January 31, 2010

Mike Royko and News Stories

Mike Royko wrote for the Chicago Tribune when I was a kid. (I think he later went over to the Sun-Times. But we never subscribed to that in my Fox River Valley home. So I never read those columns) I remember one column he wrote where he said he no longer went to sad movies. Or movies with a "message". When he paid his money to be entertained, he wanted to be entertained.

While I don't mind seeing hard movies every now and then, I, too, have reached the point in my life where my down time should be fun, not hard. So for movies we tend to more escapist fantasy than social justice.

Listening to the news on the radio has the same effect on me these days. I was listing to NPR this evening and there was a story about a woman whose mother had taken artificial estrogen when she was pregnant with the woman. this caused her to have a deformed uterus, and well, blah blah blah. Horrible things happened to her (including thinking about getting an abortion from the late term abortion doctor who was recently murdered in Kansas City)

This story added nothing to my knowledge of TARP funds, the Health Care Reform bill, unemployment, or much else at all. I was cooking Chicken Provencal, for crying out loud!

So I turned off the radio and turned on the Holy Modal Rounders.

Don't you treat me like no low down dog.

January 19, 2010

Ogden Nash Advice

To keep your marriage brimming,

with love in the wedding cup,

whenever you're wrong, admit it;

whenever you're right, shut up.

January 18, 2010

Eating the Lox

We ate our home made lox last night for dinner.

It was just delicious!

We ate it on Nan (Indian bread) that Doreen heated up in the frying pan, with capers, chopped red onion, and whipped cream cheese. We drank a bottle of champagne, and it was just great:

From Lox, ready to eat

From Lox, ready to eat

From Lox, ready to eat

From Lox, ready to eat

I will make this again.

Home Made Gravlox

One of Doreen's co-workers enjoys fishing for salmon. I think he goes once a year or so with his family. The story I get is that he doesn't really like eating the salmon, however. So we are usually the beneficiaries of his largess. In other words, we get his salmon.

We like salmon enough, but I wanted to try something different with this batch. Doreen had given me a book on Charcuterie for Christmas. I think that when she saw how excited about that book I was she was just a little bit scared. Me? I am thrilled. Think about making your own sausage! Your own Tasso! Your own bacon! So I was eager to try something out of the book.

One of the simplest recipes in the book was for cured salmon, or gravlox, or lox. You take the salmon:

From Lox

Cover it with a mixture of salt and sugar:

From Lox

and let it sit for up to 60 hours:

12 hours:

From Lox +12 hours

24 hours:

From Lox - 24 hours

36 hours:

From Lox +36 Hours

48 hours:

From Lox +48 Hours

60 hours:

From Lox +60 Hours

Once it is cured (firm to the touch) you wash off the brine and wrap in parchment or butcher paper:

From Lox +60 Hours

And it is ready to eat!

January 16, 2010

San Francisco in a day

As you can see by the below posts, I was in San Francisco. For one day.

I flew out on the 7:35 AM flight Friday morning, and was on the 6:35 PM flight back to Houston. I landed in San Francisco about 10:40 AM (PST) and landed back home about 11:30 PM (CST)

That is a long day. 4:01 outbound, 3:11 homebound.

I wouldn't recommend it as a regular course of events.

The meetings went well, though.

January 13, 2010

Eating Alone

I don't like to eat alone.

I really don't like to eat out alone.

I will do it when I have to (I had lunch today at my favorite taqueria by the office - Taqueria Huetamich, where I had the "El Tarde en Cancun" plate:

From Taqueria Huetamich

I usually order a torta there, but I decided to get something different. This was rice and beans, along with a beef taco, a chicken flauta, and a cheese enchilada. It was great) but generally I like to have company at lunch if I am eating out.

Certainly at dinner when I am eating out.

Last night Doreen was at a Board Meeting, so I was left to fend for myself. (As I will be tomorrow evening)

Now, some of you know my fascination with fermentation. (see here, here, and here) SO I decided that nothing would be better than a bowl of home made sauerkraut for my supper:

From Lox - 24 hours

and a glass of Burgundy.

Nothing could have been better! (Except, of course, having Doreen stay home!)

January 12, 2010

“Orthogonal, Ooh”

The Volokh Conspiracy » Blog Archive » “Orthogonal, Ooh”

Here is the blog post in full:

“Orthogonal, Ooh”

From the oral argument transcript today in Briscoe v. Virginia, a funny moment in the argument of University of Michigan law professor Richard Friedman:

MR. FRIEDMAN: I think that issue is entirely orthogonal to the issue here because the Commonwealth is acknowledging -
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I’m sorry. Entirely what?
MR. FRIEDMAN: Orthogonal. Right angle. Unrelated. Irrelevant.
JUSTICE SCALIA: What was that adjective? I liked that.
MR. FRIEDMAN: Orthogonal.
MR. FRIEDMAN: Right, right.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Orthogonal, ooh.
JUSTICE KENNEDY: I knew this case presented us a problem.
MR. FRIEDMAN: I should have — I probably should have said -
JUSTICE SCALIA: I think we should use that in the opinion.
MR. FRIEDMAN: I thought — I thought I had seen it before.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Or the dissent.
MR. FRIEDMAN: That is a bit of professorship creeping in, I suppose.

I think Friedman should have explained “vectors with a dot product of zero,” but I guess that would have been overly technical.

If you’re curious, the Supreme Court has never used the word “orthogonal” in a written opinion. It has usually appeared in the federal reports in patent cases, although it occasionally surfaces elsewhere. See, e.g., United States v. Harris, 491 F.3d 440 (DC Cir. 2007) (“This test is fact-intensive, and the facts at issue are often orthogonal to those explored at trial.”).

I love stories like this

Money quote:

"The suspected getaway driver was found sleeping in his car..."

4 men arrested in botched Conroe jewelry store burglary | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle

January 9, 2010

Throw him in jail!

If I had been flying through Newark and had been delayed 6 hours because of this joker I would have been furious.

Real life is not a romantic comedy | The Economist

January 6, 2010

The US is still the place to be

All of us who were born in the US around the middle of the last century have won the lottery.

Those who got here any way possible have also done pretty well.

And Joel Kotkin believes we will continue to do so:

Don't Give Up On The U.S. | Newgeography.com

January 4, 2010

Cold in Houston

It is supposed to get into the teens by the end of the week here in Houston.

The teens!

The coldest it has been in ten years.

I have had my pipes freeze and burst (Not in this house) in 1983 and in 1988. Neither experience was pleasant.

The first time the pipes were in the ceiling, above the drywall and outside of the insulation. I came home from a Christmas Part (from Sanchez-O'Brien Oil and Gas - SOB OG) and heard water running. That was a bummer.

The second time the pipes were under the house. It didn't make such a mess, but you don't know misery until you live in a house where the downstairs temperature can't get above 50 and you have no water.

That was Christmas Day 1988. My good friend David lived next door. He was out of town and his pipes froze (I don't remember if they burst) too. I turned off his water (it was a rent house)

Luckily one of my neighbors was both a contractor and some Christian religion that didn't believe in celebrating Christmas. So he helped me fix my leak.

Thanks, Grant, where ever you are.

January 3, 2010

Holidays are over

The 2010 work year starts tomorrow. If I don't join my sweet ever lovin' for a day off on MLK day, it will be a long time before we have a holiday. Of course, I am losing vacation hours every paycheck, so maybe I should start taking a day or two off every month until I burn the hours down.

I have great hopes for 2010. Work should be good. The software is working well and we have proven demand. The house is in good shape - just a few repairs that are inevitable in a place that is almost 100 years old. And I the last 10 years are the best ten years of my life (I was married in 2001). So maybe I have broken the "Pick two of three" jinx (job, home, marriage) and have hit the trifecta.

The holidays were nice. We went to a couple of parties, but not too many parties. We cooked for both Christmas and New Year's Eve - and both dinners turned out great. We relaxed around the house and just didn't worry about anything.

So we will see what 2010 will bring.

Happy New Year to everyone.

January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve

As has been our wont for the past several years, we had a small dinner party on New Year's Eve. There were only seven of us for dinner, so it was intimate enough that we could chat about everything from politics to, well, politics. It was fun.

We started off with Doreen's Famous Artichoke dip (artichokes, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese) and my sister's delicious blue cheese and black olive dip. (She brought it over for Christmas, but we didn't eat it then. Thanks, Ree!)

To go with the appetizers and the treats, we had a Alfred Gratien Brut Champagne. An outstanding bottle that seems to be a bargain along with a lot of other champagne these days.

We then had a trio of appetizers anchored with Becky's Famous Three Bean Salad, which included Black Eyed Peas for luck:

From New Year's Eve 2009

accompanied by Corn Chowder:

From New Year's Eve 2009

and Mushrooms on toast:

From New Year's Eve 2009

Sadly, as with last year, I forgot to photograph these plated. And they were so good looking, too!

For our entree we had meatloaf. French green beans with smoked paprika and almonds, cheesy potatoes, and red cabbage. The cabbage is for prosperity:

From New Year's Eve 2009

Finally, we capped it all off with a Chocolate-Caramel Macadamia Tart:

From New Year's Eve 2009

And then we talked more politics.

It was a great evening.