March 31, 2007

Quote For The Day

Aim at a high mark and you will hit it.
No, not the first time, nor the second and maybe not the third.
But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect.
Finally, you will hit the bullseye of success.
The personal motto of Phoebe Ann Mosey Butler, as quoted in The Life and Legacy of Annie Oakley by Glenda Riley. Altho best known as an exhibition shooter, Annie loved target competition, hunting and teaching young people to shoot. We could use more superstars like her today.
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Italian Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

The extended family will gather to celebrate Easter a week late, due to work schedules as usual. This year we will be driving to the foster niece's place and our assignment is to bring Italian sausage and potatoes as well as the pies. Two experiments with aug rotten potatoes haven't yielded a winner yet, but the wee wifey found this sausage recipe online, and adapted it per the posted comments and her impeccable judgement. The two of us finished the entire test batch, supposedly twelve servings, in one afternoon, and I scraped the pot for the last of the sauce. I don't know if it was the thoretical solvent effect of the beer, but those sausages were pretty close to the melt in your mouth stage.

12 links fresh hot Italian sausage, 2-1//2 lbs.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 green bell pepper, sliced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 bottle beer

Place the sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat, and brown on all sides. Remove from the pot, and slice.

Heat the olive oil in the Dutch oven. With a wooden spoon, scrape any lingering sausage griznits into the oil. Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the beer, peppers and Italian seasoning. Add the the sliced sausage, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for forty five minutes.

There are a few detail changes we plan for next time which we expect will make the dish still better. Aldi's sells, at least around here, a package with three bell peppers, one each in red, yellow and green. Adding these after half an hour of simmering is done will let the onions carmalize while preserving the some of the color and texture of the peppers. If anyone has a good price on sliced portobello mushrooms, we just might add some of them at the same time. The heat of the hot sausages dissipated to just a tingle, which will be plenty for this crowd, but for more adventuresome palates some crushed red peppers added early or a healthy splash of hot sauce added later would not be amiss.


The multicolored peppers, cut into chunks and added toward the end cooked up nicely and added a touch of color. The sliced baby bellas added at the same time faded into the background but added a nice texture to the sauce.

The wee wifey made enough this time, in combination with pasta and meatballs our hostess provided, that I had a chance to see who well leftovers microwave. Quite nicely, thank you.

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March 30, 2007


I am currently number ten out of over one million hits on Google of Canada for - HOW TO MAKE SPAGHETTI SAWS. My recipe actually calls for cooking the pasta at full length, but you can break it before cooking or cut it with the side of your fork once it is cooked. If they mean saws made from spaghetti, I couldn't begin to guess what you would cut with them.

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Class Warfare

Having failed to produce evidence that the processing of routine filings from the West Bend Bank by Annette Zeigler's office, rather than adding them to the workload of other judges, resulted in any injustice, the forces opposing her are now running radio ads alleging that the personal phone calls she made on her office phone were to fancy upscale businesses. I take it that we are to presume that when Linda Clifford made personal calls on her office phone she, like us voters, called businesses of a more lumpen nature.

Just to make things clear, since I'm not going to the effort of posting the graphic, this is an overt act of blogging for Zeigler. I, too, am Spartacus.

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March 29, 2007

Bookry Views

In the recent addition to his long-running fantasy series, The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, Terry Brooks has not merely jumped the shark, he has flown over the shark in an airship lofted by disomethingotherthanlithium crystals.

On the other hand, early indications are that S. M. Stirling's upcoming second trilogy in the rather contrived world of Dies The Fire plays to the strengths of that series.

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One of the premises which distinguishes libertarianism from anarchism is recognition that a valid rule of government is protecting people from threats which they cannot practically protect themselves. The debate comes in identifying those threats.

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March 27, 2007


This is one monkey you would do well not to spank.


Some of these monkeys, however, clearly deserve a spanking.

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March 24, 2007

Perfect Basic Chicken Salad

The current Chef Mojo cooking thread is about the foods we are supposed to feel guilty about eating this week because the experts have decided some ingredient or process is bad for us. The consensus is that we don't care what the food nannies have their undergarments constricted about; we will continue to enjoy our food. I noted that there are foods I feel guilty about eating, but only because my wee wifey made them for her own worknight lunches and not for me to nibble on.

2 chicken breasts
1 cluster celery
2 bags slivered carrots
1 medium onion
salt and coarse black pepper to taste

Put the chicken in a microwave safe bowl, add water to cover, and put a lid on the bowl. The large Corelle bowl and the small Corelle plate are perfect for this. Flash for five minutes, cut thru the middle, discover that the chicken isn't quite cooked thru and flash for a couple more minutes.

Cut the chicken, celery and onion into little chunks, and then process in the food processor together with the slivered carrots. Any other form of carrots come out in chunks big enough to be carrot instead of flavoring. Add salt with a light touch and coarse black pepper with a heavy touch. It really perks things up. Add just enough mayonaisse to moisten and hold things together; it shouldn't be noticeable. Perfect for sandwiches or as a side for a meal, but it will end up getting eaten direct from the storage container.

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March 23, 2007

Phrase For The Day

I had never heard of reindeer games having any social meaning before today, and then I ran into it in one post and the comments to another. I started researching it, and I think both users intended the first Urban Dictionary definition. In the course of my research I discovered that it was also the title of a movie so dumb I'd never heard of it, and that the happy song from which it takes its name: "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is about McCarthyite-type blacklisting and the triumph of the individual over conventional mores.

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March 20, 2007

Oxymoron For The Day

Casual elegance
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March 19, 2007

Quote For The Day

This past January 29th of Twenty-O-Six we celebrated the birth of an idea put forward 120 years ago, that man should not be limited in his ability to travel by the constraints of steel rails or the short-comings of horse-drawn carriages. To be truly free, one must not be encumbered by schedules and routes, or the stamina of horses. Thus a young German engineer named Carl Benz took to task the idea of motorizing personal transportation in the mid 1880s.
From the book Daimler & Benz: The Complete History by Dennis Adler, published, it would appear, sometime last year.

There are those, as I have noted, who think they know better than we do when and where we should travel, and view this great liberation as something less than a general good.

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March 18, 2007

Even More So

I have mentioned before that my mother advised that "Revolutionaries shouldn't spit on the sidewalk." I'm sure she didn't have this in mind.

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Me Too, Sorta

Phel took one of those webthing quizzes, and it told her that she is a Lotus Elise. I tried taking the quiz too, and as always found it impossible to answer accurately. Am I more comfortable weilding a sledgehammer or a scalpel? Yes, I am. I've made my living with one, and used the other for my hobby a couple of hours ago. I'd like to think that my personality in fact resembles that of my favorite type of sportscar, which captures the Lotus philosophy better than that orange hunk of driveway candy.

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March 16, 2007

At Least It's Green

This week's Carnival theme is supposed to be Irish, in celebration of Saint Patrick's Day. I've posted authentic Irish recipes now and again, but I'm not worrying about that today. They don't have light beer colored green on tap in Ireland, nor do they serve the signature dish of Milwaukee's leading "Irish pub" theme bar, which amounts to a reuben burrito. The reuben is a decidedly American way of serving corned beef, itself as American as chop suey, and the wrapper, being potato based, is probably a Swedish levsa. Besides, this recipe came to me in a dream yesterday morning, so I figure I'm supposed to post it.

Green Bean Green Pea Casserole

1 bag frozen french cut green beans
1 bag frozen green peas with pearl onions
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
1 Cup Milk
1 pinch nutmeg
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Cook beans and peas separately per package instructions. Layer alternately, one half at a time, into casserole dish.

Melt butter in a sauce pan, over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth and lump free. Add milk and seasoning, and stir until it starts to bubble and thicken. Pour the cream sauce over the vegetables, top with the bread crumbs, and bake at 350 degrees F for 1/2 hour.

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March 15, 2007

More Whole Things

To be read in their entirety. Kevin Baker is taking on those who try to argue against the individual right finding in Parker. Scroll down.

Jed notes that the Jourinal was even less scholarly in their response to the decision. Newspapers should be careful about claiming that the Second Amendment only applies to single-shot, muzzle-loading firearms. If freedom of the press only applies to hand set type, they're going broke.

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March 14, 2007

Bimmer Bummer

Looks like BMW hasn't given up on that awful bustle look. I'd still rather have a simple boxy 2002. Only car I ever drove which conveyed the sense that it enjoyed going rapidly. My brother and I each experienced an upward pressure from the gas peddle in time to avoid a speed trap.

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For Small Values Of Pi

So today, 3-14 is Pi Day, if less so than it was back in 1592. I don't geek out much over the ineffable nonrepeatitude of the number. Even during the twenty years before I moved to Milwaukee, during which I used pi in a significant percentage of all the computation I did at work it was just another chunk of information for me. What I was calculating was the amount of steel required to be bent around a forming die. Because this was done hot, with the steel heated to a temperature not much below that of burning jet fuel, the material stretched as it was bent, requiring the introduction of a correction factor into the calculation. After collecting data regarding assorted sizes of alloy and mild steel barstock bent around assorted diameter dies, I came to the conclusion that for my purpose, pi equals three.

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March 13, 2007

Happens Every Time

Actually it doesn't and it doesn't bother me that much when it does, but I do tend to notice it.

With my current driving pattern, I go thru three quarters of a tank of gas in about two weeks. We went out for a spin in the spring air this afternoon so I filled up before we did so, at $2.499. This price had just hit over the weekend, and even Dave's on Lisbon was no lower. By the time we got back into town, the new price was $2.439. Sest luh vay.

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March 11, 2007

She Knew Instantly

I told the wee wifey that Nick was using his new digital camera to take Milwaukee themed pictures, and that his latest batch are of what he calls The Bomb Shelter Church. Her immediate response was "Bunker Methodist". Turns out that name is used at the Marquette School of Divinity, where a Presbyterian pastor we know went for his doctorate.

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March 10, 2007

Banana Split French Toast

My wee wifey loves what we persistantly call nanny splits. Once upon a time decades ago when we were coming back from a road trip, she spotted said desert on a truck stop menu and ordered it. They didn't have any bananas so I went to the grocery down the street and bought a bunch. She was pleased of course, but all the truckers who were getting ready to start their runs (it was breakfast time) were grossed out.

Here's a way to serve a banana split which is much more suitable for a brunch, and easier to prepare before the meal when one is serving company.

10 ounce canned maraschino cherries
16 thick slices of bread (around here they sell loaves labeled "Texas Toast" but I don't know what they call it in Texas)
8 ounces cream cheese -- softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces crushed pineapple -- drained
1/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
1/3 cup milk
4 small ripe bananas -- halved lengthwise
2 cups frozen whipped topping -- about 2/3 of an 8-ounce container thawed
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Maple syrup -- warmed

Cut 4 maraschino cherries in half; set aside for garnish. Chop remaining cherries. Blend cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed 3 to 4 minutes, or until creamy. Stir in pineapple, chocolate chips and chopped cherries by hand until evenly distributed.

Spray a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine eggs and milk in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Dip one side of 1 bread slice into egg mixture. Place on baking pan, dipped side down. Gently spread with 1/8 of cream cheese mixture; top with a banana half. Repeat with 7 more slices.

Dip one side of each of the remaining 8 bread slices in egg mixture. Place, dipped side up, on top of banana Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 35 to 40 minutes, or until tops are light golden brown and centers are set.

To serve, top each serving with 1/4 cup whipped topping, 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped pecans and 1 reserved cherry half. Serve with maple syrup.

Makes 8 servings.

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March 09, 2007

Quote For The Day

A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well.
Proverbs 25:26
Cited here; that report found here.

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I happened to catch a few minutes of Rush Limbaugh's show this afternoon, and noticed that he is still using a mispronounciation which has long since lost any power to amuse. Someone should point out to him that while amateurs may talk about strategery, professionals concern themselves with logeristics.

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And Vice Versa

Owen and Ann both have posts discussing the identification of Madison as the most walkable city in the US. I have to wonder how this rating correlates to driveability. The only city I've been in which I found to be worse for driving than Madison is Pittsburg.

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March 08, 2007


"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

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Pubic Education

Rand Simberg has found a report about mankind's early history which contains an assertion he overlooks in his linking. One might allege that I posted on this very topic some time back.

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March 06, 2007

Duck Season

Wabbit season!

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March 05, 2007

Label Misused

I always thought that a cigarette was a kind of boat.

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Quote For The Day

As the adage has it, if all you have is a degree in Design, everything looks like a design problem.
All to often, in order to make the Bleat daily, Lileks gives us filler. Maybe a little Gnattering, or an anecdote about his own day; maybe just a reminder that he's in the midst of another book and has little time for his other obligations. Every now and then he gives us something which justifies keeping track of what he's up to, and he certainly did that today.

The Dean of the University of Minnesota's new School of Design gave an interview in which he expounds upon all the ways Design could make the city a Better Place, and Lileks doesn't so much rip him a new one as hand him the old one which works just fine, thank you.

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March 04, 2007

A Brief Respite

If there is one thing I learned in the Girl Scouts, it's never volunteer for anything.
Altho I enjoy saying this in order to raise eyebrows, especially those of people who learned this lesson in the organizations it usually references, the truth is I knew what I was letting myself in for. My wee wifey was already a Girl Scout leader when we were dating.

The last few weeks, however, things have been intense. Over the last couple of decades she has focused on training other leaders more than on working directly with the girls, and a week ago Saturday she presented a Craft College with a curriculum of 72 projects for the leaders to pass along. This required me to make many trips to our attic for accumulated supplies plus many shopping trips as further requirements developed. Anyone who works with pony beads will be interested to know that they can be bought for far less at inner city beauty supply stores (where they are called hair beads) than at even the cheapest of craft departments.

Now I get to resume work on tiling the dining room floor. She's already thinking about next year, worrying about how to present a song workshop when the Girl Scout legal department apparently expect to hear from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's intellectual property lawyer if a silly song is presented as being to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".

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March 03, 2007

Totally Clipped

I've seen a number of solar eclipses. The most recent one, a partial, occurred five minutes after a certain infamous industrial purchasing agent, who, in the manner of one of Louis L'Amour's villians, shared his name with a Chicago neighborhood, called me to acknowledge that he had found paper work documenting that I was right and he was wrong.

Lunar eclipses are much rarer for me. The only one I've seen, again partial, was decades ago while I was at summercamp. We will be attending a church guyboat supper this evening, but I will attempt to drag everyone outside at moonrise.

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Boredom Overtook Us

Once upon a time, the Indianapolis 500 motor race was a hotbed of innovations. Some of the performance enhancements first tested there even made it out to the street. Those days are past.

This year's Indy Pro series cars are absolutely identical. What we have now is a spec race, a form of competition better suited to dentists having a midlife crisis than to the nation's top drivers. The only reason to pay any attention to The Greatest Spectacle In Racing™ will be to check after it is over to see if Danica Patrick has caught up with her hype.


Just to clarify my opinion, I believe that the most interesting upcoming motorsprot competition in the US is all the way at the other extreme.

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March 02, 2007

Korean Sweet Potato Pie

Quite a few years ago, my wee wifey took professional training in cake decorating. One of her classmates was a Phillipine woman who reported that her late husband had left her a gold mine. Everyone wanted to know what it was, which led to some confusion; she knew no other meaning than the literal one. Anyway, she fascinated everyone with talk of the purple Phillipine ube yam, and its use in baking. Now that we have Asian groceries nearby herself has been looking for ube in hopes of baking a purple yam cake. When I spotted reddish sweet potatoes at the Korean market I thoughtfully bought them for her. They turned out to be completely different, almost white inside, so she came up with this recipe to use them in.

1/4 c Butter or margarine - softened
1 c Sugar
2 c Cooked -- mashed Korean sweet potatoes, about 5
2 Eggs
2 tsp ground ginger
1 TBSP fresh ginger -- grated
1 can 12 oz evaporated milk
8 TBSP coconut cream powder
sweetened shredded coconut. to taste
1 Unbaked 9" pastry shell

Peel sweet potatoes. Cook and mash sweet potatoes. Cream butter in a mixing bowl; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add potatoes; beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in gingers, milk and coconut powder. Pour mixture into a pastry shell. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. About halfway through baking time sprinkle coconut on top of pie.

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March 01, 2007


Well, not exactly, but sexually explicit language and explosions were involved.

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We can debate as to whether it falls within the definition of torture, but there is no denying that it looks scary.

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