Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blech. Have some decency.

So I'm watching a clip from a (supposedly) classic movie (I say supposedly because I'd never heard of it before, and I've at least heard of most classics), and there in the middle of it -- hey, frontal nudity! And not slightly-concealed-with-artistic-lighting nudity either, but smack-out-in-front-of-you, look-at-that-nipple nudity. And I keep watching because I'm hoping there's an emotional payoff -- but no. It was completely gratuitous, one of those "Let's show the boob because we're brave artists" moments, instead of just suggesting the sexuality, which frankly would have been a lot more powerful and had much more of an emotional impact. It's the difference between showing the stabbing and showing the shadow of the stabbing; the latter makes you jump out of your chair while the former just grosses you out. I don't understand the need to show every little detail in the name of art; it seems to me that if you give your audience even just a little credit, they'll get what you're going for. And if someone doesn't get it, hopefully they have someone who can explain it to them. Playing to the overt sensibilities of the oblivious consumer only serves to cheapen the art form -- and that goes for books, too. Tell me a character's emotional state and I'll probably believe you. Make me work a little for it, however, and I'll actually take it in.

"Artists." Whattaya gonna do?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Live-blogging the Republican response

10:24 Yayyyyyy Bobby Jindal! He's like the anti-Obama. Although he has no upper lip, which looks a little weird. But I can overlook it.

10:25 Ooh, the immigrant angle. Nice.

10:26 American exceptionalism = good.

10:26 Katrina stories as example of the problem of relying on government = WIN.

10:27 Story about obstructionist bureaucrats screwing with Katrina rescue efforts = DOUBLE WIN.

10:28 Hammering lower tax rates! Yes!

10:29 Woof, the white Russian is kicking in. Good stuff.

10:29 Ha ha, details on the spendulus! Sweet!

10:29 Volcano metaphors! He just got the science vote.

10:30 Cutting earmarks and taxes in LA: WIN.

10:31 Nuclear power and drilling!

10:31 Healthcare: No gov't-run healthcare! No bureaucrats! YES YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES!

10:33 Transparency and getting rid of Congressional corruption, with a tie to the stimulus bill!

10:33 No budget cuts for military! Keep them on the offensive!

10:34 "[w]e look for hope in different places" -- great line.

10:34 disagreement about the role of government -- also great.

10:35 Dude, this guy is on fire.

10:36 We're awesome, and I'm clocking out. Awesome.

10:37 Overall, a good strong response with clear points and heartfelt conviction. He could have used a lot of work on his delivery, but if you see Jindal in a candid interview you can see that he's a much better speaker than tonight's performance would indicate. Plus, he was speaking to a camera, not a live audience with live responses. But given the content of the two speeches -- if I was given the transcripts of each to read and analyze -- I would say that Jindal held his own very nicely. The Katrina story was a very nice touch. I say good job. The Fox analysts are saying that he didn't do a good job of the speech, but they're mostly focusing on his delivery. Contentwise, he was awesome. Please forgive any typos. I'm going to finish my drink and take a shower and go to bed.

Live-blogging the presidential address

9:02 I figured I'd give this new-fangled "live blogging" thing a go. The first thing I'm interested to see is whether Obama is on time. Clinton was always late; Bush was always very punctual. Which will Obama be?

9:03 Ha! They just said: "12 to 15 minutes behind schedule." I knew it!

9:04 There's Michelle, in a nice neutral purple. Did Laura ever get described as "radiant"? I'm a little punchy tonight.

9:05 Pelosi looks like she's wearing a hemp sack, albeit a designer one. She should have worn a suit or a dressier dress. Dang, I miss Cheney. He was scary awesome (scary AND awesome).

9:07 So it's a major "Hi Mom!" opportunity for Congress. Nice.

9:07 OF COURSE the opposition sits on its hands! They're not supposed to applaud! They're IN OPPOSITION! Gah.

9:10 Okay, here he is. Ten minutes late, just like Clinton. Woof.

9:11 I've got those bingo cards from my last post printed off. We'll see if I can get through them.

9:12 Dude, we're already running late. You can gladhand later.

9:13 "enjoy[ing] the moment ... the applause continues." Boy, that kind of says it all, doesn't it.

9:14 Okay, I guess Pelosi is in a suit. It's still weird-looking.

9:15 Right, here we go.

9:16 I can already tell I'm going to need a drink.

9:17 Yeah, I've been affected ...

9:18 Lower taxes would help small businesses and would-be students ...

9:18 He makes it sound like we've had a terrorist attack. Oh God, is this his 9/11? Does he really think that? We are so screwed.

9:20 He's not looking backward because he helped get us here.

9:21 The wealthy invested the money! It's why they're wealthy!

9:22 "Day of reckoning"? Seriously?

9:23 Jobs, okay, jobs are good ...

9:23 My bingo cards are filling up fast. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. Isn't this supposed to go for an hour?

9:24 Since when does "private sector" equal "shovel-ready"? And just how long is healthcare going to stay private sector?

9:25 Ooh, extended unemployment and healthcare coverage? What's the catch?

9:25 You're putting Biden in charge? Dude, everybody messes with Joe! He just begs to be messed with!

9:26 If the man's title is so long it has to be compressed to unreadability to fit on the chiron, then you have a problem.

9:27 You know, a lot of those bad housing loans were given because banks were pressured by accusations of racism for redlining poor areas. Mostly groups like ACORN are to blame for that.

9:28 Auto loans? The gov'ment's going to pay for my car? How does that help anything?

9:29 Nice use of "that idiot down the street" rhetoric.

9:30 I'm one space away from bingo if you count on the diagonal. I haven't played since high school, so I don't remember if that counts or not.

9:30 If we could keep more of those tax dollars, we wouldn't have to depend on loans so much.

9:31 Pickin' on the fat cats ...

9:31 The Great Depression would have been over by, like, '34 if FDR had kept his nose out of things. I don't think Obama read that article.

9:34 BINGO!

9:37 I thought the GI Bill was after WWII, not WWI ... I'll have to look that up. HA: It was WWII: Wikipedia entry. Well after the depression!

9:39 He's sounding dangerously isolationist. To quote my college econ prof, "A is for Autarky, and that really su-ucks ... "

9:40 What about nuclear? How does he feel about nuclear energy?

9:41 What about the unions that helped pull the auto companies over the edge?

9:42 Oh God, healthcare. Here we go. Bankruptcy every 30 seconds? I call BS. That's 1,052,660 households every year. It's technically a doable number, but I think it's high. [Note: this comment was changed several hours after the speech because I realized I seriously screwed the pooch on my math. My point stands, though: If you assume a population of 300 million and assume 3 people per household, that's a rate of about 1 percent. Hardly a disaster. There are lots of ways to avoid bankruptcy due to medical bills without resorting to "Daddy, take care of everything!"]

9:44 You want healthcare reform and lower costs? Make it harder to sue.

9:45 TR called for healthcare cost reform? Was this even an issue back then? A Yahoo search for "Teddy Roosevelt healthcare" turns up nothing.

9:47 Evan Bayh! Shout out to the homeboy! Even if he is a useless prettyboy.

9:48 You'll need higher education to sweep floors or wash dishes? Because there are people who do that their whole lives because that's all they can do, period. It's not a bad thing. It's the way things are. Do you need a degree to push buttons on an assembly line? Or sew sneakers? Or all those manufacturing jobs they complain about going overseas?

9:50 Read earlier today: "Obama was born a rich white child ... " Sorry, just couldn't hold back on that one.

9:52 He crams the pork bill to end all pork bills down our throats and then talks about not leaving debt to our children? Is he insane?

9:52 Ah yes, the cut-the-deficit-in-half promise. Good luck with that, Scooter.

9:54 Yeah, get rid of "Cold War-era weapons systems that we don't use." Problem is, he won't replace them with stuff that we do use, will he? No, he won't.

9:55 Bingo again (I've got four different cards). Also, I'll believe those tax cuts when I see them.

9:56 "[T]ax-free universal saving accounts"? That's a new one on me.

9:57 I read a while back that you can't "end" wars; you can only win them or lose them. People don't realize that anywhere like often enough.

9:57 "Pah-ki-stahn." Sheesh. I know it's the correct pronunciation, but it's just really annoying when he says it.

9:58 That Marine in the First Lady's box is just a kid. Good for him. I hope he stays safe.

10:00 Closing Gitmo -- baaaaaaaad idea. That's like getting rid of your guns because you don't believe in violence. Just makes it easier for the mugger the next night.

10:02 Hey, it's Sully! Why isn't he behind the podium?

10:02 Bingo yet again! If he says "failed policies of the past" I'll have all four cards. Boy, this hour has just flown by with this game!

10:04 "As I said before" would work, too. Either one is good.

10:04 Bless that little girl's heart. That is not a good haircut for her, though.

10:07 He's off on his "I know we don't agree, but if you'd just see that my way is best, we'd be fine and get along all day!" thing. It'd be easier to take if he even tried moving to center every now and then.

10:08 Pelosi looks like she's at a rock concert. She's up and clapping, he's done, and I need a drink. Have a good night, everybody. (If you can.)

Might as well have some fun with it ...

For your edification: bingo cards for Obama's speech tonight. I'm printing all four of them and playing along at home. It's just like the State of the Union drinking game, only there's less chance of liver damage. Have fun.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: Meatballs

Part two of a three-part series. See part one here.

The first time my mother explained this recipe to me, she followed almost every ingredient with the qualifier "I don't know how much." Oatmeal? "I don't know how much." Onion? "I don't know how much." (The seasonings are my own addition, but she would have said the same thing for them, too.) Just about the only things with concrete measures are the preportioned ingredients -- that is, the meat and the eggs. The numbers below are what I've found work well for me; frankly, everything else is up to you.

Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef (90/10 sirloin)
1 lb. ground turkey
3/4 to 1 c. quick oats
Worsteshire sauce (enough to wet down the oats)
1 med. onion, chopped fine to very fine
2 eggs

Optional/to taste (season to fit the meal):
Garlic powder
Dried parsley
Red pepper flakes
Salt
Ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the meats until thoroughly mixed with each other. (I use my hands for all the mixing, although this can be a real pain if the meat was recently frozen). Pour the oats on top of the meat and douse with the Worsteshire sauce, then add onion, egg and any seasonings. Incorporate everything until you can't tell one thing from another, then shape into walnut-sized balls and bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until dark brown and almost crispy on the outside. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container. These freeze very well in ziploc bags.

A quick note: for what we're building toward, you'll want to tone down the herbs and spices. Stick to a little garlic and parsley, and maybe a little salt. This is going to be a sweet dish.

Next week: Part three ties it all together.

Waiting

Do you ever get so tired of holding on for tomorrow that you don't have energy for anything else? And even though things are looking up in some areas, it's all just promises -- and you aren't likely to see the benefits of it for several more days or even weeks, which is on top of the several months you've spent hanging by your fingernails. I'm not saying that I can't hold on for any longer; I can. I'm just saying that I'm starting to laugh at things that aren't funny and talk to my coffee in the mornings. And I know, yeah, yeah, I kind of do things like that anyway. If I was rich, I'd be considered an eccentric. But I'm getting tired of waiting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

As if I needed one more thing to do ...

... for anyone who cares, I am now on Twitter under the username "Morcae." ("Joanna" was taken, and I hate screwing around with extra letters and numbers.) And since you can do it from your phone, I've been tweeting a lot lately. It's nothing earth-shattering, but I figured I'd mention it just in case.

In other news, check out the post about Rick Monday saving the flag over at Ace of Spades. Now that's cool.

It's so not funny if you think about it.

What's the difference between Jesus and Obama?

Jesus could assemble a cabinet.

Shamelessly stolen from Treacher. In other news, my unemployment issues have now been resolved and I am officially out of limbo. Guess which one of the above two I'm not thanking!

Fun Times

Click on over to Wordle to see a word cloud of the front page of this blog (as of the gingersnap post below). Nifty, huh?

Via The Breda Fallacy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: Gingersnaps

This is part one in a three-part series that won't make any sense until part three. For now, a delicious little cookie that I would walk through fire for.

1 egg
1 c. sugar
scant 1/4 c. molasses
2/3 c. melted shortening
2 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg. Add sugar and molasses, mix well and stir in melted shortening. Mix and add dry ingredients. If dough is too sticky to handle, cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill until firm. Form dough into 3/4" balls, roll in sugar and bake on greased cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes. Cookies will flatten and crack when done.

Next week: My mother's meatballs, famous in our family as much for the recipe format as for their delicious, moist flavor. The week after that brings the whole thing together. Ooh, suspense. Enjoy!

I think Caroll would have approved.

Futility Closet, one of my favorite sites for useless information and obscure trivia, has a (sadly anonymous) take on a classic poem:

'Twas potter, and the little brown
Did simon and schuster in the shaw;
All mosby were the ballantines,
And the womraths mcgraw.

"Beware Jovanovich, my son!
The knopfs that crown, the platts that munk!
Beware the doubleday, and shun
The grolier wagnallfunk!"
Read the whole thing here. It's a howler.

On a lighter note ...

... this gem of an anecdote is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Enjoy.

Okay, so it's a long post and it's not as good as I want it to be, but at least it's something.

There's a reason C.S. Lewis imagined hell as a bureaucracy.

I was going to do a long post about socialized medicine. It was spurred by the following articles, which I suggest you read: here, here and then here. Then go throw up or cry or punch the wall or whatever it is you do in these situations. It's okay. I'll wait.

I had a whole treatise planned on the infernal nature of these developments, but I don't think it's fleshed out enough to be presentable. Instead, I'll just say this: Anytime something turns inward instead of outward, turns from the creative to the jealous, from positive motion to recursive stagnation, it eventually shrivels and dies. This is true on the personal level - crazy cat ladies and gaming addicts and paranoids peeking out from behind their curtains - but it is also true at the larger scale - trade protectionism and xenophobia and socialism. It's based on two things. The first is fear, from the guy who won't take a promotion because he can't stand change to the town that refuses to import new businesses because they like things the way they are to pacifists who would rather appease a dictator than risk a war. The second is arrogance, from the parent who corrects another's child (because their parents aren't doing it right) to the city government that outlaws trans fats (because people can't be trusted with their own health) to environmentalists who "preserve authentic cultures" at the expense of the people actually living there. It also stems from a disconnect with reality, where things like supply and demand and basic human nature are ignored as quaint, old-fashioned ideas, swept aside to make room for the new order of things. The problem is, the "new" order has been tried over and over and over again throughout history, and it always, without fail, fails. I would rather live under a dictator who let me order my own affairs than under a democracy full of well-meaning bureaucrats.

More to the point of the articles above: Modern medicine is one of the great triumphs of human history, in large part because it spares no expense in providing treatments and finding innovative new ways to do things. Dread diseases have been wiped from the face of the earth or severely limited in their spread; once-fatal injuries are now the work of a few days or weeks to recover from. Illnesses like cancer are no longer a death sentence, not just because of how we treat them but because of how we find them. The entire goal of medicine is to eliminate the word "hopeless." It is the great example of action's triumph over passivity, of curiosity over apathy and fatalism. To take that away, to place to focus on money instead of blazing new trails, will only lead to disaster. Who'll want to be a doctor when they can expect to have their hands tied by red tape and "they're too old/sick/hopeless to bother treating"? Who defines hopeless? Ideally, no one. Placing a hard-and-fast rule based on expense is the most appalling kind of arrogance.

If you want a far, far, far better treatment of this subject, I suggest you read "The Abolition of Man" by C.S. Lewis. It's short, it's to the point and it explains the ideas expressed here much more eloquently than I ever could. The crux of the argument is that inoculation against the nobler sentiments - courage, patriotism, unselfish affection, appreciation of beauty, etc. - will lead to a world where an enlightened, benevolent few rule over the soulless masses, helping them understand that no, this way is what's best for everyone, so come along and cooperate and we'll take care of everything for you. Place artificial limits on what individuals can accomplish and aspire to, and you place limits on their very humanity. Every school that does away with the honor code to protect the feelings of lower-achieving students is a part of this pattern. Every class warrior, every "social justice" fighter, every "down with the rich" agitator is part of this pattern. Any- and everyone who attempts equality by lowering the top instead of raising the bottom is a part of this pattern. Everyone who says "shut up" instead of "here's why you're wrong" is a part of this pattern. It's nihilism. It's destruction. It is the exact opposite of the creative spark. It is the antithesis of man. Religiously speaking, it is straight from the pit of hell. It sits in my chest like a lump, and it wears me out. I'm going to bed.

Oh, and if anyone wants to start contacting the media and making a stink about the medical stuff, get in touch. Maybe we can drum up a march on Washington. After all, it's changed the Democrats' minds before.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Excuses, excuses.

Blogging is light this week because I've got a temp job that involves eight hours of one set of motions, done as quickly as possible from the same chair. I've got a post in editing, but it needs some work to hash out the argument. Hopefully I'll get it up by this weekend. No promises. Ta.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Seriously?

Seriously?

Almost Ten Trillion in Bailouts, Spending, Guarantees, and "Stimulus" So Far, And More to Come.

Seriously?!

At least I'm a well-armed idiot ...

So when I bought my first shotgun a few weeks ago, I read the manual, looked over the gun and decided that it came with an orange plastic plug in the barrel, probably because I bought it at a gun show. I thought I would have to dismantle it and remove the plug before I could fire it. Problem was, I couldn't dismantle the gun because I didn't have the grip strength to unscrew the first piece.

Two days ago, I realized that the "orange plug" was in fact just the end of the springy bit in the magazine, and it's been ready to go from the moment I took it out of the box. I feel like a right idiot. X-) And this was after I explained my problem to all my gun-totin' friends. Yeah.

Incidentally, I still can't get the darn thing apart. Tiny puny little hands.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Oh, Milton Friedman ... just bein' silly!

And now, ladies and gentlemen, a truly clear-eyed look at the world:

Via Power Line.

Sunday Night Recipe: Turkey Ham and Bean Soup

This is one of my favorite winter comfort foods. It goes well with corn or pan bread, and it gets better the longer it sits in the refrigerator. Behold, Turkey Ham and Bean Soup:

One 48 oz. jar of great northern beans
1 c. sliced celery
1 med. white onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups diced turkey ham
2 14 oz. cans low sodium chicken broth
4 c. water
1 T. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
12 black peppercorns
1 dried red pepper [or] 1/2 t. dried red pepper flakes

Drain and rinse the beans until the bubbles stop (you'll know when). Add to pot with celery, onion and ham, then stir in broth, water and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for at least two hours. Lightly puree with immersion blender, or run half/two-thirds of soup through a regular blender (cook the ham in slices if you go this route - dice it after you've pureed the soup). Serve hot. To store, place in an airtight container. Be sure to leave in bay leaf during storage. Fishing it off your spoon later is half the fun. Enjoy.

Twenty years nothing, and it all piles up in one day.

Things are finally starting to look up: I got the paperwork to get me out of DWD (unemployment) limbo, I have two interviews on Monday and I start a two-week temp job on Tuesday. The ladies at my Bible study group slipped me grocery money after I shared that I had $50 left in my checking account, so that's one in the Psalm 37:25 column, I lost 10 pounds (40 more to go!) and I got back on the stick about sending off resumes and cover letters for jobs.

I also got some very, very, very good news late Friday afternoon, but unfortunately I won't be able to publish anything about it until late-late May/early-early June. I guess you'll all just have to wait until then. So all in all, I've been forcibly dragged out of the very black pit I was rapidly sliding into. This is a good thing. And Sunday afternoon, I make bean soup! So life is good.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Wow, that got depressing in a hurry

I'm not an economist. I never pretended to be one. But I paid enough attention in school to know that government interference in private sector wages is always, always, always a bad idea. And you know what? Leave out the economic side of things for a minute. Let's just focus on plain old human nature.

The jobs affected by this measure are jobs with a lot of responsibility and a lot of stress. They go only to the most ambitious corporate climbers, and with good reason: Anyone less competitive or talented would make a hash of the job. Just look at the New York Times. They've been run by the same family for years, and they're in the toilet because their top executives are privileged into position. Someone who works his way up is far preferable to someone who takes the job because it sounds like fun, or because Daddy wanted them to.

This is why salary caps are a problem: One of the perks of being just that good is that you get paid really, really well. With great power comes great responsibility, and with great responsibility comes great incentive packages to make sure you keep shouldering that responsibility. But if Barney Frank gets his way, all those greedy fat cats in their corner offices will have federally mandated limits on how much money they can earn. And what happens when you artificially limit someone's earning potential? They stop trying.

Take away the connection between output and income, and output will slow to a crawl. It works at every level: If a worker sees the same amount of money whether he makes eight widgets or five, he's going to save his energy and only make five. The company ends up with less product, the price for the consumer goes up and the all-around effect is a bad one. If it's a company policy that you only make so much money, you can always find another job in your industry that pays more, which in turn will mean greater output from you. But if the salary cap is imposed industry-wide by the government, you lose that option. And don't give me crap about people being happy to work for the greater good, even if it means less money. There's a reason non-profits are largely run by volunteers. The chance of promotion can, of course, have a mitigating effect on this phenomenon, but there's only so far you can take that. Every ladder has a top rung, and once you're there, what then?

Which leads me back to my original point. Most executives are where they are because they a) want power, prestige and/or money, or b) they're just that good. Both options require a significant chunk of money to change hands. Limit executive salaries in one industry, and the smart ones will flee to another. Keep chasing them around, and they'll eventually sock their money into Cayman Island accounts and move to Switzerland for the skiing. In other words, take away one of the main motivators for the movers and shakers, and things will stop moving and shaking in pretty short order.

I don't know where people get the idea that government intervention is a benign and benevolent force for good. It's only caused problems in human history, and it will continue to do so until, well, I suppose the second coming. But the fundamental disconnect from the reality of human nature is so boggling that it defies description. It's wishful thinking at its worst. It's pathetic. And I, for one, can't stand it. It didn't work in Kazakhstan, and it certainly won't work here. But when it doesn't work here, there isn't going to be anywhere for the people in Kazakhstan to go. We're it. We're the last hope. We're the only ones.

And if people like Barney Frank get their way, even that'll be gone.

Ha ha.

Seems that Shepard Fairey's red-and-blue Obama "Hope" poster was ripped off from an AP photo, and now the AP wants their slice of the pie. I'm not too surprised; from what I've seen, Fairey is a semi-skilled hack whose real talent lies in promoting himself.* His attorney is arguing fair use, but I'm not buying it. Fairey made thousands of posters from this picture, as well as other materials that went for mad money ($500 for a signed poster? Seriously?). IIRC from my media ethics and law classes (yay! J-school is good for something!), fair use would be if he used the photo (which he found on Google, which strikes me as lazy) as, say, an example in a scholarly work or as the 2D art version of a mix tape, something he made for friends and family. But because the "artwork" was intended for large-scale distribution, "fair use" is going to be a flimsy (like wet toilet paper) defense at best. Which, I suppose, is just another example of the sort of hope and change that Obama is bringing. Yippee.

*All he did was use the photograph to make stencils. Sure, there's some degree of skill involved, but any 14-year-old with a bootleg copy of Photoshop can do the same thing in about twenty minutes, give or take. Maybe thirty if you include the text at the bottom. And it's going to be one of the most iconic images of the early 21st century. Sheesh.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Jimmy'd crack corn if he had a job ... but I still don't care.

For your viewing (dis)pleasure: Glenn Beck's An Inconvenient Debt.

I can handle catastrophe on a personal level. I can handle emergencies, injuries and general craziness -- I once even stopped a runaway van that was dragging my dad. (So it was only going five miles an hour. Shut up.) I've had cancer, I've been jobless more times than I care to count (including now) and I've been flat broke more often than that (also including now). I can handle these things because, to an extent, I have control over them. Even something as horrible as cancer has a degree of personal control, however serendipitous: I caught it early enough that I didn't require chemo, only surgery. The same goes for losing my job back in December: My actions have a direct effect on improving the situation. I'm not just a passive victim; I'm an active player.

Not so with this national debt crap.

I could get angry at the government -- personally angry, not just angry in principle -- but it wouldn't do anything except waste my energy. I could try to punish the politicians with my vote, but I'm just one person (and I live in Indiana, so anything decided in the primaries is over before I get to it). I can rant and write all day long on my Web site, but until I work up enough clout to influence the movers and shakers, it's just a personal forum with no real punch. Frankly, the only thing I can do about the coming economic unpleasantness is try to be smart with my money and pray. The only thing keeping me out of the psych ward right now is my faith. I can't rely on anything else. (And I do mean anything.) It's a nice thing to have at a time like this: I may be unable to do anything about the situation, but I am by no means helpless.

Via The Pub.

Monday, February 02, 2009

A quick question

If someone calls for population control a la birth-per-family quotas as a necessary step to save the environment, are the feminists going to tell him to stay out of their wombs? Remember, kids, you can't spell 'hypocrisy' without 'hippie'!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunday (Afternoon) Recipe Post

In honor of the six pieces of lasagna I froze for later and then had to thaw all at once because I forgot to put them in separate containers and couldn't break them apart with a hammer, [deep breath], La Bella Lasagna a la Joanna.

1 lb. ground beef [or] 1/2 lb. ground beef and 1/2 lb. ground turkey
3 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. chopped parsley
1 T. basil
2 t. oregano
1 1/2 t. thyme
1 t. salt

Brown meat in saucepan and drain, then add tomato paste and sauce. I find the easiest way to prevent lumps is to mix the paste thoroughly with the meat, then slowly incorporate the sauce. The herbs listed are proportioned according to my personal preference (although the mix changes every time because I eyeball the measurements), so your mileage may vary. Once mixed, simmer covered for 30 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, cook:

1 lb. lasagna noodles

grate:

1 lb. mozzarella cheese

and combine:

2 c. ricotta cheese [or] cottage cheese run through a blender (cheaper and lower fat)
1/3 c. parmesan or or romano cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 t. salt (opt.)
1/2 t. ground black pepper

To assemble: Pour a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9"x13" baking pan (I prefer glass, but metal works fine, too). Lay first layer of noodles and cover with cheese mixture and mozzarella. Add more sauce and repeat. Portioning depends entirely on how many layers you want; I find three layers works well. Top with one more layer of noodles painted with sauce and covered with remaining mozzarella cheese. I like to garnish with a sprinkling of parsley, oregano and basil (mostly parsley) and just a touch of the hard cheese for a nice, brown, crispy top. Cover with foil (shiny-side out, and yes it does make a difference) and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes about 15 3"x3" portions (again, your mileage may vary).