Tuesday, February 28, 2012


What does it say when I find an article about exercise that sounds good to me -- and it's on a Senior Living web site?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Late Night

My daughter was lying on her bed with the sheet covering her face. She was overwhelmed by the requirements for a two page paper for her English analysis class. I did what I've done before -- sat down, talked quietly, asked questions. She's writing it now. But before she started she said that this was something I've done many times befoe. What was she going to do when she was in college?

I didn't have an answer for that.


Apparently, HP has laid off some mainframe people again. No reason given. Implicit: Because we can.

My assumption is, they want to get rid of the mainframe business while keeping the customers, and they'll keep cutting staff until the customers vigorously complain. And possibly not even then.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


This is the recipe we used for the sausage. We chilled the whole thing over night and then made some 3 ounce patties this morning. We liked it. It does not taste like a regular pork sausage, but it does taste like sausage that we've bought from a butcher. Next time, we might back off on the red pepper a skosh. Also, we'll likely drop down to 2.5 ounces. I like the larger ones, but my wife prefers something a little smaller. And heck, I can always eat two!


1 pounds ground turkey breast ................. 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, finely shredded
2 cups cooked brown rice ................. 2 tablespoons shredded onions
2 cloves garlic, minced ................. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage
1 teaspoon salt ................. 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper ................. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice ................. snipped, fresh parsley - optional

1. In a large bowl, stir together turkey, apples, rice, onions, and garlic.
2. In a small bowl, stir together sage, salt, red and black peppers, thyme, and allspice.
3. Sprinkle the spices over the turkey mixture.
4. With your hands, mix until well blended.
5. Shape into 8 patties.
6. Spray unheated large skillet with non-stick spray.
7. Add the patties and cook over medium heat for four minutes.
8. Turn the patties over and cook about four more minutes, or until they are no longer pink.
9. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

From Healthy Homestyle Cooking, Evelyn Tribole

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Hunting for a recipe in one of our cookbooks, I came across one for 'home style sausage', using ground turkey as the basis. The ingredients sound pretty good -- onion, apple, brown rice, spices - so we got the stuff and mixed it up. Tomorrow, we're either going to be staring at each other across the breakfast table in disbelief.... or we're going to be staring at each other across the breakfast table in disbelief.

I'm hoping its the first.


I just read an interesting article from the Washington Monthly about high speed rail, and about rail alternatives. It made the point that getting high-speed -- on the order of the TGV -- operational in the United States will be very difficult, perhaps impossible. A major consideration is cost; we're a big country, and even covering one part of it will be challenging. TGV-speed rail needs to be able to build straight rail lines that extend for quite some distance, and that's difficult to find anywhere but out west, where the number of potential clients is small. Connecting, say, Denver and San Francisco, or Salt Lake City, would be good, but where else? And then, of course, there is the cost: not only literal,which would be moon-shot-level, but political: many politicians want to be seen as stern on cost, and its an easy call for them to be against paying for something that won't be of benefit for twenty years, when many of them will be retired or just getting out of jail.

But, the article said, that does not mean that high-speed rail is a lost cost in the US. It's possible to improve the short-haul infrastructure, along the lines of the BosWash corridor. If the train goes faster than what's there now, even if not at TGV speeds, and is more convenient than flying or driving (the classic 'downtown to downtown' linkage that's apparently the norm for trains between European cities), it becomes more viable for inter-city commuting. Even moderately long distances, such as New York to Chicago, become possible. Call it the TMV. Train Moyenne Vitesse. Medium Speed Train. Not as sexy a name, but perhaps more practical. It would still be expensive to create, but the payback would be quicker, and, crossing fewer political boundaries, less likely to be opposed on purely political grounds.

I just wonder if anyone's willing to spend the political capital to get something that won't directly and immediately benefit them. I can think of only one President - in recent times - who's had that kind of guts.


I showed my daughter an article about senior military colleges (senior? No idea why) such as the one that she wants to attend. The article itself was very brief, listing what the existing ones were, and a short squib about them, but the meat was the comments afterward. About a third were by people who strongly felt for or against the idea; some of them had actually gone to such schools, while the others wouldn't consider it. (And not always for the reasons one might expect). The remaining two thirds made thoughtful and useful comments either in support of going or in support of not going; a couple said what I'd told her - that military colleges aren't at all like the actual military. A couple of them said what she'd said -- that a school like those provides structure, whereas most colleges, whether they're straight-out civilian or partially military, do not. We've known for a while that she does better with structure, which is to say, better when the expectations and standards are clearly stated.

For the first time, she's seriously evaluating whether this is actually what she wants to do, and whether that college is the place to do it. (She's been accepted to a second school, one which also has a Corps of Cadets, but which incorporates the Corps in a much larger civilian student body. The primary college is much smaller, and is almost entirely Corps of Cadets.) I'm glad to see her doing this. Whether she decides to press on with her first choice, try for the other one, or do something else entirely, she will have thought about what she's doing, and why. And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Design/Build - Yeah,Right

I mentioned awhile back that my idea of doing an upgrade to the house is putting a cardboard box in the hall closet to serve as a receptacle for gloves and the like. Hey, it's got a slat down the middle, whattya want?

Actually, my thoughts about upgrades go much further than that. One of my daydreams is to put a room over the garage and open our existing bedroom into that, moving the bedroom function into the new room and turning the existing bedroom into a combination storage area -- classy storage area -- and elevator point. Thinking ahead to when we're old ( my mother lived with us for years, and towards the end just could not climb the stairs any more). I know that doing all of this will be expensive, and I half-expect that even so, when it's done - if it's done - it won't be as good as I'd want it to be. Classy and sleek. Expensive, yes, but worth it. That's not what you tend to find from builders around here. And the few that can do it are pretty rigid in their thinking, too, and more expensive than I think they're worth. Champagne taste.... well, not quite. But not not, either. I'm probably fortunate that Because We Can works on the other side of the continent.

Oh, and an enclosed pool area would be nice, too.


A couple of sites that I really like have started using captcha. Don't know how -- perhaps Blogger uses it as a default now. I hate it. I find those things really hard to do. Other sites, I just say the hell with it and go elsewhere. These sites -- well, I'm willing to make the effort, but I don't like it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Who, Us?

Found at Noise to Signal, here.


Apparently, it will soon be legal for people to fly their own little drones right over your house, for whatever purpose they desire. Real estate appraisal? You bet. Checking for use of heat lamps to grow pot? No problem. Checking out who likes to sunbathe nude? Loop back there again, Gordo.

How long until DIY surface to air missiles are available?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ce n'est pas un post

I learned today that this post, ostensibly by a woman who was getting back at a boorish boss, was a prank by the site that displayed it. Apparently, the people who own the site are known for this kind of thing. They derive hilarity from getting people to believe them. Put up something real-looking, then laugh at the rubes who took them seriously?

I used to like that site. And I probably will continue to read it. But now I think:



I'm not a pilot, but anything that encourages the idea of women's ability is okay by me.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I'm not a great fan of police procedurals, but I really liked this article by a member of London's Metropolitan Police. It's nicely done.

Talented Wood

Friday, February 17, 2012

Waking Up

When I awoke this morning, this phrase was in my mind:

Sherlock Holmes and his two sons, Lincroft and Michaael.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


No, dummah, his father replied, Pie R Round -- you're coming home!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I know, ads make it look way better than reality can ever deliver. Still.....


This is how much we're into home renovation, and why I am so in awe of people like Caroline Anne who, I believe, has entirely rebuilt his house and is now rebuilding the rebuilt.

My daughter is eighteen. Before she was born - years before - we decided that the shelf in the hall closet wasn't working well, because things were getting jumbled together. So, as an interim solution, I took a cardboard box, taped a flap down the middle to create his and hers zones, and stuck in in the middle of the shelf. Gloves and hats inside, scarves and bulky gloves on top. And space on either side for all the other stuff that we have, though we're not exactly sure why.

The box is still there. Someday, we'll upgrade it. But only when it's provably needed. After all --

It still works.

Give up?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Le Jour

Quite the day. In no particular order --

-found out that the mento did NOT turn in two pieces of homework, despite being assured by his mother that he would do it.

-wasn't able to have a Skype conversation today with the woman I'd been talking with; that's okay, but still, I'd been looking forward to it.

-found out that a silver-plating service charges $30 a piece to replate old tableware (my grandmother's; at that price, who'd do it? Not me.)

-learned that the nurse practitioner I normally see won't be around for a while, as she is undergoing intensive chemotheraphy.

-learned that yet another person has been fired from the group where my wife works.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

ConvEx, cont'd

I've been exchanging notes with a person on CE, and tomorrow we'll be talking again on Skype. I'll also be talking with a new person, a guy who lives in Lyon. I'm really enjoying it. Where else could I learn that 'to make dodo' (faire dodo) means 'to go to sleep'? I'm not progressing as fast as I would like -- I never do -- but otherwise, it's great!


I tried making a strata today. It didn't turn out so well. The idea was to fry up some sausage, then make what is, essentially, a brioche, folding the sausage into it and then submerging it overnight in a mix of eggs and liquid. Despite what the fine folks at America's Test Kitchen (their motto: If its a kitchen tool, we have it) say, it didn't turn out light, airy, and tasty. More like sodden, greasy, and lumpy.

I'll probably try it again, but I'll scale the recipe way down and mess with the proportions of the ingredients. See what happens.


This is a fascinating and understandable short article about the Black-Scholes equation which was the underpinning for the massive growth of financial derivatives. I had to read the article slowly, and even print it out so that I could easily go back and forth in it, but I liked it. And I loved this:

Despite its supposed expertise, the financial sector performs no better than random guesswork. The stock market has spent 20 years going nowhere. The system is too complex to be run on error-strewn hunches and gut feelings, but current mathematical models don't represent reality adequately. The entire system is poorly understood and dangerously unstable. The world economy desperately needs a radical overhaul and that requires more mathematics, not less. It may be rocket science, but magic it's not.

Feels like it, though, doesn't it?


I found this at the masthead of a very conservative site. I think it's funny -- all these people are dead. Though funny probably isn't the right word. Sad would be better. They can't find anyone to respect who's alive.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tear Gas Defense

Found here.


from StrangelyKatie.Tumbr.Com

Friday, February 10, 2012


Found here.

Air Cannon

This doesn't prove that he ought to be re-elected...but it should.


I mentioned a while back that I was disappointed to have lost contact with a few people with whom I'd spoken in French, over Skype. These were people I'd met on the Forvo site - one in Switzerland, and one in southern France. I liked talking to them, both because they were interesting and because, well, I don't have a lot of people with whom I can speak French. Conversation's important. I still miss talking with them, and hope they surface again, but I've stopped trying to get in touch. You can only ping somebody so many times before you could be classified as a stalker, and nobody wants that.

But I've found a decent alternative for conversations, and so far it's been working out.

The site is called Conversation Exchange, and it's specifically aimed at people with language profiles like mine -- fluent in one language, studying another (or in some cases, two or three). Last week I got conversation requests from two people, and I've sent a couple out as well. As a result, I've had one lengthy Skype conversation and about 20 email notes with a woman who lives in Paris, a native French speaker who wants to improve her English. We talk or write in English sometimes, and I help her with minor errors, and we talk or write in French, and she does the reverse. As for what shall we talk about, the site has a long list of suggestions. In our case, we talked about driving in Paris versus driving in Boston, about politics, about recipes, and - as you might suspect - about learning another language.

I'm delighted.

Oh, Sorry!

Found here.


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Bin Wha?

A fascinating little article about the vagaries of Arabic names....

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Olive Garden Expedition

Pour quoi? Parce que....

Aujourd'hui est le anniversaire de ma fille.


Monday, February 06, 2012


One Reason

...why I don't watch much TV.

Found here.


I'm a little bemused, which is my trying-to-be-nice way of saying that I'm simultaneously a little pissed and a little dejected. I realized last night that over the past six months, I've lost contact with three different people with whom I spoke French -- one person in Switzerland, one just north of Paris, and one down by Marseilles. Just - gone. Send them the occasional note, nothing. This makes me sad. I'm about 90 percent sure it isn't me -- I've slowly come to understand that the world does not, in fact, revolve completely around me - but still, I wonder. And I'm bemused, either way.

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Watched Cowboys and Aliens tonight. Surprisingly good.

Fail Compilation

I think it interesting that the only time anyone expresses dismay in this compilation is when it's a woman making the comment. Guys, when they say anything at all, usually just laugh furiously.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


EDS never was this captivating. But in its glory days, it wasn't half bad, and I miss it.


You can now get your own R/C Model of a Predator drone. I wouldn't, of course. At least, not until it had the missile-firing option.

Found here.

Friday, February 03, 2012


My mento didn't show up for a session today. The school didn't know why -- the family didn't call in, and they didn't respond to an email that's sent out when the kid's not there, without explanation. Same thing yesterday.

On the other hand, I found out that they did start the process of doing a psychological evaluation on him, since he's obviously smart enough. And as part of that, he told his mother that meeting with a psychologist would be ok with him as long as it wasn't in ninth period -- because that is when he meets with his mentor.



Making the first pass through my mother's living room, separating things into Immediately toss, Probably toss, religious materials, photographs. Lots of stuff to go. Haven't found any winning lottery tickets yet.

Don't feel like but this is her stuff! too much. A little, yeah.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Freakin' Awesome


I've heard this before. I can't believe it would work. But I want to believe that it would. Like a comedian I heard the other night said, if all of these countries are in debt to each other, why don't they just write off the bills and sleep well?

It is a slow day in a small Irish town. The rain is misting and the streets are deserted.

Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and having a hard time making ends meet, let alone climbing out of debt.

On this particular day a rich German drives into the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him the keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the feed co-op.

The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub.

The publican slips the money to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has fallen on hard times and had to offer her services on credit.

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

The hotel proprietor puts the €100 note back on the counter.

At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the €100 note, pockets the money, and leaves town.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking forward to a brighter future.

And that, gentle reader, is how a successful bailout works.

Ok, I guess.

Found here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


The other day, I saw a photograph on our French friend's Facebook page. She and three other girls were grinning into the camera, and each was wearing lipstick. I had forgotten how nice lipstick can look on a woman. Which then startled me. When did this kid become a woman? Okay, she's French, yadda yadda -- but a woman? Um, yeah. A cute, funny, interesting young French woman.

That makes me feel old. In my mind, she's just a kid!