Sunday, December 26, 2010

Everybody knows the Germans make good stuff

I love the line in that Shamwow video where the pitchman says, "Everybody knows the Germans make good stuff," because even though it's arguably contentious with respect to a particular product like a wiping rag, there is an element of truth in it. Germans are renowned for craftsmanship. They were making precision instruments as early as any country. And one need only take a trip to Germany to see how dedicated they are to order and the following of rules and laws.

So it seems fair to assume that when Germans made and used good thermometers as early as anybody, and that their clerks were as meticulous as any in recording the data.

This fellow takes that concept and runs with it, giving a graph of German temperature records since 1750. Talk about an inconvenient truth. How can the world be warming if Germany hasn't been warming for the last 260 years?

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., the folks at NASA have been "adjusting" the temperature records continuously in order to produce scary headlines claiming that recent years have been warmer than 1934, whose raw temperatures are the warmest on record.

Friday, December 24, 2010

An interesting video about progress

The video at this Cato Institute page is a bit long at 78 minutes; but the interesting part is Matt Ridley's ten or so minute talk and then the first ten or so minutes of questions that follow the fellow who gets up to comment on Ridley's talk.

In any event it's worth seeing since Ridley's take on why we live better than our ancestors is somewhat novel and very persuasive. I may have to break my rule and buy his book at some point. Or perhaps I'll do a really novel thing and check his book out of the library. For some reason I'm very open to getting audio books at the library; but I can't remember when I checked out an actual reading book.

Friday, December 17, 2010

This article made me think of Mom

Mom was liberal to the core (in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt New Deal sense and also the anti-war sense), although she rarely talked about politics. But despite, or perhaps because of that, she despised the Kennedys. It was Aunt Mary who regularly used the term "whoremasters" in referring to politicians; but the fact is that the Kennedys (Jack, Bobby, Teddy and many of their politically involved children) really were whoremasters, as well as thorough cynics who considered themselves above the laws pertaining to ordinary people even as they loudly trumpeted their supposed love for the little people to attain and hold public offices.

Mom would have loved this article and commented on it. After which Aunt Mary would have delivered her classic line, "They're all whoremasters." Then they would have laughed together at the very best sort of joke, the bitter joke that simply states the real, though crazy, truth of things.

Congratulations and thanks to the Tea Partiers

The new Tea Party backed congressmen and women who were elected last month won't take office until January 20th; but the effects of the Tea Party effort have already been felt in Washington.

Today the Democrats gave up on passing a new $1 Trillion dollar pork barrel bill in the lame duck session of congress. And, on other side of the coin, the Democrats failed in their attempt to pass a massive tax increase when the lame duck congress extended for two years almost all of the lower tax rates that have been in effect for the past nine years.

Elections have consequences, and in this case the Tea Party uprising that helped defeat so many long entrenched big spending congressmen and senators has already done a lot of good by forcing the politicians in Washington to realize that they can be defeated if they get too far out of line.

This doesn't mean we can afford to become complacent. We need to keep up the pressure to ensure that the new congress which convenes in January takes action to actually slow the pace of increase in government spending overall and to cut back spending on things the government now does which make no sense.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Alan Sorkin wailed away,
On his blog the other day,
'Cause Sarah Palin shot a moose,
Or was it Rudolph on the loose,
While hunting up Alaska way.

Mr. Priss procures his meat,
When Bambi he's of a mind to eat,
From someone who a cleaver wields,
Behind a screen at the Fresh Fields.
His hands are clean; but he's effete,
And his cluelessness is hard to beat.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The few, the proud, the Santa Marines

Many are called but few are frozen.

Warning, the marching song has a funny line that may stray just a bit over the line for prissy folks; but I'm certain the Supreme Court would rule that, taken as a whole, this video has redeeming social value.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter is here

The past three or four days have made it clear that winter is here. Cold, cloudy and blustery. Downright miserable most of the time.

I'm glad I got the fig tree well wrapped last week. I'm pretty proud of that wrapping job. The thing actually looks rather neat out there with the green bucket on its head. Tomorrow or Friday I need to get a bunch of leaf mulch from down by the maple tree to stack around the base of the fig in order to keep its roots from freezing.

I'm also glad I have plenty of really prime wood stockpiled this year. Thus far I've been burning mostly trashy stuff since it hasn't been all that cold; but temperatures are getting to where I need to burn the good hardwood. I have plenty of apple, cherry, mulberry and walnut stored up.

In other news: we have two herons hanging around down by the creek pretty much all the time. It's hard to believe those lanky birds can keep themselves warm enough around here during the depths of the winter; but they certainly do.

And in still other news: Rick the bowhunter came by the other week and introduced his fiance, who is also a bow hunter. The two of them have been hunting regularly on the property. I hope they take out a half dozen of Bambi's relatives. Our usual cross bow hunter has not appeared so it may be he has finally gone to the great hunting ground in the sky. He's had cancer for the past couple of years.

Global Warming Delegates sign a petition to ban water

Priceless. Some college students went down to the big global warming convention and government paid vacation thing in Cancun and pulled the same sort of trick Penn and Teller did at a gathering of ignorant hippies.

These fellows asked delegates at the international climate science gathering to sign a petition banning Dihydrogen Monoxide, which is, of course H2O or water. The best part was that they got them to sign it at a water cooler.

In addition they got a bunch of delegates to sign a petition urging the UN to cripple the US economy and gut our Gross Domestic Product by 6%; but that doesn't surprise me at all since the whole global warming scam is about crippling the rich world and extorting lots of money that the global warming folks can feed off of.

You can watch the short video here.

I'm hoping they will post the names of the folks who signed those petitions on the internet along with their government position titles and their supposed credentials.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ravioli and stuffed olives for a bunch of people

I mentioned the other day that Linda found Aunt Mary's recipe for a whole lot of meat ravioli after Angela and I semi-finalized the mad plan for December 19th.

Here it is:

For the Dough:
5 pounds flour
8 extra large eggs
12 oz warm water
Knead approx 20 minutes
Roll out dough into tube and cut into slices
Press slices flat and dust flour on both sides
Run through pasta machine first on 1 and then on second to last slot
Put in meat, fold over and shape

For the meat filling:
8 pounds of cooked chicken and pork total weight
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup cheese
4 cups chicken broth
4 eggs
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tblsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1tsp parsley
Grind pork and chicken mixture together and fill pasta

(The recipes for the dough and filling are next to one another on a card, so I assume the meat mixture is designed to fill the amount of rolled dough that the dough recipe will produce. Assuming it's a recipe for about 200 ravioli that would mean about a half ounce of meat in each ravioli.)

On the back of the same card is a recipe for cheese filling:
1 pound of ricotta
Cheese to taste
1 egg
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbl bread crumbs
Mix together and fill pasta

(Clearly the Ricotta recipe is not in proportion to the dough recipe, so my guess is that she wrote that on the back of the card for reference and it isn't meant to be used with the 5 pound dough recipe.

On the other hand Angela remembers the old time dinners consisting of fried meat ravioli, boiled meat ravioli with cheese and cinnamon, and then boiled cheese ravioli with gravy. So perhaps this is a recipe card for those occasions. But even that doesn't explain the problematic proportions since 1 pound of ricotta filling would not have made enough cheese ravioli with the sauce for the dinners for 15 or so that they used to have, even on the assumption that we had already eaten fried and white meat ravioli..

We'll learn the truth on December 19th. I'm figuring we'll do fifteen pounds of flour for dough and then fill with 16 pounds of meat and 8 pounds of cheese so as to end up with about 600 ravioli.

In addition we're going to do six times the following recipe for stuffed olives that Angela sent me so as to end up with about 450 olives:

2 1/2 lbs spanish olives (about 30 olives to the pound)
1 1/2 lbs ground veal and pork
3 eggs
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp parsley
2 tbsp romano cheese
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp bread crumb