Saturday, July 30, 2011

I'll Ask the Obvious Question

Will this work with dog piles and kitty hairballs?

Because if it will, I want one.


[YouTube direct link] (Viewer #582,567)

Hat tip: I Hate My Cubicle!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Doing Taranto a Favor

And also doing the job of the Wall Street Journal's online editor for him, since he apparently forgot that you can use hyperlinks on the web.

Sentence as written (and - bizarrely - approved by the editor):
Obama has turned into President Rodney Dangerfield: He doesn't get no respect. (For readers too young to remember Dangerfield, that's not litotes. He used the double negative as an intensifier.)

First of all... Really?... REALLY, Mr. Taranto? You think that Rodney Dangerfield's signature catchphrase is completely unfamiliar to the Wall Street Journal's baby-boomer fan base, but an obscure bit of terminology from your prep school rhetoric class is common knowledge?

Blows my mind. I'm not sure why this man gets paid to write.

And second, Rodney's catch phrase was "I don't get no respect." Don't presume to correct a comedic genius's grammar. He knew what he was doing. You - apparently - don't.

Anyway, let's do the world a favor, ditch Taranto's tortured prose, and add a reference link (since it's, you know, the internet, and you can do that in lieu of appending awkward explanations).
Obama has turned into President Rodney Dangerfield: He don't get no respect.

You're welcome, James & WSJ.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Never Trust a Headline

From NOLA.com:

Marine's parents sued over sign of support in their Bossier City front yard

Muckraking "journalists" and their sensationalistic headlines.

This has nothing to do with a beloved son and Marine. This has everything to do with freedom of contract, and the Burr's rather childish attempt to get away with violating the terms of their housing agreement.

On a whim.

Because those rules have suddenly become inconvenient.

Even though they knew the rules when they moved in 5 short years ago.

Well, at least their son has a sense of honor.

Shame about the parents, though, who should either keep their written promise and find a less violative way to show support for their son, or move somewhere without restrictive covenants.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Outdated Technology Check

Which of the following do you still own?

1) phonograph turntable
2) phonograph turntable capable of playing 78s
3) 8 track player
4) cassette player
5) 5 1/4 floppy drive
6) 3 1/2 floppy drive
7) a car with a carburetor
8) a non-cable-ready TV
9) a dial phone
10) a corded phone
11) a winding wristwatch
12) a manual typewriter

Also, feel free to add to the list of archaic technology. I feel like I'm missing a few obvious ones.

For the record, I have 2, 4, 6 - and 11 in the sense that I own an antique clock that needs winding. I just really like the chime on it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Curse You Twist Ties!

I may have to switch bread brands.



Or just keep using pieces of masking tape like I've been doing. Although this has the advantage of not leaving adhesive residue on your cords.

From Make.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Flag Flap Not Flapworthy

On July 4th, an Iraq War veteran hoisted an American flag on the campus of a New Mexico community college.

About a week ago, it was taken down.

And people are upset about this, taking it as some sort of anti-patriotic insult.

It is not. Here's why.

As the article explains, the impromptu hoisting of the flag was an impulsive burst of Americanism, and not well thought out. The flag was pretty much just randomly attached to the building.

Fact is, our flag deserves better than this half-hearted display.

Look, a well-displayed outdoor flag requires attention and maintenance. Someone has to put it up and take it down and store it every day. Outdoor flags get tattered and need replacement. If you choose - like this community college did - not to display an outdoor flag because you are unwilling or unable to do the constant work required to do it right, I have no problem with that. Quite frankly, the burden of properly and respectfully maintaining an outdoor flag is NOT for everyone.

The school's decision to display an indoor flag instead - which is much easier to do correctly - is a sufficient substitute in my judgment.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

There's No Right Or Wrong in Blogging, But This Is Wrong

Seriously, if you're on my blogroll and I ever catch you doing this, I will hunt you down and punch the pixels out of you.

First rule of blogging: it's your blog, and you can do whatever you want on it.

Second rule of blogging: your readers are - virtually speaking - guests in your home. Treat them with appropriate courtesy.

If a guest asked you where the bathroom was, you wouldn't glare at him and snarl "find it yourself!".

But this PJ Tatler article does exactly that.

It's essentially just an excerpt from a USA Today article. It takes - verbatim - 5 paragraphs from the original story and then just stops cold.

The RIGHT way to do this is to intro the piece and include a permalink to the article, placing the link on words that suggest you're linking to the source article e.g. "From USA Today"

Alternatively, put the link at the end, e.g. "(continued at USA Today).

However, this PJ dandruff-brain put the source link in the middle of the story, on the irrelevant words "U.S. Forest Service". [note: they also used a category link, not an individual archive link - which becomes increasingly useless over time as new posts are added to that category]

Now, referring to rule one, above, I guess I can't honestly say this is "wrong".

But I stand by rule two, and I will defend with my dying breath the statement that "this is rude".

And the third rule of blogging: rude people shouldn't blog. The internet's already plagued with an excess of ill-bred grundlemunchers.

Cursive Writing

Apparently it's a dying art.

I'm trying to decide whether I'm sad to see it go.

Being a child of the 70's, learning cursive was a rite of passage for me in school and I took it very seriously. Back then, I understood that I was a child, the world was designed for adults, and my entire job as a child was to learn all the skills that I would need to function as an adult in an adult world.

It just made sense. I never questioned or resented it.

And cursive was just another adult skill. Or as one commenter put it: "[Cursive] USED TO INDICATE a certain amount of discipline and intelligence. Ya know? Like, for sure, English grammer?"

From a practical standpoint, with the ubiquity of keyboards and computers, cursive has lost some of its necessity as a useful tool. Mostly these days, people type - whether to write letters or take notes. For what few analog writing tasks remain, block printing is no less effective, efficient, legible, or practical than script.

But it IS less elegant. It's common, dull, and childish-looking.

Let the world abandon it. I probably won't notice. But like knowing Latin, musical notation, or html coding, I'll keep embracing my knowledge and mastery of script as a quaint elitist quirk that makes me better - in certain ways - than people who don't know it.

Because I *do* so enjoy feeling smug and superior when it's warranted.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just Shut Up and Cook, Idiot

This amuses me so:
Right now, the people most bent on reeling in snakeheads are chefs, who think serving invasive species could represent an important new twist on the sustainable seafood movement. Some of the biggest names in regional restaurants - "Top Chef" rivals Bryan Voltaggio and Mike Isabella, Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen, Scott Drewno of Washington's The Source by Wolfgang Puck - are trying to get their hands on the fish so they can slice, dice and pan sear the thing into oblivion.

"We've been doing the complete opposite and focusing on conserving species," said Voltaggio, owner of Volt restaurant in Frederick. "Here's a fish you can feel good about depleting."

Basically he's saying he thinks the best way to drive a species to extinction is for humans to enjoy eating it.

Yes, because that strategy worked so well at eradicating the vast, invasive herds of cows that once covered the farms and meadows of this great nation.

But seriously, being tasty is how snakeheads became an invasive species in the first place:
The snakeheads are thought to have entered the Maryland ecosystem more than two years ago. A local man ordered a pair of live snakeheads from a market in New York's Chinatown so that he could prepare a traditional soup remedy for his ill sister

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How It's Done

Some people (MOST people) beat the drums.

Some people (a rare few) PLAY the drums - like a musical instrument.

This is one of the latter:


[YouTube direct link] (Viewer #150,501)

It's almost Mozartesque - his transitions between themes are intriguing without being outrageous, and even when he settles into grooves between his transitions, there's always subtle change-ups & progressions - a few extra unintrusive beats thrown in for flair.

Plus stick-twirling. It ain't a drum solo without stick-twirling.

And just enough variety to keep you from being bored. I've heard plenty of drum solos that overdo it in this department and have so much variety that they become boring because of it.

This kid's got great touch and instincts.

Tangentially, one thing to note while you're watching the video, from a commenter:

"Guys, if you watch the person at 1:48, they put a bill in then put change on top of it to prevent it blowing away. Look at their hand when they pull it out. It's empty."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Where's My Screwdriver?

I'm seriously considering permanently removing the "insert" key from my keyboard. I don't remember the last time I hit it on purpose.

I *do* remember the last time I hit it accidentally while reaching for the Backspace key, causing me endless misery having to retype the text I just involuntarily typed over.

That would be "every single day".

Does anybody out there use their "insert" key on purpose?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Just In A Mood: Pancakes vs. Waffles

Pancakes.

Not that they're so much better, it's just that waffles are poorly designed.

Too thick. Too hard to cut. Too hard to spread toppings over them in a smooth, even layer.

Plus you have to have a special tool to make them. I could make pancakes on my steam iron. I could make pancakes using molded aluminum foil set on top of a toaster. Heck, I could make pancakes on an overclocked CPU (albeit TINY pancakes).

You waffle-lovers got anything to say for yourselves?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Forgot

Normally I make a point of at least mentioning 7-7

This year I forgot. Just remembered a few minutes ago.

I'm mad at myself, but also frustrated at a larger world that also seems to have forgotten.

As part of my job, I pore over hundreds of news headlines. Never saw one about any 7-7 memorials.

No. No. No. This will not do.

There is a war on.

We must never forget who started it or why we're still in it.

I'll try to do better for 10-12.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Guess the iPhone is Good for Something

Post-zombie apocalypse slingshot ammmo.


[YouTube direct link] (Viewer #103,073)

This is brilliant.

Because you KNOW the first people to die during the zombie apocalypse are going to be the hipster idiots who can't stop twiddling with their precious iPhones long enough to run for their lives.

I guarantee you will not lack for ammo.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sound Like Anyone You Voted For?

From FML:
Today, I was so broke that I paid for a $0.28 candy bar with my credit card.
On 07/01/2011 at 5:47pm - money - by Username - United States (Illinois)
First thought: Dude... you shouldn't have bought the candy bar then. How very irresponsible of you.

Second thought: Perfect analogy for Obama's economic policy.

Third thought (noticing the poster was from Illinois): Barry? Is that you?

Or Maybe iPhones Are Just Shoddy, Poorly-Engineered Products

Sad story from FML:
Today, I bought an otter box. While setting up my iPhone, I dropped it and it is now shattered.
Accidents will happen, and normally I'm sympathetic, but then I thought about my laptop.

I've never dropped it. Mostly because ANY time I pick it up I am immediately conscious that I paid several hundred dollars for the thing, and if I drop it, it will break beyond repair. The word "deathgrip" would not be inappropriate here.

But hunter168647 plopped down several hundred dollars FOR A SMOOTH, SLIPPERY PIECE OF GLASS, and neglected to bring his full attention and most acute awareness into the occasion of its most recent handling.

Don't be careless with expensive, fragile items. Hope he learned his lesson.

Yes, I Bake

And I do it like Mozart wrote sonatas, thank you very much.

Saw this recipe over at Been here so long got to calling it home.


Na'an (Indian style bread loaves)

1 tsp sugar
1 tsp yeast
5 oz warm water (140º works nicely)
2 c flour
3 oz melted butter (or ghee if you have access or make your own)
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk, beaten

Combine sugar, yeast, and water. Whisk well and rest until it froths up.

Sieve flour and salt to mix them thoroughly. (In practice I generally just mix them with a whisk in the mixing bowl.

Make a well and pour in yeast mixture and melted butter.

Mix together with your fingers. Rub your hands with a little butter and knead to make a soft smooth dough, about five minutes.

Cover dough and allow to rise for about two hours.

Divide into six portions and gently roll into small loaves on a lightly floured surface.

Brush with egg yolk.

Bake on greased baking tray for 10 to 15 minutes at 450º.

Serve immediately and be prepared to have people swooning at the goodness of them.


I've been playing with this recipe for about 3 months now. I've found it to be a good basic bread recipe, and once I got it to work right, I started experimenting with it.

First, some notes on the basic recipe

1) The water should actually be between 105 & 130 (the temperature at which yeast starts to die from the heat)

2) Whisk, shmisk. I don't own one. I stir my flour with a spoon. Works fine.

3) Frothing yeast? Huh? Thank heaven for YouTube. Again, I don't have a whisk, so I just beat it senseless with a fork. Apparently there's some sort of dried husk around yeast, so enthusiastic violence to crack the husk open is the way to go.

3) Using only 3 oz of butter gives you a stiff, dry, dough. Try using more - up to 4 oz. If the dough is too gooey & sticky, mix in more flour a little bit at a time until it stops being sticky.

4) I actually didn't have a brush to spread the egg yolk the first few times I tried this, but I made do successfully with a piece of folded-up paper towel. By the way, here's how you separate out an egg yolk. Heads up - Mr. Ultra-Super-Professional-Chef makes it look WAY too easy in this video. Take your time, pour it back & forth S-L-O-W-L-Y and let gravity do the work of pulling the white off. If you rush, the yolk will puncture and you'll have to start over with a new egg. Oh, and *beating* the egg yolk? I haven't bothered. It's just used as a painted-on glaze, anyway. But knock yourself out, if you feel the urge.

5) To my taste, I find that 1 t. salt is a little too much. I prefer a scant teaspoon.

6) How to knead dough. I didn't know how to do this when I started.

7) Baking time... yeah, well, check 'em at 15, but don't be surprised if they need to stay in longer. Especially with using 4 oz butter, I've had them in up to 25 minutes.


VARIATIONS

1) Cinnamon raisin:

Add 4 tablespoons of cinnamon and... um... a whole bunch of raisins. Sorry, I didn't actually measure them. But when it comes to adding flavor ingredients, my philosophy is "better way too much than not enough". Basically, if you're kneading the dough and the raisins keep falling out all over the place and you think to yourself "man, I've got WAY too many raisins in here", then you're doing it right.

2) Chocolate chip:

Add 6 tablespoons cocoa, 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, and... dang... forgot to measure again... A whole bunch of chocolate chips. For fun, also consider throwing in (either additionally or alternatively) ivory, cherry, caramel, peanut butter, butterscotch, or mint chips.

3) Garlic & onion:

Add 2 tablespoons powdered garlic and 2 tablespoons powdered onion.

3) Garlic & onion & pepperoni:

Just did this one tonight: 2 T garlic, 2 T onion, and a 6 oz package of Hormel diced pepperoni. Man, I *really* thought I had way too much pepperoni when I was kneading it, but it turned out great. Offhand, I'm thinking anything you like on your pizza would make a great ingredient to throw in to the garlic/onion recipe, but I haven't started playing around with that yet.


Addendum: I like to divide my dough into 8 pieces, just because the batch lasts longer that way.

Also, if you don't eat them all right away (WARNING: eating them all right away in a fit of impassioned gluttony is a VERY serious possibility) and you have leftovers the next day, I find these little loaves are better warm - say 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm Thinking of Joining the Flat Earth Society

Because it's only $9, and you get a certificate and some junk-bin FES merchandise.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the spheroidal model, but I think membership would make a great conversation-starter.

Besides, if I'm in a particularly devilish mood, I can pick arguments with globists and see if I can make their heads explode with my obstinate ignorance and denial of blatantly obvious scientific observations.

Hey, ya can't argue politics ALL the time.

$9 is a small price to pay for almost infinite entertainment value.

Sorry, Danny, Got No Sympathy For You

This one just amazes me.

California demanded that Amazon.com start collecting sales tax for them.

Amazon said "no, thank you", didn't collect the sales tax, and stopped their affiliate program in California to boot.

Danny is mad at Amazon for not bowing before the state.

Tough tomatoes, Danny. This is how free men live.

Don't like it? Start your own online sales company, sell products in California, and pay the sales tax.

This is also how free men live.