Monday, November 29, 2010

Blog Camaraderie

I've been thinking about this the past few days, and maybe it's because I don't blog as much or read as much lately, but I think it's time us bloggers got together to exchange notes. Turn each other on to hot blogs and such. This is our future for as long as our government deems to allow it so let's get going.

This one I love, and it's written by a co-worker on mine:
Let's Be Honest is a personal look at life 50+ with a glance in the rear-view mirror. And don't we all love the mirror!

Another one that is brilliant is written by txrad's 2nd cousin:
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch is written by a woman with amazing talent. So much so, that when txrad returned from a trip to North Dakota 5 or 6 years ago carrying a CD of her music, we played it once or twice, and then every day for the next 18 months! I even embarked on an expedition to get her some musical exposure by sending her CD to my local adult album alternative radio station. She has a cowboy and he cooks!

I have also maintained a devotion recently to Cogitamus where I can feel at home with a few old friends like litbrit, oddjob, and minstrel boy. Ahh, those are the good ole days!

And I cannot leave out Brilliant at Breakfast for getting me wound up first thing in the morning over coffee.

I think these blogs offer it all. The food, the life, the personal, the angst, and the bullshit absurdity of the world in which we live. They have replaced a number of blogs for me in many ways, namely a need on my part to de-clutter and de-bullshit.

As we enter into 2011, it may be time for us to diversify, and explore new options, and to disengage from those who have gone astray.

Please, share in comments any blogs which are yanking your chain these days. That's what it's all about.

Friday, November 26, 2010

An Explosion of Cranberries

One of my favorite things to do during Thanksgiving is to make up a batch of cranberry sauce. Today was the day! And it's so easy I can't believe anyone buys the shit in a can.

Start out with the juice of a navel orange, and grate most of the skin with it. Add in about half a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and I toss in a shot of Bouchant. Heat it on medium until the sugar dissolves and it's steaming.

Toss in a 12-ounce bag of those wild and crazy berries and crank the heat up a notch. Start stirring.

Soon they'll start to pop and you are on your way! After about 10 or 12 minutes they should begin to get frothy. This is when I gradually ease off on the heat, and keep stirring.

This will begin to turn into the familiar sight of cranberry sauce. There are always a few who resist popping and when it's pretty obvious you have sauce, and those holdouts don't seem eager to participate, I'll start mashing those against the side of the pan to facilitate the process. Then move the pan off the heat.

At this point I toss in a handful of lightly toasted pecans (that's about half a cup for those of you who insist on measuring EVERYTHING) and stir. Let it cool then chill it in the fridge. I've had a batch of this last me 2 ... even 3 weeks maybe. I figure I'll be making another batch just before Christmas.

Heavenly holiday bliss!

Oh, and while I was doing this, txrad was making hamburger buns!

I'm thinking a dab of cranberry sauce on the veggie burger tonight wouldn't be terribly awful.

Friday Pussy Blog: Seafood Dinner Edition

Black Friday always throws me for a loop and I usually forget to put up the pussy blog because it feels like a Saturday.

The Tot has just finished his seafood dinner and is in the process of grooming.

Sissy is still licking hers up! YUM!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's hard for me to believe it's Thanksgiving again already! Seems like we were just driving up to north Austin a few months ago for the annual tradition of a thali at Swad. But off we trekked again today on the 23-mile trip to our little slice of India. No tofurkey for us!

I actually took this photo as we were leaving. There was no line when we got there, and the food was delivered fast today.

The dosas at Swad are great but for my appetite, a thali is required.

Ahh yes, dear friends. This is heaven. Those puffy breads are pooris. Underneath there was a crunchy papadam, and some other kind of moist bread adorned with fiery jalapeños.

The thali itself was, needless to say, rather filling. I am a satisfied man right now!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Pussy Blog: Nothing But Pussy All Week Edition

Sometimes the Tot looks to be in such a foul mood in his photos. Today was no exception. He must be absorbing it from his daddy who had a pretty shitty day as well!!

Happy Friday!!!!!

I can't believe I went an entire week without posting. (sh)It happens.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Pussy Blog: Family History Edition

I was going through some old photos this week and found this one from 2000. It's possibly the only photo I have of Big Thumbs -- she's the one looking at the camera and proudly showing off her thumb. Those three kittens (and yes, I do realize they were already as big as their mommie) are: Sissy (top), Sweet Pea (middle) and Coal Pot (bottom).

We brought Sissy in to be a house cat shortly after this photo was taken. The two boys stayed outside. Coal Pot and Sweet Pea were inseparable and often slept atop one another so that it appeared to be one cat with two heads.

Sadly, Coal Pot disappeared one day and never returned. I've always hoped he wandered into a neighbor's yard and was taken in by somebody as he was a gorgeous cat.

Sissy inherited her mama's thumbs. She's very happy being a house kitty.

We do occasionally let Sweet Pea come in the house to spend some time with his sister. It's rarely more than an "oh,hey howya doin, bye" visit, if even that much acknowledgment!

Hope your Friday went well! Happy weekend!

Oh, yes, I'm not going to end the Pussy Blog without giving everyone a Tot shot, so have no fear.

That boy still LOVES that small box.

Lapping Frequency

How cats drink is something that has been on my mind lately. And it's even more amazing than I imagined.
Writing in the Thursday issue of Science, the four engineers report that the cat’s lapping method depends on its instinctive ability to calculate the balance between opposing gravitational and inertial forces.

What happens is that the cat darts its tongue, curving the upper side downward so that the tip lightly touches the surface of the water.

The tongue is then pulled upward at high speed, drawing a column of water behind it.

Just at the moment that gravity finally overcomes the rush of the water and starts to pull the column down — snap! The cat’s jaws have closed over the jet of water and swallowed it.

The cat laps four times a second — too fast for the human eye to see anything but a blur — and its tongue moves at a speed of one meter per second.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There Is No God. There Is Only Market Share.

A number of atheist groups are about to kick off a holiday ad campaign in an attempt to rally the troops.
The godless groups say they are mounting this surge because they are aware that they have a large, untapped army of potential troops. The percentage of American adults who say they have no religion has doubled in the last two decades, to 15 percent, according to the American Religious Identification Survey, conducted by researchers at Trinity College in Hartford and released in 2008. But the ranks of the various atheist organizations number only in the tens of thousands.

That is one reason for the multiple campaigns: the groups are competing with one another to gain market share, said Mark Silk, founding director of the Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, which is also at Trinity College.

“There’s a competitive environment for ‘no religion,’ and they’re grabbing for all the constituents they can get,” Mr. Silk said.

Relying on the largess of a few wealthy atheists, these groups are now capable of bankrolling efforts to recruit and organize a population that mostly has been quiet and closeted.

As a society, we may vehemently disagree on Democratic policies vs. Republican policies, hard right vs. hard left, fact vs. fiction, up vs. down, top vs. bottom, over vs. under, large vs. small, gay vs. straight, and God vs. godlessness. But if there is one true belief on which we can agree, it is the importance of market share!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

DADT Future Looking Murky

Here we are, fast approaching 2011, and "don't ask, don't tell" is still hanging out there like a loose chad.
The chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force have all expressed some reluctance about ending the ban, as has the former commandant of the Marine Corps, but the comments of the current commandant, Gen. James F. Amos, are the most vivid to date.

In comments to reporters in California this weekend, General Amos said that ending the ban in the middle of two wars would involve “risk” for Marines, who, unlike other service members who generally have private quarters, share rooms to promote unity. “There is nothing more intimate than young men and young women — and when you talk of infantry, we’re talking our young men — laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers,” said General Amos, 63. “I don’t know what the effect of that will be on cohesion. I mean, that’s what we’re looking at. It’s unit cohesion, it’s combat effectiveness.”

And there you have it. We would destroy unit cohesion just as surely as we have destroyed the sacred institution of marriage.

Us gay folks are not to be trusted because we simply are driven to jump the bones of every straight man or woman who happens to be in a horizontal position. Although gays & lesbians have already served our country with honor and effectiveness, to do so honestly would suddenly render us without the self-discipline required to serve and get the job done, because all we would be thinking about is fucking.

Glad we cleared that up!

Monday, November 08, 2010

I'll Have What The Gentleman On The Floor Is Having

I can't think of a finer way to kick off a Monday morning than browsing through a selection of the funniest beer names of all time.

I'll have some Moose Drool followed by a Blithering Idiot, please!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Pussy Blog: Chicken Entree Edition

Yay! It's Friday!

Tiger* and Sweet Pea are happy!

Sissy and the Tot are happy!

We're ALL happy it's Friday!

*This picture is hilarious. Tiger looks like he has two conical horns sticking from his hind quarters! It's just matted hair and a strange camera angle.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Baaad Gurlz of the 30s

I'd heard there were some women blues singers from back in the 20s and 30s doing some pretty raunchy numbers, but I figured it would be more obvious innuendo with maybe a four-letter word thrown in for spice. I've never actually heard any recordings until today when I was doing some musical exploration on YouTube from Etta James to Muddy Waters and on to Lil Gizelle and Big Mama Thornton. Then I saw this from Lucille Bogan.

I wish the recording quality of this was better, and I'm not sure why the last minute of the clip has no audio at all, but it's a whopper.

And dear friends, trust the konagod when I say this is probably NOT SAFE FOR WORK.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Those Damn Far Lefties

I still see this shit all the time about "far lefties" in Congress and that "far left" Obama.

Get this straight, you stupid fucks. The political spectrum isn't linear like a ruler. I'm pretty far left (and pretty conservative in many areas), and if you were to place me on a 12-inch ruler, I might even be right (or left?) on the convenience hole which allows you hang it from a nail in the wall, the one to the left of the one-inch mark.

I keep looking for these "far left" members of Congress, and seriously, I'm not seeing many, from my perspective. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin was pretty cool until he got beat on Tuesday. Yeah, he was the guy involved in that campaign finance reform with that other "far left" guy: John McCain.

So, when these idiot people starting bitching about the "far left," I think they are actually bitching about the moderates. Lo and behold, we have something in common!

The political spectrum isn't linear like a ruler, thankfully, because life would be pretty boring and simplistic if it were. It's more 3-dimensional actually, which must be quite a challenge for these folks who like to keep it left vs. right. Or at the very least it's like a box, with a left and right as well as a top and a bottom. (I won't blow your mind right now with depth perception.)

So, heed my advice. If you want to be taken seriously in your critique of current politics, get a perspective of where you are on the linear "playing field." Because a politician on your 5 1/2" mark isn't far left. In fact, you have no idea how left left can be.

Just saying. And I'm right.

But Wait; There's More!

Yes, it says ZERO.


The Morning After

It was bad. But it easily could have been far worse. Nevertheless, the stage is now set for some interesting months ahead leading into the 2012 campaign. And the political map is starting to look more like 2000 than it did in 2008 with blue on the west coast and northeast, and red filling in the middle.

The worst of it:

Florida. One word: Rubio.

Kentucky. Two words: Rand Paul.

Pennsylvania. Three words: fucking Pat Toomey!

California: Gee, there must be so much available pot out there that the 18-24 group just doesn't see it as a big deal. Those who need it medically can easily get it legally, and those who use it recreationally are content to pay their fines if caught. Personally, I'd rather be a responsible legal consumer vs. a responsible illegal consumer, but that's just me I guess.

It's pretty clear that Prop. 19, in being defeated 55-45%, took a late hit from an infusion of Reefer Madness-inspired money, and a spineless calculating Democratic establishment that wasn't in the mood this year to make the case for it. Sad.

Iowa: Very disturbing that voters ousted three justices who participated in the same-sex marriage ruling last year, despite the sky not collapsing after same-sex marriage became legal, and life going on as usual for the past year.
Each of the three judges received about 45-46 percent support with 91 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press, marking the first time members of Iowa’s high court had been rejected by voters. Under the system used here, judges face no opponents and simply need to win more yes votes than no votes to win another eight-year term.

You'd think the voters could just move on, or that the judicial ruling would have faded from memory in favor of more pressing issue, but unfortunately there was some outside efforts to jog the voters' memories...
Though several groups formed to support their retention, they were significantly outspent by the organizations that bankrolled the ouster effort, including the National Organization for Marriage and the American Family Association.

Wisconsin. What the fuck? Seriously, that's like burning your house for the insurance money.

Arkansas. No real surprises here but it's aggravating to watch my home state officially officially seal the deal and join themselves at the hip with the other neighboring red states of Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi instead of maintaining the mid-western independence of Missouri. Blanche will be packing her bags and a hard right turn is ahead with Republican John Boozman.

Even the 2nd congressional district which includes Little Rock, a traditionally Democratic seat being vacated by a Democrat, is falling strongly into the GOP column this time around, to a fucking Karl Rove protege no less. The vote wasn't even close.

Arizona and South Dakota have rejected medical marijuana ballot measures.

Some positives:

Rhode Island. We now have our 4th openly gay member of Congress.

Alaska. Residents saw the face of evil and cast over 80,000 write-in votes to propel Lisa Murkowski above Tea Bagger Joe Miller. And I hesitated to put this under the column of positives since it's still not ideal, but could have been worse.

The remarkable:

Nevada, where Harry Reid managed to slither past Sharron Angle by a fairly comfortable margin. And that is rather extraordinary given that Nevada is, one could argue, ground zero in the economic collapse. Las Vegas in particular is reeling.

As usual, the New York Times has some really cool interactive maps you can check out and survey the damage.

The Senate

The House

The Governors

That, folks, is how America looks this morning.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Virtual Outhouse Is Open!

Have a seat. Blow it out!

Election Day Serenade

Today is election day 2010, a day when when we will have the wonderful feeling of having a direct influence on the direction we're going as a nation. At least for those of us who bothered to vote. And it is particularly exciting when the choice is between an asshole and an insensitive jerk. USA 2010 is about to take a turn.

First, we can probably write off the deep South. Nothing new there.

So, what's going on today? Anything exciting happening?

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Calm Before the Storm

It's been a pretty quiet Monday. (Here at kona ranch, that is.) I've just been pondering how much might change between today and tomorrow. Elections have always been exciting events for me, and nothing much can match the adrenalin that flows through my veins as those polls close on election night and results start to trickle in.

This year is a little different in terms of the excitement. The excitement is not so much driven by optimism as it is by a sense of sharpened anxiety. The same anxiety one might feel while driving in freeway traffic during a horrendous snowstorm, or seeing news report of a 100+ car pileup caused by freaky fog conditions. Yeah, I think that's the one I'm looking for: freaky fog conditions pretty accurately describes the voting environment this year. And we'll know on Tuesday just how many vehicles are involved and the extent of the carnage. I guess I have prepared myself emotionally for the worst, to the extent I possibly can.

It has gotten way too easy for people to discredit something they don't like by calling it a hoax. I'm not sure why they do this. Maybe it's an uncomfortable topic to discuss if there is indeed a possibility that we are all contributing to something like...oh, say global warming, for instance.

It's hard to keep a straight face and argue that global warming is a hoax when there is clear evidence to the contrary. And think about this: the population of the planet didn't hit 2 billion until 1927. Soon it will reach 7 billion and will continue increasing. Along with that mind-boggling growth have been other drastic changes.

Think about how most Americans (and the rest of the world) managed to get around the planet back in 1927. Most people didn't have electricity in the home. The most high-tech gadget might have been a single AM radio.

Passenger car sales were starting to take off -- Henry Ford's Model T sales were at 15 million; SUVs weren't a dime a dozen, no 18-wheelers were plowing up our interstate highway system (because we didn't have one), and the skies were not filled with those hollow metal cylinders ferrying tens of millions of people from place to place. Even in my lifetime, I've seen China change from being a nation where people in large cities traveled by bicycle, to being a nation filled with cars and manufacturing facilities to fulfill our craving for cheap stuff.

And you know what? That human activity has to have some impact on the planet on some level because the planet sure as shit isn't growing in size along with the population! You can claim the climate is cyclical and warming is a natural event. Go ahead and hate Al Gore's guts. But don't take the easy way out by saying the discussion is off the table because it's just a hoax.

We only learn and grow as a society by having a debate, not ducking from it. We can't even have a rational discussion these days about the issue. There are politicians in office right now who deny climate change, and a fresh batch of new politicians waiting to march on in with the same attitude.

It's going to be an interesting Tuesday night on into Wednesday. I'll be here, and you can bet I'm going to have something to say about it.