Saturday, December 22, 2007

Living In The Cabinet Shop

Cupola Construction...

Having survived the trip across south Georgia and Alabama, today finds me transitioning my construction tallents into my Dad's cabinet shop with the intent of building a replacement Cupola for the roof of the main house.

The old cupola, also home made, is over fifteen years old and is suffering the effects of the sub-tropical weather and the South Alabama sun.

A replacement of equivalent style and quality cost over $600, while the material cost is something under $75 so the decision was obvious, and the results serve as part of my Christmas gift to my mother.

Of course building one is twice as much fun as ordering one and waiting on the truck to arrive.

Time to go make some sawdust...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Beating The Holiday Traffic

On The Road Again...

I don't think that we could hang one more light or place one more ribbon on the tree, house, or furniture, so we're off to lower Alabama by car this morning--happy that the rain blew through last night and most everyone else won't be traveling until Saturday or Monday (hopefully.)

After a little maintenance work and some visiting, we're heading back this way Sunday with Mom in tow for Christmas and a four day tour of the Golden Isles.

I've got a HUGE meal to cook, beginning preparations on Monday and serving fourteen hungry mouths late Tuesday afternoon. I haven't had time to panic yet...because I have a Cupola to build for my Mom's house in the mean time and fourteen hours of sitting in a car to contemplate my situation.

Y'all have a good weekend...if you will.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time Magazine Still Full Of Crap

Take Your Copy To The Bathroom And Leave It There...

I read yesterday that Time Magazine named Vladimir Putin their 2007 "Man of the Year." I can't find a decent sized copy of the cover photo to post here, but you can read the story here on the Times website.

Imagine that?

After all, Time has a long, long history of political insurrection and irresponsibility--they even named Hitler and Stalin back to back "Men of the Year" in the years leading up to the US entry into World War II.

Liberal Media Assholes...can't live with them...apparently no way to live without them.

Is it just Me?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Your Daily Reading

Thought For The Day...

You need to read Victor Davis Hanson's essay "In War: Resolution:"

What can be done about our impatience, historical amnesia, and utopian demands for perfection? American statesmen need to provide constant explanations to a public not well versed in history—not mere assertions—of what misfortunes to expect when they take the nation to war. The more a president evokes history’s tragic lessons, the better, reminding the public that our forefathers usually endured and overcame far worse. Americans should be told at the start of every conflict that the generals who begin the fighting may not finish it; that what is reported in the first 24 hours may not be true after a week’s retrospection, and that the alternative to the bad choice is rarely the good one, but usually only the far worse. They should be apprised that our morale is as important as our material advantages [emphasis mine-VRR]—and that our will power is predicated on inevitable mistakes being learned from and rectified far more competently and quickly than the enemy will learn from his.

Only that way can we reestablish our national wartime objective as victory, a goal that brings with it the acceptance of tragic errors as well as appreciation of heroic and brilliant conduct. The Iraq war and the larger struggle against the anti-American jihadists can still be won—and won with a resulting positive assessment of our overall efforts by future historians who will be far less harsh on us than we are now on ourselves. Yet if as a nation we instead believe that we cannot abide error, or that we cannot win due to necessary military, moral, humanitarian, financial, or geopolitical constraints, then we should not ask our young soldiers to continue to try. As in Vietnam where we wallowed in rather than learned from our shortcomings, we should simply accept defeat and with it the ensuing humiliating consequences. But it would be far preferable for Americans undertaking a war to remember these words from Churchill, in his 1930 memoir: “Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.”

From my Friends and Idols over at Powerline.

The Guest List Grows

...Along With The Menu

I'm sitting here this morning working on plans for my big Christmas Feast. The guest list just went from eleven to fourteen yesterday afternoon.

Here's a copy of the current Menu Cards I'm making which I'll be printing out later this morning for the girl's approval:

Of course nothing is final at this point because I have to slide this past four grown women that are happy to have me slaving away in the kitchen but at the same time want to add side dishes and get their own names and influence on my efforts.

I'm trying to maintain control of the non-salad Appetizers, the ham, tenderloin, stuffed tilapia, and the cornbread dressing because I've mastered those dishes and cooked most of them many times previously.

The Bread Pudding is also on my to-do list . I've never made it before, but I'm doing a small test batch later this week and I'm confident that I can make it work because I have a good recipe.

I think that I'm tired already.

(And its back to the construction site this morning...Yawn)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

'Twas The Week Before Christmas...

Feeling Rushed Through The "Holiday" Season?

A million years ago, back in the days when I was a kid and I had virtually nothing else to do with my money but buy things like "Mad Magazine" comic books, I remember coming across a passage in one of the aforementioned editions of "Mad" that went something like this:

Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the store

each Department was dripping, with Yuletide decor.

The Muzak was blaring an out of tune Carol,

and Fake Snow was falling in Ladies Apparel.

It's amazing how true that passage still rings today.

We went out looking for a Christmas Tree yesterday afternoon, and panic was starting to set in after finding a total of four trees--three at the Ace Garden Center and one at a local nursery--at our first two stops. All Ace had was two giant ten footers and one little four foot "Charley Brown" tree.

We ended up driving back by the local farmers market where we learned that our usual source--the Rotary Club--had lost their butts with leftover trees last year and had cut their inventory in half this year. All they had left were the culls and rejects from their limited Virginia Pine inventory.

Fortunately, one of the other Farmers market vendors saved the day by providing us with a nice little 7' tall Leyland Cypress.

Outside of Christmas preparations, it's "T-Minus Two Days and Counting" here in the Golden Isles on the construction project as I have to finish this week's work by Wednesday afternoon in anticipation of driving over to southern Lower Alabama for three or four days to do some work on the farm and to pick up Mom for the return trip back over here to spend Christmas week.

We have tons of sightseeing and fine dining planned for her next week, and then of course I have an extensive Christmas Day meal to cook for ten or eleven hungry mouths. The guest count and the menu has grown steadily over the past few weeks--why I do this to myself I'll never know.

Thank GOD we got all of the Christmas cards and packages sent on their way by the middle of last week so that we don't have to go anywhere near the Post Office or a UPS/FedEX location between now and January 1st...else I just might have to try to hurt myself with a spoon or butter knife.

As things stand right now, if I can make it to Saturday the only risk of death by kitchen utensil will be eating too much food in the ensuing celebrations.

Imagine that?

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Hurt My Nose PickingTouchpad Finger

Inconvenience Squared...

I'm back home from the job site a little earlier than expected today because I finally managed to harm myself--not badly--but it made me mad and I just cleaned up, loaded up the truck, and came home in a huff.

The building originally had natural gas radiant heaters in every room and gas stoves/water heaters and I've slowly been cutting off or removing the old pipes from the walls.

Today's injury involved a little three inch tall stub pipe sticking out of what was one of the kitchen floors that served the long ago relocated water heater. I've been tripping over it since last week when we started moving walls around, and today after tripping on it a half dozen times I finally managed to pinch my right index finger between it and the pneumatic framing nailer frame when I tried to lay the nailer down.

Screaming, profanity, and blood flow ensued as it really hurt in the 50 degree temperatures we were working in with the door open all morning.

I took a sledge hammer and beat the pipe into submission after installing a bandaid--now blood soaked--on the end of my finger.

Typing also sucks with the bandaid sticking off the end of the fingertip...

I've got to go now and do some first aide before making a trip to make a Christmas tree purchase.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ghost Pictures

He's Resting In The Theater Attic Tonight...

Strike The Set

Yet Another Successful Dickens' Production

Last night we had dinner with five friends over at Christies in Brunswick and attended the latest show at the Ritz Theater.

All and all a successful evening, I think.

This wasn't my favorite version of the script for "A Christmas Carol", the but Mayor Thompson did his usual good job as Scrooge and the kids danced and mumbled their way through the dialogue in good order with no awkward pauses or obvious missed lines.

The Ghost of Christmas Future Puppet came out pretty well, and I already have some ideas for using parts of it again in a future season in slightly modified form.

I guess now it's time to start my Pizza crust rising for the evening meal while we wander over to take Mr. Ghost Puppet apart after this afternoon's matinee show and break the simple set back down into individual panels and pieces.

It's always sad for me to tear down the world you build for one of these shows, even if it's imaginary and the residents that live and die there are just actors. Fortunately we're spending a half hour making posed still photos of some of the scenes before it all evaporates into every ones' memories.

Photo postings to follow later...