Tuesday, August 29, 2006

God o' the Week

God o’ the Week: Tezcatlipoca

If you want a real badass in your corner this is your god. I suspect he’d find a big following in lands where it is ok to chop someone’s head off if they don’t think the way you do or blow yourself in the middle of a crowd of women and children. His adherents took things a step further and after cutting out the still beating heart of some poor innocent bad-ass, they skinned the corpse and did a little happy dance in the guy’s skin.

Advantages: No one in their right mind will screw with you

Disadvantages: Might wind up as a cheap suit at the next Tezcatlipoca sock hop.

Monday, August 28, 2006

LIttle Slice o' Heaven

Another day in the Paradise that is El Mirage. The weekend was ok, nothing exciting but ok. Found out things I thought would be published aren’t going to be, got a letter from the head Nazi of our Home Owners Association about a car parked in the street that actually wasn’t mine, but the weather was outstanding. You all know how I am about weather. Even slept with the window open last night, it was nice and cool (for here).

Hopefully the neighbor will park Los Leakin’ Leena in his driveway and allow the pollutants to ooze out over his cement and keep the Housing Gestapo off my back. I do have some other options to get something (anything) published. That, unlike the rambling wreck next-door is my fault – I really need to get off my ass and start sending things out. I have a couple stories and some poetry. I don’t want to make a living at writing but would like to see my name in print in some periodical beyond the HOA Police Blotter. I do enjoy reviewing books, but apparently, that is not my forte.

I love to write in my Blog as well. As I have said before this is a lot cheaper than paying some shrink, and you get to attend “group” with people that aren’t total whack-jobs. Well, ok, most aren’t total whack-jobs. Besides, the nuts of the world are the ones that keep life interesting. Maybe that’s why I like to watch Glenn Beck – there is something seriously wrong with that dude. It is nice to see, however, that once again people with absolutely no talent or any kind of credibility (ala Regis, Ed Sullivan, and Larry King) can have their own TV show. Hey, it is either Beck’s show or re-runs of cops. Please, someone, tell me why I am paying for TV again?

I borrowed some books from the Library to take another shot at getting some reviews published. I am also compiling a listing of literature for Children. Mrs. Phos and one of her cohorts present a workshop for parents called Mother Read, since renamed “Mother/Father Read”, where they teach parents how to read to their kids – more importantly how to connect with their children. Odd that you’d have to teach parents that skill, but obviously it is not hereditary. I think sharing time, and a good book with children is about the best thing a parent can do for their child. I have been reading since the age of four. I attribute my reading abilities directly to my parents taking the time to sit and read with me.

Enough of the stooge-talk, here are some pictures to prove the wholesomeness of Jalapeño popcorn – huskies are being hand-fed corn. Apparently, capsaicin has no effect on husky taste buds, as they are wild about the spicy treat. Yukon even helps keep the kitchen floor tidy by rounding up any stay popcorn that escapes the pan.

Blogger has gone no picture again, will try again tomorrow...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

One for the Grazers

Time for a vegetarian treat – popcorn. Popcorn now a day evokes an image of tossing a pre-packaged bag o’ corn into the microwave and four minutes later you have a roaring conflagration in your microwave. I actually saw this happen, a student running out of the squadron building with a huge ball of fire in his hands and pitching it out into the street. No one was hurt and I’ll bet the student tells that story to this very day.

Before that there was air pop, a way to keep the oil out of the equation and produce popcorn with the texture of packing material. And who can forget Jiffypop? Jiffypop, a prepackaged foil pan of popcorn that you popped over the stove, was also an excellent method for starting fires.

Evidence from the archeological records show that when the Aztecs weren’t busy cutting the hearts out of their victims for offering to the gods (there’s another god o’ the week in the making), they were popping corn over hot embers. As the kernel heats, the hull conducts the heat to its center, softening the protein and starch present well past the boiling point, and forming steam from the ensuing liquids. Eventually the pressure becomes too great, the hull cracks and in the sudden absence of pressure, the mass of starch and protein puff up. While other types of corn will “pop” only true popping varieties will yield the fluffy treat we have come to know and love. Want to read more? Hit the library and check out “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” by Harold McGee.

I like to take a page out of mom’s cookbook and pop over the stove in a three quart sauce pan, with a lid (safety tip). Add enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan, drop in a couple kernels for temperature indicators and several slices of jalapeños. I use peanut oil for the extra flavor, but if you are worried about the cholesterol monster or eating peanuts brings on convulsions, you can opt for canola. Slap on the lid put the spurs to the pan and wait for the sounds of the indicator kernels popping – you can now add the popcorn. I put in around 2/3 of a cup. Shake the pan back and forth over the burner until the popping settles down to a couple every second; you are then ready to de-pan. To keep the tradition alive I use the mixing bowl my mother-in-law used back in the fifties. At this point you can exploit some cows and add melted butter and or salt.

The tough part will be finding something on TV that won’t scar junior for life, if indeed it is not already too late, and settle on the couch and enjoy some quality family time. Oh, you can remove the jalapeño slices if you wish, but I find them rather tasty and leave them in the mix.

Here is some help in making the decision on that movie courtesy of the Cursed Tongue

Like to cook, want a quick and easy oriental stirfry? Check this out! Foodcrazee has it going on in the kitchen!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Book Review: A Single Shard

A Single Shard

By Linda Sue Park

This young reader’s chapter book bears the golden seal of the Newberry medal and rightly so. A young orphan boy called Tree-ear comes of age in ancient Korea. The book instills a sense of virtue, and illustrates what hard work, dedication, and courage can do for a child. Shard is well written, fast paced, and is tough to put down.

Though a children’s book, the story hits a note of familiarity with adults as well – it is an excellent read. Read this book with your children or read it for your own enjoyment.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dead As A Doornail

Dead As A Doornail
By Charlaine Harris

Mystery, mayhem, vampires, weres, telepaths, and Faeries, what’s not to love? Set in rural Louisiana the heroine, Sookie Stackhouse is a barmaid with a penchant for trouble – the fact she is a telepath and lives amongst the undead and shape-shifters makes her life and the book interesting to say the least.

Dead as a Doornail is fast paced and engrossing, though lacks enough clues for the reader to solve the mystery without some telepathic input from Sookie. The book is part of a series but stands well on its own and will leave most readers with the desire to search out more of Harris’s books. Doornail serves as a good palate cleanser between more serious reads as it is just a very enjoyable and at times humorous book.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ok, More Like the Beginning of the End of the World

Is it Safe to Come Out Now??

Came out form underneath the blankets, my hiding spot of choice since my youngest days and was relived to see the world was still here despite dire predictions to the contrary. No Iranian shenanigans, well not here in El Mirage anyway. We have enough trouble with the Supreme Ayatollah of all terrorists, Wal-Mart, moving right next-door. I would be down with Ahmadinejad if he advocated the downfall of Wal-Mart, but he apparently hopes to crush Western Civilization, and he is well on his way. As far as a nest of terrorists goes I think we only have to look as far as Washington DC and the infestation of politicians, and I don’t care what party they represent they are the terrorists in their own right, though it is nice to see someone in America actually living the American Dream. Not so much here in El Garbage. One thing Saddam had right, every so often you clean house and exterminate most of the politicians.

So the 22nd was still fraught with some danger, but we needed the rain. Thought for the day: What kind of a moron stands out in the middle of an electrical storm to take pictures?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Claustrophobia Sets In

I was working in the kitchen this morning, it always seems to need cleaning for some reason, and I had a thought - rare for me (the thought not the cleaning). It would be interesting to do a study of kitchens over time, because I believe they reflect society in general.

In a movie called “The Little Shop Around the Corner” Kralik, the lead character asks Mr. Pirovitch about rent on a three room apartment, with a kitchen, bedroom and a room for entertaining. Pirovitch responds with something along the lines of “a separate room for entertaining? What are you an ambassador? You entertain in the kitchen… a real friend comes after dinner.” Though just a story, I do think it reflects the attitudes of times gone by where most entertaining was done in the kitchen. Even after the evolution of the living room folks tended to gravitate to the kitchen. All right, that is usually where the beer and food was, so there may have been an ulterior motive, but sufficed to say the kitchen seems to still hold the potential for a gathering place provided it is large enough. Mine is about the size of a galley on a relatively small boat.

While this is very efficient, it doesn’t lend itself to entertaining. I have seen an attempt on the part of the kitchen industry to to revitalize the kitchen as a gathering place. They have doent is by creating more open space, islands where you can cook and visit at the same time, and built in wine chillers.

My kitchen, however, must be one of the “for worse” parts the priest was babbling about during the wedding. With Ms. Phos, two helper huskies (can’t cook without them), and me in there at the same time it is hard to tell what is happening - a wrestling match, a small circus, or someone trying to prepare a meal. Add to that the kitchen table is considered an alternate storage location and the kitchen is out of there as any kind of social area. It is my own fault, I picked the house, but had to make some compromises and the kitchen was one of them. The City the house is in is a calamity that overshadows the diminutive kitchen.

It would be nice, in some ways to see a return to the simpler days were the kitchen was as much for socialization as it is for eating, and perhaps there is a trend to go back to that, just not here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The End of the World as we know it, but I Feel Passable, pt 2

Ma Nature Delivers a Bitch-slap

Next we have natural disasters. Yes the globe is heating up, yes it is our fault and no, no one is making a substantive effort to stop the process. There are some examples of attempts to mitigate the problem. Please, if you are interested in this, read “The Weather Makers” by Tim Flannery, or “Field Notes from a Catastrophe” by Elizabeth Kolbert. They are only slightly longer then this post. Ignorance is not bliss. Folks my age may see the beginnings of the trouble brewing from wantonly tossing CO2 into the atmosphere, but it is our kids that are screwed. If the present estimates are close, the earth will be a lifeless molten ball of rock by 2070.

The Discovery Channel loves this stuff, probably because people can’t get enough of disaster shows – I am one of them, I can (and do) quote “Twister” word for word, much to my daughter’s delight. According to programming on the Discovery Channel we will be wiped out by mega-asteroids, mega-glaciers, mega-tsunamis, or mega-volcanoes – and we are “long overdue" for each one of these cataclysmic events. I wonder what would happen to the stock market if the Yellowstone super-volcano erupted at the same moment one of our larger celestial visitors came calling? Crap.

It may or may not be the end. I felt I ought to go out an but the 52” plasma TV so at least I could watch the end in living color. Hey if it is the end of the world, Visa is shit out of luck trying to get their money back for that TV. Unfortunately Ms. Phos (AKA Mommy No-fun) put the kibosh on that plan. Marriage is kind of world-ender in its own right, I guess. Anyway, no worries, go on about your business, and don’t worry about your children and their children cursing you for screwing it up.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Gloom and doom Wednesday

The End of the World as we know it, but I Feel Passable, pt 1: Max out those credit cards, no one is going to be around to collect

Listening to the yak-jocks on TV, particularly Glen Beck, reading about global warming, and watching the Discovery Channel has led me to believe that the end of the world is nigh. Yes, the four horsemen are saddlin’ up.

Glen Beck is convinced Armageddon starts on 22 Aug. Who knows, he may be right. With a zealot like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in charge of Iran and nuke capability just a country away in Pakistan (by the way, Pakistan is not your friend), anything could happen. The fact the Iranian government is openly hostile towards the US and especially Israel is no secret, ol’ Mahmoud takes every opportunity to make that clear. Couple the rise of a society of folks that think strapping yourself into a Fiat with a load of C4 will be rewarded in the great beyond, and a map of who owns the petroleum we depend on and it doesn’t take much to see we are in a tough spot.

Hugo Chavez the president of Venezula also takes every opportunity to show his animosity towards the US he gets and it wouldn’t take much for him to pinch off the oil. Maybe his hatred is justified; I have heard all Americans are assholes - that was posetd on aBlog so it must be true. Shutting the flow of oil down in concert with a large scale attack could bring our economy crashing down. Chavez paid a visit to Iran recently. Just a random fact, mind you. Remember, wildcat traders sitting around at home in their underware trading stocks govern our economy – it isn’t going to take much to make Timmy Day-trader choke.

We came close with some ex-patriot Pakistanis planning to blow up aircraft with the contents of their Big Gulp and Starbucks carry-on (Did I mention Pakistan is not your friend?). What chance do you have against some snapper-head that wants to die and take as many of the unwashed with him as possible? Most Westerners can’t even comprehend the notion. There may be an element of myth to this, however, as I don’t see Bin Laden or any of the Black Turbans behind the wheel of any of those Fiats, making it seem as though it is ok to die for your religion as long as you are just a minion and not one of the upper crust. At least Koresh went down with his ship.

To be fair, there are plenty of Christian nutters and don’t forget the various cults. Anyone whose politics and religion are the same is a danger to the rest of us – Pat Robertson, David Koresh, and Aum Shinri Kyo, (the Japanese cult that staged nerve gas attacks in the subway), are prime examples. There are also plenty of neo-nazi black panther peta kinds of loonies waiting in the wings to do some damage.

Next time: Mother Nature’s Comin’ to Town, and She’s Pissed…

Monday, August 14, 2006

More Rain!

A lot of folks may have had enough of the rain, but it is still pretty unique here. We had an unexpected shower tonight and even got a rainbow out of the deal. Bonus it cooled things off to the point we may be able to shut down the A/C and open windows.

Our house is a prime example of how we have walled ourselves away form nature – we have special screens to dampen the sunlight so we have to run lights even in the middle of the day and shut the windows tight so we can cool the environment to the point were it is habitable. Not sure what the original folks did in these parts, but they were a lot tougher than me.

And now for something completely different:

A Shoe Cartoon

Saturday, August 12, 2006

No Meteors Over AZ

Just spending a quiet week at home, which is ok. Might sneak out a bit tomorrow and see if I can talk Ms. Phos into letting me get an easel, but that remains to be seen. I have to pick up some film shot with the SLR – I am anxious to see how (or if) it turned out.

Ms. Phos and I spent some quality time out of doors trying to see some meteors from the Persid shower, but last night we had a good T-Storm and tonight there is just a lot of haze reflecting the lights from Shitopolis so if you saw the meteor it would have to be the size of the one that killed the dinosaurs. I don’t want to see one like that. Arizona already has a big bloody hole from the last one that hit.


What dogs do when mom and dad are out meteor watching

Friday, August 11, 2006

If You Need to Believe in Someone, Why not Believe in Me?

God o’ the Week

Inspired by the religious fervor that seems to be gripping some parts of the Blogsphere as well as the world in general, I thought it would be interesting to see what gods are available for worship. There are a lot, really. Some are similar and have the same “superpowers”, but there are differences. Take this week’s pick, the Tiki. He is the god of money according to the tag, however, I do not believe ancient Polynesians had much call for hard currency so he must have had another realm at that time.


- Hasn’t written any books, so zealots can’t bother you with a litany of quotes on how you should be living
- Outgoing, nice personality, and an excellent dancer - invented surfing and reverb guitar
- Fierce expression will frighten away evil and enemies
- Idols easy to come by – thanks to globalization I didn’t have to travel all the way to Hawaii to pick out a crappy resin souvenir cast in Indonesia somewhere. I found him at a Party store in the Hawaiian theme section. Even says “Hawaii” on his base so I can claim I went.
- Low maintenance and hasn’t called for the end of days or laid claim on any souls, as far as you know.
- No collection plate passing
- Doesn’t seem to mind if you aren’t paying constant attention to him
- Hasn’t asked me to kill everyone that doesn’t believe in him, unlike certain other gods popular with today’s crowd.

- Has to be dusted regularly

There you have it, he sounds like a good bet and unless you need some justification for a murderous life, this could be the god for you. He’s a little old, but very low mileage. If interested, simply put on a grass skirt, with optional coconut bra (they have those at the party store too), shake your hips while moving your hands in a wave-like motion, and invoke the name Tiki-auaha. He should be there in two shakes of a hula dancer’s ass.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


There has been a lot of weather activity the past couple of days so I thought I would post some shots of the changes as the clouds rolled in… I want to make this kind of quick because it appears we are about to be hammered and I want to shut down before the lightning gets any closer.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Fell Asleep During Economics Class

I am easily baffled, and the entire premise for our economy definitely has me baffled. Oh, I am a willing participant, but I think we have to figure out a different way of doing things.

Here’s my cut on the subject. The US economy runs because people buy things, some of which they need, most of which they don’t. People work to make money so they can buy things to keep the economy running. Here’s the rub, I would like to stop working.

If I stop working I can no longer buy things – some of which I need, most of which I don’t, but I suppose I better keep working because I don’t want to be blamed for crippling the country’s economy.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Batch 69.0

The temperature dipped below 100 the other day – perfect chili weather. Nothing like to a nice steaming bowl of spicy chili to get the 90 degree chill out!! I am experimenting with the recipe and this is the first shot. I will use the software world’s method of numbering each batch, such as 2.0. One software engineer advised me never buy software where the version ends in “point zero.” I am including the recipe anyway; you are welcome to try it for yourself. I will be adjusting it a bit in the near future.

I have already caught hell about the lack of beans. I am trying to follow the guidelines form a chili cook off I watched, that and making chili with beans in Texas is a capitol offence – I heard you go straight to the head of the line in fact. I did try to nullify the bitter from the chili and tomato with a bit of chocolate, but wound up adding some brown sugar. I slow cooked it in a crock pot, but a pan on the stove would work as well. Low and slow is the key.

2TBS Hot chili powder
1Tsp Ancho Chili powder
1Tsp Chipotle Chili powder
1Tsp Hot Paprika
1Tbs Onion Powder
1/2Tsp Celery Salt
1Tsp Minced Garlic
1/4Tsp Cumin
2Tbs Brown Sugar
1Tsp Milk Chocolate (optional)
1Lbs Tri-tip roast or Bottom Round finely cubed ( 1/8” cubes)
1 Cup Water

Place all ingredients in the pot, stir thoroughly to combine and simmer for at least two hours. Be aware I like spicy food and have lost the ability to tell when it has gotten to be a bit too much for the ladies.

Speaking about heating things up, here's some more on global warming...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Fallen Heroes

I went to see Superman II and came away confused.  If he is all for law, order, and the American way, how come he fathered an illegitimate child, used his x-ray vision to spy on Lois, and broke into Lois’s house to visit with his son?  I bet it comes out that he has been doping too – I mean first he’s dead then he’s saving the world again.  This is just like being behind in a bike race and then suddenly winning the whole thing.  Please ignore the testosterone behind the curtain.  


Lots of trouble in the world, I thought it was because of religion, but it isn’t religion, it is religious people that are the problem. Beware anyone whose religion and politics are one in the same.  

Field Notes from a Catastrophe

Field Notes from a Catastrophe
By Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert is more uniquely qualified to write a book such as “Field Notes from a Catastrophe”. She works for the New Yorker as a climate reporter and has access to many researchers and politicians involved in climate research and policy. Far from the alarmist literature one finds dominating the global warming genre Field Notes takes a measured studied look at the problem through the eyes of individuals on the cutting edge of the . The book is aptly named for she has drawn material from notes she has made while interviewing researchers all over he world, form Inuit hunters to James Hanson the director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The book lays the problem and possible solutions out in simple terms making it a primer on global warming and its implication for the public at large. Field Notes, beyond being an enjoyable book, echoes the alarm set off by the scientific community and offers some potential solutions to hold off or dull the effects of global warming through interviews various experts.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Beats Working and We're Judged by How We Treat Our Animals

I may already be a winner!  I have a Powerball ticket in my pocket, and though the chances of being struck being lighting while wing-walking on a 747 at 30,000 feet are greater than the chances of hitting the lottery, I feel pretty confident. I bought he ticket at a down in the heels market on a whim. I say one can’t get much more scientific then that.  

What am I going to do with all this loot?  I have several plans, one concerning civic improvement.  I am planning on buying the City of El Mirage – and a bulldozer.  Believe me, the world will be a better place when I am done. I could give some of the money to my kids and the long lost relatives that will start coming out of the woodwork as soon as the winner is announced, and then there are many worthy causes.

In fact there was a worthy cause today, one of my favorites.  The Arizona Humane Society holds a telethon on channel 15 out here every year, and it is a great opportunity to help some animals that have come on hard times.   Mrs. Phos and I always like to give some cash in memory of Lucky Dog, as well as for Austrella, Yukon, and this year – Freddy the Fish.  There’s a lot of abandoned pets, abused animals, and strays out there, which I find so very sad.  Odd how if a person abused an animal by denying the creature water or food, every human rights organization would pitch a fit if the same conditions were imposed on the abuser.  A dog bites and it is put down, a person kills and he or she spends a few years behind bars.  Not a terribly equitable system.

Anyway, enough of this, there is no more putting it off, I have to go check my numbers and see what I will be facing come tax time next year…

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"Half Empty" Kind of Post

Run and Hide

I am reading an interesting book on global warming and its effects entitled the “Weather Makers.” Aside from the implications of the book itself, I started wondering how people could ignore the signs. I understand the politicians, driven by greed would ignore the signs, any action to stem the problem (though it may already be too late) would be money out of their pocket and that is not going to happen. Most ordinary people ignore it because it is an inconvenient and unpleasant topic, they tend to use the tried and true “head in the sand” approach.

I know of several people who have constructed their own happy place and live there on a permanent basis. This is fine, but it dulls them to the realities of the world around them. Typical amongst young children the “it can’t hurt me if I can’t see it” approach is a dangerous way to go through life, leaving one ill prepared when disaster strikes. The happy place people are in for a jarring experience when the happy place bubble bursts and they find themselves out on the cold, hard sidewalk, or in our case the hot, hard sidewalk.

Climactic change is the least of their immediate problems. Over population in the desert, failing housing markets, inflation, and rising crime rates are a few of the forces at work in our (and many other) areas and are beginning to have more impact on life. These factors will be the pins that pop the happy bubble. While the sky is not falling, yet, it is time to keep alert and anticipate changes for the worse, and take some pre-emptive measures. Arming oneself with knowledge as well as deterrents that are more physical in nature is becoming a necessity. Law enforcement and the political system are no longer protection from “bad things” and as the population in cities expand placing more pressure on already scarce resources as well as stretching police forces even thinner violence will spiral out of control.

Bottom line, wake up and smell the feces before you are ears deep in the stuff.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Had to Happen Sooner or Later

Interesting weekend – had a great time with my daughter and her husband and some great news from my son and his wife. As if I wasn’t already feeling older then dirt, I found out there is a little grandphos in the works. This is wonderful news and despite a touch of “chronophobia” I am excited.

I can’t wait to teach the li’l whelp some good stories and jokes to take to school, buy him or her that drum set down to the wal-mart, and pass on uses of fire their parents might not impart. Damn, it is going to be fun!!