Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jury Duty

Do it, if you get the opportunity. Yes, it's the punishment you get for registering to vote, but it's the other great obligation of citizenship, and it can be an awesome and awful (in the truest sense of the word) experience.

So Freaking Ready for Spring...

Right now I am watching it snow out my office window, piling up to about the four inch mark at twilight after beginning around dawn—light, fluffy, powdery snow that blow away with a breath and periodically cascades down from the trees.

This is our second big snow of the winter, and the first snow of the new year. The previous snow—some fifteen inches accumulated over a Friday night-Saturday-Sunday morning storm before the holidays in December—had not completely melted away from the mounds where the plows had piled it or the hollows where it had hidden away, and now it's got reinforcements.

That magnificent snow was the biggest snowfall we have experienced since moving here from the suburbs, and it was quite an experience. We walked our woodland trail through the new-fallen snow, plowing through snow up to our knees and making the very first sets of tracks. It more or less stranded us for a time (though in an emergency we could have gotten out with the help of Henry) and we had the coziness of the woodstove to keep the chill at bay.

But by cracky, I AM SO READY FOR SPRING...and it's barely the end of January.

I am ready to burn every light in the house to fend off the wintry gloom and bolster the ever-so-slooooooooowly lengthening days. I am ready to burn every stick of firewood and kindling and every gallon of propane to keep the place warm, and today, I even tried to heat the house by filling the crawlspace with hot water.

Hey, the fifteen inches of snow was great; it fulfilled a life-time dream of mine to be here—in a place like this—under those circumstances. But frankly, I consider that itch to be officially scratched; I have crossed it off my bucket list. Enough is enough. Is it too much to ask for a crocus or two, maybe a snowdrop?

Our minds and spirits are already in spring mode, with seed orders done and the vanguard already arriving. Chicks of various flavors have been ordered to arrive in late March, and the groundwork for St. Patrick's Day dinner has been laid. All we need to do is get the @#$%^& snow to stop falling, and we'll be that much closer.

Sigh. A person can wish, right?

Friday, January 29, 2010


9th Interrogatory—In what manner have you estimated for that portion of the work, which will be tunnelled? In what time can said Tunnel be constructed? Must not your estimates for said Tunnel be conjectural? And may not a difference in the formation through which said Tunnel passes, vary the expense many thousands of dollars—that is to say, should the formation be entirely granite rock, will not the expense be much greater than if it should prove to be of clay, limestone, slate or coal?
Answer—With the same care that we have used in forming other parts of our estimates...A difference of the formation would of course, affect the expense: it might increase, or it might diminish the cost, several thousand dollars. I can say that it is not only improbable, but that it is impossible that we shall meet with granite in the constructions of the tunnel, the geological character of the country forbids it.
10th Interrogatory.—Upon what description of formation or strata have you based your estimates for the tunnel, and what certain reasons have you to suppose, that particular formation or strata exists, upon which you have based your estimates?
Answer—Our estimate is based upon a formation of clay, slate and sandstone, in layers, alternating; and occasionally earth, clay, slate, predominating. The Direction of the tunnel and that of the strata form an angle of about 29 degrees. We cannot, I think, be mistaken in the strata that we expect to meet with. The Potomac, for a few miles above, and for several miles below, has its channel back and forth repeatedly across the strata in the direction of the tunnel, these strata we find invariably in the same relative position, parallel to each other, and in the same continuous lines. (Emphasis added)


The Library of Congress is so far beyond awesome that you can't even see it with the Hubble Telescope from awesome, because it is moving beyond awesome faster than the speed of awesome rays.

Comic Gold

When burning brush on a cold, grey, blustery winter day, and you suddenly smell singeing hair, this may or may not be an appropriate and/or effective thought process:

  1. ...Where is the dog?
  2. ...What fabric is my shirt made from? Is it wool, perhaps? Hmmm; No, it is not.
  3. ... 
  4. OW! DAMMIT! (Begin slapping head furiously)
The only thing that could make this better would be 5) Larry spraying me in the face with a seltzer bottle or 
6) Curly beating me upside the head with a shovel.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


6 eggs separated (for best results, they should be separated by at least 2-3 feet)
3/4 C. Confectioner's Sugar
2 C. Cream
2 C. Milk
2 C. Liquor (1½ C. whiskey / ½ C. dark rum--adjust to personal preferences and availability)
3/4 tsp. Vanilla
Nutmeg for garnish
Beat egg yolks until creamy. Add sugar and beat until smooth, scraping bowl occasionally. Gradually (in a thin stream) add cream, then milk, then liquor, then vanilla, beating constantly. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold beaten whites into eggnog mixture. Top with grated nutmeg if desired. Made this with fresh eggs, raw milk, raw cream, dark rum and Wasmund's single malt whiskey. Pretty damn fine beverage, it was.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Verdict...

The Sorghum Ale?


Thick, acrid, sour, sludgy. Possibly the worst thing I've brewed in memory. It reminds me of that monster from the end of "Dogma." But with less personality.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Devilstower nails it

"...Here's the thing about the naughts: there was nothing magic about the numbers. It wasn't because of a double-zero in the middle of the dates that we launched an invasion that's cost the lives of thousands of Americans, the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and a trillion dollars plus out of the pocketbooks of taxpayers. We launched into that still unresolved idiocy because of bad policy based on the conservative philosophy of smash things first, think never. We went there because of a extreme version of American exceptionalism, one that views America as above the rules of law and exempt from questions of morality. A view that says not only if the president does it, it's not a crime, but that if America does it, it can't be wrong."

"It wasn't the decade that caused the economy to come down in tatters. It was a conservative approach to the marketplace that views government as the enemy, greed as the only acceptable motivation, and the only solution for disasters brought on by a lack of regulation as still less regulation."

"It wasn't the calendar that brought down the banks, or American manufacturing, or American's influence around the world. It wasn't the date that added torture to the list of growth industries while erasing our budget surplus."

"Don't forget the naughts, because this decade, no matter what anyone on the right might say, was conservatism on trial. You want less taxes? You got less taxes. You want less regulation? You got less regulation. Open markets? Wide open. An illusion of security in place of rights? Hey, presto. Think we should privatize war by handing unlimited power given to military contractors so they can kick butt and take names? Kiddo, we passed out boots and pencils by the thousands. Everything,everything, that ever showed up on a drooled-over right wing wish list got implemented -- with a side order of Freedom Fries."

"They will try to disown it, and God knows if I was responsible for this mess I'd be disowning it, too. But the truth is that the conservatives got everything they wanted in the decade just past, everything that they've claimed for forty years would make America "great again". They didn't fart around with any "red dog Republicans." They rolled over their moderates and implemented a conservative dream."

"What did we get for it? We got an economy in ruins, a government in massive debt, unending war, and the repudiation of the world. There's no doubt that Republicans want you to forget the last decade, because if you remember... if you remember when you went down to the water hole and were jumped by every lunacy that ever emerged from the wet dreams of Grover Norquist and Dick Cheney, well, it's not likely that you'd give them a chance to do it again."

"And they will. Given half a chance -- less than half -- they'll do it again, only worse. Because that's the way conservatism works. Remember when the only answer to every economic problem was "cut taxes?" We have a surplus. Good, let's cut taxes. We have a deficit. Hey, cut taxes even more! That little motto was unchanging even when was clear that the tax cuts were increasing the burden on everyone but a wealthy few. That's just a subset of the great conservative battle whine which is now and forever "we didn't go far enough." If deregulation led to a crash, it's because we didn't deregulate enough. If the wars aren't won, it's because we haven't started enough wars. If there are people still clinging to their rights, it's because we haven't done enough to make them afraid."

"Forget the naughts, and you'll forget that conservatives had another chance to prove all their ideas, and that their ideas utterly and completely failed. Again."

"The point of remembering bad events is to stop them from repeating. So remember, and remind others if they start to forget. Because really, this is one trip to the water hole we can't afford to repeat."

Devilstower, at DKos

Driftglass nails it:

"And if you're one of those people who has spent your adult life supporting these degenerates while sneering at those soft-headed Liberals and their crazy ideas, maybe after 35 unbroken years of being horribly fucking wrong about everything it's time for you turn off Glenn Beck, stop whining about imaginary hippies, go down to the basement, pick out one of the 78 guns you have stashed there to protect you from the Coming Race War Or Something, and do the honorable thing."