Thursday, August 31, 2006

I have the Body of a God

Unfortunately, the god in question is Buddha.

Glenn Ford, 1916-2006

RIP, Admiral Spruance.

Thanks for the Memory to Ken S. at It Comes in Pints?

Sometimes I Hate Myself for Loving the Northwest

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades and Vultures Row:

National Guardsman Brutally Attacked In Pierce County

[That's Washington.]

PARKLAND, Wash. -- The Pierce County Sheriff's Department is searching for five people who allegedly attacked a uniformed National Guardsmen walking along 138th Street in Parkland Tuesday afternoon.

The soldier was walking to a convenience store when a sport utility vehicle pulled up alongside him and the driver asked if he was in the military and if he had been in any action.

The driver then got out of the vehicle, displayed a gun and shouted insults at the victim. Four other suspects exited the vehicle and knocked the soldier down, punching and kicking him.

“And during the assault the suspects called him a baby killer. At that point they got into the car and drove off and left him on the side of the road,” Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.
I hope they find these scumbags and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

Hot Dang!

Only three games out of first, and we've got Wells back. It's gonna be a fun September.
Dodgers Suck.

Musical Geography Question of the Day

If you ran out of things to say, where are you?


Boy, I screwed this one up. Kudos to Vic for guessing it nonetheless and to Ken for correcting me.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

And the Nominees Are...

I recently picked up a great CD compilation: Elvis Presley Hitstory. It's a great compilation of his hits. And after listening to it over and over, I've reached a conclusion. With all due respect to Ace of Spades, Will Farrell, and Blue Oyster Cult, I would like to submit my nomination for the Lifetime Achievement Award for Best Use of Cowbell in a Song: The JXL Radio Edit Remix of The King's A Little Less Conversation. The bass is kicked up and the beat much more pronounced than the original.

Now, normally I abhor such remixes, viewing them as somewhat... blasphemous. But this one works, and for the most part, I think that's because Elvis' original performance is so Slick, so forveful, so masterful, that it doesn't get lost in the remix. Instead of taking over the song, the remix almost can be viewed as paying homage to the original, and the beat certainly does drive the point of the song home.

The Happy Pitfalls of Fathering a Child Who's Developing a Love of Classic Literature at an Early Age


Oh, well. I suppose if he's going to insist he be read the same freaking book before bed every freaking night and every freaking naptime, he could have chosen far worse than Goodnight Moon.

See The World

Thanks for the Memory to Dave at It Comes in Pints?

Here is a map of the world with all the countries I've visited in red:

create your own visited country map

Not very impressive, yet. But I still hold out hope of travelling more. My only criticism of the website that does the map is the fact that they list Turkey as being in the Middle East. That must be news to the residents of Istanbul and the rest of Thrace, who live in Europe!

Musical Geography Question(s) of the Day

1. Where did the hairy-handed gent run amok?
2. Where had he been overheard lately?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Things You REALLY Don't Want to See on TV

A news report on a local attempted kidnapping/pedophilia case at the apartment complex where you lived only two years or so before having a child.

Seriously, folks, I need to restock on 12-gauge ammo.

Nancy Grace's Voice...

Or an Ice Pick in the Eardrums?

Tough call....

Monday, August 28, 2006

Our State Fair is a Pretty Good State Fair

As I mentioned in the comments, we spent the day yesterday at the Oregon State Fair in Salem. It was a good day, and we enjoyed the fair, but while I wasn't exactly disappointed, neither was I blown away.

Before yesterday, I'd never been to a State Fair. My only experience with fairs had been the Twin Falls County Fair & Rodeo (in Filer, ID), the Douglas County Fair (In Roseburg, OR), and the Del Mar Fair (San Diego's county fair). Each had a different flavor to it.

The Twin Falls County Fairs is amazing, especially considering it's held in a sparsely populated county in one of the least populous states in the Union. But it is also in a county that is an agricultural wonder -- when I was a kid it was the nation's center for the development of new strains of beans, and was in the heart of Idaho's sugar beet country. Farms there are so big that there are people who make a huge success out of the business of "Custom Farming" -- they own farming equipment but no land, farm owners pay them to help with the planting and harvesting. The 4H and FFA programs are huge there, and each had its own building as big as the entire livestock barn at the OSF. The rodeo, which is held concurrently with the fair, is a major stop on the PRCA circuit. Quilting, baking, canning, as well as several other crafts and hobbies, each have their own small display buildings.

The Dougls County Fair was a smaller version of the same thing, with more of a focus on arts crafts and a smaller livestock exhibit.

The Del Mar Fair was huge, as big as a State Fair, but it was far more commercialized, with several buildings taken up with vendors (who only had one building each at the other two fairs I've mentioned). It seemed far more commercialized than the other two.

I'm not sure what I expected from a State Fair. I didn't like being funneled from the entrance through the carnival just to get to the exhibits -- just the opposite of the layout of the county fairs I'd attended, where the rides and games were off to one side. But while the exhibits by competitors were smaller, I realize that's because only the best from each county fair makes it to the State Fair, and I was impressed by their quality -- especially the woodworking and photography exhibits. There was a cedar strip canoe built by some high school students that was absolutely GORGEOUS! I also was impressed by the statewide talent competition, at least the little bit we got to see while eating our food. And of course, it had all the fair food items we considered required eating -- grilled corn on the cob, bratwurst from Mt. Angel (a German community near Salem), elephant ears, bedspring fries, caramel apple. There was a barbecue being held, with two huge pit smokers that made Old 97 look like a Weber Lil' Joe, but I figured I can throw down the 'Q as good as anyone, and opted for items you only get at the fair.

I was also proud of the fact that most of my fellow fairgoers made good use of the trash and recycling receptacles dotting the grounds, as well as the way people treated each other. I may not always agree with the popular politics in my home state, but Oregonians are, on the whole, a polite, respectful, considerate bunch, and they showed it yesterday.

We left early, because The Lad was getting tired, so I missed the art exhibit, but on the whole, it was a good day. No, it wasn't a seasonal, homespun Disneyland experience, but it was the most fun I've had in a while.

Friday, August 25, 2006

This is Sitting, This is Standing -- I'm Standing

Thanks for the Memory to the LlamaButchers:

What Veggie Tales character are you?

Take this quiz!

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Well, as of two months ago, The LAd WAS walking. He isn't anymore.

He's running.

Seriously, he has two speeds: Asleep and Balls-to-the-Wall.

Did you other parents know about this? Thanks for the warning. Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Food Talk

I'm gonna cover a few food-related topics, so let's get started:

1) Wanda, a longtime friend of TFR (and mother of the second cutest toddler on the planet) asked for a synopsis of orientation day, so here goes:

Orientation started in the gymnasium of Lane Community College at 10:00 AM this morning, and after a brief welcome, we broke out into groups based on major. From 10:20 or so until 1, we had a general orientation for the college and a campus tour. Our orientation leader was not someone directly associated with the culinary program, so a lot of what she told us was completely irrelevant, and a total waste of time. But at least we discovered on the tour (and had confirmed later) that a lot of the planters around our building are planted with herbs. That will prove useful.

I made a couple of friends, guys I clickedwith right away, and I plan to eat in their restaurants some day. I found myself early on evaluating people (based on appearance, demeanor, body language, etc.): "Executive chef, exec, sous, dropout after 4 weeks, sous chef, exec...." Along with the Culinary Arts program, the college also has an excellent hospitality mamangement program, and some of our classes overlap, so I plan on starting my networking while still in school, so that some day I'll have contacts to run/staff the front AND back of the house when I open my own place.

General orientation, which was supposed to go till 1, was done before noon, so before we split for a 2-hour lunch, we went around the room introducing ourselves to each other, name, why we were there, and favorite dessert. It was interesting to watch a group of people who are all crazy about food react to each other, agreeingwith each other's thoughts and favorite desserts: even if they weren't our own favorite, they were damned good points. It was almost like a religious experience. Creme Brulee, Cheesecake, chocolate, etc... one classmate wants to own a wedding cake business. My favorite dessert, old school rustic blackberry cobbler, also got a good reception.

I'm more intimidated by the business end and the fast pace of production in a restaurant environment than I am about the technical skills and artistry of creating food. But I didn't make this big a leap because I had no other options -- I did this because I love food, I love to cook, and I'm damned good at it, and by God, one day you'll be able to order my food from a menu.

2) I'm no fan of Pate, but I applaud my felloe culinarians for taking this stand for freedom. I personally do not cook or eat veal, pate, or certain other dishes for ethical reasons, but I draw the line at banning those foods. I also find it highly ironic that the people who would ban pate tend to be on the end of the political spectrum that fights for the right to abort babies. Would you like a nice glass of hypocrisy to go with your double standard

3) As I mentioned in my criticism of Red Agave, some of the best food you'll ever taste is not high cuisine. And if you're willing to forgo delightful atmosphere, lovely presentation, and pampering service, you can get some %$@*& amazing tasting food for dirt cheap. My favorite example of this is the best Goram pizza I've ever had in my life:

Back in 2000, when TFR and I lived in San Diego, she had to take her state boards to practice esthetic (spa skincare), and the closest place to take them was in HelL.A. The test was in two parts over two days, so we spent the night in a cheap motel a couple blocks off of Wilshire. We got there pretty late in the evening the first day after her first session, and were famished. We went to the front desk and asked for advice on where to eat. the manager/owner, and Indian fellow, asked what kind of food we wanted, the started showing us all the brochures for places that were advertising through the motel desk. In a sudden, brief, and all-too-rare moment of brilliance, I suddenly stopped him and asked, "No. When YOU order food, where do YOU order from?"

He stopped and smiled at me with the same sly kind of smile I suppose Socrates or Buddha or Jesus might have smiled when one of their disciples had a moment of enlightenment, yet at the same time, it was the same sly, conspiratory look someone might give to a fellow member of a secret society after the handshake has been exchanged. Looking around as if to avoid detection by the KGB, he reached unter the counter and pulled out a well-worn, grease-stained menu for a place called Roman's, which billed itself as a Mexican-Italian-American Takeout & Delivery establishment. We ordered Pepperoni Pizza which took an hour or more to deliver due to police roadblocks of most of the surroung streets as the result of a high speed chase (California's official state sport).

Oh. My. Dear. Lord.

This pizza thin, almost New York thin, but with gallons of sauce on it. It was still hot. The crust was a perfect consistency -- not too soft, not too hard, with a mysterious combination of crisp bottom, and light, chewy upper crust. The cheese was perfect -- completely melted and bubbling, but substantial enough that you felt your teeth go through it. I took a bite of it and discovered what I thought was a bone (weird/scary), only to discover that it was the secret to the Nirvana-transporting flavor of the pie: the stem from the fresh oregano used in the sauce. It was... well, Lord, it was 6 years ago, I freaking HATE California, hate LA even worse, and I'm still getting nostalgic for that night. That pizza was perfect. That pizza ruined me, and every pizza I've ever had since has been judged based on how close it comes to being that good.


Oh, yeah, a couple more cool, culinary-related personal notes:

As I mentioned, on her visit, my mother brought along some items I inherited from my family, as well as a few gifts she purchased for us. Among them were my great unvle's filet knife (razor sharp, old school hand-ground stainless steel), my grandparents' food/meat grinder (electric), and an apron she bought for me -- it's black denim, and it has a pirate's skull embossed on the chest. I've always been fascinated by pirates, and it's an appropriate apron since I've also taken an interest in hard core barbecue, and the word barbecue and buccaneer both come from the same root word: boucan.

I'm as Excited as a Little Schoolgirl, Schoolgeezer, in this case. Scholl starts in a month, and this morning I'll be attending Freshman Orientation. I'll also be fitted for my uniform -- Black pinstripe pants and a white chef's tunic. I can't believe this is finally happening! I just hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew -- TFR has already told me that my housekeeping skills suck. At least she acknowledged that I'm being a good father.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tom Jumps the Shark from Oprah's Couch

Paramount Pictures has severed ties with Tom Cruise, citing creative differences with Tom's Thetans Cruise's erratic behavior.

It Worked!

I managed to goad Smallholder into another post on Immigration.

Unfortunately, I don't trust the comments over there to work yet, so I'll just respond here.

Smallholder writes:

(Self-congratulatory note to self: Bush and Congress did exactly what I predicted. Absolutely nothing of substance. Sure, we might have sent a few thousand guardsman to the border and generated a few headlines for the November election, but Congressmen are smart enough to know that illegal immigrants are good for the economy, regardless of what they tell their innumerate constituents during campaigns.)

Congratulations. You were right about Bush. Sadly, so was I. Please note that I never expressed support for the President's position on the issue. We may disagree about what should be done, but we did agree on what would be done under the current administration. Why do you think I have been so angry about it the whole time?

For the record, I think Memento is misguided, not racist. Characterizing the opposition to illegals as boiling down to "brown people are icky" was too broad of a stroke in the same way as "liberals hate America" is too broad of a stroke.

And yet, it is exactly the stroke YOU painted in an earlier post. Just holding you to your own words.

Seriously, Brian, I consifder you to be one of those exceptions: I don't think you are a racist. Can we bury the hatchet, please?

Only if you'll make me a promise: When addressing Illegal Immigration in direct response to any post of mine, can you please try not to bring that canard up at all? If it doesn't apply to me, it's not germain to rebuttals of my arguments.

Dealing with a) first. I guess Brian is still trying to fight the FBI. You see, when everyone was jabbering about the crime caused by illegals, I linked to the official government report by the FBI. Law enforcement data shows that illegal aliens are slightly less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens.

Ah-HA! I was hoping you'd trot this argument out again. PLEASE go back and read that FBI study to which you linked again. As I've pointed out before, and as you've NEVER addressed. the study addresses crime rates among immigrants, it never addresses Illegal immigrants. Now, repeat after me: Immigration and Illegal Immigration are not the same issue.

There are a few hardened narco-trafficers, but there are also native-born narco-trafficers.

Please don't tell me that you honestly believe that the only criminal element sneaking across our borders is "hardened narco-trafficers". I know you're not stupid, but you certainly are accepting that assumption uncritically.

Despite what law enforcement says

Most law enforcement sources I have read contradict YOU, Mark, including the LAPD and most agencies on the West Coast and in Texas, where II's are the most prevalent. And the one source you rely on is irrelevant, since it addresses Immigrants, not illegal immigrants. The FBI, which SH quotes, seems reluctant to make the distinction and single out illegals. But others have offered some thoughts you might want to consider -- see the links in the comment by Lurch, where he is responding to this post.

the answer from the anti-illegal side is "nuh-uh."

I find it highly ironic that Smallholder would use this particular criticism of his opponents. In earlier discussions of the issue, when he was provided with evidence, either by me or by Naked Villainy readers like Polymath, that most economists who study the issue have concluded that even taking into consideration positive benefits of illegal immigration like lower prices on goods produced by II's and the (somewhat suspect) claim that they contribute to tax revenues on an equal level with legals, that illegal immigrants constitute an economic burden on the U.S. economy, Smallholder's response has been that these economists must not really be counting all the benefits (as if people become well-respected economists by practicing bad math), and that their findings are wrong -- in other words, "Nuh-uh" -- the very criticism he has of us for not kowtowing to his claims because of one (misquoted) FBI study. Sauce for the goose, my friend.

Others go back to the old canard: If they are willing to break one law, they will be automatically break another law.

Um, no. You've done this before in this debate -- taking an actual argument used by his opposition, exaggerating it, and then refuting the exaggeration. While I'm of a belief that this particular argument, while valid, is the weakest of the crime-related arguments in favor of tougher border and immigration enforcement, I'll address it nonetheless. The REAL argument, not Smallholder's strawman facsimile of it, is "If they are willing to break one law, and find that they can do so with impunity, many will be more incline to break another law." That's quite different from "all will automatically". Furthermore, I'd argue, that the truly evil criminal element in other countries, when they observe how easy it is for anyone to cross the border into the US illegally, avail themselves of that easy opportunity and use the porous border to prey both on the US and on their weaker, less violent fellow illegals.

This belief conflicts with reality - the government's own statistics show this.

NO, no they don't. The only government statistics you've referenced address immigrants in general, not illegals.

I'd like to take a moment to address more specifically the point made in that FBI study, and why I think in reality it comes closer to supporting my position than Mark's:

The report points out that statistically, immigrants are less likely to commit crime than native born US citizens. Quite frankly, not only do I not refute this claim, I am unsurprised by it. In a moment I'll explain why that conclusion seems not only plausible, but intuitive.

But first, I'd like to repeat and belabor the point that the study addresses immigrants, and that at no point does it make the claim that these statistics are for illegal immigrants. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the crime rates among legal immigrants is even lower than the rate listed in the study, and the rates among illegals higher, and that the rates listed in the study either apply to only legal immigrants, or if they apply to both, are an average of two. I'd argue that not only is it unreasonable to think that the same rates of crime apply to both sets of immigrants, it is unfair to legal immigrants to suppose that they are only as law-abiding as their illegal immigrant counterparts. Here's why:

Legal immigrants to the US, whether temporary or permanent immigrants working towards citizenship, have, by the very act of going through the immigration process, submitted themselves to a very rigorous process of application, and must jump through some very strenuous hoops to get and to stay here. This tells me that they are people who are willing to play by the rules, no matter how hard and unfair those rules may (or may not) be. This speaks volumes as to their propensity for law abidingness. Furthermore, for the entirety of the time they are here as an immigrant, whether that be until they attain citizenship or until their visa expires, they are under the scrutiny of the INS. They do not have the same level of privacy and freedom of movement that a US citizen has, and they are not shadow entities like illegal immigrants. They know that if they break the law, they will most likely be deported and all of the effort they have gone to will be in vain. For this reason, it is logical and unsurprising that immigrants in general are more law-abiding than even native citizens.

Ilegal immigrants don't live under the same constraints. They are hiding from the government to begin with, and quite successfully, so it is easier to hide other crimes as well. Furthermore, they have snuck in once, they know they can do it again, so while they desire to avoid deportation, it doesn't hold the same level of loss and risk that it does for someone who has been working for years to stay here legally.

Of course, the study doesn't support or refute my assertions about illegals vs. legals, but then, neither does it support nor refute Smallholder's -- it merely states that immigrants in general have a lower crime rate. Good news for those of us who support legal immigrants, but useless for sorting out the illegal immigration debate.

As for the rest of the paragraph in question:

In addition, the "illegals are more lawless and will steal your car" types are also blind to their own hypocrisy. I would wager that the vast majority of our readers (yes, you!) have, at one time or another, committed a victimless crime. This does not make us all more likely to commit armed robbery. The Minister of Propaganda, for instance, has violated 43 states' restrictions on extra-marital hanky-panky. Yet he has not, to my knowledge, been knocking over liquor stores in his spare time. Absolutists who demand law enforcement and harsh punishment for every violation of law - "down with illegal border crossers for illegally crossing the borders" have yet to explain their plan for prosecuting the Minister of Propaganda's sluttishness. Or, for that matter, prosecuting Polymath and my "experimentation" with alternative fuels.

A couple points:

A) Illegal Immigration is not a victimless crime. Smallholder wants to believe it is, but he has yet to provide satisfactory proof of his claim that ILLEGAL immigrants (not immigrants in general) provide a net gain to the economy, and his argument that any American jobs lost to illegals are lst because American workers are lazy smacks of "The victim(s) had it coming, so it's as good as victimless".

B) Just because All A are B does not mean all B are A. While it is certainly true that not everyone who has at some point committed some minor offense goes on to become Babyface Nelson, I'd be willing to wager that most hardened criminals started out with much less extreme offenses -- very few people who've never commited any crime wake up one day and say "I think I'll knock over a 7-Eleven today". Furthermore, we're not talking about people who have committed an occasional criminal act, however minor. We're talking about people who are intentionally and actively pursuing a lifestyle that is in violation of the law. And while many may stop at that, the fact that they are allowed to do so means that they and we are developing a subculture that neither respects our laws nor fears the consequences of breaking them. It should come as no surprise that many decide to break other laws besides those pertaining to immigration.

Memento Moron, who refuses to accept the validity of the government statistics

I accept their validity, I refuse to accept, and believe I've quite ably refuted, their relevancy. Again, the statistics you used spoke of immigrants in general, not illegals.

using a weak piece of datum to reinforce his own (erroneous) belief in the lawlessness of illegals reminds me of a quote I heard from Joel Salatin this weekend:

"Science can never convince. We only believe science when it agrees with our heart."

True words.

Sort of like... refusing to accept the analyses of experts regarding hte economic impact?

Pot... Kettle...

As for statistic, again, find me some that address illegals specifically, then get back to me.

But let me try one more time to lift the veil from Memento's eyes. (I know that it is pointless, but hell, I'm a teacher.

Oh, a personal insult, nice. So much for burying the hatchet.

When the San Bernadino policemen, trained officers of the law, suspect someone is an illegal alien, they check to see if they are. Surprise, surprise, 500 of 600 suspected illegals are indeed illegal. Is this the whole sample of criminals?

Actually, yes. Sorry if I stated it poorly, but the report seemed to indicate that all incoming inmates pass by these screeners, and that 500 out of 600 was the ratio of illegals to all incoming inmates. If I misunderstood, and this is not the case, then I retract the point.

As for part "b," I'm gobsmacked that Memento would even bring this weak crap.
Correlation, my friend, does not imply causation.

Again, my fault for not presenting the report properly. The report did go onto say that the CDC had reason to believe there was causation. I'm not sure what that reason or reasons were, but the report made it clear that the CDC did believe that illegal immigrants were the primary source of the higher levels of the disease.

Didja miss me?

Until you decided to add personal insults and condescension to the mix, yes.

I still think you mean well. But you insist on repeating certain tropes that I have refuted, and then either acknowledge my point, but go on with the same error (such as your tendency to use Immigrant and illegal immigrant interchangeably), or ignore my counterpoint altogether (I pointed out months ago that the FBI report only addresses the general immigrant population). You've used Ad hominems (the "icky" argument), non sequiturs (Using data on immigrants in general to support your claims about illegal immigrants), and straw men (misrepresenting or exaggerating the position taken or argument made by my side of the argument and then refuting that exaggeration). You know, you call yourself a "squishy centrist", but with that debating style, you'd fit right in amongst the "hard left" at DU.

Musical Geography Question of the Day

Where are there people who care a little about me and won't let the poor boy down?

And Behold, I Saw a Rider

Riding on a blue horse, and his name was Yeargh!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Blog Etiquette Question

When does a concept or entity merely merit the definitive article "the", and when does it attain "teh" status?

When Geeks Marry Non-Geeks

A while back(hell, long before The Lad came along), TFR and I were at a local restaurant having drinks and appetizers. I ordered calamari, and when I noticed that the rings included tentacles, I held a tentacled ring to my mouth and said to her, "I'm Cthulhu!" She didn't get it.

Maybe an Admiral Ackbar reference would have worked better.

A Milestone Passed and Missed

Sometime within the past da or so, I passed 50,000 visitors. Hell, I know of bloggers who get that much traffic in a week, but... well, you guys make me feel pretty....

Saturday, August 19, 2006


If you're a pro-American, pro-defense conservative who doesn't give a crap about party labels as long as America wins, this article by Saleena Zito should cheer you up.


Salena, not Saleena. Sorry, Ma'am.

TV Viewing Musings

1. The Feared Redhead insists on watching AFV AMW (Thanks for pointing out the error, Lurch), which insists on highlighting crimes against women and children. All I can say is, it's a good thing there's no such thing as superpowers, because if I were a hero, I wouldn't emulate Spiderman, I'd be The Punisher. Some of these people don't need prison, they need baseball a la "The Untouchables", IfYouKnowWhatIMeanAndIThinkYouDo....

2. Just watched a local news station roundup of the week in news, and the focus was on immigration. It highlighted two interesting developments:

a) San Bernadino County, CA, in response to jail overcrowding, has instituted a new program where sherriff's deputies are trained to interview incoming inmates and screen for illegal immigrants and turn them over to the INS. Since the program was instituted, the county has interviewed 600 inmates, 500 of whom turned out to be Illegals.

b) The Center For Disease Control reports that juvenile hepatitis cases are far higher in the western and border states, which have higher illegal populations than the rest of the U.S.

I guess those two articles, and my decision to blog on them, proves that I, the San Bernadino County Sherriff, and the CDC are latent racists who think brown people are.. um, what's the word? Oh, yeah, "Icky".

Musical Geography Question of the Day

Special rule: Vic of Darth Apathy and Bob of Eugene Rants must sit this round out. NO COMMENTS FROM THE TWO OF YOU!!!!!

If you waved a diesel down outside a cafe, how far was he goin'?

If no one gets this one, I have another reference to the same place from another song that will make it easier.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Straight From the Horse's Mouth...

Right to the Old Gray Mare Lady.

Thanks for the Memory to Fox News.

An American soldier who has been serving in Iraq has written a letter to the editors of the New York Times, criticizing them for the effect heir reporting has on our troops in the field. I don't think I could say it better or with more authority, so I'll let him speak for himself:

Mr. Keller,

What ceases to amaze me about your paper is the lengths you are willing to go to make headlines and sell papers. Who cares if those headlines help the enemies of America, you guys are making money and that is what it is all about in the end right?

Your recent decision to publish information about a classified program intended to track the banking transactions of possible terrorists is not only detrimental to America but also to its fighting men and women overseas. I know because I am a sergeant in the army on my second tour to Iraq. As I am sure you don’t know because you aren’t in Iraq, and I am sure never will be, terrorism happens here everyday because there are rich men out there willing to support the everyday terrorist who plants bombs and shoots soldiers just to make a living. Without money terrorism in Iraq would die because there would no longer be supplies for IEDs, no mortars or RPGs, and no motivation for people to abandon regular work in hopes of striking it rich after killing a soldier.

Throughout your article you mention that, "the banking program is a closely held secret," but the cat is out of the bag now isn’t it. Terrorists the world over can now change their practices because of your article. For some reason I think that last sentence will bring you guys pleasure. You have done something great in your own eyes-you think you have hurt the current administration while at the same time encouraging "freedom fighters" resisting the imperialism of the United States. However, I foresee a backlash coming your way. I wish I had a subscription to your paper so I could cancel it as soon as possible. But alas, that would prove a little tough right now since I am in Iraq dealing with terrorists financed by the very men you are helping.

Thank you for continually contributing to the deaths of my fellow soldiers. You guys definitely provide a valuable service with your paper. Why without you how would terrorists stay one step ahead of us? I would love to hear a response as to why you deemed revealing this program a necessity, but that will probably come as soon as the government decides to finally put you guys behind bars where you belong.

Tim Boggs

Well said, Sgt. Boggs. Thanks for speaking out, and thank you for serving. Keep your head down, and go with our prayers.

Diverted Flight: Conflicting Information

Fox News is reporting that different sources are reporting different information regarding the United flight 923 from London to D.C. that has been diverted to Logan International in Boston: One source says that an FBI agent has told them the incident involved a female passenger becoming frantic from claustrophobia. Another source says the woman was confronted because she was carrying banned and suspicious items, including a screwdriver, matches, a jar of Vaseline, and a note referencing Al Quaeda.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Bruno Kirby, a veteran character actor known for playing the best friend in two of Billy Crystal's biggest comedies "When Harry Met Sally" and "City Slickers," has died. He was 57.

Kirby died Monday in Los Angeles from complications related to leukemia, his wife Lynn Sellers said in a statement Tuesday. He had been recently diagnosed with the disease.

I always liked Kirby and his characters. He did a good job of playing The Nice Who Tries Too Hard, a role that struck home for me. He will be missed.

Musical Geography Question of the Day

If Joy was just a thing that you were raised on, and love was just a way to live and die, in what state were you raised?

Putting Lipstick on a Pig

Thanks for the Memory to the Diva via Cassandra at Villainous Company.

Cosmetics may be intended to make people beautiful, but the latest rant by MAC Cosmetic's spokesthing Sandra Bernhard is one of the ugliest, nastiest pieces of hate to come from the Left yet.

That's a GREAT marketing campaign, there, MAC: "Buy our products or become a "little freaked out, intimidated, frightened, right-wing Republican thin-lipped bitch"! Because, you know, alienating women sells makeup.

I'm sick and tired of hearing the Left tell me that conservatives are hate-mongers, then from the other side of the same mouth, spew this kind of bitter putrescence at us.

What really sucks for me is that TFR works at a spa that uses and sells only Aveda products. Aveda is a division of Estee Lauder, who also owns, you guessed it, MAC. A list of their other product lines is here. We may boycott them personally, but she has no choice but to keep using them at work.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mom's Cooking

The last four days have been wonderful, with my mother here visiting on her way from San Diego (where she helped settle my late grandmother's estate) to Michigan (where she'll stay with my sister for the winter). We've had a wonderful time. My aunt and uncle (my father's older brother) marked their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday, and we surprised them with a surprise party/picnic/potluck. All of their kids were there, even their daughter who lives in Athens, Greece. Sunday we went back out to their house for the day, and had dinner together. The main course was a brisket that I smoked and took with us -- more on that later. Today, we took her to Lone Pine, a local farm stand that also has a petting barn on the premeses (pictures of The Lad feeding the goats to follow as soon as Qwest fixes my camera mail). For dinner we had nachos made from leftover brisket, and for dessert we had blackberry cobbler made by my mother from berries purchased at Lone Pine.

It's been good to see The Lad bond with his Nana B., and she's had a blast spoiling being with him. It's also good to see her without the weight of my grandmother's illness and death on her shoulders.

The food has been amazing. When I made the brisket, I used a new, simpler variation on my old marinade recipe:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup worchestershire Sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup Coca-Cola
1 bottle red wine
6 bottles porter
2 yellow onions, sliced thin
1 head garlic, separated and peeled

I started marinating in Thursday, so it was in the marinade for around 68 hours. I also used all of the marinade in the drip pan during the smoking. In addition, I managed to maintain the heat better this time. It hit the smoker at 4 AM Sunday, and was done at 2 PM, at which time we packed it up and drove it the 30 minutes to my aunt's and uncle's. The entire drive, the smell of that brisket cooped up in our little car drove us freaking NUTS. The smoke ring on it was about a quarter of an inch thick, and I swear, it was the best brisket I've made yet.

Tonight, my mom fixed her blackberry cobbler, which is made from her own variation on the standard Betty Crocker cobbler recipe:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


In a saucepan, combine:

3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
4 cups blackberries
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. allow to boil for one minute and remove from heat. Place in the oven to keep warm while mixing the cobbler dough.


1 cup flower
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk

Mix together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until the size of peas. Mix in milk (do not overstir). Drop dough by teaspoons full onto filling, distributing over top to form crust. Bake for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

One of the things I missed most about Oregon when I lived in San Diego was the blackberries, and I especially missed blackberry cobbler. So when we served it tonight, I was in heaven. sadly, I could not eat all of my second helping, so I reluctantly covered it in plastic wrap, placed it in the fridge, and told my beloved wife, "touch it and draw back a bloody stump!"

Sadly, my mom leaves tomorrow morning. Her first stopover is in Twin Falls, Idaho, where she'll visit old family friends, then Cheyenne, then Des Moines before reaching Michigan on Saturday evening. Please pray for a safe journey for her.

Top This for Weirdness

My whole life I've had a birthmark on my left chest, just below the nipple. The other day, something about it dawned on me:

It's shaped exactly like Puerto Rico.

Musical Geography Question of the Day

A question for everyone EXCEPT VIC:

Where can you talk to God and listen to his casual reply?

Quote of the Day

"America-bashing is in fashion as it has not been since Ronald Reagan accurately described the Soviet Union as an "evil empire". Anti-Americanism is not confined to the usual radical chic suspects of the Left; here in Britain, it infects the High Tory Establishment, "good Europeans" and little Englanders alike. So why are we all anti-Americans now?

American stumbling on the rough road since 2001 has played some part. Yet had there, inconceivably, been no wrong steps, had America been positively obsequious in courting international support (and it has done more on that score than it critics admit), anti-Americanism would still be on the rise. The US is never less popular than when it is aroused and determined in defence of democratic freedoms, never less trusted than when the world is most reliant on its unmatched ability to project power.

Democracies are psychologically ill-adapted to open-ended confrontations where there can be no decisive victory, the essence of the effort to subdue global terrorism. Eternal vigilance is a wearisome business. The more vulnerable that Europeans feel, the more liable they are to shift blame across the Atlantic.

The strength of disdain is a measure of Europe's weakness. Smugness is one of Europe's great contemporary exports. We may all think that we know America, its music, its culture, its self-confident exceptionalism. We tend to forget that Americans fight only with extreme reluctance. We overlook their penchant for agonised self-criticism; everything bad we know about the US, we know because Americans inexhaustibly rehearse their society's shortcomings. There has never been greater transparency, whether than on the battlefield or the boondocks, and there has never been more open debate about the country's virtues and vices - the internet has transformed the quantity and, at times, the quality of the conversation.

Better than most, Muslims understand why Islamist terrorism is war at its unholiest, an existential threat to societies. Iraqis may resent occupation, but they fear a weakening of US resolve. Their fears should be ours. Were it to become politically impossible for a president to keep America's forces engaged from its shores, then the backbone of international security would be broken. America-bashing may be a popular sport, but its adherents prefer not to contemplate its consequences."
- Adam, a commenter at The Jawa Report

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Musical Geography Question of the Day

If one hundred ten miles sure do make a difference, where did she get on?

Friday, August 11, 2006

As I mentioned earlier, The Mom is in town visiting. She's just finished settling my grandparents' estate, and is moving back to Michigan to be with my sister and her family. She brought with her quite a bit of memorabilia and heirloom items that belonged to my grandparents, and to my Grandfather's brother, Red. Among the things I've inherited are quite a few with far more sentimental than material value, but some of the things are collector's items, including a good deal of Reagan and Nixon gubernatorial and Goldwater presidential campaign paraphernalia. I also inherited some of my great uncle's service ribbons and medals, including his National Defense, Army of Occupation (Japan), and Korea service medals, as well as some unofficial lapel pins of the shields of the two units with whom he served:

The 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment


The 701st Ornance Battalion

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Major Terrorism Plot Thwarted

I saw the breaking news on TV (of all places):

British police thwart major terror plot

LONDON - Authorities in London thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up an aircraft in mid-flight between Britain and the U.S. using explosives smuggled in hand luggage, police said Thursday.

But rememember, the GWOT is a fear-mongering construct of the evil neocons.

Musical Geography Question(s) of the Day

If a fair maid you did meet, and she asked you to see her home, four questions:

1. What city are you in?
2. On what street did you walk out?
3. On what street did she live?
4. When Martin Churchill took you in, where did he send you?


Sorry for the light blogging lately, TFR's parents were in town all last week, and this week I'm preparing for a visit by MY mom this coming weekend.

Quote of the Day

Thanks for the Memory to The Huffington Post via Right Wing Nation via It Comes in Pints?


Fear of a loss of individual liberty in response to the war on terror.
Fear that the paranoia over terrorism will erode everything this country was founded on.
Fear that liberals haven't degraded the education system enough so most people still know that Abraham Lincoln and FDR suspended many liberties to deal with similar crises

Fear of Mel Gibson
Fear that your angry denunciations of Mel Gibson will not detract attention from the rampant anti-semitism found at the Huffington Post.
Fear that Ari Emmanuel's "brave" attack on Mel Gibson said more about Emmanuel's opportunism than any sincere belief.
Fear that Emmanuel's client Michael Moore might be a bigger anti-Semite than Gibson.

Fear of George Bu$H
Fear that Bu$h is to blame for everything
Fear that Bu$h isn't to blame for everything
Fear that if you continue to blame everything on Bu$h, you won't actually figure out who really is to blame for your problems
Fear that your spelling of Bu$h reflects your intellectual prowess, in a nutshell.
And for that, you still blame Bu$h
And your parent$

Fear of Walmart
Fear of people who shop at Walmart
Fear that you might actually save money if you shopped at Walmart
Fear that Walmart has done more to help the poor than any social program ever created by our government.

Fear of all forms of energy except for the ones that don't work
Fear that people will realize the easiest way to cut back on greenhouse gases is to convert to nuclear energy
Fear that your activism will be exposed as a front for your narcissism
Fear that low taxes actually do create prosperous societies
Fear that people will find out what a hypocrite you are because you call for higher taxes while using tax shelters

Fear of mean people
Fear of judgmental people
Fear of appearing narrow-minded
Fear of intolerance
Fear that with your tirades against SUVs, Wal-Mart, meat, cigarettes, guns, whisky, and organized religion, you are the judgmental, intolerant one.

Fear of 3d ultrasounds that show fetal development
Fear that your children won't carry on your failed politics as religion/lifestyle

fear of being judged in the afterlife
fear of being judged in this life
fear of that dark facial freckle
Fear that your new age health practices won't be able to save you from that dark facial freckle

Fear of writers asking for fair compensation given there are ads sold by barry diller on the pages.
Fear that people will notice the contradiction between pushing for higher minimum wages and not paying the writers on your website.
Fear of not being invited to arianna/denton blog loft parties.

Fear of all country singers except for the ones that hate Bush

Fear that Deepak is laughing all the way to the bank

Fear that the exposure that you're being for the 'common man' is a joke considering you go to the only clubs and bars roped off to keep those people out.

Fear that when they take away your anger there will be nothing left.

Fear of free speech when it mocks your beliefs.
Fear of free speech when it speaks back to you.
Fear of free speech when it comes from Christians.
Fear of free speech when it comes from me.
Fear that your definition of free speech - that only you get to be heard-- won't fly with us Wal-mart shoppers.

fear of a police state unless of course it actually is a police state, like, Venezuela

Fear of Hugo Chavez dying
Fear of Castro Dying
Fear of Communism dying

Fear of Israel and their determined desire to blow up terrorists
No fear of Hezbollah and their pleasure in blowing up citizens

Fear of black Republicans
Fear that one day blacks will figure out you're the racist for always treating them like helpless victims instead of responsible individuals.

Fear that your comments are default responses to people who already agree with you

Fear that maybe shame is a good thing

Fear of rightwing "Repuglicans"
Fear of "crackpot Christians"
Fear that these fears do not measure up to the more legitimate fear of crackpot Islamists who blow you up in order to sleep with 72 virgins who are most likely lousy in bed anyway.

Fear of losing the next election
Fear that you'll have to put your support behind a candidate who was already exposed and rejected by the American public.
Fear that it might be Gary Hart.
And he still won't trim his eyebrows

Fear of Big Brother
Fear of group think
Fear that your lockstep obedience to progressive boilerplate is a purer example of subservience than anything you'd ever find in "Repuglican" circles

Fear that people will realize that a record of no terror attacks on the U.S. in five years, and liberating 55 million people in two Muslim nations, is not so bad.

Fear of having to come up with a new dehumanization campaign for the next Republican president.
Fear of not having to come up with dehumanization campaigns for radical islamists, kim jong II, the iranian mullahs and the EU and Russian oligarchs who took oil bribes from Saddam to keep him in power.

Fear that Foucault is not holding up to scrutiny.
Fear that common sense is making a comeback.
Fear that all those colonics did absolutely nothing for you.
Fear that grad school did even less.

Fear of the death penalty actually being a deterrent.

Fear that you'd experience more happiness from a Big Mac than from that bag of overpriced organic produce you bought at Knoll Organic Farms in Brentwood.

Fear of school vouchers
Fear that school vouchers will enable poor minority children to attend your children's private schools

Fear of a Marine knocking on your Prius's window to discuss your bumperstickers.

Fear that your own sense of rebellion is a farce and every opinion you have is safe and only voiced among those who agree with you

Fear of your conscience telling you even though you are supposed to like it, you really think NPR - especially its self serious whispering, wimpy bumper music and simpering anchors -- sucks.

Fear that the right to free speech is being curtailed.
Fear that when you bravely proclaim you're speaking "Truth to power," those who live in countries where the right to speak is truly curtailed are laughing bitterly at you.

Fear that your anti-Americanism is becoming even boring to you.

Fear that you hate the right for the same reason you hate your dad because you know that he is right and that you are a loser and you will always be a loser and that you are sabotaging your life and those of everyone around you because that makes you that angry.

Fear that everyone will notice that other than incessant complaining you haven't come up with a single solution.

Fear of never having a bad thing to say against the real tyrants of the world while having a rich vocabulary against a milquetoast GOP congressman from Georgia.

Fear of someone sitting you down and forcing you to deal with the fact that even if global warming was absolutely manmade and as bad as Gore says it is, that the threat of islamic terrorists getting WMDs and using them is far greater and imminent and requires offering at least moderate allegiance to the current president of the United States and to Tony Blair and Sen. Lieberman.

Fear of people snickering at you when you use the terms 'sustainable' and 'indigenous peoples'.

Fear of Nascar
Fear of Nasa
Fear of Nas (rapper)
Fear of NA (narcotics anonymous)
Fear of N (nitrogen)
Fear of nothingness

Fear that even if the democrats win the 08 election, Europeans will still look down on us and Muslims will still want to kill us.
Fear that capitalism actually works better than any other economic system
Fear that America really is the freest country in the world
Fear that going it alone when you think you're right is more moral than trying to build a coalition with dictators, thieves and cowards."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bourbon Blegging

This is a request for input from any and all readers who are also Bourbon drinkers: I've recently developed a taste for the stuff, and I'm still defining said taste. While I know exactly what I like in Scotch, and which malts deliver it (Ardbeg and Laphroaig), what I like in the Bourbons I've tasted so far is completely different. So far I've tried Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, and Bulleit, and have to say that it's a photo finish between MM and Bulleit. Unlike Scotch, where I prefer smoky, peaty, really boggy flavors, I like the delicate, sweet, almost floral qualities of the two Bourbons I mentioned above. Beam was ok, and better than no whisky at all, but it seemed to lack the depth and sweetness of the other two.

So what other Bourbons would you suggest? Woodford Reserve has also been recommended to me by a liquor store manager in Portland, in the same breath as he mentioned Bulleit, and the local store manager concurred, so I plan to try it, but any other suggestions would be just as welcome.

Gentlemen (or ladies, as the case may be)?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Seeing Red

Few things suck worse than going back to a restaurant you once adored, and being not only disappointed, but thoroughly pissed off by the experience. Such was our fate tonight.

As I mentioned before, The In-Laws are in town, and offered to take care fo The Lad for the evening whilst we got away. This is not something we get to do often, so we jumped at the chance. None of the movies listed at the local theatre sounded good, so we decided to just go out for dinner and drinks. After tossing out a couple of names, we settled on Red Agave, a local Southwest/Latin bistro that is considered one of the best restaurants in Eugene. We've eaten there before, as well as at another restauraunt owned by the same people, El Vaquero, and had been blown away by the food, the drinks (including a Caipirinha that will kick your hiney and leave you coming back for more), the atmosphere, the entire experience. Besides, the owner is friends with TFR's boss, so we got a 20% discount. We were looking forward to a wonderful evening.

We got there at around 8:15, well after the after-work crowd, and since it was a Thursday, we got a table right away, asking to be seated at a sidewalk table. About twenty minutes later, the waiter got around to taking our drink orders -- Bourbon and Coke for me, a mojito for TFR. Another 15-20 minutes later, our food order was taken. We decided to be frugal and just order appetizers -- I had the flank steak skewers with a jicama and orange salad, TFR had the crab and spinach stuffed Anaheim pepper.


In the meantime, we saw neither hide nor hair of our waiter (exctept for the one time he asked TFR if she wanted another Mojito) -- the bus staff took better care of us during that time. We WERE, however, treated to the entertaining antics of the hostedd who kept wandering down the sidewalk to smoke with a friend from the business next door. Later, when we mentioned to her how long our food take, she explained that the stuffed Anaheim pepper takes a long time to prepare.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the point of an appetizer to be somehting light and quick to prepare to tide the diner over until their meal is ready? So why whould you present as an appetizer an item that is filling and time-consuming to prepare? Sorry, I just don't get that.

And there was more to the poor service than the time required to bring us our order. What really bothered us was the lack of service from our waiter, who came across as a superficial and inattentive. He had the conversational style of a used car salesman, and you got the impression that except for getting our order right, he really wasn't concerned with paying attention to a word we were saying.

Here's the real tragedy: The food was freaking delicious. The flavors were complex but not confusing, the flank steak was cooked to perfection, the textures and aromas were wonderful. But I don't go to a restauraunt that expensive just for the food. Hell, I know half a dozen cheaper restaurants that will serve you food that will blow your MIND when it comes to flavor. When you pay that much for food, you're also paying for service, ambiance, and presentation. The service was atrocious. The evening was delighfully cool, but we rapidly became too frustrated to enjoy the ambience. And by the time the food arrived, it was so dark that the only lighting provided, a single tealight candle, failed to provide the illumination needed to appreciate the presentation. I could have paid the same amount of money for more food, just as tasty, with the same presentation at Sizzler.

And the service would have been faster.


TFR's parents, who are in town visiting, are known to all their grandchildren as Nana and Papa. But the Lad can't quite pronounce that yet, so he refers to his grandfather as "Ba-pa".

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Help Those Who Help Us

A local TV station, KMTR, ran a story that broke my heart as soon as I saw it. Go to their website. Once there, under Top Local Stories, click on the story entitled "FAR FROM HOME: Soldier unable to see newborn child" and watch the video. I'm sorry I can't find a transcript, as soon as I can find more. The gist of the story is this: A young Oregon soldier is being deployed to Iraq in less than a month, and planned to spend his last leave visiting his young wife and newborn baby daughter. But because the Army holds him financially responsible for Army-owned gear that was stolen from him, he cannot afford to travel to see her.

I understand the need to be responsible for the gear issued to him, and do not blame the Army for maintaining discipline, but I can't help but hurt for a fellow father. I am asking mt readers to keep this young soldier in their thoughts and prayers, and to keep their eye on this blog. I will post more information, and if anything can be done to help him, please get involved. This young man took an oath to defend us, and many of us sport magnets and such that say "Support the Troops". Let's do as we say.

My faith in my fellow Americans has been confirmed, and my pride in my home state grown. Go back to the KMTR site and check the top local story, " Anonymous Donation".