Proud members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. We strongly believe in personal freedom, responsibility, and gun rights. We also believe in the 90/10 theory. That means that 10% of the people have 90% of the talent. Unfortunately, we are not in the 10% category. However, the rest of us are still better than 90% of the politicians.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Virgin post

Listening to the news today you hear the same old stories.  Hamas is sending rockets into Israel. Israel is killing Palestinians.  There is chaos at the border as thousands of minor illegal aliens pour across.  The Pacific coast is on fire and the I.R.S. is a pack of disk drive crashing liars.  A depressing state for the generation who still respected their elders and felt pride when saying the Pledge and singing the National Anthem.

I say it's time for a change.  Not the systematic change promised in 2008 but real change like a trip to Baja California.  A fishing, diving, beer drinking trip that makes me forget the news.  Not like I can do a damn thing about it.  At my age I'll be dead before the true impact of liberal spending becomes reality anyway.

My first visit to The Isle of San Luis was 44 years ago.  The memory of flat seas, blue water and bright sunshine are as clear today as the day we made the Trip.  The 75 mile run in a 17 foot Boston Whaler on calm seas was a joy.  The whaler gunnels were about 4 inches above the water line.  The boat, packed with diving, fishing and camping gear was humming along and the skipper and mate were toasting the weather with a canteen full of Harvey Wallbangers when a school of about a hundred dolphins joined the party.  We put away the canteen, got out the super 8 camera and shot a roll of film as the dolphins rolled, jumped and surfed the bow.  The 3 minute roll of film lasted about as long as the dolphins could keep up and we stowed the camera and broke out the canteen.

About half way to our destination we ran out of Wallbangers and good sense.  The skipper noticed a large bird pile up and we decided to fish it in case there was a school of fish under it.  Turns out there was a sand bar under them and we ran aground.  By the time we got the boat back to deep water we had sobered enough to finish the run.
                               A natural breakwater on San Luis Isle

This is a picture of the bay where we camped.  Access to the isle is no longer legal and we plan to stay in a local motel at San Luis Gonzaga this upcoming trip.  On our first trip we speared grouper, halibut, trigger fish and veija which is a rass but very tasty.  We fed ourselves the ten days we were camped there and also fed the no see 'ums as well.   Pound for pound the no see 'um is the most vicious critter alive.  Of course it would take several billion to make a pound probably.  Their bite is similar to a mosquito but picture a swarm of mosquitoes that block out the sun and are small enough to fly up your nose.  The bite lasts about ten days and will swell a little more every day for the whole time.

I didn't get a picture of the no see 'ums as they are unseen but I did get a few pictures of the fish.

 Most fish were speared at Pomo Island east of the backside of San Luis. Pictured above.

I'll keep you posted of the planned trip in November and in the mean time I will post pictures of the past trips to keep myself pumped up.  Gotta keep my mind off the state of the union and this is helpful.

Sous Vide cookers

I've been wanting a Sous Vide machine for some time, but, oh, the prices! Plus I hate to give up any more counter space and wasn't sure how convenient it would be to store one in the pantry. (I've never actually gone and lifted one because I was afraid the temptation would overcome me and I would find myself sandbagged and on the way home with one in the car wondering what happened.  Kitchen gadgets have that power, you know!)

Then I saw this review and while still pricy these are about half to a third the cost of a full machine, take up lots less space and seem to work as well. Most of us who buy in bulk and store food already have vacuum sealers, but they are not a requirement.  You can use heavy duty zipper bags, but need to be careful to get all the air out.

The testing was done on the Anova, Sansaire, and Nomiku versions of compact sous vide immersion circulators. And as always the best machine for you will depend on your preferences.  They are also all available on Amazon at the same prices as offered on their websites for any hardcore Amazon shoppers or those who can support their blogs by going that route.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Interesting People found at Humans of New York

Some people have the most amazing stories tucked away inside. 

“We fled Germany on November 9th, 1938. It was called the Crystal Night, because there were demonstrations against Jews all over Germany, and many windows were being broken. We were living on the outskirts of Hanover. When my father came home from work that night, he told us that the synagogue was on fire, and that firemen were standing in a ring around it to prevent the flames from spreading to other buildings. He said: ‘We’re getting out of here.’”
“We fled to the Philippines, which was under American occupation at the time. But it wasn’t long before the Japanese took over the islands. We were living in Manila, and when the Japanese occupied the city, they began to teach us to read and write Japanese. When the Americans came to retake the city, they invaded from the north, and the Japanese blew up the bridges and barricaded themselves in the southern part of the city where we lived. Shells were falling all around us, because the Japanese had stationed a gun encampment across from our house. One morning, we decided to make a run for the hospital, so that we could put ourselves under the protection of the Red Cross. Our neighbors were running in front of us, pushing their belongings on a pushcart, when they stepped on a land mine and the whole family was killed. We kept running, but when we got to the main street, there was a checkpoint and we weren’t allowed to cross. So we hid beneath a house, and soon we were discovered by Japanese soldiers. They lined us all up against the wall to be executed. We begged and begged and begged for our lives. They finally allowed my mother and the children to step aside, but they told my father to stay. My mother dropped to her knees and asked the Japanese commander to imagine it was his family. And he finally let all of us go.”

In my profession we just treat, we try very hard not to judge.  I learned a lesson about that from a couple of patients and their families when I was new on the job.

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I had two patients in ICU at the same time.  One was a lovely woman in her 50's, a teacher, with a very concerned family.  She was dying of heart failure.  Slowly, but it was happening.  She was in and out of the hospital, but everything that could be done had been done and there was really nothing left but to wait it out.

The other patient was a homeless man (call him Frank) who had been scooped up off the street by EMS after being found passed out on a corner.  To put it bluntly, he stank.  His socks had been on his feet for so long they had to be scraped off, parts of them had melted away, and parts had melted into his skin. His toenails were way too long and hard and yellow with fungus.  He had lice and rashes and other nasty things and was also dying of liver failure.

We managed to find a relative, his aunt, who came to see him once.  She told me his story and I was ashamed.  Because in my  youthful arrogance I had placed less value on him as a human being due to his circumstance.  I always thought I was compassionate, but I was also judgmental. Though I took care of Frank to the best of my ability, I also blamed him for his circumstance. To be fair, I was young and had never realized that not everyone has the opportunities I had had.  I just thought that no matter what it is you want to do or be, if you worked really hard for it you could get there. That's the way my parents raised me.

Then Frank's aunt told me how he was raised by two alcoholic parents who put whiskey in his bottles to keep him quiet.  That he himself was alcoholic by the time he started kindergarten, partially because lots more of the money in their household went for booze than food.

Frank was the kid who always got pushed to the back.  He was dirty, he smelled bad, wore mismatched, unwashed, uncared for clothing, didn't socialize well, and didn't show up often.  By the time he was 12 he'd stopped showing up at all. From that age he was mainly on the streets.

People say that no matter your start once you're an adult it's your choices that make your life, but Frank never knew he had any choices.  He completely fell through the cracks in the social safety net without ever being offered a glimpse of a different life.  He never saw the possibilities out there.

On the other hand, my teacher patient had a good education, a loving family, and good insurance.  She saw doctors regularly for her diabetes, but didn't follow their advice and it began to affect her heart.  She continued to see doctors and ignore their advice about her blood pressure and fluid intake.  She kept getting sicker, but always thought just a little cola was ok and maybe some of that cake with it.  Except it was never really just a little.  She didn't like checking her blood glucose, the needles hurt and it was time consuming keeping up with it. She forgot to take her blood pressure meds regularly.  But she always meant to do better!

She died in hospital surrounded by a caring family and many friends at the age of 55.

Frank died in the room next to hers on the same day.  Alone. He was 30.

It's not that one is more or less deserving of compassion and care, but that sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are all humans.  What if she had been his teacher and managed to intervene?  As a teacher she probably did to some extent in many lives. Her family and friends said she was that kind of teacher, the one who would notice and care.  What if Frank had had that teacher in kindergarten?

That's one of the reasons I so enjoy Humans of New York .  Simply because they find those stories and and convince people to share them.  Who would suspect this man's history when just passing him on the street? These posts at HNY help to remind us that beneath the surface everyone has a story.  It may not be so dramatic, historical or frightening, but everyone is affected by their history.  And while it may not be apparent to anyone else, it is their story and will in some way direct the rest of their life.

Music I woke to...

From the CD titled for a line in this song:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What I read while hanging 10 in the ether

Who knows?

Why indeed...

Gabrielle discusses living with depression.  She open and interesting.

The Barbie Lesson

Childhood fun with bombs

First World problem

Social position

Looks like a fairly new gun blogger out there, nice to see the category keep growing.

Gonna get some help around here

Fresh Tuna (formerly known as LittleBigBrother on the blog) has offered to help some with keeping things up around the blog.  I'm hoping he'll enjoy it and you'll enjoy him.  I work too much and like to have a little life off the web as well and then feel guilty for not posting, so the addition of Fresh Tuna will make a big difference.  Donna and I started this project together and it will be nice to have a blogging partner again.Watch for LBB's first post, he's usually fun guy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

You didn't earn that

Apparently keeping your earnings and passing some on to your children should now be illegal.  Building for the future of your family makes you a bum.

Welfare Bums Do Better Than Ever

Thanks to all of the handouts by the federal and state governments, leeches are now able to live high on the hog generation after generation.
The real non-workers are the wealthy who inherit their fortunes. And their ranks are growing.
In fact, we’re on the cusp of the largest inter-generational wealth transfer in history.The wealth is coming from those who over the last three decades earned huge amounts on Wall Street, in corporate boardrooms, or as high-tech entrepreneurs.
 Our tax laws are so fucked up, we are rewarding people who have done nothing to get all of this money, and we are not rewarding work but non-work like capital gains and other investments.
Of course there is no such thing as a "self-made" individual. Everybody is interconnected, Ayn Rand fanatics' claims notwithstanding.

Seems Elizabeth Warren has acolytes.  Though I do agree that the tax laws are a mess.  And the IRS should just be abolished.

Well done!

Several Jewish Youth groups did some flashmobbing in Vienna last week to demonstrate what it is like to live in an Israel that has to deal with regular missiles from Hamas.  This video shows one of them.

On eating locally

 Around here, whenever there is a hint of snow or ice, or if someone mentions there might be gonna be a snowflake landing somewhere in the state, everyone runs to the market to buy ingredients for French toast. If you're at work when that warning comes, all the stores will be bereft of French toast makings by the time you get to your car. Now imagine a Zombiecalypse and your local market.
Here’s an example: What’s a typical breakfast in the United States?Maybe it’s a bowl of Cheerios with milk, a banana sliced on top, and a glass of orange juice.This sounds pretty normal, right?  It’s not – it’s actually quite exotic, if you think about it.
 If you had to eat what you could acquire without the national food transport network, how likely would it be that you could replicate that breakfast?Think for just a moment about how ridiculous such a combination would have seemed to our ancestors. If you live where wheat is growing, I’m going to guess that you do not live where bananas and oranges are growing. You’ve just invalidated the typical American breakfast in that sentence.
If your food needs a passport to get to you it's not fresh. Don't necessarily agree with all the opinions of the author, but definitely some good info so go there, read. I'll wait.

So, now, if you're going to try switching to a local diet, where do you start?

Of course with your own garden, but there are quite a few things that grow wild or in the flower bed already that are edible.  For instance, hostas. Seems they are not only edible, the Japanese have been serving them for centuries. Known as urui they're commonly boiled, fried in tempura or eaten raw.
 (I've heard they taste like chicken...)
 Ok, maybe not. They're actually supposed to taste like asparagus or lettuce, depending on the type.  The Scottish forest gardener has more about them here .  PS They are toxic for cats and dogs, so don't give your pets the leftovers.

Then there are the lovely daylilies.  They are edible from the root to the flower and delicious.   And they look fabulous in the garden with little chance that your unprepared neighbor will raid you for them since most unprepared people aren't aware of their status as a culinary delicacy.
In Hong Kong, dried daylily flowers are called golden needle vegetable and in mainland China they are called golden flower vegetable

There are more edible flowers that will improve both your curb appeal and your food security, so get out there and dig in the dirt.  It's cheaper than a psychiatrist (and likely more helpful), will beautify your home and increase your food security.  What more could you ask?

Oh, there is one other thing to consider with gardening. Seed saving. With heirloom veg you can save seeds and continue a healthy garden for years, but there are special techniques for doing so and each vegetable is different.  At the link is a good basic guide, and some heirloom seeds for sale if you don't already have them.

The difference is still clear


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Notes from Israel

Israeli Commander Rasan Alian returns to work after an injury.

And Naftali Bennett, Israeli Minister of the Economy responds appropriately to an obviously hostile and clearly biased anchor from Sky Programming (Well, we can't call it news, can we?).  Though considering the anchor's lack of weapons, perhaps this could be considered a disproportionate response from Mr. Bennett in this battle of wits.

A safe place;
Petach Tikva’s Schneider Children’s Hospital during a Gaza rocket attack – Photo: Dr. Vigler
Note there are a couple of head scarves in this photo of hospital staff taking care of newborns in a stairwell. Apartheid failure.  (H/T Isreallycool)

And in another smooth move John Kerry continues the process of alienating allies in the area:
none of those episodes, though deeply troubling and relating to issues central to Israel’s well-being, provoked the kind of outraged disbelief at Kerry’s performance that has been emanating from the Israeli leadership in the past 48 hours. Leaked comments from unnamed senior government sources to Army Radio, Channel 2 and other Hebrew outlets have described the secretary as amateurish, incompetent, incapable of understanding the material he is dealing with — in short, a blithering fool.But actually, it’s worse than that. What emerges from Kerry’s self-initiated ceasefire mission — Israel had already accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal; and nobody asked him to come out on a trip he prefaced with sneering remarks about Israel’s attempted “pinpoint” strikes on Hamas terror targets — is that Jerusalem now regards him as duplicitous and dangerous.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

A souffle doesn't rise twice

Even the Brits are paying attention to how much Zeroman is phoning it in lately;

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Foodie

I love being able to make large batches of something good and freeze some to eat later or take to work. Some recipes are more adaptable for that than others, so I've collected them and some tips and tricks that make it easier.

To start with Family Homestead has both some good advice and good recipes.

At Who Needs A Cape is plan for 20 meals in 2 hrs and another for 40 meals in 4 hrs.  Even if you're not making 40 the techniques are nice.

And Mom's Budget tells you how to organize your freezer and, once that's done, how to organize your freezer meals.

It's a snap, and I really love being able to just throw a good meal on the table in only a few minutes, as all the prep work is done at the beginning of the month.  Since I get paid monthly it also helps to have the fulls month worth of meals planned, chopped and ready to just throw in the crock pot or oven.

I've made some really good meals this way.

From Six Cents