Thursday, October 19, 2017

Buzzfeed in Tokyo compares ramen noodles

Had difficulty finding the video. Not in YouTube history and I thought they were comparing soba.

This is better than it sounds. Andrew comes up with a few clever puns. And it can change your idea about what Ramen is. Steven Lim's hair looks like mine did without dying it. Except mixed gray and not purple.



Today Tony's Market offered small beef roasts on sale. I bought one mostly because the price was so uncharacteristically low. Through the glass I examined the two that they had for faults. It must be a cheaper cut, it's not deeply marbled, but they were carefully trimmed with sort of feathered fat all around and trussed up with string. I'll photograph it later, probably tomorrow and post it on the food-related site down there in the blogroll. 

I formed a plan immediately. It seemed roasting the whole thing as intended would be a big wasted opportunity. Having just seen this video. I described my intention to both the young female at the meat counter and the young male at checkout, and they both fairly swooned at the idea. They're so expressive. They're all very conversational about food. I intend to slice the roast thinly as possible and wave each individual raw slice back and forth through the hot cooked broth until it changes. Then eat it slice by slice that way. Each slice contributing melted fat and beef flavor to the broth. Then drink the broth.

What's in the broth?

It's tempting to use commercial beef stock since that's so convenient and usually quite good.

And Tony's makes their own broths that are unbeatable. 

But Japanese have this act down pat. 

Like one of the videos, I'm thinking of using a fish stock. That's a bit weird. We tend not to mix fish with chicken and pork and beef. But that shouldn't stop us just because it sounds weird.

Maybe chicken broth or beef broth is better. I don't know. Here's how they make their fish stock that uses ingredients uncommon in American kitchens but very common in Japanese kitchens, kombu seaweed and Bonito flakes.

Kombu is large sheets of dried seaweed from which MSG is derived. MSG forms on the surface as the seaweed is dried. A square of a few inches is broken off and wiped with a damp towel to remove the white crystals. If the square is rinsed under water then too much flavor will be lost and if this step is ignored then the MSG favor will be too harsh and too strong. 

Water is brought to a boil then cut off. The kombu square steeps for ten minutes. It's kombu tea and it tastes like the sea smells but it does not taste like seawater. The square swells and thickens and can be consumed. It can even be cut into firm noodles. They're intriguing.

Bonito flakes are skipjack tuna that is dried then its filets are shaved off by flakes via a mandolin device. The flakes are so thin they veritably disappear in the broth but they're usually strained out. Just for clear broth. It's no problem if the flakes are left in the water. Same step repeated. The kombu tea, now kombu dashi, is brought to a simmer and the heat cut off. Bonito flakes added and steeped for ten minutes, then strained. 

This kombu bonito dashi becomes the base for a vast array of dishes. Including the miso soup that you get in Japanese restaurants. Miso, a peanut butter like mixture of fermented bean and rice is added to this dashi along with tofu and spring onion and that is what creates their characteristic miso soup flavor.

The flavor profile of this dashi can be expanded in classical ways using soy sauce, mirin, sake, and possibly garlic and ginger and toasted sesame seed oil, chile powder or flakes or sauce, curry.

Now, that right there is a very good soup. Look at you. You're an expert already.

Waving thin slices of beef through this heated soup increases the soup's fat and flavor. Soba noodles, Ramen noodles, your own homemade noodles can pump up the caloric value. 

You should have seen these two people independently when I told them my plan. They're pure delights to talk to. The young woman asked me if I'm a chef. Ha. I'm too lazy for that. 

The videos make a B F ritualized D out of everything including making noodles. Honestly, they make this look far more difficult than it is, special bowl, special rolling pin, special rolling pin technique, special noodle brush, special noodle cutting knife, special wooden knife guide and noodle spacer. special drying bowls, special boiling pot, matching special ice water bowl, special bamboo holding rack. Pffft. It's enough to make one think they cannot do this.

You can make noodles from anything. Any whole grain, even dried beans. Even masa harina. Your electric coffee bean grinder can turn rice into powder, corn in to powder, beans, wheat grain into power and all those things can be mixed with plain old all purpose white American flour, say, 50/50 for excellent variations on regular noodles. Even egg. You can use an Atlas machine to cut them into any width that you like. (A small amount of baking soda goes a very long way in enhancing elasticity.)

See, you don't have to be so constrained as if you're opening a traditional Ramen or soba restaurant. And the great thing about this random approach is that you never end up with the exact same thing twice. 

I found small packages of sliced lamb gyros at Tony's and I bet that would work great with this. 



Come on. Be a sport. Up your game with something different from usual.

Rep Frederica Wilson politicizes the death of Army Sgt. La David Johnson

Johnson was Special Forces active in Niger.


This is the man we are talking about. This man sacrificed his life in activity projecting the values of his nation by force. Sgt. La David Johnson is the only thing that matters. And everything else is pure contrived political idiotic nonsense.

I've never listened to Sara Sanders, WH spokesperson, but everything I've read that she says is crafted perfectly.
The president's call, as accounted by multiple people in the room, believe that the president was completely respectful, very sympathetic, and expressed the condolences of himself and the rest of the country,' Sanders said, 'and thanked the family for their service, commended them for having an American hero in their family, and I don't know how you could take that any other way.
First of all, saying something along the lines of Johnson was aware of the dangers that he signed up for is not unsympathetic. Rather, it's a recognition of honor. You can easily imagine it in a eulogy such as, "Knowing the inherent increased danger Sgt. Johnson applied himself eagerly to join forces in defense of his nation."

But if you are antiTrumpite looking for offenses then you'll interpret that as unsympathetic and you'll question how being killed in Niger protects the United States. Nothing the man does will make sense to you and everything that he does and says will rub you the wrong way.

I can make this post very short by contrasting two of Rep Frederica Wilson's statements. She goes around flapping her lips so much it's only a matter of moments to get to the obvious truth of her motives. She doesn't care about Sgt. La David Johnson. Her interest lies in delegitimizing Trump.

To Local 10 News Washington bureau chief Ross Palombo:
"There's no reason to lie about a telephone call what Mr. Trump needs to be concerned about is keeping us out of war." 
Oh, but there is reason lie, distort, prevaricate, omit, translate, as your wont.

On The View (of all places):
“…the deaths in Niger of four American special forces soldiers will be “Mr. Trump’s Benghazi.” 
There it is. This is about exploiting Sgt. La David Johnson death all along.

It's what they do. It's who they are. Why else the spread of radio interviews, The View and MSNBC if not eager to provoke collected dummkopf viewers to miscomprehension?

And thank you for finally acknowledging Benghazi is irreparably damaging. Up to this point Benghazi is nothing. Don't think about it. Dismiss it. Look away. Then a Republican president is elected and suddenly Benghazi is damaging to the point of being disqualifying. You did know all along and you lied all along. Now, keep talking, please. We'll soon hear you join Maxine Waters wailing ceaselessly and futilely and amusingly that Trump must be impeached.

She's already joined San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz in politicizing catastrophe by mischaracterizing Trump's deeds and his words to her stupid and malevolent and easily manipulated audience.

So that's that. End of post. Carry on.

But wait, there's more.

So much more.

Who isn't fascinated by her hats?

They're so absurd.

I like absurd people and things. She uses them to stick out.

You know, she has to keep up the hat schtick and manage her hair. Wearing hats gives ladies hat-hair. And that right there is a problem for them. Once inside they must hasten to the bathroom to fix their smashed hair.

I know that because for a very long time I had the pleasure of knowing two very classy black ladies who both really liked wearing hats. When done right, they complete an outfit quite well.

Valorie showed me her hat collection. How privileged! I'm the only person at work who saw them on pegs taking the entire bedroom wall. Her collection is fascinating. And attractive.

But a collection of novelty cowgirl hats selected solely for their matching colors is not. It's just junk. And they honestly don't go with anything, except by matching color. They clash disastrously with large earrings and large plastic pearl necklaces. They're costuming along the line of circus clowns. They mark the wearer unserious and daft.

Let's look.

But before we do look, here's a link to women's Stetson headwear where Rep Frederica Wilson of Florida can acquire real cowgirl hats that project seriousness and sanity and not cheapness and a comedy act. The Stetsons are all very nice and quite sane.









Oooh, automatic +50pts for brilliant teeth and beautiful smile. 

2011 Town Hall meeting"
Let us all remember who the real enemy is ... the real enemy is the Tea Party ... the Tea Party holds the Congress hostage...
Wilson is among the Florida congressional delegation's wealthiest members, reporting more than $1.5 million in assets on her government financial disclosure form.

So, Wealthy by Government Person, government by the people for the people are enemies then. Noted. Yes. We are the enemy of nonsense in government.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Uranium One and the Clintons and their friends in high places running investigations

They're all colluding. They're doing the investigation into fantasy Russian interference while complicit in covering up a very serious money laundering scheme involving 20% of U.S. uranium supply, corrupted presidential candidate and her bogus foundations and the presumed enemy they're charged with investigating, the proverbial foxes guarding the henhouse. And our corrupted media just flatly does not want to cover the story of their lifetimes. Everyone of them wants to be the next Woodward and Bernstein but only if that involves catching Republicans and not Democrats.

And this is something gravely important to our national discussion.

Oh, who cares?

We'll just put you all out kicking and screaming.

You are all so very irrelevant.

I just spent time with 6 year olds more relevant to the future than you. And that's why this post is really titled "Painted eyes."





Washington Pogo swamp


I read this, the first thing at the top of Gateway Pundit presently, and that's all that I read. The cartoon angel appeared momentarily on my shoulder strummed his harp and told me not read that. 

I asked, "Why not?"

And the little cartoon angel strummed his harp again producing heavenly strains into my right ear and he said, "Wait until they start throwing these bastards in prison and then read the details. That will make you happy. In the meantime just do what you do." 


Actually, I never understood this cartoon. We were on different planes. He was way up there ↑ over there ↖︎ and I was way down there ↓. And the ones that I did understand seemed too simple to be a cartoon. So the thing was never funny to me. I thought comics were supposed to be funny, and for kids, and this seemed to be something else. Possibly for adults. I don't know.

Know who's a good reader, better than me?

My nephew, Matthew. 

He doesn't recall this but I was bouncing him on my knee playing mechanical horse. I stopped and he asked, "Have you read any good books lately?" 

I was stunned. He was amazingly young and small for such an adult inquiry. Something like six or possibly seven. I told him the good books I recently read and then asked about books that he's recently read. He told me about an author who writes alternative stories where the reader decides what the characters choose then flip to the page that picks up that decision. I told him that would drive me nuts not reading the alternate choices. I'd have to read the whole book to see all the alternate fictions. 

He goes, "I know." 

Recently I asked him if he read Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer. He said, "In your previous apartment two apartments ago I picked up a book in your basement. It was torn in two for two books. 

I said, "That's it." 

I wasn't expected to live. I gave away hundreds of books. I was glad that he told me he picked that one. Such a strange book to choose.

It is a very fat book and uncomfortable to hold as you read. Better as two thinner books. Although not having a back cover for the first half and not having a front cover for the second half is also a pain in the butt to hold as you read it. 

He continued. I read it in High School and the outrageously obscene portions made me think, "Oh man, I can't believe I'm actually reading this thing in a High School."

Neither can I. 

Not that I can't believe reading the physical book inside the physical High School building, which was his disbelief, it's that someone so young can comprehend such a thing or have any interest. The book is beyond quite a few rather advanced readers. One such person I know threw it against the wall in frustration. It's impressive to me that a High Schooler teen would bother. Impressive they'd pick up an 800 page book and read it just for fun. But he did. 

temper tantrum, puddle



Nathaniel wore Captain America shoes with a star that lights up on the vamps (the top part, shut up, I looked it up). Cutest little shoes you ever saw. They reminded me of this video of the girl who cannot stay angry.

Nathaniel and I noticed a puddle at the same time outside my apartment and I know the impulse that puddles ignite. My brother is going to be cross if Nathaniel gets into the van with wet shoes. But I don't care. I say,

"Jump in the puddle." 

"Nooooooooooooo. Don't jump in the puddle, Nathaniel, don't jump. DO NOT JUMP. Get away from the puddle, Nathaniel. Nathaniel. Nathaniel. Nathaniel. Nathaniel! NATHANIEL!!!!!"

"Jump in the middle so all the water splashes out and your shoes stay dry."

That would be great. Keep your feet together and pound the center of the puddle.

"Nooooooooooooo. Don't do that Nathaniel. Don't listen to him. Get back, Nathaniel. Nathaniel get back. Get back, Nathaniel. Get back." 

What a bummer. 

A perfect puddle just wasted. Doesn't he appreciate how precious those things are? 

Would you prevent your little angel from doing this, or video him and this fleeting moment for posterity? 



Nathaniel scribbled with crayon on his seatbelt strap. Daniel scribbled idly on the van interior and James made him scrub it off. Daniel drew on himself and on Nathaniel with a pen a couple of times on our trip and the boys did look smashing with their temporary tattoos. Before this trip, Daniel drew all over Nathaniel's face with a magic marker right before a scheduled appointment with a photographer. Alona was so distressed that she neglected to video him. I asked her, "Why didn't you go to the photographer anyway? That's actually a more perfect picture."

After all, she was laughing as she told me the story.

I don't think whoever videoed this boy had any concern for the shoes or the child wearing wet socks. Parents sure do get wound up.

Nathaniel sported a new pair of shoes that don't blink climbing Red Rocks.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Stanford Psychiatrist: The Guns Did It

As authorities admit that we may never know why Stephen Paddock opened fire, some medical authorities are offended that mental illness could have played a role.

Dr. David Spiegel:*
'The reason Paddock could kill so many people in a 10-minute span is that he had ready access to the means to do so,' Spiegel said. 'The real explanation,' he said, 'lies with guns and a culture that puts 'ridiculous firepower' in virtually anyone’s hands.' 
'There’s nothing sick about him,' Spiegel said of Paddock. 'As a psychiatrist, I deeply resent the inference that anybody who does something like this is mentally ill. It’s untrue and deeply unfair to people with mental illness.' 
link
No mention of Paddock's father's history; no public discussion of Paddock's habits up until the time of the shootings. No siree, Hillary has told us what we should do to prevent what happened.
______________________
*The irony of a person's name: Spiegel means "mirror" in German. I believe there's a literary device called ____ when a character is named after some trait. What is it?

Last day of James and his family's visit

James called and said he'd be over in two hours.  Upon awakening my body felt like I had been beat up overnight. Originally the plan was to go to Colorado Springs and cram a week of activities into one day but James' body felt the same way so that plan proved untenable. And Alona was cross about that. She can almost hide it.

Earlier after a long discussion about European bread vs American bread she said that she wants to try her hand at making real Russian rye black bread but had no idea where to buy brewer's yeast and whole rye grain might be a problem. It's an experiment.

I know. Directly below me in the street level shops. You have got to see this.

photo taken previously and already shown here.

They're variations of regular grains used for brewing. The yeast is in packets in the refrigerator section. There are several kinds of brewer's yeast available. 

It turns out this is a terribly unfriendly shop for children. "Don't lean against that shelf" and "Don't lean against that glass, and don't touch this and don't touch that. What a drag. 

The grain room floor is dusty with milled grain and the boys immediately begin scooting around in it. Then leaving the room that is kept closed to keep the dust from spreading, little boy dust footprints suddenly covered the newly mopped floor and the boy's clothes look as if they were rolled in it. I suddenly understand why the gentlemen, always so nice before, don't like children in their store. 

Children learn through their fingertips. They have to put their hands into everything. I did. Nothing was worse than being told, "Don't touch anything." That's the exact same thing as saying, "Don't learn anything." So I was happy to make the visit here short. This is no place for kids. 

With Colorado Springs out due to too much driving, James still didn't know what to do. I cannot help him decide any more than I have already suggested. Since his body feels like mine does, then let's pick the easiest thing. This disappointed Alona, but she is not driving. I must say by observing her closely she recovered from being cross admirably. She's a lot better at that than I am. The thing that worked was seeing her boys having so much fun. It's a fair comparison, they're a bit like my dogs when I stopped half way to arrest their imminent car sickness. They joyfully extracted maximum available fun with zero whinging. Climbing rocks is good as a playground. A playground is good as a spectacular national monument or a mountain that inspired "America the Beautiful." 


Good choice on play apparatus. This structure is loaded with interesting things but the grip suspended on a rail really is the most fun thing on the playground. The boys were having so much fun with it learning how to make sure it doesn't stop half way and how to swing their bodies when it does stop, that they attracted the attention of other kids nearby who had previously ignored it. And their parents. Even tiny girls who couldn't reach the grip, couldn't push off, and needed support the whole way wanted to try it. One girl was really good at this right off. The boys learned to go backwards then learned to do it with one hand. They learn physical things quickly. 

At this early point Alona was still dealing with disappointment. 

"What should we do? What should we do? What should we do?  Should we go to the Museum of Natural History for dinosaurs? Should we go the the Zoo for dinosaur animatronics? What should we do? What should we do? What should we do?" 

"James, you know I'm going to say Red Rocks." 

Red Rocks is the all-time best. 

The boys are remarkable parrots. I know the outrageous things that I say will be repeated so I had best take care what I say. Yesterday a sign in a rest area said "Don't walk in this area" and I said, "They didn't say 'please.'" Today we encountered a sign that read "No climbing" and Daniel said, "They didn't say 'please.'"

I think that's hilarious. 



There's enough room on this sign to say 'please.'

This is where Alona elevated her mood pleasantly. Wonderfully, she thinks breaking the rules is just fine. Although the boys still make her anxious. James and me telling her we climbed all over the park before they instituted all these rules made it easier to allow her own boys the same liberty. She's from Ukraine where rules are rules so rule breaking and liberty appeal to her. She asked us, "What did your parents think about all your climbing around these rocks? " James and I answered simultaneously, "They didn't know."  Had our parents known what all three of us boys got up to climbing every single outcropping dozens of times, they'd have forbidden us ever coming here and that would be one more rule we'd be forced to break. Alona and James give the boys instructions on how to be careful with each step and the boys push their boundaries far as they go. 


Both boys disappeared into this cave. I had no idea it went back that far until they squeezed into it. 


Monday, October 16, 2017

Ars Ingratia Artis

Overheard at Lem's:
I'd really rather not have eaten there. We've been there before. Whatever they make we can do better. And breakfast comes with our rooms. And I'd rather not eat that either. I'd rather not eat at all. I'd rather just go. But I did eat there. Because I'm being agreeable. Then later I wished that I hadn't.  
Lots of ranting at that link about good ol' American restaurant fare. Perhaps youse guys can relate to this:

That's a 6-panel piece I own called "Six Restaurants, One Burning." It depicts 6 different American fast food restaurants - Bennigan's, Bob's, What-A-Burger, Howard Johnson's, Black-eyed Pea, and a Pizza Hut. Here is some detail, upper left:

More detail, lower right:

The work is colored pencil on white stock and doesn't photograph well. But you get the picture. The artist is known for his detailed and intricate work, and so I hung this at the foot of the stairs where you can walk right up to it and examine it close-up.

WKRLEM: The way it used to be.

Colin Kaperdick is suing. ESPN is demanding that the Packers sign him.

The NFL is dead. It just doesn't know enough to fall down.

Return from Red Oak

I listened to James' plan and agreed to it while mentally adding two hours. I did wake up at 7:00 AM by the children next door as alarm. That's a strange thing. The children in rooms all around, next to mine connected by two doors, and across the hall, and down the hall, all sound the same as the two boys. The same non-language vocalizations, the same pounding across the room, the same yelling. I'm not complaining. I love the sounds of life. But I kept thinking, "Did James bring his family next door?" Then when I saw them they turn out to be girls and turn out to be different ages. And yet, the exact same sounds.

And I did knock on their door at 8:00, his idealistic planned time for departure, then went downstairs to the lobby to wait developments and talk to whomever I met. I was not expecting other members of my family to appear one-by one until the whole clan assembled. I had no idea who else was staying nor anything about anyone else's plans. And they had no concern whatsoever about James' plan nor his need to get going in order to be in Denver by any reasonable time. They manipulated James emotionally to one last breakfast together at their favorite place they discovered, the Rainbow Cafe.

Later, I told James the refusal goes like this, "I said, no."

But I was saying that to the guy who emotionally manipulated me into attending the whole thing in the first place. By his impressive sacrifice of driving his family halfway and back instead of just flying the whole way. Understand that included renting a van, buying fuel, and two days driving. Now, that's some heavy duty dedicated emotional manipulation. Wouldn't you say?

I am against breakfast at the Rainbow Cafe. But I do not let it known. James is driving. It's his family put out. So I keep myself out of lobbying. See, I'm also being agreeable. Sometimes we come out of character.


"Daddy, can I make a necklace from Fruit Loops?" 

"Son, we don't have any string." 

This is where artistically minded Uncle Bo comes in to interject his unique creativytah, "Do you have any dental floss in your bag?" 

Does anyone actually use that stuff? Yes. James does.


"James, isn't it such fun sweeping out crushed Fruit Loops from the creases in the seats of your vehicle?" 

They did make two necklaces in the time it took breakfast to be served and consumed. It kept both boys focused the whole time. One boy on each side of me. I get them that way by saying I want to be with the cool kids. 

I also tried to get Matthew near me but that effort failed. My sister's family is tight. Way tight. They have this pattern of clustering together whenever out in public. It's as if they need each other. I don't think it's insecurity, just habit.


My deaf friends did this as well. This is sad, but eventually we found it best for all not to mix them. It was easier for them in groups to cluster together and that inevitably led to two separate parties in one. Nothing we thought of worked. It was just more comfortable for them, and for the hearing, to cluster together in their own groups when intermingling took more effort for both and focused dedication to mingling. Whereas when invited apart from their group then they do make the effort and intermingle just fine. But not when there was a critical mass more of them. My sister's family behaves the same way. There were two breakfast parties at the tables pushed together. So there was no real point in pushing the tables together when all conversation occurred in two groups. 

And we knew that it would. 

And still they insisted on doing this. They don't have any deaf friends, nor did they ever host parties with them included to make this comparison by that particular insight. And that caused a wildly unnecessary and ridiculous delay in departing.


I'd really rather not have eaten there. We've been there before. Whatever they make we can do better. And breakfast comes with our rooms. And I'd rather not eat that either. I'd rather not eat at all. I'd rather just go. But I did eat there. Because I'm being agreeable. Then later I wished that I hadn't. 

The drive there took eleven hours. The drive back took nine hours. The drive there we stopped for a leisurely lunch, a rather long rest involving climbing a tree, gasoline refills that involve restrooms, then a leisurely dinner. The way back was delayed by breakfast and

v-e-r-y  l-o-n-g  g-o-o-d-b-y-e-s

And we stand there in the near freezing cold shivering to prolong our hugging and stretch our goodbyes.

And our serial hugs. Then down the road another un-rushed pee break at a rest stop with nothing else of any interest.

"How did you know which bathroom to go into?"

"They have signs."

"Oh. With a little picture of a person wearing a dress and the other one has picture of a person wearing pants."

"No, the signs say, men and women."

"Oh. So you can read, then."

"Sometimes."

"This is just like Driving Miss Daisy."

Nothing of interest except for an acorn tree. With acorns on the ground. Another tree providing irresistible interest. And that means the boys must race around gathering acorns like two frenetic little squirrels. And having gathered acorns they must somehow be released. And that doesn't mean simply letting go of them. No. Anything like that, especially shaped like a bullet, automatically becomes a projectile. And what is the obvious target? You are. You can see this coming a mile away.

"You can put an eye out with those things, you know."

That's an ongoing joke that started yesterday.

Earlier James was talking about our names beginning with B, except James, and who is named after whom. Their conversation died down. I was not a part of that conversation. James was doing the talking. I leaned into it and stated James is named after our father's brother who died very young in his first car very close to their house. Before that he was blinded in one eye by a BB. gun. Because of that my grandmother kept insisting every little thing can put out an eye. Barry and I weren't allowed to own a BB gun. I couldn't have a bow and arrow. We were never allowed any type of toy that could possibly damage an eye. And where I began admiring my dead uncle who died before I was born,  I developed a resentment toward him for being so careless and ruining my boyhood fun.

So the joke is to find a blinding aspect in any innocent object, like an acorn.



I could ride all day without eating but the boys and Alona cannot. And James can live off his body fat for a week. 

Enter "salad, North Platte, NB" into your browser and see what you get." As always, James asks us to research, asks us our opinion, then does the easiest thing and that is how we ended up at Applebees. 

Their menu is designed to kill you uncomfortably. By pouring the food equivalent of lead into your stomach. I ordered the lightest thing. And it was delicious. It was a good idea in theory. Tender grilled chicken on rice and quinoa and apple drizzled with lemon juice. Then got so gassed up it released the entire rest of the way home. Out of my butt! And believe me when I tell you, that will never happen again. 

Bean soup would have been more comfortable. Stir fry with broccoli, cabbage, onions, eggs, Brussel sprouts, would have been less active.

It makes me angry that healthful food is so difficult to locate on the road. I am disgusted with middle brow fare. I resent nearly every single element. And driving through America's breadbasket, and passing endless fields in mathematic rows and driving by all those silos, and largely comprehending how food industry works, and works very well at meeting its aims, and seeing firsthand the astonishing money involved, the impressive farm equipment is displayed right there at the road, and stopping at the places that offer food along the way where the entire outlet is dedicated to great tasting but dead awful highly industrialized food, with one thin sorry shelf for two day old salads that come with industrialized dressing,  one can see fairly clearly why there are so many obese and regularly heavyweight  people all around and concentrated at weddings. 

You should have heard them bragging about the hotel omelets. Everybody says that they're great. With no dissenting opinion.  I expected to see a professional omelet maker based on what I was told.  And further, I fully expected him or her to be rather bad at what they are doing. I expected to regret having ordered one. Now, that's bad. But they were worse than my poorest expectations. I asked the woman I saw back there, "Who is the omelet maker?" 

She answered, "Oh, we don't have one. We buy them." 

Good Lord. 

They were tiny one-egg affairs, puffed up to foam and cooked in a pan that folds in half, with scant processed cheese, or some unknown vegetable mix that I was afraid to open and look. You take them out of their wrapper and microwave them for one minute. That's industrialized food. So far removed from its origin, so full of industrial and commercial imperative that it is unrecognizable. And everyone thinks it's just great. And everyone is fat. 

That's what I leaned on this trip. The food situation in America, its remarkable abundance, is a very very very bad thing for the health of Americans and for their very comprehension of food. This is not valid food. 

But that doesn't mean we cannot have fun as we're killing ourselves. 

The Applebee's children's menu comes with games. In a corner, tic-tac-toe hatches are marked out with crossing spoons. The boys do not know how to play. They don't know the game has finite number of moves. If you go first then it's possible to win and second player must play defensive unless the first player does something stupid. So even though the boys went first, they kept being stupid. I go, "Look, five-year-old little angel, you must think about what I will do to win, not just how you wish you could win. You must think, how I will block you and how I could win" 

But they never do. I did not want to play this game, but I did not want to be a dud uncle even more. So I played. I go, "Look, Loser, since you insist on doing this and insist on losing, then every time you loose you must hop up and down, flap your arms and say, I lose, I lose, I lose."

The second time you lose you must hop six times.

The third time you lose you must hop nine times. 

Twelve times,

Fifteen times, and so on. 

The little guy loses and jumps down from his stool, races to position, and does fifteen jumping jacks saying "I lose, I lose, I lose" fifteen times. and upward. And it is hilarious

Every single time I cracked up laughing. It's too funny. 

And I thought each time,  Oh my God, look at this. Lord, look, right now. This gorgeous moment passes too quickly. Next year this boy will be different. For me this is a one-time thing, then it's gone. He will never be this enthusiastic about losing. He will never be this childishly hilarious. Let's lock this into our memory and save it to cherish. 


Blurred because he's hopping and flapping and I'm laughing.

His brother is on the other side of the table losing in tac-tac-toe to my brother and his penalty chosen by my brother is to do the chicken dance, which to him is no penalty at all. 



Then it's fun and games blocking my photo taking. They signal having enough. Then that becomes a game. 


Reserved at first they cannot maintain that barrier of caution with their little hearts so wide open. This boy kept grabbing my arm and pulling it to his chest. Repeatedly he kept returning to a tug-of-war with my arm. He wanted physical connection. These boys only just met me and they already love me. 


Sunday, October 15, 2017

That Time I Went to the State Fair

Traditionally I attend the State Fair in Capital City on the first Sunday after the Fair opens. Not being one to mess with tradition I drove over there this morning.

I attempted to take more pictures than I usually do, but the ones from the hike from the parking lot to the Fair entrance were not good - it was overcast and the lighting failed to do justice to the throng of people streaming into the gates. This year, for the first time, beer and wine will be sold, but this being the Solid South, that does not happen on a Sunday morning. Another new thing is increased security - I noticed that same reality of modern life when I attended a bluegrass festival over there a few weeks ago, and this was no different - the entire mob is funneled through an array of metal detectors to weed out the random machete, machine gun or mace. Knowing that, I left mine at home.

First stop, as always, is a visit with my turning teacher in the Village of Yesteryear. He and his wife set up there every year, and have done so for close to two decades. He always makes amazing things and I like spending time talking with them. This year was no different - he carved a self portrait out of alabaster.



I saw a possible upgrade for my John Deere riding mower outside, and wondered if AllenS has one of these:


There were, of course, the usual Fair sights, minions:


Healthy foodstuffs:


And soothing rides upon which you could revisit your gustatory selections:


This is what I had for lunch:



I like the giant squash cultivars:


That one was over 1,400 pounds, and the berries of the trailing vine Citrullus lanatus were there in a show of inclusivity and a nod to diversity:

Some of those ranged over 300 pounds - mmm, mmm...

Did someone mention cookies? Cookies!


There were quilts abounding, and plenty of other homespun items:


This post is getting too long, so I will attempt to wrap this up with a picture of Barney Fife's earlier ride:


I took some pictures of the tractor pull, but they didn't turn out so well, so here is one from last year a coal-rolling diesel flat out gittin' it done:


Lastly, a picture of the waterfall - it is said that if you stand by the waterfall you will see someone you know.



That didn't happen to me there, it happened in the commercial building, where I met my bakers. But that is a story for another day. I will leave you with a song, only slightly related, but there you go.

All in all I had a great day out.

KLEM FM

'A common misconception is the things that come from Neanderthals are generally bad,' Prüfer says, 'but that’s not entirely true.'   
New Clues How Neanderthal Genes Affect Your Health

Speaking of the fossil record, what about the linguistic fossil record? The word Neanderthal is a compound German word: Neander + thal. "Neander" is the name of a river in Germany and "thal" means valley. But not any more. Modern German dropped the "th" spelling (and the "th" sound) [ed.: nice alliteration].

Neandertal is the modern German word. There's even a bit of linguistic residue in English: Tal is cognate with "dale" as in hill and dale.

Sarradon's Pendulous Breasts by Trooper York

"Or this apparatus for the study of the fermentation of milk. A maze of crystal arches leading from the lips to the hips due to the pendulous nature of the teat. Those little nipples, the hourglass where the sand has shifted, the electrolysis of the mustache, the swollen labia. Or the laboratory knife that looks like a cuneiform character, the spatula with the release lever, the glass blade, and the tiny, three-centimeter clay crucible for making a gnome-sized homunculus--infinitesimal womb for the most minuscule clonings. Or the wrinkled distended box filled with little white packets like a village apothecary's cachets, wrapped in parchment, covered with untranslatable ciphers, with mineral specimens that in reality are fragments of the Holy Shroud of Basilides, reliquaries containing the foreskin of Hermes Trismegistus. Or the long, thin upholsterer's hammer, a gavel for opening a brief judgement day, an object of quintessences to be held among the Elfs of Avalon. Or the delightful little apparatus for analyzing the combustion of oil, and the glass globules arrayed like quatrefoil petals, with other quatrefoils connected by golden tubes, and quatrefoils attached to other, crystal, tubes leading first to a copper cylinder below it, then to other tubes, lower still, pendulous appendages, testicles, glands, goiters, crests...This is modern chemistry? For this the author had to be guillotined, though truly nothing is created or destroyed? Or was he killed to silence what his fraud revealed?"

wedding, reception

Poor James.

Relying on Google GPS is faith misplaced. And that caused us to be late. And that burdened his resilient but still sensitive mind. That and temporary time zone confusion. His phone adjusts automatically when moved between zones, but his rental car does not, with its large clock saying it’s one hour earlier than it is. He knows that but sometimes forgets.

I am no help at all. I don’t even know the name of the church we are going to. I never looked for its location. In fact, I discarded all that information when I decided I wouldn’t be going. 

You know, sometimes dummkopfs are just lucky. The Lord takes interest in us and assigns special angels to watch over us dingbats. I bet. I didn't even make a reservation. I thought "reserved a block for the wedding" meant a room was reserved for me. But it wasn't. There was only one room left and it was a great one. It was overly luxurious. For me. My older brother with sense to reserve had one queen-size bed for two fat people and me with no sense at all had a room with two queen-size beds for one skinny person. And somehow I sensed the presence of angels going, "We got you covered, Dude." 

And I don’t care about being late. I don’t care about missing a few beats. 

But James does care and he has the additional pressure of getting his family in order. Alona does what she can about keeping him straight, going down the right road, being on time and such, and a good part of that is laughing in the right places. 

The church is in the middle of nowhere. How people decide where a church needs to be is beyond me. Maybe it's three or so people of the same odd denomination decide they could use a separate building and the place either grows to a real sized church or it doesn't. It's so remote from everything else that even Google Earth does not provide a street level view. And this is America, not Timbuktu. 



The two boys look like real gentlemen dressed in their tuxedos and shined leather shoes. While we all know it's not them at all. Boys will be boys however they’re shined up and they don’t care how their parents dress them. They have no idea how spectacular they look. In fact, they look better than anyone. They top all of us. You’d think they had some sort of training. But they don't.


Naturally we joked, “Hey! Where’d you get these two penguins?” And so naturally the boys pick up the joke and waddled around with their arms held to their sides and their hands bent backwards and upwards as flippers, tilting side to side with each step, always joking, always goofballs, working off each other perfecting their penguin imitations. From monkeys, to penguins, through kittens, cows, dogs, coyotes, eagles, horses, dragons, snakes, crows, wolves, owls, ducks, pigs, turkeys, the boys continue to build their animal vocalizations. And it is funny. When you are in possession of a mind of a boy, as James does and I do. 

Poor Alona. 

She is stuck in the company and care of four boys. 

This woman is a blast. My brother really did marry upward. He knows how lucky he is. 


So we were late. I like it that way. And nobody chided us. Everyone knows what James went through to be here. And they’re glad we showed up at all. The wedding was short and sweet. And that makes a more perfect religious ritual. All the essentials, and only the essentials, brought off delightfully and with humor and fun.


My favorite part of the whole thing, I must say this right out. My favorite nephew sang a song that I hadn’t heard before. I will not flatter with false praise. I will not say Matthew is the best singer possible, but I will say he is the best choice. And when he happened to glance at his sister while singing, and his voice audibly faltered with genuine emotion at this turning point in their lives my heart is filled with affection for both of them, brother and sister, who clearly love each other and allow that to show so publicly, so touchingly tender. And we all felt that same thing at the same time. Not just me. That one moment made the whole trip worthwhile and I am stricken with awe for my brothers and sisters each having such awesome children and they are they are real wonders in themselves to behold.

video

And the littlest are direct as a dart. “Uncle Bo, why don’t you get married?” 

“Because I’m waiting for you to grow up to marry you.” 

“You’ll be dead.” 

(How rude! He actually calculated our relative ages and my impending death) “I’m going to live long enough to marry you.”

“Boys can’t marry boys” 

“Yes we can. Goofballs can marry goofballs if they want.” 

“You’re a goofball.” 

“So are you.” 

So it’s off to the reception. 



“Dada, why do we have to go to the reception?"

“It’s what people do after a wedding. They get back together to party away from the church.”

“But I’m hungry. I want to have dinner.”

“They’ll serve dinner at the reception.” 

“What will we eat?”

I interject crisply, “We’re going to eat fart-pies.” 

This cracks up the boys and enlivens their imaginations. They go from whinging to excited and noisy. Nothing gets boys worked up faster than farts and poo.

“I’m going to eat a fart-pie and fart all over the barn.” 

“And all the big fat people will eat a pile of fart-pies and everyone will be farting. 

“It’s going to be a fart-war and the whole barn will be pressurized with intense fat farts.” 

“Until someone lights a match and ka-blam the whole barn explodes to little splinters.”

And there were pies. Brenda makes pies. And boy, does Brenda ever make pies. We all knew that Brenda would make pies, but no one expected Brenda to make three tortes for each person. In every regular torte flavor. No one anticipated Brenda would make a dozen cookies of six types for each person. No one predicted there would be pulled pork, roasted chicken, potato casserole, meatloaf, potato salad, rotini pasta for three times the number of expected people, known by the number of chairs. Easily three times the amount of ice tea and lemonade, beer and wine. (But strangely no coffee, and no milk. All those cookies and absent the regular drinks that go with them) This was not a miscalculation. This was on purpose. These people eat! And they never ever run out. Still, no one could foresee that ice cream would be made by a tractor. 


Who on earth makes ice cream by tractor? 

Next to two other tractors in front of the barn. I thought they were rustic yard decorations. But they are not. They actually do things. 


Everyone thought these broken slabs would be too difficult a challenge for me to walk on. Everyone thought I'd be tripped up. But they haven't seen the sandstone pavements in Denver, nor the deplorable cement in spots of walkways. So each time I stepped out someone got up to make sure I don't break my neck.

And the two Portolets are out there. "Are you going to stand out there the whole time I'm doing a wee?"

"Yes."

I'm not that big of a spazz. But I accept the grace extended.


This is outside at the barn door where bride and groom and wedding party made their choreographed entrance with the wedding party.

The wedding party gals wore cowboy boots.


This is Amanda's visualization made true.

My favorite part of this reception was not all the food and the pies nor the dancing, and not the traditional music, the chicken dance, the polka, old rock and roll, and country, not the line dancing, not the bouquet tossing, not the traditional speeches, rather, it was my favorite nephew, the singer, who now sports long hair tied back and a beard, near the end when all his work for his sister was done, came and sat next to me for a long and uninterrupted relaxing personal chat. We talk about books. I write to him a lot and now I get to talk with him directly. He asked me if I had ever heard of Pinterest. 

Well, duh. 

He told me Amanda pinned everything that she saw about weddings that she liked and her Pinterest page is seemingly endless and he and my sister had to bring her back to earth explaining not everything she imagines can be done. There is only so much time. As much as they disliked disappointing her, she was not realistic about what people can do given only so much time.

So they discussed a tremendous number of things as a family committee. But sometimes opportunities arise when one must make an unauthorized executive decision. Similar to the Louisiana Purchase. At some place similar to Home Depot, possibly Home Depot itself, the business acquired a large chandelier from a steakhouse restaurant that they really wanted to get rid of so they offered it at an irresistible price of $100.00 to my sister and without having to think, much less having to confer, she snapped it up for the barn. Its actual value is much more than that. See, you need a gigantic place to hang such a thing.

A chandolier for a barn.
A big one, for $100.00.

And that changed everything. 


Come on. Is that awesome, or what? 


Yes, Sister. That is awesome.


video




The boys were having so much fun dancing like mad loons it compelled the whole place to join them. 



My brother-in-law, Amanda's dad.




The bottom trim of the bride's dress became filthy. Matthew told me that happens all the time to other bride's dresses.