27 February 2010

Nom nom nom


I had a couple of bananas turning brown on the island, so I thought I'd try my hand at banana bread. It's my first attempt and it turned out pretty well.

I had four different recipes from my Clarinda Municipal Hospital Auxiliary cookbook, so I kind of picked and borrowed to come up with my own, based on the ingredients I had on hand.

So, without further ado, and presenting what I believe is the first recipe posted here:

Banana Bread

Ingredients: (in order of appearance)
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
OPT: 1/2 cup crushed walnuts

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Stir in mashed bananas. Sift in flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Mix in crushed walnuts, if desired. Pour batter into greased 5x7 bread pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove from oven and let sit for 30 minutes. Remove from pan, slice and enjoy!

The wife doesn't like walnuts so I make mine without. It's delish either way.

26 February 2010

Death Of A Wagon

The Aries is no more.

Some time around Thanksgiving the Rampage quit on me again, carburetor problems still (which I think may now be fixed). I took the Aries away from daughter and was driving it back and forth to work.

On the last day in November at about 6 PM I had just pulled into the left turn lane and was about 100 yards from the intersection, intending to turn left at the light. That's when it happened.

A Jeep CJ that was in the straight through lane right beside me decided that it wanted to go into a driveway off to the left side of the road. The problem, of course, was that I was right at it's back bumper when the driver spun the wheel and punched the gas. Contact was made between the Jeep's left rear wheel and my right front bumper.

I stopped dead in the middle of the turn lane, neatly blocking the driveway that the Jeep was aiming for. The Jeep spun about on it's right front tire and came to rest diagonally in the oncoming lane, facing me.

I got out to check on the other driver, but she flatly refused to emerge from her vehicle. She did not come out until the police arrived, so I didn't know if she was OK or not. I shouldn't have worried.

The police arrived at the scene and the driver of the Jeep told a different story (she claimed she was turning from the turn lane so that she wouldn't get ticketed). I asked how I hit her in the left rear tire with my right front bumper if she was in the turn lane ahead of me. The answer I got was something along the lines of "Good point, but since we have two stories we don't know who is telling the truth."

Apparently the Durham police aren't equipped to investigate mishaps. I asked them if they had been sick the day they taught accident investigation at cop school. They were not amused, and I'm sure it did nothing to help my case. No tickets were issued, but her insurance company totaled the wagon.

They will come to get it Monday.

I got more in settlement than I paid for it, including all the work I put into it to get it to run right, and the daughter drove it for two years. It doesn't owe me anything, but I'll miss it.

We never did get around to putting that dragon cloth on the headliner. I wonder what I can do with it.

It looks so lonely sitting out there by the road, all by itself.

25 February 2010

This Is Why

If for no other reason, this is why Obamacare and any of it's zombie cohorts must be stopped, at all costs.

These life saving drugs are developed by the evil pharmaceutical companies, much like Adam Smith's baker, not out of some sense of altruistic generosity, but out of a quest for profit. Seven hundred million dollars were pledged to develop the drug in the story, not government dollars but private ones. Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical company that invested these millions, stands to make billions if the drug is approved for use.

This money was invested in order to treat and possibly cure a deadly disease. Out of this drug others may be developed that could successfully treat other types of cancers. It will take years to develop them and bring them to market, but maybe one day the scourge of modern man can be defeated as polio was defeated in the last century.

Under socialized medicine the profits would not be worth the investment, and medicines like this will not be developed. Capitalism is the prod that drives these innovations, a search for products that will bring their developers wealth and sometimes fame. I wish Roche all the best in their search for outrageous fortune.

They will deserve it. They will have earned every dollar.

HT: Legal Insurrection

More Snow

A light dusting this time, nothing is sticking to the roadways but there is a pale cast to the grass and anything else that is cold enough for it to stick to.

That makes four snow events here in North Carolina this year, and I'm more than ready for spring.

20 February 2010

Note To The Blogroll

If you are in my blogroll and I haven't been by to visit for a while, don't take it personally. I don't always get around as often as I would like.

If you have linked to me and I have not linked to you, and you want me to, please drop me a line and I'll do so. Links are there for my amusement, but a little reciprocity never hurt anyone.

Cary, I wish I had some profound and comforting words for you. I'm sorry that I don't. Somehow anything I can think of sounds trite and empty, so instead I will just offer prayers and condolences, and maybe that will do.

Thanks for all the comments (to those who comment), and thanks for dropping by!

17 February 2010


I haven't been surfing my links for a while, so I went to the Gunslinger's to see what I had missed.

That's where I read this:

In today's issue of a Boston newspaper there is a Letter to the Editor,
from a local high-school teacher:

"... current school security procedures lock down school populations in the event of armed assault. Some advocate abandoning this practice as it holds everyone in place, allowing a shooter easily to find victims. An alternative is immediate exodus, via announcement. Although this removes potential hostages... it unfairly rewards resourceful children who move to safety... more shrewdly and efficiently than others. Schools should level playing fields, not intrinsically reward those more resourceful..."

It gets even better:

"... some propose overturning laws that make schools gun-free zones... they argue that barring licensed-carry only ensures a defenseless, target-rich environment. But, as a Progressive, I would sooner lay my child to rest than succumb to the belief that the use of a gun for self-defense is somehow not in itself a gun crime."
Apparently this high school teacher would rather see your children die equally than see some of them escape because they are "more resourceful" and would also rather have your child die than have the fallacy of gun control shown for the farce that it is.

It made me think of this.

Who would you rather have teaching your children?

UPDATE: Math teacher tackles Columbine-style killer.

"If something happens and there's something that I can do about it, I want to try and do something about it," Benke said at a news conference with other staff members from Deer Creek Middle School, at times choking up with emotion. "I said, 'I hope that I'm capable of doing something about it."'

Well done, Doctor Benke.

On The Road

To the guy behind me, flashing your lights in my rear-view because 55 in a 45 isn't fast enough for you; do you drive a BMW because you're a D-bag, or are you a D-bag because you drive a BMW?

I know a couple who drive a BMW and aren't pretentious D-bags, and I know quite a few pretentious D-bags who don't drive BMWs, but given the frequency that they seem to be found together leads me to wonder if pretentious D-bag isn't a BMW target demographic.

At any rate, riding my bumper and flashing your lights won't get me to pull over on a narrow 2 lane road so you can pass. It will just get me to slow down to 35 in a 45.

Which leads me to my next question, am I an A-hole because I drive a Pontiac, or do I drive a Pontiac because I'm an A-hole?

Whatever. It's the wife's car anyway.

An Armed Society

Is a polite society.

Just sayin'.

HT: Gabe at Ace's Place

15 February 2010

See How Nice I Am?

I see you out there, reading and never commenting. It's OK though, I really don't mind. I see the sitemeter turning over and I know you're there.

Just be lucky I'm not like this!

Spicy language alert, you have been warned.

14 February 2010

Happy Happy

Happy Valentine's Day!

And if you are the sort that doesn't like Valentine's Day, Happy Chinese New Year!

Ladies, it could be worse. You could be married to this guy.



HT: The Knight Shift


Like most of you, I listen to the radio while I'm driving.

Most of the time I listen to the local talk radio station on the AM dial, but when there is nothing on that I am interested in I will turn over to the FM music stations. That is how I found out about the proposed fees on recorded music being played over the airwaves.

House Resolution (H.R.) 848, the Performance Rights Act, seeks to force the payment of royalties for music played over the air. The thing about music played over the air is that artists used to pay kickbacks to the radio stations to play their music. This would get the songs out into the public's ears and compel them to buy the albums that their favorite tunes were recorded on.

My how times have changed!

A coalition of groups including the Recording Industry Association of America makes up an organization calling itself Music First. Music First, of course, is all for this legislation.

RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol says “This legislation is about fairness and a level playing field, plain and simple. The arguments for this legislation have never been more compelling, the time never more ripe, and the level of support within the music community never more strong.”

Music First Executive Director Jennifer Bendall adds “Radio is the only platform that does not pay a fair performance royalty to America’s artists and musicians.”

It sounds to me like Music First is a rather Orwellian term. They should call themselves Money First instead.

Perhaps these groups that make up Music First are not aware of the fact that most people hear new songs on the radio and then look for the same songs in the music stores or online. If the legislation passes, the radio stations will play a selected sample of the music that they have paid the royalties on and new artists and new works will not be played. Music that does not get played does not get sold.

That doesn't sound much like a level playing field, does it?

Opposing legislation, called the Local Radio Freedom Act (House Concurrent Resolution 49), has also been introduced. This bill urges Congress not to impose “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station... .”

My opinion is that both of these pieces of legislation need to be scrapped immediately and any effort to re-introduce them should be slapped down. This is something that should be worked out between the recording and broadcasting industries, and the government has no dog in this fight except to see that the agreements are enforced.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The broadcast industry has long been understood to fall under the provisions of speech and the press, and "shall make no law" is pretty clear. Of course I am no lawyer, and I am sure that there are plenty of slick talkers on either side that will talk rings around the First Amendment.

And that is the more important issue.

13 February 2010

Rough Days

The wife has been sick for the past week.

Her stomach has never been a pleasant companion, even in the best of times. The chemo really kicks things up a notch, and she had chemo a week ago last Tuesday.

The stomach problems didn't start until Monday, which is usually about the time everything is over. So, off to the ER we go (did I mention it's snowing?) where the kindly doctor ordered some X-rays and determined she had a blocked bowel.

In other words, she's full of sh!t, but we knew that anyway. Now we have documented proof.

The good news is that she is now unblocked and feeling much better, all the household chores are done, and I have Sierra Nevada Golden Bock.

Life is good.

When Will It Ever End

Today's forecast: Snow flurries resulting in a light dusting north of the Triangle (the points of the Triangle are Raleigh NC, Durham NC and Chapel Hill NC) and accumulation of as much as an inch to the south.

Since Franklinton, current location of the Refuge, is north of the Triangle this means we were in for a "light dusting" of snow. I can handle that.

Unfortunately what they forecast and what we get aren't always exactly the same. The snow is at 2 1/4 inches and still falling.

I blame Algore.

12 February 2010


What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.
Thomas Paine

I remember reading this quote coupled with one from, I think Benjamin Franklin, about liberty being a precious thing to esteem highly. Unfortunately I have not been able to find that quote.

At any rate, it is that which we fight for which we value most, and it is the thing that we have never had that we strive to achieve.

And once in a while we achieve it.

Alas, I am but a poor scribbler when trying to express lofty thoughts. Go here instead and you will know what I mean, even though I cannot adequately express it.

And Nikki; welcome home. I'm glad you made it.

09 February 2010

Who Wha?

Apparently there was some sort of sporting event last Sunday.

My condolences to Mostly Cajun.

Medical Update

Today was a rough day for her. The reactions from the medicine have made her physically ill all day. I stayed home from work in case she needs anything, something that I very rarely do.

The tumor is getting bigger again and the doc has prescribed new medicine. The new medicine is oral because they are afraid that her veins are going to collapse if they continue with the intravenous chemo.

She doesn't talk about it much because she doesn't want to worry me, but I know.

The Empire Strikes Back?

Beltway Bob is at it again.

Story at Ace's.

This of course means that Palin, a former state Governor that isn't currently running for anything, is deep, deep inside the White House's OODA loop.

04 February 2010


Welcome home Marines. Well done.

Sherlock Holmes

I finally saw it, and I give it a rousing "meh."

Top marks for action and photography, and the actors played their parts well. As for the plot, well, at least it appears that perhaps one or two of the screenwriters have actually read one or two of Sir Arthur's stories because one or two tidbits made their way in.

One such tidbit is the study of a pocketwatch. In the written stories ("The Sign of Four" to be exact) the watch belonged to Watson's older brother, an heirloom that was passed from his father and then on to the good doctor himself at his older brother's demise. In the movie the watch belonged to a "ginger midget" who was found dead in his first appearance.

Downey's Holmes is a bit of a bumbler and not as aware of his surroundings as the fabled detective from the stories, and Jude Law's Doctor Watson tends to be a bit surly throughout (which again is not a part of the canon, although the Watson in the stories had his bouts of petulance to be sure). Both are portrayed as active men; Downey's Holmes is shown to be a skilled boxer and knowledgeable of the martial arts and Law's Doctor Watson is an intelligent man who shows an ability to deductively reason things out for himself, all of which do fit the stories.

There are really only two parts of the movie that I found objectionable. One is that Holmes did not know the soon-to-be Mrs. Watson when in fact Miss Mary Morstan was introduced to Doctor Watson by way of being the client in one of his adventures with Sherlock Holmes, "The Sign of Four" once again being the story. Although a trifling difference it is a glaring one, and comes in early enough that it interrupted the flow of the rest of the movie for me.

The second, and most annoying, was the portrayal of Irene Adler as a master criminal. She is also hinted at being Sherlock's lost love, which as any reader of the stories knows is quite impossible. "The woman" was in fact an American opera star, and a bit of an adventuress herself, having been one of the few adversaries to outwit Holmes ("A Scandal in Bohemia"). I find it deplorable what the movie has done to her.

On a side note, the character of Irene Adler is expanded upon greatly in a series of books by author Carole Nelson Douglas. If you are a fan of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, it might be worth your time to check them out as well.

Of course I understand that some changes have to be made to tell the story well, because you can't fit four novels and 56 short stories into one movie. The changes to the two characters described above, relatively minor in the case of Mary Morstan but rather substantial in the case of Irene Adler, were the ones I found most distracting, and I wish the screenwriters could have found a better way to fit them in.

All in all the movie is an enjoyable waste of a couple of hours as long as you don't get too distracted by comparing it to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famed detective stories.

03 February 2010

State Of The Union


Picture shamelessly stolen from Mostly Cajun.

02 February 2010

Loud And Clear

Kevin has a new post up (well, it's a couple of days old but I had not been by there for a while) that is an enjoyable read.

So what are you still doing here? Go enjoy!