Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: Turkey Soup

No excuse for the late post except the 20-mile bike ride I put in on Saturday. It's the sort of thing that tends to wipe out the rest of your weekend. For this recipe, I used frozen stock left over from New Year's -- my mom always makes a turkey dinner and uses the carcass for soup, and she graciously gave me some of the broth.

Turkey Soup

In a large soup pot, combine:
4 c. turkey stock (preferably with the fat skimmed away)
6 c. water
1 c. brown rice, uncooked
3 good-sized carrots, cut in 1/8" rounds (cut the largest pieces in half)
3 large stalks of celery, cut in 1/8" pieces
1 medium onion, chopped

Add to taste:
Thyme
Parsley
Garlic
Salt (add at end of cooking)

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover pot, set heat on low and simmer for at least two hours (check the rice before cooking longer). Wait until just before serving to add the salt; this prevents the other ingredients from soaking it up and contributes to a flavorful broth. Serves about eight (six if they're hungry). Also freezes well. Be aware, though: If you plan to store the soup in the fridge, reduce the water to 4 cups and cook and store the rice separately. Otherwise you end up with a wonderful turkey, rice and veggie casserole thing -- just as tasty, but definitely not soup anymore. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Some Random Thoughts

A) Sorry about the lack of recipe posting this weekend. Internet crapped out late Friday and didn't come up again 'til late Tuesday. Would've done it at work, but they've been cracking down on PC usage so I can't do much there.

2) If you donated to my ammo fund and haven't gotten cookies yet, rest assured: I haven't forgotten you. They will come! Oh yes, they will come ...

III) I have mixed feelings about Ted Kennedy and his death. On the one hand, God loves all his children blah blah blah, and he did lose both his brothers to assassins. That's a terrible thing to deal with. On the other hand, he was a flaming douche who never met a liberal cause he didn't like. And now they're naming the healthcare movement after him. So, there's that.

d) Correct me if I'm wrong, but is BOC's "Don't Fear the Reaper" a plea for mutual suicide? Or am I just hearing things? I can't be the only one who's thought of this. (More cowbell!)

v) Given the current state of the world and the things being reported (and, more importantly, not reported) in the news, the writings of the prophet Jeremiah may not have been the best choice this month for breakfast reading. The sack of Jerusalem just doesn't quite go with scrambled eggs. I read the bit the other day where the remnant tells Jeremiah to ask the Lord what they should do (and they'll do it, good or bad, they promise, because he's a man of God and they'll do what God says), and he comes back with the message "Stay put -- DO NOT go to Egypt." Their response? "You're lying! You're just trying to line your own pockets!"Alternate translations: "We don't have death panels! You just hate poor people!" It's amazing. I got a little bit ill after reading that.

F) I'm finally being brought on as a permanent employee (yay!), although I won't get a raise until everyone gets one in January (boo). However, I will get a full-size cubicle when we move to the new building in a month. Cannot wait for that. Yay, biweekly paychecks and benefits!

6) My cat's dragging her butt around again. Last time it was this bad, she had to go to the vet. I may have to take matters into my own hands. Pray for me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hasn't this already been tried? There was something about a tower and a communications problem...

Direct quote from Obama: "We are God's partners in matters of life and death." Well, that's not presumptuous at all, is it?

I heard a joke once where a scientist goes up to God and says, "Hey God, guess what? We've created life in the lab?" God says, "Oh yeah? Howzzat?" The scientist says, "Well, first you take a handful of dirt, and - " but God cuts him off and says, "Whoa whoa whoa there. Get your own dirt." Seems to me the reverse applies: "Hey, we can rule over death!" "Oh yeah? How do you make sure the right person dies?" "Uh - shut up?"

On a more serious note, I present this quote (gotta earn my geek cred): "Many that live deserve death; many that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?" There's a reason murder is considered one of the most heinous crimes.

I've got nothing else to say about this, really; it's a bigger issue than I've got energy to deal with. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Well, someone's feeling punchy today.

If you wanted a sentence describing the Left's tactics in a nutshell, I don't think you could get much more concise that this:

Radio and television host Glenn Beck finds himself confronting an advertiser boycott, organized by people who don’t watch his show anyway.
In other words, "Shut up," they explained. Read the whole thing if you get the chance; it's pretty good, despite the Harry Potter references. (No one over the age of 10 should reference Harry Potter in an article aimed at adults. Ever.) I especially liked this bit:
Admittedly, [Beck's assertion that Obama is a racist] seems like an unprovoked act of rhetorical aggression. It’s not like Obama and his party have been running around calling everyone who disagrees with them racists, mindless drones, un-American traitors, Nazis, assassins, or Astroturf lawn gnomes who get their opinions from their corporate paymasters. Oh, wait, it’s exactly like that.

Yet another reason why unions of any sort have outlived their usefulness.

Mexican farmers tell workers they're in U.S., threaten them with deportation:

Hundreds of farm workers in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur are being exploited by employers who trick them into believing they are in the United States and keep them in line with threats of deportation, the state’s official Human Rights Commission said.

Commission chairman Jordan Arrazola told capital daily Milenio in an interview published Friday that the recruiters involved in the scam are members of the CTM, one of Mexico’s most powerful labor unions.

Okay, that right there? That's just messed up.

The third world sucks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Useless eaters, anyone?

There's an episode of "Scrubs" where a doctor tells a patient she's dying, but there's a painful, invasive procedure that could lengthen the process just a little. The patient, a woman between middle age and (fingerquotes) "old-old", says, "Well, I've had a good long life," which the doctor interprets as a desire to forego treatment and let things run their course. Later, this turns out to be a faulty assumption. His protest that "she'd led a good long life" is met with "Yes! And I'd like to continue living it!" (Followed by a repeated gag where she pins him with her steely gaze and asks "How old do you think I am?") I think most people identify with the patient in this scene, especially as concerns someone else's assumption that it's time for them to die.

Now, keeping the above in mind, go and read this piece by Andrew Klavan. If his depiction of the psuedo-sympathetic bureaucrats isn't enough to make you fume, just imagine if the person in this scenario was your grandma. Or your father. Or you. Incidentally, that sick feeling in your stomach is perfectly natural. It's a healthy reaction to have when faced with evil.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe on Tuesday: Apple Pie

This is my mother's apple pie recipe, and it's a good 'un. Her pie crust is the best I've had anywhere (and I'm not just saying that). The whole trick is the chilling/thawing stage in the middle. Also: I know Granny Smith apples are popular for pie, as are Golden Delicious, but I prefer Fuji. A sweeter, crisper apple means you can pull back on the sugar if necessary.

Apple Pie

Crust:

In a medium bowl, mix:

2 c. flour
pinch-ish of salt (no more than 1 t.)

Cut in:
1/3 c. shortening

to a fine consistency -- you want tiny little crumbs reminiscent of large sand. DO NOT mash to mix; use a pastry blender or (my preference) the edge of a fork. Some people use a food processor, which certainly takes less time, but I think working by hand gives flakier results. When mixed, cut in

another 1/3 c. shortening

to a not-so-fine consistency -- you don't want pea-sized lumps rolling around, but you don't have to be so intense about it. Gently stir in just enough milk for the mixture to form a loose dough -- you should still have to press it together with your hands to make it stay. Cut into two equal pieces, flatten them into rounds, wrap them in plastic wrap (or anything airtight) and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, peel, core and cut enough apples to fill a 9" pie dish, mounded in the middle to a height of about five inches. Wedges are the traditional shape; you can use your imagination if you want. In a large bowl, mix:

1/2 to 2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/2 to 3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 to 3/4 t. nutmeg

and toss with the apples. Set aside.

After chilling, let the dough come to room temperature, then roll each round on a floured surface to about an 1/8" thickness -- your mileage may vary. Just make sure the dough is a) round, b) flat and c) big enough to lap over the edge of the pie dish. Fold over the rolling pin and transfer the bottom crust to the dish, pressing it into place. Leave the edges for now. Fill with the apple mixture, dotting the top with at least 2 T. butter. Lay the top crust over, press it into place at the edges and trim the excess, remembering to leave enough to make a fancy border. I just pinch it into a ruffle with my fingers the way my momma does it; however, if you have a pie-edging doodad you're dying to use, go for it. I'm all for gadgets. Cut vents in the top crust in the pattern of your choice and place in a preheated 450-degree oven for 10 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN AFTER THE PIE HAS GONE IN. After that first 10 minutes, turn the temperature down to 350 and check on the pie after half an hour. If the crust is browned and juices are bubbling up around the edges, it's probably done. If you don't think it looks done, give it another 10 minutes, then check again. Let cool for at least an hour before serving. Enjoy!

Personal sovereignity: For me, but not for thee?

I have to wonder what the "My Body, My Choice" crowd would think of Mark Steyn's take on death panels.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The seven stages of wiping out on your bike

1) OMG ASPHALT

2) Well, that's not too terrible. Guess I'll limp on home.

3) Ow.

4) Ow.

5) Ow.

6) Ow.

7) When can I go riding again?

UPDATE: Just to fend off the worriers (back! Get back, I say!), I just braked too hard on a downhill slope, bounced forward off the seat and went over sideways. The bike's in worse shape than I am (see comments). Believe me, I've been in worse shape. Thanks for the concern! :-)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: Will Be Posted Tuesday

No recipe tonight on account of I fell off my bike and got all banged up Saturday, and then today I was all stiff and sore AND had to help my sister move to her new apartment at college, which means I was up and gone and lifting stuff and driving long distances and climbing stairs from quarter to seven this morning to half past six this evening. Put succintly, I'm sore and tired and wanna go to bed. Check back on Tuesday for the recipe. In the meantime, here are all the previous installments to tide you lovely people over. See you tomorrow.

Ow.

Friday, August 14, 2009

No, I did not bring enough gum for everyone.

I left a comment on this post about "tsk tsk, greedy" healthcare moralizing at RobertaX's place, and I thought I'd share it here:

Remember last summer, when a kid from Noblesville needed $400,000 for a bone marrow transplant and the community raised it in something like three or four days? He died before he could get the treatment, but that's not the point. There is no lack of compassion in this country. There is, however, an extreme dislike of being told to fork over your brownie that you brought from home so that everyone gets the same cup of cafeteria jello.

Sweet, hilarious justice

If these stories don't warm the cockles of your heart, then I'm not sure we can stay friends:

First, a would-be serial sex fiend targets the wrong couple. From the article:

Goff allegedly approached a man and woman last Thursday afternoon on an isolated logging road in Harrison County and forced them into the woods with a rifle, Sheriff's Maj. Ron Pullen said Wednesday.

They were forced to strip off their clothes and told to perform sexual acts when the male victim, described as a physically fit member of the military in his mid-30s, wrestled the gun away.

"He beat him until the stock broke over his head and then continued to beat him until he thought he had him incapacitated," Pullen said.

As the victims were getting dressed and calling police, the attacker staggered to his car and sped away.
Okay, seriously? You're a sex-crazed fiend and you pick that guy and his girlfriend? Just what about that person says "target"? That's just plumb dumb, son.

Of course, on a serious note, it also proves that we should all be alert and aware of our surroundings. Don't assume that you won't be targeted for some reason.

The other story: A 20-something guy gave a sob story to a 69-year-old man, who gave him money "for gas" and was making him some food when the perp snatched his wallet and ran out the front door. Unfortunately, the duffer's friends and relations were right outside. Hilarity ensued:

Lee tried to get in his car to make his getaway but Lowell wasn't letting him get away that easily.

"I grabbed him right by the front of the shirt, pulled him, jerked him," he said.

Lowell then wrestled the man out of the car and onto the pavement.

"Laid him in the street, then June came over and sat on him. I told Steven my brother, I said, 'Don't let go of him!' I went and got some plastic ties and put those on his legs," Lowell said.

Once they all tied Lee up, then they called the police. Instead of taking him over to the sidewalk[, t]hey just left him sitting tied up in the middle of the road.

And so there Lee sat under Lowell's watchful eye.

"You leave that rope alone or I'll break your fingers," Lowell recalled telling him.

So in the middle of La Crosse's main street, Lee sat hog-tied until the police arrived 20 minutes later. Larry Garrett had some choice words he gave to Sean Lee after the man tried to steal his wallet.

"What the hell's a matter with you?" Larry recalled telling him.
[The edit in the middle is for a boneheaded grammar mistake that no one, barring difficulties, should make past, oh, grade five or so. Certainly not if you're being paid to write. - ed.] I like these people. I would like to be their friends and buy them beer. And in an echo of my previous serious point, this shows why you shouldn't target anyone for crime, ever, because you might end up in the road trussed up like a New Year's turkey. Mmmm, turkey.

Both links shamelessly stolen from Ace of Spades.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Rules

I like the cut of this man's jib, indeed I do.

Rule #26: Don't waste my time.

Anyone who's been around here for more than a few posts knows that I don't suffer fools gladly, if at all. If you can't at least present a calm, coherent case for your position, I'm not likely to bother listening very long. That, more than anything, is why it bugs me no end to see Web sites like pandemicfluonline.com, which not only claims "OMG they put stuff in the vaccines and then it goes in you!!!1!1!" but that the government is going to force us to get vaccinations to, quote, "grow the pandemic in order to enrich the coffers of US pharmaceutical and security corporations — the actual architects of the flu pandemic."

That tiny screaming behind your eyes is your neurons dying of exposure, incidentally. Not only does the Web site misunderstand the definition of "pandemic" -- it just means a certain number of people in a certain number of places have been diagnosed, not that people are dying by fistufuls in the street -- they put up the spectre of Big Pharma, that evil supervillain of an industry that is behind all the world's ills. (I mean, who'd believe that they're just trying to make a buck like the rest of us?)

Frankly, as always, I call b.s. until I see the information on a trusted media outlet, old or new. And even if the government does try for mandatory vaccinations, do you honestly think they'd be able to see it through? Three words: Cash For Clunkers. In any case, I refuse to panic. It never solves anything, and the panickers invariably get eaten first.

The Web site also claims that 50,000 ccs (or mgs, or something -- I don't care), administered intravenously, will "cure this or any flu." Okay, see, there are these things called "viruses," and they ... screw it. I'm gonna go eat my carrot sticks and call it a day.

Nature is a mother.

We get a half-hour for lunch, and today I went outside and sat in the grass to eat. I was done in about fifteen minutes, so I set the alarm on my phone and laid out for the rest of the time. Upsides: Vitamin D, decreased chance of mental breakdown, remarkable refreshment of body and spirit, and unexpected communion with God's creation.

Downside: Ants.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mmmm, taxes. Tastes like serfdom.

Happy Cost of Government Day! All those days you got out of bed and went to work from New Years to today, you thought you were working for yourself. But you weren't! That starts tomorrow! And it ends Dec. 31! Doesn't it make you happy to share? Doesn't it make you feel great to be sharing the wealth? Don't you feel just a little bit ill over how late this day comes this year? Don't you get a little giggle out of knowing that you were only actually working for the past three months of this period? Okay, maybe that's just me. But my point still stands: If government spending now gobbles up some 61 percent of a person's yearly income, there's a big problem. Can't we just bring the lord of the manor two bushels of grain and a goat and have done with it? Squeeeeeeeal like a wage slave!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Um ...

Okay, you know what's embarrassing? Realizing you haven't yet listened to a whole episode of a friend's podcast because it's on at the same time as Fringe ... which isn't on right now ... and you can download back episodes with a simple free iTunes subscription ... and not making this realization until you're asked to call in ... yeah.

*makes solemn vow to rectify the situation*

*shuffles away sheepishly*



Would it help if I made cookies?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: Spicy Oatmeal Cookies

I made these cookies for Farmer Frank on account of he helped finance my Appleseed adventures, and he liked them so much I decided to post the recipe.

Oatmeal Cookies

In a large mixing bowl, combine:

1 c. softened butter
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. allspice
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. salt
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. cinnamon

Mix thoroughly, then add:

2/3 c. sugar
2 1/3 c. light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 c. quick oats
1 c. chopped walnuts
4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. raisins (optional)

Drop onto lightly greased cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on sheet, then on wire racks. Makes 9 dozen. You've been warned. Enjoy!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Screaming into the wind, part LXVI

I had this whole big post written about the value of old books. I referenced my family's emphasis on reading; I talked about my love of "old book smell" and the way it sends me back to my childhood; I talked about how old books give children a perspective on history they wouldn't otherwise have. I linked to this article; I thought about bringing up Old Grouch's take on the matter; I was going to write about how I agreed with Tam about the pillaging of my childhood. I even had all sorts of thoughts about "Brave New World" and "Farenheit 451". But I think what it all comes down to is that the powers and the principalities of this world have tried the direct approach for a while -- banning content -- and it didn't work. But if you ban the medium itself ... well, that's much harder to fight against, isn't it? Because it's For The Children. And you don't want to harm The Children, do you? Restrict access to the message, make it so that no one can get to those thought-provoking materials, and the battle's already mostly won. And for the love of God, let me be clear: I don't believe there is a sinister cabal of men sitting in dark rooms, planning these things by lamplight. Frankly, we'd know about it because it would be ineffective. But there are things that move beneath the surface, larger forces beyond what most of us think of as "normal life", and they are plotting. I do believe in Satan; I do believe he's real and active. I also believe that he's a broken force tearing the wings off a last few butterflies before he has to turn in his test and face the music. He can't harm me, not the real Me. A certain sacrifice has already taken care of that. I can see the havoc coming, though. He's already beaten, but darn if he's not going to take as many of us with him as he can. I don't care if I sound like a nut. I believe this with all my heart. It's the same reason things just didn't. make. sense this past election, and it doesn't scare me the way it used to. My side's already won. It's not my job to fight, not the usual way. It can't be fought. My job is just to shore up my own side and wait for the commander to sort things out. Which he will.

It's a very comforting thought.

I'm going to go read now.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Behold, the cubicle dweller ...

Just got this in an e-mail from my mom:

Work Like a Dog Day

When : August 5th

Work Like a Dog Day honors and recognizes the hardest working among us.

Some people skate by, doing as little as possible. Others do only what they have to. Others still work like a dog. While work is to be done, they dig in relentlessly. They seldom take a break until the task is completed.

We want to make sure to differentiate between "Work-A-Holics" and those who "Work Like a Dog". Work-A-Holics are always working, even though they may not be working hard. Those who work like a dog, work very hard while they are working. But, they do not work all of the time.

Today is a day to show appreciation for those who carry more than their load, and work like a dog. You can also honor them by working like a dog today.

Suggestions for your day:

1. Walk around your chair 3 times before sitting down.

2. Take a 2 hour nap in the morning, snoring, whimpering and twitching.

3. Wake up barking at your co-workers.

4. Bite the leg and ear of the co-worker closest to you in an overture of play. Slobber profusely on them.

5. Eat everything in the refrigerator.

6. Take a 2 hour nap in the afternoon.

7. Take your stapler in your mouth and drop it ON the foot of a co-worker hoping he/she will throw it.

8. Run from the building as fast as you can and never look back. Don't respond to your name being called.

Enjoy!
Sounds about right. It reminds me of something I wrote a few years ago for a contest, themed "Top 5 Ways to Avoid Work":
1) Pass out memos about a mandatory meeting. Put a different time and place on each one.

2) In the middle of a boring meeting, strip to your underwear and lay on the table. Complain how hot it is in the room.

3) Romance the coffee machine.

4) Barricade yourself in the bathroom, well-stocked with supplies and weapons. If anyone tries to come in, attack them with the soap dispenser.

5) Use your staple remover as a puppet. Insist that everyone be nice to "Toothy."
Why yes, I did win first prize.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: Skillet Cookies

This recipe is quick, easy and delicious, so it's great to keep on hand for emergencies. The cookies also hold up well to transport, which is why they're the reward for feeding my ammo fund. Delicious Baked Goods, ahoy!

Skillet Cookies

1/2 c. butter
2/4 c. sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 lb. chopped dates
1 c. chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
2 c. rice crispies
powdered sugar

Combine the first four ingredients in a skillet and cook s-l-o-w-l-y over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the dates are gooey. This will take longer than you think. Be patient. When the dates are cooked, at the nuts and rice crispies, stir thoroughly (it's more folding than anything) and let cool. When cool enough to handle, roll the mixture into balls, compressing with your hands to make sure they hold together. They should still be slightly warm at this point, or they'll fall apart. Roll the balls in powdered sugar and set aside on a plate or rack to finish cooking. When fully cool, roll in sugar a second time. You will get messy making this, so I recommend keeping a damp washcloth on hand. Enjoy!