30 July, 2006

Just About Right

Go read today's Ezra-blog posting by Shakespeare's Sister. And let the title be my only editorial comment.

24 July, 2006

Meatloaf Experiment Gone... Right?

In a post I just got done writing over on Creative Destruction, I mentioned meatloaf. To be perfectly accurate, it was a meatloaf experiment, and one I was making up as I went along because we didn't have any more onion soup packets in the apartment.

But by God, it worked well.

Here's the recipe, while I still have it stuck in my head.
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 cup bread (four slices, without crust)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  1. Peel and chop onion almost to the mincing stage. (For you non-technical chefs out there, that means small-but-not-too-small pieces.)
  2. Manually tear bread into pieces the size of your fingerprint.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Setting aside ketchup and brown sugar, mix remaining ingredients well (about 5 minutes of constant kneading action) and form into a loaf in a greased baking pan.
  5. Pour ketchup on top of loaf (I mean in lines across the loaf, not one big gloop of tomato-based condiment.) and sprinkle with brown sugar.
  6. Put in oven and bake for 50 minutes.
  7. Enjoy. But leave some for everyone else.
The result? Moist, juicy, and tasty meatloaf, just like my grandma used to make. Only better. And seeing as how my grandma was a gourmet chef... Well, at least I can say I've done well in something. Even though meatloaf is hard to screw up (But believe me, it is very possible to screw meatloaf up.), it is even more difficult to have a "Wow!" moment with one.

And by my count, this one has three "Wow!" moments. Try it, kids. Trust me.

21 July, 2006

So Sad To Say

And here is the third and final part of the three-part series called "The Cats Of OC"!

Tell me, what is this cat sad about?

Is it because she isn't in Barcelona with Fiat Lux? (I know I'd rather be in Barcelona.) Or that she doesn't have a chance to take a nap in the new Tesla Roadster? (Singing: All I want for Christmas is...) [Turn signal: Political Animal]

Meet Wendy. As she is technically my roommate's cat, my roommate got the rights to name her, and then she proceeded to hang the most horrible name of Gwyndolyth Fyionna on to the poor soul. (Note of odd reference: While I was typing her full name, Wendy decided to cough up a hairball. Coincidence? I think not.) And then she shortens it to Wyndy, which is simply too much for me to do. Hence my more common spelling of her name. And like the other two, she has her own list of official nicknames: Her High Sable Eminence, Dark Mistress Of The Ebon Night, The Royal Drool, Felis Snuggleupagus, and She Of The Claw.

I must profusely apologise to Wendy for the above photo, as it does not do her fur justice. When in normal house lighting, she looks as black as a moonless night. But when seen in direct sunlight, she has the kind of highlights that most human females would have to go to a salon to achieve: layers of burgundy, rust, amber, and mahogany. One of the most beautiful cats ever known, thy name is Wendy.

Wendy came into this household just in time. Just in time for Wendy, that is. She was found at a county animal shelter, mere hours before she was to be put to sleep. And that would have been a pure shame, as she is probably one of the most loving, adoring, and attentive cats I've had the pleasure to know over my 29 (plus) years on this planet. Just about every human that crosses her path becomes Her Human. And if they don't like cats... Well, it's bad luck to be them. That goes triple when they would wear an especially roomy sweater, as she has dug herself inside that self-same sweater and snuggled up into a little ball of purr on the resulting stomach.

Unlike the other two, Wendy does not have any socially embarrassing habits. Yet when newcomers take a close look at her front legs, they are usually wierded out by the double dewclaws. On both paws. Well, no. I take that back. She does tend to drool heavily when she is curled up with one of Her Humans. Like a teenager falling asleep in history class, what/whoever she curls up on tends to collect a small puddle of drool.

And as she is feeling particularly affectionate tonight, I'm going to go to bed and collect a puddle of drool on my elbow. Either that or we'll fight over who gets to sleep on the pillow. In which case, I might end up with her drooling in my ear. Again. And you dog people complain about the cold nose on the foot in the middle of the night... Sheeeeeesh, you don't know how good you have it.

14 July, 2006

Samba Time Later

No, not just former U.S. Senate candidate Pete Coors...

Welcome to the second of a three-part series known as "The Cats Of OC."

This is Buffy. And like Alice, she has a long list of nicknames: Dearest One, Barfy, The Cat That Knows Stephen Hawking, The Lapcat Singularity, and The Philosopher's Stoned.

She came to me via a long, convoluted game of Six Degrees Of Seperation as my then-girlfriend's mother's friend's daughter's co-worker (Got it? Good. There may be a quiz.), whose parents happen to be highly allergic to cats, had to boomerang back to the empty nest after a particularly nasty divorce. And due to me already living with The Amazing Pretzel Cat (Scroll down if you missed it. For you can't miss her.), it came down a long line of "Hey, do you know anyone who likes cats?" and brought her into my life. For which I am profoundly pleased.

Unlike Alice, however, Buffy did not come from a pet store. She originally was found at the Denver Dumb Friends League (Please, send them some love. They do good work.) by the end of that long SDOS chain and, as is common for cats in residence there, is extremely introspective, often staring at the wall for hours on end and thinking deep thoughts. Probably about advanced-level particle physics or a study in lesser-body gravitational theory, as sometimes I come home and actually find these things on my computer screen. After I had turned the computer off, too. (I don't read anything above the layman level in those fields. I can't understand the math, and that gives me a headache. So you tell me how they get there, hmmm?)

But when Buffy is stationary, particularly while sitting on and/or near a human she cares for, you better not have any plans. She has mastered the ancient feline art of gravity control, and brought it to a whole new level. A Buffy on your lap means that you will not move. Bladder full? Tough. Phone ringing? Inconsequential. Remote out of reach? Bad luck to be you. Hungry? You need to go on a diet anyways. Bed time? Why bother, as she is already asleep.

Yet as wonderful and caring as she is, Buffy has two problems, neither of which are cause for anything other than mild disgust and/or human hilarity. First, she also practices the ancient feline art of bazooka barfing. This is probably a leftover habit from her previous human, as she tends to simply inhale her food rather than sit and chew. With this, we tend to have little piles of Buffy-Barf (tm) scattered around the apartment. And my bed. The monitor. On the PS2. Kitchen sink. On the fridge. Behind the sofa. Under the sofa. In shoes. And on clothes just before a job interview. Truly prolific regurgitation. She's like Bill The Cat, but without underwear. And smarter. And no beer. And doesn't have a penguin for a friend. And... Okay okay okay, so she's not like Bill the Cat. Berkeley Breathed, you can stop threatening to sue now.

Her second problem is that she is really a klutz. This is the only cat I know that can roll out of bed, loosely defined term for cats I realize, while being fast asleep. And as one of her favorite sleeping places is on top of my monitor (I have to have at least a 19" CRT so as to leave Buffy enough room to curl up.), I cannot count the number of times that the sound of a sudden scramble of claws echoes through the apartment. And, of course, in the truest traditions of the Feline-Murphy Treaty of 1793, she will land on my power strip, sending whatever I'm working on down the memory hole. And for which, dear readers, you should thank her. Some of those posts were completely awful.

I wish I could join the Buffy in that picture right now, but I'm almost late for work. Perhaps later. For she is one of the dearest cats I've ever known. Unless she's been in the catnip, that is. Then there's no getting a straight answer out of her...

Oh crap. She's in the catnip again. I'll go put on The Wizard of Oz and The Dark Side Of The Moon for her.

Darned stoner cats.

12 July, 2006

Hey Blenderhead!

(Title taken from this song by Bad Religion.)

Atrios just linked to this post by Glenn Greenwald, and I find myself perturbed at the lack of comprehension involved. Here is the parenthetical comment that makes me wonder if Mr. Greenwald truly understands the concept he is ranting about.
(Incidentally, Instapundit, who claims with great self-satisfaction to be an adherent to the privacy-protecting "Online Integrity" concept, links to Riehl, who currently has posted on his blog satellite photographs of Punch Salzburger's home along with his home address).
Now, please show me where in the Statement of Principles it says that signatories are to police the blogosphere for violations? (Short answer: It doesn't. Compliance is voluntary.) Where does it say that the Statement applies to any blog writer, even those that do not sign on to the concept? (Another short answer: It doesn't. "Adherence to this statement begins at the moment of endorsement[.]")

Now, I was part of the first 24-hour rush to sign on to the Statement of Principles. I found this to be one of the best concepts I have run across. Why? Because I found it disturbing that folks would post the private information of people, simply because they vehemently disagree with them. (Atrios himself has done that many times over the years, as I recall. Yet for some reason, Google Blogsearch doesn't have his site available to search through so I can bring up the specific examples. Odd, that.)

Now, on the off chance that Duncan Black would sully his pointer over a link to my site, he would probably point to this post of mine and proclaim my hypocracy on the issue. Why? Because I linked to the professional e-mail addresses of the FCC commissioners. Yet look again at the Statement of Principles. It only protects private information such as home addresses, personal email, telephone numbers, and the pseudonymous. A member of a governmental agency's professional email would not be considered a violation, particularly seeing as how the right to petition the government for redress of grievances is enshrined in the same First Amendment as the right to freedom of the press that we bloggers use every single day.

So the Cliff Notes version of Online Integrity: Voluntary. Self-policing. Applies only to signatories.

Is that really so hard to understand? I don't see why obviously intelligent, though misguided, people such as Duncan Black and Glenn Greenwald have difficulties understanding this.

[UPDATE: 12:01a MDT]

The impossible has actually happened. I crossposted this over on Creative Destruction on an impulse and... I GOT INSTALANCHED! Does that mean I go from a W-List blogger to a V-list blogger? Only time will tell. But in the meantime, I feel like another rabid squeal.

09 July, 2006

Questions Answered

You know, I've been reading this for the last hour or so and, even constantly going over it in my head, I cannot find anything that I disagree with. Anything at all. It seems tailor-made to answer more than one of the questions I put forth in this post back in October.

So go read Terry Michael's post called "Re-claiming our Jeffersonian liberal heritage, with a back-to-the-future re-branding of the Democratic Party" over here on Thoughts From A Libertarian Democrat. Seriously. The whole thing.

And for the second time in a week, I find myself going "I really wish I could write like that." Maybe I should take a class or something.

07 July, 2006

If She Only Had A Brain

I know. You're looking at that post title and thinking that this will be about Ann Coulter's ongoing plagarism problems, right?


While I would love to see the Queen of the Damned tied to the same burning stake as Ward Churchill and Jayson Blair (Not to mention owning the TV rebroadcast rights to that one... Yeowsa!), that's not what this one's about.

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first of the three-part series called "The Cats Of OC!" I finally got around to borrowing a friend's digital camera, and my cats actually cooperated with me for a change. And so, I'll be starting off with perhaps the dumbest cat ever to accidentally walk off a kitchen table.

The Grey Daemon
This is Alice. Also known as K├Ątzchen, The Grey Daemon, Miss Alice, Malice, The World's Only Codependent Feline and, as you can tell by the above photo, The Amazing Pretzel Cat.

There are few things this cat appreciates more than being curled up with me. Whether underneath my arm while I'm trying to sleep, on my shoulders while I'm trying to cook, or on my lap while I'm in the bathroom. (I still haven't figured out the eternal feline fascination with humans while we are using the toilet. Are we a source of amusement? A source of a convenient lap? Or simply a source of "You're weird, mister"? The floor is still open for debate.) She is my cat and I am her human. And not Hell itself, much less a "I thought I closed that" door, will keep her from my side.

Oh, and she is dumb. Sack of hammers-style dumb. I've known many intelligent cats over the years, and trust me when I say that this one is on the opposite side of the spectrum by any meaningful definition. She's dumber than how President Bush is viewed by most of my left-hand-side cohorts. If there was an intelligence competition between Alice and the dumbest Labrador retriever puppy ever known to Humanity, the puppy would win in a landslide. She's so dumb, she makes the commenters over at Eschaton sound like Nobel Prize physicists. If stupidity was the equivalent of gravity, she would have her own event horizon.

Yes. She's that bad.

Should anyone ever come over for a visit, don't plan on seeing this cat if your stay is shorter than 5 hours. When I said that I am her human, I mean it. Antisocial does not begin to describe Alice's general outlook to the human species. Any human that does not already have her seal of approval will be fortunate to view a single ear as she peeks around the corner, wondering if it's safe to dash for the food dish.

Of course, this is all readily explained by the fact that she was a pet-store cat. She was purchased for me by a now ex-girlfriend as a birthday present, and has never wanted to leave my side since she first arrived in my life four and a half years ago. Most of the pet-store cats I've known have been neurotic to a fault, and more than half have had under 10 working neurons available to them.

And really, I wouldn't have it any other way. For she is my cat. And I am her human. Ad infinitum. Ad astra. Forever. World without end. Omayn.

Now, if you will excuse me, it's time to go and curl up with my cat. She's been glaring impatiently at me for a while now, as purr time is a-wasting.

06 July, 2006

Gibson Speak. You Listen.

I wish I could write like this.
“A nation,” he heard himself say, “consists of its laws. A nation does not consist of its situation at a given time. If an individual’s morals are situational, that individual is without morals. If a nation’s laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and soon isn’t a nation.” He opened his eyes and confirmed Brown there, his partially disassembled pistol in his hand. The cleaning, lubrication, and examination of the gun’s inner workings was ritual, conducted every few nights, though as far as Milgrim knew, Brown hadn’t fired the gun since they’d been together.

“What did you say?”

“Are you really so scared of terrorists that you'll dismantle the structures that made America what it is?” Milgrim heard himself say this with a sense of deep wonder. He was saying these things without consciously having thought them, or at least not in such succinct terms, and they seemed inarguable.

“The XXXX—“ [Four-letter word edited for content. Ed.]

“If you are, you let the terrorist win. Because that is exactly, specifically his goal, his only goal: to frighten you into surrendering the rule of law. That's why they call him ‘terrorist’ He uses terrifying threats to induce you to degrade your own society.”

Brown opened his mouth. Closed it.

“It's actually based on the same glitch in human psychology that allows people to believe they can win the lottery. Statistically, almost nobody ever wins the lottery. Statistically, terrorist attacks almost never happen.”
I mean, really. I was trying to say the same thing over on Creative Destruction a few days ago. But Gibson's method of prose and smooth usage of language simply annihilates my pitiful attempt to call myself a writer, even at the base amateur level.

And hells, I didn't even know William Gibson blogged... This one's going into the blogroll immediately, I assure you.

[Turn signal: Fiat Lux.]

(P.S.: Wouldn't it have just been so freakin' cool if Gibson wrote that after reading my post? Pardon me whilst I squeal like a fanboy from the merest vague possibility.) [INSERT RABID-FANBOY SQUEAL] (Ah. Much better.)