Friday, August 31, 2012

Because I Am A Truly Rotten Person

A new semester's worth of student nurses have started their Public Health rotation.  To my surprise, Smitty shows up at my door with one of them in tow -- a real little cutie-pie who barely comes up to his sternum.

He:  I wanted you to meet my sister.

Me:  How do you do?  You know, Smitty, she's much nicer-looking than you said she was.

Quote of the Day

Cats, unlike dogs, are not ranged on the side of order against chaos. They are not motivated by simple human moralities, by universalized appeals to the superego such as “good cat” or “bad cat,” by guilt culture or shame culture. Instead they follow their own opaque behavioral structures: Toes are to be eaten but only in certain shoes, walls are to be attacked but only at certain times of day, humans are to be controlled through displays of affection or brute force depending on the hour and mood.  ~ Britt Peterson

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Save Your Confederate Money, Boys, The South Gonna Rise Again

"Confederate Fruit Cake. Two cupsful each of flour and molasses, one pint of dried fruit parboiled and fine chopped, one tablespoonful of lard and small teaspoonful of soda dissolved in half a wineglassful of vinegar."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Flora, Adieu

Flora the Red Menace has served me faithfully for almost eight years but recently developed some troubling little quirks, shall we say (in all fairness, she handled the trip to Pennsylvania like a trooper).  So the spousal unit has been watching interest rates and rebate offers like a hawk, and this morning we went to the local dealership and came home with Sarge.

In some indefinable way I became aware, during the drive back, that he was male, and "Sarge" just popped into my head.  Maybe it's the color, such a nice manly dark granite.

(I thought it was black but the sales associate, a Guardsman out of the unit in Peoria, informed me that it was granite).

The Drama Queen approves.


Friday, August 24, 2012

And Viggo Mortensen Bringing Me Margaritas

Supervisory staff is in a time-management in-service.  We are looking at a pie chart and the instructor is asking us to divide it into three sections; what we wish we were doing, what we need to do, and what we actually are doing.

She:  Would someone like to give an example for the section of the pie chart that shows what you wish you were doing?

Me:  (sotto voce)  Lying in a hammock with Russell Crowe giving me a foot-rub.

Quote of the Day

He mocks the people who proposes that the government shall protect the rich that they in turn may care for the laboring poor. ~ Grover Cleveland.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Online Bookshelf - The Diamond Fairy Book

With some lovely color plates.  Free download at Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm Pretty Sure He Was Kidding

I am waiting for a shot at a massively under-staffed and over-utilized hotel breakfast buffet and reading my Nook.

Random Helpful Stranger:  Whatcha reading?

Me:  "Mr. Lincoln's Army."  It's about the Civil War.


Random Helpful Stranger:  I can tell you how it ends.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sewing - Miss Conover's Blouse

From the Woman's Home Companion, 1921.  Isabel Conover was the author of a series of books on dressmaking, several of which can be found online at the Antique Pattern Library.

Instructions for making the blouse are on my Flickr account.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Vintage Images - Harper's Ferry Etching

Posted just to provide me with an excuse to mention Grimes Davis and one of my favorite stories from the Civil War.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eastward Ho

Off to the Poconos (by way of Gettysburg) for a wedding.  Be back next Monday!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vintage Advertising - Kellogg's Corn Flakes

From The Popular Magazine, November 1912.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

'Tis The Bean

Spent yesterday afternoon at the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois and spent far more money than I should have adding to my already-considerable stack of Civil War reference materials (I feel a strong sense of kinship with the cat in yesterday’s post.  I do need them all.  Really).

I can remember listening to the griping of of Marines about our food, admittedly the worst in the Armed Forces and something of which the Corps is perversely proud, and when I was a platoon commander on Okinawa I used to routinely field complaints that my Marines were sneaking into the chow hall at the Air Force base at Kadena, just down the road (they also used to sneak into the Kadena officer's club for the Friday night dances, but that's another story).

But military food has come a long way from the salt horse and hard tack of the 1860’s or even the field rations of both World Wars.  The depressing fact of chow up until the second half of the century was the inevitability of the bean.

Nominally the bean is a food powerhouse, packed with all kinds of good things that, were I a dietician, I could rattle off by heart.  Militarily speaking they are highly portable, particularly in their dried state, not prone to spoilage, and easily prepared as long as the cook sergeant has plenty of water on hand.  Gustatorially (is that a word?) speaking, they are pretty dull unless you have something to spice them up like a chutney or a salsa.

This is something I make a lot for my lunches at work.  I recommend some kind of relish to go with them, though.  Pico de gallo is great with this but Major Grey’s works, too.

Rice Cooker Beans and Rice

¼ cup cooking oil
1 cup raw rice
1 cup jarred salsa, such as Pace
1 ½ cup water
1 can pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Pour it all into the rice cooker, stir to mix the ingredients up, and turn on the rice cooker.  You can’t get much simpler than that, and another advantage is that the rice cooker doesn’t heat up the kitchen in August.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Thursday, August 9, 2012

In A Just Universe, Keel-hauling Would Still Be Legal

I spent most of today at a meeting with the regional coordinator for my program.  At one point I became aware that my cheekbones were aching and realized that I had been grinding my teeth for quite some time.

(I wasn't the only one in a highly irritated mood -- based on body language from my fellow attendees, if intent were enough, that man would have perished long before lunchtime).


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fair Fare

The Health Department had a booth at the county fair this week (across from a chiropractor/naturopath and around the corner from the local Tea Party.  Must bite tongue, must bite tongue, must bite tongue) and the spousal unit and I prepared to indulge in our annual guilty pleasure -- corndog for him, Italian sausage and peppers for me.  Unfortunately I was fighting a bug and had to pass on the Italian sausage.  There's something in the greasy appeal of food out of a tin box on wheels that you just can't replicate at home although some cookbooks try.

Funnel Cakes

2 beaten eggs
1 ½ c. milk
2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
2 c. cooking oil
Sifted powdered sugar

In mixing bowl combine eggs and milk.  Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to egg mixture; beat smooth.  In deep skillet heat oil to 360°.  Covering spout with finger, pour ¼ cup batter into funnel.  Remove finger and release batter into oil in a spiral, starting in center and winding out.  Fry till golden, about 3 minutes.  Turn carefully; cook 1 minute more.  Drain on paper toweling; dust with powdered sugar.  Makes 6 to 8 funnel cakes. 

From Better Homes and Gardens Easy Skillet Meals.  I'm thinking that it's fortunate the city kids don't make the connection between the cute baby animals and lunch.  The farm kids are used to it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Friday, August 3, 2012

Yet Another Reason Why I Love Detroit

I don’t know any pawnshop owners, personally, but a close relative has extensive dealings with the more entrepreneurial element in the Motor City, and from the stories he tells I have to think that convincing someone like that to accept a machine that allegedly makes counterfeit money would be an undertaking just a skoosh more difficult than, say, selling Slushees to the guys at McMurdo.

Quote of the Day

I had read a society book that some fellow from back East had left at the ranch once. There was some of it torn out, but there was a lot of it left and I learned a whole lot out of it, and I was going to govern myself accordingly. It said that a young man in company after taking his seat, should sit erect and throw his head back, keep his knees close together, and that chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes was not good form. Under no circumstances should the young man wear spurs, carry a gun, especially in the company of the young lady with whom he is anyways intimate. I guess that book was written for the Texas trade, as there was a proviso that gun-wearing would be permissible if there were other gentlemen present.   ~ Dennis Collins.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I spent three hours this afternoon escorting a visiting delegation of healthcare workers from the People's Republic of China around the department.  My feet are killing me but I now know the Chinese for STD.

It's "xing-bing."