Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thoughts on Earth Day

In an effort to conserve energy and resources (my own), here's a few things I thought were worth reading on the topic of Earth Day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Tale of Two Headlines

I know, I know, IknowIknowIknowIknow there's a lot more to these stories than just the headlines; the Peterson contract is actually pretty darn cheap for what he does, and more power to the guy for making what he can for himself/his family; I actually think that most of what Health & Welfare does shouldn't be handled by the state; and other assorted caveats, uh, provisos. Ah, a couple of quid pro quo....

But at the end of the day (or, for non-graveyard workers, the beginning), don't these two headlines (screencaptured from The Idaho Statesman) tell us a lot about our society?

and what they say ain't pretty.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

From the "Truth is Stranger" File (Updated)

from the Ottawa Citizen (emphasis mine):

The European Union has declared travelling a human right, and is launching a scheme to subsidize vacations with taxpayers' dollars for those too poor to afford their own trips.

Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, proposed a strategy that could cost European taxpayers hundreds of millions of euros a year, The Times of London reports.

"Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life," Mr. Tajani told a group of ministers at The European Tourism Stakeholders Conference in Madrid on April 15. Mr. Tajani was appointed to his post by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The plan -- just who gets to enjoy the travel package has yet to be determined -- would see taxpayers footing some of the vacation bill for seniors, youths between the ages of 18 and 25, disabled people, and families facing "difficult social, financial or personal" circumstances. The disabled and elderly can also be accompanied by one other person. The EU and its taxpayers are slated to fund 30% of the cost of these tours, which could range from youth exploring abandoned factories and power plants in Manchester to retirees taking discount trips to Madrid, all in the name of cultural appreciation. many jokes fighting to get out of my brain, I just might have a stroke...

Upon further reflection, it strikes me that this is really nothing new. Back in the 80's the noted legal scholars The Beastie Boys were already making this point

Thursday, April 15, 2010

No Post for You Today

Spent all my creative energy today whipping up some Chocolate-Covered Bacon today, which I highly recommend to all my readers who aren't Muslim or Vegetarian/Vegan or Jewish (which I think disqualifies no one).

Desserts really aren't my wheelhouse, so this took far more out of me than it should've and turned my kitchen into a disaster area--like something that Loosee would have a lot of 'splainin' to do about.

Sorry for that, will try again soon. Actually not too sorry, tasted too good :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An Open Letter to Jim Butcher

Dear Mr. Butcher,

I just finished reading your latest Dresden Files novel, Changes and would like to thank you for one of the best reads I've had in months. And by thanks I mean to say that I hope you die a slow, agonizing death. Not anytime soon, mind you, it needs to be after you've completed the next novel (if not the whole series). Still, I hope it happens, and I hope you dread its coming.

I actually am just kidding, sir. If nothing else, the intensity of my initial reaction speaks to the connection that exists between the great characters you've created and your readers. Honestly, you seem like a pretty cool guy, I'd love to buy you a Whopper some time and just chat--'course what I'd really love is to take that Whopper and shove it so far down your throat that...

maybe I should finish this some other time.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Too Many Women by Rex Stout

Alright, once again, picking up after a pointless break in a surely vain attempt to catch up with my little project, this time looking at the classic, Too Many Women. Like The Silent Speaker, this one gets re-read more than others in my collection, and is still fun to read every time.

The president of the large engineering supply corporation, Naylor-Kerr, comes to Wolfe with an interesting problem. During a recent survey of departments about employee turn-over, an employee of the company is listed as "murdered." Which is a pretty good reason to no longer come to work, but the idea that one of their employees has been murdered (particularly when the police think he was just a victim of a hit-and-run) is a bit too scandalous for such a fine and upstanding company, and could Mr. Wolfe please rid them of such rumors? Wolfe takes the case, mostly to get Archie out of the office for awhile--they're getting on each other's nerves and could use some space. So Archie poses as a personnel consultant and goes undercover.

The first thing Archie notices on his arrival at the offices is that there are a whole lotta women (clerical staff, on the whole) working at this company (see quotation below), enough to ensure that he's got plenty of incentive to stick around and do a thorough investigation. He's not there too long before he begins to find evidence that the murder accusation might be well founded after all--and before you know it, there's another body (shock!). The first victim was some sort of lothario, who didn't like to go far for his pray, so the suspect list is pretty large. Archie bounces around from attractive female suspect to attractive female suspect, questioning, wining and dining, and all other sorts of verbs, until his boss puts all the pieces together.

This is a breezy novel with plenty to recommend it in matters of style, humor, fun characters and plot quirks. Whether it be the petty bickering between the two stars, the patter between Archie and the women, or Archie having to put up with one individual's health food nuttiness; the interplay between various characters is definitely more than enough to draw the reader in.

I can't help but note, each time I read this, how much books like this disprove many of the assumptions we have about this time period--particularly those propogated by groups wanting to imagine the mid-20th century as some sort of moral oasis

I could reproduce pages and pages of Archie's descriptions of the staff of Kerr-Naylor to give Stout a chance to strut his stuff, but will leave them to their proper context, just listing two here for a sample: far as space went, it was a room about the size of the Yankee Stadium, with hundreds of desks and girls at them. Along each side of that area, the entire length, was a series of partitioned offices, with some of the doors closed and some open. No stock of anything was in sight anywhere.
     One good glance and I liked the job. The girls. All right there, all being paid to stay right there, and me being paid to move freely about and converse with anyone whomever, which was down in black and white. Probably after I had been there a couple of years I would find that close-ups revealed inferior individual specimens, Grade B or lower in age, contours, skin quality, voice, or level of intellect, but from where I stood at nine-fifty-two Wednesday morning it was enough to take your breath away. At least half a thousand of them, and the general and overwhelming impression was of--clean, young, healthy, friendly, spirited, beautiful and ready. I stood and filled my eyes, trying to look detached. It was an ocean of opportunity.

She was not at all spectacular...but there were two things about her that hit you at a glance. You got the instant impression that there was something beautiful about her that no one but you would understand and no one but you could help her out of. If that sounds too complicated for a two-second-take, okay, I was there and I remember it distinctly.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Baked Grapefruit

Dipping my toe into the waters of Food Blogging. As I'm not much of a cook, don't expect a lot of these. This is not gonna be Hob & Julia (or Hob & Alton or even Hob & Fritz [Brenner]), never fear.*

No, I'm not showing off the fact that I'm eating grapefruit, there was actually a little effort involved. Very little.

First off, separate the grapefruit into sections, then sprinkle 1/2 tbsp. onto each half, and then drizzle 1/2 tbsp. of honey on top of that. Bake the suckers at 350 for 12-15 minutes, or until there's a nice carmelized top on the halves. I went with 12, and think that a couple extra minutes would've helped.

The result is nice enough to make it worth the effort, just the right amount of sweetness to compliment the grapefruit. I should also add that warm grapefruit is much nicer than I'd ever have expected.

It's suggested to garnish with a little mint, but that's a tad too much trouble for me on a Monday morning, so I can't say if that helps things.

I Found this idea over at while looking for breakfast ideas for the family, but out of mercy, I didn't try it for the whole family (that's mercy for my wife and I so we didn't have to hear all the keening and wailing the sight of the fruit would bring out in the kids).

Naturally, after I've started digesting this (rendering another photograph impossible), I see an article on food photography over at Oh well...

* Unless, of course, we're talking some sort of sponsorship deal, 'cuz I'll sell out for peanuts. Well, make that almonds, I am trying to eat better.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

All Secure Again

...and no blankets were required.

Am not really sure exactly how my personal site got hacked, and why some people's browsers wouldn't let them get to this blog without multiple warnings, and other people's browsers would be fine with this spot, but not my domain, and yet others not saying a thing about either. That's all above my paygrade. But I do know that some nasty code got inserted to my site, and I really, really hope that none of you got infected because of it.

I didn't want to post anything while I was radioactive, so my schedule's all thrown off--which is a bummer, I had some interesting things planned for last weekend, that may not work as well out of that context. But we'll see. I will try to get something off today, but I can't be certain that'll happen.

Anyhow, google has turned off the seat belt sign, so feel free to move about the cabin.

oh yeah, and for the first time this season....GO YANKEES!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Malicious Site?

Thanks for being brave enough to stop by.

Apparently, Google has decided that my blog (drawing from my personal domain) is a dangerous place--TLomL couldn't access it today from Chrome without fighting through multiple layers of warnings. I can get to the blog, but can't get to my domain using Firefox without the same hassle. Don't know about Safari/IE/whatever. Anyone else getting these warnings?

I sure don't think I'm hosting malware, and am taking every step possible to A. insure I'm not and 2. get the warnings removed.

good thing I didn't have my entire day planned or anything...