Monday, July 31, 2006

A Nice Weekend

We like to say Door County is the Midwest's version of Cape Cod, but the truth is that The Cape is the East's version of Door County. True, the Cape has the ocean and it's pretty hard to beat the salt water for it's culinary treasure trove, but I have been to both locations several times in my life, and for my money "The Door" has The Cape beaten hands down.

As you might have guessed, our long weekend was spent up north. In the four glorious days that we were away we managed to pack in a lot of living. On Friday we went up to some land we own, grabbed the canoe and went for a great little paddle around our lake. Half way through, we stopped off at the state park across the lake and went swimming to cool off. That night it was J.J's La Puerta for some fine Mexican food. A question: Mrs. P and I did a couple tequilla shots at dinner; considering we were with the girls, was this bad parenting?

The next day, Saturday was packed from one end to another. We started off with jet sking in Ephraim Bay, followed by sailing for a couple hours out of the same area. Then it was off to Mr. Helsinki for dinner and then on to the Penninsula Players Theater for a play that night. We finally got in around midnight.

On Sunday, it was back to our land and the canoe, and then bowling and dinner at Sister Bay Bowl that evening. We also indulged our fairly regular dream of building on our land by meeting with a couple contractors to see if maybe we can afford the impossible. Sigh, some day I suppose.

Anyway, we're back, and I've posted some pics of the trip. Eat your heart out East Coast swine!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rockin Tune of the Weekend

Ok, so it's only Friday but I'm takin' it off! So the weekend starts a little early this week and what better to kick-off a weekend but a little Dramarama?

I'm doubly motivated to put up this video this weekend since 1. It's a great little diddy, and 2. I get to talk about Storm Large.

Storm Large you ask? Yup, that is her name and no, she is not the weekend gal at the weather channel, but rather the current leader on Rockstar, the battle of the singers show. Last summer the show was looking for a new singer for INXS and was quite a hit. The band turned out to be nice, fairly thoughtful guys, and the competitors were, at times, truly inspired.

Sadly, this year's version attempting to find a singer for Tommy Lee's new band, the creatively named SuperNova. The only real question is just how many bong hits it took for the name to sound "really cool man". Unsurprisingly it's a fairly squalid affair, and as with all reality shows, the contestants in year 2 just aren't quite real.

Still, we have the delightful Storm. A reasonably talented lass, she puts her all into every performance and has the added quality of being a smokin' hot babe. That's her posted above. This week, Storm performed Dramarama's tune, "Anything, Anthing" and just blew the folks away. So, in tribute to this fine specimen of the American female, I thought we'd go with another Dramarama tune. Enjoy.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Welcome To The Club Bill

It has been a long time coming, but finally somebody came out and said it; George Bush is not a conservative. There have been others who have made this point, faux conservative and beagle aficionado Sully comes to mind, but until yesterday very few true conservatives were willing to announce what has been obvious since the day Bush declared his candidacy for the Office of President. All I can say is welcome to the club boys.

Lets let Mr. Buckley tell it in his own words shall we?

"I think Mr. Bush faces a singular problem best defined, I think, as the absence of effective conservative ideology — with the result that he ended up being very extravagant in domestic spending, extremely tolerant of excesses by Congress,"

Translated for earthlings; That boy's mind ain't right!

I don't mean to throw Mr. Bush under the Bus and I'm not about toabandone those policies that he has pursued which I support. I think, however, it is important for conservatives to acknowledge that this man does not believe in the same principles of limited government that those of us who have been in the movement for years believe in.

I've made the point here before, and I'll make it again today. Mr. Bush threw us all a huge clue back in 1999 that he didn't quite get conservatism when he announced that he was a compassionatee conservative". This was an extraordinary admission that the man was not a believer. In one sentence he managed to be both insulting and redundant. I never understood why this didn't anger my fellow conservatives as it did me.

Compassionate Conservative? First the man is announcing that he believes that "normal" conservatives are some how not compassionate - the insult. As for the redundancy, Conservatives believe in their heart that government has no business in people's lives and that it's main purpose should be little more than defending the country, providing for a rule of law that protects private property and ensuring a stable currency. That's it. Giving people the chance to make the most of their lives with as little "help" from the feds is in our view the epitome of compassion! To suggest that some form of conservatism is required that is more compassionate than normal conservatism is to announce to God and everyone that you don't get it.

What angers me most about Mr. Buckley and my other conservatives who went along with this gambit is that they knew all along what Mr. Bush was really saying. See Mr. Bush made the calculation that instead of Reaganesque conservativism he was a social conservative and an economic liberal. Then, as is typical of Mr. Bush, he went out and told us exactly what he believed. Believe me, my fellow conservatives knew this and instead of supporting another conservative for the Republican nomination, their hunger for power was such that they chose to go along with George.

So to hear Mr. Buckley now express surprise that he finds Mr. Bush is a profligate spender is just a bit rare. Look, there is plenty that we can find fault with in Mr. Bush, but the one thing we can't say is that he didn't warn us that he wasn't fully on board with that economic conservatism stuff. With all due respect to Bill Buckley, next time when somebody tells you he's not a conservative, you might want to take him at his word.

The Central incompetence Agency

To paraphrase the Gipper, "There they go again"! Who, you ask? Why it's those new darlings of the left leaning media, the CIA.

The agency the failed to predict the collapse of the USSR, and sent the oily Mr. Plame on an intelligence gathering mission has done it once again. Only this time their failure is so fundamental, so mind numbingly idiotic, that it is almost not to be believed. Let's let the Chicago Tribune fill us in on the details:

"The man and woman were pretending to be American business executives on international assignments, so they did what globe-trotting executives do. While traveling abroad they used their frequent-flier cards as often as possible to gain credits toward free flights.

In fact, the pair were covert operatives working for the CIA. Thanks to their diligent use of frequent-flier programs, Italian prosecutors have been able to reconstruct much of their itinerary during 2003, including trips to Brussels, Venice, London, Vienna and Oslo."

Got that? Spies, working for the greatest country in the world, make sure to leave an electronic trail of their movements around the world so that anyone with a laptop and just an ounce more intelligence than these droolers can find out where they've been. Amazing.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Noble Bar B Que

I"m back at it today: Ribs on the smoker!

As you may have noticed, I've dedicated my summer to the manly art of smoking meat with the delicious smoke of a wood fire. Today that meat is pork baby back ribs and that wood is hickory.

Yesterday I had delivered to my driveway a 1/2 cord of Hickory and a 1/2 cord of cherry wood. When I arrived home I was greeted by the happy sight of a pile of smoking wood in my driveway and my smiling family full of expectation of the magical things to come tonight.

I awoke this morning at 7, called my butcher and ordered three slabs of ribs, and one butterflied leg of lamb. More on the lamb later. After picking up the meat and various sundry ingredients, I returned home and prepared my brining solution; 2 quarts of water, and 3/4 C of kosher salt. Once the salt was dissolved in the water, I popped the ribs in, and stored them in the fridge.

Loyal readers, and avid fans of my continuing BBQ experiments will recall that the last time I made ribs, I felt that the taste was just a tad too salty. So this time, instead of backing off on the salt in the brine, I reduced the brining time from 2 hours to 1 hour and 20 minutes. I'm hoping this makes the difference.

Next I rubbed the ribs with a little paprika based rub that I have been quite happy with and let them sit at room temperature for a little over 2 hours. At noon I fired up the smoker and at 1 I popped the ribs inside. They're smoking now at 189 degrees.

As for the lamb, I'm just doing that in the oven later today for a pic nic with the grand parents tomorrow. I'm convinced that there is nothing better than some well roasted meat, at room temperature, with a nice plate of roast vegetables and a pasta salad. I think I'll be serving a chilled rose with the dinner tomorrow, and the pasta salad is an old favorite of mine that I made after having it in a restaurant several years ago: some rotini pasta, green beans, julienned sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts all mixed in with a light pesto sauce, served room temperature.

More later.

UPDATE: Results are in and the Que is consumed. Whoa. Just frickin' whoa. 7 hours seems to be the key.....meat separated from the bone without too much tug, and was still in possession of its moisture and texture. Well smoked flavor too. I have just taken the lamb out of the oven, and now will let it cool completely before I put it in the fridge to chill for tomorrow's dinner picnic. It's 11pm, I think I had better set the alarm.

Oh, and I came up with a killer Rucula E Prosciutto salad tonight that just killed. I had one Thursday night at a local restaurant, and recreated it tonight at my place. Here's the kicker; mine was better, way better. Basically I combined arugula and prosciutto in salad bowls. I diced some excellent tomatoes from my local stand which I piled on top, and then diced some mozzarella di buffala on top of that. Next I poured a lemon/olive oil dressing lightly over the salad, sprinkled sea salt (I'm becoming increasingly convinced that sea salt is the key to great salads by the way) followed by some ground pepper. A little julienned basil on top and the rest was just magic. Try it yourself.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Studies in Oxymorons

Heh, who would have ever thought "Professionals" and "Durbin" would appear in the same sentence? "State Secret Leaking, Income Redistributin', Hezbollah Sympathising, Liberal Blowhard" works a little better in my view.

But then I'm a stickler for detail.

Still, they wanted me to publicize the event, so you know, if you go, I have a challenge and a warning.

The challenge: Do make your very best effort to completely empty Dick Turbin's coffers based only on your consumption of free Kendall Jackson White Zinfandel and Costco cocktail shrimp alone.

The warning: If you accept the challenge, never ever lose site of the fact that those chunky braless gals in earth shoes will start to look better and better as the night wears on.

Oh, and report back on the whole horrifyingly awful event.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Where There's Smoke.....

"Uh, yah, Captain we were uh...we were busting this here pot farmer, yah.
See we thought we'd arrest the man and uh...uh burn his pot! Yah, we were uh burnin' it so it wouldn't fall in terrorist hands, cuz you know, when the terrorists get the pot uh...uh then they've won. Yah that's it!"

"So, you wanna head over to that falafel stand down the street, cuz I'm really hungry man."

Via The Functional Ambivalent

Monday, July 17, 2006

Click Over Carefully

I'm not quite sure what this is, but as far as I can tell it is either the single most frightening example of a video personal add, or............ a pilot for "Libbies Gone Wild!".

One wonders. Did the guy sit down and conciously think, "I've got the bad haircut, the unseasonal red turtleneck, but there most be something more. Something that is going to put me over the top with the earth shoe wearin' chicks."

"I know! Where is that leather jacket that mom gave me?!"

Newt's Big Run

I'm a fan of Newt Gingrich.

This, to paraphrase Homer Simpson, is I suppose my secret shame. It's not that I fully agree with Newt on all things, nor is it the sort of fawning love that liberals all over like to suppose conservatives feel for leaders of their movement. No, the truth is I like Newt and I accept him with all his warts. I keenly remember the genius of his "Contract with America" which successfully nationalized what previously had been local elections of members of Congress. It was a strategic and tactical masterstroke from which Democrats are still trying to recover. I also remember his failure at implementation following victory. To this day I can still taste the bittersweet result that was not unlike getting your date in the back seat of the car and then not being able to deftly unclip her bra.

Disappointment, accusations, crying and ultimately a long silent ride back home

Still, like so many conservatives, Newt is a thinker. Unlike the liberals in the west who's last great idea was the WPA (notably a tactic, not a strategy....liberals aren't great on the strategy), conservatives are blessed with a lot of great ideas. True, our implementation isn't always the best, but the one key reason we keep whipping the libbys like an old worn out horse is because we have ideas and they have......well....they have John Kerry.

And Ted.

And Hillary.

And Barbara,

And White Flag.

You get the point.

Oh we've got our embarassments too. Tom Delay, that Cunningham feller, and many more. The difference is that we also have ideas.

In the attached interview Newt comes forth with an idea that to conservatives will not be all that surprising; we're in WW III. I found this link at my pal Tom's site. Tom, echoing the liberal zeitgeist refers to Newt's idea as one more attempt to scare America and this time vote Newt into office. I was going to comment over at Tom's, but the discussion became so involved that I didn't have time to do that and post here so my spot won out.

The fact is, that no matter how you look at it, Newt is right. We are in WW III and this is no attempt to scare us, rather, it is a very clear attempt to wake us up. Liberals have pointed out in many places, and Tom is no exception, that we can't be in WW III if the entire world isn't fighting which is both myopic and self deluding. It, in fact misses entirely, Newt's point. As per Newt, the reason the whole world isn't fighting is because western liberals refuse to acknowledge that we're at war!

For those old enough to remember the cold war, this scenario is not so unfamiliar. Despite what the left says now, we experienced a similar dynamic back then as well. Even at the height of the cold war, the left insisted that the Soviet Union was not bent on world domination, and meant us no harm; they just wanted to co-exist and to be left alone. The truth has since come out.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union we've documented this liberal fairy tale for what it is. A dream, and a dangerous one at that. At the time conservatives rightly referred to this type of thinking as a policy of appeasement. Thank God that we fought it tooth and nail.

Today's left follows a similar script. In their words, we've forced Islam to this point, and really, all they want is to be left alone. This ignores the facts that are as plain as any signal the Soviet Union sent during the cold war. Islam is bent on world domination, it is intolerant of non-believers, and it is the source of every major act of terrorism in the world today, and has been for years. States sponsor this terror, Wahabism is teaches death, and Palestinian TV teaches martyrdom, to name just a few examples.

What the left refuses to acknowledge is this; just because one side refuses to fight, doesn't mean we're not at war.

So Newt is trying to wake the left up by forcing them to confront a basic fact; we are at war. It is not pretty, it is not comfortable, and everything that we have done to fight the war may not have been correct. Hell, Newt's words acknowledge this and could (most likely will) be interpreted as an attack against our President. Still, the fact remains, we are at war and we need members of the left to quit their cackling, stop trying to score cheap political points, and get in the game. If you don't like Newt's ideas fine. If you don't like Bush's policies that is fine too.

But for the sake of our country and western civilization, get in the game.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Yes, But We Support The Troops

Well, I am now officially speechless; slackjawed with absolutely nothing to say. The New York Times, who's editorial board and reporters, who all support the troops don't cha ya know, has listed the attached link in a "memorable pictures" slideshow. From the site:

"A sniper loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr fires towards U.S. positions in the cemetery in Najaf, Iraq.

Michele McNally: “Right there with the Mahdi army. Incredible courage.”

Umm, well not exactly deary. Your honorable sniper who is loyal to the Shite cleric is actually a scumbag terrorist shooting at American soldiers and trying to kill our sons and daughters. As Jeff Goldstein points out, this is not incredible courage, this is what it looks like to be used as a tool for the enemy. And make no mistake about it, the NYT these days seems to have an over abundance of tools on their staff.

But go ahead dear Michele. Sit there in your comfortable little air conditioned cube and stare at pictures of the Sadr "freedom fighters" as you get all moist thinking about their heroic resistance to the Bushitler occupying forces. They're so strong! So sweaty and full of the musky scent of true rebels! Such animal passion! So authentic! Not anything like a silly college grad who, you know, wanted to do something important with her life but instead took a comfy job in New York so she could feel the vibe of the city and now wonders if maybe, maybe, she might have sold out.

Just try not to ruin your lusty visions with any inconvenient thoughts about how your Mr. Sadr, the Shite cleric, would separate your head from your body and mail it to your parents for the crime of, you know, not being covered and stuff.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Rockin' Tune of the Weekend: The Hives

PD1 and I have an ongoing debate about which of today's bands can be considered punk. I won't rehash that argument here, but I will say that two bands occupy the opposite ends of our agreement spectrum. First, we have the band on which we disagree most vehemently; Greenday.

PD1 will argue until the cows come home (and on a recent trip to Indianapolis she actually did just that) that Billy Joe and the boys are punk defined. While the structure and power of her opinion is impressive for a 14 year old, any true music fan immediately recognizes this opinion for what it is.

Total bunk.

Greenday, may have been "punkish" when they first hit in the early '90's, but they never were punk despite the best efforts of their publicists to convince us otherwise. In fact, the band from that era that was most punk was a wonderful little group from LA of all places called Offspring.

But I digress. Today's selection represents the band that we both can agree on: The Hives. Man these guys just rock. While it is hard to find a true punk band these days, PD1 and I find common ground in our opinions on The Hives. It's true, their tunes are fantastic, and they're full of attitude.

The best thing about these guys though, is that they're from Sweden.

Can you believe it? Sweden, land of snow, cold and the originators of the concept of "bland"! I mean I'm sure Sweden is a wonderful place, and I hear the women are very attractive, but culturally, if we're going to be totally honest, our friends the Swedes haven't really been pulling their own weight.

First we all remember that instead of putting a stop to the nonsense before it gained momentum, the Swedes unleashed ABBA on the world. A horrifying sonic assault of cloyingly sweet diddies about nothing in particular, ABBA at one time was so successful as to have represented something like 90% of the country's GNP. Interestingly, I heard that as a result most of the money in Sweden during that time was stained with peach lip gloss and bubblegum residue. Which would be just desserts, but my guess is the Swedes may have actually liked that.

Then we have Lutefisk. For those of you lucky enough to have escaped any contact with this loathsome dish allow me to educate you. Lutefisk is fish that has been preserved in lye and buried in the ground. Can you imagine the deranged mind that came up with this contribution to the culinary arts? Even more bizarre is the fact that the lye thing is wholly unnecessary! I mean come on! The whole friggin' country is frozen solid 11 months of the year, so just bury the fish in the ground Sven!

No, Sweden really hasn't been good for much to be completely honest. Now, though, we have something the Carlssons, Peterssons and Nielssons can be proud of. We have The Hives. If there is any justice in this world gone mad, the King (they have a King don't they?) will give them some sort of award.

So there you go. Today's lesson: Greenday = wussie boys, The Swedes = bizarrely depressive fish preservers and The Hives = punk.

Anybody who disagrees is itchin' for a fight.
Fasting: It's Not Just For Cindy Anymore!

This shocking video reveals that fasting, long the proprietary tactic of the left, can now be embraced by us righties too!

You know, because we support the troops and all.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Gay Games?

Well we're very excited, all a twitter you might say, here in Chicago! This weekend kicks off the week long Gay Games extravaganza!

I personally don't have any problems with our gay friends running and jumping all over town, in fact, compared to the Pride Parade I think it's great. The problem for me is that the whole thing seems a bit contrived don't you think? I mean gay games? Why on earth would we need that?

I understand the Special Olympics (which if you're lucky I'll write about the day I umped a softball game for some mentally disabled kids - deeply moving), but a special set aside for gay athletics seems bizarre to me. I mean why this distinction? Are Gay atheletes not able to compete elsewhere? Do they have some novel approach that would cause people to think, "Sure, I've seen Figure Skating, but what I really want to watch is Gay Figure Skating".

Ok, maybe that isn't the best example.

Still, what is the point? It's as if I hosted a series of games for guys who had people who dreamt that they looked like David Ogden Stiers! Sure, it's a valid distinction, and indeed a very scary one in, but given all that, it is not the type of thing that necessarily makes for great competition.

Or great viewing for that matter!

Still, the games will go on and we here at the POH wish our intrepid competitors nothing but the best. I have just one question.

Is there some test to make sure the gay competitors are truly gay?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Selection Bias Illustrated

Well this is about the dumbest use of scientific research that I have seen come down the pike in a long time. As the linked article describes, researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine gave 36 volunteers the active drug in "magic mushrooms", psilocybin, and then had the test subjects describe their experience. Unsurprisingly, the subjects were somewhat overwhelmed and described profoundly mood altering trips that crossed the border of normal consciousness into the mystical.

Umm, why do you think they call them "hallucinogens"? Are we sure these guys are doctors?

After collecting the data, researchers found that these subjects often described their trips as some of the more profound experiences that they've ever had, bordering on the religious. In some cases people suggested that their behavior was changed for weeks after the experiments. The conclusion that our researchers seemed to draw was that psilocybin held promise for helping people learn to love and care more for their fellow man.

My conclusion, as you can imagine, was somewhat different; Selection bias. Our researchers unwittingly picked an experimental group that needed to get a life:

"The study volunteers had an average age of 46, had never used hallucinogens, and participated to some degree in religious or spiritual activities like prayer, meditation, discussion groups or religious services. Each tried psilocybin during one visit to the lab and the stimulant methylphenidate (better known as Ritalin) on one or two other visits. Only six of the volunteers knew when they were getting psilocybin."

Hmmmmm, lets see.....our subjects averaged 46 years of age. That would mean they went to high school in the late seventies and to college in the early 80's and yet they never, ever managed to use any hallucinogenic substances? What in God's name were they doing then when they put on Dark Side of the Moon?! The obvious answer is that they were doing nothing, that couldn't be accomplished in the AV lounge, or the library - not that there is anything wrong with that - it's just that these folks aren't likely to have had a whole lot of exciting experiences from which they could credibly compare sitting in a lab with a blindfold on tripping their brains out.

I'm not 'fessing up to anything here folks, other than having had a good time in my youth at certain moments, but as any veteran of the '70's will tell you, drugs are not the way to finding spiritual fulfillment, or any sort of inner peace. They're nothing more than a way to check out for a while.

That, and be incredibly entertained by flicking the room lights on and off in time to the beat of the music.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Holy Smokes!

Scene: Pursuit stepping out on the back patio, inhales deeply

Pursuit: " you smell that?"

Mrs. P rolling eyes: "Yes, dear I do"

Pursuit: "I love the smell of cherry wood in the morning."

Mrs. P: "Yes, I'm sure the neighbors do as well dear"

Pursuit taking another deep breath and exhaling: "It smells smells like victory!"

End of scene.

Well, I woke up this morning and as we discussed what today's culinary adventure might be, Mrs. P suggested I whip some more of those fine pork ribs that I prepared last Sunday. While I thought this might be an excellent idea, I've been hankerin' for some beef brisket and so a plan was born.

Typically I like to do beef with apple wood, but tragically I seem to be out so I'm going to try a little something different today. I'm starting with Cherry wood, which should carry me through most of the day. I am doing a 6 pound brisket and I think I'm going to go for around 11 hours, low and slow which means I'll have to shift to hickory at some point. In my opinion hickory doesn't work as well with beef, but I'm told by many folks that I'm just plain wrong on this issue so we'll see what happens.

Above, are starting pics of the raw brisket, and then the rubbed brisket as it was entering the smoking chamber.

More later.

UPDATE: Monday morning. Sorry, things got a little busy yesterday. End result: Mixed I'd say. I smoked at around 160 degrees, which was too low to break down the fibers. I did the full 11 hours, and while taste was good, and the moisture level was excellent, the meat was still a bit tough. I might go ahead and put it in the oven, covered for 2 hours tonight at 220 to see if I can't break it down a bit.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Behold The Glory!

The glorious day has arrived my friends! As I originally posted here, after months of planning, ordering, waiting, and installing, our new bathroom is virtually complete. Although a few items need to be tweaked, the bathroom is in working order.

And you know what that means don't you?

Yup! The urinal is in place and ready for action!

Oh, it is a glorious sight, a glorious sight indeed. Mounted with craftsmen like perfection it stands ready like a silent sentinel alert and on guard for duty.

Just have a look at that piece of work. That my friends is no ordinary urinal. Oh no, that little porcelain beauty is a Toto UE 930 "Lloyd" Urinal With Electronic Flush Valve. And as the only man in the house it is mine, all mine!

Leave the seat down? Hah! I laugh at such a thought! No seat for this guy just step up, zip down and get to business. Everything in life should be so easy. And when I'm done, what could be more manly than what happens next?

I just walk away.

That's it! No lingering commitments, no putting the seat down, no flushing the toilet. Just me, a greatly relieved bladder and the comforting "woooosh" of my electronic flush.

As good as that is though, I've got some news for my fellow men out there. Wonderful, oh so typically man news that is the real beauty part.

Now that I don't have to remember to put the seat down do you know what happens? Brace's diabolical!

I get to yell at the women for not putting the top down on their disgusting toilet!

As those two guys say on the Guinness commercial, "BRILLIANT!"

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Bill Bennett, Superman and My Drive To Work This Morning

The following is a comment I wrote to Lein Shory this evening. I ended up getting so distracted that I didn't have time to do that, write a post and write a letter to PD2, so you guys have to suffer a bit. I'm reposting my comment here, because to be completely honest, this story just cracks me up.


I thought of your review this morning as I was driving to work. I happened to be listening to Bill Bennett when he and his listeners were discussing Superman. I guess there has been some talk about this Superman being gay, which aside from the whole trashing of another American icon thing, doesn't really surprise or bother me....I mean tights and a cape? Hello?

At any rate, one caller phoned in and was discussing how the super baby (they really have a super baby now?) proved that Superman was not gay. Of course Bennett pointed out that this was not definitive as anyone who has ever been on a bender can attest. Bennett then expressed concern that Superman did not marry the mother which we all know makes the super baby illegitimate. The caller reassured Bill that Superman did once marry Lois Lane, at the beginning of SM II, but then had to renig on the marriage to get his powers back so he could save the world. Apparently he kissed Lois so that she forgot about the whole marriage thing. Bennett correctly pointed out that this was the first time in history any woman has forgotten she was married.

At this point I'm just slack jawed in amazement....I mean I think these guys may have forgotten that Superman doesn't really exist. Which is when it began to get interesting. Bill kind of kept insisting that Superman really should marry Lois to make it all ok, even though they really are still married because you can't undo that sort of thing. The caller, God love him, suggested to Bill that even if they weren't really married it was ok, because Superman is an alien! Yup, and as an alien, if he isn't exactly the marryin' kind, well that's ok because it "will take him some time to adjust to our earthly customs".

True story.

Me? Well I just think this is another good example of how illegal immigration is destroying this country!


Tuesday, July 4, 2006

"Hello Freedom Man"

I wasn't going to do a special Fourth of July post; there seems to be an awful lot of them out there and one more from me isn't really going to add much. Then yesterday I heard a news item on the radio that a new poll is out which claims that something like 74% of conservatives and only 44% of liberals are proud of our country.

This was deeply disturbing to me for obvious reasons. I, by no means, believe our country is perfect, but given all that we have done to shape the course of human events for the betterment of man, how could anyone not be proud of this country? To think of a world that is absent of the United States' impact on history is to think of a fairly dark place indeed.

At any rate, I also heard this morning, a story that was told by Ronald Reagan during his fairwell address. I've copied it at the end of this post. I think it captures the importance of the U.S., and reminds us of why, in the face of those who lack the courage to stand tall for freedom in this world, those of us who believe in our country can continue to be proud of what we've done.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.

Oh, and to my friends in the UK, Happy Thanksgiving!

"I've been reflecting on what the past eight years have meant and mean. And the image that comes to mind like a refrain is a nautical one--a small story about a big ship, and a refugee and a sailor. It was back in the early '80s, at the height of the boat people. And the sailor was hard at work on the carrier Midway, which was patrolling the South China Sea. The sailor, like most American servicemen, was young, smart, and fiercely observant. The crew spied on the horizon a leaky little boat. And crammed inside were refugees from Indochina hoping to get to America. The Midway sent a small launch to bring them to the ship and safety. As the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck and stood up and called out to him. He yelled, "Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man."

Monday, July 3, 2006

Holy Smokes; The Final Report

From the clear view of the next morning, yesterday's excercise in the manly art of meat smoking (Geeze, that is probably going to get me a google hit from Sully), can't be viewed as anything other than a success. The meat had a delicious, smokey flavor, that I swear, penetrated to the bone and despite the long time in the smoking chamber everything remained extremely moist. I made one mistake in that the meat was a bit salty. Next time I'll pull back on the salt in the rub, and also brine for less time on the ribs, perhaps only an hour.

As for the specifics;

9 hour ribs: I'm not one of these folks that judges bar be que by the ease with which meat separates from the bone since I often find this is just an excuse for those who take the decidely unmanly step of par boiling their meat before they smoke. That said, the 9 hour ribs separated cleanly, yet still maintained a firm meaty texture in the mouth. While still very moist, I thought the meat was perhaps a bit compacted; not bad, but any longer in the smoker would probably have been a mistake.

6 hour ribs: Surprisingly good separation, yet still a little adherence to the bone. The meat was incredibly moist with a nice smoky flavor that penetrated almost to the bone. It would have been interesting to leave these on for 30 - 60 more minutes to see if I could get the separation of the 9 hour, with the almost perfect moistness and flavor of the 6 hour.

Pork Shoulder: 11 hours baby. 11 effin' hours! Even after all of that time the meat was still incredibly moist. I'm pretty sure that I could have gone another two hours, which would have been interesting because I think I was near an inflection point with this cut. While extremely tender, the should wasn't quite shredible with a fork, yet in the mouth it felt like it was just beginning to break down. An hour or two more probably would have preserved the moistness, while breaking down the meat a little bit more. Still, this stuff was excellent. When I pulled it the internal temp was 165 degrees.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Holy Smokes; Progress Report

My shirt is permanently imbedded with the smokey goodness of hickory. The deviled eggs are made. I'm off to make the Mozzerella di Buffola salad. I've attached a picture of everything as it sits on the smoker at the 9.5 hour mark for shoulder, the 7.5 hour for the ribs in the front, and the 4.5 hour mark for the ribs to the side of the shoulder.

More later

Holy Smokes!

Dinner prep started this morning at 7a.m. when I began brining my ribs and pork shoulder. I really should have done this last night, but I was over at a friend's house for whole sea bass cooked on the grill. It was fantastic, especially since he served it with a Thai curry sauce, a crunchy cabage salad and rice. So, I didn't get home until late and had to adjust plans accordingly.

As such the early morning sun found me brining and firing up the Big Baby. I plan to eat tonight at 8 so I wanted to get the shoulder on for a full 11 hours. Right on schedule I popped the meat on at 9, and followed with a slab of ribs at 11. I'll pop the other slab on at 2 which will give me the opportunity to test the difference between ribs smoked for 9 and 6 hours.

I'm keeping my temps at 170 - 200 degrees which requires near constant vigiliance, and I'm mopping with a vinegar based brew every hour our so. The pics above are the meat before the rub was applied, the meat as it was loaded into the Big Baby, and the Big Baby itself, doing its special thang.

More later.

UPDATE: What is the deal with the date function? Just noticed this little technical glitch, safe to say, we did not have many leaves on the trees in January of '05!

UPDATE II: I'll admit I"m two gin and tonics into the final stretch, but has anyone ever realized just how good Neal Young is with the scent of hickory wafting into the air? "Down by the river....."

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Rocking Tune of the Weekend: The John Butler Trio

I don't know much about this band, all I know is that this is one groovy tune. It rocks, it rolls, and it cuts through your cranium with a boogying excellence that leaves you wanting more.

Here's to you Mr. Butler and your most excellent trio.