Saturday, October 31, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

Went tearing home last night, late and in the teeth of a gale. It rained so hard that when I raced into Fresh Market on the way (playing Beat The Clock against their closing time), the raindrops hurt, and that was with the hood of my sweatshirt over my head.

I was grabbing goodies for breakfast. Ended up this morning with this:While setting a land speed record(Produce Department subcategory), this thing caught my eye. Looks a bit scary, doesn't it? It's a Watermelon Radish, with a mild-horseradishy bite. How we get from the second photo to the first one goes like this:First, a closer look at The Radish. Whoa! It's big for a radish, too, about the same size as a medium potato. Think of it as a turnip with a real bad attitude. Diced and added to mushrooms and potatoes, with a nice Anaheim pepper chopped up and tossed in for crunch and flavor. D'ya think Tam (presently elsewhere) would try it if we told her the radish was raw beef?Scramble a couple of eggs in it....Add the bacon I started the skillet with back in, plus three thin, warmed slices of salami all smashed up and some diced red bell pepper for a touch of sweetness and crunch. Warm all the added ingredients, decant onto a plate and...Taa-daa! I snipped some chives over it and grated a little more of the watermelon radish, too, mostly for color.

Fried the bacon with fresh-ground pepper, tossed a little all-purpose Cajun Seasoning on the 'taters before cooking them and between that and the marvelous flavor of the purple-red radish (this one was really nice, not wasabi-sharp but assertive enough to stand out without dominating the other flavors), it needed not a thing extra.

Yum! I suppose Breakfast Hash using whatever I stumble over at the grocer's is my signature dish and a lazy one at that, but I wouldn't trade it for all the tea in China -- or all the cordon bleu in France, either.

Friday, October 30, 2009

High-Tech Solution

Sleepy? There's an app for that!

It Found Me!

I'm pretty sure this is the same sect that ran Campus Crusade For Cthulhu until they lost that lawsuit....

Relatedly: Buy a blank edition and write your own. Or enjoy the 'toon version: Li'l Cthulhu.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why Is It

Update: Nathan provided a link to the truth about the Wishard "no taxes" scam in comments and I've put it up here so more folks will see it.

...Especially on the Left but don't kid yourself, the Right does it too: if Congress rams through some unpopular (or at least divisive) "bold new step" you don't like, they're wicked, stupid or both but if you like their latest Adventure In Overgoverning, they're the intrepid heroes, bravely doing what is right.

The truth is, A) we already have way more government than is needed; B) Congressbeings are, on average, not worth the cost of gasoline to run the short bus they ought to be taking to their job-like endeavors; and C) they think we're all idiots for letting them get away with it. What stings the most is that last item is the only time you can count on them being right.

Question is, what're we going to do about it?

Election time is coming 'round here in De Heardtland. There's not much on the ballot but I do have a chance to vote against a bond issue (to build a sparkling new edifice in place of poor old Wishard -- the charity hospital) that's sure to raise my taxes; they keep sending me shiny-printed, expensive postcards promising it won't but this is, in fact, a lie supported by optimistic under-estimates and accounting tricks. Also, if they'd'a saved what they have spent on those lyin' cards, they could have had a head start on the construction they're so eager to spend my money on. (I'm not the only one thinks so, either).

Whatever it is, if it doesn't make government smaller, weaker or quieter, vote against it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another Day, Part 16

Hey, I've got two weeks and all I need to do is get Sherriff Mike some better intelligence on George Wells and his bunch; maybe he'll just round 'em all up and won't need me at all.

Maybe I'll get a pony for Christmas too -- but it'd probably be on the menu if I did. Gonna be a busy fortnight.

* * *

"Busy fortnight?" Roberta, Mistress Of The Understatement: as far as the Chief was concerned, our Date With Technological Destiny meant it was high time the 'Drive Compartment got a thorough cleaning and every last subassembly, part, manual, bit of software and even tool that was old, worn and/or not immediate applicable would be chucked in the Recycle bins and, if possible, entirely disposed of. Times like these, I am reminded of the persistent rumor that he is one of the very few guys to have made the transition from NASA's oh-so-public grandstanding disinformation campaign to the real deal; his aversion to excess sure fits that profile.


News From The Hidden Frontier

- You should always check with the experts before using GLONASS to navigate a squirt-booster landing. Note the "mysterious crater" showed up in September '07 and the first new launch supporting/updating the Russian satnav system happened later that month. Coincidence?

- I have mentioned the "Agreement of 1989," which semi-offically ended hostilites between the Far Edge and NATO/USSF. Some operations took longer to wind down than others. The Edgers have long sought to expand their gene pool, not always tactfully.

- German WW II FTL drive parts? It does have that "Glocky" look, even if it's one artist's impression rather than the actual proto-CLASSIFIED from a bellship.

One or two new episodes of I Work On A Starship are coming soon!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Everything Old Is New Again

...Including raging at bankers exploitin' the downtrod; but the interesting thing to me about this pair of stories, a bit on the Horrors Of Bankers from The Nation that would fit right into a German newspaper from about 1934 and a huffy hand-wringer from HuffPo about how the Administration -- their guy's the Administration! -- isn't beating up banks nearly hard enough or with the proper degree of venom, is the way in which they demonstrate how the wheels are coming off the well-oiled Great leader machine.

There is no "there" there and far from finding it worrisome, I take a measure of reassurance in it. I don't think Americans are entirely immune to Five-Year Plans, Great Leaps Forward or the sudden urge to reclaim the Sudetenland but we're pretty resistant to it. For me, the saving grace of both the traditional Left and their foes on the Right is there's plenty of conflict and chaos under each side's "big tent." It does much toward keeping them, if not honest, at least confined to smaller-scale wickednesses than would otherwise be the case.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Automatic Bookmachine: Gotta Have A Name

Soooo, Harvard (properly pronounced, I am told, as if the "r" were either "h" or "a," yet another reason I am unsuited for Higher Ed), Haaaavaaaaad got an automatic book-making machine (no, no, it doesn't take bets, it prints and binds books! On demand, even).

Got one but...whaddaya call it? "Bookmachine" doesn't roll off the tongue and sounds like a High School garage band formed by members of the Science Fiction Club and rabid D&D hobbyists.... So they named it.

What the heck, linotypists and printers had names, too -- probably like "Stubby" or "Dirty Ed!" Harvard went a bit more...esoteric. Whimsical, even.

My thanks to a lurker who will let me know if screen credit is in order (right?)!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

October BlogMeet!

Wonderful turnout, friends old and new, some who we've not seen in some time, some who've been at every BlogMeet; bloggers and readers. It was a wonderful time. I have photos and links and names, and will post them all as time allows. At least 14 in attendance.
Here we see Amanda (Tam and I both remarked how cute her hair is) and Red (with a new and superkewl blog title!), Og's friend Mike, Old Grouch, Wayne, Og, Brigid, new friend and visiting blogger Jay was just out of the frame, Tam can be barely glimpsed, as can Shootin' Buddy. I would have been at the far end of the table, too.

Mr. B and Midwest Chick were at the Indy 1500, working the Strike Hold* booth; they showed up after 4:00.

Joanna happened to be away for the first photo. She was there for these two, wearing a NaNoWriMo sticker: "Be nice, or I'll put you in my novel!" A better view of Owen at left (he's hidden behind Og in the first photo and wins "best use of cover and/or concealment); Jay (himself winner of the coveted Cup of Turnonistan award, which consisted of, well, this mention) is once again out of the frame (sorry, Jay!). He's a lot taller and wider of shoulder that most mortals.

Thought I'd Never Hear It: Tam, to Midwest Chick: "Your turse is way more tactical than mine!" MOLLE-capable tactikewt purses, I am so gonna save up!

Also learned that the kit-built Segway copy lacks the designed-for-quiet gearing of the original: "Sounds like you're riding a blender around!" Yikes!

...I had two (2!) hard ciders, came home, posted some music, dozed off, woke, had a snack, dozed off again, woke and here I am...and I'm headed for bed. Tomorrow, another busy day.

See you at the next Indy BlogMeet?
* Strike Hold is a dry-film lubricant with interesting and useful properties. SB tried a sample can at the range Sunday morning. Verdict? "It works!" Neat stuff -- ask Mr. B. (Somebody tell the FTC I got a free sample, too. Try it and make up your own mind).

Mister Sandman?

It's all Mike Flynn's fault; he posted this video first. Pomplamoose takes on a nicely-written old standard that calls for very close harmony* and what could be more close than harmonizing with yourself?
The song's only 2:20; they natter on amusingly for a couple of minutes after.

Remarkable work and a fine example of what you can do with this livin' in the future stuff! (They have recorded some more recently-written music, too).
* How close? A persistent rumor had it that Gary Troxel of The Fleetwoods enlisted to get away from constant rehearsals with his singing partners. It's not true; he was drafted. All three of them continued to perform for years after. But it was believable; close harmony takes work. Among their hits, Mr. Blue and Come Softly To Me.

So Far, So Good

My overnight Skunk-Working actually worked out; I was reasonably confident but there's always an element of doubt until the project is put together and high power is applied. Whew!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quick Update

I'm headed off for an overnight shift -- "wish me luck" sounds a little superstitious but what we're doing is something of a dice-roll. I'll take all the good luck I can get.

Quick update before I head out:

- Went to the Indy 1500, mostly as planned ( a little later than I'd've liked, as I dozed off briefly in the bathtub. It's small, I'm tall; still something of a shock to wake up and think, "My, isn't it chilly!") . Between cold weather, hard floors and the narrow aisles, my knee did not hold up well; I found some .38SA, met up with Tam and Shootin' Buddy, looked longingly at the new Sig .380 that's modeled on the Colt "Government .380" and headed out. Maybe next one I'll be able to spend more time. Did say Hi to several blogfriends.

- I Work On A Starship: recent research has revealed that Richard Sharpe Shaver worked briefly in Facilities Maintenance (i.e., mop-pushing) at the (then) Joint Army-Navy Experimental Technologies Team project HQ at Groom Lake NAS* immediately prior to his first publication on the so-called Shaver Mystery. This would have been during the run-up to the atomic weapon base on the Moon that resulted in the Far Edge mutiny; it is interesting to speculate what effect all that had on his muddled fantasies but we cannot be sure. Elsewhere, an artifact found not very long after -- or a copy of it -- has surfaced as art. It looks like a 'Drive component from a German "Glocke" FTL vehicle. I will post a picture and a link later. Then there are the so-called "green fireballs," more visible evidence of early 'Drive experimentation. See? It all holds together! :) :0
* Though "JANETT" is long-gone, the core members of it being the ones responsible both for planning the moonbase and the mutiny, the acronym lingers on in the radio call for personnel flights to and from the base. The ufologista never spell it correctly, of course.

Gun Show Today, BlogMeet Tomorrow

BlogMeet tomorrow! Looking forward to it; I'll be trying to carve three short days from this weekend to accommodate some interesting work right in the middle of my "days off" and the result is, the BlogMeet will be my breakfast.

This morning, I'm looking forward to another Indy 1500 Gun and Knife Show. Tam will probably be there from the git-go; I'm giving serious thought to getting some banking out of the way first. Either way, this morning is the morning for me to get to the gun show. See ya there?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The New Scourge

Zombies? Zombies are so last week! What scares me is wer-lolcats!

I believe the affliction affects the brain first.

Another Busy Morning

Rush-rush-rush. Plan is to be showing within the next twenty minutes, so I can brave the terrible, awful traffic of Normal O'Clock instead of my usual banker's hours start (not that I am off work when the banker drives home, oh no, no, no).

If all goes well -- or even if it does not, but don't even think that -- I may have some interesting stories from this; it could even help me fill in some of the so-classified-real-details-are-suppressed parts of I Work On A Starship. Y'never know.

In the meantime, I leave you with this puzzle: what do a cake of beeswax, a carbide-tipped, hollow-ground planer-type circular chopsaw blade and copper tubing have in common?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Secret Spaceplane X-37

Some of you guys think I'm kidding about the Hidden Frontier. Could be; or it could be an elaborate ruse that reveals the truth in order to hide it. Either way, you'll not hear any of the secrets of the X-37 from me -- but someone knows 'em. Ooo, they've got pictures, too!

Is it just me or does X-37 (left) kind of resemble the "Baby Space Station" from the 1950s (right)?

Good Morning, I Must Be going

The Skunk-Working starts extra early this morning, so rather than the usual rant, screed or geekitude, this morning's post is just me saying, "Howdy!"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Range Report

Very short and no pictures, sorry! (Maybe later. Hey, it's free ice cream).

Off to Eagle Creek I went, late in the day when it is warmer. I'd been very physically active at The Skunk Works the previous week, a lot of ladder and overhead stuff with torque wrenches even (Our Proud Motto: "210 inch-pounds"), so I wasn't up to a long range session.

Took my Ruger Mk. II .22 pistol (always), the .45 ACP Sistema Colt, and dug out my shiny-shiny Colt 1911A1 in .38 SA. After all, the .45 has been a tack driver since I did the Cylinder and Slide "drop-in" trigger-pull upgrade and had the gunsmiths at Coal Creek Armory install nice Trijicon sights, so why not give the ol' .38 Super a try? I'd picked up a box of .38 SA at Gander Mountain earlier in the week (they have ammo in stock! Hooray!), so it was either that or my EAA Witness.

Possibly the Witness should have been my choice. Made nice close little groups with the .22, right where I was aiming. The Argentine marvel -- now with the slippy grip shimmed -- left big, raggedy holes in the target, also right where I had it pointed. It still hammer-bites me a little but such is the cost of keeping it Old School. Moved over to the .38 Super, 9 rounds, and.... Um. Stitched a sloppy line off below the target and a little left. What? And this with no bite, either.

Dry-fired it. Not flinching. Back to the .45, seven shots, wham, wham, wham, nice close group. The .38 SA again, same nasty line, down and a bit left. Eyeballed the sights, nooo. I just can't shoot it worth a darn. Gripped it even tighter and tried again, not much better. Gave up and finsihed my hour with .22 and .45.

Back home, I conferred with the in-house expert. "Trigger pull," says Tam. Next range trip, I'll let her and Shootin' Buddy give it a try, too.

It's old enough that the chamber indexes on the rim and not the case mouth,* but if that was the problem, it should result in a biger, randomly-dispersed group; the difference in accuracy should not be significant at the close (7-yardish) range I shoot at most of the time. It shouldn't result in what sure looks like a classic "jerking the trigger" displacement.

The good news: the sear, hammer, disconnector, triple spring and mainspring are standard 1911A1 items, so if I save up, I can do another C&S upgrade. The bad news? I really like the hammer that's on it now but hand-fitting that to a new sear is not something I should probably do myself.
* Not sure I'm saying that right -- most semi-auto cartridges are positioned in the chamber by that "step" in diameter at the open end of the brass where the projectile is seated, while rimmed ones (more often shot in revolvers but not always) use the rim at the other end to do that task. The semi-rimmed .38 Super was too much temptation for Colt and it wasn't until some of the drop-safe upgrades (downgrades, depending on who you ask) were done that they changed it.

Watch This Space

...For a range report later: 1911s in .45 ACP and .38 SA at Eagle Creek Park Pistol Range!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This Machine Stops 'Em Faster

Leaping off from a barely-related start -- gelaskins for netbooks and laptops -- I was reminded of the sticker on Woody Guthrie's guitar. Can't say I much like a lot of his politics but he did have an anti-authoritarian streak a yard wide, which I view as a mildly redeeming factor (and then there's the music! Fine, fine, he's Red but this land is still your land, and my land, too).

Good slogans live on; I've always thought the original (or a modern version) would work well on a typewriter or netbook.

Still, the pen is mightier than the sword but it's not as fast. How'd this look on your AR-15? Considering that I already kind of borrowed the slogan, I couldn't possibly claim copyright for this image.

Preemptive Band-Aids

Got ready for work in a tearing hurry one day last week, which is not too unusual (providing the morning's free ice cream takes time!). But I was a bit more rushed, in part because I'd gouged the tip of my left ring finger at work earlier in the week and needed to slap a new bandage on it in a way that'd stay on.

Not too hard if you know how* but working one-handed it's a little tricky. It was my last item before grabbing shoes, briefcase, coat and lunch and the clock was tickin', so I was double-fast, then charged out on the rest of my morning. In the kitchen, Tam was getting another cup of coffee. She looked at my hands and grinned. "Preemptive bandage?" she asked.

I looked at my hands and...I'd put the band-aid on my left middle finger! No time to change it, oops. Hey, just in case?

I know why; when I was a child, I injured the pad of that finger while riding a go-kart (reached back to open the throttle up more than the pedal would move it and laid that finger right on the output sprocket of the engine, OW!). It's had a numb spot ever since...just like the injured finger next to it has temporarily.

The more haste, the less speed.

Is there a moral to this story? Well, by concentrating more on a process than the actual problem, I ended up with a neat-looking, visible, misapplied fix. Kind of just like "fixing" violence among young men by banning guns....
* The H-shaped "knuckle" bandage is my default for anything on the hand -- it's an all-'round useful shape.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Speaking Of Debts And Deficits

Unncle Sam's been kind of counting on no one noticing there are a lot of old government bonds out there, mature and unclaimed, dating back as far as WW II. --But would you not just know, several State governments have noticed and filed suit -- 'cos they figure they should have the money, bein' all set up as they are to reunite lost bux with, citizens they cannot even be sure are still in their State or even alive.

The article cites "billions of dollars" waiting to be claimed. Gosh, I wonder who gets it if the States can't find the rightful owners? A-hem.

The U. S. Treasury sez, "Not so fast!" and points out they have a website all set up for you, the public they serve, to claim your forgotten bonds. Yessir, fix you right up....well, fix you right up if you bought the bond after 1974; so those War Bonds? You're on your own, kid.

Heads, they win; tails, you lose.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Double Famous!

Mad Mike's daughter's pink-furniture AR-15 is double-famous: PSH-er Garen Wintemute includes a photo of it as an (oh, horrors!) attempt to make guns appealing to women. ...Well, women in grade school, at least!

Go here (PDF warning), barf, scroll down to page 5-5 and check out photo 7. Laugh at the silly doctor and move on.

Oh, and doc? I didn't buy 'em 'cos they were pink; I bought 'em to stop bad guys. I bought a couple of them, my SKS and my AR-15, because I wanted them and hysterics like you didn't want me to have 'em. And, you silly, silly man, an armed woman has got a lot less to worry about when it comes to misogyny and violence against women; the rudest, most dismissive fellows I ever met were on your side of the spectrum.

Geez, if he was on about flouridation, he'd be a natural for a Kubrick movie, right down to freakin' out 'cos there are kids involved. "Children's ice cream, Mandrake! Think of it!" Where's COL Batguano when you need him?

Moon-Bombing Update

As you would expect, LCROSS did create a plume. ...It just didn't look like anything from Star Wars. Or even Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.

...You realize this whole thing was an elaborate charade to cover up the destruction of the former Nazi moon base, right? Staffed by sasquatches and chalupacabras, you betcha!

Updateder: Is there no end to the idiocy? Try this: "...other than that, it’s THE MOON. It’s the guy I see peacefully sitting in the sky every night, blocking the sun for me so I can get some shut eye. The thing we’ve written songs, books and poems about, the thing we all used to want to travel to when we were kids just to see if it really was made out of cheese. I just don’t get it. We’ve become so desensitized to destroying nature that launching a huge chunk of metal at our outer space counterpart just seems OK, just seems logical, as long as we do it in the name of science?"

Oh. My. $DEITY. Blocking the sun every night? Land-O-Goshen, what if this person breeds?

Google Blogs is a flowing river of both idiocy and, if I do say so, pure, sparkling reason on the subject.

Opposed To Cap And Trade? Taxed Half To Death?

You're not alone: has been running TV ads to mobilize citizens against cap-and-trade. Then we've got ads asking our help in preventing the nationalsocialization of health care and even more ads pointing out the ill effects of adding a tax on soft drinks.* Plus, here in Indy, competing pro/con campaigns on floating a loan to "fix up" recently-renovated (and yet claimed to be in disrepair -- so did we get ripped off already?) Wishard Hospital, a plan that could result in a real-estate tax increase even larger than the recent huge increase.

Hey, Congress? President Obama? Ijits at Wishard? We're in a recession. Turning the public upside down and shaking us to get the last few cents from our pockets and purses is prolly gonna make us angry. You won't like us when we're angry. --Aw, hell, you don't like us now. But you like your jobs, don't you? 2010 is upon us -- and 2012 is not that far off.
* Some of the Great Minds have even proposed using such a tax to pay for the extra cost of nationalsocialized health care -- you know, the "plan" that's supposed to save money? Soooo, let's see if we can follow the thinking: sugary soft drinks are bad for you, so we will tax it to make you drink them less, then use the tax revenue to pay for health care...revenue that will drop as you make healthier choices based on the tax? Yeah, gee, that'd work: if soda pop were the sole cause of disease, injury and illness. I'm not finding it listed very high on the CDC's stats.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's Racist To Call Someone A Socialist?

HuffPo CSM* explains it all -- and they're serious. Racism, the all-purpose trump card. You can't make up stuff like this, nobody'd believe it.
* Thanks to D. W. Drang for catching this -- but can you blame me for thinkin' the Huffies would've been proud to publish the piece?


Breda's Blogiversary post -- and I wish her many happy returns! -- prompted me to check. My blog was two years old nine days ago! So happy blogiversary to me, too.

In fact, happy blogiversary to all of us! I'm fine, you're fine -- we're all fine, Dimitri. And another year older in blogyears. Do they make bacon cake?

Rocket News

Scaled Composites' policy on news releases is an actual application of Buckminster Fuller's rueful maxim, "Never show unfinished work." Withal, in the face of this huge churnin' rumor-mill we like to call Teh Innernet even Scaled bends a little, with one of the most diplomatic takes on "don't listen to ijits" I've yet read. (PDF)

Elsewhere, Scaled's serious experience with and understanding of very large composite wings is criticized by random people on the Internet who do not appear to understand which parts of the vehicle are doing what.

Speaking of Rutans, I want a Rocket Racing League T-shirt. I've never been much for spectator sports but in this instance, I'm willing to learn.

Seasonal Flagellation

Look, I've got no control over your front porch -- but what is it with the cutesy "seasonal" flags? Lately, they've taken down the green-leaves-and-sunshine ones and run up banners with patterns of orange/yellow leaves; the super-seasonal still have some green in theirs.

Hello? You're in Broadripple, one of the most wooded neighborhoods of one of the most tree-filled big cities in the entire Yew-natted States. The real leaves on the real trees are a-changin' and doing so with a delightfully stochastic lack of pattern, each tree in variations of the shades and hues characteristic of its kind and yet no two precisely alike. Did you think passers-by needed a reminder of what season it is? Did you need one yourself?

Possibly it's a spin-off from the mindset that can't quite believe anything is real until they've seen it on television (and the reverse, too, which is not so good considering most of what the medium delivers is deliberately or mistakenly fictional). Maybe they wanna bless the reality by posting proto-hieroglyphic recognition of it, or tap into the Mighty Morphin' Gaia Magic through sewing-room semiotics. Whatever it is, it's stupid. Take an extra half-hour and do some seasonal decoration of your porch if ya want some clean, modern version of dancin' nekkid in the woods at the equinoxes and solsticii, f'pity's sake -- or just find ya good spot and kick it old school. For that matter, there's scarcely a religious tradition lacking in seasonal holidays, rites and/or rituals; whyn't y'pick one and go interact with other people?

Or you could just cheap out and hang some trendy, goofy banner on the flagpole where y'oughta be flying some version of your polity's flag. Sheesh.

(Which reminds me, didja know you can get subdued-color Gadsden flag patches? With Velcro backing so you can change sides in a hurry, even).

Battling Amphibians

One sign we're Livin' The The Future: competing, low-priced (as such things go), garagable amphibious airplanes for the Sport Pilot.

The SeaRey, a kind of baby PBY and the Icon A5, something out of the Core worlds of the Firefly universe.

Similar ideas have been tried before without making much of a ripple but hey, that's how progress is made.

It makes me want to study for a pilot's certificate again. Then I look at my finances and decide otherwise; but still, a girl can dream, can't she?

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Tale Of Two Technoratis

Blog-rater Technorati has revamped, or they're revamping, or something. The results seem a!?! OMG! I'm an Internet G*ddess!
Or am I? Go to look up any links to my blog and:Suddenly, they've never even heard of me. (Also, Newly Discovered "Features," WTF? Self-applied scorn quotes, so early in the website redo? Sad).

I pay way too much attention to these things.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Soylent Bunny

Update: Volokh scooped me by a day and a half!

There's a problem in Sweden, in Stockholm at least: a surplus of wild rabbits. They have a solution and it's one readers here might've suggested: shoot the dear little pests. PETA is, as you would expect, livid -- and it gets better!

Shooting them (the rabbits, that is) leads to yet another problem, those unsightly heaps of dead bunnies. Rather than feed them to the poor or make lovely rabbit-fur coats for everyone, the resourceful Swedes've come up with a clever solution to that, too: burn the little rodents for energy! The company that's handling this is Konvex and their Chief Executive Leo Virta points out, "Just as with us people ... the bodies contain a lot of fat and fat has exactly the same energy content as normal heating oil for instance."

Y'know, Gramma, it's been a cold Winter....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Work On A Starship: Inbound

(This is out of chronological sequence, as I explained yesterday, but contains no spoilers as far as I know).

In space, sometimes you'd like to just scream.

One nice thing about zero-g, you can go to the loo without encountering the unpleasantness of a seat sullied by some helicopter princess; anyone overly squeamish about having to squat where others have sot is either gonna have to bide a wee (ahem), make her peace with the isolation given by disposable gasketry, or learn the hard way that even a gentle pressure differential won't take "ick, no" for an answer. The latter lesson is learned early in one's career but the number of times I've heard surprised squeals leaves me wondering just how well it sticks. —Or is that an indelicate choice of phrase again? How anyone can get through zero-g and pressure-suit training and remain very squeamish is a mystery to me. Not one of the Great Mysteries but still--!


Jim Irsay, Mr. Sensitivity

I've mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of Rush Limbaugh. The guy's job is to get people riled up and he rarely lets logic get in the way of a good blood-boil; there's nothing wrong with that, especially as entertainment and it's not like he's secretive about it -- it's just not a style I enjoy.

On the other hand, if the man wants to buy a professional football team, what's the problem?

If you ask (or even if you don't) Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, he'll tell you it's all about people's feeeeelings: "I, myself, couldn’t even consider voting for him. When there are comments that have been made that are inappropriate, incendiary and insensitive, our words do damage, and its something we don’t need." After all, what group of men could possibly be more sensitive and refined than NFL players?

Longtime sports figures, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have weighed in against allowing the radio host to buy a team, too; with both men having put in decades owning NFL teams, I'm sure their judgement carries special weight. I cannot confirm that part of their statement pointed out, "...if you allow even one of these dirty, Republican-leaning subhumans to sit at the same lunch counter as decent Progressives, it will destroy our culture." Limbaugh, rumored to be traveling in the back of a city bus, on his way to sit in the balcony (rightwinger seating) at the NFL owners meeting, was said to be unavailable for comment.

Geez, what it wrong with NFL ownership (and its kibitzers)? Guy has money. If -- and it is still if -- the team in St. Louis is for sale and his check's good, where's the problem? Baseball got along well enough with the far more abrasive Marge Schott, who makes Mr. Limbaugh's rhetoric sound like Eleanor Roosevelt; Mrs. Schott, given the freedom to speak out, made friends, influenced people and was frequently slapped down in the press and by Major League Baseball: plenty of entertainment for everyone. (Here's what Rush said six years ago, plus commentary).

The NFL should take his money and let Rush Limbaugh speak for himself. Football's already full of bombast; a little more from a different angle won't hurt.

Grow up, Mr. Irsay; this isn't second grade. How a guy can send young men out o smash eachother up for profit, then turn around and get all squishy 'cos somebody on the team or in the crowd might suffer hurt feelings over the opinions he suspects a loudmouthed owner (and there aren't any of those in the NFL now and there never have been, hey?) might express is beyond me -- and when you consider the history of the Colts and Irsays (sneaking out of Baltimore in the dead of night, for instance), it buggers the imagination.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Work On A Starship, Update

Stupid ansibles! I have two new episodes from my alter-ego on the Hidden Frontier. They happen after the currently-published mystery has been solved -- and I haven't received the last chapter or chapters of the mystery itself!

I'm blaming the ansible network. FTL messages can only be sent between ships outracing light (though I keep hearing rumors the Far Edge has something new, different and not subject to that limitation). That means sending a message from normal space requires handing it off to a ship ready to depart; she must've sent the last part of the mystery with one vessel and the subsequent two items on different one. (I'd check the e-mail headers but you know they're spoofed to maintain security).

New updates at I Work On A Starship soon!

On Open Carry

Tam's pal, Shootin' Buddy, in comments at Say Uncle: "We’re here! We’re armed! You better get used to it!"

Gosh, the tagline seems so familiar...! I'm not gonna have to wear a flannel shirt and sensible shoes, am I?

Unk himself takes a middle road, not opposing but wondering if it's an ideal way to win hearts and minds.

Me, I think it's more about desensitization than gaining converts. The general public's already comfortable to the point of barely noticing when police officers and security guards have a gun on their hip. (I tend to notice 'cos I am curious what they're carrying -- a lot of Glocks around here but one local grocery chain's hired rent-a-cops with six-shooters! Mostly Ruger GP-100s, it's actually sort of quaint and homey). So why's it suddenly a huge, scary deal when it's the little old lady that lives down the street or J. Random Guy at the gas station with a full holster? 'Cos it's not very often seen. Older readers will remember how folks with cellular telephones really stood out when the things were new and unusual -- an additional difference being that the media is still not playing up how scary celphones are, despite studies indicating they rank up there with a six-pack when it comes to driving.

Tam's got linky-roundup on the current debate, which is plenty spirited.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It Isn't Paranoia When They're Out To Get You

So, the Chicago de facto handgun ban is headed for the Supremes and by The Most Amazing Coincidence, another B.S "study" paid for by the Joyce Foundation pops up, claiming if you own a gun you're more likely to get shot; various and sundry gun-banners show up on TV chat shows and newscasts and my very own local source of catbox liners pulls out all the stops with a Second Coming-sized headline on the front page of the Sunday paper, asking,
Complete with big mugshot-type photos of four scary-lookin' pals of Sumdood, at least three of whom (by the most amazing coincidence) just happen to be African-American, the story fills the middle third for the front page and sprawls across pages 16 and 17 of the first section, filled with scary, misleading graphics and troubling, contrived stats.

If you dig deep, they do admit to sifting through over 900,000 gun permits (including mine!) in (at least) two counties to come up with 211 supposedly iffy permit grants, four (4) of which they deemed bad enough to address in detail, three of whom have already had their License To Carry Handgun revoked for cause. It's difficult to be sure but it looks as if at least two of them were probably Lautenberged out of even buying a gun and all of them lied on their applications, at least by omitting criminal history and managed to slip through. Being criminally-inclined, they've since outed themselves by subsequent acts, meaning the system did, in fact, work.

Fishing expedition, anyone?

The Star's gripe seems to be that State Police use the well-defined criteria for "proper person" in determining eligibility for a permit rather than the statute's vague "good character" clause (probably because they're only too familiar with getting tripped up by sloppily-crafted laws judges later hold to be unenforceably vague, but I'm only speculating). They're peeved ISP can't read minds and refuses to try.

We've got a major case headed to the highest court in the land and the Opposition is cranking up the hysteria machine; look for more stories like this and be ready to challenge them. This is a PR blitz, it is only beginning, and the goal is to marginalize and demonize gun owners and firearms. Don't let 'em get away with it!

Good news: according to the Red Star, one in 12 Hoosier males have carry permits, as do one in 41 of us wimmenfolk. That's a good start.

Mayans Say 2012 Predictions Are Bunk

Update: A quick shout-out of "jinx!" to Jeff Soyer, who blogged the exact same story about twenty minutes before I did. Only discovered it tonight; it seems we have similarly-tuned debunking radar.

Apolinario Chile Pixtun wants you to chill; 21 December 2012 is not The End Of Everything. "I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff." As gen-u-ine Mayan, an elder who takes local history seriously, he's in a position to know.

Sources interviewed include astronomers and anthropologists and the gist of it is, yes, the Maya were some hot-shot naked-eye astronomers and their math was good, too; but projecting from their cultural take on the date to our own results in, if you'll pardon the term, ignorant gibberish. There are a number of interesting astronomical alignments on the date in question but the Mayan calendar keeps on clicking after it, with more predictions for later dates.

If you wanted a new excuse to restock MREs, water, batteries and so on and if your hippie friends and relations are good with 2012 as a reason, okay-fine. Just remember preparedness needs no special excuse; ordinary, everyday and far more likely disasters like floods and hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms will find you firing up the generator and setting up the catalytic heater, happy to have water on the shelf and beans and rice in the pantry.

(In other news, Water Found To Be Wet!)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Painting The House: FAIL

My sights were already set terribly low: the plan was to knock the worst of the old paint off the siding, prime the bare spots and slap a single coat of new, different color over the old, plus do the same to the trim.

That got rained out. So I got a near-match to the current color (which I might use as my second trim color, eventually), scraped most of two walls, and Tam and I have slapped some paint on it. Add in the short wall I got quick & dirty scraped and primed and it actually is progress but that's probably it. Might have another shot at it next weekend.

And the place will still be a color I'm not all that fond of. Sure beats a cardboard box under an overpass!

Those of you who have done Major Painting will know even the original plan was not a proper painting job and there's a reason for that: the old siding is soft and dry; it's really about due to be replaced, which I can't afford; and if I have the siding off, the next neat trick would be to add insulation, which I also can't afford, and replace the four old, bad windows, which -- well, you know the refrain. Having my house payment effectively doubled by unexpected real-estate tax increases has got me in a bind.

Any really aggressive approach to getting rid of the old paint (have I mentioned the bottom layer is quite old and very white?) is going to chew up the old soft pine and land me in siding-replacement land, so my goal is just to stabilize it as much as I can and accept that the old paint is going to keep on peeling and needing scraped and panted over; it's not a great solution but it is adequate. Lost a good part of yesterday and most of today to the kind of problems they pay me to solve, a mixed blessing; I'm really hoping to get a little bit of an Indian Summer in which to accomplish a bit more before the snow flies. Don't bet money on it.

Things That Went ZAP!, Updated

Worked last night/this morning from 2345 to 0800 (after a Rich Full Day), found and replaced some Very Bad Stuff a few hundred feet above ground level...and the miserable thing still glitched bigtime about o930. Knock wood, it was just a single hit and reset okay, unlike the previous one. ::Whistles past graveyard::

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Witlings Watch Science, Unimpressed

So, NASA slams a couple of left-over bits of the LRO into the Moon -- very tiny bits in proportion to the size of the Moon or even the crater they bullseyed, smack on time and target -- and what I'm finding is news stories with a lot of whining about how people "expected something bigger."

Then there's Amy Ephron, who wanted to, "...suggest something (that I actually sort of believe), like, 'What if it somehow throws off the astrology?'" Gah. Well, sweetie, the Moon didn't break; you're on your own with the astrology part.

If it wasn't shiny enough or if it was too icky-scary, go watch a movie, kids. This is what happens when you feed people bullcrap physics like victims being bowled over when hit by a shotgun blast, even more so when Film Hero shoots the thing and does not so much as wobble from the recoil. (Einstein? Who he? They can't even get right with Newton! Chandrashekhar or J. C. Bose[1] would make their widdle heads go 'splodey) This is what happens when marooons take in Star Wars and Armageddon as if they showed the Real Deal. People buy into the crap, ever so much flashier and more loud, mysterious and alluring than the reality, which is about hard things like math and scrubbing floors.

Film and TV fiction Is. Not. Real. Watch NASA TV a little; they stream live (or taped) feeds from actual, you know, spacemen and women doing actual work in actual "zero-g"[2] aboard and outside ISS and elsewhere. You even see real live docking and undocking and (OMG!) 0ther than thuds and clangs when a vehicle's in contact with the station, it doesn't make a sound. No whoosh, no bang, no musical soundtrack and the rocket exhaust looks piffling. Mind you, we're talking about people -- ordinary, geek-type people very much like us, or me anyhow -- surviving in an unbelievably hostile environment; or, in the case of LCROSS, managing, with ease and flair, a long-term, long-distance stunt that would boggle any Bond villain. But that's not enough for the ijits, who want a loud sound and bright flash so they'll know they got their money's worth.

NASA bombed the moon. They did an excellent job of it and they have a lot of data to analyze; the results will be available by and by. If you're upset it didn't look like Buck Rogers, that's a problem with you, not NASA.
1. Personal hero; working in what amounted to a one-car garage only not as nice, he doped out microwave behavior, invented waveguide, RF polarizers and the double-prism attenuator (etc.), built the first solid-state diodes, and did it all in the late 19th Century; and that's only a part of his accomplishments. He helped build your world and you've never even heard of him.
2. Strictly speaking, it's really "microgravity."


...Something big at Skunk Works, North Campus supposedly went "bang." I may be kinda busy.

Update: It did, only it was more like "sizzle." And then, I'm told, "it healed itself." Um, copper, bronze, stainless steel and Teflon don't actually heal. Something -- something unknown! -- changed and bought us an (unknown) amount of time, is all.

Looks like I will be busy. I had hoped to attend the Fall meet of the Indiana Historical Radio Society today but they are an early-rising bunch (the event started at 0800; by 1200, the packing-up will begin!) and I spent my get-ready time on the phone, so that's off. :-( I dislike missing them; there's always interesting stuff to look at, along with items I shouldn't buy, and friends of long standing who I see but rarely.

Failing Skunk Works stuff permitting, I am gonna housepaint today -- some of the new color, some (in visible-from-the-street places) to match the original color, 'cos I may not get the whole place painted. OTOH, there's always next weekend, right?

Symmetry: vacation week started with an unplanned and unwanted sick day; it ends with an unplanned work day, though I can't say I'm sneering at the extra pay.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Guess The Demagogue

Let's play Guess The Demagogue: American Fascist (and Hitler's pal) Father Coughlin, or anti-capitalist gasbag (and Castro's pal) Michael Moore?

1."We maintain the principle that there can be no lasting prosperity if free competition exists in industry. Therefore, it is the business of government not only to legislate for a minimum annual wage and maximum working schedule to be observed by industry, but also to curtail individualism that, if necessary, factories shall be licensed and their output shall be limited."

2. "The rules of the money game on Park Avenue and Wall Street are comprised of things like charging the public 29% credit card interest, tricking people into taking out a second mortgage they can't afford, and concocting a student loan system that has graduates in hock for the next 20 years."

3. "Capitalism, in the last year, has proven that it's failed. All the basic tenets of what we've talked about the free market, about free enterprise and competition just completely fell apart."

4. "I have dedicated my life to fight against the heinous rottenness of modern capitalism because it robs the laborer of this world's goods."

5. "There's no democracy in our economy. You and I and the people watching have no say in how this economy is run. The upper 1 percent, the people down on Wall Street, the corporate executives, they're the people that control this economy."

I'll post the answers in Comments later; post your own answers there, "FC" or "MM," and no cheating!

Y'know, when you can hardly tell an under-educated Lefty filmmaker from a Fascist radio yakker, I'm thinkin' it means they're pretty much the same kind of critter. This is one reason why we've got a First Amendment, so snakes of their ilk can out themselves.

October BlogMeet!

It's official! (Feel free to steal the artwork and post wherever, usermods are okay).
Bloggers, blog readers and random strangers are all invited!
Visit Old Grouch and see how he has animated this poster -- way kewl! (Click on poster here for another surprise).
Link to poster artwork here, I hope.

Back. Spasm.

...Bent over to fix Littlest Cat's litter this morning, prior to setting the trash out and something in my back went clench! and all those nifty muscles across the center of my back and into the small of it tightened up. It felt like getting hit, hard, with a padded baseball bat. Intensity faded fast (or I would be abed, groaning) but it's lingering.

The cold, wet weather has returned, that's for sure, and it's not helping.

Hooray! We're Bombing The Moon!

We are bombing the Moon. I couldn't be happier. About time!

(Elsewhere, it is noted that some folks -- well, Nora Amy Ephron -- deplore this act. I'm even happier now).

UPDATE: Read too fast; it's Amy Ephron, not Nora. Jeepers, there's two of them?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Blood Dancers, Idiots

Pretty much the same tribe: idiots, blood-dancers, fools, would-be nannies.

Example: Meleanie Hain was shot and killed by her husband, who then shot himself. You may remember her as the armed soccer Mom, whose permit was yanked by the local Sheriff after she open-carried to one of her children's soccer games. A few go-rounds with the courts later, her permit was returned, since she was, in fact, doing nothing illegal (in Ohio; YMMV).

I'm told -- but cannot get at primary sources -- that she had expressed concern in recent months about her husband. He was becoming violent, she told friends. (Say Uncle provides a confirming link in comments).

So, within hours, the various and sundry blood-dancers (they'd love to get a link from me) were trumpeting how this shows "guns are bad news for women," how "violent households" (who decides? Mr. Lautenberg hadn't said No here) "shouldn't have guns."

Yeah, 'cos we all know it would have been so much better if he had bludgeoned her to death with a tire iron, then used the car he got it from to gas himself in the garage.

More stringent gun laws are especially unlikely to have helped in this instance: Mr. Hain, a former prison guard, was working as a parole officer, jobs which generally entail access to guns in even the most gun-restrictive of states.

"Her gun didn't help!" the blood-dancers cry, and oh, golly, they are right. Ought we all be constantly vigilant for an argument with our spouse to escalate? People often stay in relationships too long; they kid themselves about warning signs; they don't leave and yes, they don't shoot. People are more likely to get bitten by their own dogs, too. Should we therefore get rid of pets, spouses and guns?

Consider, too, the stresses imposed on this marriage by hoplophobia: in most encounters with police and courts, you end up losing money -- even if you win. Your privacy is compromised; your address shows up in court records and probably in the news media, too. (Gee, that wouldn't be an issue for a parole officer, would it? Especially if he's sent a few baddies back to penitentary for violating the terms of their parole?) -- and all that for not breaking the law.

Here's a little thought-experiment for the Progressive blood-dancer: say this was a gay couple; say they'd shown up at their kid's soccer game holding hands, maybe even had a quick smooch, and say this offended a Concerned Parent, who had rung up the local po-lice who had busted 'em for Public Indecency or Corrupting The Morals Of The Young;* and say these folks fought it in court and won, 'cos there is no law against chaste PDAs. But it made the papers and the TV news bigtime, as you might expect. Now, if after being outed coast-to-coast and spendin' on lawyers an' such, neighbors being interviewed and expressing scorn or fear, a year later one of the couple killed the other, then offed himself, would you be tellin' us that Teh Gay kills, and ought to be outlawed? Or at least severely restricted -- I know! Maybe they otta get psych exams and be licensed?

It's like this: our personal prejudices are not Natural Law and they ought not be the laws of the land, either. Not yours, not mine, not that guy over there. Something went tragically wrong in the Hain household and if you wanna blame the guns, you'd better start with the damage done by hoplophobia.

(Could be totally unrelated, too -- maybe Mr. Hain went bugnuts for another reason, or none at all; we don't know. I'm still not gonna blame her for not shooting her husband -- and neither should you).

Update: Elsewhere and more gracefully, Breda offers an excellent farewell.
* [SARCASM]It's what they got that Greek perv-o Socrates on, after all. [/SARCASM]

Alternate History?

I've been reading a fascinating book, David Hebditch and Ken Connor's How To Stage A Military Coup.* One of the footnotes led me to an article by (then) LTC Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012. (Interestingly, you can't get this article directly from the nice folks at any more; indeed most of their online library is Off Limits these days. Can't say as I blame 'em -- but that bird has done flown). (See also the Wikipedia article on Major General Dunlap -- and note it appears the man can shoot, too).

Written in 1992, it is eerily familiar in spots. Are we there yet? No, not quite, but it does not seem as outlandish or unlikely as one might hope, either.

Food for thought. Darn it, I hate checkpoints.
* No, it is not one of the "...For Dummies" books, though I must point out that a putsch does not appear to be an undertaking well-suited to amateurs; if you don't have a uniform with nice, shiny badges of rank and maybe a skosh of War College-type schooling, you'd be better off staging a plain ol' revolution -- or, better yet, neither one.
Recent works of Maj. Gen Dunlap:
Putting Troops On The Beat
We Still Need The Big Guns
Forget The Lessons Of Iraq
...I am amused to find him getting positive mention in both Democratic Underground and Free Republic, both of whom think "he's on their side." They might even be right, if you figure his job is making sure they have a safe place in which to argue....

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Adventures In Bathing

I take showers. The tubette here at Roseholme ain't much. Sadly, as I have lived in nicer and nicer homes in my adult life, the tubs have become smaller and stingier. My first real apartment, with 15-foot ceilings, a double-pole knife switch and two plug fuses for a "breaker box," a folded-zinc kitchen sink and a pilotless gas range -- all cast-iron and exposed pipes and here's a box of kitchen matches, girlie! -- had a six-and-a-half-foot long clawfoot tub, a yard wide and a yard deep, big enough to float in.* It's been downhill ever since and what I've got now holds a bit over one foot of water. But nevertheless, hope springeth eternal and yesterday, as a part of vacation madness, I took A Real Tub Bath.

Should'a locked the door! Littlest cat found herself floorbound (at age 20, she requires a human to return her to her preferred spot on my big oak desk and is not shy about summoning assistance) and roamed the hall, complaining: "Ow! Nao! Uuuup! Nao!" then eeled through the left-ajar door to lecture me in person, breaking off to go look down the floor register and announce, quite distinctly, "UH-OH!" then make an abrupt exit. Disconcerting.

About the time I was rinsing my hair, I heard a stir and looked up. James Bond fans, now is your time: here I am in sudsy water, damp hair all piled up, as a grinning Tam enters carrying a laptop bag, announces in her best Scandahoovian accent, "Luuuke!" and proceeds to open it, remove gun parts and assemble an AR-15 in a under a minute! Fascinating, I had to admit, even as I pondered that I now had insight into how Archimedes' fellow-bathers felt.... ;)

Never a dull moment around here.
* If you leaned back and reached over your head when reclined in the tub, your fingertips would just reach a tiny wooden door set in the wall. If you opened that door, you'd be staring at the knife-switch-and-plug-fuses setup referred to earlier. And that was my first sight of it. Did you know you can sober up even when you are already sober to begin with? Truth.

Morning And New Stuff To Learn

Okay, who out there knows how to work a Wagner PowerPainter? Gonna be an interesting day.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Epic Fail

From -- of all places -- the newspaper: Baby found in dumpster. Dead.

So we have here:

-Contraception Fail. If either party even bothered.

-Mothering Fail

-Fatherhood Fail: where's the daddy? Or did he help?

-Family Fail: Like that's a surprise. One wonders how often the abandoning mothers were thrown out -- or feared they would be if their condition was discovered?

-Public-Relations Fail: I quote: "Indiana's Safe Haven Law lets a parent who cannot care for an infant younger than 45 days old leave the baby with staff at hospitals, police stations or firehouses. The parents do not have to identify themselves or explain their actions, as long as the baby is unharmed."
Got that? You can go to any hospital, police officer station or firehouse with a tiny baby, hand the infant over and shamble out; no questions asked. So, how's it working out? Again, I quote, emphasis mine: "Six babies have been legally abandoned in Indiana since 2001. During that same time, 22 babies in Indiana were abandoned illegally, and seven of them died." WTF?

Y'know, I find this more horrifying than abortion and unlike that contentious topic, there aren't two sides and haven't been since Rome fell. Infanticide is a crime. It is immoral. There are other options, options that don't result in the baby's death (one chance in three of survival, so far) and the mother being tracked down, arrested, charged, probably tried and likely convicted.

Making A Real Hash

Update: Tam showed up from her rounds today bearing more onions, a couple of Serranos and a large Poblano pepper, saying, "Make more!" So now we have photos.

I am on vacation this week; plans include:

A. Sleeping a lot and very late, along with

B. Painting the house.

As a consequence of the latter, it is of course raining and cold.

As a consequence of the former, I didn't get to the market yesterday and at dinner time, faced a quandary. We had eggs and canned hash, but that's pretty bland, plus it's a bit lacking in the "fresh veggies" department.

A quick fridge check turned up a generous handful of green onions that wanted using and Tam (who'd just got in from Tamming about, zombie control or visiting a lonely doggie or some such activity) reminded me we had a Serrano pepper or two left and our neighbor had a surplus of small hot peppers to share, too.

Aha! So, chop up the onions (I had about a third of a cup) and peppers (seed them as your tastes dictate -- I cleaned out the Serrano, as ours are flamin'-hot); take about a quarter of the onions and all of the peppers and saute in a large skillet with a bit of olive oil; set aside when the colors go bright and the onion is getting translucent. Plop the hash in the skillet, mash it out some, add all the onions and peppers and mix, then spread it out in a smooth layer. Break 3 to 4 eggs on it, whatever it takes to mostly cover; leave the yolks intact or break them as suits you. Sprinkle on celery flakes (or saute real celery in advance and add later), season the eggs with a dash of black pepper and whatever else appeals (Cajun seasoning, or Worcestershire, etc. or even nothing at all).
Cook uncovered over medium heat for five minutes or so ('til the egg whites are just getting white along the edges).
Then cover until the eggs are done (firm, opaque); uncover and let it steam out a bit, divide and serve.

(I have now posted photos). I'd've posted photos last night but we inhaled the stuff. It's spicy enough without adding anything but not so spicy that the flavors are overwhelmed -- and that was one fat Serrano and a couple of Tabasco (?) peppers from next door. YMMV; adjust to suit your palate. (Just as good with two Serranos and a Poblano). And yes, it is by no means low-cholesterol. Better have oatmeal for breakfast. ...Sure does taste good!
(I am reminded I'm overdue to cook up some corned beef brisket and make for-real c. b. hash with the leftovers and fresh taters. It's about 6X as good as the stuff in cans. Come to think of it, I could have the local market thick-slice some corned beef and start from there...).

Endorsements: Me, Too

...Star made decent, affordable sidearms, though a Sistema Colt is even better; an MGB is a nice car if you enjoy doing routine maintenance and small repairs yourself and can stay ahead of the rust; Bajaj's Chetak is a good motorscooter, Remington and Corona made the best portable typewriters and Western Electric produced a darned fine telephone. When it comes to pens, Pelikan and Conklin are excellent but I still prefer a Parker Duofold, especially the "Lady Duofold," with a pendant loop (or chatelaine ring) on the cap. If you must have a word processer, PerfectWriter running on a Kaypro II or IV is faster, cleaner and more flexible than anything I have used since, though Q10 (freeware!) is the closest when it comes to staying out of one's way.

And -- despite the fact that original products I like best of those listed above are no longer made and in several cases, the company no longer exists -- the FTC can go irrrigate a rope.

(Thanks to Unk, Sebastian and others)
PS: Chatelaine.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Our Failing Newspapers, Part Whatever

It's official: the dwindling Indianapolis Star no longer keeps pace with the urinary output of my smallest cat, who has for years refused to tinkle on anything but newsprint (or bare floor if there is no newsprint in her litter box, a powerful incentive to give her what she wants).

It's a problem, as the local newspaper has traditionally been the cheapest source of newsprint. The stuff is sold in pads at art-supply stores but it costs more. I may have to subscribe to The Wall Street Journal.

Related: an editorial this weekend from Andrea Neal, former editor of the Star's opinion pages, expressed her admiration for Indiana's Blue Laws, specifically barring the Sunday sale of alcoholic beverages (other than by the drink at restaurants with a liquor license -- most of which have bars). "I think," she opined, "it's a good thing that Hoosiers can't buy alcohol at supermarkets or liquor stores on Sunday. Do we really need another day to stock up on intoxicating beverages?"

...Point, missing: "stocking up" would be what Hoosiers -- Tam, for adopted instance -- do prior to Sunday, so they can keep on enjoyin' a beer or whatever; or the poor dears must hie themselves to the nearest tavern with a kitchen and a Sunday permit. About the only thing the law does now is give folks working in liquor stores one guaranteed day off a week, just like car dealers. It's a bother for grocery stores and drugstores that sell hooch, as they have to post signs on their aisle of alk; and they're the ones pushing to do away with the Sunday ban, since it costs them nothing to sell it Sunday. (Liquor stores and those gin-and-steak joints with Sunday licenses, on the other hand, take a dim view of the change).

...But Ex-Editor Neal waves off these mere economic concerns; no, she frets about substance abuse. (Cue dramatic organ fanfare).

'Cos drunks would never, you know, go to an eatery with an open-Sunday bar, or stock up Saturday, or swill down some cold medicine or mouthwash, or shoplift a bottle, or bum from a friend. Shucks, no! And that one sober day a week does-- Does what, exactly, assumin' they actually do go Dry? Not too much.

Never fear, we learn from Ms. Neal, "It's almost as if policymakers don't care about the social effects of drinking. A growing number seem to think it's not the state's business to tell consumers what they can do on Sunday."

One: Oh, I suspect they do care about those "social effects;" they've passed rather strict laws about operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, for instance. Why, they may even be helping to fund a few treatment centers for substance abusers with her and my tax money. (It's also just as illegal to get drunk and beat your spouse on Sunday as on any other day -- or even to spouse-beat while sober. Just like it is legal to watch A Streetcar Named Desire as though it was a documentary, which it isn't).

Two: why would it be the State's business to tell consumers adults what they can do in re the legal purchase of a legal product any day of the week? Don't we have preachers, priests, imams, rabbis, shamans and gurus to offer us moral guidance on, among other topics, what we should or should not ingest and when?

...But Andrea Neal informs us -- and cites a few studies to back it up -- that "we need a day off from vice." From every vice (well, not card-playing or dancing or even outta wedlock s-e-x; but buying a car is Right Out) except the vice of trying to control our neighbors. For their own good, of course, poor, dim savages that they are. Geez, it's not as if they were citizens or any...thing...?

Here's a thought: if you'll trust 'em to vote and at the controls of an automobile or even (oh, shudder) to buy a firearm on the Sabbath,* maybe it's time to stop trying to be their Mommy. It's especially time for the State to stop being Mommy.
* Warning, Sabbaths are sold by duration, not volume or weight; Sabbaths not distributed equally or even spelled the same; the Sabbath you were issued may or may not fall on the same day as that protected by Indiana's Blue Laws and may require and/or prohibit activities not proscribed or mandated by State law. Which seems awfully unfair of them, really.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Have You Noticed?

AMC has rebooted the paranoid classic, The Prisoner. IFC was pushing it the other night with a marathon of the original series and today, a totally unrelated web-crawl turned up the Namibian city of Swakopmund, about as unlikely a place as a Midwesterner might imagine but very real -- and the location where the new series was filmed. It's a small world but I am once again reminded just how small.

Innocent Intent?

It's one thing ("clever marketing," f'rinstance) to come up with a Web-browser intended for some particular group -- shotgunners, diabetic GLBT acrobats, European-Americans or African-Americans; and speaking of the last example, it's quite another thing to give it a name that suggests a profound ignorance of history.

C'mon, dad-rat it, there was already plenty of paranoia to go around.

Okay, Okay, I'm Awake!

...Now to shower* and then go shoot guns!
* For those unfamiliar with the concept, especially the individual behind me in line at the supermarket.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

T-Shirt Design?

I can't be the first to have thought of this satirical artwork?
At left, based on Chicago's first effort, which...well, it can't have helped; Olympic rules don't allow using the torch in your logo until you have been Officially Picked. At right, the revised version is the basis. Either one would make a nice T-shirt, wouldn't it?

Glowing In The Dark

Tam's been poking a stick at the crazy (I won't even dig it up to link to it but there's some right messed-up $DØØDs out there); Atomic Nerds happened on a two-year-old arrest report for the Radioactive Boy Scout.

Turns out the two topics kind of intersect: "Thumper235 18 March 2008 at 11:14 am I am David Charles Hahn (The Radioactive Boyscout) . I was arrested some time ago and Judge Viviano has sentenced me to a treatment facility. I am currently staying at Emmanuel House." Scroll down through the comments 'til you find "Thumper235." Oh, he's got a lot to say.

I don't know if folks needed any extra reasons to avoid Detroit but, um, this'd be a good one.

(Emmanuel House, Citehealth page. Interestingly enough, their listed web addy appears to no longer belong to them. Sure hope the place isn't a Superfund site now -- but I would not bet against it).

I got over being sick for this?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Bank With A Heart

Okay, it's more of a liquid helium pump than a heart as such -- still, you want proof that the little guy is not forgot as banks snuggle in with the Feds, warm an' happy as a tick up an elephant's-- ahem. Well, do ya? Shermlock Shomes points us to irrefutable evidence!

...Remember, once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how unlikely, must be the truth: Blank of Acirema actively encourages and supports bein' jerks whenever possible.

Next week, kickin' the crutches out from under cripples? Cheatin' widows an' orphans? Whatever, I think we can count on high-larious, madcap hijinx. ACORN's banking suggestion, to bury your money in a tin can in the back yard, looks better with ever passing day.

Links: Idiots, Here And Abroad

Representative Alan Grayson, Florida Democrat bloviates up a health care strawman based on finding a blank sheet of paper; elsewhere, a loudly Lefty rag defends his spiteful fantasy (including his later comparing our present health care situation to The Holocaust) : in the same article, Congressbeing Grayson is "a Democrat with guts," while his peer Joe Wilson's outburst is decried as "boorish behavior." At least there's no question where they stand.

On the far side of the big water, a sternly-worded ad campaign in the UK reminds "girls*" not to hide guns for their menfolk. ...'Cos criminalizing weapons possession and barring handguns altogether wasn't quite enough but colorful posters and radio blurbs will do the trick? Helloooo? Expert analysis at Tam's in

It's a good thing we have Tam and Uncle and Old Grouch and the rest of you, bloggers and readers alike, 'cos we have no shortage of witlings in high places. Somebody's got to be the grown-up.
* Sexist, ageist or simply revealing once again the nannystatist attitude that hoi polli are but children? Take your pick.