Monday, October 31, 2011

Yeesh!

So I'm still drinking my morning coffee when the power goes out Saturday morning.  Before I got a chance to fill the tubs or do any of those useful preparedness things.  And it's still out.  My telework today is curtesy Panera and I'm sharing a corner with a bunch of neighbors. Current estimation of return of power - Wednesday night.

What I have learned:

1)  FILL THE STUPID TUBS THE NIGHT BEFORE!

2) The regulator for the camping stove is flooey and needs replaced.

3)  Need a new back pack stove. The old one worked OK for a couple days and then this morning it got tossed out into the snow because fuel started spraying out from one of the connections and things got way too firey for the kitchen. 

4)  After a while, I hate the smell of kerosene.  I have a dandy heater - keeps the whole house pretty reasonable.  I can even, with patience, heat water enough to cook noodles and such on it.  But it stinks.  And I've got a pile of clothes covered with kerosene tossed out in the garage because of it.  Need to put in a wood stove.

5)  The batteries in the radio had died.

Fortunately, I hadn't been grocery shopping yet - I've plenty of dried and canned foods but the fridge itself was pretty bare.  I won't loose much.   

Saturday, October 29, 2011

OW and the Rich

Being a history buff often leads to my shaking my head at folks.  So often they think that they've got a bright new idea and I think "Been there. Done that."  The latest to cause this are the Occupy Wall Street groups.  There are multiple reasons for this, of which these are but a few:

1) There seems to be a desire for that vague entity known as "the government" to pay for everything.  That, of course, requires that the government take from one person to pay for "stuff" for someone else.  Witness the current turmoil in various countries in Europe (not to mention the food lines of the Soviet Union and the death by starvation of millions in China) - eventually the government runs out of people to take from and the system breaks down.  Been there, done that.


2) Particularly ironic with the Oakland group - In 1899 a ship out of Hong Kong arrived in San Francisco with more than just a standard cargo.  It brought one of the most terrifying diseases history has ever known - bubonic plague.  The disease took root particularly in the shambling wooden structures of Chinatown, which  provided good hiding places for the rats and their disease carrying fleas.  The city fathers battled to keep it out of the news, fearing that if the world knew about the outbreak it would damage city trade and tourism.  Eventually the disease was beaten back by killing as many rats as could be found and destroying rat habitats by such actions as replacing wooden porches with poured concrete, closing foundations, and enforcing hygiene throughout the city.  Then came the great quake of 1906, and the city was filled with tent cities for months, providing a perfect breeding ground for rats.  The rat population boomed, and plague returned, this time entering the ground squirrel population, and then spreading to other rodents. As a consequence, it is now endemic to the American southwest.  If the OW folks do not get themselves together and monitor hygiene they are inviting the same sort of disease outbreaks that cities saw a hundred years ago.  And I suppose no history class touches on the fact that we lost more soldiers to disease caused by communal living during the Revolution and Civil War than we did to combat.  Been there, done that.


3)  I just finished Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday", and one paragraph in particular grabbed my attention. In a nutshell, the story follows a man, Syme, who has infiltrated a group of anarchists.  It has been a puzzle to me as to why folks like Soros would fund anarchic (is that a real word?) behavior.  After all, why would the rich call for their own money to be taken away?  Why would they call for the very structures that have allowed them to become rich to be destroyed?  At one point, Syme and a fellow infiltrator are fleeing the anarchists through the countryside, looking for shelter, and this bit of conversation takes place:

"What can you mean by all this?" cried Syme. "They can't be running the real world in that way.  Surely not many working men are anarchists, and surely if they were, mere mobs could not beat modern armies and police."

"Mere mobs!" repeated his new friend with a snort of scorn.  "So you talk about mobs and the working classes as if they were the question.  You've got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor.  Why should it?  The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than any one else in there being some decent government.  The poor man really has a stake in the country.  The rich man hasn't; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht.  The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.  Aristocrats were always anarchists..."

This was written in 1907.  So to the OW folks I say - you are being used by people who have no real stake in the outcome except power over you.  Been there.  Done that.  Is this really what you want?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Boo!

Since different areas have their trick-or-treat nights on different days, I thought I'd get this up a little early in preparation.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I don't gamble, but....



James Taylor has proposed a virtually sure-fire betting scheme at www.forbes.com:

With the economy as tough as it is, Al Gore shouldn’t be the only person to make money off of global warming fears. In an effort to spread the wealth, I am offering a number of tips for readers to similarly grow wealthy from supposed global warming crises.

First, identify prominent purveyors of global warming doom-and-gloom. The bigger the media ham, the better. For a jumping-off list, I suggest Al Gore, James Hansen, Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt and Joe Romm. Second, whenever the purveyors of doom make ridiculous predictions about global warming, ask them to put their money where their mouths are. After all, if Al Gore can so fervently urge government to force us to spend our hard-earned money complying with his global warming predictions, he should certainly be willing to risk his own millions backing up his global warming claims.

Sometimes you might get lucky and discover a deluded alarmist who has beat you to the punch and offered such a bet on his or her own volition. For example, I just stumbled across this blog post from Joe Romm offering to bet even money that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free by the year 2020. Talk about taking candy from a baby! I will be contacting Joe immediately. I urge all readers of this column to do the same.
A word of caution is appropriate here. It would be wise to insist that both parties hand over their money in advance to a third-party referee. Maybe I’m being overly suspicious, but I wouldn’t trust alarmists not to welch on their bets. As Ronald Reagan would say, trust but verify.

Also, feel free to forum-shop. If I’m in Las Vegas and I want to bet on Sunday’s Falcons-Lions game, why would I bet my money on the Falcons in a casino where the Falcons are only three point underdogs when I can bet the Falcons in another casino that is giving four points? The same applies regarding global warming bets. Joe Romm is laying bets on an ice-free Arctic by 2020. However, Professor Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School predicted an ice-free Arctic by 2013. Betting with Romm is pretty darn close to free money, but why not shave off an additional seven years if you can get them?

An ice-free Arctic is just one of the myriad money-making opportunities available. Alarmists love to fill the media with over-the-top predictions about hurricanes, floods, droughts, rapid temperature increases, etc. With so many topics and alarmists to choose from, a sharp, motivated global warming skeptic can soon be lighting cigars with $100 bills while the rest of the nation continues to drown in our ongoing Great Recession. Don’t feel guilty about your newfound riches. You can always donate them to charity or send them to Occupy Wall Street protesters if you acquire more $100 bills than cigars to light.

Of course, all of this is dependent on alarmists actually putting their money where their mouths are. You may meet some resistance at first, but don’t underestimate the power of public pressure. When an alarmist makes a ridiculous prediction in a newspaper article but refuses to back up his or her prediction with cold, hard cash, send a letter-to-the-editor pointing out the alarmist’s lack of faith regarding his or her own prediction. When an alarmist is on a talk radio program making a ridiculous global warming claim, call in and publicly propose a wager on the prediction.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of selecting and appointing a neutral arbitrator and pre-approved objective data. For example, so long as James Hansen has a free hand to doctor the Goddard Institute surface-station temperature data sets, ice sheets can reclaim New York Harbor during the next decade yet Hansen would still likely claim “the hottest decade in recorded history.” Insist upon objective data such as NASA satellite data for global temperatures, sea level rise, etc. Failing to do so is as na├»ve and foolish as Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) going into a Vegas casino and taking on the House in a game of “I’m thinking of a number between one and ten.”

Finally, feel free to be creative and think outside the box about adding more people to your list of potential wager victims, even if it means straying from the media ham list. For example, your strident-yet-uninformed neighbor or perhaps your child’s middle school science teacher might make for some easy pickings. Either way, there is a great deal of low-hanging fruit just waiting to be plucked.
Sir John Franklin and his crew will probably be pissed, though.  That whole arctic ice thing didn't work out for them, and 150 years later they are still looking a bit chilly.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday Lesson

...with Murphy's Law at the Izaak Walton League range involved one handed shooting.  My little .38 has a fairly heavy trigger pull, making up for the lack of a safety.  I was amazed at how much difference there is in trying to shoot one-handed - how much less steady and how much harder it is to pull the trigger.  I absolutely can't do it with my left hand - need to work on building strength there.  Right hand is hard but mostly I think I did OK.  Somebody else arrived and was a bit nit-picky about details of various rules, which made shooting uncomfortable and was distracting so I didn't think to try with the .32, which has a much easier trigger.

Also got to try ML's H&K P7. Interesting the way the gun cocks, feels nice, aims nice, fires nice.  Nice and flat - it would be easy to carry concealed. Very satisfying to chew up the center circle of the target with it.


I was actually standing further back today, and while there were some fliers I felt that most of the time I was doing reasonably well.  Mostly, I worked with the .38.  It's not a fun gun, per se, but since it's the current self defense weapon I need to be able to handle it well.  In some ways it is fun, though, because it presents a  challenge - hard trigger pull, light gun so it kicks.  Makes it satisfying when I'm able to send rounds where I want them to go.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Retreating

So after four incredibly busy and wonderful days as part of the team conducting a prayer retreat, I walked in, dropped my bag on the floor, vaguely said night prayers, and picked up a book to read for a few minutes before turning out the light.  That’s the last I remember until I was awakened by Perry’s insistent licking of my nose this morning.  Teeth didn’t even get brushed.

My “position” was that of behind the scenes gopher, a pair of hands and feet, and except for those times when team was required at certain talks, morning and night prayers, and Mass, my feet were kept busy running all over Priestfield Pastoral Center from 6 am until midnight and sometimes later.  Me feets was tired, and I was getting pretty fuzzy by yesterday, but it's a gorgeous place to be running around.


Priestfield offers individual rooms, cabins, and dormitories.  Since part of the retreat was the experience of living in community, most of us were in dormitories - that’s certainly different when you are well past the girl scout age.  And all but two people who acted as emergency contacts were required to leave behind watches and cell phones, so the pace of the day from rising to end was kept by a bell ringer.  Said bell was repeatedly stolen and hidden - there was definitely a lot of community action on that point - reappearing in the kitchen freezer at one point. 

There are trails winding through the woods, one of which takes you to the Stranger’s Grave.  Priestfield is the site of a major WV ghost story, of which there are several versions.  At the core of it is the fact that a Lutheran farmer, sometimes said to have converted, donated the land to the Church in gratitude for having been relieved of a pesky spirit.  As a 1904 telling of the story of Wizzard's Clip goes:
A town was laid out by John Smith in 1794, a town on his lands, then in Berkeley county, since in Jefferson, then in Virginia, now West Virginia. This was by Act of 1798 made a town by the name of "Smithfield" with John Packett, Moses Smith, John Smith, Jacob Rees, and Joseph and John Grantham, Trustees.
It has since been known as "Middleway" and it is located about five miles west of Leetown, and has about eight hundred inhabitants.
The earliest record of the story was written by Rev. Demetius A. Galletzen, whose memoirs were prepared in 1797, and about the same time, Mrs. Annella McSherry, wrote letters containing about the same facts, and since then there have been other papers written, all giving about the same facts, and the further fact that for fifty years the original name of the place was lost and it was only known as "Wizzard's Clipp," shows that the people there had no doubt of the facts related. The story gathered from the various publications is as follows:

Adam Livingston, becoming dissatisfied with his residence in Lancaster county, Penn., determined to remove to the State of Virginia, and carried his purpose into effect by the purchase of a house and lot in Smithfield, Va., and seventy acres contiguous thereto. This was about the year 1790. He had the reputation of being an honest and industrious farmer, of fair intelligence, and brought with him his wife and a family of three sons and four daughters, of whom Eve and Catherine are the only daughters and John and Henry the only sons who are referred to in any of these memoirs. Livingston continued to reside there without attracting any particular notice, until 1794, when a stranger, of middle age and of respectable appearance, made a visit to the place and was received as a boarder in his house. In a few days after the arrival of this traveler he was taken sick and as his illness became more threatening he called Livingston to his bedside, informed him that he was a Catholic, and inquired of him if there was not a priest somewhere in his neighborhood whose services he could procure, should his malady prove fatal, which he had reason to then fear it would. Livingston, who was an intensely bigoted member of the Lutheran church, very gruffly replied to him "that he knew of no priest in that neighborhood, and if there was one, he should never pass the threshold of his door.' The dying man repeated his entreaties for the spiritual aid of a Catholic priest, but Livingston was inexorable and refused to countenance his request. The stranger died, his name being unknown to his host, and there being nothing among his papers to throw any light upon his history.
On the night of his death Livingston employed a man by the name of Jacob Foster to sit up with the corpse. But so soon as the candles were lighted in the chamber of the dead, after giving a weak and flickering light, they went out and the room was left in darkness. They were relighted several times, supposing it to result from some remedial defect in the cradle, but with the same result. Livingston then brought two candles into the room which he had been using in his own family room, which were about one-third burnt down and which he knew to be good. But so soon as they were placed in the room with the corpse they became immediately extinguished. This so alarmed Foster that he abandoned his vigils and left the house. Fifty years ago the grave of the stranger could be distinctly pointed out.
On the night succeeding the burial the peace of Livingston was much disturbed by the apparent sound of horses galloping round his house. He frequently rose during the night - which was a beautiful moon-light night - to satisfy his mind. While he could distinctly hear the tramp of steeds, he could see nothing to assure him that it was anything more than a figment of his own imagination. In about a week afterward his barn was burnt and his cattle all died, the crockeryware in his house, without any visible agency, was thrown upon the floor and broken; his money disappeared; the heads of his turkeys and chickens dropped off; and chunks of burning wood would leap from the fireplace several feet out into the floor, endangering the building unless promptly replaced. Soon the annoyances, which were then destroying his peace, assumed a new form. The sound of a large pair of shears could be distinctly heard in his house, clipping in the form of half moons and other curious figures, his blankets, sheets and counterpanes, boots and shoes, clothing, etc. This was all in one night, but the operation of clipping continued for upwards of three months, a small portion of it only being done at a time, but the inexorable shears never being silent twenty-four hours at a time. By this time the news of these strange proceedings was spread through the country for thirty miles around, and attracted in an especial manner the curiosity of the citizens of Smithfield. An old Presbyterian lady of Martinsburg, hearing of the clipping that was going on at Livingston's to satisfy her curiosity, she went to Livingston's house. Before entering the door she took from her head her new silk cap, wrapped it up in her silk handkerchief and put it in her pocket to save it from being clipped. After awhile she stepped out again to go home, and having drawn the handkerchief out of her pocket and opened it, found the cap cut in narrow ribbons.
Many other phenomena are stated and testified to by many witnesses. The long continuance of this mysterious clipping had now aroused the country for many miles around. Three daring and adventurous young men from Winchester came to Smithfield declaring their utter unbelief in the reports and offered to sleep in the house all night and to face the devil himself, if he were the author of these doings. But as soon as they became comfortably seated in the house, a large stone was seen to proceed from the fireplace and to whirl around the floor with great velocity, when they took to their heels and made their escape.
The condition of poor Livingston had become deplorable, he had lost much rest, and his imagination was so worked upon by his nocturnal visitor that his health began visibly to fail. He applied to three professed conjurers, but their incantations were all in vain. Shortly after this Livingston had a dream. He thought he was climbing a high mountain and had great difficulty in the ascent. He had to labor hard, catching at roots and bushes, and moving forward slowly by their aid. Reaching the summit, he saw an imposing personage, "dressed in robes," as he described it. After contemplating for some time the person in view, he heard a voice saying: "This is the man who can relieve you." His wife heard him groaning in his sleep and she waked him, thereupon he communicated to her his dream and said he did not know of any minister who wore robes, but he would make inquiry in the morning. The result of the inquiries led him to visit an Episcopal minister, who then resided in Winchester, but he derived little satisfaction from this visit, and returned home much disappointed. He was then advised to see the MeSherry family, who were Roman Catholics, and who resided in a very fine estate called "Releivement," about on mile each of Leetown, at which place the priest was often in the habit of stopping while discharging his spiritual functions in that neighborhood. Late in the evening of the same day Mrs. MeSherry saw a man coming to her home, she met him at the gate when he told her he wanted "to see the priest." She informed him that the priest was not at her house, but there would be church in Shepherdstown the following Sunday, when he would have an opportunity of seeing him. Mr. and Mrs. McSherry, in company with Mr. Minghini, went to church on the appointed day, and there they saw the man who had inquired for the priest, and who proved to be Livingston. As the priest appeared at the altar, dressed in commicles, Livingston seemed to be perfectly overcome. He wept bitterly, and exclaimed loud enough to be heard by the small congregation: "This is the very man I saw in my dream; he is the one that the voice told me would relieve me from my troubles." When the service was over, he promptly called on the priest and told him his sad story; but the priest, the Rev. Dennis Cahill, laughed at him and told him it must be some of his neighbors who were plaguing him, and that he must go home and keep a strict watch for them. Richard McSherry and Joseph Minghini, who were present at the interview, were much moved by the old man's tears and tried to comfort him. After much urgent persuasion. Father Cahill accompanied by Mr. McSherry and Mr. Minghini, agreed to visit Livingston's house and to inquire into the strange transactions which he had related. They found his story corroborated not only by the family, but by most of the people with whom they conversed in Smithfield. Father Cahill resorted to the remedy of sprinkling the house with holy writer, which did not, however, expel the troublesome visitor from the house, but it was followed by a deposit of the money, which had previously been taken away, on the doorsill. The strange clipping still continuing after that time it was determined by Father Cahill to have mass celebrated in the house, which was done, and Livingston was relieved from all annoyances of his ghostly visitor. From that time until he left Virginia he had frequent communications with the Spiritual world, and many facts are related where those communications were realized in a striking manner; but as these throw no light upon the simple historical fact which it is the purpose of this article to elucidate no further reference need be made to them.
The current spot marked as the grave is for commemorative purposes – all that is known now is that the Stranger is buried somewhere on the property.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chums

Well, well, well.  The American Nazi Party is liking this Occupy Wall Street stuff and has thrown their support behind it.  Not surprising, since the old "Rich Jews are taking over the country" crap seems to have been resurrected by the OWs.


Wonder if the occupiers will be attending the party's White Unity Christmas Party this year?

Full details at The Daily Caller.

So much to do, so little time....

Leaving again this week and time is scrunched on what I have to do before I disappear for 4 days without computer, so things will be thin here.

At least I got part of the lawn mowed over the weekend.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Jeopardy

So what's the question that goes with this answer?

Handguns
        Modified Taurus 85
        LeMat Revolver
        Astra 400
        Beretta 92FS
        Browning Hi-Power
        Webley Mk. VI
        Colt M1911A1
        Colt Mustang
        Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless
        Colt Single Action Army
        Colt Python
        Jericho 941
        Desert Eagle Mark VII
        Ruger Mk II Pistol
        Glock 17
        SIG-Sauer P220 Sport
        Smith & Wesson Model 15
        Goncz GA
        Heckler & Koch VP70
        SIG-Sauer P229
        Star Firestar M-45 with Custom Longslide
        LWS Seecamp
        Vektor CP1
        Walther PPK
        Wildey Magnum
        Sphinx AT380
  
Submachine guns
        Vigneron M2
        MP40
        Mini Uzi
        Heckler & Koch UMP45
        Heckler & Koch MP5SD3
        Heckler & Koch MP5K-PDW
        Beretta PM12S
  
Rifles
        Heckler & Koch G36K
        L85A1
        Winchester Model 1892 "Mare's Leg"
        Blaser R93 LRS2 Sniper rifle
        AKMSU
        Flux Colt XM177E2
        AKM
        M1 Carbine
        M4A1
        FAMAS
        Henry 1860 Rifle
        Marlin Model 1895 Lever Action Rifle
        Winchester Model 1873 Carbine
        Steyr AUG
        Remington 1858 "Cattleman's Carbine"

Shotguns
        Callahan Fullbore Autolock
        Double Barrel Shotgun
        Benelli M3 Super 90
        Ithaca 37
        Winchester 1300

Machineguns
        Dual Browning M2 Machine Guns
        M60D

Other
        Tru-Flite 37mm Super Long Range Gas Gun

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Well Well Well

Love my well water.  Hate city water.  Of course, there are certain disadvantages.  Contamination is one, of course, but my theory is that any bacterial blooms will be slow enough that my guts will acclimate.  As long as nobody visiting gets sick afterwards I know all is good from a bacterial standpoint.  Another problem is that well pumps are electric.  Power goes out and so does your water.  I live near a town.  Also near a river and I have chlorine bleach, so that one isn't a biggie to me, either.  Plus I know where there is a clean spring up on the mountain.  Water is a pain to haul but you do what you need to do.

But then there's the whole pump frying thing.  And then you have to haul it up in order to get to it.  Which is why my neighbor showered at my house this morning.  And why I was over at his place getting muddy with him this afternoon. 


His well is around 250 ft deep.



Yeah, well.  My well is about 750 feet deep.  I am SO hiring machinery if my pump needs pulled.

Idiot.

Ms. Pelosi, you are an idiot.  Of the most flaming sort.  In fact, you disgrace the realm of idiots because you aren't even useful.

Freaky

OK, am I the only one that is given the screaming heebie jeebies by this? I mean, folks joke about zombie attacks but, yeesh!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Familiar. Again.

Seeing this on our streets ...


... led me to go back and re-read a previous post, Sound Familiar?

Yep. Same-o, same-o. Been there. Done that. Still nonsense.

(pic from Weasel Zippers)

The hill, you say!

Yeah, hills, with the bike not shifting smoothly.  But fun anyway.

My orders were to arrive at my daughter's house by 11:30 on Saturday.  And bring something decent to wear.  Well, OK.  She knows me - "something decent" means "clean and unstained and not a t-shirt".   Done, and turns out surprise is a matinee at the Hippodrome in Baltimore.  We're addicted to this place - for those who have never been, it's a spectacularly renovated vaudeville theater originally built in 1914:

For more pics go to this a renovation blog
The show - "South Pacific", splendidly done.  As a reviewer wrote, the music from this show is virtually coded into our DNA, but it is just as fresh in this revival as when it was first heard.




The show was followed by a spectacular dinner at Alchemy, where I had the duck breast special.


The reason behind matinee rather than evening show was the need for being in Canton by the harbor early for Tour du Port 2011.


Riders select from a variety of ride lengths along marked routes through historic Baltimore:  Fells Point, Canton, Dundalk, all those neat little communities that the core of Baltimore is made up of.  Being Baltimore, there are sections where one prefers to pedal a bit faster and stay with a pack, but part of what makes the city so facinating is how fast you go from gritty slum to gentrified, rust belt to upscale. 

The city has so many icons in the harbor area:

The Domino's factory -


Natty Bo on Brewery Hill -


The onion domes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church -


I admit - I stole most of those pics.  We opted for the 25 mile route, and having done the ride before I knew that I didn't want to carry a my camera, which isn't an itty bitty.  Baltimore's streets are a challenge to bike on - often decayed, potholed and uneven.  And that doesn't include the cobbled streets.  And hills.  People think that because it's by the water the topography is flat.  That would be a "No."  And turns out my gears need adjusting - not such a problem going down hill when I could coast and fiddle but a bugger on the long hauls up Federal Hill and up to Patterson Park. 

All went well for about 24 1/2 miles.  Then, within sight of the end, my daughter misjudged a curb and took a dandy tumble, taking a chunk out of the end of her bike seat as well as several out of herself.



So we limped back together, found the first aid table and cleaned as much of Baltimore city grit out as we could.  It was too beautiful to go home, though, so the afternoon was spent poking around Fells Point, having another excellent meal (seated outside - I could barely stand sitting beside stinky, sweaty self let alone ask a restaurant patron to do so), this time at Mezza, a tapas place.

Baltimore has a lot of problems, serious ones.  But it is a city full of character and history, art museums and parks, theater venues, and restaurants worthy of the foodie culture.  Whether it's Honfest, the Kinetic Sculpture Race, or a music concert going on in some church basement, there's always something going on, and I love to visit with my daughter and wander it with her.  But she won't let me drive - she says I scare her.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Captured Summer

I hope.

This is peach country, and I do love peaches.  So this year I decided to see if I could capture a little bit of golden, peachy, summery goodness for a future wintry day.  The recipe for peach brandy that I found is simple:  peaches, sugar, yeast, water.  Cover, stir occasionally.


Decanted it last night.  Don't know what the alcohol content is but, hoo boy, those chunks of peaches pack a punch - I'm betting that lighting a match over them would produce a nice blue flame.  Couldn't bear to throw them out - I'm thinking they need to go over some really good vanilla ice cream.


The brandy is now bottled and put away.  In about 6 months I'll check and see if it has smoothed out and clarified.  Maybe I will have managed to capture a little bit of golden summer in a bottle.

Friday, October 7, 2011

They missed their target.

Erin Bonesteel over at Anti-anti underground is a great political cartoonist, and unlike the administration, she pretty much always hits her target.  Yesterday's offering says it all.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Is it time?

“There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses — now is not that time. And that’s a message that I intend to send directly to them.”
So said the Prez in 2009.  Would that whole time to profit and get bonuses thing also apply to sending wifey and kids on a +$400,000 vacation paid for by the American taxpayer?


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's A-comin'

Guess it could have been worse.  While I was grumbling about the rain last weekend, the higher elevations in the state were getting an early dose of winter.  Up to 9 inches of it.


I guess I'd better get under the house and fix the insulation.  Winter's a-comin'.


I'm not exactly ancient, but I have some memories of winter that are probably a bit unusual compared to those of my contemporaries.  We lived on Wilson Hill in the Settlement, and that old farmhouse sits so it gets hit with winds six ways from Sunday.   The house leaked air around the windows something fierce. I can remember watching the curtains move in the breeze - when the windows were closed.  And it's in the higher elevations of West Virginia, so winters can be a bit crisp and snowy.  No such thing as a heat pump or furnace - we depended on coal stoves for cooking and heating.  I love coal, love the smell of it burning, but it has the same disadvantage as wood - without regular stoking the fires go out at night.  And that house would get COLD.  So cold that the contents of the chamber pots under the beds would freeze.  At which point the beds were moved downstairs next to to one of the stoves for the winter.


I don't have backup heat other than a big kerosene heater right now.  It's on my "to do" list, but it's a part of the "to do" list that's expensive and so I'm saving for it.  Eventually a wood stove will go in downstairs.  I could probably find a source of coal, but wood is really more sensible here, and a coal fire gets black dust into everything, anyway.  But a part of me will always wish it was coal.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Rain, Rain, Rain

With the exception of the 5 days at the beach (for which I am grateful), it has been raining forever.  Or at least that's what it feels like.  Irene, Lee, "the instability in the west" - rain, incessant rain for a good month now.  At one point I shot an e-mail to my daughter saying that it was a good thing that there was no wind because we'd be losing trees like crazy if there was.  Shortly after that I looked outside just in time to see a tree pass my deck on its way down.  The ground is so saturated that it just toppled.  Oh, well, at least it will make good firewood for a friend of mine who can't get out and cut her own.  If it ever stops raining long enough for me to get to it.

But as my mind bounced around with "STOP!!!!  STOP RAINING!!!!" last night I remembered some old friends.


I have Pooh on my bookshelf, too.  I used to retreat to the Hundred Acre Wood when the world was seeming a bit too Lovecraftian.  Maybe it's time to take a walk with Christopher Robin.  Maybe slide through the back of the wardrobe and pay a visit to Narnia as well.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Viva Mexico!

Last week, the Mexican Supreme Court upheld a law passed by the state of Baja that states that life begins at conception and therefore deserves legal protection by the state.  Baja is one of 31 Mexican states that have passed such laws, and more are scheduled to appear before the Court.

I’ve often questioned how a human egg and a human sperm, both carrying human DNA, could come together to form anything other than a human being.  I have yet to find anyone who will tell me that at the moment of human conception a chimpanzee is formed, or a giraffe, or a rabbit and that these creatures then evolve into a human baby.   In fact, just the asking makes people angry, which leads me to think that they can’t sustain their argument against the existence of nascent humanity.   Yet, with the straightest of faces they will require me to render a “not guilty” verdict based on doubt in a jury trial.

In one of his accounts of the marketing of the legal abortion trade in the U.S., Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of NARAL, described the motive behind legalized abortion:
A favourite pro-abortion tactic is to insist that the definition of when life begins is impossible; that the question is a theological or moral or philosophical one, anything but a scientific one. Foetology makes it undeniably evident that life begins at conception and requires all the protection and safeguards that any of us enjoy. Why, you may well ask, do some American doctors who are privy to the findings of foetology, discredit themselves by carrying out abortions? Simple arithmetic at $300 a time, 1.55 million abortions means an industry generating $500,000,000 annually, of which most goes into the pocket of the physician doing the abortion.              
He also described the tactics that were used:
We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a  liberal  enlightened, sophisticated one.  Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls.  We announced  to the media  that we had taken polls and that 60% of Americans were in favour of permissive abortion.  This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie.  Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy  to sell our program  of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000 but the figure  we gave  to the media  repeatedly was 1,000,000.  Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public.  The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually.  The figure we constantly fed  to the media  was 10,000.  These false figures took root  in the consciousness  of Americans  convincing many that we needed to crack  the  abortion law.  Another myth  we fed  to the public through the media was that legalising abortion  would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally.  In fact, of course,  abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1500% since legalisation.                                                                           
We systematically vilified  the Catholic Church  and its  "socially backward ideas"  and picked  on the Catholic hierarchy  as the villain  in opposing abortion.  This theme was played endlessly.  We fed the media such lies as "we all know that opposition to abortion comes from the hierarchy  and not  from  most Catholics" and "Polls prove time and again that most Catholics want abortion law reform".  And the media drum-fired all this into the American people, persuading  them that anyone opposing permissive abortion must be under the  influence  of the  Catholic hierarchy  and  that Catholics in favour of abortion are enlightened and forward-looking.  An inference of this tactic was that there were no non-Catholic groups opposing abortion. The fact that other Christian as well as non-Christian religions  were  {and  still are)  monolithically  opposed  to  abortion  was  constantly suppressed, along with pro-life atheists' opinions.
Dr. Nathanson estimated that his abortion mills were responsible for 75,000 abortions.  Ironically, in 1996, after repudiating abortion, he converted to Catholicism, baptized and recieved into the Church by one of the very bishops he had so vilified.  He passed away earlier this year – may his soul rest in peace.

We may have many issues with Mexico, but the Mexican citizens who are acting through their governments against the core lie behind abortion "rights" deserve to be applauded.  And our own country needs to recognize a fundamental truth: the words “Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are meaningless if the word that precedes them in that famous phrase - “Life” - is not protected.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dialog

I figured that any show that had dialog good enough to be traded back and forth on the blogs I read had to be interesting. So I couldn't stand it anymore - I checked Netflix and sure enough they had "Firefly". So much to like about the show, but the dialog is flat out fun - quick and clever and it comes out of characters you can't help liking. So when I came across these examples of not-so-sparkling dialog today the difference was really clear. These are the actual translations used in Kung Fu movies that were translated for English viewers.

1. "I am damn unsatisfied to be killed in this way."

2. "Fatty, you with your thick face have hurt my instep."

3. "Gun wounds again?"

4. "Same old rules: no eyes, no groin."

5. "A normal person wouldn't steal pituitaries."

6. "I'll burn you into a barbecue chicken!"

7. "Who gave you the nerve to get killed here?"

8. "Quiet or I'll blow your throat up."

9. "You always use violence. I should've ordered glutinous rice chicken!"

10. "I'll fire aimlessly if you don't come out!"

11. "You daring lousy guy!"

12. "I got knife scars more than the number of your leg's hair!"

13. "Beware! Your bones are going to be disconnected."

14. "How can you use my intestines as a gift?"

15. "The bullets inside are very hot. Why do I feel so cold?"

16. "Beat him out of recognizable shape."

I actually kinda like #1.