Friday RNC Hangover Comments

Sorry to be late – I realized after Romney’s speech last night that I had to finish payroll for today. The computer was acting funny, so I had to reboot it – twice – before I could get payroll finished. Just as I was about to go to bed, I realized that the trash had not been taken out, so it was up to me to gather the trash and get the can out to the street. Then I went straight to bed. Didn’t sleep as well as I should have, so I’m running a little late.

Handsome has a birthday celebration this weekend. I get to hang out with the in-laws for a while. His birthday is on Labor Day (appropriate, as his labor was 25½ hours of baby-birthing fun!), but we’ll be celebrating it with mother-in-law on Saturday.

So here we are – the Republican convention is over, the Democrat convention is coming. What did you think of the speeches last night? I thought that there were some very effective, humanizing efforts made to make Romney appear not only capable, but relatable. Of course, I kind of expected him to be wearing a cape when he finally arrived on stage, but that’s to be expected – this was his day, after all. Now the Democrats have their convention time to bash him continuously, with the media lap dogs covering every (white) speaker slavishly.

Will they be effective? Will anyone watch? Will anyone care?

Thursday Mint Julep Open Comments

I’ve opined about the Martini and the water of life from Scotland before.

I would like to discuss another simple, yet classic mixed drink, the Mint Julep. It is very simple and very refreshing on long, hot summer days in the south.

The essence of the recipe is:

2 1/2 oz of good bourbon (e.g., Maker’s Mark or better)
A couple of sprigs of fresh spearmint (peppermint is for philistines)
A teaspoon of sugar (some recipes call for powdered sugar – do not fall for it – regular granulated sugar is a good abrasive for the muddling process – see below)
A teaspoon of water
Crushed ice

In a Tom Collins glass (or an actual Julep glass if you can acually find one) muddle the bottom several leaves of the mint, sugar and water. Don’t be a New York sissy about the muddling. Muddle it so it knows it’s been muddled. Muddle the bejeebers out of it. When you’ve muddled it sufficiently, you’ll have a green, sweet, minty paste in the bottom of your glass.

Fill the glass with crushed ice (Sonic ice – aka rabbit turd ice – works very well for this) and pour the bourbon in. Top off with additional ice. If performed properly, you’ll have what amounts to a mint-infused bourbon slush.

Garnish with the stem and top leaves of the mint sprigs.

Sip while talking in an exaggerated Kentucky Colonel accent. Embrace your internal Foghorn J. Leghorn.

For extra flavor, steep a whole bunch of crushed spearmint in a quart jar of bourbon overnight – even longer is even better.

Where’s The Wagonburner?

First, I apologize in advance for the (lack of) quality of the pictures below. My driver, let’s call him Leonard, thought he was the second coming of Parnelli Jones, so most of the pictures I took out the car window were redshifted. These were merely blurry:


Bucolic countryside buildings:

Bucolic countryside:

Bucolic local agriculture:

Lastly, a view out the window of my luxuriously swanky accommodations:

This is classic. I got this note under my door:

Search [my company] Becomes you tomorrow as hotel in 8:00 am here

Translation: “The driver will be here at 8:00am to take you to the plant.”

Monday Pallets Open Comments

Soon enough, this conversation will turn to the RNC. Or the oncoming disaster of Isaac. Then there’s the “wasted war on a simple plant” and the antagonists and protagonists on the topic will engage in mortal combat over the issue.

But on a lighter note, before blood is drawn, I recall a conversation regarding pallets. I’ve always been interested in reusing items – not necessarily because I’m “green,” but more because I grew up in a large family with limited resources, and I tend toward the frugal rather than the spendthrift. And reusing materials sparks a bit of creativity, too.

So – here I bring to you – uses for pallets (other than firewood):

But then, there’s an argument against reusing them.

Regular readers here know I’m always up for turning something old into something new. But in the case of wood pallets — those seemingly tempting sources of free wood that sometimes linger outside stores — think twice before bringing them into your home.

If you’ve missed recent news reports, shipping pallets have been implicated in a couple of recent cases of bacterial and chemical contamination. Testing confirmed that pallets have issues, and the National Consumers League wants rules enacted,


I guess even recycling wooden pallets isn’t without its controversy.

So, let the conversation begin.

Weekend Squawkie-Tooter Open Comments

I was doing my thing the other day, surfing around in various corners of the internet where the faint of heart tend not to venture.

Lo and behold, but what do I find? Our erstwhile commenter, resident curmudgeon, stud muffin, and crank, Squawkie-Tooter.

Looks like he had finally had enough and lost whatever may have remained of his senses and had hisself a one-man riot.

He was apparently being visited by his cousin Deng Tsao-Tooter, who made breakfast or something.

Another cousin, Boris Shostakovich-Tooter wasn’t able to visit, but set a nice picture of himself and his employer, an anonymous international arms dealer.

Friday Artsy Open Comments

I saw several links to this site in lots of places over the past couple of days. The pictures are not photographs; they are pen and ink drawings.

BIC pen and ink. It seems like I can’t get a Bic pen to work without a few globs and/or skips marring my latest efforts at doodling while trying to stay awake during yet another meeting.

These people draw pictures almost photographic in their detail.

Others are made with “regular” pens and ink.

Some use other media.

There are some actual photographs, too.

I should point out that there are some picture that are not work-safe. All of them are hidden behind registration and a couple of click-through pages. In other words, you won’t accidentally have something pop up on its own.

Thursday Open Comments

Sorry for the delay. After moving my dirt last night and getting dinner, my muse and I had an evening together. I finally got my latest character down on paper, and now his mother is knocking around in my head.

Anyway, that is MY reason for not putting up a thread for today. I was entertaining company last night.

The door is open, the Couch has been cleared of newspaper, and I’ll start making the tea. Just don’t put your dirty feet up on the couch and watch where you sit — Barf Kitty’s been busy.

Wednesday Ghost Bikes Open Comments

I was listening to the radio on the way home and a segment came up that I immediately (and permanently) thought was a tad bit creepy.

I imagine most of you have seen white crosses along local roadways for several years. Our fine busybody friends at MADD came up with that one to remember those killed by drunk drivers. At first, this was a laudable goal, but as time wore on, we started seeing more and more of these crosses springing up everywhere.

After some time, the decedent in a given accident didn’t even have to have been killed by an drunk driver, or a sober driver, or anyone else for that matter. Once someone had met his untimely demise on a highway or byway of our great land, it was suddenly imperative that someone memorialize the unfortunate.

Along the way, the simple (well-constructed) cross gave way to more ersatz and less structurally-sound versions. These were often festooned with (cheap plastic) flowers, balloons (the mylar kind that last forever), small stuffed animals, signs, etc.

They had become eyesores. Worse still, the local highway department or county road crews would not remove them for what I assume would be fear of some sort of angry response from the families of the casualties.

I understand that people have different grief processes, but do they really need to drop a load of what will be garbage within six months along a local street for the rest of us to endure simply because Johnny or Susie had an unfortunate accident and didn’t make it?

Is not a funeral adequate for the grief process? Is not an obituary notice sufficient for whatever public attention needs to be paid?

Back to the segment on the radio:
There is a group/movement called Ghost Bikes whose purpose is to memorialize bicycle enthusiasts who met their ultimate fate while riding a bicycle along a street or roadway. Instead of a cross (and teddy bears, ribbons, cards, plastic flowers, and other sundry crap), these people get a bicycle, paint it white, and chain it to a road sign, lamppost, tree, or other suitably immovable object or structure to memorialize their fallen comrade.

Some are simple (and creepy):

Some resemble the crosses that we have seen the past several years:

Can we please stop with this before we end up putting crosses in hospital rooms?