Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dashing Thru Not Much Snow

christmas_tree_harvest_2014_thumb.jpgWe finally got ourselves a four wheel drive pickup so naturally the roads were clear and dry. But we had fun anyway and cut three trees: one for Grandma, one for Miss M., and one for ourselves.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Revised Mincemeat Recipe

The original recipe made about twelve quarts. Since the canner holds seven, that’s too many for one batch and too few for two. So I changed the quantities to make about seven quarts. Along the way I modified and modernized. Compare the original.
3 lbs. venison, cooked and ground
12 mandarin oranges, with peel, ground
24 oz. sweet pickles, ground, with juice
½ gallon apple cider
10 C apples, peeled, cored and sliced
20 oz. raisins
10 oz. currants
4 T molasses
1 t cinnamon
½ t cloves
½ t allspice
½ t ginger
½ t nutmeg
2 cubes butter

Simmer and stir frequently for an hour and pack into jars. Seal and process 30 min.
Use the coarsest grinder your KitchenAid has. When making your pie, if a quart of mincemeat isn’t enough, add an apple or two.

We tried pressure canning but it wouldn't seal. Went back to water bath canning, which is all my mother, grandmother, or great-grandmother ever used. It works great, and no one’s died yet.

Not from mincemeat, anyway.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hey, John!

gosh_i_wuz_smot_thumb.jpgI found my GRE scores.

Yeah, back in the day I was really, really good at filling in little circles with a No. 2 pencil. It's a lot harder with crayons, which is all they let me have now. So I eat the orange ones, put the green ones up my nose, and color outside the lines with the rest.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Enormous Expense to No Benefit

Theodore Dalrymple is a retired doctor who now writes for Taki Magazine.
I am not a thoroughgoing skeptic about modern medicine, and like almost everyone else I would take myself off to a doctor in the event of illness. If it were not for modern medicine, or comparatively modern medicine, I would have been dead a long time ago. Nevertheless, it is not reassuring that so much of what doctors do, and what I did myself, is less than scientifically sound or justified, and some of it is downright harmful.
He cites a short paragraph in the back of the British Medical Journal (read the article if you want particulars).
What this little paragraph is saying in effect is that untold thousands, possibly even millions, of people around the world are being treated with drugs with actual or potential side effects, at enormous expense and effort, all to no benefit whatsoever to themselves.
This isn't really news. Dr. Atkins used to tell his patients: first, stop taking the drugs. Second, change your diet. But first, stop taking the drugs!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ker-whumpf!

death_of_the_old_station_thumb.jpg We heard a horrendous noise yesterday morning and stepped out on the front porch to see what had happened. We didn't notice anything wrong at first because the wall that fell was on the other side from us. The old station has been slowly rotting away for years and it's been months since we dared to step inside. Now we need to get a tractor over here to push the other two walls down so we can start the clean up process.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Kick They Little Donkey Butts

kick_they_little_donkey_buts.jpgEverywhere except Oregon. Donkey kicking is theoretically possible but highly improbable here because Vote by Mail®

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat!

candy_corn.jpgVirginia Postrel interviews Samira Kawash, the author of
Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure.
Would you believe the earliest trick-or-treaters didn’t even expect to get candy? Back in the 1930s, when kids first started chanting “trick or treat” at the doorbell, the treat could be just about anything: nuts, coins, a small toy, a cookie or popcorn ball. Sometimes candy too, maybe a few jelly beans or a licorice stick. But it wasn‘t until well into the 1950s that Americans started buying treats instead of making them, and the easiest treat to buy was candy.
Via Instapundit, my principal news aggregator these days.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Why Academic Writing Stinks

In any other publication that would have been the title. But Steven Pinker's writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education so he calls it Why Academics Stink at Writing. Yes, you. I'm talking to you.
The preceding discussion introduced the problem of academese, summarized the principal theories, and suggested a new analysis based on a theory of Turner and Thomas. The rest of this article is organized as follows. The first section consists of a review of the major shortcomings of academic prose. ...

Are you having fun? I didn’t think so.
Thus he introduces metadiscourse. Next up is professional narcissism, followed by apologizing, shudder quotes, and hedging. And then, just when his subjects ought to dying of embarrassment, he eases up and talks about metaconcepts and nominalizations. Just to prove he’s one of the guys, I guess.

I've never read anything boring by Steven Pinker, although one of his books I thought was 300 pages too long. His latest is The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.

I’m sure I’ll read it too, as soon as it’s out in paperpack.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tabby Feet

tabby_feet_10_2014_thumb.jpg

Friday, October 24, 2014

Grab your bug-out bag...

Derb’s optimistic.
I get that a lot. Yep, I’m the designated pessimist. It behooves us all, though, to keep in mind what Oliver Cromwell told the Scots: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

In obedience to the Lord Protector’s injunction, I’m going to take a break from doom and gloom to ponder the possibility that we may not be doomed. Yes, this is the optimistic column.
Don't miss it, folks — we’re sure it’s just a passing phase.