Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An Open Letter

Take up the Marxist's burden--
Send off the ones you've trained--
Go bind your peers to protest,
To stand out as the brains
To cry out on the sidewalks
And compel by wise diktat
The best for all the people--
Their wishes disrespect.

Take up the Marxist's burden--
Impatient to abide,
The empty threats of congress
To reject laws you devise;
By teleprompters' prompting
Your brilliance shall be plain.
You wreck our nation's profits,
Through seeking your own gain.

Take up the Marxist's burden--
Make savage war on peace--
Kill innocents and seniors
By bidding health care cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end that others sought,
Watch smart and wary citizens
Bring all your hopes to naught.

Take up the Marxist's burden--
Create a rule of kings--
Remember voting citizens
Shall always ruin things;
The courts you dare not enter
The line you cannot tread
Go make them with your rulings
And all your talking heads.

Take up the Marxist's burden--
And take his recompense:
The blame of those, your betters
(You know, the ones with sense);
The cry of those you harass
And force to do your will
"Why take from us our freedom--
Our choice and rights repeal?"

Take up the Marxist's burden--
You won't succeed to boot--
We're citizens, not subjects
That's something you've confused;
By all you say and whisper,
And all you ever do,
That silent witness, History,
Will judge your gods, and you.

Take up the Marxist's burden--
You've done your childish best--
Your worthless Nobel Peace Prize
The Worship from the press.
Your voters judge your manhood
And vacations, through the years,
As lacking--lacking wisdom--
Despite pronouncements of your peers.

*Revised because of men like Alan West and Herman Cain. Also, apologies to Rudyard Kipling for butchering his work.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

simple biscuits

This is one thing I hate mixes for. And since the recipe is so easy, why bother with a mix? The only easier thing is biscuits from a can, and you can't top a cobbler with those.

2 c all purpose flour
1 T baking powder (NOT baking soda)
1 t salt
3/4 c milk
1/4 c vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Mix dry ingredients well with a fork.
3. Mix wet ingredients in until you have a very sticky dough.
4. Sprinkle a generous amount of flour onto a clear area of counter; turn biscuit dough out onto the floured surface.
5. Knead* the dough about 17 times. Roll out to about 1/2-3/4 inch thick, cut biscuits**.
6. Pour a small amount of oil into a plate to coat the top and bottom of each biscuit before placing on a cookie sheet for the oven.***
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

If you want to use this to top a cobbler, add about a tablespoon of sugar, and don't cut the dough after you roll it out.

Helpful hints:

*Spray cooking spray on your hands, or liberally coat them with flour to prevent dough from sticking to you.

**If you don't have a biscuit cutter, use a wine glass, or a thin tea cup.

***Use a paper plate for ease of cleanup. Oiling the top of the biscuits lets them brown; oiling the bottom keeps them from sticking to the cookie sheet.

This is just a rhetorical question, but...

...just how stupid do they think we are, that we don't notice the calorie counts on the backs of soda cans, 20 oz or larger bottles, and snack packages? Do they really think we don't notice that a 12 oz can is a serving and a half, or that a 20 oz bottle is 2.5 servings, and are incapable of figuring the calorie counts from there?? Do they really think that moving the calorie count to the front of the packaging, and listing total calories for the entire bottle/can/package is going to change anyone's mind about consuming it?

I wonder what the first wookie would say if she were told that we notice, can do the math, know that none of it is good for us, and simply don't give a damn because we enjoy it? Maybe she'd be shocked--looking at the size of her ass, she may well be one of those incapable of doing either basic reasoning or basic math enough to figure out the calorie counts on the crap she eats and drinks. She may well just be projecting her own inadequacies onto the rest of us.

Personally, I think Smith is right (even though he's talking about smoking): "What it has to do with is the complete unsuitability, in their twisted minds, of simple human pleasure in the lives of everyone around them. This used to be the preoccupation of Puritanical religions. Today, most of the people of this bent have abandoned religion, but they haven't abandoned the demented ecstasy they experience by shouting "Thou shalt not!" at everyone in sight -- and being able to back it up with the brute force of governmental edict."

Funny, I don't feel marginalized.

According to a psychologist quoted in a CNN editorial, I should: "'As we're learning more about the tremendous dangers of smoking, fewer people are willing to tolerate exposure to second-hand smoke, which leads to smokers being pushed to the periphery,' said licensed psychologist Clifford Lazarus. 'But it is a right, people can smoke just like they can drink and have guns*, it's just that the government is being a bit more controlling in terms of creating parameters in which people can engage in this marginalized behavior.'"

I have one thing to say to Mr. Lazarus: I drink (occasionally--nothing's better to ease the tight muscles in my back after a day of working and child care than a finger or two of bourbon or scotch, or maybe an Irish coffee), and I own guns. Neither does any damage to my heath or to that of my children, or anyone else around me, because I am a responsible adult. Those who believe that no one can be responsible with alcohol, tobacco, firearms, or explosives are doing something that Mr. Lazarus, as a licensed psychologist has to be familiar with: projecting their own faults onto others. In fact, the quote makes clear that he's doing it, too. And so:

Up yours, you communist, totalitarian, hippie bastard.

Via View from the Porch

*emphasis mine

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Perfect crock-pot roast

Plan on this one taking at least half the day, if not all day. Put it on the night before for Sunday dinner, or in the morning before leaving for work for supper.

2-4 lb roast (chuck or round)
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
4 large baking potatoes
1 lb baby carrots

1. Wash potatoes, slice into 1/2 inch thick disks. Arrange in one layer on bottom and up sides of crock pot.
2. Dump baby carrots into crock pot.
3. Add 1/2 c. or so of water to crock pot.
4. Rinse roast, place in crock pot. Sprinkle onion soup mix over roast.
5. Cook on high for two hours per pound, or low for four hours per pound.

Other than washing and chopping potatoes, there's little prep work for an amazing meal. And leftover roast sandwiches are fantastic, especially with provolone cheese.

You know you're a parent when... poop makes your day.

The definition of "scary little bastard"

A British Gurkha soldier single-handedly held off and chased off thirty Taliban terrorists, killing three.

He definitely deserves the medal.

Via Kickin' and Screamin'.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You might be a gun nut if... overhear the word "magnum" in a pharmacy, and instantly think of a revolver cartridge instead of what the conversation is likely about.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I don't think Kipling meant "The White Man's Burden"

For decades, now, Kipling has been spit on by literature departments as a racist, Imperialist bigot, nearly completely on the strength of one poem: "The White Man's Burden."

I think the ones who've damned Kipling as a bigot are wearing blinders. Or else they're idiots. Possibly both. No one seems to take into account Kipling's hatred of the British aristocracy--poems like "The Widow at Windsor," and "The Widow's Party" are clear indications of Kipling's anger at the upper classes that ordered the subjugation of the land where he was actually born and lived in early childhood.

I'm pretty sure that that hatred was limited to the policy makers for a few reasons: first, he wrote poetry for the common British soldier, in their dialect, and quite sympathetic to their plight (see again, "The Widow's Party," "Tommy," and "The Young British Soldier"); second, he turned down the position of Poet Laureate and several offers of knighthood. His poem "Recessional" openly prays for mercy on the people of Britain for what they've done to their colonies' inhabitants.

And all this doesn't even address how long he spent in India during his lifetime. Nor that he returned to the land of his birth (born in Bombay in 1865) when he was 17 (1882), and lost much of his anglicanization: "After these, my English years fell away, nor ever, I think, came back in full strength." (Kipling's own words, those.)

No, Kipling was British only in that he was born to British parents. In all other ways that mattered, he was Indian, and there is very little chance that he was anything other than anti-imperialist.

It's interesting and ironic that the current lefties (who are looking at those citizens of their own nations with the paternalistic eyes of the British Imperialist aristocracy) hate Kipling for writing the poems that explain why their dreams of imposing on us for our own good will fail.

Bachelor Round Steak

This is a recipe that my other half brought with him, handed down from his dad. It's really good, with minimal clean up. And this recipe is really good for round steak, which is relatively inexpensive, but very tough unless baked slowly.

1 2lb round steak
1 envelope dry onion soup mix (could probably substitute dry garlic and herb, onion and mushroom, or some other dry soup mix, if you prefer)
aluminum foil

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cut sheet of foil to wrap around meat. Lay raw steak in center of foil sheet.
3. Cover with soup mix. Fold foil up around steak, folding edges together to seal steak into an envelope of sorts.
4. Set package on a cookie sheet, and bake for two hours (an hour per pound)

Goes well with baked potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, or anything you'd want to go with it. You could probably put sliced up or cubed potatoes in with the meat, and have nearly a complete meal.

Afterwards, if you've been careful enough opening the foil envelope, you just wad up the foil and throw it away. No cleanup. If you really don't want to bother with cleanup, use paper plates and plastic flatware. Working what amounts to two part time jobs and taking care of kids (even with the help of my other half) makes the expense of paper plates and bowls, and plastic flatware well worth it in terms of one less thing to do around the house.

Friday, March 18, 2011

My brain hurts.

Our two year old is starting to use the potty. Our three month old is already ready for the jumper, but not really willing to take a bottle or use a pacifier (the only pacifier she's willing to use is me). I'm teaching two composition classes in which my students write 1000 words on their blogs with comments on two classmates' blogs every week (and I have to grade them every weekend), and assisting a colleague in teaching a literature class online.

I've also started the process of trying to write an academic paper about the future of academic citation heading toward linking sources rather than the current mess that no one department can agree on. I can think of three different citation styles--MLA (used by English Language & Literature classes), APA (Psychology), and Chicago (used by communications departments). Each has different rules, the internal citation model in APA and MLA tend to obstruct the flow of the text, and it's a pain to seek out the sources cited.

I think that students will, eventually, cite their sources with hyperlinks as a matter of course. I think that if those of us who teach courses in which research papers make up even a portion of the grade won't change the way we cite our sources (and teach students to cite their sources), our classes will continue to become more and more irrelevant to our students' lives. I think that the world as a whole is moving away from older research models, and toward hyperlinking sources.

We need to simplify things, and to agree on a method of simplification. I think that no one department is willing to agree on someone else's model. I think that our only real choice is a brand new model: to move toward hyperlinking in the text, and using some type of standardized works cited/bibliography page.

Any thoughts?

Update: The little girl will now take bottles. She still will not take a pacifier, but will take my knuckle instead of nursing constantly--thank God, as she's started teething.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

For Mousie

Because one of my blog friends is sick, I'm posting one of my easy chicken soup recipes.

2 quarts of chicken broth*
1 package of dry tortellini or raviolini
1 can of chicken breast, drained
2 c frozen veggie mix
1-2 t. minced garlic** (about 2-4 cloves of garlic--the little pieces, not the whole bulb)
3 T dried minced onion***
generous pinch dried rosemary

1. Pour the chicken broth into a large pot (2.5-3 quart is a bit small--use a small stock pot if you've got one). Turn burner to high.

2. While you wait for the broth to start boiling, add chicken breast, garlic, onion, and rosemary.

3. Once the broth is boiling, add pasta and veggies. Turn the heat down a bit (to prevent boiling over), and cook until pasta and veggies are done to your taste.

Serve hot with toast or crackers. Heats up well the second day. Tastes much better than what you get out of a can.

* The Swanson in a box is good, but expensive. Stick to the store brand in a box, or use cans. I use canned chicken broth I buy in bulk from Sam's Club.
**I keep minced garlic in a jar in the fridge--the bulbs dry out faster than I use them, and dehydrated garlic just loses...something.
***Dehydrated minced onion keeps forever, and (unlike garlic) doesn't lose much in the way of flavor.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Irritation and alarm

My other half and I took our two kids and went to a conservative association meeting. We came away with a little book for the kids called Founders' Fables that teach lessons based on the Constitution. It's very cute, and very well done.

We also came away with a deep-seated frustration that the presentations offered were so basic. Seriously, people--what the hell is wrong with you? How in the hell can anyone be unaware that there is no special trust fund for social security? Who doesn't know that the current generation of workers is paying for the current generation of retirees? Who doesn't know that the population of workers is shrinking while the population of retirees is growing?

Worst of all, who simply whines "I want the money I was promised, no matter that it's at the expense of my kids and grandkids?"

So. There's the irritation. Here's the alarm.

Most of my readers are aware that I'm in Missouri. We've had "Fair Tax" legislation floated about for a couple of years, now. It sank in committee. Simply couldn't garner enough support.

Instead of abandoning it for a flat income tax (sensible--which is why politicians won't go for it), they've re-named it the Missouri Jobs Act.

Okay, first off: the whole "Something failed to gain support from the sheep--I mean voters, so let's sneak it past them by renaming it" alarms me. It's related to the whole pride issue I wrote about a bit more than two years ago now.

The reasons a sales tax didn't gain traction are too numerous to mention. Let's talk about the effects we can expect to see in Missouri if they succeed in passing this renamed "Fair Tax."

People within about thirty minutes' drive of a state line are going to do the majority of their shopping--especially on big ticket items--out of state. This directly results in...

1. Fewer sales made in state. Fewer sales mean smaller profits, as well as smaller amounts collected in state taxes.

2a. Smaller profits mean overheads must be lowered. Overhead includes employee wages. That means that people are going to be fired. Which, in turn, means not only is less money going to be spent in-state, but more unemployment is going to have to be paid out.

2b. Items sitting on shelves will have their prices dropped in an effort to sell them, leading to an even smaller profit margin, even with fewer employees. Small business are still going to go out of business.

3. Shoppers fleeing the state to shop will eventually lead politicians to increase the tax rates, and possibly re-apply an income tax on top of the "fair tax."

4. Both businesses and income earners will begin to flee the state.

The Fair Tax is not a good idea, not in this economy. Many of us knew that, and that's why it was defeated under the proper name. Re-naming it and foisting it on us again demonstrates a level of deceptiveness and chutzpah that just frightens me. Tells me that my home state is determined to self-destruct.