Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

WKRLEM. Hop Sing explains it all

Taking Out The Trash is a Feminist Thing?

Taking out the trash?

Evidently everything in life is now a feminist/patriarchy issue that we must struggle with and angst over to be sure we are doing it correctly.   The latest seems to be who takes out the trash.  The NYT has an article on the fact that even though there is “equality” now because ….? ….Men still take out the trash.

I haven’t read the article, but it seems so  twee.  Based on the life experiences of the millennials in New York City or some other giant urban ant hill.  

 Ahhhh…..first world problems.   Sad!

Taking out the trash seems to be a bit different for us proles out here in fly over country.  Here is how it works in the DBQ and DP household.    Dumpblumber does it. (except for the cat litter box bag which he refuses to acknowledge exists.)

First of all....we don't have garbage collection service.   Mainly because it is so very expensive, and we can do this ourselves.   Even if we had garbage a service we would still have to load the full cans onto a trailer or truck to bring them all the way down to where the driveway meets the road.   Often impossible in the snow.  Another reason we don’t pay for garbage collection.

 It can be several weeks before we can load our cans into the dually and drive the 40 miles to the dump.  So.  We have a lot of cans.  Those rubber ones with the snap lock lids.  The raccoons have easily figured out how to open those cans .  This means the first person to go past the cans gets to pick up the trash and garbage strewn all over the place.  Not too bad if the garbage is frozen solid. 
We have put bungee cords on the lids to deter the raccoons.  After chewing through several cords, they have figured out how to team up and undo them. Less work and easier on their teeth.  Smart little bastards.

Note: we are building a (hopefully) raccoon proof box with a lid that latches.  It needs to hold 6 cans.  I have my doubts about the raccoons being unable to open it up.  Even if we put a combination lock on it, I’m sure they will be able to crack the code.

Part of the household trash chore is to take the burnables that we have separated into other cans inside the house to the burn barrel and set them on fire when we have a big enough load.  Since there is NO place to recycle things like plastic bottles, cans, glass etc., we just burn everything we can. (and somethings we shouldn’t), Unlike the NY City types, we don’ have much angst about recycling and putting things into the correct color bins for the city to pick up.

Is it flammable?  BURN IT!!!   Hubby likes to burn the trash!  Burning the orchard trimmings is an occasion requiring adult beverages.


We have a hydraulic dump trailer, 12 ft X 5 ft, that is used for overflow, non- garbage things, when not being used in the business to haul sand, gravel, and other large items.    Into the dump trailer go the dead bladder tanks, broken piping and other company trash. Metal things, paint cans, insulation, dead crockpots etc.   As well as when it ISN’T burn season, any large limbs and other orchard debris.   So easy to unload.  Woosh up. Go forward. Go backward and the stuff slides out.

NEXT Dump Day….

Dump day is actually an event that we look forward to.  (I know…sad)   Dump day is either on a Saturday or Wednesday when the Transfer Station is open.  It really isn’t a dump in the classical sense of garbage, but I am going to call it the dump anyway. 

The Transfer Station, is where the garbage is stored in big containers and then hauled several hundred miles away to another place to magically disappear (I suppose).     We go once a month or maybe every other month in the winter.  Dumbplumber, doing his part for the Patriarchy loads all the crap into the dually and/or the hydraulic trailer.

You know you are from a small town, area, when you are on first name basis at the dump.  One of the guys who works there remarked that it (dump day) is our version of a theme park.   We often see many other people we know at the dump, either coming or going.  As usual in a rural area…...we WAVE at each other.   If we leave early enough and get done in time, we might be able to swing by the McDonalds in the town over from us and get an Egg McMuffin!  Woo Hoo!.

Once at the dump, we get weighed and then on to the area to unload.  DP, also proving stereotypes about men versus women are real, is a pro at being able to back up the dually, with trailer uphill to the station.  I could never do this.  His mad skilz are amazing!

There is a section for metal where the bladder tanks etc go.  A place for paint cans. Tires.  We have presorted for this.  And…we, or DP mostly, unload.

So people don’t think we can't or won't recycle at all, there is also a section for stuff that might be good enough that someone else would want it.  Into that area go the planters, gates, bed frames and any other thing that doesn’t seem like trash or garbage, but people just don’t want it anymore.  I found a really great garden bench one day!!!!!  But, DP refused to let me take it. Prick.

On the way out, we get weighed again and pay by the pound….or something.   
Then…off to McDonalds.  Wash our hands. Get our food.  Drive the 40 miles back home and start accumulating more garbage.

Kind of different than arguing with each other about who is going to take out that small bag of trash from the apartment kitchen to the recycling bins, isn’t it.

How goes your garbage day?

white jeans to green

Although my diet has changed my weight has not. And although I still consider this recent weight gain temporary I still need more pants in this size. It's kind of cool, actually, I've only been waist size 33 once before and that didn't last very long. Still, while I'm here at this size I need pants. And like all the previous waist sizes, 29, 30, 31, 32, in my length 36, I find Levis never has the colors I want. Never. What's wrong with them? 33 is a bit loose but I'm kind of liking loose pants. I have to pull them up all the time.

These dyes sure get a lot of complaints. But I had fun dying pants orange and red. They worked very well on cotton fibers. 

What follows is the best most useful product review that I ever read on Amazon. It contradicts all the negative reviews and makes them sound silly. The process of dying is involved and a bit weird.

Irrelevant person speaks

There was a crooked woman and she smiled a crooked smile.
She chokes up her crooked bile sat atop her crooked pile.
She is a crooked cat rounding up her crooked mice
The contortions that she bends to string along her friends
Are frozen interwoven crooked ice.

How American! Actions speak much more clearly than a politician's poll-tested words. This is the precise polar opposite of what this woman did as Secretary of State when she undermined the Iranian Green Revolution by cutting funding for democratic organizations and programs in Iran and doing nothing to help the opposition. Hillary supported the mullahs through Obama's decision to achieve the Iranian Nuclear deal that she praised just three months ago.

She is not relevant. No matter how many times she props herself up with wobbly sticks, and flings herself to the front of the bandwagon and presumes to lead it. She showed her leadership and it is was for the mullahs and not for freedom. But her very many mice don't care about anything so damaging as that.

2nd Semneh Sesostris III stela

Senwosret / Sesostris, Semneh / Semna same things. It's one of two stelae 5.25 feet tall from the Middle Kingdom that were placed on both sides of the Nile at the Second Cataract in Nubia. The stela is now in the Berlin museum. The statement of the king is a rare literary autobiographical statement to his people.

The stela is plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose all over the place. This is what Trump's Twitter account would have sounded like 4,000 years ago.

The drawing is by Karl Lepsius and the translation is by Mark-Jan Nederhof. This was not part of the class's study, rather, it was part of a discussion about one of the lesson that involved the emphatic "As my father lives for me." They use their code for keyboards to discuss it,  anx n =j jt =j, Dd =j m mAat!, the phrase begins with ankh (anx), life, but transliteration does not have the short squat horned snake (f) representing "father" while the hieroglyphic phrase does. It's an odd and unique phrase confronted by early translators, who decided it's similar to saying, "I swear on my mother's grave" or "as I live and die."

Here is the stone stela. It's broken and it's hard to read.

So, the class did not study this stela but their teachers did. They're drawing on previous encounters with the emphatic oath phrase to make their point with each other. I like the stela because all the other phrases are so straightforward, rather simple, and very clear with common phrasing. It's a good piece to study. And having a president who sounds similar in his Twitter account, simple and straightforward with common phrasings, makes reading it like eating candy.

The glyphs read right to left, the English reads left to right.

Notice the backs of the birds create an angularity like this / / / / across the entire text. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Iran, then and now

Given a choice, don't Americans always vote for freedom? It's axiomatic; America stands for freedom.

So I thought.

How silly of me. Half of America will vote for their own freedom, their own liberty, and for you to live with your head squashed under the boot of their government. Trump is making that clear by the taxes imposed on liberal states by the jujitsu that removes their protection from their own high taxes on real estate. He's forcing them to put their money where their mouths are and they don't like it. No more posturing for high taxes elsewhere when your own taxes can no longer be written off.

And now Iran.

Where was Obama's support during the first Iran uprising occurring under his administration? With the authorities, protecting his deal with them and not with freedom and liberty for the people living under those conservative religious governments.

Even now media is still covering for Obama's poor choices. They're purposefully mischaracterizing the uprising as economic and not as political even as propaganda posters are being torn down and chants of death to the mullahs are recorded.

Trump is on a roll. His administration jumped at the chance to throw its support behind the protestors. He and his administration are for freedom. Day one Secretary Tillerson transmitted support for Iranian protests. His statement here.
The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.
Donald Trump speaks on this through his Twitter account:

* Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests

[The comments to this post over on Twitter are ridiculous. They rush to be insanely ridiculous before sensible people chime in their support. Then they pre-denigrate the support sure to follow. The left shows they're truly insane. They always manage the first words with nothing to contribute except for their intense inflexible hatred. They are not for freedom. They detest liberty. And they say so.]

* The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most....

Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. The world is watching!

[Two videos are included of Trump speaking for the general assembly at the U.N.]

I had an unusual insight just now only vaguely related. This came up as I was studying translations of the second Semneh stela under Sesostris III. Maybe I'll show it later. The guy brags about his achievement, stating facts as he knows them. In his mind not bragging. Like Walter Brennen, no brag, just fact. First all his titles, and then his accomplishments, establishing a border beyond the one set by his majesty, added to what was given him, he is a king who speaks and acts, he makes happen the things that he thinks. He doesn't sleep. He anticipates his inferiors. He's merciless to his enemies who attack him. He tore up his enemies and destroyed the places where they live.

And Trump does the same thing mixed in with his positions on everything.

Before and after these position statements on protests in Iran are retweets about ISIS being slaughtered, people discovering the new tax plan benefits them, the Post Office being played by Amazon, the United States southern border and linking the wall with DACA to get movement from Democrat leadership, then more on his pre-growth taxes lifted from corporations that invite them to bring their investments here. He behaves like a pharaoh and his stone is chiseled on Twitter. And these pronouncements on Iran protests have very serious affects on both protestors and on Iran leadership. And on Democrats who cannot stand the comparisons. They really do have the attention of the whole world all at once. Everyone must take some kind of position. And Democrat writers make their positions very clear immediately, fastest of all, rather obsessively, in comments to Trump over on Twitter and elsewhere as they cover this news. They are not in support of freedom elsewhere. There is nothing in it for them.

WKRLEM Hop Sing on culture

Sometimes you just want it to be about you.

SJWs, NYT, choptsicks

The issue has to do with food stylists and food photography. 

Noticed first at Instapundit where their own favorite framing is "Leftist Autophagy" because Ed and Glenn like using words for repeated themes that their readers must look up. SJWs Melt Down Over “Racist” New York Times Chopsticks Photo. The revolution eats its own – while haggling over the inherent racism of the “wrong” chopsticks placement.

Nobody melted down. Nobody ate their own. They simply pointed out the thing that is wrong, as you do, knowledgeable to unknowledgeable. It's how we grow.

Then Breitbart: ‘New York Times’ Criticized for ‘Cultural Insensitivity’ with Chopsticks Photo in Restaurant Review.

And other places as well. The story is indicative of a presumed slow burning culture war.

Another PJ media writer characterized it as 'first world problem." 

Right side commenters to the articles about this have no patience for any of it. Their reaction to the Leftish reaction to the photo is hostile.

The Twitter remarks commenting on the photograph all seemed sensible to me. That is, although they're being harshly criticized for being so anal retentive, it really is silly placement of chopsticks. It's actually funny. I'm an old man. As such I see young people do stupid things all the time and it's funny when it's coming from inexperience. Young people without world knowledge but doing things slightly beyond their reach crack me up because their mistakes come from not knowing. It's one reason why young people are so delightful and so endearing. Young people teaching other young people is endearing. Not annoying.

It's why the people at the tattoo shop who put up the sign in Five Points, Denver, "Proudly gentrifying the neighborhood since 2015" were so immediately funny. They were saying their tattoo shop classes up the whole neighborhood (it doesn't, because it cannot). It's just so stupid. The kind that comes from inexperience. They didn't know the word "gentrifying" is so touchy. They don't know it's a charge that applies to white people. Plus just imagining themselves gentrifying anything is itself very funny. 

Same thing with these chopsticks. You don't just poke the chopstick anywhere willy nilly wherever you think two angular sticks will help your composition. Whoever did this layout never used chopsticks. Most likely but not necessarily a young person. And it's funny. 

And that's all that it is. Funny. Pure and simple. There is nothing SJW about it. And learning what's wrong with the photo is part of growing up. To defend by saying that it's Asian inspired compounds the ridiculousness because Asian is too broad an inspiration and it is not inspired. 

Why would the food stylist arrange the sticks as jabbing Vs? Why would they place a pair of chopsticks on a steak? Chopsticks are not held like that and they're not placed like that for service nor during use. A single diner wouldn't use two pairs of chopsticks in any one meal. It's a ridiculous arrangement set up by a child. And knowing that it comes from not knowing is funny. 

This is what the food stylist was thinking:

Let's become food stylists ourselves and analyze the photo. Come on, for fun.

With my own photos in mind, I get bummed out when all the food is brown and the photo has insufficient color. I'm tempted to toss in something colorful simply for color. Those sepia-like photos, or monotone photos are not interesting. My chief critique here is with color. This is two-tone, brown and dull red and it is not an interesting photo. It is not an interesting meal.

The composition is fine. The trapezoid shape on the diagonal with the red seating around it is excellent. The circles and ovals set amid geometric angles is fine. The odd number count of items is fine, five steamed buns, three tamale-looking things is fine. The point of view from standing well above the table, higher than a tall man, gets in all the food items along with the bamboo steamers along with the seating, but not all of the table, and all the food items are in focus. All of that is fine.

Maybe lower would be better, with p.o.v of a seated diner, or the view of a waiter, with some of the items out of focus and with more of the food filling the frame and less of the bamboo steamers and seating. 

It does not look like an interesting meal and it does not look like anything I'd get in a Japanese or Chinese or Korean or Vietnamese restaurant. Their steaks are served pre-sliced because... chopsticks. And it will never be a single unadorned steak on a plate. There will always be something else to make the presentation on the plate interesting, a single slab of meat is just so American, if only slivers of green onion cut on the diagonal, or a mushroom, or a tuft of microgreens. Asian-inspired food is more picturesque than this. It's more colorful. It's served that way so no food stylizing is necessary.

I can prove it. 

On my own site, a short happy trip to Domo Restaurant a few blocks away. This is becoming a standard Denver go-to destination due to the owners interest in authentic Japanese farmhouse style and his interest in classical Japanese gardening. His discipline is from running the dojo and his employees are trained accordingly. This is what Japanese inspired food really looks like. There is no photographic food styling here. It comes pre-styled. It's how they prepare it and it's how they set the table. Not me.

My own at home. Sixty-two photos follow.

Sunrise on New Year's eve eve

Interestingly enough, at least to me, is that I took one picture of this sunrise, emailed it to myself, took a second picture, emailed that one, then when I glanced back up to see how the scene was progressing, bam, it was gone. Just like that. In seconds it had turned into overcast with no interesting light or colors. Even a minute before the sun shone under the clouds it was dull, and a minute later it was dull again. I might as well have been photographing the moonrise at Hernandez New Mexico. Take that, Ansel!

This is the barcarolle, or, if you prefer, barcarola from Jacques Offenbach-earlier's Tales of Hoffman. The musical form is based on the songs sung by Venetian gondoliers, and, at least for me, it has a rolling nature, going with the flow, as it were, paddling right along, no fuss, no muss.

I hope everyone's day is on a similar roll - it will be above freezing here today, I guess some of that Rocky Mountain heat has drifted east, so I hope to get some work done. Work is good.

Trump invites Coast Guard to play golf

This is the shortest video of this event. The other copies on YouTube have news readers messing it up.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Beef broth from roasted bones

A very long time ago I watched Julia Child on PBS make French Onion soup. I was twenty years old and interested in cooking but it was all a mystery to me. I cannot find the segment on YouTube or I'd show it and all the other related videos do not compare with what I saw back then. It startled me, actually.

She took bones of the sort that I'd buy for my dog then roasted them on high for an hour. The bones drained part of their marrow onto the tray and everything stuck to the tray was deglazed with red wine.

Those tiny bits formed black dots that stayed suspended in the broth similar to black pepper but intensely flavorful and to me they became the mark that distinguished authentic French Onion soup prepared in the manner of French peasants. Onions. The dumbest and cheapest of all possible vegetables paired with bones that you give to your dog brought to the height of culinary possibility with toasted bread and Swiss cheese.

No black dots, no authenticity.

All of the other French onion soup videos treat the beef broth as afterthought. They all use commercial broth just dumped in unceremoniously. (My sister was so proud of her recipe but I stopped listening after she mentioned a package of Lipton's French onion soup.)

There used to be a French restaurant in Denver downtown that served soup made this way along with other things prepared authentically but it's gone now and I've tried to find a replacement but failed. No black dots. Or some other shortcoming, so I'm perpetually disappointed.

None of the videos for French Onion soup mention starting by making your own beef broth. It's not so easy to find excellent beef broth. Most is made from a concentrate and you really can tell the difference. Nothing compares to the original something from nothing version.

All of the beef broth from bones videos show long simmering of bones, for hours, either previously roasted for intensified flavor and color, or not roasted, but I believe this can be done under pressure in 1/3 the time. I think that because I do this with chicken bones. The larger bones are broken open with pliers specifically for the kitchen.

I fell in love with the cook in this video by noticing her playful voices as she demonstrates a simple process. None of the women I know have ever done this. If asked, I would say playful voices is mostly a guy thing. A male form of silliness. Not 100% true, but generally. Seeing her goofing around this way while talking about something serious but mundane and uninteresting makes me like her more automatically. She and I would hit it right off. Because of her silliness. She's not afraid of being perceived as a silly person. That doesn't stop her from having fun in tasks that are otherwise drudgery.

And top score for the ecru lace top paired with dull olive green sweater.

Here she is again, Camile promoting her book, Paleogasm. 

Paleogasm does not come in hardcover. It's Kindle version gets a bad mark in Amazon's ratings and it's "Look Inside" feature shows only the boring beginning stuff that does not help people such as yourselves. The available photos look interesting while not looking paleo at all. There are a lot of baked things and a lot of grain, so without actually reading it I don't know what she is doing. I'm tempted to buy it just to flip through it.

Comments on YouTube to the first video are distressing. One senses by way of reading the comments that these paleo diet freaks are real cave-people. They're rude, terse, abrupt, presumptuous and they ask incredibly stupid questions. 

Hillary knitting

Vanity Fair wrote Hillary should take up a hobby like knitting.

I don't know who wrote it. I don't care. I don't know the context. Cannot be bothered. It's just that I saw this item headlined at five places, didn't read any of them, and I don't care about Hillary Clinton beyond her satire value, and I think it's funny that she still has followers and they actually read things about her and they get mad at the suggestion she should take up a hobby. That's funny. Touchy bunch.

I need a picture of Hillary looking down. And I need a picture of an old woman knitting.

When I looked for those I saw someone already Photoshopped Hillary onto an old woman knitting. The source pic for the knitter even shows on the same search results page. You can see the original knitting woman. Can't use that Photoshop. Wouldn't be fair. I have to do it myself. I notice also genuine knitters have already knitted up Hillary Clinton dolls and knitted Trump dolls come up on the same search.

People actually do that.

You can buy the knitted dolls on Etsy if you'd like one. Maybe as a joke. To throw around. Possibly for the dog to retrieve.

Overheard at Lem's

Ampersand said: This experience is why I would like to to take an axe to anyone espousing global warming.

Well, that's rather harsh.

Ampersand is talking about an uncomfortable wait for a tow at a gas station on Christmas Eve during a blizzard.

The subject came up because the weather the northeast is having now.

And that reminds me of what Trump said just now. It's top of his Twitter account presently. Although what Trump said is not harsh, he manages to provoke the worst in his detractors. The worst. Again. And that is what makes his Twitter account so hilarious when it's not being mundane and anodyne and self-congratulating. There is an art to his provocations, a real art. He has their number, he knows their buttons and he stands there and push, push, push, push, pushes their buttons and the effect on them is pure entertainment to watch. Trump is like the Honey Badger video. He doesn't give a shit. He doesn't care. This is a first for us. A new thing in our lives. We've never had a president who makes us laugh so much.

I love dropping by my one-time favorite British satire site, now ruined by Trump-related dementia and dropping an American turd to their hapless parodies on American politics. "Trump lives in your head. Trump owns you. And you've nothing to say except 'Hitler' and 'orange.' He's not even your president and you flounce."

If you click on the Tweet and see the responses you see Trump is in his own league apart from his detractors. Every single hater imagining themselves so splendidly well informed with received wisdom and much better than their president sounds slow as a tree sloth by comparison. They simply have nothing to say except "Hitler" and "orange," nothing but stock responses, yet Trump lives in their heads all through the day and haunts their dreams through the night. And it is hilarious.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

I don't like it

How cold is it? It's so cold I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets.

I hope that wherever you are you are managing to stay warm. 

Maybe some music that suggests the tropics will help.

7 pressure cookers meal

By YouTube member Rick Mammana and his wife, presumably.

They blow a fuse.

They're funny. And they're cute together.

At the end when they plate what they pressure-cooked and have their dinner together they don't mention the blueberries that they moved to the porch. And a few things don't make much sense done this way but they did it anyway. The blueberries for example, it's unclear why they did that in two stages and why they used pressure at all. In fact, why do any of that to blueberries?

Seems no advantage to use pressure on blueberries, or even to cook them, and another with beans that are already cooked under pressure when tinned.

They have another video where they show using eight pressure pots at once.

I watched a hundred such videos. Okay, fine, possibly ten videos. Surprising and a bit dismaying how many people serve their own dinners on paper plates. One used paper plates as their cutting board. Life as a picnic.

Through all this I'm learning people really don't like to cook. Or their conceptualization of cooking involves prepared ingredients. So much is like the Deplorable Cookbook. They use frozen and tinned prepared ingredients where fresh and basics are available. And Americans avoid making dough. There is a strong flour aversion across America. They buy prepared bread dough, prepared pizza dough, prepared pie dough even for chicken and dumplings, prepared puff pastry and they never make their own pasta. Even prepared biscuit mixes, brownie mixes, cake and cookie biscuit and cornmeal mixes.

I must have gone through a get back to basics phase that had a permanent affect. Whenever someone opened a package I imagined what it is they're avoiding and contrast that with what they're accepting. If you open a package of frozen vegetables for your chicken a la king then why not buy a container of chicken a la king? If you prepare biscuits from a package then blend the biscuits into your chicken a la king so they disappear and make the mixture thicker, much thicker, gloppy actually, then why not just blend flour into your chicken a la king?

Watching them so much causes more questions than watching them answers. I don't have any questions for them to answer, so it becomes all questions generated by watching, like "Why are you doing it this way? Why so heavily reliant on industrialized ingredients? Oh! Because you don't know where they come from. You don't know what simple things the manufacturers did to the basic ingredients you have on hand. All that double packaging and printing and marketing doesn't bother you. It's literally beyond your comprehension how to make and roll out pasta so you cut prepared pie shell dough instead. Then brag about saving pennies elsewhere. Their pressure pots speed up their process for them without making any other improvements like taking their style back to basics. I don't think they know what the basics are. And that explains why they use so many prepared spice combinations, spice mix for chicken, spice mix for fish, and so forth, a lot of extra little containers of spices and fewer of the spice basics.

The Instant Pots are available on Amazon again (while still sold out on Instant Pot site) so I had one sent to my niece. I hope she appreciates it. I've never seen her cook anything. But then, she is my sister's daughter and my sister likes to cook everything according to standard. Betty Crocker Cookbook standard, not NYT Cookbook standard, not Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking standard. One time I gave her a Faberware pan and she looked at me like, "Really, a pan?" I looked at her back like, "Yes, a pan." Then a year later she called me to say that she uses the pan everyday and went on to say why she likes it.

And that makes her to think about me affectionately every single day for the last thirty-five years. She said that.

So buying these pots as gifts is totally self-interested.

Jim Jordan, Representative Ohio 4th District

Wrestling is gay.

In my last High School their P.E. class was the best of the lot. All the previous schools had P.E. but they all spent inordinate time with specific sports while the very last school spent two weeks per sport so if there was one that you didn't like, no worries, you'd be off it in two weeks. Baseball, football, basketball, blah. And it was the best equipped school of all. They had an olympic size pool, tennis courts, race track, basketball court, football field. We were exposed to golf, lacrosse, volley ball, gymnastics, even rifle shooting. And I learned the thing about wrestling is you're equally matched strength for strength so you wear out in mere minutes. It's like isometrics. Whatever you do, your strength is equalled exactly. Boom, you're done in nothing flat. It's exhausting. 

And it had been years since my older brother trained me. I wasn't ready. 

Had Barry kept wrestling with me then I'd have been more prepared. 

He used to beat me up regularly. Pinned me down and taunted me. He'd laugh as he overpowered me. It was humiliating. Every single day he'd push me around and physically dominate me and laugh as he did it and it pissed me right off with his physical superiority and his superior wrestling knowledge.

And then one day I thought, the key here is his laughing. I must make a point to do that. So that day I did laugh as we wrestled and that threw him off his game. Plus all that wrestling strengthened me. I copied what he did. He'd pin me down and hover over my face work up some slimy spit and dangle it over my face then suck it back in his mouth at the last second. Then laugh at me being tortured. Taunting me with his spit globs and laughing. 

That day I pinned him, laughed at him, and dangled spit over his face then sucked it back in. Over and over, laughing tauntingly the whole time.

And that was the end of that. 

No more wrestling. 


I was cut off. Because I could beat him. Because of that, no more wresting. His ego couldn't take being beaten. I only beat him once. And that was the end. And I missed it.

And that absence showed later in High School during those two weeks of wrestling. It wasn't fun. It was exhausting. And there was no laughing and no spit glob dangling. 

That whole spit thing was Barry's invention. Not mine.

What a creep.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Please Dr Casey

"There is no way this can be correct."
"I am afraid that is right. I know you might find it hard to believe but the paperwork doesn't lie."
"It's simply impossible. No way Jose. Or Pedro. Or whatever the fuck your name is. It is just not possible."
"I am telling you it is correct senor. You order a pastrami on rye with mayonnaise. It says it right here."
"Do I look like a rube to you. A yokel. DO I LOOK LIKE I COME FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!"
"No then you would have ordered it with cheese."

The Summer of Boo Boo

Mama was very worried about Brother Bear. He had been acting out. She tried to smother him with attention but she was much too close to him. She overwhelmed him and he had to rebel to establish his own identity.

He started hanging out with the black bears. Most of the bears in Jellystone didn't associate with them very much. It was a very segregated national park. They had their own section of the forest where it was worth your life to visit. But strangely they accepted Brother Bear even though he was Jewish.

He started dating a young bear named Aretha. She had a great singing voice but she really liked to party. She introduced Brother to pot and H and soul music. He was never the same. He just wanted to party and fuck all the time. Aretha moved to a zoo in Ferguson Missouri and Brother was devastated. He tried to pick up other chicks but when he was rejected he was savage.

The problem was that he just didn't burn down a liquor store or turn over garbage cans. He would kill young female campers with long brown hair.

It was the Summer of Boo Boo.

(Stan and Jan Berenstain "Son of Boo Boo", The E True Hollywood Story of the Berenstain Bears) 

Holy Passage of Time did Robin lose his teeth?

The rumor is that it was an accident with the bat pole. So to speak.

Jellystone CSI

We never knew what happened to all of those young hikers who disappeared in Jellystone. They would come and visit with Yogi and Boo Boo and of course Smokey who had a condo here.

They would come and see the sites and go off on a hike and where never heard from again. At first we suspected Yogi who as you all know was a crack addict and a big time pussy hound. But he was in the can when the last victim was found. And she was a lesbian so we knew she wasn't Yogi's kind of poontang. She was the first one we found who wasn't a charred bag of bones buried deep in the forest. She was found spread eagled over a campfire with the lanyard from a campaign hat wrapped around her neck.

So we turned our investigation towards Smokey.

(Jellystone CSI, Memories of a Park Ranger Forensic Scientist, Penguin Press 2009)

Historic White House Jackson Magnolia tree to be cut down

Images by lens

My question is, what is your favorite lens, so that's what I asked. Search results provided several specific answers that I wasn't interested in, best for portrait, best for landscape, best for video, and the like. Then this page; images by lens, Nikon.

Immediately I'm struck with a certain style. Mostly indoors but not entirely, mostly dark with one or two sources of light, mostly children. The same children, and the same dogs. A woman is documenting her children and her home and all of her photographs are fantastic.

It turns out the lens is fixed focus and it is wide angle, so a bit of a fish-eye bulge in the lens. It has a deep depth of field, that means most everything is in focus unless the f-stop is wide open and the subject is close.

I have a wide angle and it takes incredibly sharp photographs and it can take very close shots. Just yesterday I was using my favorite lens, a macro, also fixed, that has a knack for making inanimate objects like food appear sexy. But close shots and wide open it has a very shallow depth of field. Yesterday I wanted all the latkes in focus and that's not so easy to do with this lens so I switched to large wide angle and even close up it gets everything on the board in focus, even to within a few inches. I actually smeared sour cream on the lens by getting too close. I forgot how much it sticks out. while just a few inches back the lens will sweep in the entire room, the refrigerator on one side, the counter on the other, the front door and myself holding the camera. It's a very tricky lens to use close up.

On this page I can go down the columns of photographs and pick out the ones this woman took using her 24mm 1.4 wide angle lens. And her style made me fall in love with the lens. Her eye is excellent. Now I want one. Just because of her photographs. Each photo is incredibly sharp and with outstanding color. The surrounding architecture is very nice. Finally I found one with two dogs and a dirty floor. I was beginning to think she vacuumed and dusted every day because the photos of her children and her home are too perfect.

Here is the lens.

Now, you can say that's too much for a lens but here's the thing, you don't have to buy them brand new. There are always people getting out of the business. People who find they don't use them. People who'd rather have the cash than the lens. People who received them as gifts. Looking at Amazon's list of used ones the least expensive have tiny cosmetic blemishes. Those lenses are nearly half the cost of new. While other barely used lenses are like brand new. For some reason hardly used at all, for a few hundred dollars over half the cost of new. So you can find deals if you're not so fussy about always having brand new.


I'm reading about pineapples and learned a few things. First, the bumps on a pineapple are separate berries. They make a bunch of flowers that are pollinated by either hummingbirds in daytime or by bats at night. The separate berries coalesce to a unified fruit.

Wikipedia says they will not ripen once they are cut and they're very perishable. If stored at room temperature then they should be used within two days. If refrigerated then up to five days.

I did not know that. I have one sitting around for a week. I stopped reading and went right over and cut it up. And man, is it ever good. That was close. One more day and it would be too soft and smelling like alcohol.

880 recipes for fresh pineapple.  Basically, pineapple goes with everything.

Tomorrow my new thing will be three kielbasa sausages cooked slowly on low for hours, one pineapple and one small napa cabbage added the last 30 minutes.

In Denver our grocery stores do not have a very good selection of sausages. It's the same stuff over and over, Italian sausage, mild, medium and hot, bratwurst, and chorizo.  Oliver's on 7th makes interesting sausages, but they get into duck and blueberries and such. And Whole Foods has some interesting things, smoked sausages and the like. Compared to all that the pre-packaged kielbasas are excellent. And they're so loaded with spices their flavor can be dispersed throughout a few cups of water with no loss. Then the  sausages cooked further (they're cooked to begin with) and resulting broth are both excellent. And now I will make them with pineapple in place of potato. Just to have them around and munch on throughout the day. I realized two kielbasas are not enough. They go too quickly.

This page on Thinglish Lifestyle is charming. The man says he can buy one small pineapple plant for 2 Baht (6¢) and a local farmer sells each pineapple for 25 Baht (76¢). He bought 55 pineapple plants for 100 Baht ($3.05) He's going to plant a few hundred more to keep out stray dogs. He says that pineapples grow everywhere. But not if you live in a cold place (Unlucky!)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

radio controlled hummingbird

A new morning

Sunrise, 12/26/2017.

 Down south, in the land of the pine. An obscure Dylan tune.


These figures appeared in late 17th century in Catalan and environs. Wikipedia explains them in detail. Here is image search showing a full array. Here is a caganer store where the figures are sold for $19.00 each. They're also sold on Amazon. However they're described they're foremost testament that on Earth, everything sacred comes tainted with the profane, an impulse, a fact of material life, that cannot be avoided or resisted.

The Catalan pessebre, their nativity, is more extensive than mere creche, encompassing the whole town of Bethlehem and surrounding pastures including women doing ordinary things and shepherds waking with gifts, so this figure can be tucked into the scene and hidden. So along with angels singing the glory of God actually bestowing himself on Earth in a scene of high spiritual aspiration, an anachronistic figure is included having a poo, joking, now that God is on Earth and one of us, he too must deal with that residual portion.

One of the sites describing the shops selling these figures wrote, this time of year business really piles up.

Monday, December 25, 2017

pop up cards from Rockefeller Center

Apparently pop ups are very popular...

One more before this beautiful day ends

I hope everyone had a great day - mine was wonderful - good food, good friends, safe travels.

One more, by request - the crew plays a Stephen Foster lullaby:

And, many hours after the fact, Christmas sunrise here:

Gifted Knowledge...

click to enlarge

...where knowledge seeps in:

WKRLEM: Christmas Quickies


Potato pancakes.

The videos pretty much all say the same thing. They take a simple process and make it more difficult. Chef Bart messes his whole kitchen with bowls for everything separately, another video a 91 year old woman and her 70 year old son make them together. She puts the shredded potato in a 1/4 cup and he dumps them into the oil. A third says we're doing them all wrong by squeezing out the water from the potatoes, but she doesn't add any egg or onion. Oh yeah? Well your video has an annoying drumbeat through the whole thing, and that's doing a video all wrong. But she does use her processor twice, once to shred them, then again with the blades to slice the shreds for the right texture.

I didn't know that. I thought the hay-like texture was desirable. I never had these made by somebody else. My mother made potato pancakes from leftover mashed potatoes. Actually, she has good ideas and her potato pancakes look very good.

The Jewish recipes call for matzo. That's crumbs from ground up unleavened crackers. With eggs, and with residual potato starch, they're going for a paste to hold them together. Otherwise the latkes would be ordinary hashed browns. They're aiming for a crispy exterior and creamy interior.

I can use my cracker crumbs made from crackers. Breadsticks, actually. The sourdough ones are too thick and too heavy. I don't like them as breadsticks so I ground them to powder and crumbs. They're flavored with top hard cheese and with top bacon and with chipotle. Shame to throw them away. They will work very well for these pancakes in place of matzo.  But they cannot be considered Jewish. They're not kosher.

A woman grinds up vitamin C tablets for acid to keep the potatoes from oxidizing. Another uses lemon. Another uses vinegar. Seems any acid will do, cream of tartar, and I have two forms of powdered acid used for cheese-making, citric acid also used for flavoring, and acetic acid -- vinegar. I alway thought that was funny, like saying acid-acid.

Whatever. Seems as many approaches as there are cooks. My goal would be use as few bowls as possible. I don't like washing dishes.

But here's the thing. The people in the videos say, "Some people like them with sour cream and other people like them with applesauce."

Come on. Reach a little. You have a starch base, a platform, like an English muffin or like a bagel. A pile of rice, or mashed parsnip, to carry some flavorful component. One quick video that flies through the process ends with hands reaching in and taking these latkes revealing their text description and a whole world of ideas opens like magic.

Ha. They don't have shrimp and they don't have bacon. No sandwich ham. 

This whole board looks fantastic.

A good start. Any cheese would be great. 

The basil leaf and the sage leaf look great. While any herb will work equally well. All those leafy herbs (except bay) will work. I'm developing a real fondness for tarragon. And fennel and its fronds are both very nice. Celery and celery leaves work very well. And all of those micro greens too. Cucumber and cherry tomato. 

Harissa is a thick chile paste, and halumi is an unripened cheese with a high melting point that can be fried or grilled. Their sour cream and their smoked salmon both have capers on top. For salty dots. The cooks were thinking not so much what goes on potato, rather, what goes on hors d'oeuvre. 

I don't see any olives. 

Ever make your own applesauce? It's terribly difficult. Peeled apples into a processor, braaaaap. Done. Add a little lime to keep it fresh-looking. And you get to choose which apples to use.

Since applesauce is standard, then, thinking of the potato latke as toast, then any jam or preserve will work equally well.

Well, here's lunch sorted. 

BBC One, Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas!

Music has always been an important part of Christmas for me, and this piece sums up the day better than any other I know:

Merry Christmas to us, one and all.

Addendum, where better to include a carol:

Sunday, December 24, 2017

WKRLEM: Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve Sunrise

Sunrise this morning:

A friend posted this then asked us to guess which character she identified with: 

I knew right off the bat which one she was, then she wanted to know which one represented me. Why, Schroeder, of course - in fact I once played "Linus and Lucy" as the recessional at a friend's wedding. Totally Schroeder. 

Belly up to the bar and tell us which character best represents you, if only for this morning.

Lab teaches ...

YouTube suggests "... puppies to swim." Seven minutes of puppy exploration and bravery. We have a glimpse of a photographer, so there are two photographers. I'm imagining the dad lab returning to the handlers in passing occasionally for a reassuring pat on the head.

Mattis tells soldiers to be ready to go to war with North Korea


Details at The Daily Caller.

wrapping gifts

Insty linked to the Federalist, The Man's Guide to Wrapping Christmas Presents. It's disjointed, unhelpful and wrong. The whole thing is just nonsense.

Similarly, various sites ran a piece titled, Gift Wrap or Tape in 1 Hour, How Amazon Aids Procrastinators. An article about late shoppers. I've seen this several places.

I like the Japanese approach to gift wrapping. It's similar to their idea about fences. Packaging is not so much to disguise a gift or contain it, as architectural fences are not so much to keep things in or out, rather, to block things from sight, provide a background for landscaping, or to direct the eye. You don't try to conceal a bottle of wine, or fake out the recipient by a watch packaged in a large box. Often the gift is in plain sight.

Once I accepted this it made wrapping a lot easier and more attractive. And useful besides. One Christmas I had three gatherings to attend in a row and among the various gifts were CD music recordings. There were four and I had in mind which ones to give to specific people. I cut a hole in the paper to expose a key portion of the CD printing, some photo on the front or the back to identify the music. When I got to the first party the recipient chose the CD intended for the fourth. It turns out I didn't get any of them right. All four chose a different CD than the one I intended for them. A serious old man chose Devo intended for a light hearted girl. Imagine that. And that taught me, I don't know anything.

Japanese use different materials, various weights of paper and cardboard, metal foils, screens, actual window screens, cardboard, thick serious ribbons, raffia, rice plants and wheat and such, string, cord, rope. Bands of paper as belts, double sided paper with different colors. They use extra paper and pleat it. They use fabric.

Their philosophy differs somewhat. In the west we'll buy an expensive watch or jewelry with its own thoughtful felt-lined box, for the manufacturers know presentation is everything, then wrap that in cheap thin thoughtless paper. In Japan the wrapping is sometimes more costly and thoughtful than the gift.

You'll notice their approach is oblique. They'll make sure they have enough paper to cover a box and to wrap it straight on, then fold on the diagonal instead. I think this comes from wrapping in silk, and having the corners to tie for a handle.

I've given this book away to women five times. (And never wrapped it once.) They'd see it at my desk and thumb through it, tell me how interesting it is, then I'd say, "keep it." They couldn't believe getting the book was so easy as saying they liked it. Women love this book.

You can buy used hard cover from $3.00, or new for $15.00.

The stiff colored cord is called mizuhiki. It's a strip of starched paper rolled to a cord. You buy them in packages of 20 or so in different colors and metallics. Amazon, Mizuhiki.

Japanese wrapping in fabric is called furoshiki. There is a very broad selection of printed fabrics available in various sizes. Some are plain single color, others are gradients, and other are full-on prints. The fabrics themselves make excellent gifts. Amazon furoshiki. These are about $10.00 each for fabrics 19 inches square.

It's a cat looking at the Milky Way.

The larger ones made from silk and kimono material and design get rather expensive.

I should mention, the silk scarves that I sent to Alona were snatched by her two boys who ran around the house with them like wings. They spread them out on the floor and laid themselves on them. They wanted silk scarves for themselves. They just really liked the feel of the fabric on their skin and the way it floats in the air. 

This video shows three ways to wrap a bottle or bottles, while the technique is also used to make backpacks and purses. There are a lot more videos for those.

I used the book mentioned above to wrap presents ever since I bought it. It completely changed my wrapping approach.

One year I went down into Gerkens Religious Supply on Santa Fe at 12th in Denver. Now very near to where I currently live. The place is trippy. An actual excursion. When you enter you see mostly clothing. From clerical vestments to dresses for girl's quinceañera. Most items are Catholic. Religious icons on the wall and weird things that I don't even know the purpose. Then the back room has all the items used in churches. It's completely packed with votives, prayer cards and crucifixion statues that go over an altar. I bought frankincense and myrrh and I bought incredibly long real beeswax tapers.

Not colored wax decorative tapers. Serious church tapers. That smell like a wax factory.

I wrapped two tapers together using ideas derived from the book. Very heavy handmade paper that I used for my art, to frame the plasters against black mat, with visible fibers and ragged fuzzy torn edges, instead of papyrus, which is clumsy by comparison. But just a broad band of that very heavy fiber white paper holding two candles together. Then another paper for thinner colored band. Like a belt. An obi. Then raffia tied as rough cord with scraggly ends, then some kind of dried plant that looks like miniature cattails purchased from Hobby Lobby.

The problem was, later, when I went to the homes of the people I gave the candles to, they liked the wrapping so much they never used the candles. They just kept the candles and wrapping as home decoration. My own parents did this. They never did use the candles. Years later they died and the candles were still there wrapped as they were given. Other homes still have their candles.

What a bummer. They're really cool candles too. I bought a whole box of the longest candles that Gerkens sells and gave them all away. All wrapped the same way.

And the frankincense is the best. It's the actual incense used in churches. I still have the leftover from that. It looks like little gold stones. And it smells like church. I packaged that inside red Christmas tree bulbs and included a package of charcoal incense burner starters. They're black charcoal discs that spark to get started packaged like large lifesavers. People burned that up all over town. Even in bars. (I gave one to a bartender) They were fascinated to learn what frankincense smells like after all those years of not knowing, Even my dad. He behaved like a boy with a new toy. One of life's mysteries solved.