8.16.2014

Tainted Love

Now, you may all wonder why, in light of all the "News" flying thick and fast, I haven't been out there commenting on the vagaries of foreign policy, police states, and economic meltdowns.

Well, it is because I think that the MSM, the blogosphere, and the ranting of ninnies on twitter have degenerated into a polluted and contradictory sphere of lies, maskirovka, Madison Avenue spin, and inchoate mumblings that do more to confuse than to enlighten.

The news is now beyond my control.  It always has been, but now the situation is so bad that an old news whore such as your truly will finally have to give up and walk away.

It is sad though.  At one time in my life, I had the warm feeling that being informed allowed me to make better choices in my role in democracy.  All things being equal, I am coming to the conclusion that I have no effective role in the formation of government policy.

However, I do have a role in planting a winter garden.  Time to get cracking.

8.09.2014

Whither Windows

I try to not be one of those idiots who incessantly flame Microsoft and its products.

I love Microsoft Word.   Yes, people will tell me "Go with OpenOffice and LibreOffice and you too will become a convert".

Ain't happenin' dudes.  While the Microsoft Mothership of OS sucks big bags, their office software is the bomb.  OpenOffice and LibreOffice are stuck back at Office 95 level of capability.  Not at all bad for a free program.  Actually, it is quite an impressive feat, but LibreOffice still isn't as good as Microsoft Office.

Microsoft has the bad luck to have a marriage like the ones we all have experienced in our lives.  One where the wife is great and fun and pleasant to be around but the husband is a complete asshole.

Windows is the asshole.

8.05.2014

Condors.html

The Grosse Politik approach has been used up. Besides, it is misleading because it allows us to rest on the easy illusion that it is "they," the naughty statesmen, who are always responsible for war while "we," the innocent people, are merely led. That impression is a mistake. The diplomatic origins, so-called, of the Great War are only the fever chart of the patient; they do not tell us what caused the fever. To probe for underlying causes and deeper forces one must operate within the framework of a whole society and try to discover what moved the people in it

The Proud Tower:
A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914;
Barbara W. Tuchman's Great War Series

The above sentences have been weighing heavily on me lately.

More and more I am beginning to see the fate of the West sealed in its own inherent weaknesses. It is not the rise of militant Islam, or a resurgent Russia that is the cause of our fate. The root cause lies in what we have become during the last century or so. We have restarted the age old heresy of worshiping the golden calf. That has never went well.

In her books on the Great War, Barbara Tuchman offers up a stew of root causes. The Ubermensch of Nietsche, coupled with the frightened aristocracy of Europe, seasoned with the anger and hopelessness of the poor.

We have a differing set of causes leading us to the next war. The Randite/Reaganite worship of money, coupled with an increasingly segregated and defensive uberklass seasoned with a middle class that is in the process of being systematically sheared of the comforts it has come to view as its rights.

I think that many will find this thought unpleasant, but we seems to be following the path taken by Germany prior to 1914. Granted, the parallels are not absolute, but the theme and the emotion are the same. The German Volk and American exceptionalism are the same coin. We toss our weight around rudely. We attempt to rule the world by edict. Militarism and a false worship of the military.

But the actions taken by our government are merely actions required to keep the largess flowing to the masses here in the USA. Right now, 70% of our economy is consumer goods. Our self-worth and our barometers for personal success are wound around the stuff we own and the oversized and overpriced houses that we live in. The government is doing its job in a democratic system and supplying it citizens with what they want.

And we keep demanding. Oh there are folks out there like Raul (Ilargi) and John-Michael Greer and Charles Smith who suggest that we learn to live within a shrinking system. But they are fringe players, preaching, for the most part, to the converted. But the great bulk of the commentators are trying like hell to sell the idea that one can keep what they have.

This is sad. Because the root of the problem is that we have taken too much. The consumer economy needs to be sheared down to a manageable 35-40% of the economy. The rich need to give up a huge amount of their amassed wealth. The poor need to develop rational expectations. The middle class needs to stop aping the ways of the wealthy.

Lots of easy things need to happen. Houses need to shrink and become radically more efficient. Jetting around the world to attend to either a useless conference or ones own cupidity has to stop. More beans need to be eaten, less meat will become the norm. Cars will become lots less common, gardens will become much more common. Retirements will become less everything.

But you see, no one wants to do these simple things. We are living in a society where the voters and the common man see constant and unstoppable growth as the natural state of things. Upward mobility is a watchword, opportunity and physical accunulation the highest God.

When the reversal of fortunes that lies ahead of us starts getting traction, the masses of Americans will move. They will not ask that the government teach them how to live in a world of constraints. They will ask the government to go get them what they want.

Higgins:
It's simple economics. Today it's oil, right? In ten or fifteen years, food. Plutonium. Maybe even sooner. Now, what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then?
Joe Turner:
Ask them?
Higgins:
Not now - then! Ask 'em when they're running out. Ask 'em when there's no heat in their homes and they're cold. Ask 'em when their engines stop. Ask 'em when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. You wanna know something? They won't want us to ask 'em. They'll just want us to get it for 'em!

Three Days of the Condor (1975)

8.04.2014

Goes a long way

This is a cheapo recipe for boy-gut-filling burritos.  Now, as the boys will have to be doing this themselves when they move out, I thought that I would write down a detailed recipe for their use.

You will need:
  • Pressure cooker 
  • Big stock pot for frying and mixing
  • Chef's knife
  • Wooden stirring and scraping spoon
  • Measuring cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of dried pinto beans ($0.89)
  • 1 cup of uncooked white rice ($0.30)
  • 3 bouillon cubes from the grocery outlet ($0.34)
  • 1 large white onion, chopped ($0.59)
  • 1 tablespoon dried chili powder ($0.06)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin ($0.04)
  • 1 tube of beef chorizo  ($1.38)
  • 10 ounce package of Kale ($2.99)
  • Package of Ten Burrito Shells ($2.19)
  • 1/2 Pound of Cheese ($1.00)**
Material cost $6.79

Soak the beans overnight.  Drain the water (*).  After they are soaked, you will have a yield of around 6 cups.  Put the beans in a pressure cooker with three (3) cups of water, add the bouillon cubes,  the chopped onion, the cumin and the dried chili's.  Bring the pressure cooker up to pressure and cook for thirty minutes.  After thirty minutes, turn off the burner, leave the pot on the burner, and let the pressure cooker lose pressure naturally

Energy cost = 40 minutes at 1200w (est.) at $0.0816/kwh = $0.07, brings total to $6.86

For research purposes, when the pressure had released, I measured the liquid volume left in the cooked beans, three cups in, three cups out.

Fry up the chorizo and put it into the pot with the rice and cheese and while strring frequently to make sure that the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, bring the pan up to a boiil, cover with a plain lid, then reduce the heat to simmer and let it cook for thirty (30) minutes.  Make sure that you stir it frequently to keep the rice from sticking, you will have to stir a lot at first until the heat bleeds off of the stovetop, but less at the end when it is just simmering.

Chop up the kale and put it into the stock pot, then pull the bean/rice mixture off the burner and dump it into the kale,  mix it thoroughly and put it back on the burner used to simmer the rice.  Turn off the burner at this point and allow the residual heat of the mixture to cook the kale for 1/2 hour.

Energy cost = 30 minutes at 1200w (est.) at $0.0816/kwh = $0.05, brings total to $6.91

Yields around 12 cups of burrito filling.  

Nutritional Data

Rice = 615 calories, 135g carbo, 12g protein, Fat 0g, Fiber 3g, Thiamine, Niacin, Folate,
Beans = 1470 calories, 270g carbo, 90g protein, Fat 6g, Fiber 90g, Thiamine, B6, Folate
Kale = 142 calories, 28g carbo, 9g protein, Fat 3g, Fiber 6g, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A
Velveeta = 640 calories, 24g carbo, 40g protein, Fat 48g, Fiber 0g
Chorizo= 1160 calories, 16g carbo, 36g protein, Fat 12g, Fiber 16g

Filling Total = 3841 calories, 473g carbo, 187 g protein, 69g fat, 115g fiber

A cup of this makes a pretty good sized burrito.

1 cup filling total = 320 calories, 40g carbo, 16 g protein, 6g fat, 10g fiber
Burrito Shell= 180 calories, 31g carbo, 4g protein, 5g fat, 1g fiberFilling Total = 3841 calories, 473g carbo, 187 g protein, 69g fat, 115g fiber

Total serving = 500 calories, 71g carbo, 20g protein, 11g fat, 11g fiber.

12 servings @ $0.58 each.  If you are really poor, this is two days food.

Notes:

(*)   Make certain you soak and drain.  If not, you will fart like you have never farted before.

(**)  When I went to the cheap food store, they had Velveeta on sale. Now, as cheese, Velveeta is less than optimal.  But as an ingredient, Velveeta is the bomb.  It isn't really any different from cheese when you examine the ingredients.  They use some pretty damn tame preservatives, hell, in different products, the stuff that they use as preservatives are touted as electrolytes, stuff you eat all the time.  The only weird ingredient is the sodium alginate, and since that is taken from seaweed and is used everywhere, I think that I will give it a pass here.

Milk, water, milkfat, whey, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, sodium phosphate; contains less than 2% of: salt, calcium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid as a preservative, sodium alginate, sodium citrate, enzymes, apocarotenal (color), annatto (color), and cheese culture.

8.03.2014

LibreOffice Writer Post

This is a test of the ability of my newly minted Ubuntu setup to write within LibreOffice Writer. I wonder if the hypertext comes through.


I do want to test the ability to use different colors for posting.


I also want to test using different Fonts


I wonder how subscripts like F1 work when you post.


Save the file as HTML


Press the e-mail button






8.02.2014

Tacitus

 Auferre trucidare rapere falsis nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.

8.01.2014

Mature Reflection

Maybe it is just me, but things seem to be heating up around the world.

I think that taking a moment in order to think about the downstream effects from any war idea currently being bruited about by our political leadership would be time well spent.

There is now a greater chance (my estimate still is still less than 30%) that something quite nasty is brewing. If it comes, it won't be a 15 second spot on ABC news.  It will be the only thing there.

Might want to take a moment to review your options.

7.28.2014

Instauratio magna

I come fresh from reading the Archdruid and a sadly abbreviated attempt at a long drive to see Locutius.

The drive was cut short by a 15 year old water pump, which has now been repaired.  My abortive adventure to North-Central Washington was ended by an extended ride in a tow truck and listening an ad libitum monologue by the driver of same in which he extensively digressed on his personal work-ethic and the lack of same exhibited by the various and sundry minorities which infest his God-fearing American hometown. Attempts at entering a discussion concerning the Jewish people controlling America were avoided by the simple expedient of Your Humble Correspondent pretending to nap.

I  briefly considered interrupting him and requesting silence, but as I wished to have myself and my disabled vehicle returned to my hometown utilizing his oddly dilapidated truck (odd in the sense that such a paragon of protestant work-ethic and old-fashioned American exceptionalism would allow his non-too-new and none-too-well-maintained vehicle to achieve such a sorry state). More than once I was certain that another tow truck would have to be summoned in order to get the job done.  I whiled away the time spent in the confines of said tow truck conducting a gedankenexperiment concerning the handling characteristic of a tow truck towing a tow truck towing a disabled minivan.  The results were not reassuring.

Got back home late, irritated the driver of tow truck to no end by not offering a gratuity on top of the fee paid to him by my insurance company.  Considerable pissiness ensued followed by a greater than necessary use of force in unhooking minivan from aforementioned tow truck.  Fortunately, my loathing of said vehicle allowed me to ignore scratches in plastic bumper caused by extended, poverty-related hissy fit.

The hissy fit came to a head when driver noted that the garage where we dropped off the bore bilingual signage and a name which suggested an owner with a Hispanic heritage.  I found this odd, since all of our earlier interactions did not suggest a marked tendency toward critical thinking.  When I assured him this was in fact true and complimenting him profusely on his deductions, he became threatening.  Luckily, his deductive reasoning again kicked into high gear and he correctly assessed the probability of a fifty-year old man weighing around 140 pounds and topping out at around 5"-8" inflicting significant harm on a sixty-year old at 2 meters and on the high side of 150 kilos.

Why I am relaying this comedy of errors is to reflect upon the idea of American Exceptionalism expounded by the driver of this ship of fools.  The belief system that being born in a country somehow confers a greater worth than those born elsewhere is bizarre to me.




7.24.2014

Disloyalty

I genuinely feel bad when I say: I cannot bring myself to believe what my own government tells me.