Archive for April, 2008

Comments on the dance –

29 April 08

Now you may wonder what an old grump like me could say about dancing. Well, brace yourselves. For about two years in my late twenties I made my living as a dancer and a ballroom dance teacher.

Obviously, my bias is towards what the ballet types sneeringly refer to as “social dancing”. Ah yes, I lead, female follows. Good old atavistic, fun stuff. Ballet types do not seem to regard ballroom or tap or folk as “serious” dancing. On the other paw, I do not regard ballet as dancing. No, I am not disparaging same. What it is, to me, is quite beautiful gymnastics. Extremely difficult, but usually carefully choreographed. Relying more on careful counting and memorization than free-form and rhythm.

What has brought on these musings is watching the Michael Flatley Irish dance DVDs. It seems that every third or fourth generation rediscovers some form of tap, and Irish hard-shoe dancing is certainly one of the genetic ancestors of tap. Irish, tap, folk are almost always exuberant expressions of joyful music with a strong, driving beat and a happy melodic line.

The early Shirley Temple/Bill Robinson (Bojangles) collaborations were sheer joy to watch. Especially, see any of the routines involving stairs. Bill Robinson invented the up and down stairs tap routines back in his Vaudeville days. The reason that his taps sound a bit different than others you may have heard is that his taps are wooden rather than metal. Another one of his innovations.

For tap raised to high art, see any of the Eleanor Powell movies. Gorgeous woman. Also any of Frederick Austerlitz’s movies. Oh yeah, you know him as Fred Astair. For a special treat see the collaboration Broadway Melody of 1940. The dances in that are as near perfection as you will ever see.

Ann Miller’s Too Darn Hot routine in Kiss Me Kate is also superb.

The problem is that by the 1950s MGM trended toward ballet type routines in their musicals. See Gene Kelly’s later works, or even Fred Astair’s later movies and you will see what I mean. Great dancing, but not the joyous fusions of music and exuberant movement of the earlier stuff. Ballet is great, but it is not and cannot be the supremely stimulating rush of a tap or ballroom routine.

I am vaguely surprised that some movie mogul has not tried to incorporate Irish dance into a musical. And I’m not so sure it would work, anyway. It will be interesting to see what the next craze is, not that I’ll live long enough to find out if it takes another generation or so.

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Lamb Chops –

26 April 08

When it’s spring and the birds are blooming and the trees are singing, or something like that, and a young man’s fancy turns to… Well, never mind, we know what young men’s fancy is. But an old guy’s fancy may turn to – Lamb Chops! And yes, Shari Lewis was nice for that other fancy.

Yeah, I know, we always thought of lamb as the overdone leg that mama would have sometimes. And only sissies eat lamb and I don’t like lamb. Guys, grow up, get over it. Real men eat whatever they damn well please. I know in the South manly-men don’t eat lamb. But the rest of the world does, and lamb is mighty fine eating. And yes, good lamb chops are expensive. But, if you have a Costco or something similar that does wholesale pricing, and you keep a serious lookout for sales, you just might be able to afford them. You want at least double-cut, and preferably triple-cut. The bigger the cut number, the thicker the meat. Now single-cut (about ½”) is ok for pork chops, but just will not do for lamb. Double-cut is twice as thick. Triple cut is 3 times thicker.

Set the oven for 450°.

Lamb chops, about 2 per person if you are having a good, filling, side dish or two. 3 per if they’re only double-cut. I’m talking about the small sized chops here. About ½ the size of pork chops. You’ll know them when you see them. You won’t usually see the pork chop size. They get reserved for restaurants. Or they come from sheep, not lambs. You don’t want sheep.

Now, you want some good, fresh mint. Yeah, you can use dried, but fresh is better.

You also want a good grade of mint sauce. Cross & Blackwell is the very best. You can make your own if you really want to. Mint sauce is nothing more than an infusion of mint leaves in a sweet leaching liquid. Oh, all right, a herbal vinegar, if you please:
1/2 cup finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup English malt vinegar
Mix it up in a saucepan, simmer for about 20 minutes, let it cool, decant into airtight containers (old condiment bottles work well).
Take some butter, cold from the refrigerator. Add about 1 ½ tablespoons per chop.
1 clove of fresh garlic per chop, minced. Yes, they’re garlicky. Goes nicely with lamb.
Small bowl food processor or lots of elbow grease.

Put the butter in, add the garlic and get it mixed in. Add just enough mint sauce for flavor and work it in. Don’t put so much sauce in that the mixture becomes liquid. You want this to be rather stiff. That’s why we use cold butter. Work in a good amount of mint. I put in about as much as the mix will hold. Your taste may call for some less. Put the chops in a pan with a grill rack. I always line the pan with aluminum foil, otherwise it’s a mess to clean up. Set the chops on the rack, getting each as close to level as possible. Now, for each chop, dig down with your fingers beside each bone, making a little pocket. Fill the pockets with the butter mixture and keep heaping it on the chops until you run out of topping. Really mound it up. Pop in the oven for 45 minutes for triple-cut. The cooking time can be varied to suit your taste. This should get you done with very little pink. If you like your lamb a bit rarer, reduce the time. I do like mine about medium, but Herself can’t stand underdone lamb.

Of course, you can always pan-fry them. Just treat them like any other kind of meat. You know the drill – Add some olive oil, add some butter. Get the pan hot to where the mix shimmers slightly and the butter is no longer foaming. Ease the flame down between medium and medium-high depending on your range-top. Slide a little crushed garlic in and cook until it is brown, then remove the debris. Add the chops that you have salted and peppered, both sides. Try about 5 minutes a side for double-cut. This should be about medium. If this is too rare for you, just add a bit more time, but be careful of burning. You may need to reduce the heat and go for a little longer time. Anyway, garnish with some chopped mint. Serve with mint sauce.

You can also grill lamb chops, the rules are the same as for any red meat. You might try grilled with some kind of rosemary marinade. The Greeks really like rosemary with their lamb, and they are the experts. Actually, most all the Middle East types deal quite well with lamb. Look for Greek, Lebanese, and so on recipes. They are all the same basic culture, though they will all deny it. And may want to cut your throat for saying so. Alexander had the policy of mingling the cultures. Not to mention the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire – need I go on?

But I’ll get more into Middle Eastern lamb recipes at a later time. Oh hell, I might as well talk a little about kibbe – there are a million spellings. The basic kibbe is:

1 lb. Finely minced lamb. It mostly gets ground in this country – but that is not right. Keep the fat content down low.
1 medium onion, finely minced. Or more, to taste. You can also puree, but I like fine mince better.
2 teaspoons good kosher salt, or less, to taste
1 teaspoon cumin (optional)
Pepper to taste (optional)
1/2 cup fine burghul – cracked bulghar wheat – soaked for 30 minutes and pressed dry.

Mix the whole mess together. If it is too sticky, try adding a little water.

Now you can bake it or fry it (make that 1 cup burghul for cooked). Deep dish, patties, whatever. Don’t overcook it dry.

But the absolute best way to eat it is raw, like steak tartar. It is called kibbe naeya. I can just see the queasy looks out there. Raw lamb, yech! But it really is delicious. And I wouldn’t lie to you about something as important as food! Of course, you have to have a supply of meat that you can absolutely trust, and that may be hard. If you get clean meat, skim off the surface 1/8″ or so with a clean sharp knife and do your own grinding or mincing you are pretty safe. Anyway, get (or bake) some good fresh pita bread. Get a really good grade of extra virgin olive oil. Greek or Lebanese is better than Italian for this. Put some spicy veggies in the olive oil if you like. Now, tear off a strip of bread, get some kibbe and some olive oil on it. If you’re going to be authentic, use a central communal bowl, and only use your right hand to tear and roll the bread. Depending on the place and local custom, you might have a central dish of olive oil or one per side of the main dish, or even individual dipping bowls. All samey-samey. Chow down and enjoy – it is wonderful!

Marriage and Morals –

24 April 08

The current climate in this country at this time (America, early 21st century) is anything goes, the kinkier, the better. Plain old heterosexuals are regarded as somewhat second class, and/or persecutors of whichever minority is protesting. This is somewhat contrary to the historical rules of most of human existance. Inherent in the human is the drive to procreate, and, speaking for the male, to spread his seed as far and as wide as possible. Societies have evolved rules that are designed to protect women and children so that the society and the species may prosper. Most have developed the one man, one woman, and their children pattern. Where one sex is conspicuously scarce other patterns have been used. In many war torn societies where the men were killed off polygamy was considered ok. The reverse was true in early Polynesian expansion (and other places), when the women were rare, and polyandry was occasionally practiced. Even in those societies where the multiple spouses were ok the standard one woman, one man was the norm. Look around at Moslem societies today. Even though up to four wives are allowed and as many concubines as can be supported, the normal family unit in Moslem countries is still the one woman, one man pattern.

I can only really be an authority on heterosexuality. Yes, I am that square. Monogamy may or may not be natural by our current social lights, but it is the norm over most societies throughout history. Why has this evolved? According to Eastern Orthodox Christian thinking, God does not make souls. God finished creation and then rested. What He did, rather than creating each new soul, was set up a mechanism whereby the parents create the soul in the act of procreation. This is somewhat at odds with Western thought, particularly Protestant. However, this does explain some otherwise puzzling things. If there is a merging of soul-stuff with the sex act, then it becomes apparent that one night stands and irresponsible sex with various partners is dangerous to the soul. If there is a sharing on a real level then there is some shredding of the soul when indiscriminate partners come and go. On the other hand, a monogamous long-term relationship leads to the strengthening of the soul bond. This sounds somewhat preposterous until we have actually experienced this merging and sharing. It takes several years for this to become apparent to us – somewhere between seven and fifteen years is what I observe with most couples. It seems to take thirty to fifty years to fully mature. Check around you. Observe the people that you know that are in a long and satisfying marriage. You can see the external effects of this blending, which takes place over many years. These couples tend to be more satisfied with life in general than those who have never taken the time and effort to develop this long term merging. Also observe those who have not been in a long and faithful relationship. They tend to be much more bitter and cynical about life. I do not know if this soul-bonding is possible in a homosexual relationship. The homosexuals that I have known over the past several years do not seem to exhibit this. It may be out there, but I have not observed it.

It is an interesting phenomenon worth noting that, while birth control is readily available and cheap, the majority of children born in this country are illegitimate. The general dumbing down of our society is nowhere more evident than in our stupid and ignorant disregard of natural law where our own lives and offspring are concerned. There is more venereal disease in the population than at any other time in history. In spite of the current worship of nature, we do not seem to want to learn about or deal with our own nature. Our society seems more interested in brain controlling our children to care more about “Mother Nature” as goddess than about human nature and the proper control of same. People seem more interested in the government taking control of everyone’s life than they are about taking control of their own lives.

The conclusion that I can draw is that there is more to the standard Christian doctrine of fidelity than the do your own thing crowd seems to want to admit. There seem to be good and practical reasons for the morals that have developed and preached for centuries. Not to mention that in my observation the people who lead an immoral life seem to be pretty much less than happy, productive people.

It may be observed that the statement that is made is Exodus 20:5 about visiting the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation is not a statement of a harsh and vengeful God, as many would have it. Genetic damage shows up in subsequent generations. This seems to hold for hateful and abusive behavior as well. Children reflect the genes of their parents. Children reflect the emotional and spiritual damage of parents also. It can take several generations to clear up this damage. Looks to me like Exodus 20:5 is just a flat statement of fact about human life.

Where am I going with this? Not necessarily anywhere in particular. However, if your moral code is “do your own thing” or “whatever feels good” or “I do what I want when I want” I would suggest that you have not formed an adult and informed set of personal morals. If you have rejected any constraints on your behavior then your moral code is that of a child. I do not necessarily suggest that all people need to follow the traditional Judeo/Christian moral code blindly, just because papa said so. However, to reject that set of morals without careful and informed consideration is really quite stupid. One’s moral code should enable one to live with oneself and one’s neighbors in some sort of sane balance.

We have swung the pendulum too far (as usual). We have gone from a society that would condemn and persecute (and perhaps prosecute) anyone who did not adhere (at least publicly) to the standard puritanical set of morals and behaviors of the time to a society that is totally afraid to say that anyone’s behavior is unacceptable, unless one of the political hot topics has been violated. Look at the difference in the treatment of Don Imus and known carriers of venereal disease. Imus was hounded out of his job for making one stupid (but poitically insensitive) remark. Our public health departments are not allowed to make a community aware of a known and active spreader of venereal diseases, much less stop the individual from continuing to infect (and kill) unknowing victims. Look at the difficult time we have with known sexual predators, who could be stopped rather easily if we decided to do so.

Old Fashioned Sourdough Pancakes (and Waffles) –

22 April 08

The old Western and Alaskan sourdoughs (as the miners and trappers were called) used sourdough for just about everything that had to do with wheat flour. It was a necessary and integral part of life in the wilderness. Sourdough pancakes were a frequent menu item. It is one of the simple pleasures of life.

500 grams of fed sourdough starter (about 2 cups)
25 grams of sugar or 30 grams of honey (about 2 Tbs)
30 grams of olive oil or other oil of choice (4 Tbs) – You can also use butter
1 large egg
4 grams salt (1/2 tsp)
5 grams baking soda (1 tsp)
10 grams warm water (1 Tbs)

A bit of historical note here: About the time of Alaskan exploration by the Americans and Canadians baking powder became available. The sourdoughs were deeply suspicious of baking powder and there was a rumor that if suppressed sexual desire (the salt-peter of its day). A prostitute (so the story goes) wintered at one of the gold mining camps. Unfortunately for her the men had made no strikes and had no money, so they stayed away from her in droves. As the spring thaw opened the adjacent river she hopped one of the first boats out. As she pulled away from the shore she shouted back, “Goodbye – you baking powder eating sons of bitches”. Anyway, use baking soda for the authentic historical kind of pancakes.

Let the sourdough starter sit overnight at room temp and get built up nicely. The next morning add the sugar, salt, egg and oil or butter. Mix this up well and let sit as long as you like while you get the rest of breakfast together. Just before cooking dissolve the baking soda in the warm water and gently fold it into the mixture.

Heat up a cast iron skillet or griddle (or whatever you use). Brush oil lightly onto the skillet with a silicon brush (regular brushes melt). When the heat and oil are just right it only takes seconds to cook each side of the pancake golden brown. You only want pancakes the size of silver dollars or so. Do not make them very big or they won’t cook through before burning. I find that a 1/8c measuring cup is just right. Drop the batter onto the hot skillet with a kind of swirling motion and when bubbles form on the top they are ready to be flipped. It will only take a few before you get the rhythm just right.

Serve them buttered with jam or honey or maple syrup or whatever you like. I like mine just plain buttered with over medium eggs and bacon.

You can also use this same batter with your waffle iron. It will probably take a bit of experimentation to figure which setting gives you the best results with your particular iron.

AIDS is a government plot –

20 April 08

– to bring about the complete genocide of people of color.

So speaks Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s beloved pastor.

Let’s look at this rationally. There are three ways to get AIDS that I know of:

  1. Blood transfusion or dirty infected medical instruments
  2. Sharing dirty needles of infected people while injecting drugs
  3. Sex with infected partner

OK. So we are going to give AIDS transfusions to all the people of color in the world and keep the blood supply for white people clean. Yeah, right. What kind of paranoid kook thinks that would work? What kind of rational US Senator and presidential hopeful sits there and listens to this kind of insanity every week?

Dirty needles and indiscriminate sex. Yeah, right. We all know that those black people are druggies and have no morals and screw anything in sight.

Deep sigh. If a white man had said those kinds of things he would correctly be branded as an idiot, an asshole, a racial bigot, and every other derogatory term in the left’s limited vocabulary. Since it is a black man (and a preacher at that), he gets a pass from the mainstream media and the libs who support Obama. Mr. Obama soft-pedals and dodges any questions on why he has not repudiated this kook,

People, wake up. Stupidity and bigotry do not belong to any particular race. Actually, that’s wrong. They belong to the human race.

If a Republican had intimated that the AIDS epidemic would be effective in the black communities because blacks are less moral than whites said Republican would have been fried by the media and the race baiters of this country. If a presidential candidate of the Republican persuasion were even remotely associated with such a pastor the press would be crucifying him. Why does Obama get a pass? Didn’t we fight the fight to get equal treatment for all people? Why do the libs get passes for outrageous and unacceptable behavior?

Wake up people. Equality means just that – treat all fairly and equitably. If you will fry the right – then apply the same standards to the left.

Seems to me that if Mr. Wright were a Christian of the type I’m familiar with he’d be telling his people not to participate in immoral conduct. If you don’t do drugs or have sex outside marriage the odds of getting AIDS are pretty well non-existent. Just a thought to consider.

By the way, this is only one of the lunatic statements of Mr. Wright. There are many, many more. One must question the integrity of Mr. Obama for having followed this man for 20 years, and for accepting his support until the story of this gentleman’s crazy statements was outed. Says more about Obama and the libs than it does about Mr. Wright – who is so very wrong.

Tempura –

17 April 08

Like anything else that they do the Japanese take something relatively simple, spend a lifetime doing it elegantly, and produce something magical that will drive you nuts trying to duplicate it.

Tempura was introduced into Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The Japanese took the concept, filed the serial numbers off, redesigned the body style, changed the paint color and came up with something totally wonderful and uniquely Japanese.

Tempura is battered and fried food. Usually with a nice dipping sauce. Since this is Japanese the order is backward from what you might expect. Make the dipping sauce first, have everything ready to serve, get the oil just right, then fry and eat immediately.

So, the dipping sauce. For each two or three people:

1 tablespoon of mirin
1 tablespoon of sake
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon dashi no moto (soup stock, optional)
fresh grated ginger to taste (optional)
wasabi powder to taste (optional)

There are about a million and one other dipping sauces that you can whip up, but the basic jobbie is the first 3 or 4 ingredients. If you can’t find dashi no moto don’t freak, it’s rather optional.

The batter:

Stick your water in the refrigerator for a good while. You want the water to be ice-cold, but you don’t want to use ice water. You will get better results from a soft flour of the Southern persuasion than a bread flour, so use Martha White, White Lily or some other Southern flour.

1 egg, beaten
1 cup ice-cold water
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sake

The normal Japanese method is to use chopsticks to mix up the batter and to mix it just before using. They are right, it works best. Beat the egg, mix in the water, then quickly and lightly mix in the flour. You do want some small lumps, you do not want a completely smooth paste. As a side note, you can spend a good bit of time and money looking for special tempura batter. If you get it, follow the directions. You really don’t need to as this batter works fine. There are also some fairly elaborate batters out there. Experiment as you like.

Two schools of thought on the battering. One school is just batter and fry. The other school is batter, roll in dry flour, then fry. Try both ways and see which one you prefer. You could also do a flour, then batter approach. Do not think that you need to get a thick coat, you don’t. In fact, you generally don’t want to completely cover the object with batter. A thin coat with about 50% exposure of the food is about right. The Japanese don’t overdo anything and this is not like the thick American breading.

Frying temp is 340°F to 350°F. Now a purist will use a mix of sesame and vegetable oil. A true tempura fanatic can tell the difference. I mostly just use canola or peanut oil. This can be strained, cleaned, and reused two or three times. If it smells a bit off, get some fresh.

Anyway, fry for two or three minutes or until golden brown. What to tempura? Just about anything. Shrimp, vegetables cut into thin strips about 1-1/2″ long, anything else that you have on hand. About any seafood or vegetable can be done, just keep the pieces bite size. Broccoli is outstanding.

Like I said, typically Japanese. Simple and elegant. Any fool can learn to do it just by following these simple directions. Any fool can spend a lifetime perfecting this to the high art of a true tempura chef. The results are worth the effort.

The myth of the bomb –

15 April 08

One of the myths that liberals seem to believe that gives them comfort as they try to portray the US as an evil country is that the atomic bombing of Japan was totally unnecessary and evil.

Let us look at some historical fact. Not myth. Fact.

All prior Allied battle experience with the Japanese forces showed that they would fight like madmen and would rarely surrender. The Allies had learned to respect this fierce and implacable foe. And they had learned that Japanese territory could only be conquered with great cost in men and material. The Battle of Okinawa only confirmed the Allies worst views.

The Battle of Okinawa was fought as the prelude to and the staging point for the invasion of Japan proper. It must be realized that the oath of a Japanese soldier was to fight to the death and never to embarrass his family by surrender. The Battle of Okinawa lasted from late March to June of 1945.

The battle has been called the “rain of steel” because of the intensity of the fighting, the gunfire, and the sheer volume of men and material the battle cost. US losses were somewhere around 70,000 men. The Japanese losses were somewhat similar. The civilian deaths were somewhere between 70,000 to 140,000. Almost the entire infrastructure of the island was destroyed and the remaining civilian populous would have died of starvation if not for Allied relief  efforts. We are looking at somewhere between 200,000 to 250,000 casualties for the conquest of this island.

The Battle of Okinawa saw heavy use of the Kamikaze tactics. The Japanese would not surrender. The US High Command estimated that the conquest of Japan proper would cost over 1,000,000 US casualties, probably another million of other Allied troops, several millions Japanese military, and tens of millions estimated Japanese civilian deaths. We are probably talking about 15 million casualties to subdue the Japanese Empire.

There was no way to deal with the Japanese other than defeating them. They would not surrender without defeat. They would not come to a bargaining table and promise to be good boys in the future.

It must be remembered that the US had been bombing Japanese cities since1942, with great destruction and somewhere around 500,000 civilian casualties and some 5 million rendered homeless. The Japanese will to fight had not been weakened in the least.

The High Command decided that possibly the atomic bomb could get through the Japanese will to fight to the end and might result in millions of lives saved. On August 6, 1945 Hiroshima was bombed with casualties around 70,000. The Japanese did not immediately surrender so the city of Nagasaki was bombed on August 9, with casualties around 40,000. The Japanese finally understood that total destruction would be their lot if they continued to fight. It is true that many more people died later of radiation poisoning, bringing the totals to 140,000 for Hiroshima and 80,000 for Nagasaki. However, 220,000 is better than 15 million by a long shot.

Herself Sez: So many people are convinced that the Atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima caused millions of deaths that I wanted to add just a touch of reality here. This is the researched and documented numbers of dead from the final statistics:

TABLE A: Estimates of Casualties
Hiroshima Nagasaki
Pre-raid population 255,000 195,000
Dead 66,000 39,000
Injured 69,000 25,000
Total Casualties 135,000 64,000

So in this case, Himself actually overestimated the deaths and injuries. Now, back to Himself’s rantings!

Now, libs, please explain to me why the US is so evil for using a weapon that saved 14-3/4 million lives and kept the Allies from having to completely destroy the infrastructure of Japan, which would have resulted in the complete obliteration of the country.

Liberal Fraud

13 April 08

By now everyone who has not had their head in the sand has heard that the current data on weather change indicate that we are not only not in global warming but may, in fact, be headed toward a mini ice age. That’s a definite maybe – we don’t yet have enough info to form a good picture.

This has proven to be one of the coldest winters on record and the ice caps are not only up to where they were previously, but are larger. It seems that the sun does have more to do with earth’s climate than does human activity. No matter what the environuts have put out they are not qualified weather scientists.

It is worthy of note that John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, and eminently more qualified than 99% of the populous to render an opinion on the subject has written extensively debunking the global warming myth. He has even advocated suing Al Gore and all those involved in the “carbon credits” scam. An article worth reading is http://media.kusi.clickability.com/documents/Comments+on+Global+Warming1.pdf

I will be willing to bet that none of the true believers of the church of global warming are likely to examine their beliefs in light of the current data. Sort of – “Don’t confuse me with facts, my minds already made up”. The only problem with this nutty religion is that these people have taken over the Democrat party and a good many Republicans – and they are making law based on emotion rather than science. We are wasting resources that could be better spent on other things that are of consequence.

Another current news story from the environazis is the eco-terrorist firebombing of the million dollar homes in Seattle. These homes were being built to all the latest green standards. In showing their “love for mother earth” these idiots have damaged the environment far more than the contractor, who was being as careful as possible to be a good environmental citizen. Their activity has dumped all the products of combustion that they decry into the air. I wonder how many phony carbon offsets they need to buy to wash the soot off their hands? Would these people care if human lives were lost in their terrorist activities. Would carbon offsets wash the blood from their hands? Or does their “purity of belief” exempt them from the condemnation they heap on everyone else. And just think of all the poisons that were washed into the water table. Yeah, they really showed love for mama earth. That’s like killing your mother to prove that you love her. Not rational logic.

I do not see any difference between these people who would force their will on everyone else, either by force of law – with the implied threat of punishment if we do not accede to their world view – and any other dictatorial madman. The Moslem terrorists, the IRA terrorists, the Eco-Terrorists, the Spanish Inquisition, Hitlerian Germany. All samey-samey. Any of the above will destroy, torture, kill, jail, fine, or whatever if you disagree with their agenda and do not bow to their will.

It is high time to reject the forces of the left in this country and tell them to go away, we will not surrender our freedom in the name of junk science.

This does not mean that we should not be responsible stewards of the environment. But we are stewards, not slaves, and should act as such.

Pithy Comments –

10 April 08

Pacifists:

A pacifist is a coward. It depends on the individual whether it is physical cowardice or moral cowardice – or both. It is most certainly intellectual cowardice. The pacifist enjoys all the benefits of group membership without any of the responsibilities.

I find it of interest that the majority of the American pacifist groups are of the extremely aggressive terrorist mentality. “I will kill you if you do not give up your violent ways” seems to be the ideology that they espouse. I also find it of interest that they are willing to commit all kinds of indignities upon our people to keep us from defending ourselves. They do not seem willing to get in the way of those who attack us. If they were honest in their goals they would work to stop aggressors, not defenders. It is one thing to do their protesting where the force of law protects their lunatic behavior. It would be quite another thing to protest in the Middle East. Like I said – cowards.

The pacifists of the past used their cowardice to exempt themselves from the responsibilities and dangers of protecting themselves and their loved ones in time of danger. The current crop seems to not only dislike themselves – an excellent judgment – but they seem to hate this country enough to want no one to be able to protect himself or his family. Not only cowards but traitors as well. Know a leopard by his spots.

Morals:

We’ve lost any concept of morality. I’m not just talking about the lack of judgment in screwing anyone, anywhere, anytime, such that half the populous has HPV or some other form of venereal disease. I’m talking about any sense of personal integrity. People no longer seem to understand that lying diminishes their personal worth. They do not seem to base their lives on anything but expediency of the moment and the currently accepted ideas of the herd. Having warm, fuzzy concern for polar bears seems to be more important than forming a firm set of personal mores built on intense self-examination and careful thought. I’m not talking about kowtowing to Mrs. Grundy, but a careful evaluation and thoughtful formation of the standards guiding one’s conduct is a requisite for any rational human.

Politics:

Political positions should be formed after careful examination of the issues and people involved. If the people that line up with your particular prejudices seem to be good and moral people you are probably on the right track. It the people who align with your beliefs seem to be bums, criminals, adulterers, thieves and so forth, it might be a good idea to re-examine your position. You are judged by the company you keep.

Opinions:

Form opinions after careful examination of the facts. Not some nutcase group’s personal blowhard bogus information. Search out the facts. It is ok to take an expert’s evaluation in a field that you do not understand. But if it is a matter that you can comprehend with a little skull sweat, then you have the obligation to learn. Currently people argue from emotion and bias and tend to make up bogus facts and statistics to bolster their precious biases. Do not be swayed by emotional arguments. Get the facts. Be like Sgt. Friday – “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts”.

Low self-esteem:

This is one of the biggest crocks there ever was. If you do not think much of yourself then it is not up to me to give you worth. It is up to you to become a functional and useful member of society. I can provide you with the opportunity to improve yourself, but I cannot do it for you. Don’t worry about how you feel about yourself, worry about developing some useful skills. Worry about treating others with courtesy and consideration. Worry about becoming useful. Others will recognize your worth. You will then have a decent opinion of yourself. Low self-esteem will not be part of your life. Liberals like to attack symptoms. Low self-esteem is a symptom. Don’t tackle the symptom. It may be that you are not worth much. Attack the cause. Become a worthwhile human. Cure the cause and the symptom will go away.

Respect:

I do not “give” you respect. You earn it. I acknowledge the respect that you have earned. This does not mean that you should feel free to affront the dignity of those who have not earned your respect.

Manners:

Manners are not an unnecessary phoniness. Manners are the little things that enable us to live together without unnecessarily causing anger and offense. Manners enable us to help make each other feel appreciated and good. This does not mean that we should be phony in our daily relationships. Not at all, but courtesy and consideration of others will go a long way toward making your daily life and the lives of those around you pleasant.

Life:

We cannot always control external events. We can control our reactions to those external events. 90% of how we are treated is determined by how we treat others. The golden rule is alive and well. It is a jim-dandy life rule whether you are a Christian or something else. If you are uncomfortable with a Christian concept then what goes around comes around or karma will do just about as well.

You have to respect other’s beliefs:

Nonsense. If someone chooses to believe that the earth is flat, the sun circles the earth, or the moon is made of green cheese it is crap. I don’t have to respect that. I will state that anyone is free to believe any preposterous crap that they like. But I don’t have to respect stupidity. Rosie may believe that the Twin Towers were brought down by our own government if she likes. But that is a really stupid position and I will say so. If someone wants to believe that the earth is supported on the back of a giant turtle, then that’s what they believe, but I don’t have to treat it with any degree of seriousness. I don’t have to ridicule it either. If someone is a Hindu with umpteen-eleven gods, fine. But don’t ask me to act as though that were some kind of truth. Neither will I denigrate them for that belief. Looks like we’ve got a couple of different cases here. There is reasonable religious belief, which, unless it is harmful, we must allow and not denigrate. If someone believes that anyone not of his faith will go to hell, fine. If the belief is that he should send anyone who does not share his faith to hell himself, there is a problem here. Then there are secular and/or political beliefs, which I feel totally comfortable ridiculing. Conspiracy theory, UFO nuts, or some of the wackier cults come to mind.

Environment:

You should keep your house clean. The same goes for the world that we live in. Responsible stewardship is good. This means sensible use of resources. Just as you should not throw your money down a cesspool so you should be frugal in the use of the earth’s resources. This means you should not trash the environment. Stewardship also means that it is perfectly fine to use the resources for our own reasonable uses. Contrary to some of the wilder-eyed nuts, the earth is not a goddess. The earth is our home and the home of future generations. We should use sensibly and pass it on to the next generations in good shape. A good steward passes things on in better shape than when he began.

Children:

Children are not miniature adults. They are incomplete adults. They require care, feeding, love, training, and discipline before they can become successful human beings. Discipline is just as important as any of the other factors. I’m not talking about beating a child. However, some children will require the occasional spanking. Some do not. You must carefully judge what each individual child needs at the time – and your responsibility is to provide what the child needs. Food, shelter, clothes, love, hugs, talking, spanking, medical, whatever. If you do not feed your child you are guilty of child abuse. If you beat your child you are guilty of child abuse. If you do not correctly (and dispassionately) discipline your child you are guilty of child abuse. That includes spanking where indicated and necessary. If you do not love and hug your child you are guilty of child abuse. If you do not impart a system of moral behavior to your child you are guilty of child abuse. If you do not teach your child how to function and earn a living you are guilty of child abuse. It is almost impossible to become a self-disciplined adult if discipline is not part of the growing and learning process.

I do favor spanking where needed. Discipline should be swift, dispassionate (don’t discipline when you are angry), and over quickly. The child’s mind does not work the same way as the adult. Prolonged punishment is not good. I’m always saddened when adults are afraid to discipline their children and let anger and resentment build up to a prolonged time. “You are grounded for a week” is crueler than a quick swat on the butt. A spanking will get the child’s attention, show the disapproval, and unless it is way too harsh, be over in a few minutes. At that time a loving hug can be beneficial. If you do elect to use spanking, be sure that when the discipline is over that the lectures and blame are over. If you are going to drag the emotional blackmail out then don’t use spanking, it is not fair to the child. You also cannot use spanking if there has been a significant period of time between the crime and the punishment. Spanking must be immediate to be of any use.

There are people who do not believe in spanking. That is also ok – if their children are disciplined in some other appropriate way. My observation is that the majority of those who do not believe in spanking raise self-centered, undisciplined brats. Not spanking should not be equated with not disciplining. Not spanking might well be considered child abuse in these circumstances.

Incidentally – giving the child what is needed is NOT giving what is wanted. Denying material junk may be what is best. It is not necessary for a child to have $150.00 shoes. It may, in fact, be quite detrimental to character development. Giving a kid a car on the 16th birthday may be the worst possible thing. Or it may be necessary. Personalities and circumstances determine the correct move at every turn. You gotta’ be smart to be a good parent. Smart and intelligent are not always the same thing. Sitting a kid in front of a TV or a computer may keep him quiet and be quite bad for him. Taking the time to have a family Monopoly game may be more beneficial. Reading to the kid may take some of your valuable time and energy. But it is worth it.

If you are not responsible enough to think all this through you should not procreate. If you are not willing to give the child anything needed – including your precious time and attention when the child needs it, not when it is convenient for you – then you should not procreate. If you cannot sacrifice 20+ years of your life to grow a successful human then you should not procreate. If you are not smart enough and tough enough to be your child’s parent, not his friend, then you should not procreate.

Southern Sweet Cornbread –

8 April 08

The staple of the South for many years was cornbread. The Southern wheat flours are not really very good for bread. They are super fine for pies and such. Therefore the South developed the tradition of cornbread. This is what I use when I am in the mood for cornbread. Kind of a variation of the way my mother made it. Actually, the very best cornbread I ever had was made by my best friend’s mother, but I have never been able to get the same results, even with her recipe. But this one works very nicely.

150 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (1 cup)
166 grams yellow cornmeal (1 cup) (Aunt Jemima or Perkerson’s yellow)
65 grams sugar (5 Tbs)
8 grams baking powder (2 tsp)
4 grams salt (1/2 tsp)
244 grams milk (1 cup)
65 grams bacon drippings (1/3 cup)
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Lightly grease an iron skillet with bacon grease.

Roughly mix everything up. Should have flour clumps about the size of BBs.

Bake for 26 to 30 minutes, the edges should be brown, the top golden, and a toothpick in the center should come out clean.

Serve hot with good butter. Dandy for soaking up pot likker.

I suppose that it is possible to do some substitutions to make a food nazi happy, but why bother. The flavor is the name of the game. Same with the pan. You could use a square or rectangular pan, but the purist uses an iron skillet.

Herself sez: Welllll, there is a slightly different recipe for every Southern cook!! Some people use self-rising corn meal mixes, others use white cornmeal. Some don’t add sugar, some add less sugar, some add more. Some add more shortening, some add less. Some will add “cracklins” to their cornbread. These are bits of crispy pork fat – not quite as crispy as the pork rinds you see in the grocery, but gently rendered to a slightly crispy texture. Some people use bits of “chittlins” – chicken intestines cleaned, chopped up and fried. I’m not as fond of the cornbread with cracklins or chittlins it.

The daughter-person and her husband like white cornmeal mix with little or no sugar added for making their cornbread. I prefer a sweeter, yellow cornbread, so the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s recipe suits me just fine!

If you insist on using a mix, Marie Callender’s Cornbread Mix makes my favorite flavor cornbread.


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