Saturday, August 29, 2015


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Notes On A Crimi-Epi Workshop

I am in a two day workshop on joint criminological-epidemiological investigations sponsored by the FBI and the CDC.  Half the class is Public Health, half are Law Enforcement Officers from a variety of agencies.  We get to the part where we are conducting mock interviews.

The first roleplayer is doing a damned fine job as  a woman whose two children have been hospitalized after being infected by a category A agent. After ripping the interviewers two new ones, she begins sobbing.

Witness/Roleplayer:  I'm sorry -- but it’s been 24 hours and they won’t let me see my children!

LEO:  As soon as we’re done here, I’ll make sure you get to see your kids.

There is a mass intake of breath from the rest of the class; the instructors have been very clear that we are not to make promises.

LEO: (abruptly going off-script)  Hey, I have a gun – she’s gonna see her kids!

Another roleplayer is doing an equally good job as a petty criminal who is hospitalized for the same reason.

PH Staffer:  Hello, Mr. Poole*, I’m Beth*.  I’m with the XX Health Department and I need to ask you a few questions about the day you got sick.

Witness/Roleplayer grunts.

PH Staffer:  And this is Genna Jones* -- she’s with the FBI and she’s going to sit in.  Is that okay?

Witness/Roleplayer: (sullenly) I don’t like cops.

FBI Agent:  Me neither, that’s why I joined the FBI.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It's A Communist Plot

vintage catalog image from Pinterest

On July 1st I submitted my letter of retirement/resignation, to take effect in October.

Since then, three pairs of trousers have gone West, two of them irreparably.  I possess a suitable but not lavish work wardrobe, and if I now have to pike out to Von Maur and buy stuff that I’ll only need for another six weeks, it’s going to make me cross.

Update 8/26: Found a bleach splash on the otherwise dark brown leg of Pair#4.  At this rate I will be in sweatpants by the end of the month.

Après moi, le rhubarb

vintage rhubarb image from Pinterest

Last post about rhubarb, I promise.  At least for this year.


4 T. butter
1 c. all-purpose flour
¼ c. plus 1 T. powdered sugar

4 c. cut fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. granulated sugar
3 well-beaten eggs
Dash salt

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Sift together the flour and powdered sugar.  Cut in the butter until the mixture is the texture of coarse cornmeal interspersed with some pieces the size of small peas.

Turn the mixture into an ungreased 9x13x2 inch baking pan.  Using the back of a tablespoon (or an offset spatula), press the mixture firmly into the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack; cool completely.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

Carefully butter the sides of the baking pan above the cooled, baked crust.  Place the rhubarb in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Sift together the flour, sugar and salt.  Add the eggs, stirring only until combined.  Pour the flour mixture over the rhubarb and any accumulated juice, stir lightly.

Spoon the rhubarb mixture evenly over the baked crust.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

From the Blue Ribbon Country Cookbook, by Diane Roupe.  I imagine cut up apple or peaches could be used instead of the rhubarb, with an adjustment in the amount of sugar.  Maybe even blueberries.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Quote of the Day

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be.  Also understand that the sheepdog is a funny critter; he is sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night and yearning for a righteous battle.

That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle.  The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right away along with the young ones. ~ LtCol Dave Grossman.

Update:  Chris Norman is now officially one of my heroes.  From one pudgy, middle-aged, glasses wearing geek to another, Mr. Norman -- I salute you!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Perhaps They Were From the 6th Marines

US Marines hailed as heroes for stopping French train gunman.

Update:  And, as it turned out, they were from the Air Force and the National Guard.  In a way it's touching that when two young American servicemen tackle a gunman barehanded, a train full of French passengers assumes they're Marines.

I imagine the rest of the Armed Forces finds this very annoying.

(mocking aside -- everyone should feel proud and grateful to them and to the Englishman who had a hand in it.  I imagine the full story will come out eventually.  And I wish my fellow Americans would lay off the "surrender monkey" comments).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

This Is What You Might Call A Self-Resolving Problem

 “[Alaska Fish & Game official] Lou Cenicola reported that around 7:30 p.m. Monday, a man in a “realistic-looking” bear costume ran through a group of people standing on the side of the road bear-watching.  The man ran “waving and jumping”…trying to get the attention of a sow with cubs.  Cenicola says the man in the costume got within 5-10 feet of the cubs.

Cenicola reported that he ran toward the man to stop him, telling him he could be cited for wildlife harassment.”

I imagine that if this clown tries it often enough, a citation is going to be the least of his worries.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Friday, August 14, 2015

Quote Of The Day

I am quite sure that to be fearless is the first requisite for a woman; everything else that is good will grow naturally out of that, as a tree has leaves and fruit and grows tall and full provided its roots have a good hold of the ground.  Bring her up to be fearless and unintimidated by frowns, hints, and conventions, and then she will be full of mercy and grace and generosity.  It is fear that turns women sour, sly, and harsh to their neighbours.  
 ~ Sylvia Townsend Warner

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Something Different

This was the sandwich spread my mother made with the leftover butt-end when we had ham.  It wasn’t until I was a lot older that I learned most people use sweet pickles in their ham spread.

Ham Spread

1 pound of leftover ham, approx.
2 dill pickle quarters plus about 2 T juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T. French mustard
Pinch salt

Throw everything into the food processor (my mother had a hand-cranked meat chopper) and process in bursts until it is lumpy.  Don’t over-process; this isn’t intended to be a paste.

Makes great sandwiches.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rhubarb, Redux

Vintage seed catalog image from Pinterest

We’ve had this pie three times so far.  The recipe (and the first pie) came from one of Brian’s retired fellow-teachers.  It’s from Taste of Home and I make it almost exactly the way they do.


4 c. sliced fresh rhubarb
4 c. boiling water
1 ½ c. sugar
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 T. quick-cooking tapioca
1 egg
2 t. cold water
Two frozen pie crusts, thawed (I use Pillsbury)
    Or dough for a double-crust pie
1 T. butter

Place rhubarb in a colander and pour over it the boiling water; allow to drain.  In a large bowl, mix the sugar, flour and tapioca.  Add drained rhubarb and toss to coat.  Let stand 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk egg and cold water; stir into rhubarb mixture.

Preheat oven to 425.  Fit one pie crust into the pie dish.  Add filling, dot with butter.  Place the other pie crust over the filling, seal and flute the edge.  Cut slits in top and cover the edges of the pie dish with a strip of aluminum foil to keep it from browning too quickly.

Bake for 15 minutes and reduce heat to 325.  Bake another 15 minutes and remove the aluminum foil.  Bake for another 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.  Cool on a wire rack.

With any luck, we’ll have this a few more times before the rhubarb bolts.

Saturday, August 1, 2015