Friday, July 30, 2010

Hither and thither 7/30/10

Well, the week started rough, and today started rough. But my readers want their H&T and, doggone it, they're going to get it. (May be updates until noon PT.)
  • This sums up my Monday:

  • Then came Tuesday...

  • Then it got better. And now, even thought it's being a rough day at work, still..

  • My BSIL followed some HT links and found a list of the ten coolest Steampunk gadgets (definition)
  • So Rep Charlie Rangel is accused of 13 violations by the House Committee, who says he stonewalled their investigation. The trial should start right around the time when Rangel faces a primary. Not so good for the Dems; probably good for America. (Wait... did I just say the same thing twice?)
  • Here's a gent whose house has been hit by meteorites six times since 2007. His conclusion? "I am obviously being targeted by extraterrestrials." Well, obviously. Further: "I don't know what I have done to annoy them but there is no other explanation that makes sense."
  • One reason to love cats is for their fluid, effortless, poetic grace.

  • Another is that they can be funny to watch.
  • Reader Susan found a site that re-captions photos from furniture catalogs.
  • If you've never seen Iron Chef, you really should watch it at least once.  It's fast and it's fun. The only problem is... dude, I need to be one of those judges. Again and again, they get the most outrageously wonderful seafood feasts, such as mortals rarely enjoy. I want that job!
  • This job? Maybe not so much.
  • Reader Laura Kelleher thinks we all need Nacho Lip Balm.  (Also available in absinthe, corn dog, wasabi, and of course bacon.)
  • Diversity? To a point — and "Jesus" is that point. (What's surprising is that this is North Carolina; thanks to Merilee Stevenson.)
  • Which white racist conservative called American blacks "mongrel"? Hint: none.
  • Two things President Obama is adamant about: (1) His refusal to prevent "undocumented Democrats" from flooding illegally over our borders into our states; and (2) his refusal to allow states to do what he refuses to do. So he won an injunction against part of Arizona's law, on some bizarre-sounding grounds. (Really, can states do nothing in matters that overlap with federal laws, such as kidnapping and such?) Next stop in the appeals process, 9th Court, and then after they do the wrong thing, it should head to the Supremes.
  • The 'do changes, but the, er, smile don't. Well-Practiced Pose Girl is well-practiced:

  • My mother-in-law sent me the link to some beautiful (and sobering) storm-related photography. Psalm 29 comes to mind.
  • Similarly, reader Yurie Hwang found some ultra-slow motion video of lightning strikes.
  • My family will vouch that I've never been a big fan of Target. Whoever designed the stores figured out which things I would ever want to look for, and placed them as far as possible from the front door... or, more to the point, that's where they should be, but Target doesn't have them. Plus their parking lots are designed by crack addicts. But, HSAT, this lady makes a good case for shopping more at Target.
  • Bet these cave homes would save on cooling!
  • Ahh, Science.

  • Staying with (sort of) environmentalizing... the news about article that Fred found — admitting that Rush Limbaugh was righter about the oil spill than the president, the MSM, and envirowhackos — is not the story itself. It's where it was published. That's surprising.
  • Meanwhile, more proof that Rush Limbaugh lives rent-free in the heads of White House denizens. Would that elected GOP leaders were half as effective.
  • Hm. What do you think? Should I? Yes? No? Aw... what the heck?

  • Oy. So here's an organization of women, calling on CBMW to repent of its sin of agreeing with God about wifely submission. The ladies feel that there are far more important things to be doing than hearing, believing and obeying God's word.
  • So... do you think that even one of these ladies wakes up in the middle of the night, realizing that she's really, really not making much of a case that the Bible is better off in their hands as teachers?
  • Mealworm-covered candied apples... deep-fried crickets... alligator on a stick...fudgy scorpions... what else can we be talking about other than exotic state fair foods?
  • Geek readers (and their moms) will love this: really cool light-saber products. A few of my favorites:

  • Relatedly, reader Sonja found a fellow who built an R2D2 to bring smiles to folks in the hospital. (From his reputation, I'm surprised Lucas hasn't sued.)
  • Walllllldooooooooo!

  • Cool Lego weapons.
  • Dude is a fast, fast, fast walker.
  • I tried to find a cartoon that Bill Bennett described, but couldn't. He says it showed someone representing Arizona repeatedly begging President Obama to do something about protecting their border. But Obama is asleep, and just snores as they beg. Ultimately the person says something like, "All right, if you won't do it, I'll do it myself." Whereupon Obama wakes up and cries, Hey! You can't do that!"
  • Leaving only these:


The Squirrel said...

Ah, Fridays...

I love Iron Chef America, & the Chairman does seem to try to have fun with his job (& he does get to sit with the judges and eat all the food, too)

Well-Practiced Pose Girl is creepy.

I plan on doing more shopping at Target in the future.

And I don't hate seagulls. Now, magpies...


threegirldad said...

Great blog! Please have a look at mine and let me know what you think!


SolaMommy said...

"Plus their parking lots are designed by crack addicts."


And now I feel much better about buying my little boy's first bike there last night :-)

I <3 storm pics! Not so much the ones where people's homes are destroyed though. The farmer in picture 6 is nuts.

threegirldad said...

Nacho cheese (absinthe, corn dog, wasabi, bacon) lip balm? Hmmmm. Well, there has to be at least one reader out there who prefers this competing product.

We shop at Target in spite of just about every way they do business. Good to have a positive reason.

I'm still waiting for Phil Johnson's most impressive gustatory conquest to show up at a state fair.

[Word verification: pyrogr. Proof that you're a meanie]

Starbuck said...

I like the cartoon about the guy with no job and Obama telling the broke taxpayer to pay him.

Doesn't that capture the moment really well?

Sir Aaron said...

I love Iron Chef America too. The food channel is the only channel worth watching anymore.

Another show you might enjoy is Food Challenge (actually not sure the name). Anyways, the chef has to create a meal for a certain number of people in a certain time period. The last episode I saw he was running around the New York shipyard cooking food in junk lying around.

The Squirrel said...

Sir Aaron:

Dinner: Impossible Great show. The host is the former Royal Navy chef from HMS Britannia (the Royal yacht)


Sir Aaron said...

That's it! My wife is the one who has it on. I don't watch much TV because I'm always sitting in front of the computer reading blogs...LOL.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

As I was playing the Iron Chef clip for my children, I went into the next room, and returned by the time it was over. With a smile on my face, I handed them their snack and said in my best impersonating voice, "I GIVE YOU...F R E E E Z E P O P S!!!!"

(We've watched it twice so far.)

And thanks to Gary and Elaine, I had lots of laughs at the re-captioned catalog blog. Especially funny are the ones involving children. happy it's Friday.

DJP said...

Did you do the swish!-swish! with your head?

DJP said...

BTW, I started watching that with mild interest, but after a minute or two it was, "Oh yeah, I am definitely sharing that with my readers."

Sonja said...

It's H&T Day!

I love the long-departed original Iron Chef from Japan, and you can still watch it on the Cooking Channel formerly the Fine Living Network) every night.

Chairman Kaga is kinda creepy, and supposedly is the uncle of the chairman on IC-America. I think he took his fashions cues from Michael Jackson.

It's just a hoot! "If the challenger defeats the Iron Chef, he will find fame and fortune forever!"

Sir Aaron said...

I want to add that I greatly look forward to the day when I can tell my daughters that I plan to make their dinner using the secret ingredients from Iron Chef America tonight!

Mesa Mike said...

Yay! I am the very first follower of 3GD's blog!
Great Blog you got there, David!

Fred Butler said...

One quibble with that epic breakfast sandwich, I would use real butter rather than vegetable oil. Also, grade real cheese, not those fake, pre-packaged slices.

David said...

Speaking of fair food, this year at the San Diego County fair, they had deep-fried butter.

Didn't get the chance to try it.

Fred Butler said...

On those cave homes...
Didn't Luke Skywalker live in a cave home?

Stefan said...

Doesn't the gentleman who almost hit by a car appear to just resume walking, as if nothing had happened? Talk about regaining composure!

The Squirrel said...




(My sister always says of pre-packaged sliced cheese, "It says 'cheese food product' on the label. If it has to tell me that it is food, I'm not eating it!")

threegirldad said...

Fred must be related to Maurice the maitre d'. And I bet I already know what he thinks of Velveeta.


JackW said...

OK, I've avoided Target for years because they were supporting abortion groups ... am I out of date?

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Ha! I don't think I did the swish-swish, but I made my eyes real big, and did the voice each time, for each kid.

Now I'm working on dinner:

"POTATOS! SAUSAGE!" (big hand flourish and clouds of steam will help give the right effect.)

I'll probably scare my husband, who hasn't seen the video yet.

; )

Merrilee Stevenson said...

(By the way, I'm no editor, but even though you did use a semicolon, it seems as though it's my fault about the problem in North Carolina.)

Rita Martinez said...

oh myyy that epic breakfast sandwich looks delicious!! :D

Rupert said...

I watched and loved Iron Chef for so long I'm over it. My favorite was the guy who had worked in New York and used coke in some of his dishes.

A simple and not too indulgent breakfast. Butter a thick slice of bread or a crumpet (do you have those?), cut a circle out of the center about 2 inches across. Start it cooking in a frying pan then break an egg into the hole. As the egg cooks, slowly push the removed piece back into the hole on top of the egg. Turn to finish. Top with pepper and Tabasco.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Woo-hoo, another fine round-up!

The storm pics are a big hit with the grasshoppers, as is the happy Friday cat.

Love Catalog Living. I've always looked at pics like that and thought, who lives like this?

And 3GirlDad... I just don't think I have time to add you to my daily reading. Maybe if you try to be more concise... ;D


Paula said...

DH is starting out small in his quest to be a food taster. He's attempting to maneuver and scheme his way onto the judging panel for our church's chili cookoff (two time champion in the spicy category here!).He's prefer a Man vs. Food gig to the Iron Chef though.

Some prankster in my family (who has yet to confess) switched my regular lip balm for the BACON flavored stuff this morning. I reached for it in the car and had a real treat when I slathered that artery-clogging goodness all over my lips!

It wasn't nearly as bad as the time(s) they replaced it with the EYE BLACK!! It comes in a tube the same size as chap-stick and those teen pranksters think it hilarious when mom inadvertently sports her goth look. They get me every time!!

Oh, and the chicken poop appeared in a couple Christmas stockings here last year. It's quite tasty!
: )

Ken said...

A couple of those cave houses are from a place called Cappadocia in Turkey. I was just there in May. Incredible place. It's a whole city that dates back to the first century BC. Also interesting, is that there's a strong Christian history there. Christians from Cappadocia were at Pentecost (Acts 2:6-11) and then Peter mentions them in I Peter 1:1-2.

And that concludes our little history lesson for today...

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Paula's comments make me very afraid of what my life will be like in, oh, six years or so when my kids turn into teenagers.

(Oh well, there's no going back.)

It does sound a little fun, and a little like torture at the same time.

Paula said...


...just never turn on the water without check the sprayer....

...not saying I've fallen for the rubber band/scotch tape trick a couple dozen times or anything, just saying some unruly children might try stuff like that, especially the boy-children.

They're still bitter and vengeful about the year I convinced them my mom was serving Tofurky for Thanksgiving dinner, due to Papa's recent heart problems (complete with orders that they were to be polite and eat it without complaining).

Stefan said...


We have crumpets in North America—here in Canada, at least—but they're called "English Muffins."

The tabasco sauce is a nice touch.

Come to think of it, starchy foods in general seem to have the most divergent names between here and the rest of the English-speaking world. Scones are biscuits; biscuits are cookies; crisps are chips; and chips are fries.

DJP said...

Rupert - is that your invention? Is it what we might look forward to if we were overnight guests at Chez Rupert?


The Squirrel said...

They're still bitter and vengeful about the year I convinced them my mom was serving Tofurky for Thanksgiving dinner, due to Papa's recent heart problems (complete with orders that they were to be polite and eat it without complaining).

Oh! That is CLASSIC! ROFL!


Paula said...

Oh, I even told the little hooligans that they have a special air-freshener spray to make the whole house smell like "real" turkey.

I don't know that they 100% believed me, but until that thing came out of the oven, they were't 100% sure they were getting real turkey (with real skin...yum!) that year.

RealityCheck said...

"I am obviously being targeted by extraterrestrials."

I will use this line the first chance I get and hopefully I can keep a straight face when I do so… rofl.

Rachael Starke said...

Stefan, dear brother, I must protest at your equation of English muffins with crumpets. The American named "English muffin" is a failed crumpet. It is a typical American attempt to take something of foreign heritage, duplicate it, fail miserably, give the failed thing a name that alludes to its origin, slather it with all manner of tricky marketing and branding, and then make millions of dollars selling it to an unquestioning American public. (See also Aussie hairspray and Outback Steakhouse.)

Genuine English crumpets are batter-based, with holes large enough for butter and honey to melt all the way through them. "English muffins" being neither English nor muffins, are more savory and bread-based, with a denser crumb which impedes the butter and honey from melting through.

Rupert said...

Here is a picture of a crumpet. Rachael's analysis is correct.

They are bought at the supermarket and come in the traditional round but also square.

Not my invention DJP although the recipe I gave is not all that common.

If you were at Hovel Rupert for breakfast you would have a myriad of choices. Egged crumpets for simple fair. Standard bacon and eggs. Omelet with mushrooms, zuchinni, capsicum and other elements. Perhaps you would like scrambled eggs with mushrooms and tomatoes accompanied by toast and/or hash browns. With a selection of coffee blends to go with your choice.

And don't get me started on dinners! Last night was completely home made fish laksa (we make our own sauces and flavorings)with leeks, beans, snow peas, capsicum, spring onions and a few other ingredients; all on a bed of herb rice.

Every meal is a journey!

threegirldad said...

"Hold on thar, Baba Looey!"

Isn't there such a thing as a UK "muffin," not to be confused with the chunks of sweet cake we Americans call "muffin" -- which is why we call the UK muffin "English muffin"? There are lots of websites that seem to bear this which case, if the "English muffin" is a failed anything, it's a failed muffin, not a failed crumpet. ;-)

Of course, since an "English muffin" is analogous to a "crumpet," people must be allowed to treat them as identical things. So, all this fooferah over terminology is beside the point.


DJP said...

On this blog, there's only one English Muffin.

RealityCheck said...

My favorite “Strangest Sate Fair food” is “Road Kill”, but only to look at, I wouldn’t eat it and “Pork Parfait” is just plain wrong.

Btw, did anyone else notice that a Pepcid Complete ad in running above the story the entire time…lol.

Rupert said...

threegirldad, yes, there is an English muffin. It is quite distinct and quite unlike the crumpet. It is more like bread but made like a scone. They can have fruit in them or spicy coatings.

And of course, fine Australian red wines are served with dinner.

DJP said...

No kangaroo or crocodile?

Rats; there goes a whole 'nother cultural image.

Rupert said...

Certainly DJP. We have cooked 'roo but not crocodile. But that wouldn't be a problem as we have eaten it at restaurants enough to be able to produce something at home.

Sir Aaron said...

Only here would I expect to see an analysis of what an English muffin is. At my house, it better just say Thomas on the side of the box.

Sir Aaron said...

When I was in Australia, Kangaroo was on a lot of menus. I couldn't eat it myself at first, because it seemed like eating the Bald Eagle. But after talking to some natives, I was informed it was more like eating a rodent.

In any case, the service at restaurants was lousy because you don't tip there.

Rupert said...

No DJP, I'm not deifying myself. This has become interesting and I'm just sharing a bit of Land Down Under stuff.

Kangaroo is nothing like rodent! It is more like fillet steak only leaner and even less sinewy. Does have to be cooked quickly and rare though, otherwise it can get tough. Emu is delicious, it's like a thick piece of venison. And wallaby backstrap is like that little piece of meat you can get on the bone of a lamb roast which has no grain, it just melts in your mouth.

Kangaroos and emus are so far from endangered there are regular calls for a change from raising cattle and sheep! They also degrade the land less than cattle and sheep do.

Rupert said...

Sir Aaron, it sounds like you may have had a very poor visit to Oz.

I find our restaurant service to be very good the vast majority of the time. I have eaten in all states except Tasmania and the Northern Territory. I have also eaten in parts of Europe and the UK. I find our standards of service to be better than most.

The food in Adelaide and Melbourne would be amongst the best there is, and the rest aren't far behind.

Our waiters and waitresses get paid a fair and decent wage. And patrons do tip if they've enjoyed the service so the staff can earn more by being good at their jobs.

Rupert said...

I live in a well known tourist mecca. Many visitors from Japan and Europe. Not so many from the USA. I can assure you that we welcome Americans just as much as anyone else, but....

There is just something a little bit different.

In 1993 I was in the old city of Salzburg. A bus load of American tourists were on the loose. I actually overheard one lady say to another 'oh, don't the children speak the local language well'! - as if they had learned Austrian as a second language! Most of the souvenir shops had t-shirts with a map of Austria on the front with images of kangaroos and the ubiquitous red circle with a line across it and the words 'Austria, there are no kangaroos in our country'. Americans didn't buy them because I don't think they got the irony. I'm australian, I did, because I do.

And if you are American Sir Aaron, you might want to be careful about the 'Sir' bit. Apparently you might lose you citizenship if you have an overseas title.

And the verification word is 'muffir' - so, so close!

Stefan said...

Rachael, Rupert:

I stand thoroughly corrected.

DJP said...

Tsk, I said no such thing.

I've heard that ostrich meat is really terrific; a restaurant around here served ostrich-burgers, but I was never around at the right time of day. Wonder whether emu's similar?

Like fillet steak only less sinewy? Intriguing; however, I do like a nicely-marbeled cut, so that'd be an adjustment. You're making quite a tempting case for a visit... if it weren't a 349 hour flight!

DJP said...

Rupert, now at long last we see your real mission here:

You're aiming to be Australia's Minister for Tourism!

(And a darned good one you'd be. You've got my vote.)


Sir Aaron said...

Don't get me wrong, Rupert. I didn't say the Kangaroo tasted like rat. But the lovely couple who ran the tour I went on, said the kangaroo was a nuisance more like a rodent than the cute, furry national symbol that we Americans think of. I still went to the wildlife refuge and fed the kangaroos anyways.

As for restaurant service, it was pretty much the consensus among the Americans detailed there that customer service at restaurants was poor. So it wasn't my experience (which wasn't terrible) alone.

And no worries. I can't wait to go to Australia again. It was a great place to visit (even though I was working most of the time) and would love to take my family. The only bad part of the trip, is the trip itself which is a rather long flight.

Rupert said...

I realised my mistake soon after I responded SirAaron. Yes, you meant their prevalence, not their taste!

Thanks for the vote DJP but I think I'm a bit 'old dog new tricks' for the sort of 'mindset' required for politics or a high-profile role. You would be most welcome to visit.

I really don't know about the ostrich thing. They look very similar but you can never assume.

SirAaron I am both surprised and disappointed at the experience that you and others have had. I don't know what to say.

Try flying from here to London. It's generally 8 hours into Asia and then 12-14 across Europe. Usually about 24 hours all up. I've only done it twice but I'd really like to fly better than cattle class if I ever do it again!

Healthy (well, relatively) home cooked chips (fries?). Buy baby potatoes. Don't bother peeling them. Drink first glass of wine. Cut length-ways into 4 segments each. Place in microwave for 6 minutes. Drink second glass of wine. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, allowing another glass of wine. Toss in wok on maximum heat for 10 minutes - in olive oil - then season to flavor or serve with something like sour cream and sweet chilly sauce and a glass of wine. If I can do it, anyone can!

Sir Aaron said...

I've had Ostrich burgers many times. It's good, but a little dry for my taste (at least for a burger). My preference is Buffalo.

Rupert: My travel time was over 24 hours. Of course, I stopped in Honolulu and Fiji on the way there. And I went from Sydney to Melbourne to Fiji to Honolulu to Houston on the return. And having done that, it would be tough to take a couple young kids on that journey. But my wife does have relatives in New Zealand and I have about 260K miles to use, so we might do it.

Daryl said...


I'm not sure which is funnier, an American who thinks Austrians are from Australia or an Australian who thinks Austrians speak Austrian...:)

That'd be German....with a wicked accent, mind you, but still German.

DJP said...

I think Arnold Schwarzeneggar is funny, if that helps.

He actually figured in a dream I recently had. But that's another story.

Daryl said...

Did you wake up screaming? Or thinking of making a run for governor?

Sir Aaron said...

You were dreaming of a new governor again, weren't you?

trogdor said...

I love me some Iron Chef. Another chef contest on Food Network you might enjoy is called Chopped - it's on tonight, I think. Basically chefs get a basket with 3-4 extremely random ingredients for each round, and have a very short time to make an appetizer/entree/dessert using all of them, worst dish in each round gets the chef eliminated. The dishes are obviously not nearly as refined as Iron Chef, but they're forced to be much more creative under pressure, and it's often amazing what they come up with.

On the immigration issue, the argument that because setting immigration policy is explicitly the domain of the federal government, state/local authorities cannot enforce it, always seemed extremely hollow to me. How would that logic apply to counterfeiting? Monetary policy is strictly federal domain, so does that mean that I'm safe to try using fake money, so long as the feds don't happen to be there? Would local police need to pretend they didn't see anything if they do a raid and find a printing press?

Rupert said...

Thanks for the pointer Daryl. I just called it Austrian because it's sorta like a dialect of German.

Switzerland is tricky too as they speak slightly altered French or German depending on which part of the country you are in.

If you did visit DJP, what would we talk about? The old saying about not discussing sex, politics or religion may well be true in this case! :-)

DJP said...

Sprechen Sie Foster's?

(I kid.)

I'm sure we'd find something. But it isn't on my known list of things-to-do-soon.

We really would like to go to New Zealand, though. Isn't that close?


Sir Aaron said...

You're a riot. Yes, it's close enough that I wouldn't go to New Zealand without also going to Australia. At least, from the perspective that it's only another 3 hour flight, assuming you didn't have to fly into Australia first to New Zealand.

I know I didn't say that, but I thought it was implied.

Rupert said...

Not much of a beer drinker myself. I prefer the nectar of the Barossa. Although there is usually some Corona in the fridge, along with lemons and limes.

As SirAaron says, its' a long trip and it would not be cheap. Making it an OZ/NZ trip is a good idea.

It can be cheaper for us to holiday in places like Bali than somewhere like Ayers Rock in our own country. Two adult return airfares from here to Hamilton Island (a 1 hour flight) is $1250. Two adult return airfares to Osaka (an 8 hour flight) is $1450!