Saturday, March 10, 2018


I learned this from a box of bowls on eBay.

These are actually a very good deal on eBay. The best, I think. So I drew it on a cell phone app and that said the kanji means bowl, vessel, container, and gave a bunch of variations. Then I looked up "bowl" in kanji online and they show 1/4 of this, just one box with a horizontal line over it and one connecting slanted roof. With a bunch of combinations, like porcelain bowl, rice bowl, etc. And that made me think maybe the four-squares version means a set of 4 bowls, but the app does not confirm that. Confusing innit.

All these things come in fancy-pants boxes and I have no need for those. It's a bummer throwing them away and a bummer storing them. Knives, and bowls, and dishes and such. I think they're intended for storage, and as gifts, and shipping. Or to make you think, "hey man, I'm really getting something." 

Bread knife on sale 45% off

Eh. It wasn't expensive to begin with, so not a big deal. Was $22.61 now it's $12.45. It's rated very highly but looking more closely and starting with the 1 star, turns out the reviews are for all Mercer knives, not just this one. High-carbon Japanese steel. That means hand-washing and drying to prevent rust.

Sixty grit said not to mention unless it's a bread knife because that's the only knife that he uses. So, here you go, 10" bread knife.

Know what I bought instead? Four glass mugs that are mason jars with handles. They come with things I don't care about. Lids with holes in the center with straws that fit. Were $35.00 for 4 mugs, now $9.17. So I bought 8. I just now realized these are the small ones.

Want to hear something stupid?

I use these jars all the time. The kind without handles. My friends think this is odd and they queried me extensively. The thing is, I drop a lot of things and break them. That got them off my back about being so no-class. These 16oz size and 32oz size. For drinking and for storing, beans, dried corn, nuts, raisins, figs and the like. Two days ago I was using a 32oz for water, it was on the floor next to a chair, and I dropped my favorite Japanese bowl right on top of it breaking both the bowl and the jar. Glass and ceramic all over the place. And me barefooted.

The thing is I can buy a dozen quart size for $14.00. So breaking one here and there is no gigantic loss, but that was my favorite Japanese bowl. It had little dragonflies painted all over it. This one. Turns out, that too is most easily replaced through Amazon. EBay prices are all over the board. They're nuts.

Trump pardons sailor who took photograph of his work station

I misunderstood. I thought Trump sprang him from prison but the guy was already out. He was wearing an ankle bracelet and working. Now his record is cleared. His name is Kevin Saucier, pronounced like he's French, Saucy-yay. I really liked listening to him talk.

Stained glass kaleidoscopes

That's trippy.

That was seen 4 times on Reddit. A lot more of this sort of thing on YouTube. They'e all a little bit Steampunk.

Trampoline and water balloons

It's a beautiful thing.

Know what? Barry and I and James, these kids' father, could do back flips, and dare-devil forward flips. That's where you bend your neck backward instead of tucking in so that you'll break your neck if you landed before you can tuck and land on your shoulders. 

We taught ourselves, taught the whole neighborhood actually, by stretching a gardenhose across the top to use as a guide to flip around. Like a soft pole.

And we could send each other higher than we could go by ourselves by synchronizing and bouncing hard just before the sendee bounces, jabbing the top just inches from the spot the sendee will bounce, to lower the top a few inches just before it snaps back. It  helps the other guy get a deeper bounce and, ping, there you go a lot higher than you can by your own weight. 

We bounced so much and so hard we all ended up with backaches. Bad ones. There are only so many hours you can do this day after day, week after week, until your body breaks down from increased gravitational force. And that's what happened to all of us. 

I don't know about them, but I haven't had a backache since.

Jared Kushner quietly tackling Washington's swamp

Jared Kushner
Trump's son-in-law
Ivanka's husband

Forested wetland area

Jared the tackler

Shhh. Jared quietly tackles the swamp.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Nancy Pelosi, "I eat nails for breakfast and don a suit of armor" every day

A story on Daily Caller that I didn't read.

History in Reverse

Lately I have been immersed in Genealogy research for my family history and for my husband’s family as well.  It started when we both decided to do an Ancestry DNA test out of curiosity and discovered, to no one’s surprise that we are both basically similar Northern European derivation.  Mine being:  (In descending order) Welsh/Irish/Scottish/French/German/Scandinavian.   I have a bit of Iberian which I am assuming is from some suspected Basque/Welsh crossing.
Knowing some of our actual ancestors for three to four generations back, using hints and family lore (mostly wrong though), I started out trying to fill in the blanks and trace backwards from the present to the past.  It is fascinating.

It has also been instructive, in being a lesson of History in Reverse.  It turns out that our families, while having separate histories, are basically the story of the colonization of America, the story of the westward expansion in America.  Relatives who fought in many conflicts that shaped the Country.  The Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Cherokee Indian Wars, the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI and WW I, Korea, Vietnam.
The settlement of the colonies, early pioneers in crossing over the Appalachian Mountains into the unknown wilderness of what is now Tennessee, early colonization of the lowlands of the Carolinas, hardy settlers in colonial Vermont and Maine,  Welsh coal miners in Wyoming Territory, trekking West to settle in Oregon in the 1830’s, traveling from Germany to San Francisco by boat in the 1860’s,  Irish Potato Famine refugees…… all that and more are reflected in the history and lives of our ancestors.

Looking at the records of birth (lots of children!), deaths, marriages, military records, I am amazed at the perseverance, strength and hardiness of our ancestors.  Their trials and tribulations were astounding. It is amazing that they were even able to survive.    Many didn’t.  Especially the young children.

There are stories of persecution and persistence. I was finally able to trace my Quaker ancestors back to the earliest settlements in Vermont from England, and then to them moving onto Pennsylvania when it was founded, and then westward to Illinois where that branch of the family still lives and practices their Quaker religion (My Grandmother and her family descendants).

Reaching back beyond the settlement of the Colonies, I find the history of the key line that I was tracing in my family’s history being closely involved with the troubles in England with Cromwell and further back to the Normans invasion of England and Settlement in Scotland in the 1300’s .  Veitch or one of the various spellings. People weren’t so precise about spelling back then.

Yeah.  I know.  Cows. There is an explanation for that.

Here is a link to a story about the first Veitch to arrive in the New World from Scotland in 1651.   James (the Sherriffe) Veitch.   Talk about living in interesting times! 
Fascinating, instructive and humbling.   I am PROUD of my ancestors.  

In contemplating that this history of mine and my husbands, has all been performed by people of Irish, Scottish, French, German, Italian….WHITE people stock who settled and shaped America, I have this to say to those who want us to repent of our WHITENESS, to be ashamed of our European Heritage and who want us to grovel because of our WHITE  PRIVILEGE ……..Go Pound Sand.  We earned it!!. 
Other ethnic groups have also contributed to the shaping of America.  Blacks, Native Americans, Chinese, Japanese etc (too numerous to detail).  I do not discount their sufferings or contributions.

They earned it too.  They also should be proud of their heritage and their power in shaping what America is today.  HOWEVER,  their heritage doesn’t eclipse mine and mine doesn’t eclipse theirs.   They too can pound sand if they think otherwise..

Omurice in Kyoto

Eeeew, all the other examples are gross. An omelet made with rice and coated with catsup. Every time I make an omelet stuffed with something I feel the spirits of French chefs looking upon me with distain. Like a burrito with egg as the tortilla. But on the other hand, shut up, and quit haunting my kitchen. And Japanese do the same thing as I do, stuff the heck out of them.

This woman has some mad skills.

Japanese omelet is made with a rectangular pan. The pans are all rated poorly on Amazon except for the heavy copper one with tin lining. Also, people rate them down for the stupidest reasons, like, "I had an allergic reaction to something in the plastic bag when I opened it." 

I made this a couple of times last week using a round pan and it worked fine. And with the sauce, oh boy, did they ever taste good. I wrapped them in nori and scarfed them right up. Mine were too delicate and tended to fall apart. I don't know why I avoided this for so long.

You mix mirin or sugar and standard dashi with the egg. French chefs do not beat eggs with a whisk for scrambled eggs. It's too severe. The whisk breaks the proteins and makes the cooked eggs noticeably tougher in side-by-side comparison.

There are videos of Japanese cooks using half a dozen of these pans.

For sushi, the omelet is pressed in sushi rolling mat to make it more squared. Then cut into segments.

Being Japanese, they must take this idea to an extreme and automate the whole enterprise for volume. 

Tamogoyaki machine.

Defuse the peninsula

Fondant potatoes

Want to see something weird?

These are stats for another site that doesn't get all that much attention. It's a vanity project, actually. But it's been very helpful in teaching me my camera, lighting, settings, lenses and so forth, and now it's habitualized such that photography is part of cooking. This has been going on for a decade.

I saw a video on YouTube of a young man who took a picture of his meals for a full year. Such dedication to a project. He used his phone's camera. It went; hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger.

And that made me sad.

He was a student and didn't have time for anything else. Then I recalled my own situation as student and I did much better than that. I was learning to cook on my own. By watching Julia Child on Saturday and by reading books, by copying photographs, by going to other mature parties and dinners. I hosted dinner parties myself, sit down affairs with cocktails, courses, salads, entrees, bread, desserts, and wines. The whole nine yards. I thought, you know, impressive as this hamburger project is, I can do better than that. And I can use the site to direct people to who ask how things are done.

So the stats for the site vary wildly. They swing seasonably between 100 to over 1,000 views a day, so that's not very much.

See how it sticks out in the middle? 

Fondant means "melted." 

A potato is peeled and cut in half. Soaked to rid them of surface starch. They're fried on both flat sides and flavored with thyme. Chicken stock is added and they're baked until softened. 

*Whispers* They're not very good.

They could use a serious treatment of all the things that make baked potatoes great, sour cream, chopped scallion, bacon bits, whatever you like. 

But they sure are cute. Don't you think? They look like rooks.

CNN reaction to Kim extending invitation to talk and Trump accepting

Let's listen a moment, just a moment, and reaffirm why we don't bother with these people


Her experience is with Obama so she expects all presidents are like Obama. She's never encountered an entity like Trump. She's inhaled her own exhaust so long she cannot even think straight. 

Trump is already prepared. He's been prepared from before she was born. He's been dealing with maniacs his whole life. He knows what he is doing and Samantha Vinograd does not.

While we're at it, let's see how Lawrence is doing.

The Trump Photoshops had me curled up. Because he gave us those faces. He actually does make those faces in his speeches and that's why he is so entertaining. There has never been a candidate or president whom I watched so much. None ever held my interest like this. Because there are so many Trump faces recorded he's eminently Photoshoppable. It's a gift. To us. I wouldn't doubt if he puffs out his cheeks to imitate a fat person when talking to Kim. Or make explosion noises during their discussion. Just to freak him out.

I'm recalling a discussion a decade ago saying to deal with a madman like N. Korean leadership (this was before Un) you need another madman who is even more dangerous, even more unpredictable, and at least perceived as even more flighty, more unsteady. To bring the existential crisis. To take you right to the edge. Not fear it. Or else North Korea will continuously rely on the U.S. being reasonable. And that's what North Koreans have done. I lost that whole argument. The whole room shouted me down. And now we have leadership that everyone insists is quite mad. Too unreasonable to even be president. They reject him representing them. They still reject the whole thing. And yet so far his results speak for themselves. People like Samantha Vinograd refuse to let that sink in. Trump is 10X smarter than she is and 100X more accomplished. And that's fact. But she cannot see that. Her conceit does not allow it. She's still hanging on desperately to her preconceptions. Just like everyone else that I know IRL. That face making of Trump's is part of how he communicates. 

Elastic Face Competition. Compare:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Mad T.V., Lorraine

Harley Davidson responds to European Union threat of tariffs on its bikes

The article at Journal Sentinel intends to alarm and to slam Trump's talk about tariffs on steel and aluminum, but I do not think they appreciate how much they make Trump's case for him.

Trump said, "watch companies move their production to United States to take advantage of our market."

Here is Harley Davidson rather anti-Trump statement.
“Import tariffs on steel and aluminum will drive up costs for all products made with these raw materials, regardless of their origin. Additionally, a punitive, retaliatory tariff on Harley-Davidson motorcycles in any market would have a significant impact on our sales, our dealers, their suppliers and our customers in those markets."
It's axiomatic. Everyone knows, "tariffs bad."

The E.U. said the same thing when Bush attempted to place tariffs on imported steel. Bush folded. Trump isn't so easily intimidated. And global economies are different today. Go ahead and put tariffs on uniquely American products, peanut butter, Levi jeans, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, American whiskey. Silly Jean-Claude Juncker, Levi jeans are made in Asia. Harley-Davidson has a plant in India. American cotton is exported all over the world, and American peanut butter for you is like Vegemite for us. Get this going and your pharmaceuticals will suddenly double in cost and our fortunes-making market will get even tighter.

The world is saying this means tariff war. We already have that and America holds the shit-end of the sticks. Trump's opening salvo is his attempt to get the world to recognize that but there is so much built-in anti-Trump sentiment from everyone that awareness of markets tightened and closed to American products while our market is opened to theirs goes unrecognized.

Later in the article at Journal Sentinel, they go on to describe Harley-Davidson global activities, and what caused them.

India has a 100% tariff on large touring motorcycles. So Harley-Davidson built a plant there.

Thailand has a 60% tariff on large touring motorcycles, so Harley-Davidson is building a plant there.

There are plenty of non-tariff trade barriers against American products.

Things are changing in Japan. They did have restriction on licenses for large motorcycles. The licensee was required to pass a test that included riding across a balance beam. Only 2% of applicants passed the required test.

They did have a law against passengers on large motorcycles. But that law has been repealed.

The article goes further into discussion about Paul Ryan disagreeing with Trump and taking his complaints to Wilbur Ross who was receptive.
“We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan," said AshLee Strong, Ryan's spokeswoman. "The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don't want to jeopardize those gains.”
Not just regular worried. Extremely worried.

Trump sees American companies and American market in general being taken advantage of and he doesn't like what he sees. He has the power to make corrections, but all that is disruptive to existing trade agreements that lock in unfair trade practices. The article admits that companies build plants in countries where tariffs are outrageous to avoid the high cost of exporting to them. So those tariffs encouraged investment within the high tariff countries. Trump actually said this. But that's cold comfort to the companies struggling with the new interference by government making their resources more expensive and less competitive globally.

Trump is disrupting the global conglomerates, the global bankers, and the industry and commodity monopolists who control trade by controlling supply and by extensive lobbying legislators.
The president said he planned to move forward with special tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, contending the U.S. has long been “mistreated” in trade deals.
The rest of the article vitiates the  drama by describing Trump and his key advisors open to discussion and open to tweaks and specific exclusions while he makes his case about the existing unfairness to American producers and the importance to the world of the American market.


What does that term even mean?

I hear it tossed out by people to describe everyone they disagree with. They make up motives based on something they read about, or heard for themselves and miscomprehended then exaggerated and extended to characterize and then condemn. It's ridiculous.

I honestly considered Obama more Fascist than Trump because Obama distorted government departments to perform his own wishes. I'd bog down listing the examples that come to mind. To Obama government is everything, while to Trump government is something that needs watching and needs to be restricted. It does too much and is too overlapping and layered.

I associated Fascism with Mussolini so whatever he was is Fascism. Dictatorial. Suppressed opposition. Controlled industry and trade. Sort of like everyone forced to join Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts and CAP, ROTC, all the kids wearing military uniforms. A military structure of society, and everybody forced to think and act along the same lines.

Online in comments you'll always have some smartass tell everyone, no, that is not Fascism, then deliver some refined specific definition they learned in some class and insist that is the only proper definition.

Prager U.

And sure enough, here is our online smartass saying, no, that is not Fascism, this is.

Whereas Prager U produces short succinct informative videos that are helpful and correct, the online expert takes 23 minutes to be childishly contrarian and flatly wrong on every point, starting with his mischaracterization of Prager U and its funding. And it all comes through an islander isolated bizarre Australian accent that sounds perfectly retarded. I could withstand only a few minutes before my ears demanded I shut that shit off. 

Get glow sticks

My brother wrote saying his oldest son, now seven, wrote his first email and sent it to Dad.

"Please get glow sticks."

Aw, Bless.

That is so cute.

The boys got 300 water balloons, a toy that fills them all at once. When filled they slip off into a bucket. The boys put the water balloons on the trampoline and bounce them around. They also have larger balloons, and now they want them to glow.

Come to think of it, that does sound awesome. How innocent. We threw our water balloons at each other. That was the whole point of them.

So I sent them a couple hundred glow sticks. It's amazing what you can get on Amazon. They can do other things with them, make bracelets, balls, eye glasses, and the like. The kits come with little connectors to build various things.

Shannon Bream with Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions has stirred to life on two issues. First, he is challenging California on their new laws flaunting their status as sanctuary state. Second he is responding to Trey Gowdy's and Bob Goodlatte's demand for Special Counsel to examine FISA abuses.

First Sessions said the DOJ auditor will do. Then Gowdy and Goodlatte want somebody with authority to examine people beyond DOJ. Sessions said he already has someone from the judiciary who used to be DOJ. But now he is "thinking about" an independent investigator to satisfy Gowdy and Goodlatte.

The post at the Treehouse is about Jeff Sessions mentioning he already has someone outside of Washington looking into the FISA abuses. 

Comments over there are lengthy, as usual. Over half of them don't trust anymore. They're trying to parse Session's precise wording and extrapolate what all this means to the big picture. They're trying to mesh what they think that they know about Session's history. Others believe Sessions is building a gigantic case to spring all at once when the timing is right and his ducks all neatly lined up. Some believe all that we see is actually coordinated to appear spontaneous.  

I don't know what to think.

The corruption is so pervasive it actually characterizes Washington and our media. I doubt Sessions is building a a case that can come anywhere near genuine justice. That would mean the destruction of Washington and annihilation of Obama's legacy. I don't think he's up to that kind of creative destruction.

So, I'll wait and see what happens and what doesn't. Mostly, what doesn't. 

Then commenter Hopper Creek said,
This is the 11th hour before the hammer drops…..Trump is wielding the SWORD of Justice…  
God is separating the wheat from the chaff..Phew wheeee….
They're religious over there. And Alister responded, 
THOUGH the mills of God grind slowly, Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience he stands waiting, With exactness grinds he all.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  
In separating the wheat from the chaff, often God works things together for His good, in His time, not ours. Timing is important, I trust the key leaders working with our POTUS and AG all know this. And in case some swamp creatures slither out and the hand of justice does not bring them to account, keep in mind that ultimately, a just God sits on the throne of heaven. NO one ever gets away from His terrible justice. 
Mills, wheat, chaff. I can deal with that. That's closer to me, and apolitical and non-speculative. It means civilization itself.

What a splendid segue to things that I actually care about.

Check out this guy who harvests his wheat patch with scissors, breaks down the wheat heads with a Cuisinart, and separates chaff from seeds with a blower. It's a lot more interesting than speculating about Sessions.

If you've ever made bread from 100% whole wheat, you probably ended up with a brick. And that's a shame because the flavor is outstanding. You can cut very thin slices and be blown away by its excellent taste. It's profound. But if you made that with wheat that you just milled yourself then that outstanding flavor is intensified. The reason for that is because whole wheat has oil inside it that oxidizes rapidly when milled to such tiny particles. Flavor begins to escape the moment grains are milled. The air touches it, boom, the flavor evaporates.

My hands hurt. 

I've been milling tiny amounts of corn kernels using a mill designed for coffee beans. It's adjustable so it can be opened to accept corn kernels and crack them. Then the ceramic burrs adjusted to leave a smaller space and the cracked particles re-milled to corn powder. 

It takes about 500 turns to reduce 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels to cracked pieces, then 500 more turns to  reduce cracked particles to corn flour. 

I did this twice with popcorn and with dried posole. 

When cooked, the posole was absolutely delicious. Much better than standard grits from prepared white cornmeal (treated with an alanine to get rid of the corn kernel husk) 

I had soaked posole for two days to soften them, imagining they'd mill more easily, but they don't even move through the mill. However, they do process much more easily by way of standard processor blades, or by electric bladed coffee mill. 

I broke my 3rd electric coffee mill by processing hard popcorn. 

This time, half the blade broke right off and the other half of the blade still attached chewed up the broken half into tiny metal bits mixed with the milled popcorn. 

It was only 1/4 cup of popcorn. Jeeze. 

But that most recent coffee bean mill lasted three years. That's actually pretty good considering the abuse I've given it. 

This manual mill will not work for this. It's too difficult and it takes way too long. Therefore I bought a 4th electric coffee bean mill. And it will receive the same abuse until it too fails. 

But now I learned I can soften the kernels by soaking before milling so maybe that will help. If I don't need them milled immediately. Until now everything was controlled by impulse. 

The thing is, I have a proper flour mill and it handles popcorn very well. But that is large and heavy and a drag to pull out, and an even worse drag to clean. Best for large batches, not individual meals. 

It handles everything. Wheat, beans, corn kernels. So far, everything. And after cranking the manual thing thousands of times today, dragging this out and then cleaning it doesn't seem so bad. 

And that cranking is really hard. It's why my hands hurt so badly. You don't just twirl it around. It's very tough to grind, gets stuck all the time, and that tells me what this electric one is doing, and it tells me just how much abuse I've been putting the small electric coffee mills through. I had no idea those kernels are so hard to crack. It makes me appreciate all of them more.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Barbie has had a very hard life

Last Christmas I asked for what my Grandchildren might like for gifts.  Knowing that at their young ages their wants and idols change almost weekly what they liked a in the Summer would be completely different by Christmas.

So....I was given a list and on it for my Granddaughter was Camping Barbie.  Pretty cute and a toy that can be imaginatively played with.  
Awwww.  Barbie and Ken finally have a family. How sweet..  They have children and are enjoying the great outdoors in their camper van.

Then the awful truth dawned on me.  Barbie is an abject failure in life.  Barbie's whole life is a LIE! Over the decades that have passed since Barbie was foisted upon innocent little girls as a role model,  Barbie has been unable to hold a job.  I mean.....LOOK at some of the different careers she has had.   She has been all sorts of things and seems unable to stick with any of them.  Barbie must be the worst employee ever.   From Police officer, Stewardess, Corporate executive, Astronaut and then descending into a measly Goffer.  She just can't keep a job. Some role model.

 BUT gets worse.  After being canned from multiple jobs poor Barbie hits rock bottom.  She is HOMELESS BARBIE.  Not that that is a career, but you know.  Water eventually finds its own level.

Fortunately, Barbie gets reconnected with her old boyfriend Ken and gets out of the gutter.  Since the 1950's Ken also has had some hard times but didn't fall quite as low as Barbie.  He joined a commune, moved to Oregon and got stuck in the 60's.  Hippie Ken, while still a loser wasn't quite as much of a loser as Barbie.  He could cook a mean BBQ for the commune.

Camping Barbie isn't what it seems.  Barbie and Ken have hooked up, had a couple of kids and are now still homeless.  Still losers. Although, it is more upscale than being shopping cart Barbie. Ken gets free of the commune before they serve the Kool-aid.   We now  have homeless Ken and Barbie plus two illegitimate kids in a nausea producing Pepto Bismol pink  camper.   At least Ken's BBQ skills can come in handy.

Things aren't always what they seem.    I won't tell my Granddaughter.

Jeff Sessions to give speech in California about sanctuary cities.

Apparently he'll deliver his speech in Sacramento near the capitol. I read that somewhere. We'll see.

He's actually trolling California.

I think he intends to sue California. Withhold funds from them that they are due. It's expected he'll cite studies about sanctuary cities breeding crime.

Denver is such a city. And sanctuary-related crime is a subject of discussion. Denver does not cooperate with I.C.E. There is a case presently in which the feds want to deport the guy, who can be freed on bond, while the city wants to prosecute him by their own legal means for the laws that he violated. They want him to serve time here if it gets to that. That is their answer to the feds.

At any rate, the news is, Jeff Sessions actually moves.

Happy birthday

Here is an idea you can use.

I saw this a few days ago and cannot get it out of my mind. This is too precious. It must be used.

Turn down your volume or you'll never forgive me.

It's a girl singing Happy Birthday as if she's an opera diva. But it's more than that. It's an ensemble of budding musicians. And they're serious.

I saw on Amazon the greeting cards that you record a personal message priced at $31.00. That's too much. 

I can't believe my brother paid that much just to record a message. They must come cheaper than that.

At any rate, you can buy the recording module for $13.00 on Amazon. And insert it into an ordinary card, or better yet, one that you make. The more childish, the better.

Then record the audio to this video. Because it's so excellent.

Oh man, that just reminded me. Flashback.

A very long time ago I learned something from a friend. How not to be abashed when people sing you Happy Birthday.

Until that moment I would turn beet red and shrink inside my shoe. I couldn't stand being the center of attention like that for a few agonizing moments. 

A large group of invitees assembled at his house for a surprise birthday party. He came home from work completely unprepared to face a crowd filling his house. He had to go to the bathroom. Upon returning, we sang Happy Birthday very poorly. He stood there, the center of all our attention, disgusted, rolling his eyes, shaking his head, no. No. That was really bad.

We finished.

He addressed us, "That is the worst singing I've ever heard. You should all be embarrassed. Start over! Sing it again. From the beginning."  There were about forty of us there. We looked at each other. Is he joking?

"Sing it, I said" 

So we did. 

And we sang it much better the second time. 

"That's better." 

And I stood there thinking, you know what? He handed that really well. Emulate his behavior. Be this same way hereafter. Get over being embarrassed by being made the center of attention. 

So I do. When in such a group, surrounded by people and attention on me, say, opening cards, and someone hands me a card personally with no cash or check in it. I look around on the floor, both sides, under the chair. Then look up and shrug, "The check must have fallen out. I'll find it later." 

It's hilarious. Because there isn't a check and no real cause to expect one.


Scheiße is German for "wool you please stop all that barking and get the flock outta here?" 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

President Moon Jae-in, South Korea: North Korea affirmed its commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

Story on NHK World, three hours ago. Here.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are to hold a summit in late April.
Seoul acknowledged that the North has affirmed its commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. 
The head of South Korea's National Security Office, Chung Eui-yong, said on Tuesday that the summit will take place at the country's facility in Panmunjom on the military demarcation line between the 2 Koreas. It would be the first inter-Korean summit since October 2007.
Splendid. There's just one little thing. We don't believe N. Korea as far as we can throw it. Our history with them is they are reliably duplicitous, and hell-bent on advancing their nuclear program and selling it to our enemies. So all that will take extreme proof. Like the observable destruction of facilities.

Trump on Twitter:
Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea. For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned. The World is watching and waiting! May be false hope, but the U.S. is ready to go hard in either direction!
We will see what happens! 
Kim Jong Un Hosts Seoul Envoys First Time Since Taking Power... 
Related reporting on NHK

US to watch developments, keep pressure on N.Korea

Japan cautious about inter-Korean dialogue

* China welcomes inter-Korean summit

* US researchers: NKorean reactor may be operating They see smoke rising from one of their facilities indicating it's operating, however, they do not see the clouds that indicate cooling liquids associated with processing, while saying that could be shunted underground through pipes to a nearby river to disguise its operation. We just flatly do not trust them.

* US Navy admiral stresses readiness on N. Korea.

Odd, all of this straightforward reporting coming from a one-time enemy whom we treated similarly a mere 73 years ago.

While our own click-bait factories cannot be relied upon for unbiased reporting even if their lives depended on it. Their professional lives do depend on it, and they still cannot be relied upon. For fun, let's look how this is reported on American media who must be sure to avoid crediting Trump.

Duckduckgo [N.Korea]

* ABC North Korea open to abandoning its nuclear program, Seoul says

* NBC North Korea says it's willing to talk to U.S., halt nuclear tests


NBC North Korea will keep testing missiles and nukes, says defense agency

* Boing Boing, North Korea willing to 'denuclearize,' says South

* Oregon Live, North Korea floats giving up nukes, opening door to US talks

* KTLA-TV LA, North Korea Agrees to Halt Tests, Enter Negotiations About Giving up Nuclear W…

* Market Watch, North Korea to attend historic summit with South and is also willing to talk to US

* WSJ, North Korea Says It Is Open to U.S. Talks on Denuclearization

* NYT, North Korea Signals Willingness to 'Denuclearize,' South Says

* CNBC, North Korea threatens to 'counter' US if it holds military drills with South Korea

* 13 News, North Korea to stop weapons tests if it has US talks

* Seattle Times, North Korea says it will halt nuclear and missile tests while talking with US, Seoul says

* Huffington Post, North Korea Says It’s Open To Talking Denuclearization With The U.S.

* Washington Post, North Korea open to talks on curbing its nuclear weapons ...

Eh, not so bad as I had imagined. The first time I looked Huffington post came up referring to Trump's intervening tweets about cable news, CNN becoming irrelevant compared with Fox, another about the Oscars being lowest rated in history, because they don't have stars anymore except for your president (kidding). He said that, I didn't. A Federal judge ruling he has the right to expire DACA even as it works through lower courts. Huffington Post writer said, "the most Trump[ian] tweets imaginable." The headlines changed as I was writing this.

Sam Nunberg

Stop me if you heard this one. 

An angry drugged up drunk who was fired by Trump stumbles out of a bar into the arms of CNN and MSNBC and...


We heard this one. 

You can see all the videos you like on YouTube [Nunberg] but they're all from American troll farms, MSNBC, Washington Post, CNN,  CBS, and others. 

Drudge headlines link to PJ Media with a collection of these same videos. (comments there are taken over by a ridiculous troller and spammers, the whole section is worthless) 

It seems sensible viewers ask and answer themselves, if your interviewee admits to being on medication and you smell alcohol on his breath, and he denies drinking, then what is the point of interviewing him except to get a lying drunk talking? The whole world sees the drunk and his first lie that you dragged out and that reflects poorly on you. A fired drunk can be excused, for drinking and despondency about being dismissed.  But you cannot for considering this valuable or damaging news. 

Disclosure. I didn't bother watching any of the videos. I have no idea what they show.

 I stopped watching these propagandists nearly a decade ago and see no point in picking them up now. Even as they are brought to our attention every single day. Veritably shoved into our eyeballs and ears.  I just skip them. 

Certain things get edited right out, like Morning Joe. Right side sites obsess over those two people. Everyday.  I never did manage to get through a single show on MSNBC, not even ten seconds of their shrill and malevolent top rated lesbian. And I tried. I honestly gave it my best shot. Several times. Because so many people rely on them for information. I think it's the treble on the microphone. Honestly. My ears cannot take the sounds.  The View is another show that is just not worth thinking about.  Not for one single second. No matter the subject. Yet brought to our attention daily. I figure they all exist purely to provoke so ignore the provocation.

Maxine Waters

They meant to say the best of Maxine Waters, but that other word came out.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Whose that author?

I tried to think how many times I’d kneeled down on asphalt to read the signs, but I knew this was the first time I’d done it in Hulett. Located in the northeast corner of the Wyoming Black Hills, the town is best known for being the home of Devils Tower.
I looked at the macadam blend, the stones shining in the mix that was still wet from the early morning rain, and sighed. With the advent of antilock brakes, it was hard enough to properly estimate the speed of a vehicle involved in a traffic accident, never mind in the rain.
“Do you see anything?”
I nudged my hat farther back on my head and turned to look at the large Indian leaning against the door of Lola, his Baltic blue ’59 Thunderbird and my granddaughter’s namesake. “How about you come over here and take a look for yourself.”

Maria Bartiromo interviews Wilbur Ross

He's like a professor.

The WSJ writes against Trump's trade tariffs, they will:

* punish American workers
* invite retaliation
* harm U.S. exports
* divide political coalition at home
* anger allies abroad
* undermine tax and regulatory reforms

This is standard analysis recognizable from undergraduate Macro Economics 201. By the textbook we're compelled to agree. Even as the textbook acknowledges market forces such as planned economies with no market-concern for profit that overproduce and dump, attaining loans from their planned economy banks that would not be available in capitalistic countries because of the overproduction and selling below market value. Milton Friedman would say, good, soak them for all the steal and aluminum they choose to subsidize. Let their taxpayers help you buy your steel to the point they wise up.

But that point will not come until your critical industry is already gone. Wilbur makes that clear with his armor example.

So the WSJ list omits

*raise the cost of everything for everybody here and there. 
* best to let the American middle class simply disappear by brunt of non-capitalistic countries overproducing and dumping with market driven concern for profit 
* with the remaining American workers shunted to service industries 
* even as those service jobs are dispersed by global decision makers. 

I like Ross’s correction on WSJ analysis from looking at the impact of the numbers of Americans employed in industries that use steel and aluminum to the impact on the cost of individual products that use steel and aluminum.

Bartiromo changes the subject before Ross can correct each item on the WSJ list. And that's a real loss. I'd have liked to hear him continue his counter examples. My least favorite item is "anger allies abroad." What, by forcing them to acknowledge their existing tariffs and other non-tariff treaty barriers that harm us?

In another video shot at Davos, in concluding, the panel of international spokespersons are asked their recommendation and a woman with an Italian accent suggests not doing things unilaterally. That is, don't be Trump. Yet another international voice saying, let us have a say in your economic decisions. Allow us some control of American economy, we'll control our own side, and your side too.

She's not there, Soph showing ASL

Terrible technical audio but excellent personal signing. Soph1951 is a top interpreter on YouTube. Her signs hit the mark, she is transliterating with no gloss. Her signs are the closest there are to textbook signs.

However, she does add an "anyway" where none is sung. Right smack in the middle.  "Though they all knew" is signed "anyway, they (don't) know."

"Anyway" is both open hands as flippers flapping back and forth with the fingertips whacking each other. It looks wishy-washy.

"Know" is fingertips to your forehead a bit off to the side." "Not know" is that same motion then flipped down hard as if knowing is discarded. Soph flips it down so I see "not know."

"soft and clear"

"Soft" is squeezing two cotton balls in front of your chest. "Cool" is fanning your face at your cheeks. They're similar hand configurations with different movements. Soph moves up her cotton balls to her face so her switch from "soft" to "cool" doesn't cover any distance. That is her style choice. She raises both hands a single inch to differentiate the two signs. So it looks like one long sign of four hand flaps near her face.

First, "She's not there" to Soph's right. Then "she's not there" to Soph's left. It's the same "she" and the same "there" but in different places, switched mid song. Another style choice. If it were real conversation and not a song in need of variation, then you'd risk conveying two people in two different places.

"There" means "over there." Not "intellectually emotionally present."

The kind of "not present" or "the lights are on but no one is at home" is shown similarly, "this right here, top to bottom" or "You, sitting right here, head to toe." It's the same movement as "me right here, " and the same  "there" open hand configuration with different movements and different senses,  an open hand jab over there, or an open hand top to bottom, right here.

Apart from these observations you will not see anything with greater fidelity to the actual lyrics in English. You can easily identify the song without sound because Soph's signs are so precise. Soph is true to English lyrics and to the beat and the attitude of the song, to all of her songs, actually.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Oscar the pundit night

It's cherry blossom time

And how about some totally unrelated music - but a cool video:

I like slack key Hawaiian music, but these are slack strings!

President Donald Trump, Gridiron roast

The videos available presently are pathetic. You can have CNN and ABC slathering moronically all over their own footage or you can have robot voices reading text over photos.


Catcher In the Rye

Book report.

In 1951 J.D. Salinger wrote a book that changed the world. The world of high school English literature classes. Now everyone has to read it. That's why sales of the book continue to be so high even though Salinger died. It's like what? What? Where do all those royalties go? Probably to his wife. But that's also counting Kindle sales plus you can get a paperback for 25 cents. The novel is popular with young readers for its themes of rebellion, angst, alienation, innocence and loss and identity, acting up, being argumentative, and being a psychological mess. The protagonist is an unlikely hero.

The story is about Salinger's favorite pastime, baseball. Through practice bouncing a ball off a wall really hard, a young athlete named Holden develops himself into the best catcher on his high school team but doesn't get the recognition from the school that he feels he has earned because he's short with big ears. And one of his ears is weird from the inside bit that's like a tiny cup is turned inside out and facing forward. Everybody makes fun of him, like whoah, Dude, you got a weird ear. So he challenges his whole school to lob baseballs into a rye field hard as they can throw and bet them a $1,000 bucks he can catch every one of them. He came from a well-to-do family so that was a reasonable bet. If he lost the bet, no biggie, his dad could pay for it. He kept the rye field free of baseballs the whole late summer season until harvest so they didn't mess up the harvester and finally won the admiration of his peers. I totally read this whole book, and it is really super good.