November 14th, 2008

Yeah. The only thing good about that movie was Francesca Annis. Damn.

Actually, I'm thinking of saffron.

Delicate threads of vivid color plucked from crocus flowers by the deft fingers of Kashmiri virgins.

And it's freaking expensive. I've always read that it doesn't take much saffron to infuse a dish with saffroninity, but $76 for a quarter ounce? I'm suspicious of a spice that you have to bag and sell like pot.

Turns out I don't like saffron.

I could give a crap about the golden color.

It makes things taste like soap. The descriptions I can find mention bitterness and hay. Wikipedia mentions the smell of hospitals.


You can keep your expensive, virgin-picked plant sex organs.


November 4th, 2008

Now all he has to do is avoid the Curse of Jimmy Carter and being assassinated.

It's all very inspirational and I appreciate how the world's estimation of the United States has instantly jumped.

But a lot of my countryfolk are crazy-assed mofos.

Good luck, President-elect Obama.

George Washington

November 3rd, 2008

We finally chopped down the dead cherry tree in our back yard.

When we moved to the house in '99, the tree produced some fine fruit. I'm crazy for just about anything edible and cherry.

The next couple of seasons, the birds clued in and got most of the fruit before we could.

Then the tree sickened, weeping a huge wad of dying tree snot from its trunk.

Most literature recommends cutting off the diseased branch, which is not really an option when the trunk is involved.

So the poor thing died.

I thought of the cherry lumber that I might harvest. It was a small tree, so the yield would only be a couple of board feet of narrow wood.

Harvesting my own low-value lumber didn't motivate me enough, however.

The tree corpse stood in our yard for a year or two with the local birds happy to perch in its spindly dead branches.

Last night, my wife suggested that we get rid of the lich-tree. I had the time, the inclination, and a chainsaw.

The roots had rotted after so much time in the ground. We just pushed the trunk over.

As expected, we unearthed an impressive termite colony.

Despite the bug damage and soft rotted patches, the trunk still sang like solid lumber when I whacked it.

Some judicious chainsaw work and hatchet swinging revealed a lot of really nice wood. I would've preferred an adze or a drawknife, but my wife tells me I have enough tools.

Now I'm going to dry the wood out to a fungus-hostile less than 20% and see what I can do with the little log.

Maybe I'll make a plaque for our doorbell to replace the crumbling holesaw cutout of particle board that my father-in-law insisted he install so many years ago.

Maybe I'll make a door harp.

Who knows?


October 22nd, 2008

My most recent copy of American Rifleman magazine arrived this week with a special extra cover.

The NRA wants me to vote McCain/Palin.

Shock. Surprise.

I enjoy reading about how annoyed and betrayed many Republicans feel about McCain's candidacy. There was a time when I respected Mr. McCain, but that was many years ago and he has since sold his soul many times over.

Remember that painfully awkward moment in 2000?

Q. Senator, why do you have difficulty using the word ''endorsement'' in your support for Governor Bush?

MR. McCAIN. I endorse Governor Bush. I endorse -- I endorse Governor Bush. I endorse Governor Bush. I endorse Governor Bush. I endorse Governor Bush. I endorse Governor Bush. I endorse Governor...

MR. BUSH. By the way, I enthusiastically accept.

Grin and bear it, Mr. McCain. Keep your eyes on the prize.

And Sarah Palin is just cuckoo. She's exactly the sort of person you'll encounter in California's agrarian Central Valley. She's a lot like folks living far from major population centers in the U.S. They are not all stupid. They are not all evil. Mostly they are fundamentally deluded having developed under the de facto geographical and cultural isolation of the United States.

They are not the sort of folks I want to vote into power.

The U.S. rocks, but McCain is old and Palin, despite her "you betcha" charm and facility with high-powered firearms, is embarrassing and dangerous.

No matter how I feel about the 2nd Amendment, I just can't do that to my country and to the world.

The Moderne Age

October 17th, 2008

My parents in rural Washington State just got DSL service for the same price as their crappy dial-up service.

I'm happy for them.