Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Not as Bas as It Could Have Been

I found out yesterday that my job is one of the jobs slated to be eliminated in the last round of layoffs, so I'll be employed until July 1. So that's going to help.

Java Jones

I love coffee, but (oddly enough for a Pacific Northwesterner), Im not as deadly serious about it as I am about Scotch or beer. I approach it more like wine, only moreso: As long as it's not bad, I'll drink it, even if it's not excellent, and when I do have time and/or money for the really good stuff, I count my blessings. Don't get me wrong, I love a good Americano, but I'll drink the stuff they provide us for free here at work.

Which is why today sucks. The coffee maker at work is not, well, WORKING, and I didn't have tome to stop at Dutch Brothers (a local drive-thru coffee stand chain where their idea of "Just a cup of coffee" is Americano -- they have no percolators or drip coffee makers, just espresso machines), because it was out of the way, so I'm left drinking tea.

I'm not complaining about the tea -- it's Stash's White Tea & Green Tea fusion, a very delicate yet flavorful blend that is one of the few teas I enjoy without sugar, but its tea. Which means that it has all the caffeine I usually get in my first sip of morning coffee.

Not a pretty way to start the morning.

Pun Fun

If a jazz singer weaves the telling of a joke into the impromptu vocals of a song, is that a form of "scat"ological humor?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Third Times Really Can Be The Charm

A while back I mentioned that I was working on but hadn't yet perfected a pork medallion recipe with a Northwest twist. Well, this weekend I kept an old cliche alive. The trick was switching from a white wine to a red for the reduction.

This dish goes well with the rice dish I shared in the post I link above. Also, it has a long prep time, so if you start following the recipe below about the time you put the broth for the rice recipe on the stove, they'll come out about the same time.

Pair the dish with a soft red like a pinot noir. If you can, use the same wine for the recipe as you serve with it.

You will need a meat tenderizing hammer, kitchen twine for tying the pork, a large metal-handled skillet that can go from stovetop to oven, and a food processor, as well as your cutting board, knife, measuring cup, turning tongs, and a spoon for stirring.

4 medium-sized pork chops, trimmed of fat
2 peeled & cored grannysmith apples
One quarter of a sweet yellow onion
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup raw filberts (hazelnuts)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup red wine

Using a meat tenderizer, pount the pork chops out until they are flat and about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and let the chops rest in the refrigeratior for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a food processor with the chopping blade, combine the onion, apples, filberts, and rosemary. Pulse until the ingredients form a slightly chunky paste.

Lay the pork chops flat. spread the paste ofer one side of each chop, roll the chop into a roll and tie with the kitchen twine, using several loops along the length of each roll. salt and pepper the outside of the roll generously.

In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the pork in the skillet, searing all sides. After the last sides have seared, place the skillet in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven and return it to the stovetop over medium heat. Remove the pork rolls to a cutting board and allow them to rest. There will be a lot of liquid left over from them in the skillet -- that is a good thing. To the skillet add the dried cranberries and the wine, let it come to a boil and reduce by half, then remove from the heat.

Carefully slice the pork into approximately 1 inch medallions. For the best results, cut at the inentations left by the string loops. Plate 3-4 medallions on each plate, spoon sauce over the medallions, and garnish with sprigs of rosemary.

Serves about 4.

Last night I paired this with a nice soft red recommended by the wine steward at our local market, my wild rice recipe, and a salad made with baby greens and other veggies. For dessert we had strawberries with dark chocolate frosting (yes, frosting. Trust me). Very yummy.

Friday, February 24, 2006

And Oddly, No Mosques Were Burned

Thanks for the Memory toVodkapundit via The LlamaButchers.

Apparently the pro-Danish demonstrations went well. More from those on the scene.

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Bad news never seems to travel alone, and suddenly my job situation doesn't seem like such a big deal:

My brother in law in Portland has been hospitalized with a life-threatening illness. Yesterday, he was delirious and tried to leave the hospital after pulling out his IV's. They're having to restrain him, the nurses told my sister in law that he MIGHT have lived for two hours away from the hospital. He cannot take even water orally, he must be sustained with IV's for now.

Meanwhile, one of our best friends in California (with whose baby daughter we plan to arrange a marriage for the Lad) went in for a biopsy on a lump she found on her chest. We'll hear from her with results in a few days.

And to top it all off, my mom has given me an update: They have my grandmother on hospice care, which means they expect her to live 6 months at the most.

At least I have my health, if not my job or my sanity for long.

A Big Day

I received the following picture from my friend David A. Reed:

It's a picture of President Bush during his visit to Bethel College, where David is a professor.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Blogburst Announcement

Thanks for the Memory to Hyscience at Blogfather Rusty's Jawa Report.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Freedom's Zone has called for and I am participating in a blogburst regarding Christopher Hitchens' call for a demonstration in support of Denmark in front of the Danish Embassy in New York this Friday:

Please be outside the Embassy of Denmark, 3200 Whitehaven Street (off Massachusetts Avenue) between noon and 1 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 24. Quietness and calm are the necessities, plus cheerful conversation. Danish flags are good, or posters reading "Stand By Denmark" and any variation on this theme (such as "Buy Carlsberg/ Havarti/ Lego") The response has been astonishing and I know that the Danes are appreciative. But they are an embassy and thus do not of course endorse or comment on any demonstration. Let us hope, however, to set a precedent for other cities and countries. Please pass on this message to friends and colleagues.

Please also post that for those who cannot attend the demonstration, they are encouraged to call and email the Danish embassy, and offer their support and appreciation for their standing up to freedom and the right of free speech that is so much a part of our Western culture:

Embassy of Denmark
3200 Whitehaven St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: +1 (202) 234-4300
Fax: +1 (202) 328-1470

Email: wasamb@um.dk

After the date of the event, bloggers are encouraged to post on at least 3 "free speech" issues a week, and also encourage their readers to continue voicing their concern and support for free speech by emailing their friends to help keep the emails of support (to the Danish embassy) going for the Dane's stand on freedom over sharia.

Go thou and do likewise.

Breaking News: School Shooting

There's been a school shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, the town where I was born. Local news stations are reporting it, but no details yet and no national coverage I can find. I'll link to more news when it's available.


It looks like no one was killed, thank God.

Small Victories

Got a cool phone call night before last.

As most of you know, my son, The Lad, was born about 5 weeks premature. This isn't too bad these days, but it still means he had a little growing to do. The doctors and nurses told us that he would probably be a little behind the curve developmentally until around his second birthday.

Well, during his visit to the doctor for his first year Well Baby checkup, the doctor gave The Feared Redhead a screening questionnaire to fill out. It's for a program through the University of Oregon that assesses your babvy's development.

Based on the results of the survey, The Lad is up to speed for his age in all areas except Gross Motor Skills (Crawling, Standing, Walking), and there he's just barely behind.

Normally, the words "Barely Behind" aren't cause for bragging, but when you have a preemie, you take what you can get. This kid is frighteningly smart for his age.

Ch Ch Ch Changes....

I work in a tech support call center for a software company. Yesterday at 2:30 PM (just before my shift ends anyway), they shut down our phone queues and called an impromptu meeting to let us all know we're being laid off. Our jobs are being outsourced to India (except for the Customer Service jobs, they're being consolidated in Atlanta). For some of us our last day will be May 1, for others, July 1. I haven't been told which group I'm in, but I'm betting on the May group based on my position.

This was not a complete surprise -- we've been suspecting it was in the works for some time -- but the timing is a bit sooner that expected.

In a way, it's a blessing in disguise for me, though for others this is far more stress-inducing. I had been wanting to apply for the culinary program at the local community college (it has a good reputation, and I want to be a chef), but was worried that the classes would conflict with work. Now I can start looking for a job, even a part-time one, that will fit around my school schedule. TFR already brings home more than I do, even though I work 40 hours and she only works 26 at the spa. She plans to talk to the psa and add some hours, so financially, the hit shouldn't be too hard, and it may actually make for saner schedules.

There's only one catch. While TFR may be the chief provider of disposable income, my job provides the health insurance. We can't afford COBRA, and we sure as hell can't afford to go without insurance, not with a baby in the house.

So keep me in prayer or good thoughts or whatever positive regard my readers of different world views ascribe to. I'll be needing it over the next few months.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Weird Food Pairings

Is it just me or do red wine and dark chocolate taste really good together?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Tried a new recipe last might, it was good, but could have been better.

I started with calimari -- I have had a craving for it for about a week now. In a small pot I made some extra thick red sauce, while heating some Olive Oil and butter in a skillet. I tossed some onions and garlic into the hot oil, and cooked them until clear, then added the calamari. Once it was ready, I added the red sauce, letting the calamari juice thin it out. In the meantime, I was cooking some shell pasta to put it over.

So far, so good. The red sauce was one of the best I've ever made, and the calamari was perfect (which is a challenge -- too underdone and it's slimy, too overcooked and it's rubber). But here's where I made my mistake. Or rather, the culmination of my mistake. TFR had mentioned wanting mushrooms with dinner. I'm not a big fan of the fungi, but, you do what you can to please the wife, ya know? So I figured I'd try some oyster mushrooms -- the only kind I've ever tried and liked. Except the store was out of them, so I settled for Chanterelles. Near the end of cooking the red sauce (Calimarinara, I'm calling it), I added the mushrooms.

Unfortunately, Chanterelles don't maintain their texture as well as oyster mushrooms, so they went soft right away. I didn't like them. TFR thought they were good, but could have been better.

Other than that, the sauce was a hit. We had sauteed green beans, ciabatta garlic bread, and a very nice Pinot Noir (a 2003 from Saginaw Vineyards, just south of Eugene) with it. I also picked up some good Parmesan Reggiano to grate over the bread and the pasta.

So here, minus the mushrooms, is the recipe:

1 lb calimari rings
1 15 oz can diced tomatos
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1 tspn parsley
1 pinch thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cups shell pasta (medium)
Parmesan Reggiano

Chop onion and mince garlic. Rinse the calamari in a colander.

In a pot, begin to bring 1 quart of salted water to a boil. When water reaches a boil, add shell pasta. Let the water come back to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until pasta is al dente, strain pasta.

While water is heating, combine the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 cloves of garlic, the herbs, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

In a skillet, combine the olive oil and butter and heat over medium high heat. Once the oil and butter are hot, add the onion and the rest of the garlic. When the onions are clear, add the calimari. stir frequrntly, cook for approximately 3-5 minutes or until calimari rings become firm. Add red sauce to the skillet, stirr thoroughly. Serve over shell pasta, cover with grated parmesan reggiano, garnish with chopped fresh oregano. Serves 4-6.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Soft Bigotry's Hard Edge

During his first presidential campaign in 2000, President Bush decried what he called the "Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations". It was a phrase that struck a chord with me, because it highlighted one of the main reasons I consider myself a conservative. You see, despite the brush with which many of our opponents try to paint conservatives, I care very deeply about those who are less fortunate than I. Where I part ways with liberals is when it comes to the question of how best to help such people. I am firmly of the belief that such assistance is best rendered voluntarily, and that government involvement is best kept to a minimum. I have both ethical and practical reasons for this belief. It is commonly held by those on the left of the political spectrum that on the contrary, it is the right and duty of the government to provide that assistance, and to tax its citizenry in order to pay for such assistance. And a subset of that belief system is the "Soft Bigotry" to which the President alluded -- the unspoken, and often (to be charitable) subconscious attitude that the poor or suffering or oppressed are in the condition they are in because thay are incapable of helping themselves, and that the only hope they have of a better life is to let the government take care of them. It is an insidious kind of bigotry, because it masks itself as charity -- but the message, while well hidden under layers of concern, is there -- you are inferior, you are a child, here, let nanny do that for you.

While an entire blog entry, indeed, an entire blog and more, could be devoted to that particular debate, that is not the point I would like to address today. There is a hard edge to that "Soft Bigotry", and that is what concerns me today. That hard edge, in American political terms, is the expectation of liberals, and in particular the Democratic Party, that certain demographics of our population should out of hand be aligned with the Left, simply because the Left is "looking out for them". This expectation is particularly true when the demographic groups in question are ethnic groups -- especially African Americans. There's a paternalism to this attitude, even if it isn't spoken outright. The implication is that Blacks can't and needn't think for themselves, because the Democratic Party will take care of them. I can't speak for African Americans, because I am not one, but if I were, I would be insulted by this.

And there's an even more sinister side to this -- the treatment received by Blacks and members of other ethnic minorities who are politically conservative, especially, those who openly declare themselves so. Just ask Michelle Malkin or LaShawn Barber in the blogging community. I commend to you an excellent piece written last weekend by Pittsburgh Live columnist Salena Zito on the topic. It exposes just how ugly things can get when the Left takes aim at Black conservatives. And it belies not only the "Soft Bigotry" of the Left, but the ugly, hard, blatant racism they are willing to employ to further their cause.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Force is Strong With This One

You learn the coolest things about your blog by checking the Sitemeter.

Apparently, on Yahoo! Search, I'm the #1 result if you look up the phrase Obi wan has taught you well.

And now, witness the power of this fully operational blog site!

UW Students say Bah! to Honoring Blacksheep

Thanks for the Memory to AndrewsDad via Ace of Spades HQ.

The University of Washington Student Senate has rejected a memorial to USMC Major Gergory "Pappy" Boyington, a hero of the Pacific Campaign in WWII, and a UW Alumni.

I'm so angry, I am finding it difficult to express my outrage. This man is one of my heros. He was a bit of a troublemaker and misfit, but he took care of his men, and he fought bravely for his country.

Among the comments that have (justifiably) drawn the most ire are these two snippets from the minutes:
"Jill Edwards didn't believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce"
Honor, Courage, and Commitment. No, you're right, Jill, those ARE NOT what I think of when I think of the UW. Those Values are, however, what I think of when I think of the Marines.

"Ashley Miller commented that many monuments at UW already commemorate rich white men."
It may come as some shock to Ashley (and pardon me for displaying a bias, but that sure sounds like a very white name to me. Are mommy and daddy paying your tuition, princess?) to learn that Major Boyington is 1/4 Sioux, that he worked his way through college, and that he was not a wealthy individual.

In a way, I'm glad the measure failed. A man like Pappy deserves better than a classless, honorless, unpatriotic, stinking hole in the ground like UW. Go ahead and reject him -- the rest of us have plenty of room for him in our honor, our memory, and in our hearts.

jmchez, a reader at Ace of Spades sent an email to the Student Senate:

"Pappy" Boyington Not Fit For Memorial?

"Jill Edwards didn't believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce" and "Ashley Miller commented that many monuments at UW already commemorate rich white men."

The bizarre psychopathy that those comments exhibit, the ingratitude, the blindness, the lack of historical memory or perspective, the selfishness, the pettiness, the condescension, the downright inanity. I am so nauseated by all of that, that I really don’t even know how to react. I will only say that a great and courageous man suffered and struggled so that imbecilic miscreants today could have the right to denigrate him.

No, I do not ask for anyone to be silenced but I will speak freely myself to bare witness at the stupidity that is going on in your institution.

Shame on you, shame on you all.


Boyington was a quarter Sioux

He received a reply:

RE: "Pappy" Boyington Not Fit For Memorial?

The blog news and the draft minutes that were posted are inaccurate. First, Ashley Miller's statements were highlighting, as a point of information, that the majority of our statues are white males, which was an issue previously addressed last year, this is not in any way meant to go against Colonel Boyington. It was noted by the sponsor, Andrew Everett, about Boyington's heritage later. Jill Edwards made here statements as an individual, and it should not be assumed she speaks for all students. Karl Smith wanted to honor his service as a whole (he risked his life, endured 20 months in a POW Camp) in an effort to bring more support from a number of students who do not morally agree with war. These statements are in public discourse that has been and will always be at the University of Washington to educate on the questions and issues of our society.

I would also like to remind you that as ASUW President I cosponsored this bill to create a memorial, it failed by one vote, and a good majority of those who voted against it wanted more inclusion of other alumni who were combat veterans who earned the Medal of Honor. This week a new resolution to that effect is being drafted and introduced. In the meantime the ASUW supports veterans in other ways, currently we are supporting state legislation that will hopefully pass and guarantee veterans tuition waivers. In the end, the buck stops here, I would appreciate further comments to be made to me. Please do not participate or condone the hate-filled comments and phone calls made toward individuals in our student government. It has been appalling to see what is being said to people. I too am nauseated.

Thank you for you statements.
Lee Dunbar

If accurate, this changes my opinion of the Senate vote, and I have to give Dunbar credit for owning up to the issue. This in no way changes my opinion of ungrateful, ignorant. spoiled little children like mesdames Miller and Edwards.

Democrats Show Reporters How to Act

Or, Maybe Not.

Thanks for the Memory to Drudge Via Vulture Six.

It was bad enough when the Media was being childish. But apparently, they're just following the example of the politicians:

Tue Feb 14 2006 08:28:55 ET


THE DRUDGE REPORT has obtained an email sent Monday evening by Democratic National Committee (DNC) research director Devorah Adler that contains ten opposition research packets on potential 2008 GOP presidential contenders.

In one packet titled “Newt Gingrich: 08 Watch February 2006” a picture of the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) appears with --- him holding two full plates of food!

The quote underneath the Gingrich photo reads “In His Own Words: Gingrich’s Solution To Childhood Obesity: ‘Turn off the TV, cut the fatty diet and get exercise.’ [AP, 2/8/06]”

The ten Republicans picked by the Democrat Party include: Sen. George Allen (R-VA), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), Gingrich, Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY), Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) and Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA).

One Republican strategist who had seen the opposition research packets said: 'We should expect nothing less than name-calling and referring to one’s political opponents as ‘fat’ from Howard Dean’s Democrat Party.'


Because, you know, the reason the Democrats did so poorly in the last election was because they didn't communicate their message to the voters. Except apparently, their message is, "Vote for us because the Republicans are big fat doodie-heads!"

I guess that's easier to communicate than offering new ideas.

David Gregory Threatens to Take His Ball and Go Home

Thanks for the Memory to Drudge via Vulture Six.

Just remind yourself that journalists are neutral reporters of the truth, unbiased professionals, as you read this:

Tue Feb 14 2006 08:54:18 ET

NBCNEWS chief White House correspondent David Gregory warned President Bush's spokesman on Monday not to be a "jerk!"

The heated exchange came during a press gathering at the White House.

Gregory asked White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan about the Cheney hunting accident.

'David, hold on, the cameras aren't on right now,' McClellan replied. 'You can do this later.'

'Don't accuse me of trying to pose to the cameras,' Gregory said, voice rising. 'Don't be a jerk to me personally when I'm asking you a serious question.'

'You don't have to yell,' McClellan said.

'I will yell,'' said Gregory, pointing a finger at McCellan at his dais. 'If you want to use that podium to try to take shots at me personally, which I don't appreciate, then I will raise my voice, because that's wrong.'

'Calm down, Dave, calm down,' said McClellan.

'I'll calm down when I feel like calming down,' Gregory said. 'You answer the question.'

'I have answered the question,' said McClellan, who had maintained that the vice president's office was in charge of getting the information out and worked with the ranch owner to do that. 'I'm sorry you're getting all riled up about.'

'I am riled up,' Gregory said, 'because you're not answering the question.'"


Two words for Gregory:


The media is really starting to come unravelled. From Rather's "Fake but accurate", to the "Pajamas" attack on bloggers, to the Eason Jordan scandal, to the hyperventillatingly inaccurate Katrina coverage, their credibility has taken a beating, and they're understandably defensive. So it's no surprise that they reacted so over-the-top to a story that really isn't that big a deal to anyone except the MSM and the hard left, and particularly that they would take such offense to being left "out of the loop". Their identity as the all-powerful heralds of all that is news was offended -- they took it personally. They were upset because they weren't told about the story for the most part because they weren't told, not because it was such an important story that it must be told, So they're throwing a hissy.

But this isn't how grownups react, especially not in the White House. The press, and especially Gregory, are acting like spoiled brats who are holding their breath till they get their way. And they should stop. Just grow up, already.

The readers commenting over at Blogfather Rusty's make some excellent points.

Jeff Medcalf of Caerdroia says:
just because the press claims a (disputable) public right to know anything about political or public figures even if it is unrelated to their job performance and just because the press claims (with obvious falsity) to represent the public, that does not create a positive duty on the part of people of interest to the media to immediately inform the media of every event in their lives.
Pat writes:

I was struck by the fact that the press corps wants all their questions answered for them by McClellan. Reporters do not expect to do any footwork anymore. They were even expecting McClellan to advise them on fine legal points concerning Texas laws. They seem to be very slothful and whiny, just like my 15 year old.

Plan C

I believe that I've mentioned before that The Feared Redhead works at a salon and spa. Well, this year, her job played a part in putting a cramp on plans for any sort of romantic Valentines Day, it contributed to alterate plans that would have made up for it, it put a monkey wrench in THOSE plans, AND it helped me come up with the alternative that finally worked.

About a month or so ago, TFR informed me that the company that supplies her spa with its care products (Aveda) was having a training session in Portland, and the spa would like her to attend. The training sessions were scheduled for February 13th and 14 (this Monday and Tuesday, obviously). Her plan was to drive up on Sunday, spend the day with her sister, then attend the classes, leaving The Lad with our nephew's nanny. She was to drive back tomorrow.

This was a problem. I knew it meant she'd be away on Valentine's Day, but I kept my mouth shut and encouraged her to go, because the training will help her job and means a lot to her. After she'd already made the arrangements, it dawned on her, but I alrady had a plan B. I requested tomorrow off from work, and the plan was for me to drive her up on Sunday, come home, work yesterday and today, then drive up this afternoon, take her out, and then come home tomorrow.

It wasn't to be.

This past Friday, she received word that the spa had made a mistake -- the training is in Salem, not Portland. That's an hour south of Portland. There was no way she could leave the Lad with me, and if she stayed in Portland, she'd have to keep the car with her, and commute to Salem. Plus, since she'd need the car (no relying on Portland Metro), I'd have had to stay home and take the bus or train to PDX today. That, coupled with her cold, led her to decide to cancel attending the training. All well and good, she's home for Valentines Day.

But here's the problem: all of my plans for a romantic Valentine's Day were based on being in Portland. We were going to leave The Lad with the nanny while we went out, and I was going to take advantage of being alone on Monday to go pick a nice present for her. With her home, that all went out the Window.

Then it dawned on me Yesterday that I could use her work to my advantage. One of my readers has suggested a Spa Day for TFR for Mothers Day. My response was that she could trade for spa services any time. But I realized, if I pay for it, it would be more special. So yesterday, I arranged it with her spa. I couldn't afford a whole spa day, but I arranged for a 1 hour Hot Stone Massage for her. They suggested it be scheduled for yesterday, since it's best on a day when she doesn't have to work later, and today is all booked up. So I called TFR, and informed her to be ready to go as soon as I got home from work. I watched the Lad, and she went and got her massage.

It was really good to see her so relaxed and happy last night.

Monday, February 13, 2006

More Than Meets the Eye

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

Let's face it. Boys like toys that are loud and mechanical and make lots of noise -- or at least give us an excuse to make noise. We like toy cars and trucks and tanks and planes. And we LOVE giant robots. As a young man, one of the RPG/Wargames I was seriously into was Battletech. I remember as a kid the whole Transformers/GoBots craze. That one to me seemed the least plausible -- the whole robots that can transform into vehicles concept.

I stand corrected. OK, so it's barely bigger than a toy. It IS a toy, probably. But it's proof-of-concept. That's pretty cool.

I'm still not sure what the real world applications would be, even if they can build a working full-sized vehicle. The military applications are iffy -- the taller the vehicle, the easier to hit. But if someone can find a way to make it useful, whatever the application, I'd love to hear it.

The Madness of Queen Ann

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

Apparently, during the recent CPAC, Ann Coulter is reported as being heard to make the comment,

I think our motto should be post-9-11, "raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences."
Now, aside from Sean Hackbarth, no one else is confirming that they heard it. But if she did say it, it disturbs me deeply, and for three reasons:

The first reason is both obvious and obviously the most important: It's just wrong. I know that the context was the GWOT, but the term "raghead" is a generalization of all Arabs, not specifically the terrorists and their apologists. It's racist. I would have had no problem with "Jihadist" or "Tango" or "Islamicist", but "raghead" paints too broad a brush.

Secondly, it disturbs me that someone who is accepted as a leading spokesperson for the side of the political spectrum to which I belong would so cavalierly toss around such a phrase. It does not reflect the real sentiments of myself or most conservatives I know, and it does us a disservice.

Finally, while I don't read her columns or watch her being interviewed, I've read two of Ann's books, Treason and Slander. And while I'm not as quick as Ann to ascribe certain motives descrived in the books to all Liberals, I thought they made some excellent points, and were well-documented and interesting. Furthermore, the only responses I have ever seen from Liberals to either book was to question her motives, inpugn her character, and excoriate her as a waspish, hateful right-wing harridan (ironically enough, this reinforces the point of Slander). I've yet to see a comment from a single Liberal or Leftsist who will cop to having read either book and offer any refutation of the facts and sources Ann offers in support of her assertions. And the more strident and comabtive and intentionally offensive Ann becomes, the easier it becomes for her detractors to employ this Ad Hominem technique. Nothing Ann ever writes or ever has written will be given a fair consideration, because it will be considered tainted by her reputation. "Oh, Coulter wrote it? Well, it must be false". And that's too bad, because sometimes she makes a good point.

Don't shoot the message just because of the messenger.

Ice Station Llama

The Llama Butchers blogged over the weekend on the big snowstorm that hit the east coast, and apparently they got quite a bit of snow. In the meantime, it was in the 50's here and sunny yesterday, so I took the opportunity to fire up the smoker and barbecue some ribs.

Before you get too jealous, East Coasters, just remember, we get our nastiest weather here in March, and February is usually our "flase spring". So this was a fluke. In fact, we're expecting a weather front later this week, with rain and winds, and the snow level is expected to drop to 3,000 feet. I'm only at 500, but I could drive to the 3,000 foot level in half an hour.

The thing is, down at sea level, we don't get it that cold usually here -- we sit right next to the world's largest thermostat (aka the Pacific Ocean), which prevents it from getting too cold in winter or too hot in summer. Now, my friends in SoCal or Texas will tell me that weather in the 30's is indeed cold, but my response to them is: Go visit Minnesota in February. 'Nuff said.

But we do get a whole lot of wet. And up in the Cacades, the weather gets colder, and all that wet turns to snow. So while even our mountains aren't as cold as the upper midwest, they're just as snowy or snowier. In fact, Crater Lake, Oregon averages 44 feet of snow per year. The road to the lake, as well as several other highways in the Cascades, get closed every winter, and some don't open till the snow clears in July.

I just hope the weather holds long enough to do a little grilling, too.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Limerick

Said a father named Brian, in jest,
"While I know that I really am blessed
with a sweet baby boy
who brings me such joy,
what I'd really like now is some rest."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Epicurian Immigration

To answer the reader who found my blog by Googling the question, "have other regions been influenced by new england cuisine", the answer is yes, yes we have.

As I've mentioned before, Oregon Cuisine has been influenced by a great many regions of the US throught the natives of those regions who immigrated here -- just as other regions are influenced by the foreign countries whose natives immigrated THERE.

And, unsurprisingly, many immigrants chose to settle in regions of this state that reminded them of home. So it should come as no shock that New Englanders were well-represented among the settlers of the Oregon coast. Let's take a look.

New England


And given the importance of fishing to the two regions, it should also be easy to surmise that the recipes those New Englanders brought with them also worked well here. Oregonians consider New England Style the only real way to make clam chowder, and we're no slouches when it comes to the stuff. We don't have lobster, but the dungeness crab's flavor comes closer to lobster than any other crab I've ever tasted. We have Tuna, Salmon, several species of white fish, and the Geoduck (pronounced Gooeyduck), a monster of a clam:

So while the specifics of which fish are used changes a bit, and there are other maritime influences (the south in particular), yes, our cuisine is influenced by New England.

Daddy Blogging at One Year Plus Some

The Lad's birthday party was a success, a good time was had by all and the birthday boy gave himself a cake frosting facial masque. A week later, we observed Homecoming day -- I wonder how many other parents of preemies/NICU babies do the same thing, celebrating the anniversary of the day the babyb came home as well as their birthday.

He's developed past the Larval stage and is a fully formed Rug Rat -- he can scoot around now with a speed that reminds me of the movie Alien when the recently hatched monster skitters through the duct system. He has a funny way of crawling -- one leg in front, one leg in back pushing. He recently discovered ana dvantage this affords him -- he only needs to keep one hand on the floor to maintain mobility, so he can carry things with him as he scoot. I call him my Paladin. No, not this kind of paladin:

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THIS kind of paladin:

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Why? Because like the M-109, he is self-propelled, and he's definitely an area-effect weapon.

Normally he sleeps through the night, and is a good boy about napping and going to bed, but the last couple of days he's been sick with a cough, runny/stuffy nose and a low grade fever. It got high enough for us to be concerned last night (102), but the nurse told us to keep watching him for now, no need to bring him in yet. The poor guy was already asleep when I got home at 3:30 PM yesterday and didn't wake up until 6:50, then was asleep again by 7:30. The downside was, by 12:00 AM he was awake and at 2:30 woke up again and wanted to play. The Feared Redhead was exhausted from the fussies he'd had earlier, so I took over, trying to comfoprt him with a new diaper, a bottle, etc. In the end he just didn't want to be asleep, but play wasn't an option so I just had to let him cry himself back to sleep. Five AM came too damned early.

I'm really looking forward to taking him camping this summer. Between TFR's hyperemesis in 2004 and caring for an infant in 2005, we haven't had a real summer in a few years now, so we plan on making the most of this one.

I'm also trying to decide what to get TFR from The Lad for Mother's Day this year. Last year it was a matched pendant and earrings with his birthstone. Any ideas would be appreciated, but to warn you -- don't bother suggesting "Cook a meal", since I'm already the chief cook and bottle washer in the house.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Central Unintelligence Agency

Oh Good grief. Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

Porter Goss, director of the CIA, is launching an investigation into recent leaks of classified and other secret information from within the CIA.

How do we know this?

His email regarding the investigation has been leaked.

How much more evidence do we need that the CIA is rife with partisan bureaucrats more interested in playing power games and forwarding their own political agendas that actually, you know, spying on America's enemies and defending National Security?

They Asked For It

Thanks for... nothing to the LlamaButchers.

Every time I hear that song, I think of an episode of MST 3K where the 'Bots sing it as Hercules rides around on ah orse, replacing the "Valderi Valdera" with "Hercules, Hercula..."

But as I said, borrowing from Heretic in the comments at Mr. Priapus:

I shall not shrink from this challenge. Meet them in battle I shall.

Rupert, get my Veggie Tales CD's. We are at war.

I Love Living In Oregon

Reason # 365:

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This picture was taken with my camera phone from the parking lot outside my work. We have the most gorgeous sunrises and sunsets here -- and the Oregon coast's sunsets are even more spectacular. The colors are so vivid and varied, it almost hurts (your eyes and your heart).

Friday, February 03, 2006

Final Thoughts Before I Stop Blogging for the Weekend

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Whither Poland?

A while back I was a regular reader and commenter at a blog run by a politically conservative resident of Portland who was originally from Poland. He liked to blog on photography and wineries as wellas politics. If he's still out there, and he or someone who knows him is reading this, can you leave me a note reminding me of his name and blog URL?


Friday Fun

Thanks for the Memory to Dave in Texas over at Ace of Spades Headquarters.

As a guest blogger filling on for Ace while he's moving, Dave posted a tongue-in-cheek "Fun Facts about Texas". So I decided to do the same here about Oregon.

But I'm going to do it a little differently. First, I'm going to reprint a few REAL facts about Oregon, gleaned from different sources. Then I'll share a few "Fake but Accurate" fun facts that Oregonians like to use to tease themselves.

Real Fun Facts About Oregon:

* Sea Lion Cave, north of Florence, Oregon, is the largest sea cave in the world.
* Oregon was the destination of the largest land migration in history, the Oregon Trail.
* Oregon has no sales, Restaurant, or liquor tax.
* Crater Lake, Oregon is the deepest lake in America, it is 1949 feet deep at its deepest point.
* Oregon is reported to have more ghost towns than any other state in the Union.
* It is illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon.
* The Oregon Dunes are the largest coastal sand dunes in North America.
* Hells Canyon, along the Oregon/Idaho border, is the deepest canyon in America at 8,000 feet.
* Astoria, Oregon is the oldest permanent White settlement west of the Rockies.
* The World's tallest barber shop pole is in Forest Grove, Oregon.
* Heceta Head Lighthouse, north of Florence, is the nation's most photographed lighthouse.
* The D River in Lincoln City, Oregon, is the shortest river in the world (42 feet).
* The Oregon state flag is the only state flag to carry two designs -- the state seal on one side, and an image of the state animal (the Beaver) on the other.

Fake-But-Accurate Fun Facts About Oregon:

* Oregonians don't tan -- they rust.
* *The State flower is mold.
*Everything is green in Oregon -- even the rocks (actually, this one I don't make up. Moss grows EVERYWHERE here).
* Oregon actually does have a summer. It is a beautiful time of year, sunny and warm. Last year it was on a Thursday.
* In 2005, 23 people fell off their bicycles in Oregon. and drowned.
* Oregonians of all political stripes hold to the following beliefs:
* Anything with less that 5% alcohol by volume is not beer.
*Oregonians do not recognize the "North/South" distinction. Anywhere that you can watch the sun SET while facing the Rocky Mountains is BACK EAST.
*Oregonians support the construction of a fence and the posting of armed troops at the border. The OREGON/CALIFORNIA border, that is.
*It's not rain, it's liquid sunshine.
*If it doesn't have snow on top in July, it's not a mountain.
* If you don't have to lean back to see its top, it's not a tree.
* If it doesn't produce enough standing water to float a canoe, It's not rain.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Blush is Off the Rose

Jason Atkinson, the candidate I am supporting for Governor of Oregon, was interviewed on the Lars Larson Show today. During the interview, it appears he came out in support of President Bush's Guest Worker Program, a program that would grant amnesty to thousands of illegal immigrants. The interview is causing huge ripples in the Conservative community here in Oregon, to the point where many of his supporters, especially in the blogosphere, are considering withdrawing their support.

I'm disappointed in Jason's stand on this, and disagree with him. But while this is a very important issue, I don't think it's time for me to jump ship yet.

First of all, from what I'm hearing, it's possible that Jason's position is misunderstood. The interview was live, and apparently Jason got a little flustered when his initial comments were jumped on. That's regrettable, but it isn't the lasdt word on the subject. I have it on good authority that he does not support amnesty for illegals already here, but rather supports programs that would make it easier for worthy applicants to gain LEGAL entry into the country. If that's the case, I'm 100% in agreement with him. So I believe it's important for Oregon conservatives to hold their fire until Jason clarifies his stand on the issue.

Secondly, even if he wasn't misunderstood, and does support amnesty, it's possible that we can convice Jason to rethink his position on this issue. And we need to remember, that while the opinion of a governor is important, the power to grant amnesty from deportation to illegals lies with the federal government, not with the State of Oregon. Even if we can't convince Jason to rethink his position, if we can sway the President and Congress, we'll still have won. And given Jason's stand regarding repsecting the rule of law, as demonstrated in his commitment to uphold by try to repeal Oregon's Right to Die law, I suspect that he'll abide by the law, even if he disagrees with it. That's an important point.

Finally, while this is an important issue, perhaps the most important issue facing Oregon, it's not the ONLY important issue, and in the overall scheme of things, I agree with Jason and disagree with his opponents on so many other points, that as much as this disappoints me, it doesn't outweigh the other issues.

So I have to conclude that while this TEMPERS my support, it does not cause Jason to lose it. I would encourage Jason to reconsider his position, or if we misunderstood it, to restate it.

C'mon, Jason, let's see how good you are with tarnish remover.


Last night I, as well as several other bloggers, including Coyote at NW Republican, received an email response from Matt Evans, Jason's campaign manager. Here's what he said:

I think it’s important that the truth lead any discussion of this or any issue. Here’s the truth: Despite what some have said, the President’s plan does not provide amnesty for illegals currently in the country. In fact, it is Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) (who is not carrying the President’s plan), who wants to allow illegals currently in the country to apply as a guestworker. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has a plan that would force illegals to return to their home countries before applying as a guestworker. The President is trying to broker a compromise between these competing plans but has said that he will not support a final plan that includes any kind of amnesty for individuals currently in this country illegally.

Let’s be clear on another point, if somehow the final federal plan does include the ability for a person currently in this nation illegally to stay here for any reason, as a guestworker or otherwise, Jason Atkinson will oppose that plan, and do so vocally. There should be no rewards for breaking the law.

If a federal plan similar to Sen. Chambliss’ can be implemented, and Jason Atkinson is elected Governor of Oregon, the results would be:

1) The borders would be closed and the flow of illegal aliens would slow dramatically and maybe entirely.

2) Federal and state agents would check employers to ensure that all their employees are legally in the country. They would either have to have proof of citizenship or proof of guestworker status or have other legal immigration status.

3) Illegal workers currently in Oregon would lose their jobs as their employers would face heavy penalties and stepped-up federal and state enforcement.

4) Illegal aliens would lose their ability to gain state-funded benefits (unemployment, health care, welfare, etc).

5) Illegal aliens would lose their ability to obtain an Oregon Driver’s license.

6) Illegal aliens would lose their ability to vote.

7) Illegal aliens would have little choice but to return to their home country as they would be unemployable and could not receive any government assistance.

I trust this clears the decks on this issue. We would appreciate everyone clarifying this for their audience, in particular noting the truth that neither the President nor Jason Atkinson supports amnesty for those currently in this country illegally.

Matt Evans

Campaign Manager

That clarifies things nicely for me, thanks, Matt.

Let me make one thing clear: I am not against immigration. I am against ILLEGAL immigration. I believe that there should be a method for people who are willing to abide by the laws of this country to seek to come here LEGALLY. As long as any "Guest Worker" program does not extend amnesty to people currently here illegally, but requires that they apply from within their own country, and as long as it requires that they pay taxes just like any American would, I have no problem with it. And if Jason stays true to what Matt just said, he still has my support.


Time passes too quickly.

about an hour ago I received a phone call from my sister letting me know that my maternal grandmother has been hospitalized. The doctors aren't sure if she's had a stroke, or if the symptoms is the result of her Alzheimer's, so they're running some tests. My mother and aunts had been concerned about her behavior for several days. They were trying to avoid hospitalization, I'm told because Alzheimer's patients dont respond well to the disorientation of being in a strange place, but she hasn't had any fluids in days, and dehydration was an issue. Either way, It doesn't look like she'll be with us much longer.

In a way, it may be a blessing if God takes her home now. She's suffering -- she can;t take care of her own hygeine, she's often confused and angry and frightened. My mother lives with her and cares for her, but her and my grandfather's estate is dwindling, and once it runs out, she'll have to be put in a home, and one that government assistance will pay for.

But I don't want her to go, and will miss her. She's quite a lady. She came to California as a young woman, a dustbowl Okie a la Grapes of Wrath. She ran off to Arizona to elope with my grandfather the weekend before the Navy shipped him to the pacific to fight the Japanese. She raised five beautiful daughters. She was a devoted and doting grandmother -- when I was a child, she'd play with my Tootsietoy cars with me, or follow me on forced marches around the block, shaking, at my insistence, a tin can full of gravel that was our drum line. She and my grandfather fought like cats and dogs, loved each other seeply, and to his dying day, they still couldn't agree on whether Doak Walker or Ambrose Schindler was a better football player.

And I am sad that The Lad will never meet her. She was the only great grandparent alive when he was born, and her husband inspired The Lad's middle name. We were hoping to go on vacation later this year to San Diego to introduce them, even if only to get one picture of the two of them together, but noe I fear, that may never happen.

Time passes too quickly.



Just got another call from my sister. It was a stroke, and the prognosis isn't good. It could be hours, it could be days.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tom Toles: This Year's Winner of the Ted Rall Award for Excellence in Satirical Cartooning

Thanks for the Memory to Harry Callahan at Ace of Spades HQ.

Apparently, on Sunday, cartoonist Ted Toles published a cartoon using a caricature of a wounded American soldier to represent the state of the US Army.

I was a little offended when Trudeau had a Doonesbury character lose a limb, then used him to spout anti-war rhetoric, as if he was actually speaking for the war wounded. But this one is beyond the pale. This cartoon lowers itself to treating the military with the same level of contempt as Ted Rall. It's disgusting.

And the Joint Chiefs of Staff agree. They've written a letter to the editor regarding this cartoon.

Now, the US military is required to keep its nose out of domestic political affairs. But this more than a political issue. This cartoon was mean-spirited and hurtful towards the troops. And the Joint Chiefs, the highest ranking military officers in command of the US Armed Forces, were right for standing up for their enlisted ranks. that's good leadership, that's what an officer does -- look out for his men.

Furthermore, I applaude the civil, respectful tone the JCOS took in the letter, but I was equally impressed with how clearly they communicated their displeasure.

Shame on Tom Toles. And Kudos to the Joint Chiefs.


Apparently the WaPo is considering a response.

If it doesn't include the phrase "Tom Toles is fired", it's too little too late.

Thanks for the Memory to Mark in Mexico.

Don't hold your breath for an apology. In fact, the WaPo is defending the cartoon. Slime.

Here's the part that really chafes my hiney:

Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt, responded. Hiatt said, "While I certainly can understand the strong feelings, I took it to be a cartoon about the state of the Army and not one intended to demean wounded soldiers.
and Toles says:

Talking to Kurtz, Toles cited recent remarks by Rumsfeld about "battle-hardened" troops and "what came soon to mind was the catastrophic level of injuries the Army and members of the armed services have sustained . . . I thought my portrayal of it was a fair depiction of the reality of the situation. I certainly never intended it to be in any way a personal attack on, or a derogatory comment on, the service or sacrifice of American soldiers."

You may not have been making a derogatory comment about the troops themselves, but by depicting their suffering in such a glib manner, you did demena their sacrifice.

Thankfully, we live in America and have First Amendment rights, so you have the right to print that garbage. And, by the same token, I have the right to tell you what pieces of filth you are, and we ALL have the right to refuse to line our birdcages with your rag, let alone READ it.

I Was Told There'd Be No Math