Ye Gods…

It’s been ten, no… ten? Yeah, it’s been at least ten years since I stayed up all night writing a paper. But I did it last night, and y’know, I don’t feel half bad today. I feel ALL THE WAY bad.

House guests, building projects (stay tuned for the world’s coolest dog house), bad weather and bad planning all added up to me writing a paper for one of my teaching classes between 2:00a and 5:00a. I was able to get about two hours of sleep after that. Just enough to make me late for the class where I turned the paper in.

As a result, everywhere I have gone today, I have been driving like a drunk. It’s terrifying. I have been wondering at what point should I just throw up my hands and say “Screw it, time to go home and write the rest of the day off.”

This is why *younger people than myself* are the majority here in college.

Normally, I wouldn’t repeat this….

But every time I think about it, I start giggling…

Somebody was telling me this the other day- can’t remember who told me or who the perpertrator was- but the story goes like this:
There was a guy who had a roommate who had a cat. Guy 1 is not a big cat fan, and this cat was a real piece of work- a tom and a pisser. Guy 2 (the roommate) refuses to see the bad side of pissykitty.
Guy 1 usually gets home an hour or so ahead of Guy 2, and one day decides to clean out the cat box because it fuggin reeks. The next day, he gets home early and there’s one day’s worth of cat poop. He scoops and flushes, no smell.
He starts doing this regularly, because he hates the smell, but he doesn’t mention it to his roommate.
One day, Guy 2 says “My cat hasn’t pooped in forever. I wonder if he’s sick.”
*lightbulb*
Guy 1 says “I heard about a guy once with a cat that got constipated and got sick. You should take him to the vet.”
Guy 2 takes the cat to the vet. Vet says the cat seems fine.
Guy 1 continues to scoop the poop without telling Guy 2. Guy 2 takes the cat back to the vet. Vet prescribes a laxative.
Guy 1 comes home the next day, scoops the poop and then takes a HUGE, HUUUUUUGE dump in the cat box. Guy 2 comes home, walks by the cat box and screams (in a high, girly voice….)
“FLUUUUFFFY, OHMIGOD!!!”

Oh, Wicked Traitorous Me

Well, Ann Coulter has found me out. In her new book, Treason, she equates liberalism with treason and defends poor old Joe McCarthy’s unfairly sullied reputation. (Poor, poor old Joe McCarthy- he wasn’t destroying people’s lives on a political whim after all, he was just trying to defend his country from the Red Menace.)

And as for me, well… here, let me pull my collar down so you can put that noose around my red neck. Treacherous, treasonous liberals, all of us. Here I was, masquerading as an American citizen- pretending to study, farm and pay taxes like everyone else, and secretly, in my heart of hearts, a turncoat! When I say I want progressive taxation, environmental protection, funding for the arts, and evenhanded foreign policy, what I really mean is “We should burn the white house to the ground and hand the keys to the Pentagon to the Soviets… er, I mean, there’s no Soviets any more, but, maybe the Chinese will take the keys… or the North Koreans…Hello, Fidel?”

I have been comparing the musings of the mouthiest of the NeoCons to propaganda that heralded the rise of the Brownshirts in the 1930s. Boy did I miss the boat- when they start trying to rewrite history because they own the media of the present, and equating dissident thinking with treason, they’re a lot more like Stalinists. (There are other good reasons to follow that link, btw- A truly “conservative” viewpoint from the UK magazine, The Spectator.)

I originally posted a cheap shot here about Coulter’s taste in clothing and surgical enhancement, but have decided that it was in really poor taste…. Go to her website, look at the pictures, and *you* decide if it was her book that got her on Hannity and Colmes.

The Orwell Century

I have tried three times to put up a post about how today would have been George Orwell’s 100th birthday. The first time I was vicitmized by a villianously unstable windows machine in the lab where I “work.” It had a wheezy, creaky old version of IE (bleh…) on it that choked on any kind of advanced scripting like the fine programming integral to my blog software. The other two times- well, plain old-fashioned incompetence. Yay, me.

Look, I need to say this fast before I find a way to wreck it. George Orwell’s 1984 changed my life when I was a teenager. It’s what made me the annoyingly disrespectful citizen that I am today. I wish more people had read it.

Orwell, born Eric Blair, put his money where his mouth was- he went and fired guns at the fascists in Spain and got shot through the neck for his trouble.

He was an intellectual that distrusted intellectuals, a socialist that hated Stalinists, and a man of letters that never took a job at Oxford. He was fond of strong tea, strong tobacco, and a hard day’s work in the garden.

He was an astonishingly complex thinker- his politics and his writing were critical of the things that he loved- England, the working class, progressive politics, but he was merciless to the things he hated- fascism, hypocrisy, autocratic governance and nationalism.

My favorite Orwell quotes?
“Vague and muddled language leads to vague and muddled thinking.”
“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible.”
“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

There others, more political- but I am weary of defending myself for speaking my mind about matters political. (Just know that my heart beats the same, whether I am speaking aloud or silent.)

Tell It Like It Is

Speak the truth to power.

Glenn over at Hi! I’m Black! is speaking the truth about Affirmative Action, ladies and gentlemen.

My favorite excerpt:
[snip]
You know what else I think is absolutely hilarious? The notion that white people (white men in particular) are somehow being shafted or are being treated unfairly. Sure, if you look at it on an individual level (the only level most people care about), certain individual white people are affected by affirmative action. But as a whole, I would say that Affirmative Action has done absolutely nothing to loosen the stranglehold that white men have on the political establishment and on executive positions in the business world.
[/snip]

*cough, cough*

Well…

If you don’t agree with that sentiment, definitely write your congressperson, who I am certain is a woman of color…..

Never Say Ouch

Had friends in for the weekend and I forced them to come out with me and pick blackberries. We picked about two gallons. The blackberries are ripening so fast, and the weather has been so perfect for them, that they are falling off of the vines. Some of them are so huge and fat that it’s almost kind of… obscene.

Picking blackberries is a challenge. Perhaps because they are so tasty to so many creatures, nature has surrounded them with horrible thickets of thorns. The first day I went out to pick them this week, I was wearing my new boots and my overalls with no shirt. (Hey, I live so far out in the middle of nowhere that it *really* doesn’t matter how I dress.) It took me about two hours to pick a gallon of blackberries, and my arms were ripped to shreds.
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The Chicken Letters

From a letter between my dad and his friend Daryl, the chicken farmer and alligator rancher-

Chuck,
Tell Patrick that all his worries will come to pass.• When you are dumb and slow and on the bottom of the food chain, your life expectancy is short.• About the rooster, he can be a blessing and a curse.• If you get a real mean one he will be pretty effective at protecting his harem.• He may also consider you and everyone else a threat and engage you in combat at every opportunity.• My preferred way to keep yard chickens is to get some hens that have some game blood in them and a rooster that is all or mostly game and let them run free.• The game breeds are hearty and cagey and good flyers as chickens go.• If you have a good house for them to roost in and to lay their eggs in they can maintain their numbers with reproduction if you let some of the hens• set.• And by letting them run free you get the double benefit of insect control and free chicken feed.• The fertilizer issue can be a benefit or a curse depending on how you look at it.• Of course the free range thing won’t work if you have neighbors close by.

-Daryl

Daryl-
read with much interest your comments on chickens that you mailed to my dad.
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I Have New Boots

I am singing a new song today- It goes “I have new boots, I have new boots, la-la-la, I have new boots.”

For my birthday, my lovely and talented girlfriend bought me a new pair of workboots, and they are some fine, fine things. Tom Joad would be proud. (if you don’t know who Tom Joad is, please turn off your computer, turn off your television, go somewhere quiet and read this book.)

Why are these boots so wonderful, you ask?
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Feeding the Trolls

Keerist, I have been wasting a lot of time feeding the trolls down there. Seems I riled a couple of them.

I want to make some of my feelings a little more clear for those of you that don’t have any inclination to wade through all the invective and personal insults. I would like to post (as a regular entry) the response I made to some of the comments that I received. It comes in response to being told “you’d better move to Europe. ” and “I honestly think that you’d rather believe ANYONE than any person associated with this country.”

My response follows:

Well, folks, there you have it.

A little blast from the past- from the Alien and Sedition Acts of the Adams Presidency through the “Love it or Leave it” 1960s- When “patriots” get their backs up, it comes down to a simple equation: dissent=treason.

I realize that there are a very small minority of us that are opposed to pre-emptive wars on shaky pretexts, but I feel that history will judge us kindly. I have always felt that the WMD issue had a very Gulf of Tonkin smell to it. I am not going to get into the specious argument that Saddam was or was not worthy of a commitment of billions of dollars men of materiel to depose him. We have covered that, ad infinitum, in other places.

I am not anti-American. I am not surprised to find myself having to defend myself from the charge, however. Those who advocate peace and question the motives of those who would make war are always called “coward” and “traitor.” If I am to be branded as such because I (along with most of the population of Canada, the UK, and the rest of the civilized world) advocate for clear-headed and fair policies where cruise missles and massive civilian casualties are involved, then I wear the title proudly.

I feel like we are currently a country in peril of losing its moral mandate in the world. We have squandered the good will of our allies in favor of inspiring terror in those we oppose. My fear is that, in the end, it will avail us nothing.

Our fight, as the wealthiest nation on earth, should be against poverty, disease, racism, injustice and illiteracy around the world and right here within our own borders. We should be exporting peace and prosperity and leading the world in the measured use of force, since we are one of the handful of nations well-armed enough to have that luxury.

Instead, the face that we are showing the world is that of a hair-trigger oligarchy. You think that anti-American rhetoric is at a high water mark now? If we continue to squander our name on unilateral (B)bush wars, the shouting is going to rise in tenor until it is deafening.”

Please feel free to comment either way, as it seems to get some folks REAL excited.

Come Back to Life Soup

L. and I both got sick this week, and we have been feeling pretty puny since it passed. It was a stomach thing, so we are both kind of dehydrated and worn out. When we were living in Chicago, we both got sick once and I went to the store to get some ingredients and I improvised a soup that we call “Come Back to Life Soup,” because it really revived us.

You don’t have to be sick to enjoy it, but it sure does the job when you’ve been feeling worn out.

Here is the recipe:

1/2 a chicken, chopped for soup, bones and all.
2 Quarts of Chicken stock
2 Quarts of Water
5 limes (6 if they aren’t really juicy)
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of dried lemongrass
a piece of ginger the size of your thumb, peeled and crushed
a cup of coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
black pepper to taste

Using a half a cup of the chicken stock, sautee the garlic and ginger over low heat until the garlic is just starting to carmelize, then add the chicken. (You can use olive oil to sautee if you’re not sick- but if your stomach has been upset, oil isn’t the best thing.)

As the chicken starts to cook, add the salt and the lemongrass. Let the chicken sautee in the stock until it looks fairly cooked.

Add the chicken stock and the water and increase the heat until it boils. Once the water is boiling, add the juice from the limes. Also add black pepper to taste.

Let it boil covered, over medium low heat for about half an hour to 45 minutes.

Ten minutes before you are going to bring it to the table, add the cilantro.

Serve alone or with rice.

If you’re just making this soup for an entree, you can add coconut milk and serrano peppers to make a Thai-style soup.

Enjoy!