Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year's Eve plan is to fall asleep reading The Fourth Crusade, loaned to me by Charles the Brother. (Not Charles the Bird, aka Little Charles, Charlie Big Toes, and Charles Gore. Not to mention Punk.)

So if I don't post before then, I wish you all a happy, healthy, safe, prosperous, sweet new year.
I really don't need this weather today, as if I ever did.

UPDATED: Never mind. All past with hardly any rain.
My mama, on the other hand, ran her household like a drill sergeant. With seven kids to manage, she had to keep things in check. Five boys could have cleared her shelves in as many days.

She also used jelly glasses. Which I'd do if we ate that much jelly. Break or lose one, there's another in the refrigerator. Hard to make a set when you use up a jar of jelly in about three years.

Do they even sell jelly in glasses anymore?
My biggest peeve with the youngs of this household is that they don't respect the commons. Things -- glasses, towels, tools -- have a place and should be returned to that place for use in the future.

Glasses particularly. Oh, I (speaking for the house) own a set of water glasses if I can count those in cars, Natchez and Baton Rouge as a set. Kids don't even have to put them in the dishwasher. Just set them in the sink.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

For ten years, I've been dragging around a ratty checkbook with tatty corners because it was loose in my purse. And I always carried another checkbook with a cheap bank cover because It contained my ID and cards.

So I splurged this year.

Now I am in control of my destiny (at the very least, my appearance at the checkout counter), come hell or high water. We've had some of both at the coast during the past decade.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I am becoming my mother.

It's in the way I touch fabric, or lean over the dishwasher, or want to rip all the Christmas stuff out right NOW, because the season is over. Over, I'm telling you.

Time for a new year.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

In this day and time, people only get "Les Pauls" as gifts.

For you, James.

Merry Christmas!

Santa's welcome to come rest for a lacy nog after he helps the fathers in the neighborhood with the trampolines. Our sons expect them to be working until about 4 am. Maybe later.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One of my guests is wearing Bulgari perfume. Right off, I'll say I favor her over the other persons in the house.
Christmas wisdom: responsible, home-owning 35- and 40-year-olds like $3 toys. Bingo was a hit.
Chef Tony, the rolls still aren't right.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Alrighty, then. I have my saf-instant yeast and my King Arthur Flour, so let's tackle this recipe for rolls again.

Time to step up now, guests coming Tuesday.

For Christmas, I want a checkbook cover for the beach account and to be successful at making these rolls. Santa can keep his sables, unless it grows colder.
Our young Texans will be passing through again on their way to Florida on Tuesday. They'll stay two nights. I like them.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My, that was a bracing walk across the parking lot to the pool this windy morning.

The morning or evening swim might become a habit when we're here in the future. Feels pretty good after working.

But I'm ready for the fireplace at home.

Friday, December 17, 2010

We are staying today. I have my suit. Sandra and I are going to swim (indoor pool), then we might have a Bloody Mary, and dinner tonight -- she has a disloyal boyfriend, a brother recovering from a severe motorcycle accident, and a case of the blues.

The girl needs some company. She's been lonely. Did I tell you that I like women? No, silly, not that way.

UPDATE: We've been taking care of details, but our first year renting through VRBO has given us a place in better shape than the rental company ever did. Our cleaners are better, and inventory is right on. I want to publicly thank the people who rented here for being so considerate. Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to you!

UPDATE: What a fool I have been. That was a lovely swim. Dummy, dummy girl.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

60 degrees this morning. How nice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh, for Pete's sake.

I was taking the tape down after I'd completed a repair to the bathroom ceiling popcorn when the tape stripped some paint off the walls. Out of respect for my dear readers, I'll not repeat what I said at the time.

At least the paint is here, unlike the gallon that I bought for the living room last time we were down.

Did someone take a hankering after Dover white walls? 'Cause it sure nuff ain't here.
40 degrees this morning. Much better. Expected high about 61.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Down at beautiful Orange Beach, Alabama, basking in a balmy temperature of 32 degrees. 22 last night. The snowbirds are threatening to move south.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Done, and done for.

The luncheon went fine. Now it's time to get ready for the second seating with a couple of young Texan visitors/overnight guests.

UPDATE: Do tell. We'd stocked in some commercial dressings in the event that Lyman's family didn't like the strong-tasting vinaigrette that we'd prepared. They loved it. His brother asked for the recipe.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I'm running low on elbow grease. Y'all have a good source?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Ray Charles and Betty Carter singing Baby, It's Cold Outside.

Decline the survey, play video at the bottom of the screen.
If it means getting off the floor, I refuse to do it today. But there are fifteen chairs worth of legs to be dusted, so I'm cool.

About those spoon rolls.

Goldy says, "Well, yeah!"

A lovely tender crumb that would be perfect with a dab of butter and jelly and a side of sausage. The baking powder is there, but not overwhelming. Less sweet than I thought. If you can't make rolls or biscuits (my hand is up), this is a way to go.

Not for this luncheon, but a possibility for a Christmas breakfast. Which will likely be around one o'clock.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Alrighty, then. On Friday we'll be serving the annual Christmas luncheon for Lyman's mother, his siblings and their spouses. The menu this year: shrimp cocktail, mixed green salad with black olive vinaigrette, deep-fried soft-shell crab with crawfish cream sauce, scalloped potatoes, and chocolate molten souffle. And whatever bread I can bake or buy.

If I live that long. I've been cleaning since past Friday.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Now I have plain white all-purpose flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, self-rising flour, cake flour, bread flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour and masa flour. Soon I'll have unbleached bread flour. And plain all-purpose yellow corn meal, because cornbread is the best.
Second batch is as lousy as the first. I'm retiring this recipe until the King Arthur supplies come in. I'm an okay baker and it puzzles me no end why it isn't working for me.

So, Goldy, you think we should try some spoon rolls? You know they'll be too sweet. But we're curious, aren't we?

We'll lay in some powdered milk and potato flakes, and try these tomorrow.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A bit of interesting information from King Arthur Flour about how an "active baker's" kitchen has enough wild yeast about that bakers can reduce the amount of yeast they add to dough:
Basic flour-water-yeast-salt doughs (which may also contain a bit of oil and/or sugar), such as those for baguettes, focaccia and pizza, are the best candidates for an all-day countertop rise. Keep in mind, however, the vagaries of your own kitchen. If you bake bread all the time, your kitchen is full of wild yeast and any dough you make there will rise vigorously. If you seldom bake bread, or are just beginning, your kitchen will be quite “sterile;” your dough won’t be aided by wild yeast, and will rise more slowly than it would in a more “active” kitchen. We’ve found that here in our King Arthur kitchen, where we bake bread every day, we can cut the yeast back to 1/16 teaspoon in a 3-cup-of-flour recipe and get a good overnight rise. In a kitchen where bread is seldom baked, we needed 1/2 teaspoon of yeast to get the same effect. Use your judgment in rating your own kitchen as to “yeast friendliness.”

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Ummm, that didn't do so well on day one after mixing. Auntie Bear forgot to fold the dough a few times before shaping the rolls for final rise. Good flavor, though.

But Auntie is only baking four rolls at time, so she can practice.

UPDATE: Day two's look the same. I've emailed the baker for an opinion. That's an opinion other than "Girl, them's a mess."

UPDATE II: Frank from King Arthur's castle says I used the wrong yeast. He approves of my using active dry yeast bloomed in part of the water, then proceeding according to the recipe.

The recipe calls for instant yeast. Fleischmann's (what I can buy here) makes no distinction between instant yeast and their "Rapid Rise" yeast, but King Arthur's does.

Monday, November 29, 2010

...and Goldilocks said, "This roll is too sweet, plus she should have let it rise for at least another half hour."

Then she said, "This roll is okay, but needs butter rather than shortening, and it doesn't smell like a proper cafeteria roll."

Finally, she found a lump of dough in the fridge. "Yo, that dough looks weirdly flat. Is there any yeast in there? Do you think I should poke it?"

To be continued...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

All in all, I'm thankful that life is simple enough:

How better to give thanks than show some joy:

Dave Brubeck's "Thank You," which is in honor of Chopin, but it has a lovely November mood:

Developed into an ensemble piece with sax, with ad in front and during piano solo(!):

Thank you - Dave Brubeck
Uploaded by boberwig. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

That's Einstein, not Charles Gore.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Now, y'all. My sister-in-law has some experience with this:

Posted: Dec 25, 2009
Reviewer: from Atlanta, GA
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!
Shoe Size: Felt a half size smaller than marked Shoe Width: Felt narrower than marked

Unfortunately, these shoes are cute but much, much narrower than sized (the W size is even narrower than a NORMAL size), and at least half a size smaller. My tiny little mother is less than 5 feet tall and weights 95 pounds, and has a 5.5 size foot. I got her the 5.5 W and she couldn't even get her foot into it! I'll be sending these back and trying another brand -- thanks Zappos for your great return policy
Un hunh. Of course, her mother bought a 5.5 when she was 25, had three children, then insists that she wears the same size at 87.

Lyman's sister took her mother (size 5) shoe-shopping in Baton Rouge. We made sure her favorite salesman at Dillard's would be on site at the time she arrived. When he offered her a six to fit her foot, not only did she think he was out of his mind, but wouldn't even try it on.

She wears slides now.
This is not a political post, and I'd appreciate it if you'd accept it that way.

I have been nearly blind with envy since Bristol packed off to do her stuff with Dancing With The Stars. Yes, yes, a ton of work, but tons of hours working with a professional dancer at the network's expense.

I have a sense of music, and rhythm, and could rise to Florence Henderson's level even if my legs aren't as pretty.

As consolation, I'm thinking of buying these shoes as moderate dress shoes.

I wore out a pair of nude-colored Capezio's that I bought for the community theater stage, they were so comfortable. That was more than 30 years ago, though.

But it's Zappo's return policy, so where's the worry?

UPDATE: I don't think I've ever lived a day when I could have balanced a Louboutin.

Alrighty, then. A juvenile Malay Eagle Owl that likes a good rub.

At this blog we call it allopreening. Charles Gore has since decided that Lucy won't (they are separated because we don't want her to gouge his eyes out), and welcomes the rub on the back of the neck from pals.

(Thanks, Tim Blair.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jimmy helps us with the yard. He isn't married and doesn't cook much. So when Lyman offered him leftover meatloaf, sauce, and mashed potatoes, he piped up with the quip of the day:
I've got a mouthful of taste for that already.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Who is the young athlete with the Washington Redskins who can do a standing back-flip in uniform?
The southern rains drifted through here last night, so today was a good day to drive to Baton Rouge -- overcast skies, but dry pavement.

Shopping was charmed.

Patel Bros. does not have a shop in Baton Rouge. But Fashion India expanded with a grocery department. We found asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, cardamom seeds, tamarind paste, garam masala, black mustard seeds, amchur powder and curry leaves. The leaves are fresh, but the ladies assure me that they can be frozen. I saw rose syrup, then forgot to pick a bottle up. I remember rose lassi from my days in New York.

Almonds in the shell were $3.29/pound at Fresh Pickins produce. Pomegranates 69 cents apiece. Call it the bird stop.

Whole Foods sells half-pound blocks of Callebaut chocolate in milk, semi-sweet, bittersweet and white.

Then to Tony's Seafood for turtle, shrimp, stuffed crabs and a treat of boiled crabs.

Let's not forget Gas Lane No. 17 in Woodville on the way down for a fresh snack of chicken-fried chicken gizzards. (Lyman says they're not as good as the ones at Shell in Bude.)

UPDATE: Lyman is trolling (fisherman's term) the couple of Indian cookbooks we own. (Thanks, Jordana.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Peg Britton points to a video from Random Acts of Culture.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Two local restaurant managers gave thumbs up to Chocolate Molten Souffle last night.

So that's dessert for the Christmas luncheon, and one of the easiest I've ever made.

I'll go online with King Arthur's Flour (thanks, Tony) for some higher-quality chocolate for the final product.

UPDATE: Whole Foods will carve Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate off the big block for customers, $8.99/pound. I haven't been to Baton Rouge since Lucy took her fall.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Surfing around today, I found that local Regina Charboneau is writing a food column for The Atlantic Online.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Due for a trial run this weekend.

Monday, November 01, 2010

I read Nashville Chrome by Rick Bass this weekend. It's a novel treatment of The Browns' biography. The "chrome" in the title is a reference to their polished harmony.

Bonnie there was romantically tied to Elvis Presley before he became famous. They traveled to England to help The Beatles with their harmonies. They were produced by Chet Atkins at RCA.

I don't remember hearing them before.

UPDATE: A recent interview with Maxine Brown, with song clips.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chef Tony brings a pumpkin fest to our attention.
Middle-aged bar conversation:

"So, do you come here often?"

"No, I was passing by on my way home. My son works in the kitchen."

"This is the second time I've been in this this bar. My stepson is the bartender."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quip of the day:

From Lyman's son, at the last wedding he attended, speaking to his ladyfriend who remarked that she had forgotten her camera:
"Never mind. You can bring it next time."
On another note, what to do with bridesmaid dresses:
Kim Eaton of Pleasant Hills has been a bridesmaid a dozen times. By the time she got engaged at age 38, she had a rogues gallery of dresses in storage -- spanning several decades, styles and sizes.

"You've got to get the shoes that are dyed to match the dress," she says. "Guess how many times I wore those lime-green pumps."

She was at work one day when her friends secretly raided her attic. The night of her bachelorette party, the guest of honor went to the Ruddy Duck, Downtown, where she was flabbergasted to be greeted by a covey of friends, resplendent in her assorted bridesmaid dresses.

"We boarded a mini-bus and spent the evening hitting the 'bars of my life' -- from Froggy's to the bar I played softball for in the '80s, to the Oakland bars from my law-school days, to Chiodo's, to my hometown local bar and several in between. They wore the dresses all night and in every stop. Needless to say, the gowns were not of much use after that trip, but I couldn't think of a more fitting end for them. Who says you can never wear a bridesmaid gown a second time?
(Thanks, Pittsburgh Live.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quip of the day:

"I always suspected you pretended to sleep so you wouldn't have to listen to me sing. It is not one of my greatest talents."

Elizabeth Peters, He Shall Thunder in the Sky, p. 92, William Morrow, 2000

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good grief, I'm boring and tiresome.

So I'm instituting the quip of the day from my reading.
I have two:

From Gawker in a discussion about Meghan McCain regarding Christine O'Donnell:

"Isn't that the bimbo calling the airhead blonde?"

From comments at Jordana's site, on the issue of having large families:

"We come in peace."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Charles Gore has been violated today, and he was so furious with me that he wouldn't speak or whistle or tweet while I was in the room. He has a right.

I took him in for a beak, toenail and wing clip today, and they butchered his flight feathers. The point of the clip was to prevent him from breaking his neck by taking a long glide through the living room with a curve to the enclosed porch where I have heard him bonk against the windows.

Now, if he takes a leap, he's likely to break his keel (or his leg) on the floor.

I love my vet, but I'm afraid she needs some training in aerodynamics, and needs to oversee her aides better.

I'm far less afraid of the birds getting lost than of them being injured in the house.

Look at Lucy here. Her secondary flight feathers have been clipped. Those provide lift. The primaries provide thrust. Trim some of the primaries to lessen thrust, and leave those secondaries to provide glide. Without the secondaries, the bird will drop like a rock. I can't say that's what happened to Lucy because I didn't see, but it's logical.

Charles has a big new cage since you've last seen him. Bless his heart, he'll just have to stay there. Or we can do floor exercises.

I watch these two little creatures like a hawk. Poor things must be nervous.

UPDATE: For reference, Proper wing trimming

Friday, October 15, 2010

Now, why would a couple of rednecks in Louisiana need star anise?


Thai Sea Scallops in a Rich Red Curry Sauce


8-10 medium to large sea scallops (Serves 2 for a main entree, 4-8 as an appetizer), OR 20 bay scallops
handful fresh coriander
1-2 whole star anise, plus more for garnish
wedges of fresh lime or lemon (optional)
1/2 cup coconut milk

1 shallot, OR 1/4 cup purple onion, chopped
1 thumb-size piece galangal, OR ginger, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp. white pepper, OR substitute black pepper
2 Tbsp. fish sauce (available at Asian stores)
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1-2 tsp. Thai chili sauce (or substitute 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper or crushed dried chili)
1 tsp. shrimp paste (available by the jar at Asian stores)
1/2 cup coconut milk

1. Place all curry paste ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process well to form a thick paste/sauce.
2. Place 2-3 Tbsp. of the paste in a mixing bowl. Add the scallops and gently stir, so that scallops are covered with paste. Set aside.
3. Drizzle 2-3 Tbsp. canola or other vegetable oil into a wok or frying pan set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the rest of the curry paste/sauce.
4. Add the whole star anise and stir-fry the paste/sauce until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Gradually add 1/2 cup more coconut milk. Reduce heat slightly and simmer another minute or two, until the sauce is nicely blended and bubbling.
5. Now add the scallops. Cook the scallops by stirring and turning them in the bubbling curry sauce.
6. Check the inner flesh after 3 minutes to see if they are cooked. Tip: Scallops are done when ridges begin to form around the outside, and the inner flesh is no longer transparent. Look for flesh that is white and opaque. Large scallops may need up to 5 minutes to cook, while smaller ones may need only a minute or two.
7. When scallops are cooked, remove from heat. Do a taste test. If not salty enough, add more fish sauce (1/2 Tbsp. at a time). If too sour for your taste, add 1-2 tsp. more brown sugar. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If not spicy enough, add more chili flakes or a dollop of chili sauce.
8. Transfer the scallops along with the sauce to a serving bowl. Accompany with jasmine-scented Thai rice, or my Easy Coconut Rice. Garnish with wedges of lime or lemon, fresh coriander, and whole star anise. Serve with Thai jasmine-scented rice, OR Easy Thai Coconut Rice and ENJOY!

Janis: This is a deep, dark sauce like those of the gumbos down here. Different flavor, same comfort.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Star anise is available in Natchez.

None of the Loy's have it, and Lehman's doesn't have it, but the Mexican taqueria up 61 north does have it. They keep a small rack of spices. They had two bags. Lyman bought one.

I called before he went. The Hispanic woman who answered the phone spent some time making sense of my request.

"Do you know who you have called? This is Mi Tiendita."

"Yes, I have been there. Do you have a spice on your rack called star anise?"

"Rack? I don't understand."

"You have a place in your store where you sell epazote and cumin. Do you have star anise?"

"Star anise? Yes, we have it. Two bags. I'll hold them for them you."

Problem: Merriam-Webster vs. howjsay (Needs speakers)

Dammit if Lyman wasn't right there, too. (And the spice looks fresh.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Let's track back to the visual aid in Chris's post.

What is the opposite of anguish? Don't check Google. I'd say "exhilaration." Not so sure I could come up with that at, say, 15.

What is your answer?

UPDATE: Roget's states: comfort, ease or health.

What is the opposite of exhilaration? Agitation, upset, depression, worry

Let's look at the OED:

Anguish is primarily a feeling of excruciating discomfort. Secondarily, oppressive grief or mental distress. Hmm. Chris needs to put up lessons more often.

I think I'll take issue with the opposite in this case. The other, maybe, or resting state, but not opposite.
Stupid food reality TV. "If you're stranded on a desert island, what is the one ingredient you want?"

My BFF, Lyman, says "fresh water." Yo. Not a suckling pig.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Chris is livid about the crap teachers are expecting from her teenaged children.

Read the comments. How do you draw "manifest destiny"? Can you, like, do it as graffiti? As Diego Rivera? A map? Romance? A westward ho? (Somebody did their homework at Deadwood. Trixie looks like the spirit in the painting.)

I am utterly confounded as to how you would draw the word "such" in any way other than graffiti.

I've never understood the bitching about public education. But I left the public education system in 1974. Now I have a clue.

Thank you, Chris.

UPDATE: (From Chris's comments) "In my opinion, Middle School should just be banned entirely. One of my boys has to write a poem using every one of his spelling words every. single. week. We might as well take him to the dentist and ask them to remove each of his teeth with a rusty pair of pliers and no novacaine while playing classical music or talk radio in the background."

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Just in time for cool days ahead, a new keeper that Lyman picked off the Food Network:

Asian Chili Chicken Noodle Soup

About This Recipe (from the chef)
"I love one-dish meals and this fantastic soup fits the bill. Adjust the heat to your taste and substitute other noodles like rice noodles if you like. For those who don't like cilantro use basil in a smaller amount, and please don't leave out the lime juice! Adapted from a Food and Wine cookbook."

1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 onions, chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more if you like a lot of heat)
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1 cup crushed tomatoes (from a can)
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
3/4 lb spaghettini or 3/4 lb rice noodles
1/2 lb bok choy, sliced 1/4 inch (add more if you like)
1/2 limes, juice of
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

1. In a large pot heat oils over medium heat.
2. Add onion, celery, garlic, ginger, chili powder and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring now and then.
3. Add the broth, tomatoes, chicken, fish sauce, 1/2 cup cilantro and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 1/2 hour.
4. While the soup cooks bring a pot of water to boil and cook the spaghettini to al dente. Drain.
5. Add spaghettini, bok choy and lime juice to the soup. Cook for 5 minutes.
6. Garnish with the 1/4 cup cilantro and serve.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I've been thinking about this little scenario that Ben Wetmore and James O'Keefe (keep those names in mind) put together.

That little video would have been so much funnier and more effective if the director cut from the scene of the reporter crying and begging to be let off the boat to one of the boat captain rigidly guiding the boat back to shore with a Lady Smith pointed at his ear.

The revolver is more traditional. For girly girls, The Pink Lady. At 12 ounces, the Pink Lady would be comfortable and inconspicuous to tote.

The boys have made a top-notch case for concealed carry. They should sell it to the NRA. Or Smith & Wesson, or Charter Arms... Is that the "punk" they were looking for?

Our ideas of "funny" differ, don't they?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

As a bird lover, I would be remiss if I didn't pass on this article about the Northern Saw-whet Owl.

Hard to get cuter than that.

(Thank you, Mr. Blair.)

Friday, October 01, 2010

I've told you that I love a good blog blow-up.

I am still gathering my wits about the senseless plot to discredit CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau.

The mentor of the script is at Esquire.

James O'Keefe is this young man.

Abbie Boudreau tells a story included in this synopsis.

And I'm staggered because it is beyond silly.

I can't see at this day and time why a bunch of women would call the whole escapade a source of "sexual humiliation." Big girls call it "sexual harassment," and if a woman doesn't have legal recourse, backhand him, punch him out, or make him strain against his gonads. The boys fantasize that she'll be crying and begging to be let off the boat.

The whole notion of sexual humiliation is out of the books, boys.

I popped two of the buggers when I was working at the newspaper in Texas. They weren't sources though, they were managers. Could be why I live with a defense lawyer.

UPDATE: At Media Matters, Ms. Boudreau says that CNN has held back parts of the 13-page memo because it was "too sexually explicit" for its audience. What sort of fever dream was Wetmore entertaining?

Andrew Breitbart must have the whole thing. And he wants an explanation.

UPDATE: Mr. O'Keefe explains.

So why the boat at all? And what about that dumb girl, Izzy Santa? Excitable women -- what to do with them?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Had a nice conversation with my sister yesterday.

After a protracted run of the "Summer Snots," she has become a devotee of the neti pot.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's the first day of Fall! Yay!

So it's not too early to begin assembling the menu for the family Christmas luncheon.

On the menu so far is the traditional shrimp cocktail, deep-fried soft-shell crab with a crawfish cream sauce, those lovely scalloped potatoes I tried last year, a salad and a dessert.

The salad and dessert are open so far.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Do I ever do good news?

I have a piece. A 57-year-old National Guard vet who's done a turn or two in Afghanistan stayed at the condo in August with his wife and daughter.

It's policy that we give a gift basket for those who stay a week, but we backed off this summer because we reduced prices in view of the well disaster.

Lyman and the mister wheedled each other a bit and we decided to give a basket to this couple.

The guests and the basket arrived at the same time. I suppose they went up the elevator together, because she had time to notice and admire it before it arrived at her door.

Is there anything better than admiring something and have it instantly become yours?
Our resident redhead gave us a turn on Thursday.

She was squinting again, which we learned five years ago is evidence of pain, and vomiting again. And drinking a lot of water. Looked like the egg-binding episode to me.

I took her to Dr. Debbie. An x-ray didn't show an egg, but, she said, a thin-shelled egg won't show up. In an abundance of caution, the doctor dosed her with a vial of calcium and one of fluids for egg-binding and prescribed an antibiotic in case of bacterial infection. Drinking a lot of water can be a sign of infection.

Lucy laid a thin-shelled egg Friday night.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Our thirty-one-year-old clothes dryer died. It was a Kenmore. Rest in pieces, fella. We won't see the like ever again.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Something worth blogging about. I don't much care about telling everyday stuff, but I'll pass this on from my brother.

He says that if you don't like television and are in a non-private room in a hospital, your rights are not respected. He was in that situation at the VA. He doesn't watch television. He socializes.

I rarely watch television anymore, and I despise the din. I don't watch CNN, I don't watch Fox, I don't watch Oprah or morning shows, I've lost interest in HGTV, and a battle between young chefs doesn't hold me.

It ticks me off that Lyman's younger son sleeps on a couch beside the television in the front room rather than a bed with clean sheets.

That's it.

Monday, August 09, 2010

That Lucy. The little red hen sits about closed-mouth until everyone is out of the house and I'm in a back room, then she lets loose with the most interesting trills, clucks, honks and variety vocalizations, including words.

This week I'll begin trying to videotape her. She won't make it easy.
Ya know, if you're a woman who wants to be tattooed all up and down your arms and legs, you might think about buying print tops that don't clash with the tattoos.

Just sayin'.

Friday, July 30, 2010

New vocabulary: osteomyelitis, vertebral, in this case

Um, Belk's is having a good sale on light summer pajama pants and shorts, some more than 50% off.

My brother developed a debilitating low back pain that didn't respond to treatment. A trip to the VA for a week and two MRI's and a bone scan later brought doctors to this diagnosis.

Now he's hospitalized again for up to eight weeks of treatment. The only thing he can think of that might have caused the infection is a persistent bedsore that he developed when he was in the hospital before.

What a bore. But this time, he is being treated in our new Promise acute care facility on the bank of the Mississippi here in Vidalia. It's about five minutes away from here and accessible to friends.

His room is on the river side with a huge picture-window view of the river and the bridge.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Thank you, Leila.

Why do I think Leila lives in a Southern household? Maybe Texan.
"...through the niiiiight, from the liiiiight up abuv..."

Leila, sweetie, I'm not making fun. I'm a Texan in the Deep South.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I had the oddest dream the other night. An old friend showed up to hold my hand. He has been dead for seventeen years. His hand was dry but not fleshless.

We didn't talk much. Most of the dream is lost. I do remember the comfort.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 14, 2010

How about a little good news from the Gulf of Mexico?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

BP feeds have been updated here.

I am currently watching a screen of several live feeds found here.

Something similar can be found here.

Better techs than I can use these feeds.

A useful diagram of BP's current plan is here.

I'd like to know why CNN's Kyra Phillips thinks she's at the heart of the BP operation when she's not on the ship Discoverer Enterprise or Houston headquarters, but traveling with Adm. Allen.
It's all like so technical and I can't understand what they're saying, and these people do tedious things.
To try to understand what they're saying (not saying that I can, all of it) try The Oil Drum.

UPDATE: A Silverlight multifeed here.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Some people watch NASCAR, some golf, some baseball. I've been glued to the footage of ROVs the past two days, at BP's live feed and all the others I can access.

At the mildest estimate, 210,000 gallons of oil are released into the gulf everyday until BP at least reduces that amount with a containment cap. So why did it take from 12:30 or 1 am last night when it stalled until past 4 this afternoon to bring the diamond saw to the surface for repair or replacement?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sometimes life just ain't worth living.

Returning home today from the Redneck Riviera we passed the site of Vernon Beal's OK Body Shop. The name has been changed to "Beal's Collision Center."

I bet it's those execrable uppity children changing things after papa's retired or gone.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Now, the beach is as gorgeous as always.

Your home away from home in beautiful Orange Beach, Alabama.

Hear the crashing of the waves syncopated by the musical tinkling of the drip from your neighbors' showers and toilets. Are you having fun yet?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, y'all!

We celebrated on Friday with a fried catfish lunch for Lyman's mother. It's her favorite meal here because Lyman will cook her fish just the way she likes it -- crisp through and through. None of that yucky moisture in the fish for her.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The pomegranate tree has finally blossomed. It has been in the ground at least four years.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

This article has some decent information on ongoing procedures to capture the oil spewing from the riser pipe.

It's time to stop admonishing BP for not installing a blow-out preventer. It was done, and they can't get the damned thing to close.

Deep Water Horizon is the name of the well. I wish it weren't on mine.

Have good thoughts for this woman.
Charles Gore (Little Charles, the bird) just sang for his supper:
I want some corn.

We got the cutie and the sweetie pie birds,
We got the sweetie pie birds and corn!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Dr. Jeff Masters has temporary projections for the movement of the oil slick in the Gulf.
Some of the animals expected to be affected by the BP rig blowout.

For Max, Aquarium of the Americas prepares to accommodate sea turtles.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A name for a girl.

Clara is a pretty name that I haven't heard applied in years.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We had an adventure this past weekend.

Lyman was vomiting blood (not the bright, scary kind, the rusty coffee-looking kind) Friday morning. So we took him to the emergency room in Natchez. Doctors determined he should be admitted, but since no gastroenterologists were on call this weekend, they transferred him to a hospital about 50 miles east in McComb, MS.

They treated him with two units of blood and IV fluids all weekend. On Monday he underwent an EGD or upper gastrointestinal scope and found nothing to be alarmed about -- no lesions, no ulcer, just a slight redness in some tissue.

He was released Monday with no medications and no dietary restrictions and is just fine, if a little weak.

How weird. Well, not really, according to the specialist. They see cases like that from time to time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Don't ask me how I got from here to here, but I did.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I have no interest in whether animals can be gay, but I'll always enjoy seeing animals as silly looking as those two Chinese Silky chicks on the left.

Big Bird has a girlfriend. Or a boyfriend. I dunno.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Continuing the book theme, when I was about twelve, my brother Charles brought home a fine color plate edition of the works of Michelangelo. That's when I decided that the the Pieta was the prettiest thing I'd ever seen. I still think so.

It's an unfortunate thing that viewers aren't allowed to touch works like this. Even Henry Moore is off-limits. At least in Dallas.

I have sympathy with art thieves and the people who employ them.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

I had just received an e-mail notice from the GelPro company when I posted below. They send product offers from time to time.

Since I like the mats, I deigned to fill out a short survey. In the comments, I did mention that the edges curl. Look, I can turn them around and they're fine for a good while. I told them so.

Immediately, a representative sent a request that I send photos of my particular problem. They took a look, and presto, replacement mats have been shipped. They want the originals back, which will be a pain in the butt, but they want to take a look at them.

Maybe I should spend some time talking to customer service at Jenn-Air. The hinges, replaced last summer, are going out again.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

There's a meme going around these days in some blogs about books that influenced the blogger.

I'd say first on my list is the medical book I mentioned in this post. I was in many ways reared by that book, and would read it still if my sister didn't have it.

(As an aside, I learned of Indigo's death in May of 2008 long after the fact, from Mostly Cajun's blog. We carried on a good-natured correspondence for years.)

And I'd bet a good many of you were influenced by that book and don't know it.

Vying with first is The American Woman's Cook Book, 1947 edition, when mama needed a cake recipe. Interesting that it came from the Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago.

My parents spent I don't know how many payments to buy us an elementary set of encyclopedia, less than middling, but that included The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls. I spent hours with those books. I particularly liked mythology. My sister has those, too.

And that's where I'll leave it today.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Words are funny.

From the VRBO site Lyman had an inquiry: "How much would it cost to rent this precious condo?"

Lyman told me: "Well, if they're going to be sarcastic about it, why should I respond at all?"

J: "What do you mean?"

L: "Precious condo."

J: "That could mean that she likes it, Lyman. We might not describe it that way (yo mama), but she might."

L: Oh.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Furthermore, speaking of forgetting. For some weeks Lyman and I had been puzzling over a "Cuban Pork" recipe in our computer file.

L: What is this cuban pork recipe?
J: Cuban pork?

So we tried it again, and it's very good. Here it is:


For mojo:
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
10 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
4 bay leaves
1 pound piece boneless pork loin

Papaya mango salsa, recipe follows.

Mojo: In a small bowl stir together all mojo ingredients until salt is
dissolved. Chill sauce, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 24. Trim all fat from pork. In a sealable plastic bag combine pork and mojo. Seal bag, pressing out excess air. Marinate pork, chilled, 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drain pork, discarding marinade, and pat dry. In a small roasting pan roast pork 30 to 40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in center registers 160 (bull, we go to 125) degrees. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes. Cut pork into thin slices and serve with salsa.
Yield: 4 servings


1/2 firm ripe papaya
1 medium firm ripe mango
1/2 medium red onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 small jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

Seed and peel papaya. Peel mango and cut flesh from pit. Cut papaya and mango into 1/4 inch dice and in a small bowl toss with onion and lime juice. Stir diced jalapeno into salsa with coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Chill salsa, covered, at least 2 hours and up to 24.
Yield: 2 1/2 cups

So go get your mojo working.

We plan to try the mojo with chicken thighs soon.
While we're talking about the kitchen, let's give a hand to houseguests Buzzy and Locks (Don and Adrienne) for bringing a top-notch host/hostess gift. ::CLAP, CLAP, CLAP::

They brought and cooked a barbequed oyster recipe from Jon Bonnell's Fine Texas Cuisine. They came through last weekend and this one. In the interim we bought the cookbook.

The sauce is dominated by the mild dried Anaheim chili pepper.

UPDATE: Ahem, Lyman says it needs more kick, but not flavor. I vote for a touch of sambal.

Better yet, let's go ask Chef Bonnell.

UPDATE: He recommends adding a chili pequin or red Thai chili to the mix.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Do you remember these rugs?

I knew they would be a disaster in the kitchen, and they were, and I've passed them on to my sister.

We replaced them with Gel Pro mats which have a plastic surface that can be swept and mopped.

We see one problem, which is if they aren't rotated regularly, the 1/4-inch flat edge curls. It's no taller than the top of the mat, though, and isn't a problem if we don't drag our feet.

That's a recommendation after two years' use.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Our electric company in Alabama has a lot to say about electric tankless water heaters, and none of it is good.

In their magazine last month, and an insert in the bill this month, the electric company offers to buy and install a conventional water heater in place of an electric tankless at its expense. Or you can change it out yourself and receive a rebate of $1000, or you can keep it and pay a special higher rate after Dec 31, 2011.

This so-called energy efficient alternative ain't all that it's cracked up to be.

The reasons:

+ When the tankless fires up, it can draw as much as 36,000 watts of power, about eight times more than a conventional heater, which comes in around 4,500.

+ Many times a home's wiring and the utility company's equipment can't handle the load, causing flickering and dimming lights

+ Sometimes the company has to upgrade transformers and household meters.

+ Since this electric company is a co-op, that increased electric demand can lead to increases in power costs across the board.

None of that applies to gas tankless heaters. They prolly have their own problems.

But that's what Baldwin EMC has to say to you, Bubba.
I went to class this morning. It was the right pace and style for me. The poses were challenging enough, but I left feeling not the least bit beaten up.

PD was in the class. She settled her mat in front of mine in one of Cheryl's workshops last year. She has the prettiest pink feet.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

This is about enough out of the whippersnappers.

The teachers I've visited with the past year have you do "tree" about half-way through a session, when I'm all stretched out. No, I can't stand there for a minute or two at that time. I could be better earlier. Maybe.

I joined a couple of classes with Cheryl Moss this weekend.

There I saw the women who run this studio. I plan to start with them on Monday, a class a week.

Mother-in-law's birthday is tomorrow. She turns 90.

This is Decadent Fudge Cake. I had to thin my chocolate more to make it flow at all, but I hope it will be okay.

It demands some vanilla ice cream, don't you think?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Lucy had another egg this evening.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

She has lost interest.

Her head is tucked back for sleeping.
Lucy has a new egg. That's three this month.
I have added a "HIT THE BEACH" category on the left because Lyman and I were thrown out of our agency rental program. We had availability problems.

So now we're on our own, working through the Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) site.

Go take a look and offer advice here. And no, dammit, we're not gonna put granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. I don't like granite that well, and it's going out of style.

Friday, February 19, 2010

If I had been a little faster, you might have seen Lucy lay the egg under her tail in this photo.

Is that something you'd like to see? The hearing is more interesting.

She ate it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Egg from Lucy this morning.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Weather Channel is predicting more snow for our area tonight.

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day!

How about some toy love?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm watching the trials for the women's moguls at the Olympics.

What's with the uniforms for the USA? They look like flannel jammies.

UPDATE: A photo

UPDATE: 2/14/10 The men doing the moguls are wearing them, too. Those big ole hunky boys look even sillier.

Friday, February 12, 2010

And snow continues to fall in the Deep South.

UPDATE: That passed eastward around noon. Looked to be about 4" here. It's melting as we speak.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Speaking of old rock acts, Smiley Anders, the guy with the best job in the state, offers this note:
Ken Duhe says seeing The Who playing at the Super Bowl halftime “reminded me of a much-told legend that floated around the north Baton Rouge Redemptorist neighborhood where I grew up, that The Who and Herman’s Hermits had played on the Redemptorist football field in the mid-1960s.”

It’s no legend, Ken. According to past columns S.J. Montalbano, of Montel Records, put on a Herman’s Hermits concert in 1967 at St. Gerard Majella Field —Redemptorist High’s stadium — with The Who as an opening act.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Well, what a positively geriatric baby boom indulgence is the performance of "The Who" at the Superbowl.

I think they're canny enough to take the money, embarrass themselves, and put paid to the notion that they should tour again.

"See me, feel me, touch me, heal me" indeed.

Peter Townshend has never fooled himself about this stuff. Many years ago he said he couldn't replicate that angry young man because first, he wasn't young, and second, he was rich, and it was hard to be angry while rich.

First try at a King Cake using a recipe from last week's food page in the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

We bought four copies of this out-of-print cookbook for holiday gifts, at the young'uns' request.

This recipe is worth four bucks:

Spicy Mint Potatoes

6 medium potatoes
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp chicken bouillon granules
2 tbsp hot milk
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1 tsp mild curry powder

Wash the potatoes and bake at 400 degrees until just tender. (Or microwave, or whatever.) Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the centers. Place the shells in a shallow baking pan and the flesh into a bowl.

Mash the potato flesh and add the butter, lemon juice, chicken bouillon and milk. Mix until smooth. Add the chopped mint and green onions. Spoon the mixture into the potato shells.

Combine cheese with curry powder and sprinkle on top of the potatoes. Cover the pan with foil.

Place the pan on a preheated barbecue and cook over a moderate heat for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are hot and the cheese is bubbly. (Or pop into a 350 degree oven for the same time.)

Gold potatoes worked well. The picture in the book showed red ones.

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's a small one, but I like this outdated oven in the in-laws' house.

Girl rarely used it, so it didn't require cleaning.

It hinges on the side:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

That's no good.

Mr. Parker died at his desk yesterday.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What a neurotic.

The in-laws' house sold the second day the sign was out front. The family was looking for a fair price, not to maximize profit.

But there was the niggling matter of those two scummy taps in the back shower stall bugging me no end. So I took care of that this morning, I feel better, and I'm done. There.

But this week is to be mostly clear with temps in the 70s. This house could use care, too.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Let's taste this recipe for Oven Fried Mustard Chicken tonight.

I'll let you know.

UPDATE: The chicken is moist and flavorful, but I ain't crazy about the texture of the bran flakes, even if the flavor is fine. Next time I try this, I'll use panko bread crumbs. Then it might be a keeper. It's certainly easy.

On the side were cauliflower florets and broccoli spears tossed with extra virgin olive oil, salt, black pepper and sliced garlic, then roasted at 425 degrees. Served with a squeeze of lemon.

Oh, and a slice of peasant bread from the recipe in the book.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Today's recommended cleaning agent is Cameo Aluminum and Stainless Steel Cleaner.

That polished up the aluminum frame of a shower door when nothing else would do. No more scum or hard water deposits.

I have some aluminum frames around here that could use some work too, and this stuff has been under the sink for years for the stainless steel in the kitchen. Never read the whole label. Recommended for chrome, too.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I've been getting a jump on spring cleaning over at the in-laws' house.

Girl will be staying at the assisted living center, and their house is up for sale.

She was an OCD fastidious housekeeper until she couldn't keep up with it any more, and it shows up the past few years. Mind, she'll be 90 in March and rarely complains about the arthritis in her hands.

White ceramic tile covers the floors in the small laundry room (which also served as carport entry) and the kitchen, the proper foyer and hall to the bedrooms. Over the years the kitchen tile had become grimy. Now it looks like new.

Here's what I did: sprayed with full strength LA Totally Awesome Cleaner (1/2 gallon concentrate sells at Family Dollar for $3.15), scrubbed languidly with any kind of non-scratch scrub pad, then mopped with clean water. I worked sections, maybe a square yard each. Some spots needed a spray or two more, but the floor is gleaming.

I also like this stuff for grime around light switches and door knobs.

Now, if I can move everyone from here to that clean house, and work on this one while they're gone, we'll be a happier family.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Okay, okay, Jordana.

I did buy the book for Christmas. We've used the Master recipe (unbleached all-purpose white flour) and have moved on to a half-recipe of light wheat.

We don't eat a lot of bread, so a refrigerated dough that can be used for two weeks is up our alley. And the taste is good. Even Lyman likes it, the boy who went to school in New Orleans where the fresh-baked baguette is common fare. (Don't mistake me here, the French baguette is another loaf, much lighter.)

I'll start looking for rye flour for a peasant loaf.

For other readers, this is what we are talking about.
Egg for Lucy this morning.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Oh, Lucy.

There was an egg in the cage this morning. First for 2010.

There have been other eggs since the accident. Two in the week of Dec. 13.