who always had pot for sale, binge drinking to the current degree of overdose was unheard of. When drug use is demonized, there is no room for teaching moderation. It is acceptable to run "public service announcements" offering swacked out dudes in their mother's basement accomplishing nothing as a role model, but I am not given the opportunity to suggest to such dudes that since the kick is in getting high as much as in being high, that they could maximise their enjoyment by taking a break and accomplishing something before taking another toke.


When I suggested taking a break, I neglected to mention that I did not mean 'till the Simpson's come on. Lent provides a handy arbitrary framework, and a good excuse to give to those would offer to stoke you up.

Posted by triticale at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2005

Wisconsin Vote Fraud?

Charlie Sykes made an interesting point on his radio talk show today. Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the Wisconsin Democrat organization are continuing to oppose requiring identification for voting. This position is becoming increasingly unpopular as irregularities become more visible. The only logical reason they would maintain this position is a belief that it benefits them, which suggests that they believe that vote fraud of benefit to them is taking place.

Who are we to question their belief?

Posted by triticale at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

Moby Us

We tried composing a Klein Nachmusick, but the effort torus apart.

Posted by triticale at 12:05 PM | Comments (1)

January 24, 2005


Wouldn't it be interesting to know where this money gets invested?

Posted by triticale at 09:02 PM | Comments (1)

Past Tense?

Squid, squad, squud.

Posted by triticale at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

Today's Vocabulary Word

A truly precise and useful word, for which people often lazily substitute "opposite".


Used in a sentence: I'm sure it was correct to support the overthrow of the Sandanistas in Nicaragua, said Tom contrapositively.

Posted by triticale at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2005

Can You Find Me Now?

First of all, I have a philosophical question. If the police had known that these idjits were tweakers, would it have been appropriate, in light of Warren v District of Columbia, to thell them "You've buttered your bread now sleep in it"?

I heard the story on the radio (and Michele was kind enough to find it on line for me. The reason the story caught my attention is that I will be spending Monday driving around suburban Waukesha county calling 911 to determine how accurately the newly installed system enables them to locate me. The news report about the lost meth heads says that their 911 call "had bounced off different cellular telephone towers" which is not an accurate description of how things work. Calls are received by the antennas serving the radios at the site (towers for short) and shouldn't bounce off anything. I know of only two locations around Milwaukee where reflection determines the sector in which a call appears. I would interpret that quote to indicate that said idjits were using a GSM phone where the provider and PSAP have implemented phase one of E911, which provides only the sector on which the call originated. Because a GSM phone selects whichever sector it receives the strongest signal from, and because this is influenced by terrain and elevation as well as distance, this is only of limited help in locating the caller. In the CDMA world a call is carried by multiple sites, and thus triangulation is a simple matter of programming, but a GSM provider has to invest in a complex system to meet E911 requirements. My task is going to be to determine whether that investment, and the county's investment , has been effective. Whether the investment is worthwhile will depend on who is saved as a result.

Posted by triticale at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2005

The Correct Time

It is considered insightful, when someone reviled as stupid comes up with something intelligent, to mention that a stopped clock is correct twice a day. I have observed that this does nothing to increase the value of such a clock, because you know not when these times occur. It is, however, possible to observe when someone reviled as stupid comes up with something intelligent, and Pejman has done just that.

Posted by triticale at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)

Life, Etc.

The number is no longer 42.

Hat tip, Wizbang.

Posted by triticale at 06:29 AM | Comments (0)

The Parable Of The Neighbor

We didn't have it so bad. The Mayor didn't particularly care, the Police Chief didn't particularly care, and the District Attorney is notorious for not prosecuting aggressively, but the street cops and the district commanders really tried to clean things up, and the new County Sheriff is a real fighter. There has been corruption in the City Council, but it was relatively benign, just a little sloppy bookkeeping between campaign funds built on contributions from real estate developers and city contractors and their personal accounts. The drug dealers were selling crack and heroin, so we didn't have the environmental disaster of a meth lab. The kids were neglected but not abused, and the prostitution was casual and apparently not forced. The nastiest firearm I saw being used was a cut down, pistol gripped .22 rifle; scary looking but singularly ineffective. But even if you live in the shining city on the hill, with the only drug dealers kindly people selling kind bud, Frank Martin's real message should be perfectly clear.

Posted by triticale at 01:42 AM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2005

Good Luck

It's an old American hand sign meaning "Good Luck". At least that's what the crew of the Pueblo("Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to constitute the crime") told their North Korean captors.


I noticed, in the trackbacks to the linked post, a Kerry supporter equating this to Bush-hating obscenities. I don't think it is the same, and wouldn't have shared it if I did. The symbol has specific meaning within the military, and the blogger who shared the image has very close ties to the military. I can concur with the lack of respect our fighting forces have for a man who could portray himself as a war criminal or a war hero when it suited his purposes without giving him a little birdie in other circumstances.

Posted by triticale at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)

Kibabu Peekaboo

Rachel is freaking out over a portrait of a gorilla chomping on a carrot as if it were a cigar. Just wait till she gets a look at what he's really staring at.

Posted by triticale at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2005

Wake the Dead Applesauce

This is a fun recipe for young people ready to work with knives; remember that sharp knives are more controllable than dull ones and thus actually safer. It isn't something made much at home any more, and it is distinctly different than the store bought variety. It has been a big hit for the wee wifey on Girl Scout overnights. Any apples will work, but you want to stay closer to the Granny Smith end of the spectrum than the Fuji end. Tart apples can mean adding more sugar - to taste, of course. Splitting the apple down the middle and then excising the seed area will increase yield over slicing fruit segments off the core. One can also leave the peel on for cooking and fish it out later. This trades one kind of labor for another, and also adds color and pectin to the sauce.

9 pounds apples -- peeled, diced & cored
50 disks Brachs cinnamon hard candy
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup water
sugar -- to taste, optional
cinnamon oil or flavoring -- to taste, optional
red hot sauce (such as Tabasco) -- to taste, optional

Peel, core & fine dice apples, put in crockpot with water, lemon juice and candy (cinnamon disks). Cook on low for 8-9 hours

Mash with potato masher & taste. Add sugar (very sparingly as there is sugar in the candy), cinnamon oil/flavoring and red hot sauce. With the hot sauce added, the flavor resembles hot pepper jelly.

If you want a smoother applesauce process in a blender or food processor. It can be kept in the refrigerator or put up in 1 cup or pint canning jars and processed in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Might as well introduce the kids to canning while you are at it.

By the way, I made a first trial of the recipe I mentioned last week which will require sriracha sauce. It needs a little tuning, and the correction of one significant process mistake, but the concept is valid. For those who appreciate heat, the best way to maximize it will be Thai red curry paste, which should be available where you get the sriracha.

Posted by triticale at 07:35 PM | Comments (1)

Bamp Bamp

Two Bamps Forever!

Posted by triticale at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2005

Kerry Confesses

Senator John Kerry showed up and voted today. His vote was purely symbolic, a chance to make a statement about what he maintains are failed policied in Iraq. Perhaps he doesn't have access to the same information the rest of us do.

The best part is that he says he was guided by his gut. We all know what guts contain; I guess he has acknowledged that he is full of it.

Posted by triticale at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

Add To The List

We have structured compiler, alone together, good grief, and the ever popular friendly game of poker. Now we have another.

Posted by triticale at 06:32 PM | Comments (1)

January 18, 2005

Demographics Or Fraud?

Wisconsin bloggers are giving massive coverage to the interesting developments regarding voter registration in Milwaukee. Owen in particular is digging for further details. Captain Ed, in Minneapolis, is seeing to it that the story gets wider attention. One thing is missing so far from the story, and that is any proof of vote fraud.

I know for a fact that vote fraud goes on in Milwaukee. I had the proof in my hands, but at the time of the local aldermanic election in the spring of 2000 I had no idea how important that proof would come to be. That election was hotly contested, and won by the incumbent by a very narrow margin. After the election, we got postcards thanking us for having voted. All of us did, even a voter at our address who we had never heard of.

Chicago has a reputation for vote fraud, but the last time I saw proof of it was back in 1963. My wee wifey was an election judge in Chicago for 20 years. She saw a very well run machine making sure every legitimate vote by people they could count on was cast, but she never saw any sign of fraud. She also never saw anyone have any trouble cleanly punching the chad out of the ballot, but that's a whole 'nother issue.

Posted by triticale at 11:54 PM | Comments (1)

The Bloggerette And My Blog

It is really all her fault. She had posted a tale of how her Little Dude had hit some adult with a snappy comeback, and I left a comment about how Emrack had done the same sort of thing when he was a youngster. She sent me a note saying she would enjoy seeing more stories about my son. That was the final incentive which puhed me over the line to starting a blog.

The thing is that Emrack stories just don't come across that well online. I can retell his story of seeing two dogs getting into a fight in the heart of the hippiest part of the Rainbow Gathering (not the part where he hangs out). It just isn't the same as seeing him standing in front of you, pointing with one hand, and waving a wad of bills with the other.

Posted by triticale at 06:23 PM | Comments (2)

New World's Champion

There are criminals who are just careless, like the ones who lock their keys in the getaway car, or write the stickup note on the back of something that identifies them.

Their are criminals who are just unlucky, like the would-be rapist who tried to drag the Illinois State Women's Full-contact Karate champion into an alley.

There are criminals who are too clever for their own good, like the burglars in northern Indiana who lured the local police away from their activities by setting off pipe bombs and brought the ATF down on themselves.

Nothing comes close to winning a million dollars on TV and thinking you could avoid paying taxes on it.

Posted by triticale at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2005


A little while back, a couple of major bloggers posted from tire shops via mobile connections. I'm sitting on top of a set of tires, and connecting via GSM GPRS thru a cellular phone cabled to a laptop. This is part of my regular work test rig, but right now the laptop sees the phone as just another modem.

In order to minimize the number of customers affected, it is common practice thruout the mobile telephone industry for major work which requires a service outage, either of one site or an entire network, to be done late at night. Tonite a software upgrade was loaded into the computers at every cell site in our network, and I just had to drive a loop thru part of the market (one of the engineers did the other half) to make sure that the sites (or at least enough of them to be reassuring) came back up and are functioning. Usually they do, but when they don't the people doing the work (tonite it was done from Chicago) want to know promptly.

The drive itself was routine, but a couple of things I saw were worthy of mention. A major local construction contractor located by the expressway is advertising for carpenters. This is not prime construction season; business, for them and their competitors, must be good. An undeveloped parcel of land near the end of a major business area has come on the market. The sign announced "Minimum Setbacks - Fast Approval". Government policies can, it would appear, effect real estate real estate values.

Posted by triticale at 01:58 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2005

Naming Things

I was reviewing my referral log and saw that I had a hit off a sitemeter page I didn't recognise. It turned out to simply have a different name on it than that of the familiar blog, but another sitemeter link caught my eye, and led me to an old post about naming houses. We've never named our houses. We simply distinguish them by referencing the name of the street on which they are located. The one we are in the process of moving to is on a corner lot, and has a seperate address for the upstairs apartment, but we do not refer to the place as "Thirtieth".

Shortly thereafter I was checking some of the blogs I read regularly, and came upon James Rummel's post about naming weapons. He writes about a high regard for an inanimate tool pretty much shared by those who depend upon them. This is not true only of weapons; musicians feel the same way about their instruments. Sometimes they too give them names, like B.B. King with Lucille and George Harrison with Gently.

When I was discussing all this with my wee wifey she reminded me that she had at one time given a name to a fur coat. The thing is that the fur was beaver and the name was "Wally" so all this meant was that she has been living with me too long.

Posted by triticale at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)


We need to hunt down the people responsible for this, and sentence them to a lifetime of taking customer service calls, since it is so important to them that such jobs remain in the U.S.

Posted by triticale at 08:04 AM | Comments (3)

January 15, 2005

Georgia Writers Workshop

If I had the power to fly, this would be my first destination.


OK, now that I know about it, there is an earlier opportunity. My point is that, other than cleaning the gutters, meeting bloggers is the best use of the power of flight. These folks hold get-togethers at the drop of a hat; I won't wear one while flying.

Posted by triticale at 07:30 PM | Comments (1)

Way Cool

It has been close to 20 years since I designed an embedded computer system for an industrial application, but I like to keep in touch with what is going on in the field. One of my favorite magazines is the COTS Journal, which deals with the use of Commercial Off The Shelf systems in mission critical applications. This hardware has design features in common with desktop computers, which speeds development time and lowers costs, but is designed and manufactured to be far more rugged and reliable.

Here is an article which describes, in terms I don't fully understand, how one company's components were used in the development of something straight out of the science fiction of my youth. It uses a vision system (basically a video camera) and then a specialized processor build from Field Programmable Gate Arrays to spot air turbulance so as to enable aircraft to fly more smoothly thru it. I remember reading of robot pilots which would do this, but boxes like this are making the fictional anthropoid robot obsolete.

Like every other type of integrated circuit, FPGAs are doubling in density every year or two, and picking up features and speed along the way. Originally they were used to replace a handfull of standard logic chips on a board, and now they can hold entire systems. There are "chip" companies which manufacture nothing, but will sell you a data file which amounts to a standard microprocessor to include in your custom chip.

Posted by triticale at 06:50 PM | Comments (2)

Surprise Surprise Surprise

Sean reported, at the beginning of the year, that Illinois was doubling the cost of their tollroads for those who don't use them often enough to justify buying the RF I-Pass gimmick. I commented that my son, who usually teases me about taking the scenic route, has decided to follow my example and take Hiway 41 when travelling to Chicago (which he does a couple times a month).

It turns out he's not alone. I'm not sure if it was tuner drift or a deliberate decision on my wee wifey's part, but we've been listening to Chicago news radio the last few days. Truck traffic on 41 has doubled, and local residents are complaining. Traffic delays at the tollbooths are shorter. I expect that eventually toll revenues will be down so much that some official will announce that it has become necessary to raise the tolls in order to make up for the losses.

Posted by triticale at 06:27 PM | Comments (2)

Duh, Indeed

Andrew Sullivan has shared his favorite piece of hate mail for the week. He mentions with amusement the guys who hang out on his block and sometimes yell "faggot" when he walks by.

Those guys are almost as funny as the baseball jocks who used to hang out outside my dorm room yelling "faggot" and making moaning and kissing noises. They were so sure I was gay that they even concluded that the buxom high school girl who spent a lot of time alone with me in that room was a Lesbian. Their evidence that I was gay? I had long hair and an earring, and wore odd clothing. In 1971. I will admit that I was, literally, light in my loafers, but that was only because I was smoking so much pot that year (like half the people in that dorm) that it affected the way I walked.

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

January 14, 2005

No Thank You

I watch almost no television, and one of the reasons that I don't is that there are already too many jerks on TV.

Posted by triticale at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

Pale Puce

My one-time accuser has found a blog he is unable to read. I could read it if I wanted to; it almost looks like it is worth the effort.

Posted by triticale at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

An Era Ends

Nothing last forever.

Posted by triticale at 09:50 PM | Comments (1)

Repaint Your Map

The number of dubious voter registations being documented in Milwaukee turns out to exceed the number of votes by which Kerry officially carried the state of Wisconsin. A caller to Mark Belling's late afternoon talk show (Belling is on the other talk station from the one linked just above, and an acknowledged jerk) identified himself as a letter carrier serving an area to the North of our house, a solidly Democrat area, and alleged that he received 800 voter registration confirmations addressed to people he knew to be dead, moved, or non-existent.

In the meantime, Milwaukee County's soi-desant prosecuter still hasn't filed any charges against the Democrat's paid staff and the offspring of leading local politicians who vandalized the vans of the local Republican get out the vote program the night before the election.

Posted by triticale at 09:19 PM | Comments (1)

Looks Are Secondary

The summer after I got married, I worked for a while mowing lawns in Chicago's fancy North Shore suburbs. For a few weeks there was a local youngster on the crew, and one day I drove him home and went in to meet his folks. His father offered me an apple. I started to decline, but then I looked at the fruit and said "Oh, they're ugly. Yes, thanks, I'll have one." The kid was horrified, but his father explained that when apples are bred for looks, flavor can get sacrificed. The same is true of tomatoes, and now the Florida Tomato Committee wants to deny people the option of choosing.

Posted by triticale at 08:55 PM | Comments (1)

January 13, 2005

Bumper Brain

At one pont in my driving today, there was a shiny new pickup truck in front of me with the entire tailgate, except for the truck's brandname, covered with bumper stickers. There were stickers for candidates such as Kucinich (give it up, he lost) and Feingold, the usual Bushate stickers, and a couple I found particularly noteworthy. One, which I'm sure the owner thought was clever, said "Billionaires for Bush - Free the Forbes 400". I guess he failed to notice how much more devoted the Kerry's supporters among the Forbes 400 were. The other was the old classic which reads in effect "It will be a wonderful day when school administrators and teachers union bigwigs have all the money they can possibly piss away, and we have to hold a bakesale to maintain the aircraft carrier which proved so usefull providing humanitarian aid".

Just as I finished reading all the stickers, the truck turned, much to my surprise [/sarcasm] into the parking lot of the Earth-crunchy grocery co-op.


Saw another one tonite, driving herself to work. "Osama bin Laden still has his job; do you still have yours?" He still holds the job title, but he isn't getting much work done. I'm coming up on two years on a contract which was "at least six weeks" when I was hired. If I had been let go when I expected last fall, it would have been because the current boom created changes in the industry I'm working in, leading to a 1.5 billion dollar investment in another market. Turns out they still have money left to spend around here. I assume that "Bush - Orwell 2004" was intended to suggest a similarity between our current government and that described in 1984, but I'd be real surprised if anyone involved in creating and applying that sticker realized who well Orwell understood, and how completely he rejected, the politics of the Left.

As for the "You can't hug a child with nuclear arms" one mentioned by a commenter, it really isn't any cleverer than "You can't dance with table legs" nor any more informative than "Never store carbide in a non-locking carabinier."

Posted by triticale at 07:00 PM | Comments (3)

Copper Penny Salad

My wee wifey works third shift. The kitchen is closed and few places deliver that late, so potlucks are a fairly regular events. A couple of weeks ago she made this salad, and I got to eat the surplus. I liked it so much I started shoveling it into my mouth and bit my tongue so hard I raised a blood blister. I planned to post the recipe then, but when I went to get it off her computer MasterCook crashed. She tells me that it "gets tired", probably because her recipe collection is so huge. I looked for the recipe online, but what I found differed significantly. I was going to post it last week, but wound up using the carrot slices in the lamb stew instead.

2 1 pound packages frozen carrot slices
1/2 bunch celery -- diced
1 medium green pepper -- diced
1 medium onion -- diced
1 10 ounce can condensed tomato soup
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vinegar -- wine or flavored if possible
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt -- to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper -- to taste
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon sriracha chili sauce

Slightly undercook carrots so that they are cooked but still a bit crisp. Microwave, one package at a time on high for 6 minutes, or modify the stovetop instructions similarly. Drain. Set aside in a non-reactive bowl.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive pot. Heat to boiling and simmer 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Pour over drained carrots. Let sit for several hours. Serve hot as a side dish or cold as a salad.

She uses a fruit flavored vinegar such as blueberry or cranberry vinegar -- whatever is on hand. She makes these at home; maybe someday I'll post the procedure. Otherwise a red wine vinegar is an excellent choice.

Sriracha is like ketchup, only made with chili peppers rather than tomatoes. If you substitute Dave's Insanity Sauce, adjust quantity accordingly.


The new recipe Carnival has been posted, and one otherwise Happy Dog points out that the sriracha chili sauce is not always ready to hand. Hopefully the Insanity Sauce isn't either. Altho the sriracha contributes a little something specific to the flavor, any hot sauce can provide the hint of a bite as long as you adjust the amount. I would try about a teaspoon of common hot sauce or two or three drops of ego stuff.

I have an entirely new recipe in development which expressly requires sriracha chili sauce, so I would encourage people who have the opportunity to get some to do so.

Posted by triticale at 06:48 PM | Comments (2)

How'd This Happen

I worked for a long time for a company which had accidently gotten an extra zero into the sales volume number in its D&B rating. This made the owner the target of boiler room stock brokers and the like. Going thru the mail, one of my responsibilities on occasion, I came upon a Nigerian 419 letter, hand typed on paper. The only mail fraud I'd ever seen was the "Make Money Fast" pyramid, we didn't have public discussion of the scam, my schooling was nowhere near that of a PhD. and it took about ten seconds after reading it to bust out laughing.

Posted by triticale at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)


The Left in Wisconsin, from Diamond Jim the Governor on down, are saying that there is no need to legislate limits on taxation; after all recent increases have been quite moderate. I guess I don't need to wear a seatbelt, I haven't been in an accident where one would protect me since 1976.

Posted by triticale at 12:18 AM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2005

Enjoy Responsibly

Driving the wee wifey to work this evening, I passed a billboard advertising Jack Daniels Whiskey with the claim "Turning nights into stories since 1866." Here's a suggestion. Drink only enough to be the one telling the stories, not the one they are about.

Posted by triticale at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

Rain Flurries

It is obviously global warming, if Milwaukee is the globe and the last twenty four hours amount to a long term trend. It has been raining kittens and puppies here, altho since it got dark there has been thunder and lightning in the distance. We are under a flood watch right now (along with a fog advisory), not because of the volume of rain, but because snow and ice leave it no place to go.

Fortunately, our house is on high ground. We wouldn't have bought it otherwise. Long before we moved here, we used to come up every summer to attend the State Fair and tent camp in the State Forest. We were here on August 6th, 1987, when rainclouds parked over the city and opened up. Among the records: 1.10 inches in 5 minutes, 3.06 inches in 1 hour, 5.24 inches in 2 hours, 6.24 in 6 hours and 6.84 inches in 24 hours. Floodwaters were four feet deep at the Milwaukee County Stadium (there was a clip of groundskeepers in a rowboat on the evening news), and floodwaters filled the basement of the main terminal at the airport. Flooding caused 5.9 million dollars damage, and claimed the life of one person. Another child might have drowned, but a neighbor dove off his porch and swam across his lawn to rescue her.

Posted by triticale at 09:25 PM | Comments (2)

January 11, 2005

No Details

I got back from my test drives today, and found the following email, posted in its entirety altho redacted:

[A certain person] is no longer an employee with [this company]. Any [dept.] issues when [dept. superviser] is unavailable, call the Chicago [dept.] or the National Operations Center.

I went to the office of the Milwaukee operations manager, and asked "Did I miss anything exciting today?" He sort of stared at his desk, sort of grinned, sort of blushed, and said "[A certain person] is no longer an employee with [this company]." I'm glad I'm not in management.

Posted by triticale at 06:46 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2005

Time Waster

I haven't done one of these question things in a long time, but Terry Teachout's year in review list, found at Pejman's, looks worthwhile, even tho I didn't have the sort of year which really warrants it.

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?


2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Not particularly.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

One neighbor and the daughters of a couple of others. Nobody I know well.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My wee wifey's foster sister Kate, who, along with her children, had been part of our household the last few years.

5. What countries did you visit?
We got to parts of Wisconsin which we hadn't been to before, and we did touristy stuff in parts of the state I've driven for work.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
A modern econo/performance 302 in the Fairmont, to take the place of the worn out oilburning smogmotor 302 in it now. I can get double the horsepower, better gas mileage, and emissions as low as before the valve guides started leaking.

7. What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory?
I don't track dates very well, but in the long run the X-Prize flights of Space Ship One will be as important as the re-election of President Bush.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Nothing spectacular.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Nothing spectacular.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A minor retinal tear, out of the line of sight, which has left me with a persistant floater.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Nothing spectacular. I've started accumulating tools toward the model shop I will set up as we finish moving.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Nothing spectacular.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The Bush haters, including too many of my neighbors and family.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Subsistance and savings.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The 27 T track roadster which is the feature car in the latest issue of American Rodder magazine. The design concept is very close to what I've had in mind and the execution is near perfect.

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2004?
Gretchen Wilson's Redneck Woman

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

� Happier or sadder?
Like Terry& Pejman, somewhat happier.

� Thinner or fatter?
I'm fitting comfortably into the pants at the tight end of my range.

� Richer or poorer?
Incrementally richer. We have recovered from the bad year we had in 2002.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Model building.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Thumb twiddling.

20. How [did you spend] Christmas?
Christmas was a work night for the wee wifey; I puttered around the houses. The celebration was New Years Day, spent with Kate's offspring. Not a big party.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
Nobody; for hundreds of hours. next would be the wee wifey.

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?

23. How many one-night stands in this last year?
I'm a third of the way thru my fourth decade of monagamy.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
It was so long ago that I don't remember.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Not worth the effort.

26. What was the best book(s) you read?
Most of them.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I've diversified greatly. Lounge, bhangra, Stockhausen, Big Bill Broonzy...

28. What did you want and get?
Nothing spectacular.

29. What did you want and not get?
Nothing spectacular.

30. What were your favorite films of this year?
Last new release I watched was Sixth Sense. If I'd been between contracts this year I probably would have watched a few videos.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I don't recall that I did anything specific on the day. I'm now 54.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I can't imagine anything having that big an impact.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
I'm wearing more black jeans instead of blue, because I got lucky at Goodwill.

34. What kept you sane?
It has been a long time since my sanity was at risk.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
It was so long ago that I don't remember.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Most of them.

37. Who did you miss?
A platonic girlfriend of the previous decade. Kate's death from cancer reminded me of hers.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Owen, from Boots and Sabers is the only person I've gotten to know and met in person this year.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.
Nothing spectacular.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
It hasn't been the sort of year one writes songs about.

Posted by triticale at 10:00 PM | Comments (2)

The Daily Day By

If perchance there is anyone reading me and not Chris Muir, today would be a good day to start. No need to be familiar with the strip's characters; the real world figures cited are sufficient to provoke laughter.

Posted by triticale at 07:36 AM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2005

Full Frontal Nerdity

I'm not a big fan of those online multiple choice quizzes. Mostly, they are just silly. The recent one about "which Beatles song are you" consisted mostly of questions for which not a single choice was appropriate for me.

I pay more attention to tests of social standing. I was very disappointed by my low score on the geek test which was going around last spring. The scoring was based on the presumption that one's taste in television, film and gaming are major measures of geekitude whereas I occasionally happen past a switched on television, go to the theater for a first run movie more than once a decade and play a couple rounds of Snoods of an evening.

I am therefore pleased to report that I scored 84% on the currently popular nerd test. I took the test while at work, with answers based on the computer I was using, so I took it again, as if I was using this one. I would probably spend more time online if I were able to use Firefox instead of the mandated IE, but changing that answer didn't change my score. Despite the memory intensive analysis programs I run at work, my system at home has more RAM. Changing that answer didn't change my score. I even made the non-geeky assertion that I actually built this computer, when in fact I merely assembled it from standard boards and drives in a standard case. Even changing that answer didn't change my score.

I've assembled many a computer, but only my first would I say I built. It was a MicroAce kit, a clone of the Sinclair ZX80. I soldered all the sockets into the circuit board, plugged in the chips, and then started modifying it. I replaced the RF modulator with a video amplifier, per a circuit found in Dr. Dobb's Journal (the magazine is still around, but it has been a while since they've published a hardware article), to drive a little closed circuit surveillance monitor I bought at a newstand in the Chicago subway system. I cut the traces of the circuit board under a keyboard out of a keypunch machine, and rewired it to match the exceptionally bad membrane keyboard of the kit. One of the toggle switches on the keyboard gave me inverted video (black letters on a white background) by bypassing one gate in the display circuitry, and another switched between the standard 4K BASIC ROM and an 8K Extended BASIC from the ZX81, both mounted in a daughter board I wired up. I even tried to build a memory expansion board which would allow mounting two 16K RAM packs, but even with some help from M.Simon I never got it working. I found out later, when I built an adapter to run Sinclair memory on a Mattel Aquarius, that one of the memory packs was only good for 4K. Anyway, altho there are people who have gotten far deeper into the machines than I have, this is what a geek means by building a computer.

Posted by triticale at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2005

The Venture Adventure

M. Simon has a rambling post about intergenerational difficulties. In it he makes the provocative statement that

In fact some day when the real history of Silicon Valley is written we will find out that much of the early entreprenureal efforts were underwritten by illegal drug money.

I know for a fact that some early Silicon Valley venture capital was drug money. The one place I ever lived where I knew my landlord, he had worked for one of the upstart minicomputer companies (which was in turn one of Osborne Associates' first clients) doing investor relations. He wouldn't have been around to be my landlord if the cops who busted him were honest. He was caught with 24 keys of Mexican goldenleaf, six sheets of blotter acid and a jar containing "six ounces of a white powdery substance not submitted as evidence". If it had been, he would not have gotten probation. One of the investors he did relations with brought in his last planeload of pot the week before his eighteenth birthday; once he would have faced charges as an adult he limited his risk-taking to the companies into whom he sank that money.

One of the ways the War on Some Drugs harms the entire country is by making it preferable to put drug money (and there is inevitably going to be drug money) into bling-bling than into startups.

As fot the contribution of drug users to the development of computers? Bill Gates has confirmed the rumor that he got into an argument with a table while tripping at the Microsoft offices. Nolan Bushnell has confirmed that Atari corporate design meetings were intense smokefests. The initial Macintosh project was notorious not for the fact of marijuana use but the amount and openness of it. Bob Widlar, the single most influential designer of analog amplifier chips, altho better known for his drinking, liked to go to Acapulco to binge on the famous gold after every breakthru.

Posted by triticale at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

You Might Be...

Found via DocB, a list stereotyping "the other side" without getting blindly accusatory as most such do.

Note, by the way, that the indicated subtraction factor for a Southern accent is unrealistically high (I'll bet it is closer to 15 points than 100) and that the one person I know who is a regular repeat plasma donor meets many of the other stereotypes.

Posted by triticale at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

Random Page

You gotta know the territory.

Just an amusing item found whilst working on the previous post.

Posted by triticale at 12:08 AM | Comments (1)


Have yourself a merry Little Christmas.

Posted by triticale at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)

The Impact Of Blogging

When we moved to Milwaukee, we opened an account with the local bank with a branch at the locally owned grocery where we shopped. We now have most of our liquid assets at a credit union, but the cash flow account remains. We had been such good customers that Jewel (part of the nationwide Albertson's chain) followed us here from Milwaukee, and recently opened a store here in the 'hood. This means that going to the Pick n' Save is a special trip done primarily for the banking. We've been thinking about moving the cash flow account to the TCF bank where we do most of our shopping, and now we have one more reason to do so.

Posted by triticale at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2005

Stew Blogging

The Instapundit is correct that today instacuisine, regardless of the cost of ingredients, is more prevalent than time-intensive cooking. Money spent can be recovered, but time spent is gone forever. There are, however, multiple ways to trade money for time. One of these is by buying the correct tools. When the project is slow cooking, the correct tool is, whodathunk, a slow cooker, commonly known by the trademark Crockpot. Prepare the ingredients, load it up, go off and do your thing, and hours later your time-intensive luxury food is ready.

Irish Potato Stew

1 1/2 Lbs Lamb -- cut in 2" cubes
1 Tbsp shortening
2 Med onion -- chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 C beef broth
3 Med red potato -- cut in 2" cubes
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp pepper
1/4 Tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp marjoram -- crushed
1/8 tsp thyme -- crushed
1 pkg peas, frozen -- partially thawed
6 tbsps flour
1 pkg sliced carrots, frozen -- partially thawed

Melt the shortening in a large skillet, then brown the meat by quickly and briefly stir-frying. Combine browned meat in slow-cooker with all but the last three ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat and potatoes are done. Skim fat - there are tools which can be bought for this task also. Add peas and carrots, then flour dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water. Turn control on high; cover and cook on high for 15-20 minutes.

One way I've traded money for time is by using the frozen sliced carrots from our version of copper penny salad, the recipe which I've set aside till next week. If you use scraped and sliced fresh carrots, include them in the slow cook. Note that we merely scrub and blind the potatoes rather than peeling them. This is not done to save time but to add nutrients and flavor.

Oh yes. One more way to balance time and money. Slow cookers can sometimes be found at thrift stores for around five dollars, but don't count on getting one on your next shopping trip.

Posted by triticale at 11:43 PM | Comments (1)

January 04, 2005

Tack Tickle

Funniest post I've read all day - thank's, Kevin.

Fortunately, the character being made fun of is both rare and less effective than he thinks. Unfortunately, the GFWs think that anyone who believes in the right to armed self defense resembles this guy. I've had people presume I'm dangerous because I carry a classic Spyderco Clipit just in case I might need to tactically open a carton or slice some cheese.

Posted by triticale at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)