31 October 2005

Happy All Hallow's Eve

On the Eve of All Saint's Day: The fall harvest festival exists in most cultures, and in Europe it was associated with the feasts of the Dead. Longer nights, colder weather, the trees losing their leaves, all images of a dying and darkening word. The early Church in the West addressed this the same way the Church as a whole addressed the pagan winter festival and many local feasts -by going head to head with the old gods and setting a Christian Holy day in opposition to the rites of the pagans. So we have Christmas clashing with Saturnalia and the Feast of All Saints (the Hallowed or Holy) clashing with Samhein. The position was intentional so that the feast celebrating the powers of darkness and death would be met with the celebration of the powers of light. In this country, things once really feared, the witch, the goblin, the vampire, and the ghost, were reduced to games for children. It's dang hard to take a witch's powers seriously when a cute little 9 year old girl is dressed as one.

So what the heck happened? At one time, the cry of the Christian Church was that the powers of darkness are overthrown. The early Church considered believing in witchcraft a sin as it was powerless. The gates of Hell are broken and those in the graves raised with Christ. This was such an article of living faith that Patrick of Eire challenged the Druids and his hymn of praise "the Deer's Cry" remains today an expression of the Christian's disdain for the old gods and their powers. So why do Christians like those running my kids' school run from the evil rather than fight it? Have we lost the faith or just the will?

For what we celebrate as Christians in the west on Hallow Eve is all of the Saints, the people who chose Christ God over the darkness of the world.  In the Russian Church, the following day celebrates the two greatest healer saints of the Eastern Church (our feast for the dead falls in the spring). The darkness meets the Light and is overthrown by it, for darkness is not the opposite of light, but its absence. So my kids go out dressed like nightmares and terrors, for how scary can something be when its your best friend underneath? How afraid can we be of a darkness we mock for candy? For my God is Risen, and why should I be afraid?

Update: Yes, my son, the axe murderer. It's all Russ's fault. I always said Ben would be either that or a monk, or both. I just hope he gets the order right.

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30 October 2005

Fall Hunting Season: The boys and I went down to a ranch outside Kerrville for youth season, the 2 day weekend before the opening of rifle season for deer and turkey next Saturday. After a early release from school on Friday, a six hour drive to the lovely YO Ranch Hotel anbbthen two days of early mornings and a late night - we drove back tonight so they could make school tomorrow. Homework got done in the car with Uncle Gerry helping, so they will probably get expelled.On Saturday morning, we were sitting in a blind at sun rise and Ben saw and drop a nice 90 pound doe at about 50 yards. My youngest joined the ranks of hunters with a single shot of his NE Arms .243, hitting the doe's spine just above and behind the heart-lung area. Rick Johnson, the fellow running the hunt, and Noah weren't so lucky.  They hunted the rest of the day before Noah got a shot at a buck just before sunset that night. A single shot with his new .243 Ruger bolt action Model 77, dead on the heart-lung area and the buck dropped dead in his tracks at 75 yards. It was a very heavy bodied 7 point with a nice spread. Before field dressing, he weighed in at 165 pounds and was fat enough that he had a beer belly. Noah was so happy he couldn't remember where he had the camera (in his hands?). A great start for the hunting season. Rick marked Noah with the traditional cross in blood on the forehead and joined us in prayer thanking Christ God for the gift of the animal. Neither boy got another shot that day or today; both passed on a couple they didn't consider "clean" to the rancher's surprise and pleasure. He had agreed to let the boys each take a buck and a doe, but they were content with what they got. Content might be a bit of understatement. Both were bouncing around like otter pups after the kills. Ever better, both seemed as happy over their brother's success as their own.  Ben's comment was "I got my first deer, Daddy, I don't really need to shoot another one this weekend." Noah even asked Ben if he'd like to shoot another doe for Noah as the buck hunt was taking so long.  I like them being decent shots and hunters; I'm prouder of their ethics on hunting.  Nothing makes a daddy's heart swell like being told that "you are raising a pair of good and honorable young men." I think we all gained a few pounds from that Hill Country cooking too. Gerry spend the day talking to the ranchers and watching Cubby, the ranch raccoon, boss the cats around. We got a little bit of training in at the hotel and even found someone to train with but most of the time was spent in deer blinds or eating in the heart of Texas.

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25 October 2005

Not getting it: A friend of mine forwarded an article from the Guardian, where an atheist looks at charity. It's an amazing piece of intellectual prelest and I can't resist "fisking" it.

We atheists  have to accept that most believers are better human beings
by Roy  Hattersley
The Guardian_ (http://www.guardian.co.uk/)

Hurricane Katrina did not stay on the  front pages for long. Yesterday's Red Cross appeal for an extra 40,000 volunteer  workers was virtually ignored. The disaster will return to the headlines when one sort of  newspaper  reports a particularly gruesome discovery or another finds additional evidence of President Bush's negligence.

Hmmm. We have evidence of Bush's negligence? He's suppose to appease the nature spirits and keep them happy? Or is he actually supposed to run the state of Louisiana by himself? Something tells me we ain't got a neutral observer here.

 But month after month of unremitting  suffering  is not news. Nor is the monotonous performance of the unpleasant tasks  that relieve the pain and anguish of the old, the sick and the homeless - the tasks in which the Salvation Army specialise. The Salvation Army has been  given a special status as provider-in-chief of American disaster relief. But its  work is being augmented by all sorts of other groups. Almost all of them have a  religious origin and character. 

 And this is surprising why? If you know anything about Christian or Jewish belief, caring for the less fortunate is a requirement of the faith, and Christians, unlike Jews and Moslems who care for their own (note who Kuwait sent the millions in aid to after the natural disasters...it wasn't the US), have an obligation to care for those who hate and reject them. The problem is secularist, especially atheists are as blind and prejudicial as they like to accuse believers of being.

Notable by their absence are teams from rationalist  societies, free thinkers' clubs and atheists' associations - the sort of people  who not only scoff at  religion's intellectual absurdity but also regard it as a  positive force for evil.

And not surprising if you think about it. As an atheist or whatever term you want to use for it, there is no call to anything higher than self-interest. If mankind is the product of natural forces, of random mutations as modern evolutionist thought claims, then why should we care about the ones who can't help us? Despite all the smoke they attempt to throw, there is really no claim in an atheist position to even claim we should help our own. One can make the arguement that we should help our own kind because of relationships, but strangers across the country who will never return the favor. In my own atheist days, I argued for certain moral positions because of pride, tradition, or even genetics, but it really came down to what I chose. Hence, why should one choose either way?

Interestingly, religion's intellectual absurdity is assumed here. Amazing how many people in this and past centuries thought different. After all, atheism is as much a matter of faith as religion is.

The arguments against religion are well known and persuasive.

Well-known yes, Persuasive, no way. More evil was done in the last century by atheists than religion ever did. The Nazi death camps, the starvations in the Ukraine and China, etc. In fact, I have never heard an argument against the existence of God that didn't reduce to "I don't want to be told my pet sin is wrong."

  Faith  schools, as they are now called, have left sectarian scars on Northern  Ireland. Stem-cell research is forbidden because an imaginary God

Hmmm. My God hasn't made any statements on stem-cell research. Apparently, I missed something. Now killing the innocence and using their parts is considered wrong but stem-cells don't have to come from aborted babies. It's that whole believe that life is good that's the problem.

 - who is not  enough of a philosopher to realise that the ingenuity of a scientist is just  as  natural as the instinct of Rousseau's noble savage

I thought most people had realizes that Rousseau was an fraud, the noble savage a fanciful myth, and that humans don't really run on instincts. As to the belief that what is natural is by defination good, well, then the black death, flu pandemics, food poisioning, and infection are also good. I'm being smart-ass but the argument here is really stupid.

 - condemns what he does not understand and the churches that follow his teaching forbid their members to pursue cures for lethal diseases.

Talk about being so bigoted you can't see the facts or the beliefs of those you disagree with. What God or what group is he talking about? Anyone whose view of morality isn't relative and this is the real weakness of secularism. Because it has no beliefs other than expediency, it can't understands matters greater than the belly or the phallus, to paraphrase Zelazny's Lord of Light. 

Yet men and women who believe that the Pope is the devil  incarnate, or (conversely) regard his ex cathedra pronouncements as holy writ,  are the  people most likely to take the risks and make the sacrifices involved in  helping others.

A lot of others don't fall in either camp but that is a bit subtle for a hate-monger. It must be very frustrating to not understand how such simpletons can be better people than her

 Last week a middle-ranking officer of the Salvation Army, who  gave up a well-paid job to devote his life to the poor, attempted to convince me  that homosexuality is a mortal sin.

Psst. 2000 years of Christian history say he's right. It is a sin, just like any sex outside of marriage. I wonder if a Salvation Army worker would use the term thro as its a catholic idea. Be that as it may, many things that seem "natural" in a fallen world are grave sins, but that doesn't make the sinner any less of a creation of God. Christianity is about becoming as like Christ as we can, loving God and man as we love ourselves. Christ said nothing about approving of them. The ability to care for those you disagree with seems not to be something secularists or liberals can understand these days.

Late at night, on the streets of one of our great cities,  that man offers friendship as well as help to the most degraded and (to those of  a  censorious turn of mind) degenerate human beings who exist just outside

Oh dear, this man who lives for others dares to be censorious. How dare he not be more like the secularist who approves of their lifestyle but lets them suffer in thier pain unloved. About now, I really started wanting to bitch slap the author. Badly.

 the  boundaries  of our society. And he does what he believes to be his Christian duty  without the slightest suggestion of disapproval. Yet, for much of his time, he  is meeting needs that result from conduct he regards as intrinsically  wicked.

I somehow doubt the Salvation Army officer who regard them as intrinsically wicked. Our author appears to again be projecting his belief about how religious people think onto this poor guy. Needing of salvation, living in sin, fallen, yes, but Christianity pretty much looks at all souls as savable.

Civilised people do not believe that drug addiction and male  prostitution offend against divine ordinance.

Not really true, is it? For most of human history, the civilized believed just that. I'd argue today that those that support those and similar positions aren't really civilzed but are really moral savages, incapable of making a hard judgement that goes against their feelings.

 But those who do are the men and  women  most willing to change the fetid bandages, replace the sodden sleeping  bags  and -probably most difficult of all - argue, without a trace of  impatience, that  the time has come for some serious medical treatment. Good  works, John Wesley insisted, are no guarantee of a place in heaven. But they are  most likely  to be performed by people who believe that heaven  exists.

Whose says all of John Wesley's theology is correct? More importantly, based on the author's inability to understand believers, what are the odds it says that in context?

 The correlation is so clear that it is impossible to doubt  that faith and charity go hand in hand. The close relationship may have  something to do with the belief that we are all God's children,

Duh? Can he really be this dense? What the hell does he think it has to do with?

 or it may be the  result of a primitive conviction that, although helping others is no guarantee  of  salvation, it is prudent to be recorded in a book of gold, like James Leigh  Hunt's Abu  Ben Adam, as "one who loves his fellow men".

I think Chesterton's version, applied to people like the sniveller who wrote this piece, is more fun.

Whatever the reason,  believers answer the call, and not just the Salvation Army. When I was a local  councillor, the Little Sisters of the Poor - right at the other end of the  theological spectrum - did the weekly washing for women in back-to-back houses  who were too  ill to scrub for themselves.

Honey, the difference between them, the Salvation Army and even me is so small as compared to the difference with you as to be negligible.

It ought to be possible to live a Christian life without  being a Christian or, better still, to take Christianity à la carte.

Horseshit. It isn't, because the Christian life is being part of Christ's Church. Christianity a la carte gives us the moral abominations of the modern left.

The Bible  is so full of contradictions that we can accept or reject its moral advice according to taste.

More bullshit. Haven't actually read the sucker, have we?

 Yet men and women who, like me, cannot accept the mysteries  and the miracles do not go out with the Salvation Army at night. The only possible conclusion  is that faith comes with a packet of moral imperatives that, while they do not  condition the attitude of all believers, influence enough of them to make them  morally superior to atheists like me.  The truth may make us free.

Well, yes but it has to be the Truth, not some self delusion and an arrogance born of your own self-confessed superiority. That reeks from every line here. You have not the truth in you. What you have is prelest.

But it has not  made us as admirable as the average captain in the Salvation Army.

Nope and for all your self examination here, it's unlikely it will. But why, if there is no God and we are just animals with more brain, should you find it admirable? Or perhaps something says that we need to live for more than ourselves alone? That not a trait I'd expect to find in a nature formed by survival of the fittest...

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Pork Roast (on the grill and in the smoker): Gerry made an Italian pork roast last year that we smoked. This year, with the lamb, we decided that was too much work as it requires stuffing with sausage, rolling up and tying. So he butterflied it and then we grilled it with the bulogi.

5 pound pork roast, butterflied so it lies flat

1 cup olive oil

6 bay leaves

1 Tbsp crushed red pepper

3 large shallots, chopped

3 Tbsp garlic paste

1 Tbsp dried parsley

1 Tbsp oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a pan with the bay leaves in it. When the bay leaves begin to smell, add the rest of the herbs and cool. Rub the roast in the oil and let sit overnight.  The next day, grill on high heat until an internal temperature of 140 F is reached, turning every 15 minutes.

For a roast in an oven or a smoker, that the oiled roast on the second day and cover the top side with 1" layer of a hot Italian sausage.  Roll up like a jelly roll and tied off. Cook at 300 F in a pre-heated oven or smoker until the center reaches 140 F. Slice and serve hot.

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23 October 2005

Caja China: About six months ago, Val was kind enough to send me plans for his caja china. I used those as a welding lesson with Ed and we finally got the beastie down. I decided to use a swinging door rather than the sliding door and tray Val used because I wanted a little more flexibility. We are also thinking of using wood chips on the bottom to generate smoke to flavor the meat (hence the welded construction).  However, I found out that my local metal shop does not cut to size and so I need to run down to Haltom City, where Metal Express does, to get the grill (a large piece of expanded steel in 10 gauge) and a piece of sheet in 10 gauge for the top to hold the charcoal. We really didn't have time for that this week and so we welded a couple of posts on each end, which are drilled to hold the spit in place. It worked great. See the lamb roast below.  Now we'll clean it up and add wheels and a paint job...

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Bulogi - Texas version: This started as a Korean Version of Grilled Beef that our guest, Gerry, got from another friend in Chicago. We changed it to have more bite. In making this, we found Indian-Pakistani Groceries sell something that is called beef pasanda, which is beef sliced thin parrellel to the grain, and that works great for this dish as well as jerky. If anyone has a recipe for that, let us know.

10 pounds of thin sliced beef, any cheap cut

1 quart of soy sauce

1/2 quart of pear nectar

2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

2 bunches scallions, chopped

5 Tbsp sesame oil

4 Tbsp chipotle powder

3 Tbsp Garlic paste (can used finely chopped garlic instead - 2 heads)

1 tsp black pepper ground

1 tsp ground ginger, fresh

Mix all the ingredients in a large plastic bag or a sealable container and burp the air out. You should reserve a bit of the sauce to use during cooking in a spray bottle. The meat should be totally covered. Let sit over night in the frig. Heat a grill to high heat (on a gas grill, we cooked just below the clean setting). Lay the meat out on the grill and cook on both sides until the edges are brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. After turning, spray that side with the marinade mixture you reserved. When both sides are done, the edges should be crisp. Store in a warming pan until served. It can be eat as is, over rice, or on bread. The boys like the leftovers to reheat at school.

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Lamb Roasting, try 2: Earlier this year, I roasted my first lamb over an open pit fire with Chris at the local Orthodox Church. I decided to try it again. We had originally planned to use the caja china as it was designed but I had some problems getting the grill. So we took a 2'' by 6 foot pipe, drilled about a dozen quarter inch holes in it, and used it as a spit. We got this 30 pound lamb from the same market mentioned above and removed any excess fat and the kidneys, which we soaked in brine and then marinaded over night in white wine, garlic, shallot, and onions. The lamb got dumped into a large cooler with:

 20 gallons of water

 5 pounds of salt

 2.5 pounds of sugar

1/2 pound of bebere powder

6 ounces of garlic paste

12 cut  lemons.

After adding 4 25 pound bags of ice, we let it sit for 24 hours.

We built a fire using oak and mesquite along both long sides of the caja china and let it settle down to a even burn. The lamb got rubbed down with 2 cups of olive oil and mounted on the spit using metal skewers running through the holes of the pipe and tied on with baling wire. We then cooked it over the wood fires, turning it a quarter turn every 15 minutes and mopping it with a paint brush using this mop:

1 bottle of  beer (Coronas)

2 sliced onions, chopped

4 Tbsp garlic paste

4 Tbsp dried rosemary

6 Tbsp bebere powder

2 Tbsp chipotle powder

Toss everything into a blender and liquefy it. After 3 hours, the internal temperature reached 145 F in the legs and we removed it, gave it one last mop and then let it rest 20 minutes. We then cut the legs and backstrap off, sliced those up, and cut the ribs. Serve with dipping sauce, fresh bread, and salad.

Dipping sauce can be made with 2 cups of lamb stock (made from roasted shanks, celery, onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks), 1/2 cup of roux (equal parts of butter and flour cooked together), 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp coriander. Add stock to the roux slowly and then add spices. Cook on low until blended and then strain.

If this is too much work, you can also take balsamic vinegar and added shallots, onions, and pepper to it and use that.


UPDATE: COR Visitors: We also made bulogi and pork roast for the BBQ and those didn't make the cut for the Carnival. You might want to scroll up and look at those too.


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21 October 2005

Oops: My aged laptop's Ethernet port and Com1 died in Abilene so I've been offline a couple of days. I'm adding the post I tried to add from there below. We will now resume our regularly unscheduled blogging...

Cooking and Forging: Gerry and I spend the day shopping and preparing foods for the BBQ tomorrow.  I'll put the recipes up tomorrow after we try them as well as pictures of the caja china/roasting box I welded up.  We also started lining the forge with ITC-100, an IR reflective coating, to protect the insulation and to increase the operating temperature a bit. With any luck, we should be burning it off next week.

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18 October 2005

"Abilene, Abilene, prettiest town that I've ever seen:" I drove out to Abilene today and was again struck by the stark beauty of the Edwards Plateau and West Texas. The area near Ranger is got to be my favorite part of Texas, where the green lushness fades away as you go up that long hill to the high desert and badlands of the old cowboy songs.  It's still mainly cattle and oil wells out here and you either love it or hate it. I fell in love with it during my years in Midland and Big Spring. Denton and that country is lovely but I still miss the West.

After spending tomorrow at Abilene Christian, I'll have dinner with the godkids and see how they are doing. Then back to Denton so I can pick up Gerry at DFW.

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15 October 2005

Caja China Progress and other things: Well, after running Noah to the 10 K run that his troop was working today, I came back to a bunch of friends who helped me clean up the shed in preparation of our annual BBQ next weekend. It took longer than I thought, as normal, and we were late for our welding session. Sadly that meant we still need more time to finish, even thro today we got the back on and the front panel welded up from scrap. It was also Noah's first time welding and I had major problems getting him to share the torch. We need to add the runners next time, and then order the 2 racks of expended metal as well as the large sheet needed to hold the charcoal. I figure about 2 more hours of work...probably on Tuesday morning before I drive out to Abilene.

Now where do I find cuy?

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13 October 2005

Breakfast with the divine Miss Sara: Well,  also with Justin and their toddler, James, at their place in Culver City on my way south to today's customer. What a charming little boy. Today's project ran late enough I couldn't join them at the dojo tonight to get beaten up by more strangers. I did get here Hewitt's radio show on the way back. My Lord in Heaven, if that is what passes as an evangelical, no wonder Christianity is getting a bad rap.  His discussion with Liliek's was, well, revealing.  The STFU post I wrote was truer than I thought. No wonder so many of the fathers emphasized silence and deeds. He comes across much less committed to any gospel than to the GOP.  I think I won't buying anymore of his books. I switched to the local country station, which sounded like the oldies station in Dallas despite their "Save a horse.." motto. Amazingly what passes for Country Music out here. Drought's here too although everyone says the hills are golden instead of parched.

I also finished reading Fitzgerald's War in the jams (yes they were that bad. I'm spending 4 hours a day in traffic.) The book is a decent science fiction novel about a man skirting with his own damnation. Interestingly, it is written as if it was a text being critiqued by an academician from an elitist school and the footnotes are great. That part is so very true to form - just like what the modern PC elitist who think of something that disagrees with their orthodoxies.

Tomorrow I get to go home and see if my lathe missed me.

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12 October 2005

"Stuck here in this LA parking lot" I drove out to Thousand Oaks today to work with a drug company on applying their DSC to the collapse and storage temperatures of protein based drugs. The traffic was unreal both ways. It seems there ain't no counter flow direction in LA. Then I was insane enough to visit Daiwai Aikido again. After Toma had all of his students toss me around like a ball, we did some kick defenses, which were rather interesting, and then his cane class. The latter had these two older biker types in it and they were a hoot. No slack at all on openings or carelessness. No wonder most of his aikido people don't stay around. Very nice and friendly guys, but really street-wise.

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11 October 2005

Mohave, California: I spent the day at a cement plant out here, about 2 hours west of Burbank. It's an amazing complex thing cement and I guess I need to do another science of simple things. Interesting scenery as the photos show. The Joshua trees are so ugly has to have passed back into cool.  What was really neat was the huge wind farm near the plant. It was 100 times the size of the one in Sweetwater.The boys would have loved it. It was so cool seeing these hundreds of wind turbines, spinning in the breeze. I also drove over the massive aquifer that the LA area uses to imprt the water they steal from the Rocky Mountain States. Without that flow, the whole area would revert to this kind of desert.

I made the drive all the way down to Uncle Stu's house, and arrived looking like I was death warmed over. However, I made about 45 minutes of his shing yi class. He taught me two exercises, one I thought I knew, and I was wiped. I got to see his shop too. Wow. It's so small and he does such cool stuff out of it. Tuesday I'm off to Thousand Oaks and aiki-ing with Toma.

The big news out here seems to be Gov. Arnold wants unions to only support policies that their members have voted to support. Seems reasonable but the union leadership and the Democrats are having a cow.

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10 October 2005

Pork and Peanuts: I found this spice merchant on the web and, after my first couple of orders, purchased her cookbook. Adrianna's Spice Caravan is a cool site as well as a wonderful cookbook. We tried her recipe for pork and peanuts (a very quick meal) and, after a bit of adaptation, came up with this:

2 lbs pork loin, sliced very thin

1/2 cup dark soy sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp ajowan

salt to taste

1/2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, roasted

1 tsp ground black pepper

A splash of a cooking wine like Sherry or Two Deer

1/2 cup peanut oil

1 tsp tien tsin peppers, whole

1 cup peanuts, blanched

1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Mix pork slices, spices (except for the whole peppers), soy sauce, and flour together and mix until the pork is coated. Heat oil until hot and add pork mixture and cook until pork is crispy at edges. Remove meat and add peanuts and peppers. Cook until peanuts are lightly browned and then add the meat and the splash of wine to help remove the fond. Pour off excess grease and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve over rice in a bowl.

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9 October 2005

My weekend - welding and killing roosters: Ed gave me my first welding lesson this weekend. Like most guys, I can stick metal together just not well, so he decided that we'd start with a wire welder and I could make my caja china box from these 18 by 12 inch pieces. Yes, lots and lots of practice. We got the sides and bottom done and hopefully tomorrow we can get the ends on, so I can get some expanded steel cut for the grill. Hmmm...lamb and cuy...hmmmm.

Among the other things this weekend, I had to run by my friends place and process a dozen or so roosters that were reaching the difficult years. They actually gang-banged one of the hens to death. I thought that kind of behavior was limited to people. Anyway, it was time for the birds to meet Mr. Axe. Two interesting things: I missed a stroke and left one roosters brain stem. The dang thing walked calmly away and sat down like it was roosting until it dies...a zombie rooster? The other has a moral for young men.  One of those bad boys got away and as a rooster can really move when panicked, we couldn't catch the blamed thing. That is until it got all distracted looking at all those hot little hens inside the chicken coop. We got within 10 feet and then Mr. Rooster got nailed by a thrown ax. Moral: think with your brain - not other parts.

Then I had to clean the danged things...Ah, well, the coq au vin is worth it.

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Answers to the COTV 159 Poetry Quiz: As Sue found out, I cheated. Google gets some of these wrong, not as badly as Lin Carter screwed up and attributed a part of Chesterton's Lepanto to Matthew Arnold (a sure sign he got the quote from Barlett's or similar rather than by reading verse - no way the styles are even close) but still wrong. So in order:

"A truth told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent."  William Blake's Auguries of Innocence, which is best know for its "Some are born for delight" line and talks about things that are signs of corruption and wickedness. Mainly chosen for our the MSM chooses to present the Iraq conflict.

"Bad men who have no right to their right reason, good men who have good reason to be wrong." G. K. Chesterton from A Party Question in his little known book "The Queen of Seven Swords." A book of verse dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which never gets into his collected work, the verse refers to the double treason of doing evil for a good cause or under the cover of a good cause, which stuck me as a fair metaphor for how the Democratic Party acts these days (NOLA came to mind)

"I heard the squeak of the questing beast, where it scratched itself in the blank between the queen's substance and the queen." C. Williams in The Coming of Palomides.  C. Williams, a member of the Inklings, wrote everything from theology to mystic ficition to poetry to journalism. His books  of poems about Arthur's poet, Taliessin, were "the Region of the Summer Stars" and "Taliessin through Logres". This refers to Palomides' realizing of the gap between what Queen Isabel was and what she should or could be. Google refers you to it being quoted by H. Rider Haggard in one of his "She" novels. The idea repeats in the poems for Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and others: people who chose not to be what they could or should be. The gap between what is and what could be drives Palomides to be christened. What the gap between who Pres. Bush chose and what his base wanted will lead to remains to be seen.

"But I must rule and govern still, and always give the law" James Graham in "My dear and only love" abut his love's suspected infidelity. A good image of what conservatives were worrying about with the open Court seat.

"At last the people in a body to the town hall came flocking "Tis clear" they cried "our mayor is noddy." Robert Browning in "the Pied Piper of Hamelin" and my basic opinion of much of local government. A corrupt noddy would likely be more accurate.

"yet, in my walks, it seems to me that the Grace of God is in Courtesy" Hiliare Belloc in Courtesy, a rhyme on the virtue most lacking from the blogsphere in general and much of modern life. Quite honestly, the manners of most bloggers from the Divine Beings to the Microbes is such as it would get you killed if you acted this way in a working class bar in west Texas or in a neighborhood bar where I was raised. In business, well, maybe its acceptable to LA or in law, but in my field you'd be job-hunting.

"With a cargo of ivory, and apes and peacocks, sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine" John Masefield in "Cargoes", which images trading ships of various ages and while the last seems prosaic, think how it would sound today with a cargo of memories on a chip, games on a mirrored disk, self-propelled cars, and dark red wines from Oz?

"Who has seen the beaver busied? Who has seen the blacktail mating? Who has laid alone to hear the wild goose cry?" Rudyard Kipling in "the Feet of the Young Men." Kipling has gotten a bad rap because he wasn't PC. It's a shame because his verse still is powerful And several of my friends who "hate poetry" liked his. A man's poet as my father used to say (yeah, Dad was a bit of a sexist.)  This was one of the tricky ones because if you goggle it, you get someone who was answering the posed question (I think.) Anyway, this is one of several of Kipling's songs about nature and the wild. I always seem to read it as hunting season approaches and it fits watching the armadillos in my post.

"O whare shall I get a skeely skipper to sail this new ship of mine?"  From an anonymous ballad I think is in the Childe Collection called "Sir Patrick Spens", referring to a king's need for a good captain to sail a ship in dangerous waters. Sadly, the king doesn't listen and everyone dies.

"Late, late in the gloamin’ Kilmeny came hame!" James Hogg's Kilmeny tells of a young girl who is so late coming home that the funeral service had already been held for her. She was stolen by elves and stuck dumb, elf-shot. That didn't apply to our late colleagues, but with at least one submission being stolen by the internet trolls I thought this was fitting.

 "Dogs have their star and cats have none" A. Wavell in his Other's Men's Flowers referring to several poems about dogs. Kipling's "The Power of the Dog", "Dinah in Heaven",  and "The Supplication of the Black Aberdeen" as well as Grenfell's "To a Black Greyhound" all come to mind. You have to wonder about trusting a man who'd keep a cat instead.

"Each head is a world" A south Texas proverb from the Mexican-American mother of one of my friends. Mama Rosa would use it to remind him we all live in our only little worlds.

I also mentioned but didn't quote from Hoffer's "The True Believer". Anyone who wants to understand the fanatical mindset of the fringes of either side needs to read this little book. It's a very enlightening look and worth using as a mirror.  Funny through what is presented in the media and even the powers of the blog-sphere as fringes is quite different on the left and the right. For example, religious believers who think abortion is murder and want to limit it because of concerns for the child's rights are "fringe." Both Quick and Reynolds run with the MSM on that. On the left, however, supporting what is practically infanticide is considered moderate. Other examples could be offered, but y'all know what I mean.

That's it. I hope you enjoyed them.

UPDATE: Yes, as someone asked, the description of Reynolds in my shameless seeking of an Insta-link was taken and altered from Mary Gentle's "Grunts".

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6 October 2005

Wish I said that: Steve imparts non-cooking wisdom. Read the comments too. Libertarian or Andrew Sullivan?<guffaw>

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5 October 2005

Boulder: Ten square miles surrounded by reality...yep, that's about it. I spent the day there working with a small company making protein based drugs and it's beautiful. However the granola factor is close to that of Berkley. There's a big problem with underage drinking too  -I heard people talk about 11 deaths this year?  I had coffee at a Peabody's with Jonas, a local email friend, and talked of martial arts, cooking pigs, and life while we watched the sun set over the mountains.

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Grilled Dove Breasts: The host of this week's Carnival of Recipes commented on it being dove season and my submitting a pilaf recipe. So here is one, just for them:

Dove breast, whole, de-boned, about a dozen

Olive oil, 1/4 cup

garlic, 2 cloves minced

sesame oil, 1 tsp

jalapenos, quartered into strips and de-seeded (The last in important)

Bacon, raw, 12 slices

Jack or cheddar cheese, sliced

12 wood skewers, soaked in water.

Dove breasts are small, so it takes about 3-4 to feed someone. I skin rather the pluck the birds so these are skinless. Take the breasts and put them and the oils and garlic in a plastic bag to soak over night. Remove and pat dry. On each breast, put 1/4 slice of cheese covering it and one strip of jalapeno. Fold over and wrap with a bacon slice. Pin closed with skewer. Place on a hot grill for about 4-6 minutes a side and serve. Watch for pellets when eating.

Speaking of birds, Phil's roosters are big now so its time for bad rooster stew.

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Just can't win: Not only have I been unable to get an Insta-launch for the COTV, but I got rejected from the Tangled Bank because my work didn't fit with the rest. The host decided since it was mainly biology this time, chemistry/material science posts aren't welcome. But Astronomy fits? Gee, I have a hard time seeing the logic here. Maybe its the poster's politics instead? Either way she didn't  the manners to tell me until I asked if I was missed by mistake. And that anti-chemistry censor got a insta-link. <grumble> Well, I'm not a lawyer so that's expected...

 Other carnivals have pulled this. I neither post nor link to them anymore. Why bother taking the time to submit when people don't post requirements for what they want and then randomly decide not to use yours? And then don't bother to tell you. Ah well, I've learned to expect neither any more manners or ethics from bloggers that I would a journalist, but I feel better for the rant. Thanks for listening...

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Nobel Prize in Chemistry Announced: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2005 jointly to Yves Chauvin (Institut Français du Pétrole, Rueil-Malmaison, France), Robert H. Grubbs (California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, CA, USA) and Richard R. Schrock (Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA) "for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis".

Dang cool.

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The Carnival of the Vanities - Volume 159

Welcome to the 159th Edition of the Carnival of the Vanities, a weekly listing of the self-selected best posts by a variety of blogs. I had a bit of a hard time deciding what to do this week. After last week's mess, I considered a Miss Manner's approach alternatively with a Matters of Honor approach. My lawyer informs me the latter is unfortunately still illegal in the state of Texas (hmmm...need to write my state senator about that.) Then I considered the fact I'm going to be finishing this sucker up from a hotel in Boulder while consulting at an drug company. So I'm still going to go and group these by topics and supply a quotation to go with the groupings. As a test for the three people who read this site, how about you tell me the sources in the comments? I'll make the answer my submission to next week's carnival?

 The best thing about hosting one of these carnivals is I end up reading every post. Most weeks I just can't manage the time to do more than skim the carnivals and I honestly depend on the host's comments to decide where to jump to, but being host, I read them all. That exposures me to all sorts of wonderful things,  a "rich bloggy goodness" to quote the Dark Lord of Knoxville from his throne of jet where he drinks his puppy-shakes from the skull of a legal interc.  All items in a grouping are listed by the ordered they were received and none were rejected. (I take that selfcsubmitted stuff for real.) Anyway let's start with what someone called "the art of the possible":

Politics: International

"A truth told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent."

Gilderus at Western Resistance looks at Turkey, the EU, and the concept of free speech over there in Turkey: Special Report (Erdogan's Turkey). Turkey is getting less and less secular as time goes on and it may be a test case for the question of can Islam work in a liberal democracy. (By liberal, I mean one where certain freedoms like speech and religion exist for all people.) This was a new blog for me and its got some great discussion on the whole Turkey-EU issues.  Basically, can Turkey's rulers deal with the idea that disagreement with/insulting Islam is not a secular crime and that freedom of speech means you can't hurt someone for it? Or that killing people for leaving the faith is not acceptable if there is freedom of religion? Like most Moslems I meet, the answer is sadly no and that means they can not be part of a secular democracy.

Kevin at the Smallest Minority has this long post starts as a movie review Serenity and then wanders off into politics, imperialism, and ends up at belief. I quite honestly read it twice to decide where I should put it and finally decided here. The question of the true -believer, that Yeats, dabbler and dilettante that he was, answers wrong in the Second Coming (quoted at the start of the article) is going to decide if we end up under Sharia law, Communism, or as a free people. If the movie makes you think like this, maybe I better see two this year. I'm surprised he didn't quote Hoffer through.

Warren at Coyote Blog sends us the agenda for the UN Internet conference in Tunisia, where the theme of the conference is "We support freedom and democracy, except when we don't. He even has the meal plans too. If you are up on your plains Indian folklore, you'll know Coyote is a trickster too, so read beyond the parody for some serious comments.

The Chaote Speaks has a post stating the Chaote's ideal of the Democratic Torchbearers. hat is the obligation of democratic nations to those less fortunate?  He feels the US and the other democracies should be leading the way... No argument here.

Politics: National

"Bad men who have no right to their right reason, good men who have good reason to be wrong."

Andrew of the Liberty Cadre looks at New Orleans in Rita confirms it and decides that NOLA should not be rebuilt as it was. In fact, he suggests major changes to all of Louisiana (boiling in bleach was not mentioned) and asking a several questions here: what should society do about those who make bad choices and what price can we demand in exchange? Good questions in my book...

Don Surber wonders if the Washington Post lost a bet to the New York Times or just failed Economics 101 in his WaPo's gas pains. Well, I think he's got a excellent argument on why they are wrong and one good suggestion why:  as coastal elitists, they have no clue on how the rest of us live. My personal theory is they want to trash the economy because they're communist...

Paul of the Electric Commentary (Wow! Does he know Big Bird?) looks at the perils of arguing with an idiot. Now down here we warn against wrestling with a pig...you get dirty and the pig likes it. That's not his point. He's got a different take and it makes a lot a sense. Where do you go from there?

Dean of Dean's World writes about the LA Times' lack of response, precision, and possibly ethics as well as the LA Medical examiner's behavior in On Eliza Jane. You are going to have to back-read this to get the whole story. No response from the paper yet, either...  The death of a child is bad enough but this just sucks

Miss Madeline of MadKane's Notables sends us a bit of liberal humor about President Bush and a link to the audio version and pod-cast. Hmmmm. Not at all to my taste, but being an arch-conservative, I keep the obligations of being a good host and remain silent.... You can make your own call.

A bit more satire comes from Buckley at the Nose on Your Face with Sheehan rogue vagina eats Officer's hand. <sigh> And I was trying so hard to keep this place a Cindy-Free Zone.

Obi-wan of Forward Biased looks at Space Tourism and also some of the political ramifications, that are farther reaching than you would expect.  Should US government money (our money) be used to help someone else make a profit? Does where the money goes influence what should be banned?

"What to do about Tom DeLay?" asks John at the Part Time Pundit. It's a very fair and balanced post that points out the problems when everyone in politics seems to be corrupt. The corruption seems inherent in the system and this is the part of the case for limited government

Over at Searchlight Crusade, Dan looks at an AP report on the aftermath of a Near Miss at Las Vegas. Since he once worked for the FAA and has an idea how these things work, he finds a lot of stuff, well, just plain not right. It's an interesting look at what gets reported versus what happened...

A lot of folks have looked at the dangers to the GOP or the conservative moment by Christians, James at Southern Pundit looks at what I think is a more important issue: what are the dangers to the Faith from politics. His Political Dangers could await the Church address a needed point, and one both political parties need to remember, is that Christians belong first to Christ's Church and certain policies will drive them to the other side. One would think abortion taught this to the democrats but it doesn't look like either side has caught on.

Why did Judith Miller go to jail? Well, Attila at the Pillage Idiot has a suggestion that makes a lot of sense. He doesn't explain why she finally agreed to talk thro.

Rachel at Tinkerty Tonk has one main issue: she's a less-is-more kind of girl. As she points out in First Principles: A dialogue, all the other stuff comes survival. Kind of like the medical triage approach to politics: keep them breathing first and fix the other stuff when that's done? I love the image and any woman willing "plow the ground with salt" is a kindred spirit.

Politics: National - the Court

"I heard the squeak of the questing beast, where it scratched itself in the blank between the queen's substance and the queen."*

Miriam of Miriam's Ideas has one about a Supreme Court Justice we can all get behind. I am not going to ruin the surprise but, yeah, I'm on board with it. As Miriam says:  "The fact that she is not a lawyer is also in her favor." As a guy, I'll stand behind her...(well I think she's cute).

Brandon of GOP3.com: The Triumvirate looks at a different possible choice for the open Supreme Court Justice spot. Hmmm. Maybe. I don't know if I buy his scenario thro. Can't say if I'd get behind this one.

Well both of our above posts were wrong in the first pass. Tom at Libertarian Leanings looks at the Democrat's Secret Strategy for dealing with it. With Monday's announcement, will it play? Personally I wanted a screaming-right-wingnut minority choice just to watch some rich white folks asking them if they really care...

Chris at the Uncredible HallQ has been reading Sullivan: haven't we warned you about that? Anyway, he disagrees and has some thoughts about presidental thoughts. You could actually take his position farther, for like the Mexican proverb says "Each head is a world."

Everyman of Everyman Chronicles says that President Bush betrayed his conservative base by appointing Miers and it's time for a wake up call. He points out that Miers has no history to lead us to believe that she will be a force for either judicial restraint or for conservatism on the Court or otherwise. She does appear to be pro-gun but that's based on scanty evidence.

Well, now this borders on the obscene. Laurence at This blog is Full of Cats Crap asks cats for their opinion of Miers as a pick for Supreme Court Justice. Be warned. There is extreme cattiness and terminal cuteness....<shudder>

* I changed this one after the announcement. It was originally "But I must rule and govern still, and always give the law"

Politics: Local

"At last the people in a body to the town hall came flocking "Tis clear" they cried "our mayor is noddy."

Mastiff at Critical Mastiff is shocked to find out that you can't attend any public school you want. Not surprisingly he's a not a graduate (escapee) of the public school system, and so he's rather shocked to find the government tells you where you can go to school. (That's why I ended up in parochial high school. The gang related fights at the school I was going to disturbed my parents.) He's got a good point that the concepts of school choice and responsibility need to be applied to public schools. Although his final questions suggests he hasn't met the NEA yet...

Zendo Deb of TFS Magnum looks at the Left's answer to domestic violence. No, its not a handgun, pepper spray, or a large heavy objection. Go look but take a good stiff hit of the bourbon first. What good does a month of awareness do?

Brad, the Unrepentant Individual, looks at why he'll never hold office. Despite the heartlessness and the skeletons in the closet, he has the best reason of all, the reason why in Utopia they had to drag in officials kicking and screaming.

Raving Atheist sends us a bit of satire about premium pricing to popularize the Jewish High Holiday. Okay, I find this a bit rough, but as a good host...

From the Musings of Brian J Noogle, the self-styled St. Brian asks whose afraid of Kelo Backlash++? It seems like Linwood University thinks that Kelo was a great idea...living in a university town, I can see how they would.

MJ of Interested Participant looks at the Possibly Unconstitutional Gun-Ban. Someone has challenged a ban of guns on county property under the right of free speech - an exercise in semantics?


"yet, in my walks, it seems to me that the Grace of God is in Courtesy"

The name of her blog, Chicken Fried Life, always makes me think of chicken fried foods...but no such luck this time. Sue is ranting about people sharing their political views inappropiately. Actually, sharing isn't what she said. Cramming was it. It's just not a great idea to inflict your political opinions on people who have to work with you, obviously don't agree with you, are related to you or don't care enough to ask what you think about an issue. There's a reason why religion and politics were not considered polite conversation.

El Capitan at Baboon Pirates suggests that charity leads to unemployment and possibly nosebleeds. Interesting premise but read the whole thing before you get the rope out to hang the grinch. He's got a valid argument: its the same one that makes the goddess hand out McDonald's gift coupons. So is charity that hurts the recipient long-term bad?

Raving Atheist sends us a bit of satire about premium pricing to popularize the Jewish High Holiday. Okay, I find this a bit rough, but as a good host...

Over at the Right Wing Nut House, Rick writes an ode, perhaps, to baseball and its changes in American Anthem. He talks of how things change and some things remain the same. You really can't go back, but for him, baseball, and down in Texas for us, football are constants in a way. Certain things remain sweet even if the bitterness of time touches them.

Business Related

"With a cargo of ivory, and apes and peacocks, sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine"

Barbara of Trying to catch up has strong passionate feeling about Sarbanes-Oxley and not the good kind. "Destroying the quality of my life" was how she put it. A bad and dumb law passed in a knee-jerk reaction? That sounds like what Zoe Baird did to me by not reporting her nanny's income...

From the Other Bloke's Blog, Barry sends a happy birthday present to Google. He thinks Google needs a portal like MSN and Yahoo! to make some serious money.  Here's a name they might use to launch their portal as a b-day present. After all, more is better?

Big Picture Guy from Big Picture, Small Office sends us some thoughts about how no man is an island. He looks at the hurriance's effect and the effect of layoffs in the Small Office and finds Donne to be wrong. I'd say that perhaps its we don't let ourselves see the mainland we are all part of.

Mark at the Skwib answers the unasked question: What if Moses was a manager and had PowerPoint™? If Charles Heston presented Moses in Powerpoint?  What about Heston's other work? The Lost Powerpoint slides are the answer to questions that maybe should be unasked.

Science and Technology

"Who has seen the beaver busied? Who has seen the blacktail mating? Who has laid alone to hear the wild goose cry?"

My own contribution is week is a look at the armadillo, once a major ingredient in chili recipes, now just a pest. You find the little beasties all over our local park.

Dissecting Leftism looks at sex differences in IQ with a link to the article that started him thinking. John quotes a infamous researcher who points out something that seems reasonable but is a taboo in our society -certain differences are inherent.  Interesting as the last piece of work like this was considered very politically incorrect. Whatever happened to my father's generation's "Viva la difference?" Who says difference is bad anyway?

Web 2.0? If your gut response is "O my Lord, NO!" you have a kindred spirit in Elisa at Worker Bee Blog. She is not a happy panda over the idea and explains why in Web 2.0: Versioning the Web? Huh?  She makes the excellent point that no one who has run into the interesting experience of software versions likes the experience. It's kinda like when dealing with the Town Permit Dept. and the IRS define your interaction with government, you ain't going to trust them with much.

On the medical front, the Maryhunter at TMH's Bacon Bits points out that the Avian Flu threat is real and could potentially dwarf the disasters of the last year. A sobering look at a very scary problem, one that has the goddess and all the infectious disease people worrying. The update ends the post on a positive note however.

Self Help and Guidance

"O whare shall I get a skeely skipper to sail this new ship of mine?"

Free Money Finance asks why are there so few millionaires? A question that comes from a favorite book of his - best of all a book that agrees with him - and it asks about our tendencies toward being ridden by debt. Working out of debt myself, I can relate but I have to ask back "what if we don't care to be?"

Ironman of Political Calculations takes about the weighting of credit history. Its part of a series on how to improve your credit score (I hope) and you probably want to jump back to the previous article too. I wonder thru if it's really a function of oldest line or could it be a correlation? Maybe its a function of dropping debt across that graph?

Steve Pavilina sends us a discussion of  Trail and Error, Ego and Awareness (Hey. Alliteration!)  The most common and often the best way to solve a problem is trial and error, but often ego gets in the way. Steve has some advice on the problem that makes an interesting read even if you don't agree.

Kiril over at the Speakeasy's Joint has added Roots to the Menu. Dang. My first thought was potatoes, carrots, yams, ginseng...cool. Nope. The kind of roots he's adding aren't veggies. Mother never told me to eat this kind: actually she denied a lot of this kind of root even existed.

David from Ripples talks about living with lies. So how do you handle those who want to suck you into their deceit? Hmmm. I think I'd like to see David also talk about those who believe their own lies in this series too.

Josh at Multiple Mentality has figured out why Nature is referred to as a mother. He's dieting and has found out that you just can't win as one of the laws of thermodynamics is summarized as. Being in a similar place, I'd like to point out that there is also a reason diet starts with die...

Hmm. Anyone remember the old fairy tales where the hero wins or loses something because of careless wording? This story about a lawyer and a blonde from Wicked Thoughts has a similar moral and its even clean.  A clean blonde joke? Wow. Now I know two.

Zoe Brain of A. E. Brain shares a bunch of painful, bittersweet, and happy stories in What's it like. It's a selection of posts from some trans-gendered support groups.

Missed and Tardy

"Late, late in the gloamin’ Kilmeny came hame!"

The Bostonian Exile (hey, I married one of them!) at Letter from a Bostonian Exile takes a break from his usual political fare, taking a critical look at recent activity in the blogosphere and whether it is part of a broader distressing trend in moonbats and wingnuts.

Ferdy at the Conservative Cat sends us Florida shoots first. It seems like Florida has a new law that makes it easier to shoot criminals and the Brady Campaign thinks this is a bad thing. Ferdy has some advice on PR too.

Well, that finishes this week's Carnival of the Vanities. Thanks to Bigwig for letting me host. This carnival is listed at the TLB Ubercarnival, and the Conservative Cat's Carnival listing. And hey, cat-lover, if you don't like it, have your friends call and I am sure we can arrange something. "Dogs have their star and cats have none"

UPDATE: I sent everyone a trackback from Haloscan but it was acting a bit odd. If you didn't get one, email me and I'll try again.

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4 October 2005

Off to Denver and Boulder: I'm heading out to Colorado this week for more DSC training and dinner with my favorite nephew, whose promised me Peruvian food this trip. Can you say cuy? I'll see some other friends along the way and hopefully the god-kids on Thursday. Posting will be light today do to travel and the carnival...

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3 October 2005

More 50 BMG BS: This time in Massachusetts, not surprisingly. The proposed ban is even more restrictive than California's and makes no provision for previous legal owners, bans the gun outright, and adds a pistol to the list (just because I think). The FCSA's alert follows:

A bill pending before the state legislature has been assigned a number and scheduled for a hearing. The bill, entitled “AN ACT PROHIBITING THE SALE, TRANSFER OR POSSESSION OF ‘COP KILLER’ HANDGUNS AND HIGH-POWERED RIFLES” is number S2113, and is scheduled to be heard before The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security on October 25, at 10 AM, in room 437 of the state house. Massachusetts .50 BMG owners should immediately contact their state legislators and respectfully request that this legislation, a solution seeking a problem, be defeated. Those that can, should also attend the hearing and voice their opposition.

The bill is modeled on legislation recently enacted in California, banning the caliber by dimensions of the cartridge, but unlike California, the bill bans BOTH the rifle AND all .50 BMG ammunition. In addition, also unlike California, Massachusetts S2113’s ban is IMMEDIATE. There is no compliance period provided, there is no “grandfathering” clause (all rifles and ammunition except law enforcement are prohibited), and apparently calls for CONFISCATION of the firearms and ammunition. As horrible as the California ban was to its citizens, the Massachusetts ban sets a new low in constitutional rights. This is an ironic development considering Massachusetts’ role in the American Revolution. Massachusetts .50 BMG owners can find contact information for the Public Safety committee and its members at this website or you can find your own legislators and their contact information at this website.

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2 October 2005

Only in Texas: Last night we went for a walk after a long day and surprised a couple of armadillos in the park and then latter walked up to in about 5 feet of another. It's neat because we normally see them dead and bloated on the side of the road. Armadillos, like chinchillas, always strike me as something from a cartoon made real. Like sex, they suggest God has a heck of a sense of humor. The armadillo, for those of you outside of its range, looks like what an armored rodent would look like. These were snuffing around each other and I suspect looking for grubs. While the shell is bone, its covering is a thick skin that feels like leather. Holding one of the beasties is like holding an live purse. They are common in Texas but shy enough you see mainly dead ones. Part of their defense reach is a little jump which means they hit the car going over them. They used to be commonly used in chili until it was found out they are an alterative host for Hansen's Disease. Like with pork, its only a problem if you undercook them. (The picture is taken from an Armadillo site - click on it to visit them).

The best thing about my walks to get back in shape is the wildlife at the local park.

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1 October 2005

SWAT - Texas Turners out in force: Well, I'm feeling totally incompetent. Noah and I spent the day at the Southwestern Association of Turner's meeting in Wichita Falls, Texas. We saw all the new toys (I don't have enough money), lots of exotic woods (and he got some advice for his science fair project), and attended three talks. Wow. Some of the stuff this folks do is well beyond my level of skill. The gallery was especially awesome; see the photos. If the goddess lets us, we are going back tomorrow... (and if Noah finishes his math homework). Ben wants to come too but I think that's mainly because of free food. Having your boys share your hobbies....priceless.

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