Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Root Vegetable Edition

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! As our longtime readership (basically JCC and another IP address) is aware, our contribution to the great Orphans Thanksgiving Potluck consists of pumpkin pie and Laura's fantastic mashed rutabagas.

The two smaller roots are from our friend Josh's garden in West Virginia. Overall this year the rutabagas are smaller and I hope I got enough to go around. Our local Harris-Teeter switched produce suppliers and there have been murmurs of discontent in the neighborhood, although their eggplant remains outstanding.

Cubed rutabagas await the boiling process. Better stop watching the pot.
Boil, boil, boil and bubble, filling the house with a great earthy smell in the process.

Not shown: the food-processing and final butter/seasoning application. I was advised that it was a "critical moment" and, as an avowed Kitchen Nazi, I removed myself from the viciinity.

I have just taste-tested the finished product and they are as wonderful as always.

As for the pumpkin pie, I was considering trying the America's Test Kitchen "foolproof" recipe (although I am a great fool) but decided not to at the last minute, as I had never tried it before and Thanksgiving is not the time for radical innovation. However, I did adopt their trick of using vodka instead of water when making the dough, so we'll see how that goes. (In the crust, silly.) Credit for moral support this year goes to Bryan, who not only helped mix the filling but watched quietly as one crust gave me grief on the pastry cloth. Thanks to him I did not fling it across the room, but that pie will definitely be of the "hold your applause" variety. As for the new recipe, I think I will bake more pies and try it out before November rolls around next year.

Enjoy the day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Decade of Potpourri

Ten years ago today I launched this blog/mission/quest/thing with a modest first post. Obviously things have slowed somewhat and I find myself in the odd position of thanking JJV for posting something, anything, well almost anything.

 The kids are growing, the layout cries for attention, and my social media feed is full of much the same kind of hate and foolishness swirling its way around the rim of the blogosphere in 2005. Although there are also cat videos. Now, of course, we have Twitter and Facebook and God knows what other means of getting on my lawn, which by the way really needs another reseeding.

So, Happy Birthday to the blog! Plus, it's almost rutabaga time.

Monday, October 19, 2015

No One Noticed the Beginning of the Zombie Apocolypse At That Time...

But looking back, it was obviously more than a drug deal gone bad:

Everyone on the plane was allowed to travel on to their destinations.  Assuring humanity's end.

Monday, October 12, 2015

And the Big Ship Went Down

So according to the Daily Mail the U.S.S. United States will finally be sold for scrap.

I sailed on her last year, and perhaps last voyage, in 1969.  She had been built with federal funds in part because she could be converted to troop use.  I was part of a family stationed to guard the Fulda Gap in the 1960's.  In 1969 we came home.  We drove our then exotic Volkswagen onto her and went to our cabins.  Everyday there was a Disney movie for kids in the spacious movie house on board.  Dinner was dress and there were white table cloths.  We entered N.Y. harbor and past the statue of liberty and berthed in N.Y harbor and walked down a gang plank to come home.  My first memories of America are then.  I don't recall anything before I went to Germany in 1966.  But I remember that incredible ship and the three day "sail" to America.

One thing I especially remember besides the Jungle Book and Alice in Wonderland, was the portholes.  I've been on cruise ships and they don't have port holes anymore.  Things have advanced so you have big windows.  But The United States had portholes like in the old movies.

She was fast and she was beautiful but all things pass in this world.  I'm one of the youngest people alive who ever sailed on her and I will remember it all my life.


Friday, October 02, 2015

The Modern Man Needs That Gun to Shoot Himself.

So, the New York Times has this:

Twenty seven ways to be a modern man.  Apparently you sleep on the side of the bed closest to the door to fight an intruder but you don't own a gun to shoot the intruder.  You buy shoes for your wife.  Let me buy shoes..for your wife.

There are no circumstances where a man buys shoes for his wife and she says--they're perfect hon, and means it.  Cole Porter could not buy the right shoes for his wife.  Modern man is not going to be able to do it.

A melon baller is not manly.  Nor is anything on this list.  Why would anyone but pajama boy want to be this guy? 

If the average NYT reader actually likes this list the paper is now beyond parody.

If I were this guy I would cry a lot.  In public.  And not just when John Wayne dies.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

We're Soldiers and We're O.K!

Often on this site I'm accused of over reaction, exaggeration or slippery slope arguments that are in no way possible. Until they occur at which point the line is, "Well, of course, this is wonderful or no big deal, serves you right." Well, I was against VMI and the Citadel being forced to accept female cadets, against the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and against women in combat, and generally against the multi-culti infection of our colleges being imported into the armed forces. In fact, I was just chastized for giving an "amen" to those in gaming who opposed the PC'ing of computer games.

 Nonetheless, in my wildedst, most apocalyptic dreams I never contemplated that this could occur or be a thing. I would think allowing female ROTC cadets to carry weapons would do more to fight rape than this nonsense but I'm flabbergasted the army did not revolt. Monty Python did not even have a "soldier" verse in the lumberjack song.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tracing a Crime to its Source.

No doubt that is what the guards at Heathrow were up to. As one who is in the air quite a bit I've witnessed things I can't believe quite a bit. Assuming Ayssa Milano is the milk bomber has to be high up there though. I guess they showed her whose the boss of the breast pump.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I Only Used It for Medicinal Purposes

I had an obituary for the recently-deceased Leonard Nimoy in the works, but time and a lack of writing skill have rendered it unworthy of posting. Meanwhile, our own CRH introduced his own tribute at a recent social gathering, the profound wisdom of which (the tribute, not necessarily the social gathering) we will not debate at these proceedings.

Behold the limited edition Romulan Ale:

There were six phrases/sayings at the bottom of each label in the six-pack (though to be fair, CRH, knowing his audience, brought two of them):
  • Wanting a beer is not so pleasing a thing as having a beer
  • Drinking this beer is your first, best destiny. Anything else is a waste of material
  • Sauce for the goose
  • I have been and always shall be your ale
  • The needs of the thirsty outweigh the needs of the few, or the one
  • Live long and prosper
Although they are all wonderful, the first two on the list are in a dead heat in my mind, regardless of what the second one implies about the drinker in question.

We are eagerly looking forward to the next shipment across the Neutral Zone.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Note from the Absentee Landlord, or It's All about Ethics in Blog Administration

Wow, it's been a while, huh?

I commented on this latest contribution but my phone ate it. Upon further reflection I decided that a front-page response would be more appropriate given the subject matter at hand and my thoughts thereon.

As you have seen, I run a fairly loose ship around here and allow a fair amount of content with which I do not agree to varying degrees. In fact, I have only spiked one post in the history of the blog based on editorial stance.

The post in question was almost number two. OK, OK, it is complete number two but you know what I mean.

Mr. V's use of quotation marks and the French language are a clear intent to trivialize the events and situations commonly known as Gamergate. These events and situations included threats of rape and death, as well as the target thereof feeling unsafe in her own home. Go ahead, re-read that sentence. To dismiss this as a contretemps is shockingly and disturbingly callous.

On the subject of cons, I have been to exactly one, over thirty years ago, and so cannot speak with any personal authority on the subject. However, from reading the work of Messrs. Wheaton and Scalzi, the trend among major cons and similar gatherings seems to be toward inclusivity, that bane of conservatives who wonder why special privileges and experiences cannot remain confined to persons such as, well, what a coincidence, themselves. I for one welcome our new inclusive overlords. Meanwhile, if you want to ogle girls, go to Hooters or a strip joint.

One is free to decry this trend and rail against it until the imagined shadows fall or the Hapsburgs return or whenever. My only advice comes from one of JJV's personal heroes:

Get over it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

First They Came for The Booth Babes, and I Said Nothing As I Was Not A Booth Babe..

Booth Baby Booth Baby Down at the Con I have been to few conventions, either gamers or otherwise. Nonetheless, as any review of Super Bowl ads can attest pretty girls move product more than your basic Soviet "svimvear" spokesmodel. (for those of you too young to remember here is the classic Wendy's commercial on the subject. Now of course as the recent "Gamergate" contretempts have reminded us the New Left will let women be anything they want to be except alluring. That is right out. This effort to make gaming conventions feminist friendly is like making Arby's vegetarian friendly. It is not driven by demand but by ideology. I have a feeling that America is still free enough that this effort will not go far. If there are two conventions--on with booth babes--and one with out the one with is going to draw people and the one with out will draw people who don't play a lot of games. Because games are fun and these complainers are not. I met Issac Asimov when I was a teenager. I can assure you that science fiction conventions with booth babes were more likely to have him attend than not. More science fiction writers (particularly good ones) are like him than Margaret Atwood. Therefore, while I enjoyed the article I do not truly fear the attempt, as it will find fallow ground. Update: as per usual none of my links took. Here they are again

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spock Must Die!

The title of this post is drawn by a Star Trek novel by the great James Blish I read when I was young. The thought was prompted by yesterday's death of Leonard Nimoy, who lamentably can not be brought back by the Genesis project and implanted memories (katra) (DeForest Kelly having predeceased him such memories are lost anyway). When I was a boy no more than 4, my father and I watched the original series which, if I'm correct, was delayed a year to be shown in Germany or on the American army bases there. Later in America, who ever got to the T.V. first (we had only one), me or my sisters got to pick whether to watch Star Trek (Channel 11) or the Brady Bunch(Channel 5). Because of this I grew to hate the story of a man named Brady. Now I watch Star Trek (or TOS to geeks) on Netflix with my boys. Scotty and Bones are gone, and now Spock played by Nimoy, who always seemed like the most serious of the Star Trek actors. He did narrate "In Search Of.." which cashed in on the ancient astronauts built the pyramids and Big Foot crazes of the 70's but somehow always kept a straight face. The later Star Treks never had the same frisson of excitement. The Next Generation (TNG) seemed way to derivative and I mostly stopped watching before the Borg appeared. My favorite character in that series is Worf but he never achieved the cultural impact of Spock. Star Trek Voyager was even less compelling. I barely count the star base series except for Quark's bar. Finally, came Enterprise which was fine but the hot Vulcan is no Spock. The reboot is pretty good and Quinto is fine. But Nimoy imbued the role with some of his own personality. He took care of the character for 40 years. Spock is now an immortal of fiction almost as much so as Sherlock Holmes or Superman. Nimoy will share in that immortality. But with his passing one of the great pop culture influences of my youth has passed away. Nimoy lived long and prospered, and deserved to.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Churchill is a Stark Not a Lannister

The death of Winston Churchill occurred 50 years ago this month.! William Manchester famously called him "The Last Lion." Others have noted that he is not the "Last" Lion if by that it is meant the great souled men that were the beau ideal of the Ancient World! To give you some idea of where my head is, as I saw all those references to the Last Lion all I could think of was--no way he is House Stark! First, he was constantly broke and other people paid his debts. Second, he was a Romantic Conservative in the line of the Stark's rather than the prosaic Machievels of Lannisterdom. Third, his children had terrible marriages and mostly, deaths. Fourth, he was well aware of the God's of the Copybook Headings which is the British equivalent of Winter is Coming.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Death of a King and Start of a Reign of Terror.

Today marks the anniversary of the judicial murder of Louis XVI on the charge of treason. Wiki gives a nice group of eyewitness accounts here Subsequent to this the guillotine began working assiduously and France was drenched in blood. I am in the camp that believes Louis XVI would have been executed whether he tried to flee France or not. Nonetheless, it is a singular death that opened the floodgates for many more. The Revolution inspired Bolsheviks certainly killed the Tsar and his family in emulation a century and a quarter later. Rivers of blood, vast wars and more than two decades would pass but a Bourbon would again sit the throne of France.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Century of Frank-Many Good Years for Music.

The indefatible Mark Steyn has this wonderful piece on 2015 being the centenry of the birth of one Albert Frances Sinatra, known to Hoboken and the world as "Frank." That a Kingston Trio song was turned into a classic by Frank is new to me. I don't know how Steyn knows all he knows about music and Broadway and still manages to keep up with various Muslim and Leftist outrages but there you are. I only saw Sinatra once in person but even in Winter the guy could sing. Unfortunately, as Steyn relates--that attracted the notice of William Shatner who essayed the song as well. When I was Captain Kirk, it was a very good year. A year of torn shirts And Mini-skirts...