Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's that time of year....Garlic Chicken Soup of Doom

Colds suck. Just coming out the far end of a nasty one. However, some years ago out of sheer self defense while weathering a siege-force bronchitis w/ sinus issues for icing, I came up with the below - it's yummy and good for about 45 minutes of relief in my experience.

Garlic Chicken Soup of Doom

2 Large Cans Campbells Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup*
1 lb Boneless Chicken Breasts, cubed to ½” to ¼”
1 8 oz. Can peas
1 8 oz. Can carrots
1 8 oz. Can sliced potatoes
1 8 oz Can Kidney Beans
2½ c. Chopped Garlic
6 tbsp Oregano
6 tbsp Basil
Chili Powder
Tabasco Sauce
Olive Oil

Coat the bottom of a large fry pan with olive oil. Add 3 tbsp of chopped garlic, 2 tbsp Oregano and Basil, and sauté over low heat until garlic shows just a hint of brown, stirring occasionally. Add chopped chicken breasts, stir vigorously until intermingled thoroughly with spices, then continue to stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked white all through.

Meanwhile, drain all vegetables and place in large crock pot (slow cooker) with Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup. Add water to within 2" of top of pot. Throw in a couple of handfuls of pasta to thicken, if desired. Add remaining garlic and spices at this time, put crock pot on high setting.

When chicken is sautéed white all through, dump entire fry pan contents into crock pot, stirring in. Simmer for at least one hour.

Returning, take test sip. Add garlic until the soup begins to taste salty. Then add another tablespoon. Now, add chili powder and Tabasco GENTLY, a bit at a time, until when you take a test sip it goes down smoothly…but you feel a distinct heated bite at the back of your throat after imbibing. (Note, if you over do, just let the soup boil down a bit, add some more water and pasta, let that boil down – repeat as needed…and all will be well).

*substitute any preferred chicken stock, and if substituting fresh vegetables rather than canned, be sure to increase cook time for proper spice saturation

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sen. Lautenberg & Brady rise again..."Gun Show Loophole"

Sometimes, you just can't outdo the anti's when it comes to writing up reasons why we need to support the Second Amendment Foundation, the National Rifle Association, and the many others dedicated to protecting the fundamental right of self-defense and the corollary right to access effective means to engage in self-defense. A friend got this and forwarded it to a list I'm on - please forgive the edits.

From: Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Sent: Wed 1/30/2008 1:30 PM
To: Subject: Tell Your Senators: Close the Gun Show Loophole

No background check, no gun, no excuses.

(establishing a national gun registry - ed.)

Dear <>,

We started this year with a huge victory -- thanks to you and our
many allies -- with a new law that will strengthen the Brady
criminal background check system!Now we need to keep up the momentum and take the next logical step: make sure that everyone who wants to buy a gun gets a background check.

Earlier today, Senator Lautenberg (NJ) introduced legislation that
will keep criminals and other dangerous people from buying and
selling guns without Brady criminal background checks at gun shows.

Gun shows should not be a haven for convicted felons, domestic
violence abusers, or someone who is dangerously mentally ill who
wants to evade a background check. Letting criminals and other
prohibited purchasers get away with buying guns at gun shows is at
odds with common sense, and recklessly puts lives at risk. We
believe the law should be "no background check, no gun, no excuses."

(translating to :"end private sales now" - ed.)

Urge Them to Support oppose Senator Lautenberg's
Bill to Close the Gun Show Loophole


Whether they are called gun shows, flea markets, or
swap meets, there are thousands of events every year
in our local communities where unlicensed (private - ed.)
individuals can sell firearms without doing background
checks. (Federally-licensed firearm dealers at the same
event are required to conduct Brady criminal
background checks.)

People prohibited from buying or possessing guns seek
out these unlicensed sellers (private gun owners - ed.),
because they know that they can simply put down
their money and walk away with deadly weapons.

Law-abiding gun buyers and sellers have nothing to
fear from background checks (aside from that handy
list the next time
a hurricane or earthquake rolls
through - ed.)
. Only criminals and corrupt sellers do.
Allowing dangerous people to buy guns at gun shows
from unlicensed sellers (private individuals
engaged in private transactions - ed.) without a
backgroundcheck threatens the safety of our families
and communities
(How? - ed.).

Here's What You Can Do Today:

Urge them to support oppose Senator Lautenberg's bill to
close the gun show loophole. Tell them you want the law to
be "no background check, no gun, no excuses."

Click here to send an email to both of your Senators:
(snipped web link)

Our Senators need to hear from as many of us as possible.
Please click here to use our tool to forward this email to
friends and family: (snipped potential spam tool - ed.)

Visit our website to download talking points and issue
briefs on this important subject:
(snipped web link - ed.)

America is turning a corner on the gun issue, and I want you to be
a part of what could be an historic moment for our country. I ask
you to join us in helping make 2008 a safer year for all Americans.


Sarah Brady, Chair
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

If this e-mail was forwarded to you, click here to sign up for your
own Brady Campaign Second Amendment Foundation alerts:

(Snipped web link - ed.)

Donate to Support the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Second Amendment Foundation:
(snipped web link)

You can also mail a check to:
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
1225 Eye Street NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005

Second Amendment Foundation
James Madison Building
12500 NE 10th Place
Bellevue, WA 98005

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An open letter

Fred Thompson is off the chart, and in the '08 Presidential Cycle the pickings are mighty sparse if one is looking for a worthwhile candidate. If one is of a libertarian bent, McCain seems the "least worst", with the rest of the pack (on both sides of the aisle) in a sort of competitive vileness contest.

There really isn't a candidate to vote "for", just a selection to vote against. And it clears the deck for a rather terse note to the leaders of both major political factions.

Dear Party Leadership -

We're tired of only being given a choice of the "least vile" candidate. We'd like someone we can actually believe in and support, and you (on both the Dem and GOP sides of the aisle) have failed us miserably. You have misread our desires, our intents, and our dreams when you have not simply ignored them in favor of the fantasies of the radical wings and policy wonks of each of your respective parties - apparently in the belief we have no place else to go.

Let us correct you in that last delusion. We do have other places to go - the Green Party on the left, and the Libertarian Party on the right spring forth as rather obvious choices as parties already gaining electoral office, and a plethora of smaller parties aspiring to legitimacy are clambering for space in the wings. Pragmatism and sentiment have largely held us back, but as time passes, even those erode.

To our friends leading the GOP, we point out that Huckabee (purely aside from being a failure in his own state, at least as measured in terms of growth of the GOP in his state during his time in office) scares the holy bejeezus out of us.

We have seen the sort of frothing madness and bigotry that comes clothed in "we are a nation" and want no part of it. Huckabee's public predilection for wanting to replace the Constitution with a bible is sufficiently scary as to require drastic measures, such as voting Libertarian, or even Democrat, if it ensures Huckabee is kept far far away from the Presidency.

Huckabee is merely an extreme case in point, however. The vast majority of us believe that politics and religion only intermix to the detriment of both, and the evangelical wing of your party and its constant cries (with varying levels of subtlety) for what, once the candy-coating is stripped away, boils down to a narrow evangelical theocracy with the potential to be every bit as repressive as various of the islamic states operating under sharia law. Again, something we want no part of.

And while we're talking to you, O GOP leaders, keep the noses of yourselves and your followers out of our bedrooms. What goes on, at a sexual level, between consenting adults is truly none of your business and we deeply resent and distrust your nanny-like attempts to deny this fundamental reality. It is even less charming to try and either create or preserve legal discrimination against individuals based upon the supposed "sinfulness" of their actions in an alleged sectarian nation.

And no, greening up or coming late to the debacle of political correctness is not going to sell well to either your demographic base or to those who've already sold their soul to your opponents. It is a clear no win, where you can never do enough to satisfy the already-sold and you can never gain points with your traditional core of voters by such actions.

To our friends leading the Democrats, we also have a few terse words. Let us begin with "leave the guns alone." This has been a third-rail issue for your party for decades, yet you persist in the face of Prof. John Lott's academic studies and the common sense of the vast majority of American voters - it has been a dead stinking albatross hanging about your collective necks for years. It sells well to the true-believer element of the party faithful, but it doesn't play well out in the sticks, and not even especially well in more urban environs.

For a new tack to replace this element of the Democratic Mantra, might we suggest the more populist value of self defense against predatory criminals as a human right?

We don't like paying taxes. We are perfectly happy making our own choices on what charities to support and what percentage of our income we are willing to donate to those causes. We are begrudgingly willing to pay limited taxes to support reality-based programs such as roads, schools, emergency services, and similar items - we range from cranky to fundamentally opposed to having the cost of attempts to reshape the American consciousness or various frivolities extorted from us with all the drear dread power of the State. In short, stop that.

We like our freedom. A lot, in fact. We're willing to tolerate, in exchange, a system of laws that penalize the irresponsible, inept, and the actually malicious or predatory when and only when they commit acts harming real persons and property in the real world - laws and regulations about "what if", not so much.

Further, there is a fine line of enforceability past which point our nations rather rambunctious citizenry will begin to rebel in ways large and small, ranging from simple non-compliance to burgeoning black markets - which both sabotage respect for law generally, and have violent and brutal methods of conflict resolution specifically.

For all the talk of sustainability, if you wish to fund medical care or facilities for the poor or the needy or just the general public - fine and good. But make them foundations or endowment of sufficient fiscal size as to be self-sustaining rather than a consistent drain on public resources.

While you're at it, let us buy the cars we want, not the cars you think are good for us. Let us buy the toilets we want, not the substandard models you tell us are good for us but that fail to flush with sufficient force to drive a load all the way out to the curb sewer line.

In short, treat us as adults capable of making responsible decisions.

To both of you, end the boneheaded "War on Drugs". Admit failure. Prohibition is/was a doomed policy (as demonstrated in the 1920's) good only for producing a large, violent, and thriving black market, and the bipartisan effort to dress it up in drag and re-sell it as a "War on Drugs" is but doing the same thing, expecting a different result. As with many other activities, if while engaged thereupon you end up damp and smelling funny, it's a hint to stop and inquire if liquid biowaste is being directed into the inbound airstream.

Outside of necessary services, mostly emergency services, we have deep reservations about your programs. Think about it. That rumbling you hear may be your replacement.

Ebay Motors

E-bay, in its' substantially less than infinite wisdom, has mutilated E-bay Motors. It is a guilty pleasure of mine when insomnia strikes or life is more unamusing than usual, to go cruise the E-bay Motors section and look at the more "interesting" vehicles under "buses", "other", and military vehicles.  Usually by the time I'm looking at their aviation section, I can meander off and drift into a solid nights slumber.

Granted, E-bay has committed many other sins. They still make a good sleeping pill substitute, or did.

No more. E-bay has launched a bone-headed new interface. Find my comments to E-bay below.

The new ebay motors interface is, at best, an alpha grade
steaming pile
of crap foisted upon unwitting buyers wherein
a functional interface, in
the name of cutesy and techno-
-philia, has been effectively destroyed with
users unable
to navigate from page to page, find vehicle locations

easily, or even reliably fall back to the old interface
while issues
with the new are resolved.

A serious shake-up of IT management and Business Direction
desperately needs to occur, as this is the sort of
outward facing
debacle that shakes customer and market
confidence in a firm.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Perhaps the lion awakes...

The British Lion, perhaps, tosses in its' sleep and begins the dreary trudge towards wakefulness in the latest of a long line of tragedies involving citizens subjects who, in the course of defending themselves or loved ones or even property have suffered grievously at the hands of either their own government or their assailants (or both).

Recently, the Times of London took notice and one of their editorial talents sallied forth after 47 year old Gary Newlove was kicked to death outside his home as his children gazed on, horrified, for the horrific crime of having the temerity to object to a gang of youths vandalizing his families home.

Sadly, columnist Martin Samuel doesn't quite get it.

"Because it is absolutely impossible for a rational, civilised human being to confront the perpetrators of such a crime, as there is nothing in the mind of the average individual that allows him to challenge such wickedness and violent relish on equal terms. That is why we need law enforcers, with experience and back-up and a mandate to deal with any incident in the manner they see fit. When Mr. Newlove was lying on the floor having his brain toed into grisly submission, his horrified family was not looking for society to come around the corner and save him; they were looking for coppers."

He obviously hasn't made it all the way to awakening quite yet, but there is at least hope for him as indicated later in his article.

"Considering that the little gang of human effluence that gathered nightly outside Mr Newlove's house was prepared to commit murder if challenged, then to match the intensity of that blood lust, the 47-year-old sales manager would have had to leave his house armed with a semi-automatic weapon."

So, Mr. Martin - what say we again allow the subjects - the descendants of Wellington, Churchill, exemplars of heroism the world over - of the British Crown the ability to again defend themselves, their homes, and their loved ones.

And more, to fightback with the backing of their nations leaders against the miscreants and predators that inevitably feed in the muck at the bottom of any society, striking upwards at any target of ease and opportunity for either amusement or profit - like any viper.

The path, Mr. Martin, only begins at removing the shackles from the wrists of the police - it continues with the realization that the common man and woman can summon the emotional wherewithal to effectively resist evil, particularly when given the tools to do so effectively.

The difference between civilization and barbarism is not measured in terms of pacifism - rather, the civilized man or woman is sufficiently moral and committed to their society and their values that they will employ the level of defensive force necessary to stop dead a physical attack on their loved ones, their persons, their property, and their society.

The barbarian will initiate aggressive force simply to amuse or profit, with no higher purpose.

By and large, the British peoples are civilized. Trust them with the tools and the responsibility, Mr. Martin, and they will surprise you.

Thus endeth the lesson.

California Dreaming

It's always wise to keep an eye on events in California in the same sense that it's prudent to keep an eye on the Congress-critters. The congress critters are more direct, but legal trends seem to originate in California - often of a rather depressing nature.

California is one of those states whose constitution may be modified by citizen initiative without the intervention of the legislature.

In this instance, there's a delightfully libertarian initiative floating about (we can but hope for the required number of signatures that reads "The State of California, counties, cities and any governmental entities within the State shall not make any law or ordinance that prevents any citizen from owning or acquiring legally, property nor shall there be a limit to the amount of property acquired, grown or produced or owned.

There shall be no law(s) or ordinance language enacted that abridge this mandate
enacted by the citizens of the State of California."

Now, should this both make it on the ballot and pass, a number of intriguing possibilities eventuate - the initiative does not, for instance, distinguish between real and personal property - which has some interesting possibilities when viewed against various California "ownership restrictions" on such a wide range of items as land, marijuana, firearms, the full range of vehicles marketable in the other 49 states, and the many other restrictive statutes currently in place under California law.

This could, perhaps, be fun to watch. Even more so were the initiative more clearly written, but with California, one must take what little one gets.

Note also that this doesn't in any way touch upon zoning issues or, for that matter, the regulation of conduct. While, for example, it might theoretically bar the state from banning the possession of marijuana (or semi-automatic rifles) - it is sufficiently limited in scope that the Legislature could still bar or regulate the *use* of property.

And that, for California, is a huge step in the direction of liberty. For a normal state, not so much.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oh Frabjous Day

God willing, Fred Phelps and his merry band are about to picket a group not cursed with large numbers of ninny-hammers preaching pacifism in the face of vast offensiveness.

Per Snopes and LawDog it seems that January 26th, the Westboro sorts will be picketing USMC Camp Lejeune. I quote from Snopes:

Westboro Baptist Church
(WBC Chronicles - Since 1955)
3701 SW 12th St. Topeka, Kansas 66604 785-273-0325
Religious Opinion and Bible Commentary on Current Events
Saturday, January 12, 2008
WBC to picket Camp Lejeune.
God Hates the u.s. Marines.
The wonderful, spit-and-polish Marine is over
eight months pregnant and she says another
wonderful Marine raped her, and now on the
eve of his court martial where she is the star
witness against him, she turns up dead, and he
is a fugitive from justice. Wonderful. The few.
The proud. Based on our extensive experience
with Marines for over a decade, we can testify
that these are typical Marines.
WBC will picket the filthy, lawless Marine
Corps - at noon next Sat., Jan. 19 - at Camp
Lejeune, North Carolina; in religious protest
and warning: "Be not "'deceived; God is not
mocked." Gal. 6:7. God Hates Fags! & FagEnablers.
Ergo, God hates the Marines.
The Marine Corps is saturated with vile fags and dykes. It matters not
to them that they are violating the laws of God and man. Our leaders
know of the problem, but they refuse to fix it, due to pressure from
political leaders, because fags have enormous political influence - called
in Scripture "The power of the dog." Psa.22:20. And the phenomenon
is called by Tocqueville, "The worm in the American apple."
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination. "
Lev. 18:22.
"Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things
cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. "

I have great confidence in the iron discipline of the active-duty USMC. I also note, as have others, that the restraint of retired members of the USMC may be somewhat frayed by the presence of such vile excrement as Phelps and his band - the temptation to remove such excrement may well outweigh the cost of an encounter with the judicial system in the minds of some.

I don't know as I'd blame them, particularly if the rumor of a planned desecration of the Beirut Memorial is borne out.

I'm reminded of a teaching riddle I first ran across in an L. Neil Smith novel some years, attributed to (variously) the Lakota and Shoshone tribes "A thief is shot in the night, whose hand is on the bow? In all but the most technical sense, the hand on the bow is that of the thief who initiated the fateful situation.

Similarly, I can't summon much in the way of sympathy for those that would harass the Marines while surrounded by retired Marines subject only to civil law and not military discipline. The Marines, past and former, that I have met have largely been stellar examples of humanity possessed of ethics, intelligence, responsibility, and considered restraint far above that I find in the average person I run across. This may be all that saves Phelps and his miserable band.

I can't, however, force myself to hope for their well-being.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A good afternoon

Despite weirdness on other fronts, all is far from gloom and doom. This afternoon I got to pick up one of my favorite people, the WallRat, at the airport after his sojourn abroad and plunk him back at his domicile only to be invited out to an awe-inspiring good Italian dinner down on Alki.

Good company, good conversation, and good food - no matter how unreasonably biological things may be turning on other fronts, these are sure to cheer.

He's one reason I'm conflicted about staying in the Big Soggy - he's a bit committed here, for one reason and another, and it's not that often you find a friend that moving away is not, from that viewpoint, an especially pleasing notion.

Onwards & Upwards

Well, onwards and upwards. Given that recently I've been chatting with friends unemployed for a variety of reasons, I'm going to take my own advice - setting a firm goal for a minimum number of applications generated EVERY DAY, networking, and not being picky about immediate job - if I can physically do the job, and I earn more than the job costs, I need to take it while I look for the "right job".

Staving off the inevitable Bummed Outedness with work (helping mom get her place fixed up, selling belongings to convert to a reasonably liquid nest egg, etc ), and contemplating getting seriously mobile to find employment.

The one set of things I'm *not* doing is sitting about pouting, declaiming about how either life is unfair or that I'm a bad person somehow. For some odd reason, those approaches don't seem terribly productive.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Since June I've been working at a job I honestly didn't feel I was very good at (which made it much easier to accept what I felt was justifiably minimal compensation), and it was a small good company with good people - but while things were going on with my Dad and such, I wasn't eager to bail out of a known situation for all the excitement and drama of a new one. So I stayed and tried to give it my best shot - regardless of whether I was enjoying myself.

Well, that came to an end today as the company and I parted ways - the owner of the company initiated it, and it was all very civilized, as we actually like each other. Packed my things and bugged out.

So, proto-geek that I am, I'm back in the job market and may be flitting back to California in pursuit of employment. Of course, this means leaving Mom in Seattle, not long after Dad has passed...on the other hand, I would likely be making twice what I made in Seattle so could be of more use, though in a different sense.

I'm conflicted.

In other fronts, it looks like I may have finally sold my place in California (having gotten rid of the evil tenant) and I'm swiftly unloading a car, as well. Things could be worse.

Seems to be a season of discontent all around.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bastardry Rampant...

Fame, fortune, and fantastic romance have thus far eluded me, but I've been blessed over the years with some truly wonderful friends from many walks of life. One friend, courtesy of a sibling, narrowly escaped the Middle East in his youth.

Another is a wonderful Dad suffering through another six years of building a decent relationship with his son on the "every other weekend" plan before he's free of the blood-sucking vindictive wench that once mesmerized him, while trying to build a new life and avoid bankruptcy courtesy of the ex and her vindictive well-monied relations.

Yet another friend slipped out of Canada to put distance between herself and a violently abusive ex-husband.

Some good folks over at Anarchangel are having some bad times and could use some help. They could lose their kids, and it doesn't sound like the kids'd be going to a good place.

I've been reading Chris and Mel's writings for about a year now, and though I've not had the pleasure of meeting them, they seem like good folks. I know darned well I'm not the most well-read blogger in the universe, but meander over, read what they have to say, and if you're inspired...chip in a bit.