February 28, 2006

Fashion Police

I just heard on the radio that the Milwaukee City Coincil just approved an ordinance calling for fines against persons who "loiter in a menacing fashion." I predict lawsuits.

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Dean writes about what makes India's economic growth so interesting, but says nothing about what made this success possible. This should be included in any discussion of India because it contains a message on how the United States should respond to the challange India represents.

India used to be a very poor nation. They were doing all the right things, except for the matter of corruption. They had a Socialist economy, planned from the top, and they had a closed economy, welcoming only revenue from their few trading partners. The first thing they abandoned was the trade barriers. Taking an action opposite to what some think is needed here began a pattern of growth and wealth creation which are taking down the other issues, even, now, the corruption.Those who point to the rest of the world and argue that we should move this country in the opposite direction are clearly wrong.

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February 25, 2006

Hot Fruit Salad

Fast, easy, delicious. All three, no "pick any two". The wee wifey has taken this to the Easter Brunch at church and always got compliments. She likes to use strawberry applesauce. You could also use our previously posted hot cinnamon applesauce recipe to make the one ingredient; omit the teaspoon of cinnamon. By the way, we are going to some sort of church meal tonite, guyship, fellowboat, whatever, and will be bringing two PPR items, the copper penny salad and the elotes corn salad. Hopefully they will be as popular with the other guests as they are with search engine users.

15 ounces pineapple chunks drained -- 1 can
20 ounces applesauce -- 1 jar
15 ounces apricot halves* drained -- 1 can
11 ounces mandarin oranges drained -- 1 can
21 ounces cherry pie filling -- 1 can
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

*cut the apricot halves into smaller pieces (or find canned apricot pieces, which could be less expensive. Either way, inspect for shards missed in the mechanical pitting).

Mix everything together, pour into 9x13 pan. Bake off for 1 hour in 350 degree oven.

After baking, you can can it using a hot water bath. Or, if you prefer, after baking, it is possible to can it using a hot water bath.

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Euphemism For The Day

North America's leader in profile enhancement for community-based organizations
From a help-wanted ad for "sales professionals" to work in a boiler room calling people to solicite funds on behalf of their local police lodge. My foster-nephew Mr. Chin, brother to the previously mentioned NP, worked in this racket during his flirtation with a downhill slide. He says that altho this ad was for a different company than he'd worked for, it's "the same bunch of money-grubbing losers." We fortunately weren't made famous by it, but Milwaukee is a center for profile enhancement for community-based organizations.
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February 23, 2006

Like The Song Says

It's a long way from amphioxus
It's a long way to us…
It's a long way from amphioxus
To the meanest human cuss.
It's good-bye, fins and gill slits,
Hello, lungs and hair!
It's a long, long way from amphioxus,
But we all came from there!

Actually, research since the song was written shows that we came from elsewhere, but the more we learn, the more we learn that it's been a long, long way...

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Even Worse...

What's worse than having your wife and girlfriend upset enough to gang up on you? You wanna take on Bill Bennett and Alan Dershowitz?

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February 18, 2006

Chicken Breasts - Simple Or Soup

A while back, Jane Galt posted a series of essays regarding how a person of limited means could, with a modicum of effort, eat quite well. Chicken breasts figured in the recipes, and rancorous debate about the Fate Of The Poor figured in the comment section.

In Milwaukee, Lena's Food Markets have been "Serving the community for 40 years." The community they serve is the largely black, largely poor North side of the city. They have a fleet of mini-vans with which they provide transportation home for anyone spending $40, thereby shooting down one of the Fates mentioned above. The meat department specializes in not offering meat containing up to 15% of a solution of water and salts, and always has a spectacular bargain or two. A couple of weeks ago they had pork neckbones (great base for an all-day soup pot) for $.39 a pound, and boneless skinless chicken breasts, $.99 a pound. We haven't the time or the mouths for a major soup project, but we stocked up on the chicken.

Simple Salsa Shicken

4 chicken breasts
1 cup salsa
lumnum foil

Trim about an ounce off the thinnest edges of each breast, and reserve. Jab the chicken a few times on each side with a fork. Lay each breast on a sheet of foil, pour 1/4 cup salsa on it and flip it so there is some sala on each side. Don't worry about any even coating. Fold up the foil to make a sealed packet around the chicken, and bake for 20 minutes in a 350F oven.

When you open the packets, some clear juice will pour out. If you can reserve this, you avoid a mess and have a bit of another ingredient toward:

Tom Kha Kai

16 ounces Chicken stock ; or broth (some from above if available)
2 medium kaffir lime leaves ; rolled to release the flavour
1 ounce lemon grass (citronella) ; bruised to release flavor
1 tablespoon sliced thinly galangal
4 tablespoons fish sauce ; or to taste
2 tablespoons lime juice ; or to taste
4 ounces chicken breast ; cut into bite size
5 oz coconut milk
8 small Thai Chillies ; slightly crushed
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves ; - for garnish

Heat the stock, add the lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal, fish sauce,and
lime juice. Stir thoroughly and, bring to a boil. Add the chicken and
coconut milk, bring back to the boil, lower the heat to keep it simmering
and cook for about 2 minutes (until the chicken is cooked through).

Note that the number of red chillies is a personal choice. The 8 suggested above is about mid-range. Don't go past that your first time unless you routinely ask for four-star heat at the Thai restaurant. Some suggest substituting ginger for galangal. They are not interchangeable. I keep a jar of pickled galangal in the fridge, and slice as needed. That, along with all the other supposedly exotic ingredients, are bought at the C&J Vliet Street Grocery, closest food store to my house.

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February 09, 2006

Not That It's Shaggy

My older brother doesn't forward me jokes I first heard in the schoolyard, or links to flash pages with no explanation, but I still dread emails inspired by his sense of humor. A pun, let alone several related ones, is not something to visibly strive for. This time, however, he sent me an elegant dog story.

In a small country pub, all the patrons became quite used to the pub owner's little dog being around the bar, so they were quite upset when one day the little dog died.

Everyone met to decide how they could remember the little dog. The decision was to cut off his tail and stick it up behind the bar to remind everyone of the little dog's wagging tail.

The little dog went up to heaven and was about to run through the Pearly Gates when he was stopped by Saint Peter, who questioned the little dog as to where he was going.

The little dog said "I have been a good dog, so I am going into heaven where I belong!"

Saint Peter replied "You can not come into heaven without a tail. Where is your tail"?

The little dog explained what had happened back on Earth. Saint Peter told the little dog to go back down to Earth and retrieve his tail. The little dog protested that it was now the middle of the night back at the pub, but Saint Peter would not change his mind.

So the little dog went back down to Earth and scratched on the door of the pub until the bartender who lived upstairs came down and opened the door.

"My goodness, it is the spirit of the little dog. What can I do for you"? said the bartender. The little dog explained that he wasn't allowed into heaven without his tail, and he needed it back.

The bartender replied "I would really like to help you, but my liquor license doesn't allow me to...retail spirits after hours!"

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February 08, 2006

Chicken Lips

Found in the comments to Dean's latest open thread, the, um, human interest story of the day.

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February 05, 2006

Quote For The Day

I must confess my agitation is real...
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February 04, 2006

Quote For The Day

A shprakh iz a diyalekt mit an armey un a flot.
Found in the wonderfully wandering comment thread upon a post about translating Shakespeare into English.

When I was in high school, we studied Hamlet from a nearly original text. A few words were omitted; they no doubt feared we would have reacted as the pit audience at the Globe had to the mention of "country matters". Only one word was "modernized", leading me to recite the end of the soliloquey we all had to memorize as "...enterpritheth of great pith and moment in thith regard their currenth turn awry, and looth the name of action."


Just noticed I'd left out the link so I've added it.

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My Very First Recipe

When I was about ten or twelve years old, the first food franchise arrived in Chicago's isolated Hyde Park neighborhood, the one which offered an impressive number of ice cream flavors. Going there was a special treat for my younger brother and I. I don't recall his preferences, but I quickly settled on the licorice ice cream, because it looked like molybdynum sulfide grease, and the mandarin chocolate sherbet, because I absolutely loved the flavor combination. In fact, I loved the combination of orange and chocolate so much I took it upon myself to create a mandarin chocolate cake, which in fact turned out quite well.

1 chocolate cake mix, and additional ingredients as called for on the box
orange juice
1 can mandarin oranges, drained

Prepare the cake batter per the box instructions, substituting orange juice for half the liquid. Fold the mandarin orange segments into the batter. Bake per the box instructions.

Originally, this cake was served as is, but it can be further improved. Prepare it as a layer cake. We do this by baking in a single pan and then slicing in half with a long-bladed knife. We have a special knife on adjustable legs made by Wilton but find it more trouble than it is worth. Spread orange marmalade between the layers, and goop the cake up with chocolate orange buttercream.

5 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 oz. orange liqueur
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over hot, but not simmering, water (this is why glass cookware is so nifty). Stir in the liqueur and set aside. Whisk the eggs and sugar over simmering but not boiling water until thick enough that the whisk marks hold their shape. Remove from heat and fold in the chocolate. Beat in the butter a chunk at a time until very smooth. Chill until stiff enough to spread evenly.

The buttercream recipe is adapted, at the wee wifey's suggestion, from Pamala Asquith's Ultimate Chocolate Cookbook. If I didn't have my own recipe for the Chocolate Carnival, I would have tried the Molé Cake from the back of the book. It is a main course "chocolate cake"; the first ingredient listed is 2 pounds of chicken bones.

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No More Field Trips

My wee wifey has been involved in Girl Scouting for decades, back to when we were dating. We have at times also worked with Campfire, Boy Scouts and 4H. In recent years she has been a trainer, teaching skills to Girl Scout Leaders which they can pass on to the girls, and right now she is working to establish troops here in the inner city of Milwaukee, where young people are desparately short of productive things to do.

One of the benefits youth groups provide young people, especially in the inner city, is broadening their horizons. A trip to the zoo, or to Old World Wisconsin, or a week at camp, will show them that there is more to live than what they see on the street and in music videos. Unfortunately, there is legislation in the pipeline which will make it far more difficult to undertake such excursions. Despite the absence of statistics demonstrating improved safety from them, Wisconsin will be requiring child car seats for everyone up to the age of eight. Since many of the girls we are trying to reach live in carless single parent households and thus would not possess a car seat, either someone will have to make a rarely-used investment or busses will have to be chartered for even the most trivial excursion. Ain't gonna happen. Instead urban recruitment will start with Juniors instead of Brownies and the results will inevitably be reduced.


Wendy notes that the foolish child seat law will discourage a lot more travel than just some Brownie Scout field trips. The entire economy of the Wisconsin Dells region is based on Flatlanders bringing their children up there. Once people start getting fined for doing so, some very large investments are not going to pay off.

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