Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cheap Bourbons, Ranked

Because it's Saturday evening and you may (or may not) be sippin' on something.  The best of the worst bourbons, all made in America, all starting with a mash that includes at least 51% corn.  Some made in Kentucky, others not. All available at a price of $15 or less per 750 milliliters in the author's city.

Let's begin by defining bourbon.
To officially qualify as bourbon, a distilled spirit must be American (though, contrary to myth, not necessarily Kentuckian), consist of at least 51 percent corn, and be aged in new charred oak barrels prior to bottling. Whiskey changes, usually for the better, the longer it ages in the barrel, but most of a bourbon's personality comes from the composition of the grain recipe, or mash bill.
Got that part.  What about the other 49 percent?
Damn near everything we eat is half corn anyway, so forget about that part; it's the other stuff that influences the final taste. Once the requisite 51 percent corn is accounted for, you can tweak your mash by adding wheat to make it smooth or rye to make it spicy or chicken paste to make it a McNugget.
This list starts out with number 10, the worst of the worst.  Genuine hobo whiskey.
10. Old Thompson American Whiskey. This mean bastard is a blend of whiskey and neutral grain spirits (i.e., tanker-truck vodka), and it's utterly worthless. OT is the rare American whiskey that doesn't even show off any cheap corn sweetness. It's monotonously evil in a way that's hard to describe other than by noting it's earthy in the bad way, like a shiny mud puddle or a pissed mattress.
And the list ends with number 1, the best of the worst whiskey.

"In God we trust, maybe, but not each other"

"(AP) - You can take our word for it. Americans don't trust each other anymore."
We're not talking about the loss of faith in big institutions such as the government, the church or Wall Street, which fluctuates with events. For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy - trust in the other fellow - has been quietly draining away.

These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.

Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say "you can't be too careful" in dealing with people.
For the rest of the article trust the AP

"Study: Having daughters makes parents more likely to be Republican"

"In newly published findings that challenge earlier research, Dalton Conley of New York University and Emily Rauscher of the University of Kansas found that having more daughters than sons and having a daughter first “significantly reduces the likelihood of Democratic identification and significantly increases the strength of Republican Party identification.”
Not only is the daughter effect statistically significant, it’s substantively large. They found that overall, “compared to those with no daughters, parents with all daughters are 14% less likely to identify as a Democrat….[and] 11% more likely to identify as a Republican than parents with no daughters,” they write in the journal Sociological Forum.

The daughters effect is considerably stronger among better educated and wealthier parents, they find. But among those farther down the socioeconomic ladder, it weakens to statistical insignificance.
Pew Research via Breitbart tweet

"The bunny has been watching the dog herding; now bunny thinks he can herd too"

Champis - den vallande kaninen
Via Instapundit


Instigator in Chief. Honestly, I am trying to imagine a president doing this. I'm not condemning it, I'm trying to imagine it. The compassion I do understand. Yes. But that compassion is understood while also understanding there is an army under my command in Afghanistan and having compassion for that too. Now my outstretched hands are the trays of a scale, in one tray illegal immigrants fasting to lower the standards, for what? Legal entry, acknowledgement, faster citizenship, or just leave them alone,  and in the other tray U.S. Soldiers at war under my orders overseas. My soldiers. Thud. One tray flips the other. 

Here clearly active in the role of community instigator where government is seen as paying for everything, setting fires, arsonist, basically, then off to the next one, while holding the position of president of the United States ostensibly representing all legal citizens, including middle class workers and chief among those young workers starting out and high among those, students with onerous loans. Imagine starting out economic life that deeply in debt then seeing your own president instigate for increased labor pool diluting your chances to recover making your dreams more distant all the while telling you he's doing you a favor.

Allow me to relate this from a young white guy's point of view, I used to be one of those so I know. Not this exact thing, I'm tired of that, but something else related. A comparison, if you like. At fifteen in Colorado I became eligible for driver's permit. I already knew how drive from living in Louisiana previously but I was back to square one in Colorado and that required a test. Both tests in Louisiana and Colorado were rigorous. You had to know all the rules of the road, recognize shapes of signs, hand signals, lengths for stopping, how weather changes things, acceptable alcohol levels, the names of alcohol levels, the abbreviations for them, the rules for motorcycles, for trucks, stopping distances for trucks, things related to chauffeurs licenses. The booklet was thorough. The test was four pages, a serious business all around. 

The next decade I was required to take the test again. The booklet shrunk considerably and now there is not near the emphasis on alcohol. The test itself is one page xeroxed copied, designed for the lowest denominator that might be found on the roads and might not necessarily speak English. And the test site itself, on Mississippi St., may as well be located in Mexico. A friendly lively bustling place of happiness where everybody passes their test. 

Also, a favorite employee here is from Mexico. She speaks Spanish to me all the time, and corrects me all over the place. That's how we're friends. Oddly, her name is Olga. Then suddenly she was gone. I missed her and asked where she went. "She's gone." 

Months elapsed. Over half a year. Suddenly Olga came back and it's a  happy reunion and everyone is filled with affection. I ask, "Where you been?" And she answered, "I been gone." 


N. Korea releases apology of detained U.S. tourist Merrill Newman

He is eighty-five years old. It matters. They pulled him off the plane as he was departing from a 10 day visit. His traveling companion was able to stay. Nice people those North Koreans, we're nearly able to match the utter banality of that same mechanistic absence of humanity and propensity for digging into peoples' deeply personal affairs.

The statement said:
the war veteran allegedly attempted to meet with any surviving soldiers he had trained during the Korean War to fight North Korea, and that he admitted to killing civilians and brought an e-book criticizing North Korea. And for these and other reasons he deeply regrets the deplorable interiors and tables in North Korea being so unhelpfully short. 
I changed part of that. It's his own fault for going there etc. 

I am trying to put myself in his shoes. Fresh socks, of course, but trying out the whole thing, pick up the whole load of baggages, the war memories and such, a full life lived very well and now traveling, seeing perhaps how things have changed, struggle to match up things as they were, get a sense of it all, feel it, man, really feel it, and I try to feel or roughly calculate how many years it will take for me to reach the point that this man reached where I just flat don't give a shit what happens, I'm going to North Korea and looking up old chums.

1 year. 

Ago. I'm already there. I don't have to mature at all to get to that point. At first I was thinking, 30, 40 years, but no, I'm already there, a few years ago, in fact. I could do that.  

Merrill! Merrill! *excited and anxious* Buddy, how are you? Are you doing okay? 

Merrill lifts his head wearily, "Eh, I make a living." 

Friday, November 29, 2013


Elizabeth Fraser - Moses

Washington Post Calls For Repeal of 22nd Amendment

An opinion in the venerable Washington Post asserts that Barack Obama should run for a third term because of his magnificent amazing awesomeness.  What stands in the way of the third most excellent term of President Obama is the pesky 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.  The very same Constitution President Obama has sworn to up hold.

The no third term thing, according to the WaPo is entirely because.....Republicans.
To Republicans, these developments echoed the fascist trends enveloping Europe. “You will be serving under an American totalitarian government before the long third term is finished,” warned Wendell Wilkie, Roosevelt’s opponent in 1940. Once the two-term tradition was broken, Wilkie added, nobody could put it back together. “If this principle dies, it will be dead forever,” he said.
That’s why the GOP moved to codify it in the Constitution in 1947, when a large Republican majority took over Congress. Ratified by the states in 1951, the 22nd Amendment was an “undisguised slap at the memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt,” wrote Clinton Rossiter, one of the era’s leading political scientists. It also reflected “a shocking lack of faith in the common sense and good judgment of the people,” Rossiter said.
No, Mr. Rossiter, it did and it does the opposite.  It reflects the great common sense and good judgment of the American people.   America is not (yet) a dictatorship where one ruler and one party remains in power until a coup de etat brings another regime into power.
Nor does Obama have to fear the voters, which might be the scariest problem of all. If he chooses, he could simply ignore their will. And if the people wanted him to serve another term, why shouldn’t they be allowed to award him one?
America does not have an imperial presidency, no matter that the editorial board of the Washington Post wishes America did.  Their editorial favoring a third term would not have been published, or even considered during the second term of George W. Bush.

My jaded view is that there are no coincidences in politics.  This op-ed was published not randomly, but for a reason.  And that reason is to begin paving the way, to begin preparing the American citizens, for the notion of a third Obama term. 

Wag the dog.  Executive orders.  Postpone the election until the current crisis has passed.  Use the IRS to quash conservative interest groups and political action committees.  Limit political speech on the radio.  Define who is or can be a journalist; then give only that group White House access, provided they parrot the talking points.

Fasten your seatbelts.

Editorial here.

"I’m sure not going to alter my drawing style for $0.00 money."

"Daily Kos is a major liberal/Democratic Party blog. About a year ago, the blog began running cartoons. To their credit, they paid a modest fee for them. Many alternative political cartoonists were invited; I was not."
At the time, the owner of the blog mentioned as an aside that I would be welcome, like anyone else, to post to Daily Kos. A few weeks ago, I decided to take him up on that.

Why did I post there for free? To access readers, many of whom would enjoy my work if they saw it. It was an experiment.

The experiment ended yesterday. When I went to log on, I received the above message. I clicked the acknowledgement.

Which marks the end of my experiment posting to Daily Kos. I might consider altering the way I draw a political figure for a paying client. A very high-paying client. Someone who employed me full-time.
Ted Rall, BloggingHeads

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

We postponed Thanksgiving dinner until tomorrow (my wife is out of town) and so yesterday I took my kids to the "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." We had 3 free passes and so we splurged on popcorn instead. I go to about one movie per year in the theater (the last one was Act Of Valor) and am woefully behind on Netflix. This is not a movie review -- I'd prefer to leave such things to blake (@bitmaelstrom on Twitter).

"The Hunger Games" trilogy is the flip side of "The Handmaid's Tale" (not an original idea).  I am not saying we are on the verge of either dystopia -- what I mean is its portrayal of the increasing polarization of the coastal elites vs. the members of "flyover America" states. Read for example Victor David Hanson's piece, "America's Coastal Royalty."

The plot line of "The Hunger Games" is also a vehicle for reflecting entertainment trends in America. Others have noted how the first one was sarcastic towards the whole reality TV genre in America. This continues in "Catching Fire" with for example "actors" in the televised spectacle going off script. Stanley Tucci is outstanding as the pageant host. Woody Harrelson steals every scene he is in. Philip Seymour Hoffman has too small of a role, but my son (who has read the novels) says that his role will become more important in the third movie. Jennifer Lawrence is gorgeous to look at (can't wait to see her in "American Hustle") and I even developed a liking for Elizabeth Banks' character: the unlikeable Effie.

The second "Hunger Games" does not disappoint. I recommend it.

It's Crazy Out There

"Stabbings, shootings and brawls have broken out in stores across the nation as shoppers scramble for the best Black Friday bargains."
A Virginia man has been stabbed in a row over a parking space, a Las Vegas shopper has been shot in the leg by a man stealing his newly-bought television, and police have opened fire on an alleged shoplifter as he fled from a Chicago store.

Shoppers have also filmed violent scenes at several Walmart stores and posted the startling footage to YouTube, revealing the madness that has become a tradition the day after Thanksgiving.
written by James Nye, David Mccormack and Lydia Warren for the DailyMail


I guess, like most bloggers out there, when this time of the year comes around, I too should remind readers to please use our Amazon Portal and avoid some of that craziness out there.

Black Friday Video Supercut at the Jump

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Inspired by Chip Ahoy's recipe for turkey broth, I took a look around the kitchen this morning to see how leftovers could be repurposed into something non-leftover-y and still tasty and appealing.
What to do with the remaining calorie-laden pumpkin pie?  That is always a pressing morning-after-Thanksgiving question.  You can't just ignore it, but you are not feeling good (probably) about eating pie for breakfast, and you don't want to throw it away because of the starving children in India your parents told you about when you didn't clean your plate back when.
Well my health conscious friends, you can re-purpose that left over pie into a nutritious smoothie.

Because smoothies are by definition and common belief the healthiest thing you can ingest before, during and after exercise.  Smoothies are so healthy that are sold in health food stores.  If that isn't proof, I don't know what is.

Scrape the filling off the crust, place filling in blender, discard the evil crust.  Add 1 medium banana, preferably frozen.  Then add:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1.5 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice (if your pie was made by someone who likes bland pies)
  • 3-5 ice cubes
  • 1-2 shots of bourbon (optional, but what the heck, it's for your health, and it eliminates toxins.)

  • Blend until it looks like a smoothie.  Or a smoovie if you never studied phonics.  Drink to your health!

    Pro tip:  This recipe is easily adaptable to apple pie and other fruit pies.  It won't be quite as successful with pecan pie, kidney pie, shepard's pie, cheesecake and that awful fake pie thing made with Cool Whip and crushed Oreos.

    Thursday, November 28, 2013


    Boy, was that ever humbling.

    At Protein Wisdom in comments I clicked on somebody's name and was taken to Infinitests where on the side are radio buttons; Vocabulary, Ancient Greece, Biographies, Shakespeare, Miscellaneous, so I press "Vocabulary" and a page opens up of forty radio buttons.

    Glee fills my heart.

    This is my sort of thing. I feel like I'm winning already. I pick a radio button in the middle. Test 15.

    I have no idea what these words are referring to. I never heard them. Never saw them. I've seen things close but only a few are confidently answered. It is not good at all. One word was like "misonamy" or maybe "misology" it was not misogamy and it was not mixology there was no answer relating to mushrooms or hatred of women, or study of anything. Finally I got a 60 where 80 is passing, so fail.

    What a bummer.

    Bad thing is, I didn't learn anything.

    Oh, I see, when you click through it tell you where you went wrong. I did as poorly on test 1.

    turkey broth

    So now you have turkey carcass and the whole time you were probably thinking so why not just bake an ostrich already and get over the large bird fetish once and for all, or perhaps three or four roasted chickens from Sam's Club will probably do as well for next year, but what is to be done with that large ugly dead bird now that you've picked it apart like vultures?

    For years I saw my mum throw those away. For years I saw her start the bird cooking on extreme low overnight. Then one holiday in Breckenridge a friend cooked a brined turkey rapidly and it was the most tender turkey I ever had. It has not been surpassed. When the white meat is cut it folds, that is how tender and moist it is. So I asked Mum, "Why do you bake it so slowly?"

    "So it comes out nice and moist."

    It does not come out nice and moist. She thinks it does but it does not. "what would happen if you cooked it fast?"

    "I don't know. Never tried it."

    She does not care for cooking all that much so the idea of doing it fast is automatically appealing, anything faster is better, she tried it and for the first time ever her turkey was not completely dried out.

    But she still throws away the carcass. Gets rid of it quickly as possible. Neither her nor Dad ever did know the very best broth you can have comes from those bones.

    Here's how.

    Break all the large bones with pliers to expose marrow. Include all the junk and scraps. Spread out in a baking tray and roast until darkened. Douse with liquid to lift off everything stuck on the tray. Place roasted bones into a large pot, largest you've got. Add water to cover. Add a few bay leafs, whole onion cut in half, full garlic bulb cut in half, celery stalks, carrot chunks, peppercorns, salt.


    Strain  with colander all the bones and junk wrap in plastic bags discard.

    Strain with fine mesh strainer to catch small exhausted particles.

    Chill. Best in a tall container.

    Remove cap of fat that forms from chilling. Determine how much of that you want to save. If the remaining layer is solid gelatin then you win the turkey broth blue ribbon first prize and the admiration of your peers.

    If there is a layer of gelatin and then a liquid layer, don't worry, there is hope for you next time. It means there was not so much marrow captured from the roasting and boiling. Mix both layers to reheat for even distribution.

    olive penguins

    Go ahead laugh if you like, olive penguins are asked for specifically.

    When The Extras Mess Up

    Or, "You won’t believe how badly these film & TV extras got it wrong".

    I thought that was a little harsh so I changed it.


    For one I remember seeing a while back click read more.

    "Media still feasting on Bush ‘fake’ turkey claim; erroneous story still repeated 10 years on"

    "It wasn’t exactly the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, but 10 years ago this week, Washington was consumed with another scandal, dubbed by one CNN newscaster as “Turkey-gate”: Was that a fake turkey President George W. Bush was photographed with during his first surprise visit with troops in Iraq?
    The photo resulting from the visit was iconic — possibly history’s most famous picture of a cooked turkey. It’s certainly the most misunderstood. Despite being a real turkey, meant as a decoration for the chow line, Mr. Bush’s political opponents seized on it, erroneously claiming it was plastic.

    In the years since, the bogus “fake turkey” story keeps churning, including slipping into 2004 New York Times and Boston Globe articles, making it into talk radio shows in 2005 and popping up in Washington Post and London Telegraph stories in 2006. To this day, it still creeps into print in letters to the editor in newspapers around the country.

    “It’s a real theme in so many people’s minds, it’s almost got a religious aspect to it,” said Tim Blair, a columnist at The Daily Telegraph in Australia who has tracked the story over the past decade and said it has taken on a life of its own, playing on people’s perceptions of the former president. “If you’re of the anti-Bush faith, it’s a touchstone. It’s the book of turkey.”
    The Washington Times

    "Be thankful that you can read these words"

    "A friend of mine that I've known a very long time, sent me this via email. I thought I'd share --"
    1. Be thankful for growing older. Not everyone gets this opportunity. Aging with health and grace is a rare and beautiful gift.

    2. Be thankful that you can read these words. It is a very sad thing that many people do not have the ability to read.

    3. If you have to wait in line at the supermarket for your Thanksgiving dinner, be thankful that you can afford what you want to eat and have a convenient place to buy it. We are all aware of the many people waiting in line to have a meal at the local homeless shelter.

    4. Be thankful for the ability to pay your bills, even if it means that you have to give up some things that you want. Remember that having basic needs met is a luxury for many people.

    5. If you have to get up before dawn to get to work, be thankful that you get to see another sunrise and have a job to go to. Think about what it would be like if you slept everyday until noon and spent the rest of your waking hours wondering what to do with your life.
    6. When you're stuck in traffic, be thankful you have a car to get where you need to go and money to buy gas. Standing in the rain while waiting for a bus is, at the very least, uncomfortable.

    7. When the kids are screaming at each other, be thankful that you have children to love and who love you, and remember that at least some of the time, they do get along. There will always be bumps in the road, but they are usually followed by easier times.

    8. When your mate is acting grumpy or giving you a hard time, be thankful for having love in your life and someone to grow old with. A life partner is something that less than half the population has. Having your partner is a blessing that needs to be counted several times.

    9. When your parents are telling you how to run your life, be thankful that you still have them around. If they are no longer with you, take a moment to be thankful for the time you had with them.

    10. When you sit down with your loved ones for your Thanksgiving dinner, be thankful for everyone and everything that makes it possible. Look your family and friends in the eye and express to them your gratitude for sharing this wonderful time together.

    Thanksgiving is a very special holiday. Embrace those around you and your ability to give thanks to those you love.

    The letter is worth at least $24,000

    Much more than that I would think for its historic value alone. On White House stationary, in the president's distinctively disturbed handwriting, with his unusual "I am the central one" signature, and the callously rude phrase, "tea baggers."


    Story is all over the place, I especially like the post and comments at Hot Air.

    Wouldn't you think the letter is worth more than that? Man, what a prize. You know, this Alinsky thing, the whole attitude backfires when you become da man. Ha! The president actually Alinskyed himself. And now that he is president of the United States, every little thing like this is magnified yet the petulance is more of an islander, it seems, how could he not see he is not popping off to one teacher in Texas, he's popping off to all Texas, to all America, to the world, forever. He is showing his class, his lack of class, forever. He knows all that.

    Still, an emotional person, he needed to say this.

    That is why the letter is worth a lot more than $24,000. It is historic. The president says sweary words on official document. The letter itself means nothing to the teacher, the sort of thing he'd toss without any further thought.  Except for its tremendous historic value.

    What the president should have done with the teacher's letter. Honestly, why bother with that? So a teacher pops off, so what.

    Why would the president bother? He must receive, what, I'm guessing here, dozens of such letters. Who knows? Maybe even twenty! The question is why would he bother?

    How do I recognize a classless act? It is the sort of thing I would do myself, that's how.

    "Thanksgiving Request From President Obama"

    "This holiday season, millions of Americans have a chance to get quality, affordable health insurance—many for the first time. If you have family members who are uninsured, you can play a big part in helping them find coverage that works for them. It might not always seem like it, but your family listens to you. So have the talk."
    Are your family members traveling home for the holidays? There are a few things they’ll need to sign up for health coverage. Make sure they bring the following items with them before they head home.

    Make sure you have a plan for when, where, and how you’ll talk to your family about health insurance. Here are a few tips to help you prepare.

    Make a pledge to have a conversation with your family about health insurance this holiday season.
    Organizing for Action

    Kruel Thing

    I think this video was supposed to address every black man who fantasized about white blonde women (Kool thing - get it?). Watch the video and listen to the words. Chuck D. sings along with Kim Gordon.

    Hear her words:
    Hey, Kool Thing, come here, sit down beside me.
    There's something I go to ask you. 
    I just wanna know, what are you gonna do for me?
    I mean, are you gonna liberate us girls 
    From male white corporate oppression?

    What's Another Word For Pirate Treasure?


    Sriracha, judge orders partial shutdown

    Judge Robert O'Brien, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered Sriracha hot sauce plant in Irwindale partially closed due to complaints from residents about harsh odors

    The judge did not halt operations altogether and did not order any specific action actually except to stop stinking up the place.

    There is no real proof but it sure is annoying.

    It's so annoying that the city is likely to prevail in declaring the odor a public nuisance.

    Everybody went, "Yay!"
    Irwindale officials applauded the judge's decision. 
    "We believe it's a strong ruling that acknowledges and is reflective of the concerns that the community has raised about the health impacts of the odor," said City Atty. Fred Galante.
    Nobody really knows just yet what this means for the supply of Sriracha sauce. It's a seasonal thing. The harvest is already done but the bottling continues all year.

    They can keep going with their production so long as they don't be so offensive or show that they are mitigating. There is confusion. Confusion that can lead to market shortages. Market shortages that can lead to Sriracha sauce deprivation separation anxiety.

    I think I can help.

    I have a bottle of that sauce. The ingredients are simple. But before that, I want to mention, this odor-control seems a new nudge thing. Possibly not, some odors really are offensive.

    <anecdote alert>In Denver an ordinance was passed limiting pot odors. And now cigarette odors are included along with that. Building management makes smoking policies without regard to ordinance or law. In my own building a survey was passed around and a policy put up.

    Mentioning this among a group of people younger than myself and wondering aloud how my identity group became such scolds, they suddenly all became more talkative at once. "Well it is a way of clamping down on the public 420 festivals I suppose," and, "it does smell like skunk when a whole warehouse of plants matures and the air inside is circulated out into the neighborhood. It does smell like a skunk." Together they brainstormed spontaneously, thought up things that I did not think of, they reversed it, took pride in such industry overpowering neighborhoods with odor, "How about Purina Dog Chow? Is that awesome or what?" Everybody laughed because it is awesome. Driving by on I-70, blam, aw, that smells like dog food! "We lived near a pig farm and you can smell that shit miles away. We just accepted it." "And when the stock show and rodeo come to the colosseum you can smell it all the way downtown." "Ha ha ha Really? I didn't think of that. And people love it!" 

    That group was for neighborhood odors.</anecdote alert>

    <anecdote alert>They would be against odors if they had to walk past the noodle factory we all had to walk past to go to school at Tachikawa. That factory exhausted noodle factory air directly onto the narrow sidewalk, we all had hold our breath as we walked past the fan blowing air like a jet engine of stink right on you. Back and forth. They work very long and very hard at that noodle factory.</anecdote alert>

    Okay. If you run out of Sriracha sauce, here is how you can compensate until they get out of their odor-hostile California neighborhood, or mitigate and get back up and running full capacity. 

    * dry red Thai chiles in a package
    * sugar
    * salt
    * garlic
    * vinegar

    That's it.

    What to do: Buy a big bag of Thai chilies. They are remarkably inexpensive in Asian markets. In a regular market then any dry small thin red chile will work as well, there is nothing particularly spectacular about Thai chiles. Sriracha says their chiles are sun-dried but so what, they are not like tomatoes that way. 

    Do you see what is going on here? It is a typical Thai sweet/sour/hot sauce, with an emphasis on hot. The one element exaggerated beyond all others. All flavors subordinate to the chiles you have.

    Also typical to Thai is the duo garlic/ginger, and Sriracha uses only garlic. That is odd. That means you can improve your Sriracha in a typical way by including ginger. 

    They probably use powder garlic for industrial convenience. You can use fresh. Fresh garlic and fresh ginger will automatically improve your version of Sriracha. 

    The bag of chile is dumped into a cast-iron pan and heated throughout on hot turned constantly, not burning, but activating the oils within each individual pod. Doused with water they swell. Just enough to process to glorious red sludge. Pressed through a strainer or else there will be a lot of gunk from the thin skins. 

    Strained mixture returned to heat, sugar added, heated basically to dissolve. 

    Add salt, garlic, ginger, I'd consider tamarind paste if you care for that, it is the Asian element in Worcestershire sauce, you know from the British raj, it is very good in things like this. I'd also consider onions or onion juice processed in there too. 

    Vinegar in increments, always guessing if you need more sugar. It is a matter of balancing the sugar and vinegar added to the chile pods.

    Similar to this red chile sauce except the chile will be much smaller, and more emphasis on sweet and sour.

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    Evie Hudak, gone

    But not forgotten.

    Third in a series of Colorado recalls by voters angry with unwanted firearms legislation and the heavy-handed disrespectful way the legislation was passed. Gone, but hardly contrite. Her resignation letter:
    "Most Coloradans believe that going through a background check is a reasonable thing to do if it means we can keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals. Most Coloradans believe that the convenience of high-capacity magazines is less important than saving lives in tragedies like Sandy Hook, Aurora, and Columbine. Most Coloradans believe that people under restraining orders for domestic abuse should not be able to endanger those around them by keeping their guns. That's why I sponsored SB 13-197, a bill that takes guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and will save the lives of many women caught in abusive relationships. I am proud of what has been accomplished over the last year, and I believe these bills will make life better for all the people of my district and for all Coloradans.
    By resigning, I am protecting these important new laws for the good of Colorado and ensuring that we can continue looking forward."

    It was a close race. She won by 300 votes. The Independent candidate peeled off 3,000 votes from the Republican. She resigned so that a Democrat can slip into her vacated seat, if recalled her seat would certainly go to a Republican and with it control of the legislature.

    Desperate people do desperate things like this:

    That was cut from  a longer video, the host Jon Caldara speaks with guest reporter Todd Shepherd about how campaigners for the second recall Hudak attempt used i-pads to pre-verify signatures so that there was something like 90% accuracy or better, some remarkable figure, seems a simple enough thing to verify signatures before turning them in rather than after. They didn't need to come so close to what the law requires because so many of the signatures are solid. The point is they learned from the previous recall efforts how to counter a lot of these dirty rotten no good stinking filthy disgusting dith pickable low-down conniving underhanded activytahs that flow so naturally we've become inured and expect the lowest from them. 

    "NBC News Notes Evidence That Lesbian Waitress Faked Story About Being Refused a Tip"

    "With an ever-changing 24/7-news cycle, it’s refreshing to see some members of the liberal media taking the time to correct the record. While we at NewsBusters don’t usually give the liberals at NBC News much credit, for once they did a respectable job and did not completely fall for what now appears to be a complete scam by a New Jersey waitress."
    You may recall last week that the media were all abuzz about a New Jersey waitress who claimed a religious family refused to tip her, writing on the receipt that they disapproved of her lifestyle. Well now New York City's NBC News 4 is reporting that a man has come forward with his copy of the receipt and a credit card statement to prove that he did, in fact, tip the waitress. What's more, this man denies he wrote the statement on her copy of the check, which says he disapproved of her lifestyle.

    To his credit, MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts relayed the story on his November 26 program. Roberts, who is openly gay, has long made his hour of daytime programming a platform for gay rights-related stories. He deserves credit for spotlighting the newest development in this story rather than leave his audience to go by the one-sided reporting they might have heard earlier in the week on MSNBC's Weekends with Alex Witt.
    NewsBusters (Update Link "Will Leaving a Cash Tip Open Us Up to This Kind of Fraud?"

    "Small business Obamacare online enrollment delayed a year"

    "The Obama administration today announced a one year delay of online enrollment for small businesses looking to purchase health coverage through federal Obamacare exchanges, another high-profile setback for"
    It’s the second delay for online small business enrollment, which the administration had said would begin this month.
    The delay of the small business exchanges comes as little surprise, as the administration had said earlier this week it would offer alternative ways for small businesses to enroll. Still, it undercuts the White House message that it’s beginning to turn around the disastrous rollout of the health care law.
    Politico Jason Millman

    Missing at Thanksgiving

    As I get older, Thanksgiving evokes more and more memories of time with my loved ones over the years, and all the things I miss so dearly.

    I miss my mom's cooking. I can mostly duplicate her Thanksgiving meal but somehow it will never quite taste the same as hers - and maybe it's right that it never will. I don't believe I'll ever be able to duplicate her pie crust, although she did try to show me once when I asked. I even miss the annoying habit she had of cooking all day in her housecoat and then not bothering to change for dinner. All of that and much more will be the Thanksgiving memories of her that will last and stay with me.

    Anyone who knows me well knows how I miss my dad. I don't want to cry and type so I'll leave it at that.

    I have three much older siblings who, by the time I started having real memories of Thanksgiving, were already away at college and then eventually living somewhere out of state. So Thanksgiving for me meant They Were Coming Home. I'll never forget the anticipation of that. Waiting at the big picture window to see my big brothers and my sister coming down the long driveway to join us for a long weekend of time together. We still get together for holidays, but that feeling of missing them so much and having them come home to spend treasured hours together is something I haven't had in years and years and I know a lot of people can relate to it.

    I am thinking today of the little sisters and brothers who have a sibling who will be missing from that table at Thanksgiving forever. The young, brave hearts who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country whose absence will always be felt. The parents who probably can't get through listening to this song:

    May God bless their families.

    Some Stories Simply Make You Feel Good About Humans

    "We're not your average people"

    Amen, brother, amen.  Be sure to read the story and watch the embedded video.

    Top Gear, Audi VS Mountain climbers

    They call everybody "Douche."

    That speed climbing is impressive, I must say. 

    We too have mountains. 

    Proper mountains. But the city is near the foothills. My parents house is tucked into the foothills. Those are like bumps. Lookout mountain is such a bump. Zion mountain on some maps, it overshadows Golden Colorado dominated by Coors factory. 

    Colorado School of Mines nearby installed a letter M made out of painted rocks that serves as landmark. There are towers at the top. It is not that high, but driving down the road scared the piss out a friend from Louisiana, a large man, he screamed like a girl in the car certain we were meant to die. It wasn't funny.

    Several videos to choose from, cars going down, motorcycles going up, every curve is familiar, here is a bicyclist with a GoPro riding down lookout mountain. A foothill. I drove this road at least a hundred times. 

    Okay, fine, twenty-five times. There is a launch site near the white stone M. During the summer the whole valley of Golden warms up and creates thermals, bubbles of warm air that rise up, bubbling like boiling water except atmosphere and not water, the prevailing breeze tends to move the air bubbles toward the slopes where they crowd, shove together and the shape of the mountain funnels the thermals up a channel in the terrain,  a steady stream of warm air flows upward until the stream reaches  the height of the peak behind where it meets another prevailing wind sheering across the mountain range flowing in the opposite direction, this at just the right time of day on just the right days, there are many of them but not reliably so. Hang gliding in Colorado involves a lot of waiting.

    The red dots are where we park cars, the tiny red dots are a trail to the launch site. It is very steep. You can see the road is cut into the mountain, that creates a wall that must be scaled, with the glider rolled up in its sleeve balanced on your shoulder you attempt to hike up crabbing sideways or with the glider aiming up the slope as you climb. It is difficult. You must be athletic. You must be strong. Assembled at the launch site, when ready you can take only one step, one step into the void but you must act as if you can run so your legs spin comically as if peddling an invisible bicycle. But you must try to run. Were the step to fail, there is no jogging down the slope, no, it is too steep for that. You will crash head first and it will be ugly. But that never happens. Because of the thermals instead of down or straight outward, instead of a sleigh ride down, you go straight up. Like a flying monkey. It is amazing.

    But this guy is not launching from the site described. He did not hike up to the launching site that catches the thermals, he is not waiting for thermals. He waits for a breeze and that is not what that launch site is about. He is on the side on a more gentle slope. He does have a chance to take a few steps in the direction of Golden, not to the side of Golden as the above more hazardous but more glorious launch site does.

    Plus he has training wheels on his glider. That's like a dinosaur.


    But you've got the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy—Rich Ferraro and Andrew Sullivan—they're out there, they've got you.  ~Alec Baldwin
    "Fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy" -- zing!

    BTW, why is it that MSNBC is so upset about Baldwin's in-the-street-but-not-off camera remarks but remain non-plussed, non-responsive and unashamed of Martin Bashir's repulsive on-air-and-editorially-blessed-somebody-should-shit-and-piss-in-Sarah-Palin's-mouth remarks?

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    You are transparent. I see plans within plans.

    The comparison is wrought, I admit that, the situation is more linear than that, it is more like plan after plan after plan, this then this then this, and if you can manage all that simultaneously.

    And then it is the Blaze, alway incendiary and bit prideful of their outraged arsonous ways, and with a hideous website with obnoxious autoplay adverts all over the place. The one remark that sticks out in the item is this:
    “As with always, always with this administration – don’t worry about what they’re doing right now. Look to the future, what is coming your way.”
    It reminds me of my sister. That right there did. It is like a horrible marriage. I actually used to pray, "Lord, why am I vexed with this twisted sister?" She was like the punishment for asking such questions. One day in my early teens I was present when my twisted sister was picking on Mum and I noticed her attacks were bizarrely not related. She was not trying to reach an agreement. She didn't care about understanding. She jumped straight from one attack to another. Her aim was evoking emotion, pure and simple, and she would not be satisfied until she observed signs of it. While Mum was formulating a reasonable response Sis used the time to formulate a new irrational attack, unrelated it throws one off guard by requiring a reformulated response, if you are rational and aim for understanding, and that time is used for another unrelated attack. It was the most illogical thing I was ever held fascinated by and it had Mum in tears in just a few rounds. Score! 

    My younger sister taught me right then in that moment how to deal with her, completely irrationality. I couldn't wait to try it out. On her. On her alone. 

    And I did. And it works. Works brilliantly because it is completely irrational. And toxic. It is a form of irrational toxicity. Goes like this: Attack irrationally. It can be anything. Anything at all. Something hurtful and irrational. "Your lips are always chapped." It's ridiculous, just throw a mudpie and allow a response and form a new attack, "And you leave your clothes all over like a pig." Allow her to contradict. Allow her to say how tidy she is and how dirty you are in comparison. Don't take it any  further, don't bother trying to score debating points in a rational way, just aim and fire, "You'd still have all your teeth if you bothered to brush." She's a fighter and she will attack back but let them bounce, don't hear them, don't respond at all, you are all mouth and no ears. Get her going on personal concerns. "No wonder you are divorced twice." And just keep going piling it on, maintaining equanimity and poise enjoying her emotions peak to over boil and don't stop until she cries, keeping a detached aloof demeanor while having fun with a puppy slapping it around and making it hurt. 

    And inside she'll be going, secretly admiring, "Fucking wow, I'll avoid messing with that guy again. He's even more irrational than me. He's a totally awesome arguer. And he hurts!"  Respect.

    Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies, Cato Institute, a libertarian thinky-thought tank originally the Charles Koch Foundation, just to show you... something... something nefarious there for you says Obama lobbied for Senate changes to filibuster in order to protect Kathleen Sebelius.

    How so?

    By the Independent Payment Advisory Board having the power to do things the Constitution leaves to Congress like enact or impose taxes."

    A fifteen member board, that if no one is seated on, if the Senate cannot agree to appoint, then will fall to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius.

    Answering why she has not lost her job. If she is fired Obama will have to nominate a new Secretary, one who will have to be confirmed. As it is, he can pack the panel with progressives that Republicans must live with for a very long time or have it devolve to Sebelius.

    Sebelius would be the first Health and Human Services Secretary who would wield that much lawmaking power and responsibility that IPAB imparts and imbues to the office. It is a lot easier for Obama to just let her stay in place and all those powers fall to her without going through a rigorous selection process because there was no IPAB when whe was nominated.

    Cannon said,
    “So that board, packed with Democratic appointees, would then be able to run the Medicare program and essentially the whole healthcare sector without much or any oversight by Congress…”

    "Rollerball Pen Can Draw Circuits"

    "If you've ever wanted to learn how to create circuits, it just became a boat-load more accessible. A University of Illinois-based startup has created the Circuit Scribe: a pen so that you can doodle away — and create an electronic circuit into the bargain."
    The Circuit Scribe is a little different to the conductive pens and paints already on the market. It uses a biro-style rollerball tip instead of a squeezable tube and nozzle to create fine, accurate, fast-drying lines — without wastage.

    "Circuit Scribe was made for project based learning," Electroninks Incorporated wrote. "Kids can build circuits and switches in their notebooks and use those concepts to get creative! You can build a circuit with nothing but a coin battery, paper clip, and LED, or build out complex circuits with multiple components."
    Cnet Australia (gifs and video at the link)

    Insert Your Own Punch Line

    "Pope Francis' document delivers wake-up call on evangelization"

    "Evangelization, he says, is primarily about reality, not ideas: “Sometimes we are tempted to be that kind of Christian who keeps the Lord’s wounds at arm’s length. Yet Jesus wants us to touch human misery, to touch the suffering flesh of others. He hopes that we will stop looking for those personal or communal niches which shelter us from the maelstrom of human misfortune and instead enter into the reality of other people’s lives and know the power of tenderness. Whenever we do so, our lives become wonderfully complicated and we experience intensely what it is to be a people, to be part of a people.”
    The document is called an “apostolic exhortation” and that’s what it does: it exhorts, it lays down principles and it points to new paths – in some cases, insists on new paths – but it does not offer a detailed program of action. The pope clearly wants the whole church involved in filling in the details, which should make the coming months and years very, very interesting.
    John Thavis

    "Family's Christmas Display Sets World Record"

    "Even with help from their three children, volunteers and friends, it took weeks to install the lights, David Richards says."
    "I started in October," he tells ITN, adding that he's taken only one weekend off since he began decorating.

    Richards says it costs about $2,291 ($2,500 Australian) each month to power the display. A local renewable energy company is footing the bill.

    Guinness World Records officials have certified the Richards' house for having the most lights on a residential property. But the couple say their real goal is to raise money for the charity SIDS and Kids ACT, which helped organize volunteers to install the decorations. The group works to reduce sudden and unexpected death in children.

    "The charity is very close to our heart," David Richards tells The Canberra Times. "We lost a child, and SIDS looked after us many years ago."

    The Richards' 2011 light show was also part of a charity drive, as they reportedly raised more than $70,000 in donations.
    NPR Bill Chappell (video and pictures at the link)

    "Reports: Alleged trend of 'knockout game' a myth"

    "Some news organizations are refuting the existence of an alleged phenomenon known as the "knockout game" that has been the subject of media warnings in recent weeks."
    According to reports by CNN, the Today show, USA TODAY and others, the game takes place when young people randomly assault strangers in an attempt to knock them out with one punch.

    The attacks are leading to arrests, more officers on the streets and warnings for vigilance among the public, law enforcement officials and victims advocates told USA TODAY. In New Haven, Conn., police spokesman David Hartman said police are investigating six incidents in the past month as possible "knockouts."

    But police officials in several cities where the attacks have been reported say the knockout game is an urban myth, and that attacks that have received recent attention in the media have been random assaults, the New York Times is reporting.
    USA Today, NYT

    "Mark Halperin: Obamacare Contains "Death Panels""

    "It's built into the plan. It's not like a guess or like a judgment. That's going to be part of how costs are controlled," Halperin told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV."

    (Audio at the link)

    I thought there was no death panel. (video at the jump)

    "Filibuster change damages courts, federal appeals judge says in op-ed"

    Ideologues pose a unique risk for courts,” Wilkinson writes. “Judicial institutions run on custom and practice as well as rules, and the public depends on a certain judicial dispassion, which recognizes the difference between disagreement on substance and fraying the very understandings by which we operate. Taking disagreements personally, believing oneself in sole and permanent possession of the truth can, in countless ways, delay dispositions and corrode the quality of justice. This is one thing a bipartisan confirmation process has, for decades, helped to prevent.”

    ABA Journal, Washington Post OpEd via Instapundit.

    Where Are You Going And What Are You Taking?

    Thanksgiving week is the heaviest travel week of the year here in the lower forty-eight.  Nearly everyone goes somewhere even if it's just down the block.  And most people take something with them to add to Thanksgiving dinner at the place where they are going.

    Where are you going? And what are you taking?

    Bonus question:  What was the worst thing that happened at a Thanksgiving dinner you attended?

    Thanks for the memories

    I was thinking of a song to sign for the holiday season and something to do with thanks. So while this is not necessarily the best song I could have chosen it's really fun to do in ASL.

    Jason Gaffney nails it.

    And I mean it. I could not do better myself. 

    And right when I was becoming discouraged  too. I was looking for "Mad World," eminently signable, I looked at some fifteen or so videos and I see the kids all over the place. 

    Their tears are filling up their glasses
    No expression
    No expression

    What kind of glasses? The girls think it is the type of glasses you wear on your face and the boys think it is the type of glass that contains a refreshing beverage.

    What kind of expression? Facial Expression? Body expression? One guy does a very good two hands form straight line across the lips, like a table in front of then on both sides of the lips so the lips look like they were pulled into a straight line for a deadpan expression.

    And it is a slow song too. Except the Tears for Fears version is faster. One girl does a very good interpretation with the speeded up version. If you stick with it she turns into a tiger. Because she's quite mad, you see. She says the word "no" the way I said "no" emphatically to my friends and cracked them up laughing because it is so childishly wrong. It is like an alligator mouth that starts wide open and snaps shut to an improperly formed "n." and that is wrong, a better one is starting out with a sizzling "n" and snap it into an "o," rudely. But to connote "empty" or "nothing" or "nil" then two "O's" almost touching and shaking together is the best one of all to use in this situation but not used in any of the pages of videos that I watched. 

    Unrelated to all that Jason Gafney's video pops up among the search results with a different song altogether and he is best of all. I haven't heard this song Thanks fo the memories until this morning.  

    The singer is taunting an ex-lover. Dumped because "he tastes like you only sweeter." 


    Perhaps Jason Gaffney has more excellent ASL videos worth looking into. Turns out he does!

    Did I say ASL video just now? I meant to say anti-Romney video.

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    I Was Buying Into This Story About Gratitude Until.......

    My long-departed Irish grandfather had away of  dealing with the nonsense I'd spout when I was an under-achieving and over-complaining college student.  It was always a quick quip, delivered in his brogue and with a smile.  When he had heard enough of my complaining  he'd just smile and say "Ah, Mikey, things could always be ninety-five percent worse as easily as they could be five percent better."  It was his way of reminding me to be grateful for what I have. 

    And I do try every day to be grateful for the people I  know, the strangers I meet, the grace and forgiveness I have been given, and just about everything else.  Except the Cubs, maybe.  But I digress.

    I was reminded of being grateful and of those conversations with my grandfather today when I read this interesting article about a family that opened a restaurant based on gratitude.  And their success allowed them to expand and to open several more locations.

    The restaurant is named Café Gratitude, and it's vegan, natch, but set that aside for a moment.
     The menu is broken down into affirmations, so instead of asking your server for the cereal blend of coconut milk, pecans, seasonal fruit, vanilla and cinnamon, you say “I Am Bright-Eyed,” and the server repeats back to you “you are bright-eyed.” They also ask you a question of the day, like, "What moves you to your heart?"
    Stay with me here.  I know you're starting to skim quickly.  Let's go further into the article.

    Did a Family Guy Character Get Killed Off Last Night?

    "Yes, sob, sniffle, sigh, someone died on "Family Guy" Sunday night. Let me amend: Maybe someone died on "Family Guy."  Let me amend further: Someone died on "Family Guy"  but: a) We are talking about a cartoon here; b) We are talking about Seth MacFarlane, who has never taken one thing seriously in his entire life, expect maybe Frank Sinatra; c) We are talking about a cartoon that has a time machine that works pretty good when it's of a mind too."

    I tuned in late to watch a replacement character out of a voice from the Sopranos. I'm predicting the dead character will be back. Its a gimmick.

    Newsday, TV Zone

    Summing Up the Iran Agreement

    "Comet ISON, if it survives trip around the sun, could bring spectacular sky show"

    "On Thanksgiving, when the comet rounds the sun, professional and amateur astronomers alike will await ISON’s fate with bated breath. Its tail may get ripped off by a cloud of solar particles, or the sun’s brutal radiation and pressure may demolish it completely."
    But if ISON makes it out alive, stargazers say, it could provide a breathtaking show visible to the naked eye and possibly live up to the name “Comet of the Century,” as some astronomers have dubbed it.

    “On Friday, we’ll all be delighted to see its beautiful face as it then comes around the sun,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division. “Then between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it will fly over the North Pole — a very nice holiday comet.”

    ISON is a lone traveler originating from a giant population of comets at the very edge of the solar system.
    Washington Post, Meeri Kim


    I did not realize this is The Smiths' song "How Soon is Now?" covered by Love Spit Love. 

    Angola bans Islam, dismantles mosques.

    "The process of legalization of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, their mosques would be closed until further notice."
    Angola President José Eduardo dos Santos has weighed in on the controversy, as he was quoted in Nigeria's Osun Defender newspaper on Sunday as saying, "This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country," according to the report.
    Bento Francisco maintains "that radical Muslims were not welcome in Angola and that the government was not ready to legalize the presence of mosques in the country,"
    Comments at all of these online things are useless; ibtimes, French-language Moroccan La Nouvelle Tribune, onislam indiatoday, reddit, jihadwatch, guardianlv, joeforamerica, shoebat, jewsnews, bigbluewaves, nothing at all unique, or perceptive or not perfectly prosaic and expected. All the reports use the same photos.

    Angola is on the Western side at the bottom of the green belt that goes across Africa.

    The photos are depressing. All over the country it appears the place airplanes fall dead from the sky, and there is nothing pick them apart, were locomotives simply cease moving on their tracks and rust, where industry keeps being stillborn over and over, where rusted out army tanks are common as garden gnomes sinking into the ground. There are photos of small churches but none I saw of mosques. More more photos of army tanks melting to dirt than hotels. More attempts at industry than actual industry. Apparent farms and orchards with leaned over blown apart trees that used to be active. All small dilapidated buildings, everything photographed appears to be deteriorating. 

    I saw one flag. 

    China busts a move among Japan's southernmost islands


    Along with the new zone, the Chinese ministry released a set of aircraft identification rules that it says must be followed by all aircraft entering the area, under penalty of intervention by China’s military.

    Aircraft are now expected to provide their flight path, clearly mark their nationality and maintain two-way radio communication in order to “respond in a timely and accurate manner to identification inquiries” from Chinese authorities.

    In Tokyo, Junichi Ihara, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau was quoted as telling Han that Japan can “never accept the zone set up by China,” as it includes the Senkakus. He further said the new zone will “escalate” already fraught bilateral ties over the uninhabited but potentially resource-rich islet chain, branding China’s move “very dangerous,” the statement said.

    “China will take timely measures to deal with air threats and unidentified flying objects from the sea, including identification, monitoring, control and disposition, and it hopes all relevant sides positively cooperate and jointly maintain flying safety,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun  said.

    Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun 

    Comments, a sampling:

    PTM123 • 10 hours ago
    This is the natural result of a political vacuum created by the decline of American influence in the world. The chance of war increases in Asia and the Middle East. We all know who is responsible.

    Gen Eral • 17 hours ago
    Why in the hell does China think they own these Japanese Islands, Taiwan etc? If they want to go back in history - then Mongolia should be in control of China. Those greedy Chinese are never satisfied. Ever heard of a Chinese philanthropist? There is no such thing.

    Guest • 20 hours ago
    President Obama's primary objective is to destroy Republicans at home, not to resist aggression overseas. The Chinese have taken the measure of the man.

    Carl • 20 hours ago
    Where did this article get linked in, to attract all these militaristic nuts?

    Brian9999 • 20 hours ago
    The US has been rendered impotent. Sorry Japan, our stanch ally; China now owns us and we must march to their command.

    Silly commenters. The first minute of research tells you what is going on, even the flakiest untrustworthy of sources provides significant clues.


    The Japanese central government formally annexed the islands on 14 January 1895, naming them Senkaku, or “Pinnacled Pavilions.” Around 1900, Japanese entrepreneur Koga Tatsushirō constructed a bonito fish processing plant on the islands, employing over 200 workers.


    That is used to make katsuobushi, for dashi, Japanese seafood broth. Dried skipjack tuna, shaved to flakes veritably dissolve in hot water along with kombu seaweed, together as a hot steeped tea. It is the best seafood broth available. Honestly. I tried different fish broths for bouillabaisse by way of experimentation and kombu bonito dashi wins hands down. Wins. Totally wins all over the place.When it comes to seafood, Japan kicks butt on everyone else. It tastes like the ocean, except a lot better than that.

    The business failed :-( 

    But all of that is irrelevant to current affairs.

    The islands came under US government occupation in 1945 after the surrender of Japan ended World War II. In 1969, the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) identified potential oil and gas reserves in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands.In 1971, the Okinawa Reversion Treaty passed the U.S. Senate, returning the islands to Japanese control in 1972. Also in 1972, the Taiwanese and Chinese governments officially began to declare ownership of the islands.

    There you go. 

    That and the islands are awfully close to China.

    But, boy, do they ever get a lot of Japanese visitors. It's like the swimming pig island in the Bahamas people go there for the oddity of it.

    This whole time I was visualizing Northern islands not Southern islands even though the story says East China Sea.