The Bonfire of Vanities (like a bad penny...) will be here on July 6th

The Tangled Bank (Science related posts) will be here July 13th.

Send your submissions here with your name, the blog and its URL, the post title, post URL, trackback if you want one, and any clever comments. Please put which one in the subject line to make my life a bit easier.

28 June 2005

Alexander Technique 2: As part of the on-going attempt to preserve some resemblance of normal function in my knees, I am taking this Alexander Technique seminar at UNT. I mentioned earlier that the other participants and I seem to inhabit different worlds. I still get "you're a doctor in Chemistry?" from people despite one of the musicians being a neonatal nurse. I wish they would stop shuddering as they say it. The broadening part of this for me is watching the sessions with the singers. I hope they find my working on dragon form as interesting. The ability to control and direct the voice was just amazing. It was fascinating to hear people singing opera while bent over (an exercise to get them to open the back when breathing) and to work on developing a fuller sound. There is a whole vocabulary of terms used very differently than from the sciences and a whole sensitivity to emotional states that seems remarkably foreign. The Alexander Method itself seems fairly well studied and I got a whole pile of stuff to read tonight. They're seen monkey and dragon, so maybe tomorrow we can do snake or hawk?

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Missed it: Tangled Bank #31 is up over at the Geomblog. A very mathematical one too. Dang cool.

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26 June 2005

Shooting Friday: Friday we ran out to the Bilyeu Farm and spend a lazy afternoon fishing in the ponds, drinking beer, and letting the boys shoot at various things. I was practicing my fly casting on a pond and found the local bass will literally hit anything, as will the brim. I was using this yellow thing I call an ugly fly, which is nicely weighed to work on my cast, and several of the little fellows hit it. Dang fish weren't much bigger than the fly but with that light rod, they gave a decent fight.  After the boys tired of being shown up by an old man, they started shooting at various things from  tin cans and targets to small game. 

Bryan and I spend most of the afternoon sitting in the shade and talking about how his search for a tenured teaching position is working out. He'll be teaching at T.W.U. this year, which means my shooting buddy is back. Thanks to the other people on his lease we'll not be hunting there but are going back to West Texas, where folks are child friendly. While we chatted, Ben and Noah worked on their positions with their 243s. Noah is shooting a stainless and composite Ruger these days while Ben is still learning with the New England Arms Youth Model. Both are better than last month, so the air gun practice, the range trips, and the dry firing is helping. (As you can see, neither wants to use a sling.<sigh>) Neither are inside that paper plate at 100 yards yet for all ten, but we got time to get there by hunting season. I shot the 44 below a bit as I hope to hunt with that this year and need to meet the same standard.

Finally, no day at the farm is complete anymore without digging the fifty out. I've mentioned before I worry about these kids. This time they had a idea. A no-longer-small boy, a 5 gallon paint bucket full of water about 250 yards away, and a very large gun. (Ben who didn't get to shot a bucket wants to point out that the target above is his shot with the fifty at 250 yards and he thinks it is very unfair that he can't hunt with it. This despite the fact he's got a bruise on his forehead from not watching the recoil on one shot.) Anyway, they filmed the effect of a 50 caliber round hitting an open 5 gallon can full of water on the sandy bank of a stock tank.

That's the water you see shooting up and it sure looked like it cleared the tops of those 15 foot plus trees. Cool, huh? Noah's shot hit about 1" off center too. Next time we are going to bring some blocks of ice...

Afterwards, Mrs. Bilyeu made us meat loaf and all the fixings. A great day, despite the horrid traffic going and coming...

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Alexander Technique: I attend the introduction class of an Alexander Technique seminar today and it was a hoot. I'm in this class with all these talented musicians and when we got to introducing me as "Dr. Menard who is an adjunct in Material Science and Engineering" the looks of horror started. Since I couldn't run samples and I figured lecturing on rheology to a bunch of music students was probably a war crime, I did the Gong Style Shing Yi Chuan 5 Element Form. Hmmmm. The reaction was interesting, especially when someone who does modern taichi said it looked very aggressive. I probably should have phrased my answer better and said it was a battlefield art. Ah, well. Still it was a lot of fun.

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Lemko Cookies 1: Another thing that is getting done over the summer is the boys are typing in old family recipes so they aren't lost.  So we made these up to make sure the recipes worked.


2 cups flour

2 tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. wine (beer)

5 egg whites

2 tbsp. sour cream

powdered sugar

 Sift flour, sugar, salt together. Add butter. Break egg whites in. Add sour cream and wine (beer). Mix well until blended. Divide to 2 or 3 parts. Roll out tin and cut into 5” diamonds. Fry in very hot fat for about 2 minutes (golden brown). When cool, dust with sugar.

Hmmmm. As good as I remembered...I would come home from school in the winter and Grandma would ahve made this up fresh. Often she would roll them up on the diamond and then fill them with jam, sweet cream-cheese filling, or nut filling after they were cooked. Then we would eat them with either hot chocolate or coffee with sugar and cream taken from the top of the milk.

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25 June 2005

Sums up my feelings: I have been down for a couple days and then yesterday we ran up to the Bilyeu's Farm to fish and shoot, so I have a bunch of stuff that needs to be tuned up and posted.  However, nothing I can say about the Supreme Courts decision, one I think is as bad for the country, less moral, and less constitutional than the Dread Scott decision, is better than this. It is interesting however than Instapundit mentions abortion clinics...really? Don't you think churches are more likely? After all, its not normally a Planned Parenthood (ha!) that sits on prime real estate tax-free. Anyway, besides maybe a comment of pro-choice as faith among even the sane, Glenn has great coverage of the various discussions on the Kelo decisions.

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24 June 2005

We're back!!!!  Thank you Mike and Carrollton Web Design. It was longer than anyone expected so I've missed linking to a bunch of things: Bonfire of Vanities*, and its origin and antithesis - the Carnival of Vanities**, the Christian Carnival, the Carnival of Recipes, and the Carnival of Cordite.

* which is incredibly funny, twisted, and full of Glenn Reynolds Abuse...

** My Lord! Have you seen his post? Poor Laurence is infested with these things. They're all over his carnival too. Arrrgh. Obvious he needs to look below. Or get a large badger...

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Friday's Gun:

A Ruger Redhawk with Pachmyr grips and 2X scope from some generic manufacturer. Anyone got a good suggestion for aging eyes other than this?  Anyway, I hoping to get back in practice enough to hunt with that this fall in South East Texas. No 400 year shots like out in Sweetwater or Amarillo but I'll need to be able to keep them inside a pie tin at 100 yards. <sigh> Ten years ago I could have done that with iron sites.

BTW, if someone wanted an inexpensive 9mm, what would you recommend?

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21 June 2005

We're moving to a new server. So updates may be a bit weird for the next day, according to Mike Le Trog...

20 June 2005

Jerky: Hmmmm, the smell of beef jerky drying in the garage. Yesterday, I took the extra venison Noah pulled, some London broil that was on special, and a few lamb chops and cut them all into as thin slices as I could manage with this sushi knife my buddy Terry talked me into buying. (Dang thing is a bitch to sharpen too and it does keep DNA stains.) So we ended up with a gallon bag full of meat and covered it in 1.5 batches of the below. The recipe makes enough marinade for 3-4 pounds of meat. This is our favorite variation on a SE Asian jerky that is cooked quickly after drying to blend the flavors. (That assumes the kids haven't eaten it all first). Normally if we are doing this, we'll also dry some Asian pears and if they are in season (they are not, dang it) some prickly pear fruits. The latter are pretty inedible but look so cool we do it anyway.

You really get best results using a dehydrator, but you can dry jerky over a cold smoke or in a oven. In an oven, you ideally want one where only the bottom element runs and to keep the door ajar so the water can escape. Check the temperature with a oven thermometer first. You want 140-150 F.

1 cup 3 crab brand fish sauce (can use soy sauce)

1/4 cup ground coriander seeds (can use whole)

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp whole or ground cumin (we use ground)

2 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp chipotle powder


Mix up the marinate and let the thin slices of meat soak in it overnight.  Lay the meat in the dehydrator so the strips don't touch and dry about 6 hours until the meat is dry to the touch. You really get best results using a dehydrator, but you can dry jerky over a cold smoke or in a oven. In an oven, you ideally want one where only the bottom element runs and to keep the door ajar so the water can escape. Check the temperature with a oven thermometer first. You want 140-160 F.  Same if you smoke it. Or you can hot smoke it for an hour and then dry it....Hmmm, I wonder what the kids were doing at lunch.


When its dry (you know what jerky feels like, no?), heat 2 cups of peanut oil in a skillet to medium (not smoking but hot enough water will pop - it kinda shimmers.) Fry the jerky until crispy at the edges. Alternatively, we turn the oven on broil and cook the jerky under the broiler until the ends get brown and crispy. That's normally how we do it.


So we now have this ton of jerky (actually about 2.5 pounds as you get one pound of jerky from 3 pounds of meat). What to do? How about this egg dish you can find in diners around South Texas?


Mexican Eggs with Beef Jerky:


4 eggs beaten

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped jalapeños

1/2 cup grated cheese

1 Tbsp milk

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup finely shredded jerky


Mix milk, beat eggs, cheese and jerky in a bowl. In butter, fry the onions and peppers for about a minute and add the egg mixture. Scramble the eggs and cook until firm.

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19 June 2005


Blessed are Thou, O Christ our God

who hast revealed the fishermen as most wise

by sending down on them the Holy Spirit

though them Thou didst draw the world to Thy net

O Lover of Man, glory to thee.

Father's Day

 Memory Eternal, Dad, I miss you.

What did I do today?


The goddess and the boys let me spend the evening finishing my laminated bowl for the Silk Road Martial Arts Demo auction. It's about the size of a large coffee cup (the coin is a quarter), bloodwood staves with maple and ebony spacers, and Gabon (sp) ebony top, bottom and cap. Finished with a friction polish outside and orange oil inside. I flocked the bottom so its sitting upside down in the dining room for the next week until that dries. (Yes, she does spoil me...)

Ben grilled me steaks for dinner too. Hmmmm. Then we started on a batch of beef jerky (actually beef, pork and Bambi.)

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TSRA Membership Drive: If you live in Texas and own a gun, you really should be a member of the Texas State Rifle Association. One of the reason Texas gun laws are so sane is the tireless activity of Ms. Tripp, the TSRA's full time lobbyist, and the rest of the good folks over there.  In addition, the TSRA sponsors competitions, hunts for women and kids, and keeps you up on both state and national gun-related legislation. So if you are a Texas gun owner and not a member, the form is here. If you're not a Texas resident, you can still join (we got really cool member stuff with a snorting bull logo...come on: scare your liberal friends.)

And be a sweetie and put me down as your recruiter so I can win the contest for the rifle. Actually, I'd be happy if you just signed up; the contest is just sugar but we need people as members to help keep this state sane for gun-owners.

UPDATE: Oops. If you are going to do this, email me for my membership number and if I get the hunt, you can come over when we cook the beastie.

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18 June 2005

The 18th Carnival of Cordite

Welcome to the Carnival of Cordite. Sorry this is late. I had a small "issue" develop that needed my attention. Reading these has been perfect therapy to make up for a busy day and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Recreational Shooting:

Ever wanted to shoot your computer? I shot a TV once back when Dukakis was running for president. During one of his ads...Anyway, Chris the Anarchangel reports on the ballistic resistance testing of the modern PC in Team Infidel rides again. Put the coffee down before clicking that link, okay?  Trust me. I mean look at these guys...You know it's not going to be good...

And for the other side of the equation, Counter-top gives us Chicks with Guns. With that for a bachelor-ette party, I hope the groom is planning on being a very attentive and good boy, cause these ladies look like they ain't just posing...(Sorry Chris, but they are also a lot cuter.)


Last time I hosted this carnival, Firehand posted and my kids wanted him to adopt them. Well, this week he's blown the morning off and headed to the range. And thanks to Mr. Completely he's posted pictures over at Irons in the Fire.

The Revolutionary War Veterans Association Weblog has an announcement for their July 3-4 celebration of the 229th birthday of our country. Bring your smokepole or your .22 and come play.

Mike at Mr. Completely has a link to a couple of handgun videos you should see. 'nuff said.

James of Hell in a Handbasket may be one of the luckiest people alive. Boar hunting with a .38?  I'm impressed (terrified is maybe more accurate.)

Chris at Things you see at 0400 asks what would you carry if one of those WW2 shooting games were real...This probably.

Well, okay, it isn't shooting but it is dang sure is recreational. El Capitan of the Baboon Pirates sends us Red neck reloading. Hmmm. I might be offended here...

Non-Recreational Shooting:

Sondra K has a film clip on military sniping in Afghanistan that has to be seen to be believed. It's not PG rated thro. While you are there, check out the mast-head and also the "in the jeans" article. If I wasn't old and married, I'd be in love...

Pete of Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog has a great collection of stories about civilians using firearms in self defense: one with a less than happy ending, another about a scrappy lady who didn't even have a gun, and a third about what I would have thought is a no-brainer.

Anyone out there go to the Gunsite Orange shotgun class? Tactical training with a shotgun can be no fun, and Shooter at Parallax Adjustment descripes it as kicked by a mule. That sounds right....

Over at the Captain's Quarters, a gun nut shows that maybe those terrorist pictures are posted by the journalists involved....Hmmm, can you say traitor? (thanks to Gullyborg for the tip)

Politics, Law and the Second Amendment:

Nick of Libertarian Lunatic has some issues with the AMA. I can't say I blame him as the goddess even refuses to join them. His language gets a little rough but he makes an interesting point: damage that would be tolerated as the byproduct of treatment sure doesn't get the same language as do firearms. I do disagree with him on politics by the AMA: I think they sell their scientific creditability when they get involved outside their area of expertise.

Matt at Triggerfinger has posted an update on the Seegar case.  You may need to follow his links back because it is getting messy....

Jerry the Geek has a post on some insanity in Massachusetts on BB guns in a science fair over at Cogito Ergo Est. I wonder what they'd think of a Texas Science Fair: more than one 7th or 8th grade project at my son's school used not airguns but firearms...and guess what - no injuries.

And speaking of dumb ideas, Sondra K shares this gem with us....I got to get my local liberal that shirt.

Over at the Countertop Chronicles, Counter-top has a suggestion of another magazine to boycott. I don't read it anyway but the publisher will still get an email protesting hiring an idiot. To quote a old Wellman story, what kind of no account non-man breaks his own gun?

At Of Arms and the Law, David reports on the latest attempt to dry up the sources of guns in the Mid-West and the involvement of the Joyce Foundation. After all, you can't have us red neck trading guns among ourselves via the classified, can you? While you are there, take the time to read this article too on whom should be apologizing for what.

At Resistance is Futlile, the Gullyborg has noticed the same problem as David above has and makes the same suggestion about offenders that Counter-top does. Money talks, folks, and if you ain't doing more than blogging about it, you need to be. Gully would also like those of you in Oregon to start calling your representatives about this piece of stupidity.  Y'all know the drill, polite, carefully worded, and definite that this is a bad idea.

Eric from Grumbles sent a link to this article over at a Canadian blog. Joe at Winds of Change has had a change of heart about gun ownership by the common man. It's a great read and points out why we have a Second Amendment. (No, Senator Kerry, it is not for hunting.

Say Uncle looks at the Stewart and Riach cases and the Supreme Court's decision to use the Commerce Clause to cover anything it wants too.


Les Jones has a link to some great deals on both .22 and AKs. Very pretty looking guns.

How about ugly but damned cool?  Owen of Owen's Life is fondling a scar and I want his job soooo bad.

Thinking about Buckmark? Mr. Completely, aka Mike, has a review of a real sweetie. It's almost enough to make him give up Hi Standards.

So what do you put on top of a beautiful new gun? In Firearm Friday-on-a-Saturday, H2SO4 of Sulfuric Attitudes points out that a $50 scope is not the proper accessory.

Cowboy Blob of the same named Saloon, Smokehouse, and Shootin Gallery points out tools can be toys....and sometimes you just "have to."

Cutter at Wadcutter turns 30 (dang youngster) and gets himself a new plinker to ease the pain... (Pain at 30? He doesn't know, does he?)

Phil at Random Nuclear Strikes talks about his trip to that adult toy store, the Gun Show.

Kim du Toit is lusting after a Mauser this week. Really lovely looking gun.

Technical Matters:

Airspace in your rounds? Les Jones looks at the amount in 5.45 and 7.62 rounds. Really cool picture too.

Pete over at Shakey Pete's Shooting Shack (hmmm...why that does that remind me of the old saw about playing poker with a man named Slim?) looks at two powders from Hodgdon and picks a winner.

James of  Hell in a Handbasket looks at something that probably won't work, in this case poison bullets? Not the best idea in his book.

From Moral Flexibility, we have the series on the FrankenGarand. Now, I love my Garands but this gentleman makes me seem like the dabbler I am. Also see here, here and here for the whole thing.

Barrel stiffness is good, no? Well, this week I'm dreaming of a composite barrel and my job may actually let me watch them get made.

Say Uncle is milling his own receivers?  Wow, I've always wanted to try but I'm no way that good a machinist. And he's running a contest for line art to put on them. Go by and give him a drawing or two...

That's it for this week. Thanks, Dave, for letting me host this week.  If I missed anyone or messed up a link, let me know. Next week, the Carnival will be at Revolutionary War Veterans Association Weblog. In the meanwhile, keep your powder dry and squeeze that trigger...

UPDATE: Miss Sondra may have been mislead. One of my shooting buddies says that he's been told that the sniper video is a "photo-shopped" version of this varmint hunt. Anyone know for sure? And is that a badger in the last scene? Noah will be so pissed!

Carnival of Cordite Homepage/Archives

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The Christian Carnival and the Carnival of Recipes are up. Yea!

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16 June 2005

The Carnival of Vanities is up as is the Carnival of Optimists. Drop by the latter and offer Russ condolences as his paternal grandmother died today.   May God grant her memory eternal and may perpetual light shine upon her.

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Escape from California: I got away last night and landed back here about 2 am. Not a bad trip, except for having to be in the San Jose area. It's scary on just how weird that place is. Some nice people and a lot of really good science but the cereal quote is way too high as is the rudeness factor.

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Blogging and the job: Another article in that US Today (what is it about hotels that they give you that rag?) about a blogger who got fired for making bad comments about his employer and permitting worse comments. Hello? Free Speech has nothing to do with it. Your employer pays you to represent his interests and if you don't, you can get canned. This is news?

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Still not getting it: US Today had an article on the cover about the fact Christians will work with liberal organizations on a variety of issues. Now we will skip the lying bullshit of using a picture of a Moslem woman with the Koran to symbolize religious persecution as Moslems are the biggest offenders in that regards in the world. (Kinda like using a picture of a Nazi as a victim of genocide...actually exactly like that - how much persecution do any Christian, Buddhist or Hindu groups do these days? How many of them have built it into their holy laws?) Anyway US Today finds it odd that Christians care about the poor, the hurt, the imprisoned. Apparently the teachings of the New Testament, Church History and American History are unknown to their editorial board.  Doesn't anybody out there get it? Christians have been forced into the Republican Party by issues like abortion, public prayer, extra-martial sex, parental notification just like shooters have been pushed there by the gun-control fetish of the Democrats. Actually, the Democrats are pushing Orthodox Jews out as well as most pro-Israeli Jews too.

Sadly the right doesn't get it either. Christianity does not equal conservatism and Christians in the Republican tent are not as interested in small government, low taxes, etc. as others. They tend to support school vouchers as they learned from the Catholics in this country that educating your own is a must. However, someone who falls within the definition of Christian (and heck, we can make the fairly broad) is going to share a fair number of concerns with the traditional liberal. Now the problem is, unless you belong to a church that has totally sold out the gospels, there are just too many parts of the liberal agenda that are counter to the teaching of the faith. Despite what a secularist might believe, these are often not negotiable.  (We really need to be thankful our military comes from a more religious strata of society, because it gives them the chance of understanding the Moslem terrorists in the way secularist never could.)

Christianity has a set of beliefs and most Christians try to act in accordance with them. If you are expecting them to fit another set of standards, conservative or liberal, you are going to be unhappy with that voting block. Even if it would be in their self-interest to do so.

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14 June 2005

Orthodox at UNT: Chris, my partner in the great "What the hell - how sick could we get" lamb roast, has put up a page for UNT's Orthodox Christian Fellowship and it got this great article on justification by faith.

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No, No, Not Again: Basil's blog has the Bonfire of Vanities...Ouch. Well, since I'm off to San Jose, a little fore-taste of hell is appropiate.

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Cool Stuff and Despair in the Mail: My younger class-brother in Phoenix just sent me a tape of Kenny Gong doing the 12 Animal form. I still can't decide if it makes me want to practice more or just go want to go in the garage and shoot myself in sheer despair. Dang. I had forgotten just how smooth he moved.

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13 June 2005

Christianity and Economics: What happened to the sin of usury? Read the early Christian writers, and from the beginning, they all speak about how loaning money for interest is evil. Loan freely and repay honestly but to make money by loaning money was considered a sin. I'm not sure where and when this began to change but both Dante and Shakespeare have mentions that have the loaning of money for profit to be wrong. Lewis writing in the first half of the last century pointed out modern Christianity had not addressed the basis of modern society being legalized usury. Chesterton, about the same time, wrote "and loans the poor that funny cash that makes them poorer still."

Now, I still see stuff like stock ownership as a different case as stocks represent partial ownership in a company. It's not just money making money. However it is interesting to see how the various Christian Churches as well as individual Christians have accommodated themselves to accepting loaning money for interest. Like most people, I have both student loans and a mortgage as well as some credit debt. Locally, I know of several dioceses that hold mortgages on churches in their faith and of at least one church that makes personal loans. All of these are at set rates of interest, and while the interest and terms are more terms are more favorable than commercial, they are still there. Now assuming the early fathers did look at loaning money for interest as wrong, why did this change and what is the price of that changes?  Most of the time the fathers objected to something that was accepted by pagans and Jews, it was because it was looked at as extremely harmful to the soul. And usury was described as both a sin of greed and of cruelty.

So what happened? All the folks that I know who are Christian of various stripes never even ask the question. I know when I discussed it with a very godly layman, whose advice I often ask, he looked at me like I'd been in the false peyote again. Yet, there is no question for a long time, loaning money for interest was considered evil. The virtues of virginity and charity appear to have been eroded away with time: what else are we slowly giving up to the world? And more importantly, what is the cost?

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12 June 2005

Moonshine Madness Venison: Noah pulled some venison steaks which we marinated with a coat of olive oil with a dash of sesame oil overnight, then  rubbed on both sides with moonshine-madness mop. Very hot grilled and turn to a brown on each side. Inside should be brown but still moist (about 160 on the thermometer.)

Moonshine-Madness Sauce

3/4 cup vinegar

3/4 corn liquor (vodka or Everclear can be used instead)

1/2 cup Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup tomato puree

1/4 cup chipotle powder

1/4 cup crushed dried scotch bonnet

3 Tbsp cayenne

3 Tbsp dried tien-tsin peppers, crushed

2 cloves garlic minced.


Add everything to a sauce pan with 1/4 cup water and simmer until it thickens. Keep in frig and use as BBQ sauce.


To make the mop from this sauce, take 1/2 cup of sauce and mix with 1/2 cup olive oil. Thin with a cheap beer if needed. Works best on strong flavored meats (game, lamb, goat...)


Serve with the sauce for more heat if desired.


Noah actually pulled more meat than we needed so we turn the rest into jerky via Gerry's SE Asian cooked jerky recipe, which I'll post later in the week.

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11 June 2005

Thoughts after Scout Camp: Several differences struck me at scout camp from my youth, some a function of the world today and some a function of camps, but it still strikes me as a bad thing. For the most part, despite the attacks of the liberal hate groups (like the ACLU) and the problems they have had with some bad apples, the Boy Scouts remains one of the best organizations I know. The scoutmasters really care about the kids and try to teach them to follow the rules and laws of Scouting as a path in life. Heck, I even like the lawyers involved. Some things stick out: the need to remind men to uncover their heads for the flag, clapping at the end of a ceremony, and a level of physical shyness I know wasn't there.

Now to some extent, it reflects changes in the world. I've heard Masons similarly comment about the loss of meaning of the Worshipful Master wearing a hat in Lodge (its not he wears a hat; its that the others don't). Since hats are now mainly utilitarian, the manners of wearing one are being lost as a gentleman seldom tips his hat to a lady anymore (which is my whole reason for wearing one - a bit of gallantry makes everyone's day nicer) or uncovers his head in respect to a his God, his flag, etc. The presence of women makes it worse as old fashion manners say a woman's head remains covered. So people get confused. Similarly the clapping seems to have come in with the presence of women in boy scouts: traditional no one clapped at a flag raising because it is a solemn occasin. Not only is this caused by the number of single mothers who want to share their sons activities, but also because of the co-ed nature of the Explorer groups. I disliked that idea as an explorer almost 35 years ago and I still dislike it. There is a place in this world for single sex activities, and I am convinced sex is more than just a physical difference.  I still believe boys need the company of men alone to learn to act as men instead of some feminized metro-sexual shibboleth. There is a type of companionship and friendship only possible among a men's only group. (Not that I dislike girls, but women change the flavor of everything and they should, but there are times...)

The physical shyness ties into that. Scouts have always stressed modesty in some ways, but growing up still in a world where parts of it excluded women and homosexuality was un-mentioned, it seems extremely weird today. I grew up in days when people swam in the YMCA pool naked, walked that way to the steam room or sauna, saunas still existed in ethnic areas and you sat naked, and nudity among men was no big deal. Common shower areas and dressing rooms were the norm.  Now, people change even shirts outsight and use the latrines all by themselves, to the point of roping it off so more solitude is assured. (We'd have three or four people using it at once and with our cooking, it was necessary.) Similarly the idea of showering by pouring water over each other is a no-no. Women's influence again but also I believe some of this is a result of the general change in social mores. Part of it is, I believe, part of a general moral decay where all orifices are equally valid and the reaction to that. You also run into the problem of as society accepts homosexuality as normal as all one sex gatherings are no longer asexual. I don't think this is a good thing. (I'm not talking civil rights here...I'm looking at a loss of a sense of sin and the social changes occurring when anything sexual is acceptable. It started with heterosexual premarital sex - Where outside of an Orthodox Church these days do you hear of refusing to marry cohabitating couples? Christian dogma is pretty straight-forward on the issue and that is a totally different issue from civil rights. A society can have rules that are non-Christian: almost all of them have. However, if a large part of that society is Christian and it isn't living in dhimmitude or the equivalent, they are going to try and influence it. This is not saying that people whose moral code differ should be stripped of rights. As far as restricting civil  rights to sinners goes, if we went that way, I want to start with the usurers. It is saying they should have the right to not be forced to accept what they think is wrong. ). However in our twisted society, kids seem aware of sex younger (which makes sense as we sell thongs to 10 year olds) and among kids themselves, there is a greater sense someone might be gay and that has an effect.  One is male friendships are much less physical than in my youth and close adult friendships rarer. It's worse in California than Texas naturally but the general affect is everywhere. The insanely heighten sense of propriety makes one think of the Irish nudity taboo scenes in the Incomplete Enchanter sequel.... My generation has more sins to answer than any good we have done can balance. The idea of letting it all hang out was a singularly bad one.

Despite the things I found odd or off, the overall experience was great. Scouting is really tuning itself so the kids are much more responsible for getting things done and running the trips. The counselors were great, despite the fact some of them weren't much over 14 and the enthusiasm they bring to the camp overrides any problems with skill level. It's surprisingly high...the staff knew what it was doing and did it well.  Some things still hold: the term a good scout is still a honor.

UPDATE: The photo is the sunset over Lake Bridgeport from Camp Sid Richardson's Council Fire Ring.

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10 June 2005

What did you do for lunch: Ben and I went to the shed out back and shot air rifle at 25 feet. I found a .22 caliber bullet trap and set it on the archery target Noah and I use to work on our draw. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, cokes, and air guns: what a great way to break up the day. Hopefully, the target will take and I might even end up with both squirrel pie and a fig harvest. Especially as this was Ben at 10 feet, 5 shots, standing off-hand (elbow to hip) printed on a 8 by 11 sheet. Not too bad, I think I'll keep him.

By the way, if you decide to practice this way, this 15 bucks is very well-spent. I think I made the money back today.

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Things to read: I've been negligent this week about carnivals: they are a ton of work for the hosts and I really appreciate how much after doing a couple. So a big thanks to the hosts and here are this week's links: Christian Carnival, Carnival of the Vanities, Bonfire of Vanities (I was not incoherent...just confused), and the Tangled Bank.

So at 3 pm today, I'm off to camp again to collect boys and my three pawed badgie....

UPDATE: Carnival of Recipes is up too. Songtress7 did a great job so go and read, but as y'all know I'm harmless.

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Today's gun:  And a link to the Carnival of Cordite which wasn't up when the above was typed. And some gratuitous science...

The Christensen Arms' Carbon Tactical shown above is one of their rifles with composite barrels. Graphite-epoxy composites are used in a lot of things from aerospace parts to golf club shafts and Christensen Arms is a manufacturer of a wide range of firearms and barrels using the high modulus (very stiff) you can obtain by orienting the graphite. In addition, one gets a significant weight drop as the composite is much lighter than steel. Since a stiffer barrel helps contribute to precision of shots, its a win-win. Now if they only needed some help on epoxy curing and would be willing to trade for it, well, I could be a happy man...

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9 June 2005

Quiet: I'm off work, the kids are both at camp, the goddess is at the office and I'm finally getting panels laid up in the shop. Then after lunch I plan to turn bowls for the charity auctions coming up. Does this count then as shop-blogging since I'm typing this on my laptop via the house's wireless? With the laptop and the beer frig out here, I may never go inside again...

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Music: Does anyone out there know a good way to learn to play trills or is it just one of those "despair" things? Dang old fingers...

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Denton's own environmental wackos: Yes, they are back. If you go to the Editorial Page of the Denton Record Chronicle, there is this whiney rant editorial from some guy who wants the city to rip out and replace Eureka Park, this acre sized play area built about 10 years ago by the local neighbors. Seems like the wood was treated with these arsenic salts to prevent termites and rot, and the arsenic might possibly be ingested by a "child." I believe this is the same ass who founded the group that tried to prevent both the copper plant and the isotope company from building in town because it might mean pollution. Now, I don't know this jerk and have no desire to but wanna bet he is a childless college professor or professional student?  I'd be willing to be lunch that yuppie, bobo, and democrat are all valid adjectives too.

Here is a play area used for years with no problem, one that it is very unlikely the city could afford to replace and we should rip it out because it might possibly, maybe have some non-zero risk on it? How about the literally thousands of kids you used it over the years? Just like the companies they didn't want in town because it might hurt the kids. (Excuse me, sir, but Dad not having a job hurts too.)Shall we burn the village to save it? How about just running him out of town on a rail? I got the feathers...

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7 June 2005

Kerry's Form 180 released or is it?  How come there is a ton of stuff in the blogsphere about how Kerry did one of them "limited full hang-outs" and nothing in the media? Just hop the links from here on out. While the fact his grades are actually worse than Bush's, especially the first year, nothing new is seen. So either being seen as an intellectual was that important to him or something was released.

I am still surprised that you don't get booted out with 4 Ds, or at least get put academic probation.  I would have gotten killed when my father found out and none of this joking that D means Distinction...but then again "the rich are different from other people."

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6 June 2005

Boy Scouts: Took the kids up to camp yesterday (Ben goes to Cub Day Camp) today and was again impressed by both the BSA in general and the adult leaders in Troop 140. Scouts teaches the little beasts to be responsible, to work for what they want, to help each other... I've glad the boys have the opportunity to be part of it. The whole Sid Richardson Camp is just amazingly well run, especially when you consider the staff is mainly teenagers. The more I deal with scouts as an adult, the more I realize ACLU membership is proof someone is a waste of oxygen. A sane society would be expanding this program, not trying to stamp it out.

I really shouldn't be here typing this but my oldest was whittling and slipped with a knife and got all four fingers. 10 stitches, no camp for 2 days, and a good talking to about knife safety. No permanent damage other than what his scoutmaster may do to him. Sadly, he will miss rowing and mile swim as he is gonna be limited in activities for a bit. However, the Scout Camp's medical staff was great and the folks over at Wise County Regional Hospital were too. Now to get the goddess calmed down.

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Safe, Legal and Rare:  Sure and the Tooth Fairy is real too. More evidence that this line is a lie told us by liberals, who want our votes and Planned Parenthood, who doesn't want normal medical record laws applied to them, can be found here. What is Planned Parenthood afraid of? Reductions in the money generated from running abortions clinics is my bet. The record law objection: increases costs and reveals profit.

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4 June 2005

Since I spent the day getting one kid ready for day camp and the other both finished up on his report, web site, and packing for his camp, no blog entries today but the Carnival of Optimists is up. See y'all on Monday when I come back from hauling the troop's trailer off to camp. I hope this light connector works. I normally don't pull things where I need signals. The deer and cattle don't seem to care.

UPDATE: Hmmmph. My post was rejected to that Pollyanna-ish thing and they didn't even tell me...

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3 June 2005

Feast Day of St. Kevin of Glendalough

"Thou was privileged to live in the Age of Saints, O Father Kevin,

being baptized by one saint, taught by another, and buried by a third

Pray to God that He will rise up saints in our day,

to help, support, and guide us in the Way of Salvation."

The Troparion has no mention of the blackbirds associated with him, the great boar that followed him like a dog, or of the Green Martyrdom at all. Today was my Name's Day, which when I was growing up was more important than your birthday. I got myself a cherry-cheese strudel from Muenster Texas to celebrate, 'cause everyone else always forgets. <sigh>  The custom of the Names Day has pretty much died out among the Orthodox in the US except for some prays at church, especially as many people choose a saints name based on the day of birth. My father, God Bless Him, saved me for that (some of the choices for my birthday are dang scarey - no I am not telling...). So they pulled a name out of a hand, and St. Kevin became my patron. I figure I'm at least an improvement over that boar. The icon above was painted for me by Dmitri Andreyev of New York: I used too strong a flash and you can see the dark green undercoat bleeding thru the gold leaf, which doesn't happen in normal light.

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Light blogging will probably continue as I get ready to head off to Camp Sid Richardson with the oldest pup.  In the last two days or so, the following carnivals have posted while I've been goofing off: Carnival of Cordite, Carnival of Recipes, the Christian Carnival, the Carnival of Vanities, and its anti-carnival - the Bonfire of Vanities, and of course, the Tangled Bank.

And Audie reminded me that it was Friday, so here's the gun picture for her.

The M1 Carbine: a lovely little gun found in the back of pickups all over south Texas and the South. Kinda what those Ruger Ranch Rifles would have been if they were in a decent caliber (they may be now, back when I got mine in my college days, you had a choice of .223).

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1 June 2005

Cool stuff: If you don't read Science News, you probably should. The last two issues just made my desk from the Badger's grubby little paws and they are full of cool stuff. Two new species have been identified: a mangabey and a rodent. The evolution of echolocation is discussed. Just a ton of great stuff to read. They also publish the results of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. If you haven't ever been to one of these, you probably should go. Our local one was won by some young lady who developed a method of using ultra-sonics to check train tracks for damage (and patented it!) The national was won by kids synthesizing flavonoids, making a navigation system for the blind, and analyzing Mars' surface to look for coast lines.

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