Friday, June 30, 2006

Run Silent, Run Deep

The exit interview is in ten minutes, then I'm gone. Until I can blog again, I want to thank everyone for reading me, and for making me feel like maybe you enjoyed what I had to say.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Shaken, not Stirred

Thanks for the Memory to relatively gentlemanlike Maximum Leader.

You Are 84% Gentleman

No doubt about it, you are a total gentleman.
You please the pickiest ladies, and you make everyone in a room feel comfortable.

I'm flattered.

Musical Geography Question for the Day

Where is it advertised, a hundred hearty sailors a whalin' for to go?

I Spy With My Little Eye

I've just started reading B.H. Liddell Hart's book A History of the Second World War. I have a lovely used hardback edition given to me by TFR our first Christmas together as a poor married couple. It was an incredibly thoughtful gift, very Gift of the Magi of her. But while I love the way the book looks on my shelf, in these entire 6 1/2 years, I've never bothered to read it, because it's so long, I didn't want to start and not be able to finish. But recently I decided to give it a crack.

So there I was last night, reading through the chapter on the Phoney War (hot bath + glass of port + thick book = Heaven) when I was struck by the following comment by Liddell Hart on page 38 regarding an incident in January of 1940 in which the Germans' original plan for invading France was revealed to the Allies due to the forced landing of a German staff officer's plane in Belgium in a snowstorm:

"But we know that Admiral Canaris, the head of the German Secret Service -- who was later executed -- took many hidden steps to thwart Hitler's aims..."

The reason this caught my eye is that one of the subplots of World War Two that has always fascinated me was the secret war: the resistance movements; The OSI and OSS; The Jedburghs; Berkeley Square; Bletchley Park, Enigma; The Man Who Never Was; etc. I've read several books on it, including the excellent A Man Called Intrepid. But while I'm aware of several cases in which Allied misinformation campaigns (including Operation Fortitude) almost came unraveled, only to be saved by the failure of Canaris' Secret Service to grasp things (as an aside: One amusing story was of a British expat in Spain, who was "spying" for the Germans, selling British secrets to Canaris' spies. Except he HAD no British secrets, he was a con man making stuff up. The Brits recruited him to give the Germans THEIR made up stuff). But while I wondered how Canaris could overlook so many clues so often, I'd never read anywhere before where it was implied he was actively subverting Hitler.

So a question to any readers who are bigger Dubyah Dubyah Too geeks than I: Can anyone recommend any good reading material regarding Canaris' anti-Hitler activities?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Musical Geography Question for the Day

If a headless Norwegian aims a Thompson gun at you and blows you away, where does your body end up?

Blood on the Oregon Trail

Thanks for the Memory to Coalition of the Swilling via It Comes in Pints?

Those two US soldiers have been found murdered. One of them was an Oregonian, and you can hear a final voice mail he left his parents here.

My thoughts and prayers are with their families.

So Much For That Theory

Remember when I mentioned that The Lad had taken his first steps? Someone reassure me I'd catch his second. They were proven wrong yesterday.

I did, however, catch his subsequent steps. And while he's still wobbly, and only takes steps towards a safe prop, he has officially joind the biped crowd.

Chili Con Carnal

I was going to try once again to break out of my recipe blogging slump, and once again I have something to offer that's not quite a recipe, but at least this time it's mine.

This is more like a story -- the story of the journey of a raw, 13 pound piece of meat, to it's final destination in my belly as succulent, tender, barbecued brisket. Mr. Priapus was good enough to track down a recipe for me. Of course, this was only my point of departure. As most of you know, I like to take basic concepts and apply local Oregon flavors and ingredients to them. So what was to be expected?

To try to adapt the marinade recipe to local ingredients, I analyzed what each ingredient in the original brought to the table: Sweetness, acidity, etc. Based on that, I found a set of ingredients from around here which, when combined, provided similar functions but dofferent flavors. Here is what I used:

1/2 medium sweet yellow onion, sliced thin
2 Oregon Myrtlewood leaves
1 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 cups red wine
5 crushed garlic cloves
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 quarts cranberry juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup blackberry syrup
1/4 cup salt
1 6-pack Deschutes Brewery Obsidian Stout

And, of course, the 13-pound brisket. Now, normally, I get a little tired of the Texan obsession with size -- bigger doesn't necessarily mean better (case in point: Rosie O'Donnell and Kate Beckinsale. Compare and contrast, class). But in the case of brisket, they're right. A big, full-sized, untrimmed brisket has two things going for it: Lots of mass, which translates into better heat retention and thus better slow cooking; and lots of fat, which translates into better flavor.

Here's where a bit of old Oregon Trail Pioneer Ingenuity came into play, but unintentionally, and actually worked to my benefit. I didn't have a pot big enough for the brisket and the marinade, so I bought one of those plastic storage containers -- a 3 gallon sucker, like a shoebox on steroids -- and put the brisket in that. The marinade didn't come up over the brisket, so I let it marinate for 8 hours, then turned it over for another 8 on the other side. In the morning, the lid of the container made a perfect place to hold the brisket while I put the dry rub on the fat side, since my cutting board wouldn't... well, cut it.

The dry rub recipe sort of evolves, as I modify the contents of the jar each time IU take some out, but here are the main points:

1 part salt
3 parts sugar
garlic powder
onion powder
mustard powder
ground oregano
hot chili powder
smoked Hungarian paprika
ground sun-dried tomato mix

I used about 1 or 2 cups of this on the fat side of the brisket, then put it in the smoker. I placed a steel pan under it containing 2 cups of the marinade and all the onions and garlic from the marinade, as well as 1 shot each of bourbon, tequila, and Oregon apple brandy. I smoked it for five hours like that, then placed it in the pan with the marinade, liqour, and its own drippings, and smoked it for 3 hours like that, then removed it from the pan and finished with three more hours of smoking on the rack -- a total of 11 hours. While it was smoking, I made a pot of barbecued beans to go with it:

1 lb pinto beans, soaked overnight
6 pieces of bacon, chopped
3 oz piece of brisket fat, found in the package with the brisket and marinated along with it
1/4 cup blackberry syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1/2 cup brisket marinade
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Oregon Myrtlewood leaf
1/4 tsp geound oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp hot chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 quart water

In a cast iron Dutch oven, I started cooking the bacon and brisket fat, then as they browned, added the onions and sauteed them with a pinch of the salt. Once they were caramelized, I deglazed with the brisket marinade, then added all the other ingredients. I brought hte entire thing to a boil, and let it boil for 10 minutes. Then I moved it out to the smoker, without a lid, to allow it to simmer for couple of hours exposed to the smoke. Finally, it was returned to the stove and covered with a lid to simmer the rest of the 5 hours I cooked the beans. The came out almost as delicions as the brisket, which was topped with my marionberry barbecue sauce:

1 cup marionberry syrup
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce, no salt added
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 habanero pepper
4 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground rosemary
1 pinch driend mint flakes
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Oregon myrtlewood leaves
1 tsp ground cumin

Combine tomato sauce, syrup, vinegar, habanero, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add the rest of the ingredients, reduce heat to low, simmer 3 hours or until habanero releases desired amount of heat. Remove and discard habanero, remove sauce from heat, and let cool.

All in all, a delicious meal. The next day, I decided I wanted chili. Actually, I had already decided on it, because I had an idea: usuallu good chili requires hours an hours of slow cooking, but since I already had the remainder of 13 pounds of slow cooked meat, why not? SOooooo....

Brisket Chili

1 cup barbecued brisket fat, trimmed from the meat and cubed
2 or 3 pounds (who measures? I just gessed) barbecued brosket meat, trimmed and cubed
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 12 oz bottles of beer (I used 1 24 oz bottle of Siletz Brewery Spruce Ale)
24-30 oz tomato sauce or puree
6-8 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp hot chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 shot tequila

In a Dutch oven, render the brisket fat over medium high heat, removing pieces once there is 1/4 inch of grease in the pot. Sautee the onions with a pinch of the salt. When they have caramelized, deglaze with 12 ounces of beer, drink the other 12. add brisket meat, tomato sauce, tequila, and all spices. Bring to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Chili is another issue on which I agree with Texans: NO BEANS! Sadly, for all her positive qualities, TFR doesn't agree. But this time I put my foot down, and the results were delicious. The Lad devoured it like the little carnivore he's becoming. TFR took my compromise suggestion and added some of Saturday's barbecued beans to her chili *shudder*, and I ate mine as God intended. Everybody was happy -- very happy.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Thanks for the Memory to Lurch.

12 KT Meteorite strikes Norway.

Wild stuff

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Musical Geography Question for the Day

OK, this one should be pretty easy, so I'm throwing a few monkey wrenches in there: Bob can't answer; Ken has to wait until someone else has a go at it. There are three questions about the same song, and one of them is a trick question.

If it's Monday morning, and you're on a train pulling 15 cars, and it contains 15 restless riders, three conductors, and 25 sacks of mail, then:

1. Who runs this train?
2. From where is it departing?
3. Where is its destination?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bittersweet Morsels, ParentBlogging Style

I didn't want to blog on this, because the circumstances bum me out, but.... The Lad tookm his first step Sunday night. Just one step, and he hasn't repeated it, but it happened.

And I missed it. By three feet. I was in the kitchen, fixing dinner. TFR told me, and by the time I took the step and a half required to look over the breakfast bar, he was back on his butt. I'm proud but sad that I missed it. Such are the ironies of a parent's love.

Parenthood is full of ironies:

I've said repeatedly that it is both humbling and yet a great source of pride to realize that The Lad is far better looking than I.

A baby is the most effective "Chick Magnet" on the planet. And yet, the one thing most likely to attract a woman is the one thing you normally won't have unless you've already attracted a woman (proof thad God and Darwin are conspiring against us).

I hate that The Lad isn't the cuddly little baby he once was, and that this sweet one-year-old stage will one day end, but I'm excited to see him become him, to get to know the person he is becoming.

Cue "Sunrise, Sunset".

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Chili Reception

It's been a while since I recipe blogged, so....

Well, actually, this isn't my recipe, it's TFR's.

And it really isn't a recipe, so much as a brag about what TFR managed to do on short notice.

Friday will be payday, so naturally, the budget's tight, and we have to go with what's in the freezer/fridge. Last night, since she doesn't work Mondays, TFR asked if she could cook so I could relax for once during mealtime. Lord, I love that woman.

I'd pulled a pound of hamburger (ok, ground buffalo) out of the freezer, and we'd agreed on chili. TFR started pulling out leftovers and working with them, and the results were delicious. So here's what she used:

1 lb. hamburger
1 14 oz. container salsa
1/2 cup of hubby's leftover pizza sauce
1 can beans

brown hamburger in a skillet. Add other ingredients, simmer for 30 minutes over medium heat.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Your Weekly Dose of Steve Taylor Lyrics: Installment #7

(Sorry for the hiatus)

This week, the Steve Taylor song I present to you asks the question, does being acclaimed for your creative talents excuse your self-destructive and antisocial behavior? The song is Jim Morrison's Grave, and here's what Steve himself had to say about it:

"The idea started a couple of years ago when I went to Paris and visited Jim Morrison's grave. The experience made me think a lot about who Jim Morrison was and what he stood for. I was into The Doors' music and read a biography of Morrison called, No One Here Gets Out Alive. As I read the book, a picture emerged of Jim Morrison as someone who embraced the Rock-n-Roll myth, 'It's better to burn out than to fade away.'

"I guess he thought of himself as somewhat of a 'tortured artist' who not only believed that genius justifies cruelty but that genius and selfishness are inseparable. And that's really how he lived his life. He was very cruel to the people who were close to him, even the people who loved him. So this song is just my thought about going to the grave, almost a stream-of-consciousness lyric.

"'Jim Morrison's Grave' asks the age-old question: Does artistry justify being a weasel? The last line of the song is, 'The music covers like an evening mist/Like a watch still ticking on a dead man's wrist." Morrison left the world some intriguing music. As far as I'm concerned, that's not enough."

Jim Morrison's Grave
From the Album I Predict 1990

Am I a pilgrim
or another souvenir hound
in the city of lights
I set my sights
on a king's domain

It was a manhole
dug over at the edge of town
and a spray can scrawl
on the cemetary wall
said, "You'd better behave"

Jim Morrison's grave

It's getting cold here
and there ain't a lizard in sight
did the end begin
when you shed your skin
in the home of the brave

Somebody shake him
from the land of larger than life
where the remnants warn
of a legend born
in a dead man's cave

Jim Morrison's grave

I stay driven 'cause there's nowhere to park
I can't shut my eyes--I'm afraid of the dark
I lie awake
that stone left me chilled to the bone
sound the alarm before it's done
find Jim Morrison

Come away to Paris
let him see another day
let him fade out slowly
only fools burn away
let a true love show him what a heart can become
somebody find Jim Morrison
find Jim Morrison's grave

I get weary
Lord, I don't understand
how does a seed get strangled in the heart of a man
then the music covers like an evening mist
like a watch still ticking on a dead man's wrist
tick away

Heady Cone

Thanks for the memory to Lurch.

So very cool. Go watch.

Musical Geography Question for the Day

If she's standing by the water, looking to sea, where is she waiting for you?


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Musical Geography Question for the Day

If you've a slack jaw and not much to say, where are you?

Damned With Faint Praise

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention yesterday, I got one more birthday present on Monday. Smallholder finally responded to me with regards to Illegal Immigration. Well, OK, I didn't forget to mention it, I didn't see it until yesterday afternoon.

I suppose I should be glad that he clarifies his belief that I, myself, am not "knowingly" prejudiced:

I do not feel that Brian is intentionally basing his anti-immigrant stance on concious prejudice. Once again I got caught up in the heat of the moment and used words loosely and did not mean to give great offense to our blogsopheric buddy. Brian is a good man and would not conciously hold ideas that were prejudiced.

But I'm not sure that "unwitting dupe of prejudiced ideas" is that much of a step up. Oh, well, you take what you can get.

He then goes on to say,

Many of the folks on his side of the argument are prejudiced. And prejudiced in ways that require them to contort logic. When presented with clear evidence, in the form of FBI records, that immigrants are slightly LESS likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans (or should I say nativists?), there is a pause and then "what about Hispanic gangs!" come right back out. As if Hispanic gangs are not included in the FBI statistics and as if Tookie Williams and the Crips are an export of Tijuana.

Funny -- most of the people I talk to on this side of the illegal immigration debate believe exactly as I do. Yet they’re prejudiced, I’m not. And he did it again. Notice the absence of the word "Illegal" in front of the word "Immigrant". That is a glaring and important omission. I called Smallholder on it in an earlier post, and he backpedaled, saying it was an unintentional gaffe, and I accepted that explanation. However, given his stubborn insistence on using this particular ploy, and further given the tone of Monday’s post, I can no longer trust the sincerity of that apology. Fool me twice, and all that.

So before I continue to respond to Smallholder’s post, let us make this point painfully clear: Despite what Smallholder would have you believe about us, I and those like me on this side of the Illegal Immigration debate do NOT hate immigrants, we do NOT oppose immigration; we oppose ILLEGAL immigration. We’re quite aware, thank you, that most if not all of us are descended from immigrants, and we have a great deal of respect and admiration for those who play by the rules and come to this country legally.

One commentor on Brian's site, and I'm calling Lurch out by name, makes the farcical argument that, FBI statistics be damned, illegal immigrants must commit more crimes since they have shown a willingness to violate immigration law…. … Perhaps we are more likely to believe them Hispanics are capable of crimes because they are.... icky.

Well, considering Lurch never saw your original reference to the FBI study (because he onmly reads my blog usually), I don’t see how his comment could be construed as “FBI statistics be damned”. And implying that my best friend is an anti-Hispanic racist isn’t really progress after clarifying that I’m not.

Interesting thing about that FBI document Smallholder references. I read the quote he mentioned, and it specifically refers to immigrants, not illegal immigrants. Again, that’s an important distinction. And it’s a distinction that Lurch made in his comment to my earlier post (he pointed out that he did not believe that the illegal immigrant population was representative of Hispanics in general) – a distinction Smallholder ignores in implying that Lurch thinks “Hispanics are icky”. Smallholder says, “Note that the conclusion that illegals have a lower crime rate than citizens…” Um….. Again, the study doesn’t say anything about illegals, it says immigrants. Repeat after me, Smallholder: Not all immigrants are illegals.

But it’s not the only time in his post that Smallholder does that in the post, as we will see as we progress:

On the anti-immigrant side of the argument you have the following threads:

Anti-ILLEGAL Immigration. Get it straight!

Economic: Immigrants are bad for America.

No, ILLEGAL immigrants are economically bad for America.


Interesting that right after taking Lurch to task for “ignoring” the FBI study, Smallholder then readily “refutes” the economic costs of Illegal Immigration, studies (many of which are readily available with a simple Google search, and some of which were provided by reader Polymath in a Maximum Leader post) be damned.

At this point, in order to discuss economics and Illegal immigration, the difference between legal and illegal immigrants is VASTLY important, even more so than on the issue of crime. The reason for this is simple: Large numbers of illegal immigrants, especially in border states and western agricultural states (that’s redundant, isn’t it?), do NOT, contrary to Smallholder’s assertion, obtain false papers and get legitimate jobs paying at least minimum wage and withholding taxes. Maybe some do, maybe even a large number, but I suspect that, especially out here, the completely undocumented illegals are if not the majority, a very large minority at the least.

So let’s take both groups separately. With regards to the group relied on by smallholder to support his argument, namely, the group that is using fraud to pose as legal workers (but the only crime they ever committed was crossing the border, I thought? Huh….), they provide not a single valid economic advantage to the US economy that can’t be provided by streamlining the immigration process and making it easier to admit more LEGAL immigrant workers (something I’ve advocated all along, as have many others).

So that brings us to the completely undocumented illegals: the day laborers working for lower than minimum wage with no benefits, withholding, etc. The only reason they are economically cheaper than citizens or legal immigrants is because their illegal status and the threat of discovery allows people to hire them for lower wages than they could get away with for a legal laborer. And while they may provide an economic benefit, especially for their employers, I’m not sure it’s as big an advantage in the long run as Smallholder claims. One study indicates that the cost of labor accounts for only 6% of agricultural production expenses. A shift from underpaid illegals to higher paid legal immigrants and citizens isn’t going to suddenly result in $5 Avocados, folks. And no, rich folks in California aren’t going to stop having their roses trimmed just because they have to pay Juan $8/hour instead of $4.

But even allowing for some cost advantage to hiring such underpaid illegals, economists have for some time pointed out the myriad of drawbacks: artificially deflated wages in certain industries; the financial strain on certain government services (more on that in a moment), the added burden on the prison system….

Which brings us to this:

Crime: Immigrants lead to higher crime rates.

Actually, that’s a gross misrepresentation of the argument against illegal immigration from the effects of crime. The real argument for our side is this: A porous border that allows people to cross with near total impunity is bound to attract, and has attracted, individuals who intend to cross over into this country in order to engage in activities far less innocent that merely seeking work. Furthermore, the shadow society created by such a large number of illegal immigrants, and their willingness to help each other avoid deportation, makes it easier for the criminal element within their community to hide from and escape prosecution. And while this criminal element may (or may not) be a smaller percentage of their population that the crime rate in general (a claim that is not established by Smalklholder’s FBI study of IMMIGRANTS IN GENERAL, not ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS), given the estimated millions of illegals crossing the border, even a single digit percentage of them would amount to tens of thousands of predatory criminals. Securing the border against all (or ass close to all as possible) illegal immigrants will also contribute to preventing these criminals from entering.

The examples cited: Los Angeles Gangs; Oregon drug rings and child molesters are not meant to prove that immigrants in general are more criminally inclined, but that a lax immigration policy has made it easy for these individuals to import their crime.

Refuted. Government statistics definitively show that immigrants are, if anything, slightly less likely to commit crimes.

This is true, but also irrelevant, because WE’RE TALKING ABOUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, NOT ALL IMMIGRANTS IN GENERAL!!!!!!!!!

Now, back to the economic cost/benefits analysis of illegal immigration:

Tax fairness: Immigrants don't pay their fair share of taxes and use social services.

Immigrants do, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DON’T!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, Smallholder, but I’m not going to let you “Big Lie” this into a general immigration debate, this is about ILLEGAL immigration.

[Illegal] Immigrants actually pay the same sales tax on all purchased goods

Ummmm…. No. This assumes that all goods and services are taxed at the same rate across the board. This is certainly not true in California (they have a few illegals, don’t they?), where necessities like food and medicine are not taxed, which means that low income illegals, less likely to purchase luxury goods, are not paying sales tax on the same percentage of their purchases as are higher paid legal immigrants and nationals. Furthermore, one state near the border, my home state of Oregon, has no sales tax at ALL.

and do not get any of the taxes they pay under false social secutiry numbers back. They do not get welfare or social security (becuase they are illegal).

Two things:

1. I’m to assume that they’re willing to commit fraud (not a crime, I suppose, since the only crime they ever commit is crossing the border) in order to get jobs, but not to get government services? Riiiiight……

2. This may come as some surprise to Smallholder, but Federal assistance in the form of welfare and Social Security are not the only forms of government assistance available, and are not the only burden an individual might place on the system. There is state assistance. Here in Oregon, the U of O, in conjunction with the State and the Mexican Consulate, actually held seminars for illegals on how to apply for and get all sorts of government assistance. In California, Illegals account for very high percentages of the uninsured motorist population, as well as uninsured visits to emergency rooms.

Job theft: Immigrants steal jobs from hard-working Americans.

No, ILLEGAL immigrants steal jobs from hard-working Americans and LEGAL immigrants.

Anti-immigrant folks are also typically opposed to raising the minimum wage because it will eliminate low-level jobs by rejiggering employer's calculations of marginal utility, but somehow magically think that an indirect lift of the minimum wage would not have the same effect.

Again, Smallholder’s argument here is based on ignoring the fact that American and legal immigrant workers must be hired for the minimum wage, while a large portion of the illegal population can be hired for less.

Plus, Republicans are supposed to value hard work and individual initiative.

Yes, we also value a level playing field, one that doesn’t exist when legal workers are given an artificial limit to what they’re able to do to get the job (work for less than minimum wage), a restriction that illegals are not hampered by.

How hardworking are Americans who are outcompeted by folks who don't even speak English?

In other words, Yanquis are icky and lazy and deserve to be unemployed.

Or maybe they’re outcompeted because that minimum wage vs. subminimum wage imbalance gives illegal immigrants an unfair edge? Hmmmm……

The Law is the Law! We should punish all wrongdoers: "What part of illegal do you not understand?" When the legal purists demand the harsh punishment of speeding and fellatio, I'll pay more attention.

That was never MY argument, so I’ll let the strawman defend himself in my comments. Or not.

Assimilation: Hispanics, unlike all other immigrant groups of the past (aside form the involuntary immigration of Africans), will not assimilate. Open to question. BUT, historical trends say they will.

The popularity of La Raza and the Chicano movements among young Hispanics in the Southwest would seem to indicate otherwise. But since this is not an argument I’ve ever made against illegal immigration, I’ll not belabor this point.

American Morality. Talking with the Foreign Minister, I realized there is another aspect to the immigration situation. Given that legalizing currently illegal aliens will lessen the countrywide financial benefit of illegal labor, on purely economic grounds we ought to make sure that they never get legal status. Of course, such a Machiavellian stance has moral implications: Is it okay to exploit the willingness of immigrants to work to benefit ourselves while at the same time denying them basic benefits of American society? This is troublesome. I don't know where I stand here.

I know exactly where I stand on this one: Using their illegal status to force them to work for less than Americans would is not only unfair to American/legal immigrant workers, it is a form of economic slavery, and is equally victimizing of the illegals themselves.

Elitiism. Rich middle class people only like immigration because it threatens the poor and less fortunate.

Not an argument I’ve made. Scarecrow?

Smallholder would have you believe that opposition to illegal immigrants is opposition to all immigration, and is thus racists. I hope I’ve made it painfully clear that those of us on this side of the argument don’t oppose all immigration. As Lurch says, “among those of us who oppose illegal immigrants, the "immigrant" part is not the thing that concerns us.” And I hope it’s clear why this distinction is important.

I wonder if perhaps there isn’t a little bit of reverse racial bias in Smallholder’s point of view: The implication of image of all immigrants, and by ignoring the distinction, all illegal immigrants, as honest, hard-working simple folk without an evil bone in their body, is that anyone who opposes them must be racist. It couldn’t possibly be that we oppose illegal immigration for any other reason.

Could it?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy Birthday

Note: This was supposed to be posted on Tuesday, but somehow Blogger didn't get the memo. I was wondering why no one was commenting:

Multiple reasons to celebrate this weekend, beyond the good news about culinary school.

Yesterday was my birthday, so I took a vacation day and just doing whatever I wanted. TFR was very good about taking over the childcare duties for most of the day. I'm blessed to be married to her.

She gave me a couple of belts for my birthday, along with the boxed set of all three extended version LOTR movies. We watched part of Return of the King last night, making it to the lighting of the signal fires. There are still some major discrepancies that bug the heck out of me, but the extended versions are much closer to the books that the theatrical releases were.

My mother sent me a check with instructions on what to buy for myself, and it was perfect:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I've dubbed it "Old 97". It's not as hard core as a hand-built, competition-grade smoker, but it's a step up light years from the "R2 Unit". I bought it on Saturday and started working on it between chores, finished it and cured it yesterday, and played with cooked on it all day yesterday. TFR tried apologizing last night that I had to cook on my birthday. Sweet, misguided girl.

To add serendipity to the weekend, on Thursday I received a parcel from my mother. Included in it were some items of memorabilia that had belonged to my grandparents. Among them was a decanter that I had always admired -- cobalt blue, it was a commemorative released in 1969 on the 50th anniversary of the American Legion (my grandfather was proud of his veteran status), and originally contained bourbon. But the most prized contents of the package were my grandfathers pipes. I've loved the smell of pipe smoking since I was a boy because of him, and have wanted to inherit his pipes since I took up pipe smoking myself. Most of the pipes are currently unsmokeable -- the stems are either broken or missing, and they're just bowls. Those will eventually go on display (when I have the space and a proper place to do so), but one or two are either still smokeable or of high enough quality to be worth refurbishing.

Almost as exciting was the piece of notebook paper I found, on which was written, in my great-grandfather's handwriting, the following recipe (verbatim):

Smoked Fish

Cut fish- & Soak in Salt
Water - 1 hour. Dry off-
Oil & rub each Piece &
Put brown sugar on it-
Quite a bit. Pepper if
you like - five or more
hours- hickory chips &
As luck would have it, I happened to have a smoker (see above... hehehe...), so I tried the recipe on a salmon filet and a steelhead filet yesterday while I was smoking a pork roast at hte same time. It was delicious.

Because of the decanter, I'd gone out and bought myself a small bottle of Makers Mark, and so last night I smoked my grandfather's "Missouri Meerschaum" (corncob pipe) and drank my first glass of Bourbon (on the rocks). It's good stuff, but I'm still a Scotch man.

All in all a good birthday.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I'm In!

I received this email yesterday, and saw it for the first time this morning:

Congratulations! You have been accepted into the Lane Community College Culinary Arts program for fall term, 2006.
You will soon receive a letter in the mail outlining what your next steps will be to enter the program. As you know, you will be responsible for paying a $275 application fee, but please do nothing yet until you receive the letter with instructions. We are also offering a limited number of scholarships to help defray the cost of your first term at Lane.
So, please stay tuned. If your address or phone number changes, please let me know and be sure to change it in ExpressLane also.
Thank'll be hearing from me again soon.

For all those who have been supporting me, thank you.


Yes, Bobgirrl, I realize this means I have to up my garlic powder.