Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Happy Holidays?

WARNING you are about to fall into a rant.

I'm done, done with wishing anyone Happy Holidays. December 25th is also Christmas day across the globe whether or not you celebrate it and it so happens I do. I am going to wish people Merry Christmas, not only that I am going to say Merry Christmas instead of goodbye where ever I go. You see, people specifically wish others well on momentus dates and occasions, strip out why you are wishing people well and you might as well say Happy Root Canal or Merry Grocery Shopping! I refuse to water down my reasons for merriment and goodwill for some sort of PC canard. Am I going to be offended if my Jewish brother in law wishes me a Happy Chanukka? Nope. Will I wish him back one? Yes.

You think if he said Happy Chanukka to the checker at the grocery store, they would correct him by saying, "Oh and Happy Holidays to you too." You better bet your buttons they wouldn't. I tried it you know. Happy Chanukka. Happy Kwanza. (Alright I am pretty white so that got a strange look, but they wished me happy Kwanza none the less) Winter Greetings. Merry Festivus. Solstice Greetings. Merry Christmas? One brave soul said Merry Christmas back, I got a Happy Holidays in return most of the time with a slight emphasis on the word "Holiday." It's pretty pathetic that the faux holiday from Seinfeld gets more respect than Christmas does. You really don't see Festivus pole lots out there do you? If a politician has the brass to do it you can to. (ht. John Hawkins)

Really though the last straw? Honda Commercials. There is a whole raft of Honda Commercials out there which replace the words "Merry Christmas" in carols with "Happy Honda Days." It's like taking the PC step and then making a ode to greed out of them.

On a related note, John Gibson was filling in for Tony Snow on Black Friday. John, the first sentence I heard from you was: "Buy, buy, buy" blaringly loud. I made a vow then and there to never listen to you when you fill in for Tony. I have heard you talk about your book about reclaiming Christmas from the PC shills, but there is no way I am going to go overboard on the crass commercialism in Christmas either. I don't think that was what you were advocating but that's what it sounded like and it was Real Off Putting.

So Merry Christmas to all folks out there. Happy Chanukka to my Jewish friends and family.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Holiday Dessert - Pie Edition

I plan on doing some Christmas Cookie recipe blogging but as I was contemplating what recipe to post on I clicked over to One For the Road and saw Richmond had posted an intriguing recipe for Oatmeal Pie. Yup, Oatmeal Pie. So that got me thinking Oatmeal Pie - oatmeal cookie - cookie pie. Cookie pie, where had I seen a cookie pie recipe? Oh yeah, from the holiday recipe/coupon book from my local Albertsons. Sure it is a brand name shilling device but hey, it was free and some of the desserts looked yummy. So with no further ado: the Jello-Nabisco-Cool Whip, (no more corporate shilling here) child friendly pudding pie from the grocery store flyer.

1 graham cracker or chocolate cookie crust (made by you know who)
2 4oz packages of chocolate pudding mix (made by those people)
1 tub of whipped topping (which they wisely make lactose free)
12 peanut butter sandwich or chocolate sandwich cookies cut crosswise (Do I need to spell out these brands for you? What, you live in a cave?)
2 cups milk (brand blessedly not spelled out)

Mix milk and pudding mixes and spoon 1 1/2 cups into your crust. Place cookies on top of first layer of pie. Stir 1 1/2 cups whipped topping into remainder of pudding mix. Lavish it on top of first layer and cookies. Refrigerate 3 hours, dab more whipped topping on pie before serving.

Pie quiz.

You Are Mud Pie

You're the perfect combo of flavor and depth
Those who like you give into their impulses

Monday, November 28, 2005

APB On Bugs

Remember when warnings were for the unwary instead of a moralizing lecture on the inappropriateness of entertainment? I don't, but then I'm a Gen Xer. Both Lileks and Mark Steyn lament on the unavoidable lecture now pasted at the front of Looney Toones Volume 3.

Picked up my “Looney Tunes vol. 3,” and was very excited. Finally: a chance to see if "Hillbilly Hare" was as funny as I recalled. I hadn’t seen it in ten years – used to come around once every few months in the morning Warner Brothers cartoon show in DC. (I would get up, check local Fox TV – the best morning show at the time - then move directly to Looney Tunes.) I put in the disc and was instantly horrified to see Whoopie Goldberg enter the frame, looking like a character cut from “Battlefield Earth.” She brings with her a strange set of implications: in another dimension, people think she is funny, but in private even those people do not think she is funny, but they do not dwell on the matter. Apparently to us yokels her presence is meant to indicate the presence, or at least the imminence, of hilarity. She warns us about the cartoons we are soon to behold. Warns us! It seems – odd as this may sound - they had many unexamined casual racial sterotypes back then, and these images found their way into cartoons. These jokes “hurt people of color, women and ethnic groups.” Somehow I doubt stupid barefoot idiot hillbillies are an ethnic group. But they’re mercilessly mocked – not only for their appearance or lack of intelligence, but their inability to resist the instructions of a rabbit whose square-dancing calls have the force of law.

And it gets worse: Bugs dresses up as a girl in this one – which could be seen as a shout-out to the transgendered-rabbit community, but once again he does it only to deceive and harm someone. From this we all learn the iron lesson of life: boys dressed up as girls are not dealing with the fluid nature of gender, but are attempting to make you flustered and grinny so they can either shoot you in the face or compel you to shoot yourself. (The effect of which usually clarifies the whole gender confusion, as it happens.) So don’t trust cross-dressing rabbits.

You know, I would never expect a cross-dresser to make that argument. But I would expect someone else to make it on their behalf.

Note: "Hillbilly Hare" is better than I remember.

Mark Steyn:

for some reason, this new set begins with a special announcement by Whoopi Goldberg explaining what it is we're not meant to find funny: ''Unfortunately at that time racial and ethnic differences were caricatured in ways that may have embarrassed and even hurt people of color, women and ethnic groups,'' she tells us sternly. ''These jokes were wrong then and they're wrong today'' -- unlike, say, Whoopi Goldberg's most memorable joke of recent years, the one at that 2004 all-star Democratic Party gala in New York where she compared President Bush to her, um, private parts. There's a gag for the ages.

I don't know what Whoopi's making such a meal about. It's true you don't see many positive images of people of color on ''Looney Tunes,'' but then the images of people of non-color aren't terribly positive either (Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam). Instead, you see positive images of ducks of color, roadrunners of color and tweety birds of color. How weirdly reductive to be so obsessed about something so peripheral to these cartoons that you stick the same d*** Whoopi Goldberg health warning on all four DVDs in the box. And don't think about hitting the "Next" button and skipping to the cartoons: You can't; you gotta sit through it.

I suppose we should be thankful it's only a moralizing lecture. What with the nannies scared that salt remains unregulated it was only a matter of time before they got around to Bugs. Lest you think this was unforseen, I point you to a prescient author F. Paul Wilson who in 1978 published a story called "Lipidleggin'". The protagonist sells blackmarket butter and opines that he better start saving episodes of Looney Toones for when they outlaw the Wabbit.

Basil and Don, thanks guys.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Goblet of Fire

I went with Sis to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire today. Thursday had been her birthday but in the holiday bustle I had forgotten the gift I had gotten for her, so I cruised up island and gave her her gift and went to a matinee.

Kudos to the screenplay writer and director for doing a difficult job: taking JK Rowlings enormous book and distilling it to the bare essentials without it feeling like a horrible hack job. Overall plot: Harry's fouth year at Hogwarts School of Wizardry. Hogwarts hosts a dangerous Wizard Tournament and is joined by envoys from two other Wizarding schools. Hormones rage. Movie five is set up.

Obviously, the plot focuses on the threat from Voldemort and how that ties in with the Wizard Tournament. They also had to develop some friendships and romances to a degree so that when they play a bigger role later you don't go, "uh, wha' happened?" Order of the Phoenix is a character driven rather than an action driven story, so with the exception of the big battle ant the end of Phoenix, I expect to see a good deal more interpersonal drama than was in Goblet. Pros and Cons then:

Pros: The kids come into thier own, this movie was light on the adults, so there was some wonderful bits with the elder Weasleys, Fred and George, the Patil sisters, and Cho Chang which we didn't really see much of in the earlier movies. Neville continues to make an appearance and I am very pleased with how the young actor portraying him handles my favorite character. The Tournament itself is handled beautifully especially the scene where Harry must face the dragon. The wonderful comedic scene between Harry and Moaning Myrtle caught just the right note; broadly played without being heavy handed.

Cons: Not enough Snape. Alan Rickman was wonderful, but needed more screen time. The secret villian was laughably easy to guess even for my never-read-the-book, I-don't-try-to figure-it-out Sis. Not enough about the dark mark on Voldemort's followers. No mention of Fred and George's joke shop and the money Harry gives them. I know this seems like a small thing to include, and I know they were pressed for screen time but Fred and George's joke shop, and Harry funding it plays a much bigger role in the movies to come and it should have gotten a minute of screen time.

I look forward to more of Jason Isaacs in movie five, he exudes such villianous malice that Ralph Finnes will be hard pressed to catch up as Voldemort.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Goof is Puck

A Midsummer Night's Dream ala the Disney gang with Goofy as Puck has the kids enthralled. Curiously, they are not bothered by Elizabethan English and seem to grasp the dialouge without the subsequent explaination.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Most Inspirational Movies

AFI is doing it's (well it seems like it is) annual 100 best list. This year it is Most Inspirational movie of the century. Well here are some of mine:

To Kill A Mockingbird
Ben Hur (Heston Version)
Apollo 13
Chariots of Fire
Great Escape
Sound of Music
Babette's Feast
It's A Wonderful Life
Shawshank Redemption

I have not put The Passion of the Christ on there because I have not seen it, because I'm too chicken. I'll just cry buckets, I know I will. ht: A Constrained Vision via Betsy and John Hawkins.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I've a Plate

"Mommmmmmmmmm!" the Muralist wails, the final mmmm sound rising up in a shrill pitch which makes the dog two farms over howl. "It's velcroed to my body!!!!!" The Infant scrunches up her face to cry and the Verbalist claps his hands over his ears. The Muralist has pipes on her - operatic ones; like Dear Husband her musical sense wanders. Life can be a crapshoot, ya know?

The "it" in question turned out to be the skirt of her dress. She has opted for something more twirly to attend the Elephant's tea party in and discovered static cling. I forgot dryer sheets last shopping expedition, didn't think the toddler would be the one to complain. Quick! Distract!

"How about some pretties from Mommy's jewelry box?" That brightened her up. I went to go get the box set aside full of dress-up friendly bracelets and necklaces. I came back out to find the living room vacant. I went back to her room where Elephants large and small, Carebears, Sleeping Beauty and The Dog all sat clustered around a makeshift table. The Dog looked at me with large gold eyes.

"Don't spoil this," the eyes pleaded, "she has a whole stash of graham crackers, and I've a plate in front of me."

"Hats!" piped the Muralist placing a hat atop her head and The Dog. The Dog rolled her eyes and shifted slightly but continued to eye the graham crackers. I stifled a laugh and ran for the camera. I heard a thump thump thump down the hall and saw The Muralist run into the bathroom (crackers in hand - no fool she). I ducked my head around the corner and saw the crackers on the counter.

"Need help?" I ask.

"No!" she caroled.

"Ok!" I replied digging for the camera again. Thump, thump, thump - back down the hall she went.

"Hold still." I hear floating down the hall. "Just Relax."

Uh oh, not a good sentence to hear a 3 year old tell a dog. I tore down the hallway to find the greedy and longsuffering Dog letting the Muralist apply lipstick to her grinning mouth. The golden eyes looked my way. "Crackers," they say. "I've a plate in front of me."

Let's Talk Turkey

I have a confession, this next recipe is not mine, it's Alton Brown's (the Good Eats guy). It makes the most delicious turkey. It's a brine.

Oh! Brine bringer of juicy turkey
With gladdened hearts we greet you!

My folks are low and slow basters; they consistently make fabulous turkey year after year. Low and slow and lots of basting results in 10 hours to complete a bird. With brining however, cook time is shortened because no basting is required, no heat escapes from the oven.

Alton is a stuffing heretic though, he thinks they are a death trap of food poisoning. I eschew his aromatics and stuff the bird. Here's the link to the original recipe and now mine slightly changed:


1 (14 to 16 pound) young turkey
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
6 sage leaves
4 rosemary sprigs
1 gallon iced water

Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining. Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.


Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with vegetable oil.
Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.

Everyone has thier own stuffing recipe and I wouldn't presume to tell you how to do yours. Ok, maybe next year. The professionals.

Friday, November 18, 2005

How about some thanksgiving?

A couple of questions for the audience at large:

1. Who wants to see a lot of troops come home soon?

2. Who wants a successful installment of popularly elected officials in Iraq?

3. Who wants to see politicians do thier jobs and stop whining?

As I suspected the majority of you answered yes to the above questions. Level two:

1. Who thinks December elections in Iraq, will allow troops to come home?

2. Who thinks 60 days is too long to wait?

3. Who can't wait for Congress to recess for the holiday season?

Back in the days of Desert Storm/Sheild there was a t-shirt on sale at a local chain that bore the slogan "Iraq-no-phobia". I think that we need to get more of those printed up. Only instead of referring to a lack of unease over the supposed might of the Baathist regime, it could refer to confidence in Iraqi elections. If only the politicians would shut up for a minute, take a no grandstanding vow until after the elections. Head down spend the holidays with thier family in an attitude of quiet thanksgiving we have had no more major attacks on US soil. Thanksgiving, that WMD's were not used against our troops, that our normal does not include 100 Puegots set aflame nightly. Thanksgiving, that a season of unprecedented natural disasters has left fewer dead in our nation than was projected. Thanksgiving, that the war for our way of life in our time has yet to include an Omaha Beach or Hiroshima.

Linking with Don Surber, Basil, Jo and California Conservative.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Oh the Humanity!

I think I have mentioned somewhere on this blog that I am a bibliophile. I read all the time (Dear Husband calls me a book carnivore) and generally will read just about anything. One thing I will not read, ever, even if I were stuck in an elevator, doctor's office or various places predicating a long wait, is Barbara Boxer's new book. Not because of the politics either, after all I have read Al Franken's political books. Nope, because eight brief scenes John Miller excerpted were so bad they made my eyes water and head hurt just scanning them. I think it's time to protest. Hands off my language!

Chip off the Old Block

Grocery Store - Me: "Ohhh Pie!"

Home - the Verbalist: "Ooooh Pie!"

Open Post/Trackbacks - It's a busy day today

Basil, Don Surber

Monday, November 14, 2005

Words, words, words

I love reference materials. A dictionary is a source of great amusement, as one word prompts me to look up another. I've got a fairly good vocabulary (I think anyway) but I find it facinating to see alternate or archaic meanings listed next to everyday words. As I was browsing my online dictionary, I popped over to another dictionary site and lo and behold found Merriam-Webster's Open Dictionary, a Wiki sort of affair.
a live, day-by-day chronicle of neologisms based completely on contributions from our users!
I looked up kerfuffle, because I could.


One entry found for kerfuffle.

Main Entry: ker·fuf·fle
Pronunciation: k&r-'f&-f&l
Function: noun
Etymology: alteration of carfuffle, from Scots car- (probably from Scottish Gaelic cearr wrong, awkward) + fuffle to become disheveled
chiefly British : DISTURBANCE, FUSS
And just because: top 5 searches on encyclopedia dot com's website are for alcoholism, anthropology, automobiles, world war 1, and baptists.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Jane and the Trouble with Movie Adaptations

Mensa Barbie and Frederica Mathews-Green both approve of the new Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice, as do some die hard romantics of my aquaintance. I am apprehensive however and wonder if it can possibly measure up to the fabulous version starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. For one thing I am a purist, no snogging on the Peaks. Adaptations must not violate the spirit of the book. Even if Lizzie so forgot her head as to liplock, Darcy was much too mindful of propriety. We can forgive Emma Thompson playing an 18 year old in Sense and Sensibility because she never lost the flavor of the character. Marianne and Lydia would smooch, Elanor and Lizzie would not.

Second, so much happens in Pride and Prejudice that I wonder what they cut. The elements traditionally cut, secondary characters and the like are essential to the main romance. Lydia and Wickham must elope, Mr. Collins and Charlotte must marry, Mr. and Mrs Gardiner must visit and Jane and Bingley must dance at Netherfield. To eliminate any of these elements will result in a failure to engineer the circumstances of Lizzie and Darcy's courtship - hence the shortcut of Derbyshire necking. The Ehle - Firth miniseries was the first time the story was captured with a minimal edit of the original.

Why can we not let Pride and Prejudice have a rest? Yes, it is Jane Austen's most famous work but gadzooks she has more to offer. How I long for a quality production of Northhanger Abbey! Miss Austen's sly parody of gothic novels is ripe for adaptation, perhaps as a sly parody of horror movies and the Country House murder mystery.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Waxing Austere?

FDR quoted Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay in 1936 saying, “Reform if you would preserve.” It is worth looking at Lord Macaulay’s quote fuller:

Let them wait, if this strange and fearful infatuation be indeed upon them, that they should not see with their eyes, or hear with their ears, or understand with their heart. But let us know our interest and our duty better. Turn where we may, within, around, the voice of great events is proclaiming to us: Reform, that you may preserve. Now, therefore, while everything at home and abroad forebodes ruin to those who persist in a hopeless struggle against the spirit of the age; now, while the crash of the proudest throne of the continent is still resounding in our ears; now, while the roof of a British palace affords an ignominious shelter to the exiled heir of forty kings; now, while we see on every side ancient institutions subverted, and great societies dissolved; now, while the heart of England is still sound; now, while old feelings and old associations retain a power and a charm which may too soon pass away; now, in this your accepted time, now, in this your day of salvation, take counsel, not of prejudice, not of party spirit, not of the ignominious pride of a fatal consistency, but of history, of reason, of the ages which are past, of the signs of this most portentuous (sic) time.

Pronounce in a manner worthy of the expectation with which this great debate has been anticipated, and of the long remembrance which it will leave behind. Renew the youth of the State. Save property, divided against itself. Save the multitude, endangered by its own ungovernable passions. Save the aristocracy, endangered by its own unpopular power. Save the greatest, and fairest, and most highly civilized community that ever existed, from calamities which may in a few days sweep away all the rich heritage of so many ages of wisdom and glory. The danger is terrible. The time is short. If this bill should be rejected, I pray to God that none of those who concur in rejecting it may ever remember their votes with unavailing remorse, amid the wreck of laws, the confusion of ranks, the spoliation of property, and the dissolution of social order.

Lord Macaulay was speaking about representational reform but his words could well apply to the need for reform today in the United States. With the populace increasingly unhappy with their Representatives and Senators, Democrat and Republican alike it is time to take stock of what the nation needs and how our national leaders are going to address those needs. I do not subscribe to the idea that government should care for its citizens cradle to coffin, when giants dance mice get squished; sometimes the greatest need a citizen has is to be left unmeddled with. I hardly expect the government to stop meddling though, and truth be told there are a great many people who wish to be enfolded to the great flabby bosom of state socialism. How then can we stem the encroachment, roll it back, and reinvigorate the vitality of our people?

Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam unroll a “starting place” to do just that in a column in the Weekly Standard. They argue that small government conservatives have relinquished the reins of government behemoths because of distaste for the system.

Many honest small government conservatives aren't interested in overseeing programs that they would prefer to see slashed or abolished, so their place has been filled by an assortment of cynical operators, for whom the only guiding principle is to keep Republicans (and themselves) fat, happy, and securely in power.

This echoes Peggy Noonan’s unhappy column a few weeks back:

That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.

Douthat and Salam outline three options: the first continuing the ruinous course that has yielded terrible pork filled appropriations bills, the second a return to fiscal austerity unpopular with the majority of voters (that is until “the looming entitlement crisis to convince Americans of the wisdom of repealing the New Deal”), or

“The third possibility--and the best, both for the party and the country as a whole--would be to take the "big-government conservatism" vision that George W. Bush and Karl Rove have hinted at but failed to develop, and give it coherence and sustainability.”
The words “big-government conservative” makes the leftover pizza I had for lunch congeal unhappily in my stomach.

They go on to assure us:

This wouldn't mean an abandonment of small-government objectives, but it would mean recognizing that these objectives--individual initiative, social mobility, economic freedom--seem to be slipping away from many less-well-off Americans, and that serving the interests of these voters means talking about economic insecurity as well as about self-reliance. It would mean recognizing that you can't have an "ownership society" in a nation where too many Americans owe far more than they own. It would mean matching the culture war rhetoric of family values with an economic policy that places the two-parent family--the institution best capable of providing cultural stability and economic security--at the heart of the GOP agenda.

OK. I will not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, but (the all important but) will abandoning the perfect even yield us the good? How can embracing big government conservatism not be abandoning small government objectives? Our current leaders have compromised and compromised into this fiscal mess, to reform will mean making unpopular decisions that need to be gutted through. You take away a child’s candy no matter how they yell so that they eat the healthy dinner that is placed before them. We ought to have no illusions: any big government program put in place can and will get derailed or abused beyond its initial purpose, Social Security anyone? A fine idea with an admirable purpose, that has been taken down a road FDR did not envision.

I think that we will indeed see programs along the lines sketched in this article; I even like some of them. I think that Americans need to be shocked out of their comfort zones, though for them to elect the aggressive reformers needed to craft the plans we need. It will give firm ground to those leaders who will have to battle complacency and an attitude of entrenched entitlement and the treacherous rocks of socialism. I guess I am not ready to give up on that austerity yet.

Tracked with Basil, Don Surber, Political Teen and Stop the ACLU.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Cranberry Blueberry Scones

Mmmm.... who doesn't like freshed baked pastry? Well, I do anyway. As we continue our odyessey in holiday fare, I present to you the perfect brunch food: scones. (Brunch, not quite breakfast, not quite lunch but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end.) Substantial enough to take off the edge, light enough to wear off for that big holiday meal. In keeping with this week's Carnival of Recipe theme for Veteran's Day, red white and blue to boot.

Cranberry Blueberry Scones

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
5 oz butter
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla or orange extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup blueberries

Sift together flours, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter. Add eggs, cream and extract. Stir in by hand until just mixed. (hand mixing is important to keep your scones light. Lord knows I love my mixer but if I use it I get leaden scones.) Soak cranberries in hot water for 5 min then add along with blueberries to scone mix. Drop large spoonfuls on greased parchment paper andlightly shape triangular. Scone batter should resemble very sticky biscuit batter. Bake at 350. yields 6 large or 12 normal scones.

Thanks to all the Vets. In the words of Jack Burton, "May the wings of liberty never lose a feather."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Little Love

I voted for Baldilocks as Queen of Clubs, now vote for me! A lowly two is all I ask. If all my regular readers vote, if some of my occasional readers vote, I could get much needed validation in my perch in Kidland.

Tracking at Basil and Don Surber. Help!!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election Day '05

The most important election in Washington State is only open to King County residents today. It is a race between Ron Sims and David Irons, they are running for King County Executive. The KC Executive appoints the elections officials in King County. If you are even passingly aware of Washington politics, you know that the KC elections office was in the heart of last year's Gubernatorial imbroglio which ended in a court case. At the end of that case the judge said this about KC elections officials:

"It's inertia, it's selfishness, it's taking our paycheck but not doing the work."

And he ruled in favor of them!!! The inertia and the selfishness that effect every voter in Washington are up for review by the voters. I think that Judge Bridges' quote should have been David Irons' campaign slogan.

Another important item on the ballot is I-912, the repeal of the 9 cent gax tax. In demonizing the citizens who support this initiative, the opposition has painted us (yes I signed in favor) as money grubbers who don't care about road and bridge safety. My support for 912 has everything to do with the real money-grubbers in Olympia who passed the "emergency tax" in direct opposition to what the voters expressed at the polls. The current revenues are enough for safety but not enough for squandering. I would be more amenable to the goals of replacing the bridge with a tunnel if those spending the money were transparent and accountable - and didn't spend money like drunken sailors. Trust me, Washington knows all about how drunken sailors spend the comparison is apt.

Tracked over at Don Surber.

UPDATE: Well, Irons lost by a healthy margin leaving the rest of the state hostage to King County selfishness and inertia. 912 lost also, I am guessing the voters have cooled off some from last spring and also the lawsuit slapped on some of it's most vocal advocates has had an effect also. (two local radio show hosts were told they were making in kind contributions to the "yes" campaign by talking positively about the initiative on thier show. no one said as much to the P-I about thier anti 912 articles. I'n not bitter though, can you tell?) A Huge Positive, by an overwhelming margin I-900 passed. I-900 is for audits. Washington auditor Brian Sontag has been ver vocal about the waste and corruption he's seen but has been unable to follow thru. As I understand it, I-900 will give him some teeth. Let's hope he watches gas tax revenues carefully.

Monday, November 07, 2005


No, I am not talking about my ongoing battle against dog hair and cobwebs which I regularly seem to lose; rather my updated blogroll to the side. I don't get an update everytime I am blogrolled, because it happens so occationally, but I do wander through comments and visit homepages of those that care enough to waste a minute of thier life commenting. It's nice to follow a comment and see folks have added you to their list.

Also, I have officially passed 5000 unique site visits in the 7 months I have been blogging. I am feeling quite proud of that number and wish to welcome any new folks and thank my intrepid band of 50 or so readers have stuck with me. That's 50 people who don't think I sell more baloney than a deli as the saying goes. (or, er, something like that.) So take a minute and and click thru the folks you may not know on the old blogroll.

Quick Hits

Some quasi-related kid stories for you. If you have been following the annals of the Verbalist at all, you know he's been saving money for various Batman paraphernalia. He's been earning money through various chores but it is slow going for my impetuous tot.

"Grammy," said he to one who might plead his case before the High Parental Tribune, "I do lots of work and am not paid enough!" Ah yes, the cry of the worker bee, the first of many times he will sing that refrain.

Last week we went and got flu shots and by way of cheering I told the Verbalist I'd pay the second half of his latest Batman vehicle, a projectile launching airplane. All the kids were cranky and out of sorts and it didn't take long before they were bickering.

"You stop that," said the Verbalist to his sister, "or I'll throw my dick at you."

"What!?!" said I.

"I'll throw my dick," he paused and added for clarification, "from my Batman plane."

"Oh!" I reply trying to hide my mirth. "Disc honey, disc."







Sunday, November 06, 2005

Carnival of Recipes

Carnival of Recipes is up over at Pajama Pundits and there is alot of tasty soups and stuff to drool over. A couple of recipes really caught my eye and I am going to have to try them out.
Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup and Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups. Yum!

Saturday, November 05, 2005


I think we are seeing a bellwether in US politics in Nebraska. Courtesy of Polipundit, here is the strategy for challenger Don Stenberg for Senator Ben Nelson’s Senate seat.

Wasting no time in shedding the rubber stamp rap that has been used against him in earlier races and disassociating himself from Republicans in Washington, Stenberg said he wants to restore conservative principles to a government that has veered off course.

“Many Republicans in Washington have lost their way and no longer support smaller government, restrained federal spending or local control of education,” Stenberg said at a news conference at Eppley Airfield.

“Under a Republican Congress and a Republican president, federal spending has skyrocketed,” the former three-term attorney general said.

But the answer to that problem will not come from Democrats, Stenberg stressed. It must come from voters who elect fiscally conservative Republicans, he said.

With the increasing marginalization of the Democratic Party thru their suicidal embrace of the anti-American left, a vacuum is created. This country must have a viable multi-party system or intellectual (and any other form of) honesty is lost. Many have speculated that that the GOP will split down lines of social policy. I think rather that the split will be among big vs. limited government lines. The increasing discontent in those which support the current administration is over the size and scope of governmental busybodiness.

I have argued before that Christians would do well to support a small government model, instead of falling prey to the “compassionate conservative” model of big government. Christians are most effective reaching those in their communities, and Americans are independent cusses who have no wish to have their lives dictated to them by the Powers That Be. As Christians we are enjoined to show charity to the poor, the widow, and the orphan – ourselves not government.

This administration’s legacy for good or ill, and I am inclined to the good, is the seeding of democracy in the mid east. The robust economy (we have the lowest unemployment yet at 5.0%) will be the springboard for governmental system change. We need changes toward small government. JC Watts, paging JC Watts.

Have Breakfast at Basil's!

Friday, November 04, 2005

6 Grain Italian Bread

With Thanksgiving on it's way, we need to turn to recipes to make the holiday tastier. What says Thanksgiving more than turkey sandwiches? Ok, pumpkin pie, but let's give pumpkin a break this week. Alot of people give thought to what they put on a sandwich but not what they put a sandwich on. I aim to change that. With no further ado:

6 Grain Italian Bread

2 cups bread flour
1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cups warm water
1/8 cup honey (if you have access to sage honey buy it!)
3/4 cup sourdough starter
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp yeast
1/2 cup 6 grain hot cereal

Soak cereal in just boiling water for 1/2 hour. Combine water, yeast, honey, starter and whole wheat flour. Add salt, rosemary, bread flour and soaked cereal. Should form a soft slightly sticky dough ball. Form into loaves and bake at 350 degrees.

"But, Taleena!" you cry, "I don't have sourdough starter." To which I reply, "This is why I am giving you this recipe early." Good starter recipe here or you can really cheat and buy some. (I don't need emails from purists about wild sourdough yeasts, thank you.)

Now for some spread:

Garlic and Herb Spread

8 oz cream cheese
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp thyme

Blend in food processor until light and smooth.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Carnival of Comedy!

In sheer desperation of getting a link from the all powerful IMAO (Frank J., note you're blogrolled to the left?) I am hostessing the Carnival of Comedy. Before I get to the good comedic stuff however, let's turn our attention to a serious problem. The EU has raised awareness of the scarcity of one of our most precious natural resources: capital letters. Witness the flagrant use of capitals by IMAO and Frank J. The hubris in using a capital j just to set himself apart from the rest of the franks in the blogosphere is just disgusting. If only he could follow the example of the patron saint of captial conservation e.e. cummings. It is to e.e. cummings that this blog post is dedicated. No more capitals.

spacemonkey says, "three catagories: very funny, kinda funny, and not too funny." my catagories are a little different though: funny, funny weird, and i don't get it. so here we go with funny:

ironman at political calculations has office humor. if you are a cube farmer these are for you.

laurence at this blog is full of cr*p offers funny cat pics.

a4g at point five has a solution to the israel on the map problem.

ferdy at conservative cat explains cat behavior.

tommy at striving for average made me laugh loud enough to wake my infant.

hudlumman at file it under made me laugh with ms. mapes' other incalculable mysteries.

permablog at blogginoutloud has some funny pics of stupid signs and such.

funny weird:

vox popular has some advice for misunderstood bloggers.

fitch at radioactiveliberty leads du-ers a merry chase.

g&r at good and the right get behind the closed senate session.

john carrol comes to a rather sweet and funny realization.

nose on your face looks at how the miers nomination impacted halloween.

blog d'ellison has a profanity laced post on condom marketing.

i didn't get it- (or i like my humor obvious)

mensa barbie has funny donkey pics but the captions. . .

pekah at pekah's pub on being white.

miriam at miriam's thoughts share exasperation on public bathrooms.

damian at conservathink displays bolton and his 'stache.

mr. right from the right place hosts a halloween costume party.

and lastly daniel at raving conservative shares a joke with a bang (all puns intended)

hope you all enjoyed this weeks carnival of humor sign up thru conservative cat (also blogrolled to the left) and be sure and get daily funny at imao and weekly funny at imaudio.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

To Borrow a Phrase

Halloween! The children's holiday, a holiday that practically demands the suspension of all parental rules. I knew my two eldest (herein to be known as Batman and Princess Jasmine) would be too hyped up to accomplish much, so we eschewed our normal course of coloring, reading, flashcards and just let them bounce off the walls. I made sure they got in a couple of good meals and, in a fit of desperation, dug out and plugged in the playstation. It was too wet to play on the swingset and the ball pit in the sun room was vetoed after the started pelting each other with balls. One last minute fit of the costumes then off to Grammy's house where glories awaited.

Boing, boing, boing, boing. They practically vibrated in thier seats with the anticipation of pizza, cupcakes, and trick or treating. Once there, they fell in with thier cousin and watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and every so often one of them would wander out and finger thier costumes. At one point it was too quiet and Grammy discovered the two Princesses applying costume make-up and (plastic costume) jewels in anticipation of the marvelous raiments to come. Three year olds in make up, hoorah. Batman mercifully missed this episode. A quick bite of pizza and into costumes we got. Obligitory pictures taken, and out the door.

"Come ONNNNNNNN!" shout Batman and P. Jasmine in chorus. and from there P. Jas. started her refrain: "On to the Next House, Come on!" The forecast had called for showers so I was pleased when the rain held off. There are precious few neighborhoods on island with streetlights, so the inky darkness only lit by porchlights enhanced the Halloween adventure. At last the wind kicked up and they began to slow down so we made our way back to Grammy's and thence to home and beds.

This morning however we arose bright and early. Bowls of cereal duly eaten, the loot was plundered and evaluated. Candy consumption came to an abrupt standstill when off we all went to the pediatrician today and all promptly got flu shots. Tired, sore, cranky and yet hopped up on sugar still we came home. To borrow a phrase, Oy Vey.