Thursday, June 30, 2005
Camp is almost two weeks over now, and the reports from PD1 and PD2 are beginning to come in. Actually, PD1 seems to be writing quite a bit and PD2, after two very early letters, hasn't sent anything! I assume this is a good sign since it is her first year, and she must not be too homesick.
PD2, is 10 now and she seems to be growing up pretty quickly. I had to laugh the other night, when I went on-line and checked the radar for their undisclosed location. Big Freekin Storms! I admit, that this normally wouldn't be very funny, but in PD2's case it brings back some funny memories. She has always been a little nervous around rain. Not necessarily storms, she can get very worried about tornados at the hint of a little inclement weather.
In fact, when we were in Rome two years ago, we had a bit of an amusing experience. The five of us (Grandma Pursuit was with us) were enjoying a delightful dinner outside in a Roman plaza, when a little heat lightening started to flare up. PD2, who was 8 at the time immediately became concerned. We did our best to console her, but I had a Campari and Soda going, a Caprese salad, and Pasta on the way........there was no way we were leaving.
You can guess what happened. As we sat there and yucked it up, PD2 became increasingly silent- until we noticed the sound of her wretching next to the table. She had gotten so nervous about the storm (Tornados in Italy!) she had caused herself to throw up. Well, we didn't want to create a scene, and since we had the happy coincidence of nobody noticing our little incident, and the location of a street drain only 4 feet away, Mrs. P saved the day by washing away the evidence with a couple bottles of water. None of us has looked at a bottle of Pellegrino the same since!
So I do wonder how she survived the storm in her cabin the other night, hopefully we'll get a letter soon.
As some of my regulars know, I've always tried to instill in the girls a sense of strength and confidence as they've grown up, and have wanted them to try new things. Last year, after PD1 and I had been trap shooting a couple of times I bought her a shotgun so that she could join me regularly. We haven't gone out as much as I would have liked with every other activity pulling at our limited free time, but we have managed to shoot often enough and she seems to enjoy it. So I'll leave you today with the little present that arrived in the mail this afternoon. Targets. Specifically, targets with holes in them......and they're not half bad! PD1 seems to be developing an interest, wouldn't you say?
UPDATE: Rummy phoned from Washington. PD1 is showing a distinct aptitude for Camp X-Ray next summer. Upside is that apparently there is no fee. He did want to know if "screams in the night" would keep her up. I said the loons are pretty loud up north, so I think she's good to go.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
I made a little (very little) culinary conquest last night, when I conceived, implemented and delivered "Pursuit's Deconstructed Lasagna". In truth, the dish wasn't completely deconstructed since all the ingredients were still together, but it was free form, and incredibly delicious. Look at that photo. Truly, a wonderful sight in all it's gooey glory don't you think? Do you want to try it at home? Here is how.
1 Spanish Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 pound ground beef (ground veal would be more traditional, but beef is what I had)
a palm full of "Italian Seasonings" (Dried, made by McCormick)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chahula hot sauce to taste (I would also try Tobasco Chipotle)
Saute the first five ingredients until the onion is tanslucent, about 5 minutes. Add veal, salt and pepper and brown. Next drain the excess grease from the pan, put in a bowl and set aside to cool. While still warm add hot sauce to your desired taste. Remember it is going to be the filling in the lasagna, so a little extra heat is ok. You want it to just "kiss" the tastebuds, kind of in a pre-coital way. You know what I mean, a strong suggestive sensation that asserts itself; the promise of more to come.
1/2 a Spanish onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes with juice
1 tablespoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Saute first three items until translucent, then add the tomatoes. Smash up the whole tomatoes a bit, and then add the thyme. Salt and pepper to taste and cook until thickened. At least 1/2 hour, and up to 1 hour. Cook very, very slowly.
1 1/2 cup flour
maybe some water if necessary
Start a large pot of salted water to boil, and next to it set a large ice bath.
Combine eggs and flour into a dough. Knead for 5-10 minutes. Dough should be just slightly tacky, but not too much. Run through pasta machine through all settings. You'll have long sheets at this point, cut them into 6x4 squares (that is the size in the picture. In retrospect, I'd go with smaller squares say 3x3 so you have four plates of individual servings) and dump into a pot of boiling salted water. Dump in 5 squares at a time, cook for one minute, and then remove and dunk in an ice bath for one minute. Remove from ice bath and drain squares on clean kitchen towels.
The Home Stretch:
Turn on oven to 350.
1 1/4 cup Fresh mozzarella
3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 cup Ricotta
Handful of Basil leaves, torn
Maybe some toasted pine nuts
Here we go. On an oven proof plate, lay down a little sauce and then one pasta square. Cover it with the filling, and then dot it with mozzarella, ricotta, and sprinkle a little parmesan. Your gonna have to eyeball this to your taste. Top it with some a little sauce - not too much! Lay down another sheet and repeat. Keep up this process for 5 to 6 layers. Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan, and fire it in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Watch it, you don't want it too runny or the noodles to burn too much. A little brown on the ends of the noodles with some good gooeyness on the inside is what your shooting for.
Serve immediately with a nice salad and some good crusty bread. I choose a 2001 Marco Donati Sangue de Drago (Blood of the Dragon). This is a hearty Italian wine, made from the Teroldego grape. Nice complexity with some tanin, the taste of cherry, pepper, blackberry and perhaps tobacco. It was a lovely choice to accompany the meal. Ripassos or Chiantis would work well too.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Monday, June 27, 2005
I found this story over at Annika's this morning. So often we think of the Swedes as pacifists, unwilling to fight the good fight. I don't know if this assessment is accurate or not, but if this story is any indication, once you piss a Swede off he's going to look for some revenge. Ulf Hjertstrom is my new personal hero of week.
Happy hunting Ulf!
Note: More at Annika's about how poorly the Australian left is treating one of that country's recently freed hostages. Can you believe he called his captors assholes? Where is the love?
Friday, June 24, 2005
Traditionally, eminent domain was viewed as the right of governments to take private property for the "public good", which was generally understood to mean the construction of public infrastructure. Projects such as highways, streets, schools and perhaps even hospitals were understood to meet this definition.
The Kelo case was different. In this case, the city of New London, Connecticut wanted to take the river front property of 15 land owners - one who had been in her property since birth 87 years ago - to enable private development of an office park. New London's motivations for doing so are obvious; such development will increase the value of the property, and raise tax receipts to the city.
Yet, the "public good" is not clear at all. Justice Stevens in his majority decision, expanded the definition of public good to now include economic development. This broad definition is a stunning defeat of property rights in the United States that will have far reaching implications for private land owners and our economy.
It is not a stretch to say that the fundamental building block on which our freedoms are based is the right to private property. John Locke, who's work on "natural law" was the basic philosophy on which the founding fathers justified our revolution and based the founding of our country, was quite clear on this point. In Locke's view, private property results from an individual's hard work to build on and improve the land that God has provided. Without respect for and protection of private property rights, individuals will be reluctant to make the investment necessary to improve land, and in doing so, drive the economy forward.
Building on these thoughts, Locke then argued that individuals must band together and create a system by which their rights to property are protected, and their ability to benefit from their investment maintained. This then is the very moral foundation that gives government its right to exist and enforce the rules by which man has agreed to live. Government's primary role is the protection of individual rights, and the primary right that we expect our government to protect, is our right to property.
Alas, yesterday the Supreme Court decided otherwise.
The question that we all must ask is how did we get to this point? We spent much of the last century fighting this type of abuse of governmental power, only to have our own Supreme Court, shoot us in the back. The answer, my friends, is that this is a liberal outrage.
It is not without a high sense of irony that this morning I read all the liberal blogs in high dungeon about this revocation of our rights. Yet it is the liberals who are to blame. For years in their zeal to force a right to abortion via the judicial branch instead of the legislative branch, liberals have fought ardently for justices that believe in a "living" constitution. They've argued that justices must interpret what the constitution says. In this way, rights that are not enumerated can be "discovered", such as the right to privacy on which the Roe decision was based.
Conservatives on the other hand have argued that the justice's role is to follow the original intent of the framers. They've stongly resisted the idea that the constitution is a living document in favor of the argument that we should conserve the original meaning, and when change is necessary enact it through the legislative process. The two most important battles of recent years where these opposing views met were in the nomination battles of Robert Bork, and Clarence Thomas.
Robert Bork's battle was fundamentally about original intent and liberals fought his nomination for this reason. The Thomas nomination fight often centered around Thomas' views of and belief in natural law. In both cases, liberals had difficulty opposing these nominations on their merit, and resorted to personal attacks on Bork and Thomas succeeding against Bork, but losing on Thomas.
Yesterday's decision was the result of those fights. While Thomas remained on the side of original intent Justice Kennedy, who was appointed to the Court after Bork's nomination was defeated, was the swing vote that created the majority.
Some may argue that the framer's original intent was unclear. This couldn't be further from the truth. Recall that Thomas Jefferson, writing in The Declaration of Independence, said that we had certain inalienable rights; the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Recall also that Jefferson, in his original draft cribbed from Locke and wrote that we have the right to life, liberty, and property. His intent, and that of Madison and Monroe who did the heavy lifting on the constitution, is clear.
This morning, hoisted on their own petard, liberals are outraged. Yet, one must ask them, if you appoint judges that you expect to find new meaning in a "living" constitution, why be so surprised when they do exactly that?
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Big Boys Don't Cry
Well the pressure that comes with making statements on the floor of the senate which undermine your country's credibility and put your fighting men and women at greater danger, finally became too much yesterday, and Senator Dubin waddled down to the well of the Senate to apologize.
"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," said the Illinois Democrat, at times holding back tears. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."
There was more, but this captures the essence of what he said. I just don't get it. Couldn't the man just stand up like a man and say, "oops, sorry folks I was wrong. Please forgive me". Instead we get the tired half apology, half blame those who took offense approach that is so comon for politician's these days. One wonders who they think they are fooling at this point.
At any rate, it would be bad form to continue to press the issue, and since we all know our teary eyed Dick didn't really feel he did anything wrong this is about as good as its going to get. So apology accepted Dick.
And there is a much larger issue to discuss here: What the hell is wrong with American men?
I don't mean to single out Teary Dick, for he is just the latest example, but why in the world has it become acceptable, even encouraged, for American men to blubber in public at the drop of the hat? Just in the past few weeks we've seen Voinovich weep in the senate, and Dan Rather weep at a commencement address.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against male weeping when there is something to cry about, but for goodness sake, these wimps let the tears flow at virtually the drop of a hat. Is this something women like in men? I can't believe we've moved so far from traditional male/female roles that public blubbering about minor issues is something women look for in their men, but maybe I'm out of touch.
I blame the liberals. Who else could be responsible? Oh sure there was a time when men were to insecure about showing their feelings, but we've long sense departed from that norm. Now we must examine whether we've gone to far, and if so, who is responsible. Given any normal testosterone producing man would agree that we have indeed crossed the line of decency, we can move on to the culprits.
Liberals. Phil Donahue, was an early mover in this trend. Alan Alda. God, who could forget all those wretched MASH shows were Hawkeye Pierce prostletized about the importance of men revealing there sensitivity. I could go on, but more important work needs to be done. We need to stop this scourge.
Its times like these when I turn to a great authority on manliness. Oh sure, you'll say the man was a criminal and a killer. Trivial points. In things manly, The Godfather knew his stuff. Remember when Johnny was blubbering about not being allowed to have a role in a movie.? I take you to the scene:
CUT TO: The Don's office
JOHNNY (as Tom quietly enters the Don's office)
A month ago he bought the movie rights to this book. A bestseller -- and the main character,
it's a guy just like me. I uh -- I wouldn't even have to act -- just be myself. Oh, Godfather, I
don't know what to do. I don't know what to do.
What's the matter with you? Is this how you turned out? A Hollywood
finocchio that ah cries like a woman?
(then imitating Johnny, as Tom giggles)
What can I do?! What can I do?!
What is that nonsense? Ridiculous.
[Sonny enters the room]
VITO CORLEONE (to Johnny, after glancing to see Sonny enter)
(then, to Johnny)
You look terrible. I want you to eat. I want you to rest a while. And in a month from now,
this -- Hollywood bigshot's gonna give you what you want.
It's too late, they start shooting in a week
Now you just go outside and enjoy yourself, and ah, forget about all this nonsense. I wantyou to leave it all to me.
That, my friends is good advice. Somebody slap Durbin, and ask him why he cries like a woman.
Monday, June 20, 2005
It was a strange way to start the Monday after Father's Day. We woke up at 4:15a.m. and by 6:30 the kids were gone........
Camp has now become one of the summer rituals at the Pursuit household, but even in the second year, I just do not see how I am going to get used to it. The funny thing is, that in February when their departure is so far away, Camp actually seems like a great idea. The kids escape to the Northern wilderness where the sun stays up until 10p.m., they swim, go on overnight treks, waterski, shoot 22's the whole package. While they're gone Mrs. P and I get to do the stuff we used to do before kids.
But there we were, misty eyed in the morning putting them on the plane to Minnesota. All of the sudden, it didn't seem like such a good a idea after all. Sure the house will be clean, and yes we're going to have a lot of fun together, but the truth is that we really enjoy having our little buddies around. The arrival of this time of year really comes as a bit of a shock. You see, their 4 week absence is much more than a short time of separation; it is the exclamation mark on our realization that they really don't belong to us.
I don't know how it is with other parents, but at some point early in each girl's childhood I realized that although we named them, and although they carry the combined heritage of their mother's and my families, each girl is a gift from God that we only get to keep for a very short time.
The temptation is to grab them and hold them close. These little perfect creatures are so vulnerable and innocent when they come into the world. As a parent the idea of letting them free to fend for themselves is anathema to all that comes natural to a human being, and frankly, they don't help things much either. Children look up at you as if you're the perfect being. They don't see your flaws, or know what memories you may hold that you may not be particularly proud of. To them you're the omnipotent Dad!
Yet it is this very misconception that quietly lets you know, that you must let them go. Not right away, but gently, over time, gentle pushes must be administered so that they begin to feel confident in their own being, and ironically, less confident in your own perfection. This is the great disillusionment all children experience with their parents, and it is as important to experience as it is painful for the parents to encourage.
For me, it is simply the hardest thing that I have ever done.
Last year was PD1's first trip to camp. At 12 she had been on overnights before, and even spent up to 4 days away from home at a basketball camp which was a full two miles down the road. She was supposed to head up north with a friend from school, but her friend chose at the last minute to go somewhere else.
So, June found us driving north. Her tears the night before we left were tough, but not unexpected. We reassured her that she would be ok, and also let her know that while we would miss her, we would be fine while she was gone. In other words, she shouldn't worry about us. Truthfully, I couldn't believe that we were dumping her in the woods with no friends for four weeks.....but I put on a brave face.
I'll never forget the next day when we arrived at camp. This was where it got tough. PD1 was trying so hard to be brave, and Mrs. P and I made sure we kept our sunglasses on. We pulled into camp, and helped her get her stuff stowed away in the cabin, and then went for the grand tour of the area. We spent a lot of time trying to find reasons to put off the inevitable. Finally, we could stall no longer and it took all my strength to turn and walk away.
Four weeks later we returned to camp, and the cool thing was, all of us had grown a little a bit. Mrs. P and I had been able to spend some solo time with PD2, as well as remember what it was like to be just a pair. PD1 had made friends, learned to do things she had never done before, and in the most bittersweet of developments, she had successfully navigated the first passage in leaving the family to start her own life.
This year, at 10, it is PD2's first trip to camp. She is going with PD1, but we still had tears the night before, Father's Day, and the same reassurances as well. It wasn't a whole lot easier, except that this time we were buoyed by the knowledge that it went well last year.
But the truth is inescapable; they don't belong to us. Our daughters are children of God and the world, and while we get to experience the joy of raising them, we also have the honor and responsibility to let them go.
I prayed for my girls last night. I prayed for the usual things; for God to watch over them while I can't, and for them to have fun and make friends. I prayed for them to grow, and build confidence, and continue to successfully navigate the journey to womanhood.
I prayed for Mrs. P and me. Our children are beginning to discover what we know all too well. We aren't perfect, and to be honest, we're winging the parenting thing. I prayed for God to grant us the wisdom and the judgment to make the right decisions and help them on their way.
I also prayed for the strength to let them go.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
I wanted to post on this yesterday, but I could not find my Senator's speech in it's entirety, and to be honest, I couldn't believe he actually said what he was being accused of saying. Incredibly, everything is true. The number 2 Senator in the Democratic Party defamed his country in a despicable statement on the floor of the United States Senate.
I can't pull a copy of his statement from the file, so you'll have to click on the link. Perhaps this is best, since one should really read in full what he said and draw your own conclusions. I'll quote just a little. After reading the report of an FBI agent who said that one prisoner had be kept for 18-24 hours in a very cold room and then in a very hot room, where he apparently defecated on himself and pulled his own hair out, our Senator compared the U.S. Service men and women to Nazis;
"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime- Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."
It is no secret that Durbin has been a vocal opponent to the war in Iraq, and certainly was never a fan of the global war on terror as designed and implemented by President Bush. It is one thing to disagree on policy, however, and another to lie and defame your country and in particular the men and women who have volunteered to put themselves in harm's way to defend our country from radical Muslim nutjobs, bent on our destruction. Durbin's statements, coming from a high ranking government official undermine our credibility in the world and increase the danger our forces face as they continue to hunt for Al Queda members.
One can only assume that defamation of country, and the support for our enemy that such a policy implies, is now the official policy of the Democratic Party. Political expediency has now trumped patriotism and loyalty for this foul breed of American. Durbin as a party leader, clearly understood the implications of the words he spoke into the record when he said, "I almost hesitate to put them in the record". This was something he did deliberately, and his refusal to now apologize for his hate speech is a further indication that he meant exactly what he said.
It is incredible when you think about it. The Gitmo prisoners were picked up on the battlefield in the war on terror, actively engaged in fighting the against the U.S. Their fellow combatants where directly responsible for the murder of 2000 innocent U.S. citizens, and they desire to kill millions more if given the chance. Yet the official position of the Democratic Party, as spoken by Dick Durbin and denied by no Democrat, is that the men and women of the U.S. military are the Nazis.
UPDATE: Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, well it does. I forgot about this little tidbit from last December. Apparently our favorite Senator, was the subject of a criminal referral to the Justice Department. Excercising the same poor judgement (or is it anti-Americanism?) as he did with his hate speech against the military, Durbin chose to blab to the press about a secret satellite program.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
I just love it when two of my main interests intersect to make my life better, and today it happened; cooking and politics came together. In a very big way.
Are you like me? I've been following the manufactured Gitmo controversy with alternating fits of outrage, and amusement. In particular I have been most intrigued with those culturally appropriate meals. As I sit back, and turn on Brit Hume for my daily brainwashing session, I can almost smell the Orange glazed chicken, with rice pilaf and fresh vegetables, or the lemon fish with broccoli...........mmmmmmmmm...........
Apologies, I slipped off there, but who could blame me? As the title says, "that's good cookin"! It seems like such a shame that one must plot to kill Americans, hate Jews, or enslave women to have access to such fine vittles. I mean really, who has the time?
Well, apparently I am not the only one who feels that way. Available now is "The Gitmo Cookbook". Ready for your home use are simple recipes for the meals prepared, cooked and served to the murderous swine (and all those poor innocent mis-understood prisoners that should be returned to their loving families) by our brave American men and women. Even better, you can read about all the good our military is doing in the world, while enjoying a healthy, well balanced meal. Go now and order your own copy.
This stuff sounds so good I wonder if the hand wringers end up successful in their quest to close Gitmo, could we possibly re-open it as a four star spa? This is why it is probably good I'm not in charge down there now. No way could I possibly so accommodating to my Gitmo guests, and frankly my hat is off to our military for their hospitality towards men who in any other situation would be trying to kill them. In fact, if I were in charge, and lets just stipulate that it is probably a good thing that I'm not, I would serve these delicious meals on specially designed Qu'ran placemats!
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
I don't mean to pick on Joe Biden any more than any other public person that has promoted the idea that we must shut down Gitmo, but the picture was handy and frankly, Jimmy Carter is just too easy of a target. It is an interesting collection of political opportunists and ne'er do wells that are in the fore front of the "growing movement" to shut-down the camp. Along with the aforementioned Mssrs. Biden and Carter, we have the knuckle headed sometime Republican Chuck Hagel, the New York Times along with other less well known hand wringers.
More telling is the reason they put forth as their motivation for calling for the shut-down; they are afraid that Gitmo is hurting the U.S. image in the European and Arab world. The mind reels when one considers the utter shallowness of such a position. They actually have thought about the issue, turned it over in their mind and come to the conclusion that U.S. policy for dealing with murderers and terrorists ought to be determined by those in Europe who have been raised on contempt and jealousy for America, and those in the Middle East who have been raised to hate America.
The only thing worse than appeasing your nation's enemies at a time of war, would of course be to base your appeasement on lies, which is exactly what the Gitmo shutters are doing. We heard the first cries in this most recent effort to shut down Gitmo after the famous Newsweek "Quaran abuse" article. Ignoring that the charges were largely false, and that in fact, the most well documented cases of Quaran abuse were perpetrated by the prisoners themselves in bizarre protest rituals, the usual suspects lined up and began to call for the closing.
The next step was the accusation by Amnesty International's U.S. director that Gitmo was the Gulag of our time. This too, proved to be false as it turned out that the U.S. was treating prisoners surprisingly well by handing out Quarans, painting arrows on the floor that point to Mecca, issuing prayer calls five times a day, and preparing "culturally sensitive" meals for the pack of killers that are imprisoned there. Embarrassed by it's own hyperbole, Amnesty's U.S. Director, who must now be considered a potential enemy of the state, tried to back pedal without really admitting that the gulag statement was wrong. Of course the greatest proof that it was wrong was the simple fact that he remains free to continue to make his ridiculous "false but accurate" charges.
So the hand wringers were presented with an option. They could do the correct thing and pull together to support their country on the international stage, while still making some suggestions for improving the way we handle the prisoners, or they could try to make political hay at the expense of embarrassing their country and undermining it's moral authority in the war on terror. Sadly, their political desires won out and they choose the role of Useful Idiot.
For many it is not the first time they've supported the cause of appeasement of our enemies. James Earl Carter a man who will tell you that he's even smarter than he admits, was quite comfortable as President in the fine art of Soviet appeasement. In fact, he was so successful that the Ruskies felt free to push into Afghanistan on his watch. Jimmy, outraged, canceled the U.S. Olympic visit to Moscow. The funny thing is, Jimmy's failure in this area is a direct catalyst for at least part of the Al Queda problem that we have today. Well done Jimmy!
Of course for true success stories in the world of Useful Idiotness, one really can't beat the efforts of the New York Times. Who can forget the 1930's and the fine work done by crack Times reporter, Walter Duranty, during the man-made famine in Russia. Walter, based in Russia, wrote article after article insisting that all was well in the worker's paradise and blamed reports to the contrary on rumor mills. As we now know, the real story was that millions were starved as Stalin consolidated power. Of course, the Times never really felt any need until recently to give back the Pullitzer that Duranty won for his efforts.
As they say, "and so it goes". We live in an age were political expediency is much more important to the modern Democratic Party, and some Republicans harboring presidential hallucinations, than a serious commitment to winning the war on terror. Certainly we could do more to win the image war in this effort, and I would welcome serious suggestions on how to accomplish this.
One idea would be to release information on exactly who is being held at Gitmo and what they were doing when they were captured. Most of these prisoners were captured on the battlefield and are active enemies of our way of life, our constitution, our bill of rights, and the very due process that the hand wringers wish to give them. They weren't Mirandized when they were captured, and they were not regular members of a uniformed army. As a result, they don't qualify for the rights of our justice system, nor do they qualify for the Geneva Conventions.
We tend to forget that this status was not forced upon them. They were not kidnapped from the cafes of Paris or rousted from the streets of New York. They were in a fight against the United States. A little too bad for them I'd say. In their zeal for jihad, they chose their fate willingly. Is it our fault that we are giving them exactly what they have earned?
UPDATE: Well, it turns out useful idiot the Mutha Chucker has been interogating prisoners and Bird of Paradise has the transcript. Via Malkin.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Friday, June 10, 2005
I've always said this blog was about food, wine and politics, but food and wine seem to get short shrift around here. This is odd since I am much more interested in these things than politics.
With politics being in such a dreary state lately I have had trouble getting motivated to blog at all. I've tried to put up somthing mocking Howard Dean, but it really isn't very sporting to make fun of the lessor members of our society, and as a result, just couldn't put my heart into it.
So I've decided to let you in on the food part of my life; at least as it pertains to "The Project".
Folks, I'm building a Big Baby.
I've always had a passion for Bar Be Que as it represents the highest form of the manly arts. The other pursuits in this genre include, but certainly are not limited to, fishing, shooting, cigar smoking, scotch/wine drinking, and drivin real fast. As I think everyone knows, to qualify as a manly art the event in question must be essentially pointless, require a level of skill that appears difficult but is actually fairly simple to master, have a large suite of gadgets and gear that one can use/wear while engaged in said activity, and if possible, make loud noises. Bar be que posesses all of these traits plus it has the added benefit of tasting great!
Yet, bar be que touches another level that the other manly arts have difficulty attaining. You see, bar be que, at its most basic form, represents man's quest to control nature for his own tasty ends. A master bar be quer is one who has gained temporary control over fire and smoke, and uses these essential elements to feed his family. I appoligize up front ladies, but this ain't for women folk; that fire is dangerous, manly stuff, and the master bar be quer has spent years in the back yard protecting his loved ones from the danger, while simultaneously perfecting his art.
Heady stuff you say? Well I agree brother, and that is why beginning this weekend, and lasting until however long it takes me to finish, I am going to fashion those to barrels into this little beauty.
Then, imagine the fun we'll have! Brisket done as the cowboys in Texas smoke it. Pork ribs in the KC, St. Louis, Memphis and Chicago styles. Last but not least, that King of the bar be que cuts; smoked pork shoulder. I could go on forever rhapsodizing about the glory of pork shoulder. Tender, moist, with the hint of smoke ring around the meat - this is the bar be que that people remember.
A quick story: We hosted PD1's end of year soccer party at our house a few years ago and I smoked several shoulders on the grill; one at a time. It took me almost 4 days of smoking to get enough meat ready. I served it with the world's best corn bread, baked beans and a Jicima, Mango Cabbage salad, and my guests were weeping with joy the meal was so good. Bar be que for them, on that day, was as close to a religious experience as one is to get outside the doors of church.
Can I get an "Amen" people? I knew I could.
So today I take the next step. I'm turning it up a notch, as that loathsome cajun says on the Food Channel. Success is not guaranteed. Hell, it may not even be likely, but that is not going to stop me. Bar be que is not for the faint hearted. When you're dealing with hunks of meat, burning wood, and controling it all with air there just simply is no net. Building a smoker, by necessity, is fraught with the same dangers.
Wish me luck........I'm going in!
Wednesday, June 8, 2005
I often find it amusing to observe those that find that through no fault but their own, that they have deftly maneuvered themselves into some uncomfortable situations. The latest champions in the parade of those who misplayed history are our good friends the Turks.
Looking back to the early days of 2003, the U.S. was preparing for it's invasion of Iraq. To ensure maximum force the military wanted to invade from the south and from the north in a squeeze play that would have resulted in a more effective assault. The results of the invasion have demonstrated that ultimately the northern route was not necessary for regime change, but many believe that today's insurgency would have been minimized had the northern assault occurred as planned.
Unfortunately, for the U.S. to attack from the north, we required the approval of Turkey to stage our troops in their country in order to cross the northern border of Iraq. This required the Turks to make a public determination of which side they were going to be on, for clearly this was a political fight between France and the U.S. Turkey, a country which at the time was desperate for entry into the EU, made the determination that it's future was more assured with the Europeans.
Fair enough, countries must make these sorts of calls during times of conflict, and Turkey took it's best shot........or so it thought. Now, two years later, comes the news that the European public is not all that thrilled with Mr. Chirac's EU constitution, and may even be re-considering this whole EU sovereignty thing. While, its doubtful that the EU will dissolve, it is almost certain that Turkey will not be gaining entry to the EU anytime soon.
What is a poor PM to do? Well, without the economic stability that the EU can provide, step one would seem to be to go to the U.S. with hat in hand and ask for some help. Frankly, I'm a little surprised at the Turks - they really should have seen this coming. Sure, siding with the U.S. would have been politically difficult two years ago, but now, with the EU in disarray, having the goodwill of Uncle Sam, would certainly be comforting for a politician left out alone.
So I was wondering what Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Bush's conversation was like when they met today. I'm reminded of the meeting at the beginning of the first Godfather between Don Corleone and the Italian Undertaker in the Don's office:
Fade from Black: In the Oval Office
Mr. Bush, I believe in America. I have tried to coax my country to move in the American Fashion. America can help my country make it's fortune. I never wanted my country to dishonor America. Yet she found a boyfriend, not an American. She went out with him, he took her on a ride, with other boyfriends. They drank wine, and beer but she did not give up her honor. Now they will not marry her, they cast her off like an animal. They say she is no longer pretty......
(Erdogan breaks down. W gestures to Condi to give Erdogan a drink)
I went to Chirac, like a good EU member but he said there is nothing that can be done. Nothing! I stood in his office like a fool, and that bastard just smiled at me in his oily way! Then I said to my foreign minister "for justice, we must go to W"
W, sitting behind his desk petting Barney:
Why did you go to Chirac? Why didn't you help me when I asked?
What do you want of me? Tell me anything. But please do what I beg you to do
What is that?
(Erdogan gets up and whispers in W's ear)
Free trade, I cannot do.
I'll give you anything you ask.
Our countries have known each other for many years. We've been helpful to you in the past, even though you didn't ask, but this is the first time you've come to me. I can't remember the last time you did a favor for my country, when we asked you said no, even though my predecessors were your country's friend. But lets be frank here: you never wanted my friendship. And uh, you were afraid to be in my debt.
I didn't want to get into trouble with the EU.
I understand. You liked America, but thought your future was with the EU; good trade, a nice living, the EU constitution would protect you; and there would be a world court of law. And you didn't need a friend of me. But now you come to me and say "W give me access to your markets" - but you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship, you don't even call me President.
How much shall I pay you.
Erdogan, Erdogan.....What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? Had you supported me, then this scum Chirac would be alone with his failed dream and you would have all the trade you want with the U.S. this very day. And by any chance that a good country such as Turkey should make any enemies, then they would be the U.S.'s enemies and they would fear you.
Be my friend
(then after bowing, W. shrugs)
W (after Erdogan kisses his hand):
Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. Perhaps in the North of Iraq. But uh, until that day -- accept my blessing as a gift.
Grazie Mr. President
(then to Condi after Erdogan leaves the room)
Ah give this one to Bolton. I want reliable people; people who aren't going to get carried away.......wait, change that. Give this to Zoellick, that Bolton guy is a nut!
Tuesday, June 7, 2005
It was a journey, and as journeys go this one wasn't really any different than most. T started out modest in his intentions, aiming only to get a little exercise and perhaps visit his friend, coincidently also named T.
"Hello T, so good to see you" his friend said upon their meeting. They were frequent visitors, yet the closeness of their relationship virtually dictated that they greet each other with a warm embrace. T never tired of their visits, and was always stirred by the longing for his friend that was created by their proximity. "Odd", he thought, "the longer we embrace, the more I want to stay with my friend".
Yet he also found a desire to roam when he was with T. "She creates in me a need to be close and continue to embrace, yet I know there are many secrets to discover". This visit was no exception, and his friend knowing this suggested a journey.
"T, as you know I own a small cabin not so far from here". "It is just over the hills and across the plane". T remembered this place as he had been there before. Located in a small valley, the cabin was warm and inviting. He had spent many a night there, and his memories of the place were indeed quite pleasant.
So T left his friend's embrace and set off on the journey. Very quickly he was into the hills, where he took some time to enjoy the view. In no particular hurry, T wondered which peak provided the best view. After trying both, T decided that in the end a hill was a hill, and the view was not as important as how one spent one's time while there. T thought his friend would agree.
Then it was off for the plane. Famous for it's flat, non-descript features, T always found a certain beauty in this place. T knew that most travelers viewed the plain as an after thought, if they considered it at all. "Sad" thought T, "sometimes the best treasures are found in the simplest of places, and here one can find the beauty of the moment, and anticipate the journey's nearing end".
After a brief stop in the center of the plain, T was off on the final leg of his journey. The valley always delighted him, for its beauty was indescribable. Floral accents predominated in the valley, and T decided to traverse its length to take in the fullness of its beauty. Having done this, T headed back up the valley, and went to the cabin.
The cabin itself was a marvel. Seemingly small and simply designed, it was capable of stirring all who encountered it. For he who occupied the cabin, controlled all that went on in the valley. T circled the cabin and admired its design, "truly a thing of beauty" T thought, "I could walk around it forever and never tire". Yet T knew that his final destination was the cabin, and so he ended his circling and went to it.
Later, after a rest, T reflected on his journey. His memories evoked strong emotions, as he thought of the hills, the plane and the valley. "This cabin is wondrous" T thought, "and I like what my friend has done with the lawn".
T then remembered, his other friend, P would be arriving later, possibly even that night. "P will love this place, as I know he would enjoy fishing in its stream." After all, it was still the wet season, and the waters were running well.
Monday, June 6, 2005
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Balsies. Well, actually I'm not giving you Balsies, rather I'm informing you about Balsies.
The fine folks selling Balsies suggest that they are about strength, guts independence and attitude. Me, I think they're about getting laid.......but what do I know? Imagine the conversation at the office around the watercooler:
Office Drone 1: Good Morning.......uh that is an interesting necklace.
Balsie Wearing Office Drone: Oh, thank you. I think they signify my strength, guts, independence and attitude.
Office Drone 1:
Balsie Wearing Office Drone:
Office Drone 1: So, uh should we get a room or do you just want to go park somewhere?
Balsie Wearing Office Drone: That is so typical! I wear a symbol of male genatalia around my neck, and Neanderthals like you assume it is an open invitation for sex! You disgust strong independent women who, like me, have guts.
Office Drone 1:
Balsie Wearing Office Drone: .....and attitude, I've got that too!
Office Drone 1:
Balsie Wearing Office Drone: You'll pay for the room, right?
Saturday, June 4, 2005
Frequent commenter PDS has started his own blog, "A Tale of Two Architects". Yesterday's and today's posts demonstrate the promise of his blog. If you like beautiful writing from a guy who has some interesting things to say, you need to go pay him a visit.
My only regret is that now I've got to search for a guest host with as much talent!
The beauty thing about this one is the degree to which the children in the film were clearly suffering from sociopathic symptoms. I mean, these guys get peeled off one by one and the only implication is more food for the survivor? Wow! Imagine the bleeding heart protests at schools today if this film were shown to young Mary and Johnny. No doubt grief counselors would be called in to deal with the trauma created by the film!
As a special treat, be sure to pay attention to the sound effects when Filbert encounters the steamroller.