Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Golden Moment

The Golden Moment I captured that cool, blue morning a month ago was actually a first farewell. Although I didn't know exactly when, I knew those old dead oaks would be leaving. And now they have.

I don't remember them looking sickly. I just happened to glance up and ... well, what I said was, "Oh shit."

Four hours. That's all it took for the three-truck, eight-man crew to cut down and remove the massive trees that have graced the view from my back door since we moved here in the early 80s.

All the kites those two trees ate. The dozens of balls that disappeared forever in the jungle beneath them.

When he was young Da Kid and some of buddies nailed some boards and plywood together under those two oaks to fashion a "fort." Years later and years ago Seth — Sheila's son — and some of his buddies built their own "fort" in the exact same place, never knowing that what they were sure was an original idea was actually atop boards and plywood that had rotted away and gone to ground.

I'd mindlessly shoved Da Kid between the two of them once. Responding without thought, I stood there with a hoe upraised, shrieking like some warrior woman gone berserk, facing the two vicious dogs that had aimed themselves straight at him when they escaped a neighbor's pen. I can only imagine the picture I presented. The two fled, and once we were back in the house Da Kid was more shaken by my reaction than by the dogs. He'd understand, I remember telling him, when one day he became a parent.

Now soon he will be. And now all that remains of those trees are two huge ground-level stumps, one of which is as big around as the front of my car.

As the workmen were packing up before pulling out, they again thanked me for the sodas I'd brought out to them. Just before they left, I went to the back of the biggest truck — the one they'd laid the sections of the trunks in — to say my final goodbye.

I heard the cree-cree-cree of the hawks and glanced up. I watched them — calling all the time — as again and again they slowly circled where the oaks had been and then the truck, perhaps in their own farewell.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

oh dear ...

"What we've learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback and let me tell you something, for the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I've seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues ..." -- Michelle Obama

Like maybe spelling "dream"?

(Image via Boortz.)


Monday, February 18, 2008

The "Angry American"

Talk-radio host Neal Boortz read from an op-ed published in the Aspen Times Weekly on February 9, about one special interest group none of the candidates running for president have given any consideration to.

When done reading, Boortz commented that while he largely agreed with what had been written, he'd have done it a little differently. The primary change Boortz said he would have made if he'd written the op-ed would have been to eliminate any reference of race or gender, because substituting the word American for "White Man" is far more accurate.

Let's give it a try.

[T]he Angry White Man American is pissed off. When his job site becomes flooded with illegal workers who don’t pay taxes and his wages drop like a stone, he gets righteously angry. When his job gets shipped overseas, and he has to speak to some incomprehensible idiot in India for tech support, he simmers. When Al Sharpton comes on TV, leading some rally for reparations for slavery or some such nonsense, he bites his tongue and he remembers. When a child gets charged with carrying a concealed weapon for mistakenly bringing a penknife to school, he takes note of who the local idiots are in education and law enforcement.
Please read the whole thing, and score another one for Boortz.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Picture this?

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Quotable Quotes

"For over seven years the Democratic Party has fulminated against the Electoral College system that gave George W. Bush the presidency over popular-vote winner Al Gore in 2000. But they have designed a Rube Goldberg nominating process that could easily produce a result much like the Electoral College result in 2000: a winner of the delegate count, and thus the nominee, over the candidate favored by a majority of the party's primary voters." -- Theodore B. (Ted) Olson

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Playing with my food

I opened the booklet and read a couple of the recipes aloud. While Herself, shaking her head from side to side asked if I was turning into a survivalist, Da Kid wanted to know now long it take me to fix him some jerky because, "I LOVE jerky!"

When I'd spotted it I let temptation rule and bought a Christmas present from me to me: a dehydrator. I've wanted one for quite a while, but after the disaster (I do NOT want to talk about it!) several years back when I borrowed a neighbor's — Sheila's — I thought better of it.

Then a few months ago I spotted one like Sheila's at a garage sale. Four dollars? What the heck. Except once I got it home I pitched it in the trash after discovering when I plugged it, that the fan on it didn't work.

I thought I was safe but since then there's been one in particular — sitting in a display with its many identical siblings — screaming at me to take it home every time I walked into one specific store that I frequent. Not I allowed temptation to win just because it's so big and beautiful and shiny and ... and ....

I just wasn't sure if I'd put a dehydrator to good use. Besides, with that one I'd need a new kitchen ‘cause I ain't got that much counter space to spare.

Just before Christmas I was in that particular store (again) and again turning away from that specific dehydrator, when a different model by a different manufacturer (and the last one in stock) jumped off a shelf, knocked me to the floor and wouldn't let me up until I bought it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Since then, Da Kid hasn't stopped bellowing for jerky. "Be patient," I kept telling him. "I'm learning as I go."

The booklet that came with the dehydrator was a good place to start (banana chips — they're gone, Christmas citrus I needed to use up before it went bad, a couple of tomatoes just to see, and several pounds of luscious, in-season strawberries) but when it came to anything beyond that and having more questions than answers, I went to the bookstore. I ordered one book on dehydrating and brought home with me another one. The only copy of the only book on dehydrating they had on their shelves.

The book I'd ordered arrived three days later. By then, though, with my nose again stuck in MARY BELL'S COMPLETE DEHYDRATOR COOKBOOK I couldn't have cared less about it.

Originally published in 1994, Bell's cookbook is nicely organized and easy to follow, starting with the two major sections it's divided into. The first, dehydrating, starts with the history of drying food: how it was done in the past and is done now. Next, she explains how modern dehydrators work and what to consider and look for when selecting one. (Considering I didn't know a darned thing when I bought mine, it turns out I bought VERY wisely.) Then in subsequent chapters, it's on to how dry just about anything and everything you can possibly imagine.

Did I neglect to mention that Mary Bell is an avid backpacker?

Off she goes into the middle of nowhere with friends. From her backpack she pulls .... oh, I dunno. How ‘bout a bag with 12 ounces of her spaghetti sauce (with meat) leather. While she soaks it in water to rehydrate and then heats it up, she cooks the pound of pasta she also brought and WALLAH! Dinner for four! Dessert? Backpacker Trail Pudding.

If you're not into the great outdoors like she is, the second half of the book is best described as, "What else can I do can do with all this stuff I've dried?"

From complete recipes to potpourri, to flowers and organic pet treats ...

Did I also neglect to mention that Mary Bell is into organic food? Oh. Sorry about that.

No, Bell's not a complete nut about it and suggests the use of store-bought marinades and sauces in some cases to save time and effort. Still, she much prefers her way because she knows exactly what's in (or on) the food she's dehydrating and it costs far less than the store-bought versions.

Da Kid finally got a sample of his jerky and pronounced it good. (I vacuum-sealed the rest and put it in the freezer.) Very good as a matter of fact. He was so impressed (Shocked?) that I made another batch (Teriyaki) last week. Since he only got another sample before I froze that, he showed up at the door with 3 pounds of London Broil asking for more. (I tried making the beer- marinated beef jerky this time. It's waiting for him.)

If you already have a dehydrator but aren't sure what to do with it except occasionally make jerky, get MARY BELL'S COMPLETE DEHYDRATOR COOKBOOK. If you're even thinking about buying a dehydrator, before you do get MARY BELL'S COMPLETE DEHYDRATOR COOKBOOK.

Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish ... flowers ... nothing is safe with Mary Bell's book around.

If you'll all please excuse me, I have to check on the peppers I put in my dehydrator this morning.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

All aboard "The Straight Talk Express"!

From the January 27 edition of Meet The Press"

[TIM] RUSSERT: If the Senate passed your bill, S1433, the McCain-Kennedy Immigration Bill...

JOHN McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: ...would you as president sign it?

SEN. McCAIN: Yeah ...
Then, remembering the reaction from the public as they learned details of the McCain/Kennedy Illegal-Alien Amnesty that had been written behind closed doors, McCain backtracked, babbling his same political platitudes he that repeats (and repeats) rather than directly answer a question.

(What's that old line about substituting bull shit for brilliance?)

MR. RUSSERT: But you would sign your bill...

SEN. McCAIN: It's not going to come across my desk.

MR. RUSSERT: It won't pass.

SEN. McCAIN: I--if pigs fly, then--look...

MR. RUSSERT: So it's dead.

SEN. McCAIN: The bill, the bill is dead as it is written. We know that. We know that. And the bill is going to have to be, and I would sign it, securing the borders first and articulating those principles that I did. That's what we got out of this last very divisive and tough debate. And we have to get those borders secured. That's what Americans want first. [emphasis - ed.]
First! First? Oh, I get it! Then after each border state governor certifies that the boundary between their state and Mexico is "secure," THEN you help ram through the illegal-alien amnesty and all its perks!


Having screwed up on Meet the Press and managing to babble his way out of it, a few days later at California's GOP Debate, McCain was asked the same question. This time, though, he'd had time to practice the new answer he'd come up with:

[JANET] HOOK: ... if your original proposal came to a vote on the Senate floor, would you vote for it?

MCCAIN: It won't. It won't. That's why we went through the debate...
Noticing that McCain hadn't answered the question she'd asked ...

HOOK: But if it did?

MCCAIN: No, it would not....
McCain babbled the same political platitudes he that repeats (and repeats) rather than directly answer a question.

Noticing that McCain still hadn't answered the question Hook had asked:

[ANDERSON] COOPER: So I just want to confirm that you would not vote for your bill as it originally was?

MCCAIN: My bill will not be voted on; it will not be voted on.
As you might note, McCain still didn't answer the question asked.

McCain's "Straight Talk." Doncha love it!

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