Saturday, March 22, 2008
Well, I'm pleased to announce that I'm back in the kitchen cooking this weekend after a six week absence.
Sunday's menu includes my patented Baby Back Pork Ribs with home made sauce, and since it's Easter I'm also doing a medium rack of Lamb for our small crowd of eight or so guests.
I bought the rack already "frenched" with the bones showing, I've got the Mint Jelly and fresh Mint leaves and the whole presentation planned.
Meanwhile the baby backs will spend the night in a nice spicy brine mixture before slow cooking in the oven for four hours or so to they start falling off the bone.
Ski and Pat are making veggies and Pat's also making desert, so in my limited capacity I'm the self proclaimed...
KING 'O THE MEAT.
I hope everyone has a lovely Easter holiday and safe travels.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
According to the calendar, today is the first day of spring, but apparently someone forgot to send the memo to the Chicago weather guys.
Oftentimes in Chicago, March goes in like a lion and also out like a lion. An approaching snowstorm suggests this is one of those times.
Technically it is now spring, but the forecast is befitting of January.
CBS 2 meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist reports that a winter storm watch is in effect for Cook and DuPage counties, areas north of the Chicago area including Lake and McHenry counties, much of the area west of Chicago, and parts of Northwest Indiana.
Heavy, wet snow is expected to begin late tonight, possibly around midnight or in the early morning hours. It will continue to fall through Friday night. Totals of 6 inches are expected in many areas, with totals more severe to the north. Along the Wisconsin border, snow totals may be as high as 8 inches.
Far south in Kankakee County, only a rain-snow mix may be seen. During the season, 53 inches of snow has fallen in the area, and it dipped below zero several times – making this one of the worst winters in decades.
Among the Global Warming/Man-Made-Climate-Change crowd...THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING.
One of the things that I find most interesting about having lived longer than two or three decades is the insight that MEMORY provides in keeping things like Weather (you know, high and low temperatures, blizzards, and rainfall) in perspective.
Case in point, the current heavy rainfall and resulting flooding in the Midwest.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Residents warily watched as rivers continued to rise Thursday from heavy storms that dumped as much as a foot of rain in the Midwest and left behind more than a dozen deaths.
While the first day of spring brought much needed sunshine Thursday to Ohio and other states, authorities warned that many rivers would crest well above flood stage in the next several days.
Ignoring the current headlines, I seem to recall reading stories like this one from October 2007 about record "global warming" induced drought.
Here's their featured graphic:
Anybody notice that big dark red "blob' there in the middle of the eastern half of the map?
Notice the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Kentucky sitting there in water related distress?
And how's Ohio doing?
To find out, read along with me today...
Flooding also was reported Wednesday in parts of Arkansas, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, Missouri and Kentucky .(emphasis mine--VRR)
On Thursday morning, high water closed the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70—a major east-west highway—for about 4 miles in central Ohio's Licking County, the State Highway Patrol said. The flooding was receding by midmorning, but there was no estimate of when the lanes would reopen.
Morning commuters trying to reach downtown Columbus from the south were being detoured off heavily traveled U.S. 23, because its northbound lanes were flooded at Interstate 270.
President Bush declared a major disaster in Missouri on Wednesday night and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by flooding. Seventy counties and the city of St. Louis also are eligible for federal funding for emergency protective measures.
Several areas in Missouri were bracing for record-level flood surges expected to hit Friday and Saturday. Authorities were straining to keep pace with some of the worst flooding to hit their region in decades.
The National Weather Service was forecasting record flooding along the Meramec River near St. Louis. Some residents had already been evacuated Thursday. The Black, Big and St. Francis rivers in southeastern Missouri also were expected to see significant flooding.
The town of Fenton put out a call asking volunteers to help put down sandbags against the floodwaters Thursday. Gov. Matt Blunt said cities can count on the state for help as he activated the Missouri National Guard.
"Missourians should know that we are doing everything within our power to provide state resources to communities in need," Blunt said.
Much of Ohio was under a flood warning Thursday, with some areas cautioned to watch for flash floods. Most of southwest Ohio had received more than 4 inches of rain, and officials in Butler County declared a state of emergency because of the rising waters.
Again folks, I never mean to make light of the effects and suffering caused by weather and other "natural disasters. It's just that I insist on tempering my own excitement and enthusiasm with balance and understanding of the context of the situation I'm addressing.
I also feel compelled to want to point out how easy it is to get all worked up with the arrival of rain or snow, or the lack there of, then quickly forget the past in favor of lamenting the results of the current events.
Anyone that knows me knows that, when addressing our current rainfall shortages, I've recently been reminiscing about the drought that occurred here between 1987 and 1990, and continued to a lessor extent in the south and Midwest into the early 1990's (I remember because I was buying my first boat during that period) before the record setting Great Flood of 1993 inundated the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, in the end bringing things back to...
A V E R A G E Rainfall.
Well, I finally wandered by my home away from home here on the Internet this evening and noticed that my usual meager traffic count was way above the numbers posted by my regular lurkers and the couple of relatives that stop by every now and then to assure themselves that they're not the craziest ones in the family.
Just so I didn't miss a day writing, I guess that this is as good a chance as any to welcome the Hog On Ice readers that stopped by. I'm in the middle of planning a move and recovering from some middle aged physical infirmity so it's sort of bland and boring on this side of the Internet.
Maybe I need to get on the Steve H Bandwagon and buy myself a new gun...
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I really really wish I still had some patience left to apply toward offering original commentary and glib insight into the so-called presidential campaign.
But I don't.
I didn't even bother to tune in to Obama's self-proclaimed "race speech" this morning, although I did read the entire transcript as posted on Drudge Report.com.
I've voted in every presidential election since Regan's defeat of Jimmuh Carter in 1980, but I have to admit that it wouldn't bother me if I missed the upcoming November fiasco like I did the Georgia primary due to health reasons this time around.
I know that everyone should vote else risk giving up their right to complain about the results, but at least I'd have a good excuse, and at least I wouldn't be responsible for the crappy inevitable outcome. I also don't have kids to worry about screwing over with the poor management we've given our country over the past forty years.
How most of the rest of you out there look yourselves in the eye in the mirror each morning I guess I'll never know...
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Somewhere a long time ago one of our founding fathers--Jefferson or Adams or one of those old dudes with the powdered wigs--was quoted as saying that (and I paraphrase) "Democracy works until the majority of the population realizes that they can VOTE themselves a piece of the PIE (public largess was how I believe they said it in those days.)"
Well ladies and gentlemen, I submit that not only have we as a country arrived at this miserable point in history, but, based on the choices we're faced with in this presidential election cycle, we shall as a people ineptly race across the finish line and burst into flame--spewing platitudes of insanity as China, Iran, and North Korea celebrate our implosion and pick over our remains.
Archaeologists will likely find our carcasses buried in layers of ash and cinders, clutching our remote controls, fingers poking the buttons feebly looking for reruns of American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.
God help the Democrats for only mustering Obama and Clinton as candidates...what the hell do you think George Wallace would think today?
Nothing but a thin suit of a half assed black man and a lieing, miserable hag of a woman seriously vieing for the highest office in what was once a great land.
Regarding the Republicans and their current ancient war relic candidate du jour...all I can say is that I'm happy that I never registered to put an "R" by my every vote and still consider myself to be a Libertarian at heart. It's too bad the Libertarians can never manage to beat Ralph Nader for most of the moonbat vote every four years in national elections.
At least Bob Dole carried an Ink pen every where he went in that lame hand/arm (real war injury) while talking about himself in third person...I'm afraid that McCain not only talks to himself, but that he answers his own questions while no one is looking.
I'm just not sure what to do with myself these days...
Everything's changing, and my carefully crafted, cloistered existence is
The worst part of it all is that I am the one responsible for making the changes, and I have to act like I enjoy it when at times I'm not so sure that I do.
Then there is the fact that I have no one to blame but myself for instituting such radical lifestyle modifications in the first place.
For instance...there's important things like:
No more sitting on the sofa all day and night with a computer in my lap whenever I want to.
No more wandering around the island on my bike in the middle of the night on a whim.
No more trips to the beach or over to the marsh to make pictures of sunrises or sunsets or to capture foggy morning scenes most of the population manages to sleep through...just because.
No more bitching and complaining about the difficulties encountered living the life of
Soon all of that will be history as I move back into the "real" world for my encore engineering tour. I hope I can make it through at least a month of getting up in the morning, shaving ahhhhggghhh, combing my hair, and putting on socks and shoes to go out and interact with real people, in person, on a daily basis.
Get this...maybe this proves I've lost my mind...
I'm actually thinking of cutting all of my hair off--nearly five years worth of growth--because it's easier to face the public with a sweaty head of 1/4" stubble than to deal with the preconceived assumptions people make about you when you run around at my age with a 8" pony tail flanking bald temples and thinning fringes.
Am I losing it?
Am I right to worry about things like that?
Do you guys out there in the real world really care about hair these days?
Then in addition to facing the weekly 9 to 5 ritual again for the first time in nearly ten years, there's the reality of having less than six weeks to find a new house, pack everything we own into boxes, and hand it all to total strangers to move 500 miles inland away from paradise.
I've never lived north of Atlanta. Now I'm spending money to move beside the Tennessee river three hours north of there.
That's right, I'm PAYING someone to move us AWAY from the BEACH.
This, after spending most of my life PAYING to get to the beach on vacation, and living within earshot of the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico for most of the past five or six years.
(vigorously shaking my ever greying, ever balding head)
I don't know if there's something in the water down here or if I've just lost my middle aged mind in a fit of insanity and infirmity or what, but sometimes I have second thoughts about this whole process I've undertaken.
Is it just me?