Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Enforcers of the 1%'s Power

This is an excellent perspective, and important to keep in mind.  I found it rather poignant. (link here)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Perry Needs To Listen To Nixon

Mojo Nixon, that is....

"Now another thing is kinda gettin\' on my nerves...
another thing that\'s kinda gettin\' on my nerves is this
national 21 drinking age
Huh? what do ya think about that?
A bunch of malarky
whatever malarky is man
it\'s a whole bunch of it..
you know if Reagan finally gets the war he\'s lookin for
you think he\'s gonna be draftin\' 21 year olds?
No man they\'re gonna be draftin\' 18 and 19 year olds
but ya cant buy beer
you can get married and screw yourself up real good
but ya can\'t buy beer
ya can charge 8 million dollars on the mastercharge
but ya can\'t buy beer
you can vote for one fool or another
but ya can\'t buy beer
\'cause this is America"

The legal voting age in Umerika is 18, you Texas idiot.  No New Texans!

I've Got A Love That Keeps Me Waiting

The Black Keys "Lonely Boy" has been going through my head for the last 2 days...  and from the looks of the Youtube video, 2.7 million other people have been hearing it too. 

The rich background - guitars, bass, steady driving drumming - make this a very catchy tune.  The fact that DDF usually gets home after I've had dinner, enhances the relevancy of the song, on a personal basis, as well.

Obama Waters Down Federal Regulations More Than Bush

You still have the delusion belief that the Obama Administration is anti-corporate, pro-regulation, anti-"job creator"?  Well, the facts do not support your case.  In fact, the Obama administration has enabled the watering down or elimination of more regulations in just 3 short years than the Bush Administration did.  I'm sorry if this does not support a right wing version of the world viewed through a partisan lens, but the fact is that the Obama administration has reduced or re-written, at K street lobbyists insistence, more federal regulations: (link here to Ari Shapiro's excellent story on NPR)

"We studied the records of 1,080 meetings that have been held at OIRA over the last 10 years," said Rena Steinzor, CPR's president. "And we found that OIRA has changed 84 percent of environmental regulations, and 65 percent of other agencies' regulations, and the change rate is worse than it was under George W. Bush."

Yes, Obama and his OIRA head Cass Sunstein, have enabled corporate lobbyists more influence, more access, and more leverage on re-writing and reducing Federal Regulations than the Bush administration ever did.  This is the same Cass Sunstein who insane-clown-with-a-more-insane-posse Glen Beck labeled a "communist & marxist".  

Every time I hear some Tea Partyer, or Republican devotee state how Obama is "killing jobs" with "regulations" I want & need to remind them of the facts.  If the corporate plutocrats are re-writing the Federal Regulations that are supposed to be protecting the citizens of this once great country, watering it down to their liking and satisfaction, then their minions (the Republicans) do not get to complain.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Château Moulin de Beauséjour Encore

I finished off a bottle of this (link) tonight, accompanying a grass fed sirloin that I grilled up with some mango chutney covered peppers / onions / carrots / tomatoes yesterday.  The encore bottle last night & tonight was just as delicious as the first bottle I had back in July.  Wonderful stuff.  Awesome at $6 a bottle.

Thank You! Judge Jed Rakoff!!!

While Keith Olbermann is often histrionic and goes off the deep end hyperbolically, I am very glad he had Matt Taibbi on this evening and I watched his broadcast on Current TV.   First, Olberman did not mention anything about Herman Cain's lack of ability to resist the White Woman (her last name, is "White", so it's not a racial dig)... but secondly... and Much More Importantly... Olbermann and Taibbi talked about Federal Judge Jed Rakoff's recent ruling where he THREW OUT the settlement that the SEC and CITI Group (pronounced "Shitty Group") reached wherein CITI was going to pay just over a 1/4 of a billion dollars in fines for defrauding investors when they said worthless mortgages were AAA rated, prime rib, awesome investments.  Well, actually, according to the Taibbi interview, CITI would ADMIT TO NO WRONG DOING, and pay the fines, but would not have to say why, and no further discussion would come of it.

Rakoff threw out the settlement, not just "no" but "Hell No".  "Don't come back into my court room" until you can prove the facts of the case, and show clearly what was done.  No bribes.  No smoke & mirrors.  No tiny slap on the wrist (a 1/4 billion sounds like alot to you and me, but this is Shitty bank, on of the 5 highest grossing 'profit' banks that is 'too big to fail' in the US, and the amount of profit they raked in by tax payer bailouts and corporate executive bonuses is unfathomably obscene since 2008).

Now, NPR had reported the settlement was rejected by "a federal Judge" but DID NOT SAY WHY.  Good thing we still have access to the google in the US; a quick search here (MSN/Money), here (Fox Business), here (Businessinsider), and here (Bloomberg) give more details.  But 3 of the 4 of these corporately held, corporately friendly, don't insult-Citi-they-are-our-friends "news agencies" barely mention on what grounds Rakoff rejected the claim.  Businessinsider does a nice job of summarizing, in writing, what Olbermann and Taibbi discussed on Current this evening (link here). 

Judge Jed Rakoff has inserted a tiny sliver of hope in a merde pie that the SEC, Congress, the largest Banks, Wall Street, and a toothless US Treasury have served us all.  Thank you Judge Rakoff.

Sadly... the case will probably never see Rakoff's court room again, as Citi will go judge shopping, until they can find one they can buy off, and get their pathetic little settlement approved.  grrrrrr.

Chateau de Grand Carretey Sauternes 2008

Dr Desert Flower has a proclivity for sweet, dessert-y white wines, and from time to time she purchases a bottle of Sauternes.  Sauternes is a southern Bordeaux wine, adjacent to the Grave region (see the map below) next to the city of Langon, on the Southern bank of the Garonne river.  Many a fine restaurant will offer one or more Sauternes on their wine list for a dessert option.

If you've ever splurged and tried a Sauternes, you know it has a rich floral bouquet, and it is quite sweet, with a long buttery, smooth finish on the pallet.  When I say "splurge", you know I am cheap, and I resist buying any wine over $10 a bottle, and get heart burn when it is more than $20 a bottle (in a store, retail, $10 to $20 translates to a $40 to $80 bottle in a nice restaurant, typically).  The 375 ml 1/2 bottle shown to the left cost nearly $35 from Total Wine - but DDF Really wanted to get it, and we've never had a bad Sauternes yet, so I agreed to the splurge.

We enjoyed the bottle over a nice dessert after a dinner at home earlier this month - without screaming kids, barking dogs, or the need for a designated driver.  It was delicious.  If you're looking for a delicious, sweet dessert wine to enjoy, you could do far worse than to try a Sauternes (pronounced SAW-turn, drop the "s").

Vignoble de Viognier - California Honeymoon

On my wall, in my office, I have a framed map of the different wine regions inside of Bordeaux France entitled "Vins de Bordeaux".  I enjoy looking at it - and memorizing it - during work related conference calls that are sometimes less than challenging.  On the map, there is a description that begins "Le vignobles du Bordeaux est incontestablement celui qui produit les vins fins les plus prestigieux du Monde." (The vineyards of Bordeaux is incontestably producing the best finished, prestigious wines in the World). In the regions of France where I've had the chance to speak to the local business men and natives who love their wine - Macon, Burgundy, Beajolais, Champagne, Cognac, Bordeaux - they each express the same pride and sentiment that their region's wine, is the BEST wine, not only in France, but in the entire world.  The Spanish and Italians I've spoken to at length about their wine have the same tribal perspective.  From this map, and my understanding of the French language, I permanently stored in my mental hard drive that "vignoble" = "vineyard", which is completely true.  But unfortunately, my human brain does not compartmentalize so well, and often the data storage 'bleeds over" or "leaks" from one storage location to another.

This data storage "bleed over" was recently illustrated when Dr Desert Flower purchased a Californian white wine (pictured to the right) from Trader Joe's, labeled as a "Viognier".  I'd seen "Viognier" wines before on store shelves, and I had always dismissed them as a sad attempt of some English speaking vineyard trying to "sound French" - like taking a wonderful blend of grape varietals and calling it "Meritage" - nearly every single French wine, is a "Meritage" by the blending definition, but Californians and most Americans have a hard time wrapping their head around a blend as being "as good as" or better than a mono-cultured grape, so they labeled anything like a Bordeaux (a mix of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot, to name a few, depending on the appellation) as a "Meritage".  Pffft.  Sure Americans, call it whatever you like.  I'm not buying if it is overpriced and lower quality than what I can get from well regulated European vineyards.

So when I saw "Viognier" I INCORRECTLY thought that it was a feeble attempt of a Californian wine maker trying to again "sound French".  How wrong I was!  While vignoble =  vineyard, viognier DOES NOT equal vignoble.  With just a little bit of research, I found out that viognier grapes were originally grown in the Northern Burgundy region - a region famous for perfecting the very-difficult-to-grow pinot noir grape.  Viognier is a similar species to Gouais Blanc, which were grown in plots of land that Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir would have difficulty in thriving.  The Northern Rhone region Condrieu AOC is made up of 100% entirely Viognier grapes.  So that vernacular confusion aside, I was able to more fully appreciate the California Honey Moon.

California Honey Moon was a buttery, slightly acidic, somewhat dry, not overly sweet, lots of apricot & honey notes, Completely Non-grapefruity while wine that Dr Desert Flower and I fully enjoyed.  It was in the $5 range at Trader Joe's, and paired nicely with cheese, and soups earlier this month.  It was not over-powering, and had a wonderful feel and taste on the pallet.  We'll definitely be getting more of this wine in the future. Jason, at Jason's Wine Blog agrees (link here). Cork'd reviews concur (link here), as does Dezel at Vinespot in a blind taste testing (link here).

For those of you who may be looking for an inexpensive white wine to pair with lighter food, the California Honey Moon is highly recommended!  And... I will try to be more careful in my mental verbal data storage in the future.

DBG Monarchs - Fall 2011

This last weekend marked the end of the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden's Monarch exhibit.  I was blessed to be able to visit it on the 17th of November, at 9:32am.   Why 9:32am?  Well, the exhibit opened at 9:30, and by 10, there were dozens of people in the small greenhouse-like enclosure where they house the butterflies.  At 9:32am, the guides outnumbered the photographers (myself included in the latter).  Below, are several of the better shots I was able to capture.
The monarchs taste with their feet, while both smelling and balancing / flight navigation with their antennae.  If an antennae gets broken / damaged, they fly around in circles, until they starve.
The males have more prominent spots"on the hind wings near the abdomen.
I've got lantana growing in my backyard as well. Irresistible stuff for my flighted friends.
The DBG guides told me that the monarchs mark the milkweed plants on which they are born, and 4 or 5 generations later (after a Canadian migration), if they are the migrating variety, their descendants will return to the exact same milkweed plant to feast and lay their eggs as well.  Pretty remarkable stuff.  I am glad I have a milk weed in my front yard.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Story of My Experiments with Truth

One of the nice young engineers I mentor in Bangalore - Kamran - gave me a copy of Gandhi's Autobiography "The Story of My Experiments with Truth" when I was in India last May.  I read it this summer while flying on business, and finished it last month in the plane enroute back from a training class in New York.  While I enjoyed the book, and learned a great deal about Gandhi's life that I never knew about previously, sometimes he has a writing style that reminds me of movie credits... where he lust lists names and names and names of many "famous" people, as if he is trying to acknowledge or 'thank' them, who were well known in India at the time of the autobiography's writing, but who today, I have no clue as to who they are.  When I'd encounter such a paragraph (and sometimes the lists would go on for a whole paragraph) I'd just skip it - not my style to skip details.

But as a whole, it was a good book, and helped me to understand bot Gandhi's life and the country of India much more.  It was also helped me to understand Kamran's thinking somewhat more.  You see, this was just after (less than a week) Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbotabad Pakistan by US Seal Team 6, and at dinner one night, I mentioned how I'd read several books on Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and had a 'somewhat informed' understanding of the geopolitics and cultural difficulties of the regions.  Kamran did NOT want my understanding of his country's neighbors, and his religion (he is practicing Sunni) to be soiled by negativity, and wanted to expose me to more positive aspects.  Who better to instill an advocating perspective, than the father of India's modern democracy, Mohandas K. Gandhi?  I am glad I get to mentor such insightful and talented young people at work.

Gus's Experiment

There used to be a little Torta place about a mile walk from our home.  It always had coupons, slow service, and mediocre Mexican food. After about 2 years, it went out of business. A few months ago, Gus's New York Pizza & Bar opened up, and it seems to be doing booming business.  Lots of cars.  Patrons sitting out on tables on the side walks. Appears to be quite busy.

Yesterday, on everyone's houses' numbers, were shoved hand-out fliers for Gus's.  Pizza and wing specials... open until 3am... happy hour 2 to 7 Monday-Friday... and I thought to myself... "hey, if the Bears game is not on at the same time as the Cardinals game, I wonder if they'll be playing it?"  So I call them, and at noon they were already busy.  I'll be able to walk over, and walk back (even more importantly, after consuming ethanol)... and I can check on the homeless people living under the Encanto Street bridge at 91st Ave along the way, to see if there's still a colony of people living under the tarps beneath the bridge - hopefully they've all found a better place to reside.

Il faut voir... hopefully the place won't be full of Oakland Raider fans.. and hopefully they'll have something better served at the bar than just Lite and Bud (bleh!).  If you're in the neighborhood, stop on by.   I'l have on my Singletary jersey.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


The Black Keys - this is what we're listening (and dancing to) chez nous this evening.  What are you enjoying?

My Brother's A Teacher

And his wife used to be too.  Tenured. 
 But my brother now organizes flash mobs to protest against his useless, vindictive, regressive, privatizing, vastly unpopular (in Lake County, where they vote Democratic), sell-off-the-state's-assets-to-the-highest-foreign-bidder governor Mitch Daniels, and his love for charter schools.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why Dogs Lick Their Butts?

Tip of the hat to Steve Wells at Dwindling in Unbelief for this gem.   You need to click on the link (here) to see the true beauty of this image.   I don't want to spoil it.

[And for those who have small children, this link is child friendly.  Don't worry]

Creamy Toscano

Dr Desert Flower picked up some Creamy Toscano cheese at Trader Joe's last month.  It was a mild cow's cheese that was dusted with cinnamon.   My goodness, it was delicious!  It didn't last a week in our fridge.  For nutritional information on it, see this link, here.  For a glowing review that is much more eloquent than I could write by a true cheese monger, see the link here.  Next time we see it, we'll get some more.

Dead Kennedys - Police Truck

As today is the anniversary of President John F Kennedy's assassination, thought a Dead Kennedys song relevant to recent campus police activities would be appropriate.  Thanks to my buddies Zim (30 years ago) & Joe M (10 years ago) for alerting me to the existence of and then reinforcing the relevance of, the Dead Kennedys,

Warning, those with small children - lyrics here are laced with words elementary school kids normally get punished by parents for saying, so if you play it at home, you are forewarned.

Not Deadbeats

Thanks to Occupyallthethings for this excellent graphic.

John (not Carlos) the Fisherman

I was disappointed to hear that this guy's name (link here to Carlos) was not "John".

Excellent drum work, throughout this silly Primus song of lethality on the high seas.

Listz, Golka, Shostakovich & Grams

Dr Desert Flower and I had the pleasure of going to the Phoenix Symphony last Saturday night to hear works by Franz Listz and Dimitri Shostakovich performed.  It was billed as a performance conducted by Christoph Konig, but he canceled at the last minute, and the PSO was able to get Andrew Grams as a conductor.  Grams appearance reminded me of a very young, and more handsome version of my friend Basil from high school.  He did an excellent job conducting, rousing the PSO in passionate crescendos and guiding them through treacherous Hungarian and Russian musical landscapes. Piano virtuoso Adam Golka played the Listz works Concerto No.1 in E-flat Major for Piano & Orchestra, as well as Totertanz.

We first heard Adam Golka play in 2009, and were very impressed.  This year, he seems much more "grown up" and appeared older, but his skillful piano playing was still amazing.  Our Section A row 7 seats gave us a perfect view of Golka's animated & expressive face - though we could not see his hands.  Through the 10s of thousands of notes he played in the two Listz works, I counted 5 notes (3 on the concerto, 2 on the 2nd piece) that disappointed Golka.  You could see his PAINED expression, as if some had shoved a dagger into his ribs a millisecond  after he played the note.  Of the 5, I could only distinguish 2 "perhaps wrong notes", and the other 3, maybe the timing was off, or the attack was not what Golka intended.  The extreme acrobatics, schizophrenic thematic changes, twisted finger contortions, and sweeping dynamic range variations that Listz - a rock star in his own time - wrote into the works was beautifully performed with astounding precision by Golka.  He's a very impressive pianist, and we were delighted to be able to be witness to a second performance by such a talent.  The PSO did a remarkable job as well in the 'dialogues' that Listz built into the works, where wood winds, harp, brass, violins would 'converse' with the piano soloist beautifully.  An extended standing ovation with two returns was enthusiastically given.

After intermission, Grams resumed the performance by marshaling the orchestra better than I've ever seen Michael Christie able to do.  They played Shostakovich's Symphony No.5 in D Minor.  A contemporary of Stravinsky and Prokofiev, Shostakovich was the Rodney Dangerfield of his time, persecuted by the Soviet machine, arrested and imprisoned often, he used to "sleep with a suit case packed next to the bed" so as not to wake up his family when the apparatchik police came in the middle of the night to take him in for questioning - I've always had a liking for the underdog.  Grams used a "gripping" claw-like motion with his left hand combined with a jaw clenched intense burning gaze when he is demanding more volume and intensity from the orchestra he is commanding, and he applied this technique quite effectively, passionately, dynamically with the PSO Saturday night.  From our seats, I was able to see him invoke the 2nd violins and violas to his right, in profile, several times throughout the Symphony No.5, as well as the 1st violins and cellos to his left.  Very effective, and enjoyable was the performance.

For Capitalism

Somehow, extreme conservatives cannot seem to differentiate between Capitalism and Pure Greed.  It's a fundamental wiring problem in their mind's and value systems.  I credit this disconnect to their parents, mass media, and ignorance.  I used to think like them too, from the time I was a teenager, until about the time I reached me early 30s - but I grew out of it, and progressed beyond such a narrow, slanted focus.

As Governor I Created Jobs...

Mike Keefe's poignant perspective.

Obama duped young people

"Yes, Obama duped young people by not doing every single thing they want. So now, they’ll all vote Republican. It’s like when I want some bread, I won’t settle for half a loaf. Instead, I will have a muffin made of broken glass."
- Stephen Colbert

Video Trumps Radio

Humans are visual creatures.  Yes, words and sounds do catch our attention, and smells are wired to the reptilian brain stem, but I think sight is much more powerful attractant / dissuasive / alluring force on the homosapien mind.  Gillian Gilbert in a pink cashmere sweater, playing keyboards, looking incredibly alluring, embeds itself in the mind of a teenager about 100X more strongly, pleasantly, and permanently than any Canadian metal trio ...and it is a welcomed relief to get "Fight The Good Fight" out of my head.

Also, seeing this video, it reminds how young Bernard Sumner used to be - he looked like a little boy in Jonathan Demme's 1982 video.

At 3:57, queue the frogs.  At 4:16 Sumner's out-of-synch cow bell banging detracts, in my perspective, from the over-all song.  But at least Triumph has been banished from my head this morning.

Triumph Stuck In My Head

X103 played this on their Saturday morning radio show when I was driving home from the Desert Botanical Garden last weekend.  I used to listen to Triumph in High School and College as it was on the radio ubiquitously, but had not heard this song in at least 10 years.  It's been stuck in my head ever since.

Many of the comments below the video on this youtube page as even dumber / dopier / indicative of the 'typical' Triumph audience.  "I could see RUSH doing a cover of this song. It would still be awesome." - Really?  LMFAO!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Capitalism Recapped, Again

This last weekend, with violence against citizens in Syria, Egypt, California (UC Davis, Los Angeles), Bahrain, Argentina, Peru, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere, it brings up the accuracy of this graphic again, it's worth a repeat.

NASCAR Shows How Classy It Can Be

A US citizen can like or dislike, love or hate, or be ambivalent about a US President.  I didn't like how I had to explain what a blow job was to my son when he was in Kindergarten when Clinton couldn't keep it in his pants and had the poor judgment to have sex with an intern.  I despised Bush so much that I turned off the radio or TV whenever I heard him speak.  I really liked Obama when he ran, but my disappointment with him has been growing for the last 2 years.  But never in all of these Chief Executives, would have considered booing or disrespecting any of their wives.

Yes, it's true to Hillary had a proclivity for pants suits and was a domineering personality in the white house, but she didn't do anything to warrant booing or hatred (at least by rational grownups).  Laura Bush had the "joker smile" in more than one photograph, but she also promoted reading with children and even spoke out against un-Christian [TM] policies promoted by the GOP on more than one occasion (until her leash was tugged tighter, and she was muzzled).  What does Michelle Obama do to get NASCAR fans to boo her?  Promote healthier eating?  (Cartman: give me my cheesy poofs, Maaaaaa!!!!)  Promote a NASCAR race dedicated to military families, called "Joining Forces"?  Yeah..  that's pretty evil.

The leader of idiotville, the caricature known as Hank-I-Suck-Terribly-And-Will-Never-Live-Up-to-My-Father's-Fame-Or-Have-Even-A-Tenth-Of-His-Talent-Williams Jr did state clearly on Faux News that "Obama is the Enemy!!", to lead the charge of all the sheep who vote against their own self interests in Dumphuckastan.  So perhaps the 10s of thousands of loud boo-ers in South Florida were just following their leadership's orders to extend good ole Southern Hospitality to a visiting African American woman of very humble origins (daughter of a city sanitation worker - that's pretty humble) who is also married to the leader of the Free World? 

Thanks NASCAR fans for showing your true colors.  The world is watching (link the UK story)

My First DBG Roadrunner Spotted in 2011

On Saturday morning, after visiting the Central Phoenix Farmer's Market, I stopped by the Desert Botanical Garden to renew our memberships.  I was delighted to spot my first roadrunner of the year, as he was hunting for lizards in the open prairie on the south east side of the garden.  He was nearly as big as a 2 year old Tom Turkey, but darted rapidly among the cacti, sage, mesquite, rocks, and desert landscape. 

I remained on the walking path and did not venture out into the prairie, as a good DBG visitor always should.  There was a saguaro cactus and a creosote bush blocking my view, so I had to push my camera's zoom to the limits. Look below, and see if you can "find Waldo" hidden in the landscape.  =)
Approaching the weaponized cholla

Darting back to the left.
Above cholla, behind mesquite. Fish-hook barrel cactus in the foreground.
It was wonderful to watch the big bird run, stalk, raise and lower it's tail feathers, dart again... hungrily looking for a lizard or rodent to have for brunch.

I ran into an elderly DBG patron who said he visits the garden every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and he told me there were "about 5" roadrunners in the garden.  This was the first one I'd seen in the garden since 2007, when Dr Desert Flower and I were eating at the Terrace Cafe, when a roadrunner dove towards the base of a refuse dumpster at the far edge of the terrace, and HOPPED back up, with a rat in it's saws.  I related this story to the older patron, and he said "yes, the roadrunners beat their pray against a rock to kill them, and then swallow them whole!  I looked at him incredulously.  "That rat was at least 1/2 the size of the road runner" I told him.  Not being one to be upstaged by a young whipper snapper like me (I was even wearing dungarees!) he told me he once saw a barn own swallow an entire rabbit, whole, while baby barn owls stood next to their parent (for scale reference).  He said he got a picture of the rabbit 1/2 way down, and then another picture of Just the Feet sticking out of the owl's mouth.  He added "like a heron with a skinny neck that eats large fish, these raptors don't care how big their prey is, they're determined to swallow it regardless." 

Re-Using Delicious Marinade

Re-Using Delicious Marinade in our home had been "forbidden" by Dr Desert Flower's fiat, until last weekend.  She had previously insisted that the marinade "has raw meat in it, you don't reuse it" (yes, a strange statement from a very smart woman with a degree that is essentially a PhD in very very very advanced biology.  Of course they had raw meat in the marinade - that's by definition.  Bacteria in marinade have DNA, and those DNA (and endoplasmic reticulum, and cell membranes, etc) also denature around 160F just like the bacterial parents that are still on the meat which will be grilled... just because they're in the marinade doesn't make them super viruses, or mucous encapsulated weaponized spores (like Anthrax). 

Saturday, I began to marinaded two flat iron steaks from Double Check Ranch for 24 hours using 1/2 a bottle of Grady's Hot Sauce in a ziplock bag in the fridge.  Sunday, during 1/2 time of the Bears / Chargers game, I preheated my grill, and then I drew out the steaks from the bag, and poured in 1/2 of a huge One Windmill Farm organic green pepper, 1/2 a sweet onion, and 1/2 a pint of organic portobello mushrooms, and "sloshed" them around until they were thoroughly coated in Grady's sauce.  I then fashioned my usual aluminum foil rectangle for grilling (see below), and poured the contents of the bag into the temporary "pan".    Noticing that there was very little "extra sauce" on the foil, I added about a cup of Herdez Mexican Salsa, which I often find too runny / watery, but in this case, it served perfectly to coat the surface of the foil on which the sauce covered veggies rested.  Why more liquid?  Well, I understand heat transfer, and a boiling liquid will transfer heat via conduction into the supposedly "contaminated" veggies about 10X faster than non-forced convection would transfer heat - and all those lurking bacteria needed as much energy as possible transferred into them as possible.
By this time, the grill was above 350 degrees.  I placed the foil onto the grill, closed the lid, and set the kitchen timer for 7:77 ( I like to repeat numbers, and test microwave programmers' foresight).  8 minutes and 17 seconds later, I brought the steaks out, and found the marinate covered vegetables in a vigorous boil in the small aluminum foil "pan".  Die bacteria, die!  Flame turned down as LOW as possible, I placed the steaks diagonally on the grill, and set the timer inside for 4:44, finished my Newcastle Brown Ale, and 5 minutes later, flipped the steaks.  Another 3:33 later, they were marvelously medium rare.

I would have taken an "after" picture, but the thought didn't occur to me until I was 1/2 way through the 2nd steak and 3/4rds through the veggies, with a dab of creme fraiche on the side.  Succulent, flavorful, "amazing"... some of the best homemade carne asad I've ever made or eaten.  I will be re-using marinade in the future, and cooking it thoroughly, to rupture any microorganisms who might be lurking therein. The marinade re-use prohibition is ended, chez nous.

Shriekback - All Lined Up

I really wanted to post a link to "Everything That Rises Must Converge" but all vestiges to that song have been wiped off the face of the internet in any non-paid venues (Last FM, spotify, napster, pandora can all link to it, with embedded ads or limited free plays).  I've got it here at home on a good old fashioned CD that I keep in the CD player in my car - old, reliable technology and data storage.

I warn you ahead of time, the video is weird, with orange painted Barry Andrews looking creepy.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Is California Still In America?

I do not understand why a fat UC Davis cop in riot gear, proudly sprays seated, non-violent protesters with pepper spray.  "Apply Liberally"?  Does he have a Eric Cartman fixation, where he's going to make sure everyone 'respects his authoritah!'  Is UC Davis, and the state of California, still part of the United States?

Watch the video here, (link) to see that the photo below is not a photo-shopped image.  The first 30 seconds is incredibly disturbing.
I don't get it.  What did any of those kids do to justify spraying them with millions of scoville units of pain & misery?  Why is that fat idiot (whose part of the 99%, not the richest 1%) still employed by his plutocratic masters?  This is not China, or Egypt, or Bahrain. 
Why should a fat, out of shape, frightened, drunk with authority, impotent little twit who thinks he's "muy macho" and "all tough in his riot gear" have the ability, in the United States of America, to blatantly, wantonly, NEEDLESSLY, spray college kids who are sitting on the ground, not resisting arrest, hand cuffed, en masse???

It's not only a failure of the system (UC Davis police, California justice system, law enforcement thinking they are above the law) to enable such a act to take place, but it's a failure of parenting and society, that such an evil little boy could be raised by parents who did not know how to instill a proper value system in their son's mind, by a society that allows such behavior to continue without giving a damn in a country that supposed to have constitutional freedoms, and by Executive branch leadership at UC Davis, the whole UC system, the state of California, and the White House.  I KNOW that President Obama has no control over what some fat ass with a badge in California does, but he needs to take a stand, to make a statement, when things have GONE TOO FAR.  He's good at taking stands, when he thinks it will benefit him politically.  I seem to remember a statement he made....  earlier this year....   it went something, like this:
"...will stand up for them everywhere" ???  Really??  Or is it ""...will stand up for them everywhere*"

* : not during an election cycle, or anytime when corporations' profits or reputations are at stake. Do not quote in times of domestic civil disobedience, injustice, or unrest.  Copy write, DNC, 2011.  Not to be used without the expressed written permission of Goldman Sachs, API, Conagra & Nestle

I expected this sort of brute force to be condoned (even in silence) by a Republican lead Executive branch.  It's inexcusable to be condoned by a supposedly Democratic one.

Friday, November 18, 2011

So THAT's How Black People Survived The Flood!

Note how White they all are, there in the ark.
The excellent Steve Wells over at Dwindling Belief (link here) explains the genetics of how black people survived Noah's flood (link here).  It's really a nicely laid out argument that Joseph Smith's dumb-da-dumb-dumb golden tablets wove in the Book of Abraham.  You think it's of Mormon origin, so why should you care?  Well, Romney (the front runner) and Huntsman (the most reasonable & rational of the lot) are part of the cult, er, I mean, religion that believes this stuff.  So if you want to get to know your next president's deeply held, family practiced, long-term tithed and adhered to belief system, you should read ahead.  Cheers.

Reliable & Impartial Witnesses

I think it is safe to trust the perspective of a retired supreme court justice, when they are acting as a legal observer in a public space.  In this case, it is New York Supreme Court Judge Karen Smith, who worked as a legal observer Tuesday morning in New York after the police raided the Occupy Wall Street encampment: (links here and here)

"I was there to take down the names of people who were arrested... As I’m standing there, some African-American woman goes up to a police officer and says, 'I need to get in. My daughter's there. I want to know if she’s OK.’ And he said, 'Move on, lady.' And they kept pushing with their sticks, pushing back. And she was crying. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he throws her to the ground and starts hitting her in the head," says Smith. "I walk over, and I say, 'Look, cuff her if she's done something, but you don’t need to do that.’ And he said, 'Lady, do you want to get arrested?' And I said, 'Do you see my hat? I'm here as a legal observer.’ He said, 'You want to get arrested?' And he pushed me up against the wall."

Really?  A middle aged woman, who is a supreme court justice, wearing a fluorescent green "Legal Observer" hat, being pushed around by NYC paramilitary police?  Do we live in Egypt, Bahrain, China, or Myanmar, when paramilitary police in riot gear are beating up non violent citizens?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Clean Up Definitely Needed

Tip of the hat to Mike Lukovich for this very poignant, accurate perspective. 

Yeah, Republicans don't want any government involvement or regulation in their lives, but if some protesters take away the place they go for smoke break in between trading imaginary pieces of contrived paper to "slice up this country a little finer" (RIP George Carlin) then Republicans are all about bringing out 1000s of "jack booted thugs" with pepper spray, riot gear, batons, tear gas. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

JustJoeP Scissor Hands

My name is not Edward, that's my dad and my brother... but perhaps I could go by "JustJoeP Scissor Hands".  I do not have a "fetish" with trimming hedges, as I get no sexual satisfaction or stimulation from trimming hedges, pruning trees, doing landscaping and yard work... but I do enjoy it.   When I visited my friend Ron in Islington London, I trimmed the hedges that bordered his backyard / patio while he cooked the family a delicious dinner (one of the BEST steaks I've ever had in my life).  When I visited my Uncle Joe and his girl friend Noreen, I trimmed the hedges around Noreen's home.   When I've visited my parents, I've trimmed their hedges and cut their grass.   This weekend marks a milestone, where I have done yard work in Snelville Georgia while visiting my best friend Ryan.

Ryan was not  feeling well Saturday, but I had committed to him that I'd bring my clippers and rip saw - being GOLD n Delta this year, I get 2 free checked bags - so I got into my blue jeans, got out my gloves and tools, and went to work trimming magnolia, gardenia, bradford pears, spruce, japanese maples, removing a 20 foot holly that was as big around as my bicep and that was leaning against the house, and committing crepe murder (severely trimming back crepe myrtles).  I even ran Ryan's Craftsman lawn mower for about 30 minutes to suck up leaves - the first time in 4 and a 1/2 years I started a lawn mower.

It was invigorating, and a wonderful upper body work out, generating a mound of branches the size of a 1970 Chevy Country Estate Station Wagon.  After a warm shower I did 45 minutes of yoga to help work out aches and impending pains.   Good stuff.  Felt great.  Cognac and Bushmills helped to alleviate any residual pain.

The Corona Rip Saw is made in Korea -  I got it at Ace Hardware for about $25.  The Koreans nicely tipped the teeth with tungsten carbide, and it rips through wrist and arm sized tree limbs like a steak knife through a porter house - sweet!  The Fiskars are just awesome Finnish clippers.   They chew through anything the size  of a human finger, and sometimes, with enough force, the size of a thumb. 

Call me crazy, but I enjoy trimming hedges, converting a landscape of uncontrolled chaos into an orderly, trimmed, presentable, tidy yard.  It's not an obsession, but you could say it is a 'passion'.  And it was all done manually, without any electrons driving any mechanical motors - other than my neurons driving muscle tissue to decimate 100s of branches.  Alix and Ryan kept thanking me, but honestly, I was thanking them.   I enjoyed it.

If you've got hedges to trim, branches to come down, home improvements to make, let me know.  I'll pack the right tools and come on over to your homestead.

Danthai Lawrenceville GA

I had the opportunity this weekend to eat take out from Danthai in Lawrenceville GA (links here and here).  I had the Rama five... It was deliciously peanutty.  My friend Ryan and his wife Alix said  Dantahi is run by an older Thai couple as a family restaurant.  Ryan, my best friend is a carnivore, while his wife Alix is a devout local herbivore, and hey both enjoy delicious Thai food.   I was delighted to be able to have such tasty, local, reasonably priced Thai food after a long day of manual labor (more on that later). 

If you love Thai, and you are east of Atlanta, give Danthai a try.  I do not think you will be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Exciters - Tell Him

This has been running through my head for the whole day... very strangely.

Grass Fed Porter House

and speaking of tasty animals.... Double Check Ranch raised a delicious porter house steak that I grilled and devoured last week Thursday and Friday.  It was my first porter house from Double Check, but won't be my last.  The bone was somewhat annoying, but the meat was tender, juicy, flavorful.  Tasty does not begin to describe it. 

Tasty Animals

While in Jackson Hole WY in September, Dr Desert Flower and I picked up this most hilarious T-shirt.  I will try not wear it when visiting vegetarian households (as I will be this weekend).

Interestingly, it was the first "Medium" sized T shirt I've ever bought with words on it.  After forsaking carbs and dropping 20% of my body mass, I no longer need to wear L or XL.

I disagree with the "mashed potatoes" part... asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, or sauteed onions are Much better.

C to Silent T

Colbert's opening montage "Jump Phrase" this season is quite clever.  "C to Silent T" - ahhhh that silly Stephen!  On Colbert Nation there is a cummulative list, but I can't link to it as this Eee PC netbook is on its last legs.   An i-Pad is probably in my future.

Worthless Workaholics

I tried watching "Workaholics" on Comedy Central.  I find the characters completely unlikeable, un-redeeming, and I cannot relate to any of them.  The writing is crude for crude's sake.  I don't get it.  Not my type of comedy - perhaps the "inverse" of my preferred comedy.  Unfortunately, I am not tired enough to go to sleep yet... and Daily Show and Colbert re-runs are already done.    Arms too tired from working out excessively before dinner... bottle of Chateau Landrue Minervois is 2 glasses away from being full... but I can't find any humour in "Workaholics".

Can't turn on Fox or MSNBC, as I am too tired of hearing Herman Cain tout how awesome he is, and how he's never, ever, offended anyone or acted inappropriately anywhere.   Yes Herman, OJ has some bloody gloves you can try on, he was 110% "not guilty" too.

Da Bears MNF

Da Bears beat Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Fighting Dogs...  errr I mean, Philadelphia Eagles last night in Monday night football.  It was a nice way to end a night of all-you-can-eat wings, and 23 oz glasses of Guinness with an old friend and co-worker.. 

Michael Vick is not a bad quarterback - he's got a good arm and he is not afraid to run, but I don't think he'll ever get the dog fighting stink off himself.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Our First Mesa Climb

Last Sunday, Dr Desert Flower and I drove Celeste up to Sedona and hiked up "Doe Mountain" - it was not really a 'mountain' - it was a mesa.  400 foot rise from parking lot to the top.  About a mile across the relatively flat sand stone top.  The vistas from the top were spectacular.  We hiked around the East, Southern, Western, and a small part of the Northern edges of the mesa's rim. 
We took alot of pictures, but most of them turned out somewhat blurry =\  The "Doe Mountain" trail is near to "Bear Mountain" train but we did not go the extra 2 miles to "Bear Mountain" - no doe or bear were seen during the hike, but there were no shortages of whip tail lizards, who seemed quite tame.

Just before the crest of the mesa's edge on the ascent, the hiker on the "Doe Mountain" trail has to pass through what I called a "No Walmart" gauge, as in "in you need a scooter" or "if you've been pictured on 'Faces of Walmart' as one of those obese denizens" you would not fit through the crevasse.  It helped to keep idiocracy off the picturesque top if the hiker had made it up 400 feet vertically, and about 1.5 miles horizontally.

This was the first mesa we've ever fully ascended.   We've certainly hiked around and near and driven between many a mesa, but rarely have we made it all the way to the top and had a walkabout.  It was definitely worth the effort - and now I don't have to wonder what it looks like up there, or "how hard is it to get to the top?".  It's beautiful, and rather easy to get to, as long as you don't have a 50 inch waist band.

It's Not Elitist...

It's not "elitist", it is practical, to be educated and to understand math, science, history, facts.  Being able to use that knowledge in the modern world is indispensable. The clock below is so extremely simple, it should be posted in 4th and 5th grade math class rooms around the world.  If you can't figure it out, then you are indeed, not smarter than the "average 5th grader" - or at least the average 5th grader in Scandinavia, China, Western Europe, Japan, etc.

Nostalgia Friday - Chantilly Lace

The Big Bopper - Chantilly Lace - when our son was a toddler and just barely able to stand, he used to dance to this song, most hilariously, adorably, and enthusiastically.  Not sure why it's bouncing around my head this morning.

I had zombie dreams last night, that included smell / stench - that's who we knew the zombies had us cornered in a large walk-in closet, by the stench of rotting flesh, not by any noise of the shambling or brain-hungry moaning.  None of the zombies had a purdy face, or a pony tail, or were "big eyed"... they did wiggle in their walk some... but couldn't wiggle in their talk. However,in the nightmare, one of the zombies DID talk, rather coherently, which was right before I woke up.  Then, 2 hours later...  the Big Bopper is bouncing around my head.  Go figure.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Temporary Fad? I Don't Think So

Notice the BIG white spots... where there's been NO Occupy events.  Totalitarian China (Hong Kong exempted... there's still a few free thinking hold outs there).  Pakistan. Iran.  Most of the Middle East. 

Yeah, the "Tea Party" had similar popular support... LOL!

...and Another Kind

Eisenhower, yeah, that flaming liberal.

One Kind Of Organization

We All Grew

"Trickle Down" supply side economics works great, if you're some of the top 1%.  It's the best thing since sliced bread....  or...  cake.  Yeah, the other 99% can eat cake.