What’s Up? 07/05/10

Oh it was a scrumptious July 4! The Contrarian, bless his dear heart, taped both the semi and finals of Wimbledon, and we watched it on Friday and Sunday nights. My hero won!

Well, as you know, I have several, but pound for pound, if I could transpose Johnny Depp’s head onto Rafa’s body, I’d be in some kinda heaven. Not that Rafa or Johnny have to complain about their opposite features, but together, I don’t think a woman could live without swooning.

A beautiful two matches, and a chance to hear a little from an old favorite, Bjorn Borg as well. On the the Open where Rafa will have a tougher time with the speed of those cement like courts.

I would have liked a Federer-Nadal final cuz I always like to see Neanderthal boy lose, to my sexy Spaniard.

Well, okay, digging head from the clouds and returning to the mundane world of reality. Sigh…

Yesterday we have grilled steaks and pasta salad. The crowning glory was a corn salsa I threw together. It was simply divine. I’ll give you the basics:

Corn Salsa
the corn from 3 ears, cut off and sauteed in some olive oil until charred a bit
Throw in a bowl and add:
1 jalapeno, finely diced (or other hot pepper as you like)
1 rib of celery finally chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
1/2 cup red onion (or scallions if you prefer)
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leave parsley or cilantro as you like
juice of one lime
salt and pepper
Drizzle of olive oil to coat
Mix and eat. Great at room temperature.
(feel free to substitute other veggies like carrots, zucchini, radishes, whatever)


It would be best if you not miss out on Vodka’s take on the news. I  promise you, it’s always unique. Strip clubs seem to be taking a beating on many fronts (and backs). BP refused their claim of lost wages due to loss of customers along the Gulf coast. And then there is Michael Steele’s attempt to woo GOP’ers into contributions by showing them some free jiggles. It’s a tough economy so it seems.

Speaking of limes, I thought you might like this refreshing new take on coleslaw, which can get soooo mundane sometimes. It’s all cilantro-y and chili peppery and, sounds perfect for those summer grilling adventures. Easy side to make with some real inventiveness. Thanks to Epicurious!

Okay, so this is long, and depressing, but frankly, my little cutsie blurbs do not lead to your being critically informed. This post does. The link was broken so I’ve sent you to the main site, and go to Government Isn’t the Problem, by Evert Cilliers (aka Adam Ash), dated today. Read it, all of it.

Perhaps no brain is as fascinating to me as the sociopath or psychopath as they used to be called. Neuroscientist Jim Fallon, has been looking at them from a genetic point of view. This is the third of three parts and the other two can be accessed though links part way through part 3. A really interesting look. Are we victims of people who have no choice?

Think you know how America got it’s name? Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t. Follow the link and find out.

We are all victims of our urges. None of us are successful all of the time in invoking will power to subdue them. Scientific American gives us so real advice on how we might do better, whether it be avoiding chocolate to excess, beer, or shoes.

All is not gloom and doom. Elizabeth Kaeton has a doozy of a post on Queen Liz’s latest letter to us in Merika. Seems, our revolution has been revoked, and we are back in. Be grateful that I gave you a toy to play with. This will not happen often, since I’m about serious business here most days.

And that is enough for now. Have a great day. It’s crappy rain here, and for the foreseeable future into infinity. Iowa is startin’ to be a real drag. House smells like wet fur. I’m tempted to make them all stay out anyway. I need to nap.

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It’s Easy!

bookstackNothing is ever as easy as you think it will be, and when something is advertised as “easy” you really better watch out, because you’re really in for it. More about that in a minute.

I’ve been going every week to work on the church library. We’ve been cataloging books. We now are working on thirteen boxes of books donated by our late priest. Have you ever wanted to just lay in a pile of books and just hug them? Well, never have I come upon such a collection that so made me drool. Virtually three quarters of every box are books I want to read RIGHT NOW.

I finally sighed as I oohed and aahed picking up one treasure after another, “I can’t live long enough to read all these!” Oh how I wish my dream would come true and somebody would play me to read books, but only the ones I want! Fat chance.

The library is coming along nicely. What started out as a fairly simple idea to update and integrate this new collection, has become a real chore. But happily, it’s a labor of love. I do love libraries and bookstores, and I  approach with a sense of awe, this is holy ground folks.

I have additional duties in regards this project, being the co-chair of the newly instituted “Standing Committee for the Library.” Busy times indeed, making sure that everyone is notified of everything, writing news inserts for the church bulletin, organizing, thinking, planning, executing, puzzling, brainstorming. Such is committee life. Never as simple as you expect.

Mostly I’m blessed to be working with a fine group of people, all talented, all smart, all hard workers. We work three laptops now, each of us putting in name, author, publisher, location, copyright, section. Spreadsheets are most useful for this. I had already broken the existing stock into various categories, so that went smoother than this new stuff, which has to be determined book by book. But we got close to half of the thirteen boxes done. Another session next Friday may finish it off, or nearly so. Just in time for the next full meeting.

Strawberry Jam

Which brings me to strawberries. You must see the connection? NO? Well, read on. After I left the church, I went to the farmer’s market in search of strawberries to make some jam.

Now I arrived only fifteen minutes after the official opening, so I was rather distressed to find a line nearly 30 people long, maybe more, waiting to buy strawberries. No lines anywhere else in the entire market, mind you.

I dutifully got in line and proceeded to stand there for a full thirty minutes, in the heat and humidity (90 degrees + and 100% humidity). Joy of joys for that. I got a flat, approximately six quarts, figuring I should be able to get a good dozen pints from that.

I proceeded to the Walmart to get some lids and unflavored gelatin, which the recipe called for. So far so good. I bought a dozen extra jars just in case, having about 18 available at home from other jams (raspberry and grape already used up). I got a couple of bags of sugar. Good to go. Stop at the Whopper for my dinner, the Contrarian having saved a Subway for himself for dinner without me.  (You can see I’ve been a tad lax on dinner during this ungodly weather.)

Today, I get the recipe out. Crapola, it is a recipe for fake sugar. So I go online and look for no pectin recipes, since I got only a single box of pectin. Nope, none. I wanna make “freezer jam” cuz they SAID IT WAS EASY! Right.

None of this makes sense. I’m supposed to get about 2 cups of squished strawberries per quart. That makes about 12 cups. I look up the sugar requirements. Four cups per every two cups? That is insane. That means in 8 cups of berries I need 16 cups of sugar. I’m gonna die of sugar overload. I check the box of pectin. Yep, 4 cups of sugar to 2 cups berries. This is crazy.

I clean my berries and measure them out. I get 16 cups divided in half. That means I need 8 boxes of pectin and 36 cups of sugar. This is going bad.

I call around. The Troy Store girl giggles, “what is pectin?” “It’s for making jam, ” I patiently reply. “Just a minute, I’ll go check.” A short delay. “No, we don’t carry it.”

I call Sherbons in Walker. “Do you have pectin? ” “Sure, how much you need, everybody is canning.” “About 6 packages?” “Just a minute—-yup, I got enough for ya.” “Good, I’ll send my husband up.”

Pectin in hand, I start pouring in the sugar, mumbling, “this is insane,” again and again. Soon my biggest bowl is nearly overflowing. I draw the line at 15 cups. Enough!  I’ll cut the pectin a bit, split it in half, see what happens.

I gotta split the first bowl so I can get the pectin and water in. I begin to look at my jars. Oh lordy, never going to work here. Not enough jars.

I start to ladle. Boy this stuff is getting jellied already. I fill the twelve new jars. I got half of it left. Oh lord. What hath I wroth here? I drag out another dozen of extra jars. I use ten more. I got 22 jars of jam and I have half of my berries left.

They go into the fridge until tomorrow. I’ll have to stop at Walmart after church and buy more jars. I’ll have nearly four dozen jars of jam. Enough until Armageddon or the new millennium whichever comes first.

Easy? Well, if you consider that a job I thought was gonna take an hour and half actually takes two days, then yeah, it was easy. Oh I can’t wait until the blueberries come on! I guess I won’t buy six quarts of those!

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Bet You Can Cook!

parsleyI don’t want to be presumptuous or anything, but do you have trouble finding a way to save your fresh parsley and cilantro? For that matter, any fresh herb? I used to, but I found a sure proof way of saving it, keeping it fresh, and ALWAYS having some on hand.

This of course is much less of a problem in the summer time when those of us with outdoor space of any kind can grow our own, and always have it ready to pick. But even then, plants don’t always grow enough, and at the right time.

Although with most recipes you can eliminate the herbs like parsley, they do add a definite sparkle to a dish, as well as impart flavor. And no, dried don’t always work as well. Rosemary most definitely is great dried, but things like basil just suck dried, and parsley and cilantro aren’t a lot better.

While I’ve only used this method on parsley and cilantro, I think it would work fine on any herb. So here we go:

You come home with a banded bouquet of parsley. Leave on the band or not as you desire. Depending on the size of the bundle you may want to work in a couple of smaller bundles. The stems of parsley can be fibrous, so you don’t want to be chopping the lower parts of the stems into the mix. Hold in the hand by the stems like you would a bouquet, and “shave” off the leaves, pointing the bundle downward as you do. Turn as needed until it’s clean. Some stem is okay, but you will get most of the leaves this way and quickly.

You can of course do it piece by piece, stripping the leaves but this will take a long time, and none of us usually has time.

Once you have  nice pile on the cutting board, use a big chef’s knife and chop the mess. Periodically pile the outside to the center as the parsley chops up into nice bits. Use a rocking motion, guiding with the free hand on top of the blade at the end of the knife. You’ve seen this on TV no doubt.

If you are not a good hand chopper, throw it into a food processor and pulse it until the desired size. Be careful here, you don’t want puree, so just a second at a time.

Once it has reached the right chop size, place in a bowl. Now drizzle olive oil over it. You don’t need to submerge it, just enough to coat all of it. Pour a little, then stir and when it starts to really cling together, you have added enough.

Now take a pan of some sort, I small loaf pan, a 8 x 8 or something like that. Line with wax paper, and spoon your parsley into it. Spread it a bit and then add a layer of plastic wrap and then you can gently pat it out into a rectangle. Keep it somewhere around 1/4 inch thick.

Pop it into the freezer and leave until it’s frozen. Now the oil won’t freeze, but it will stiffen, and the water in the parsley will also harden it. Take out and score with a knife into what approximates 1 tablespoon. You can actually cut into cubes if you wish, but I leave it on the wax paper, and then pop it into a plastic bag.

When I need some fresh parsley, I just take a knife and cut through the size I need and return the rest to the freezer.

For Cilantro, do the same, but the stems here are much more tender and harder to shave, so don’t worry about removing so much stem.

This will work on basil and frankly, all fresh herbs that I can think of. Make sure that you label the freezer bag since there is a big difference between parsley and cilantro in taste, and once chopped and stored you won’t be able to tell the difference by looking!

Here’s my favorite homemade salsa recipe just cuz I love ya!

  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes (fresh of course is fine)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced (use a micro plane if you have it, and get one if you don’t, they are priceless for doing this fast!)
  • 1/3 c of minced onion (more or less, diced fine or not as you like)
  • 1 jalepeno pepper diced fine (I freeze these whole and just defrost and remove the seeds which turn brown anyway. Use more or less heat or other peppers as you like)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsps fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • juice of one lime (optional–it brightens everything, but you can get away without it. you can freeze lime juice in cubes too so it can be another item always on hand.)

Mix and let set for a couple of hours in the fridge before serving on your favorite Mexican dish.

We’re having a frittata today. That’s just eggs with whatever in it. We are having a pork sausage, onion, potato, asparagus, smoked Gruyere, parsley frittata. Cook everything separately, layer all starting with potatoes on the bottom, ending with the cheese. Whisk eggs (4-6) add 1 to 1 1/2 c  milk and/or cream, salt, pepper, fresh parsley, pour on top, cook until set, then under the broiler to cook the top lightly. Add a salad and your set!

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Ya Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down

orangutanI’ve spent the last two hours skimming and reading blogs. I been very commenty as well. I’ve perused a good three hundred in total, most of ’em as you might expect, political, religious, scientific, etc.

Haven’t seen a thing that has fired up the old neurons with a good idea to blog about.

Mostly I blame you, since clearly you all have sucked up all the good ideas floating around, leaving none for little ole me.

That of course, won’t deter me one second, as you can see. I’m more than willing to tap away, mindlessly if need be, producing, no doubt a work worthy of reading. Well, you are reading aren’t you?

The pic today, is as you might know, an orangutan, pronounced orang-oo-tahn, not orang-a-tang. It represents “Bonnie” who was unavailable for a sitting today. She is the first known human mimicker among her primate species. She can whistle, something that is, I guess, unknown in her type. But she can, and does.

Just another of those fine examples of how we are all so much more alike than different. So there ya go. Now you can wow ’em at the church coffee hour or Monday at the water cooler.

I believe, you can watch a video of same here!

While you are at it, slip over to Elizabeth Kaeton’s blog, Telling Secrets and read the post “Wild Air.” It’s about hawks, but not really. Just go read it and you will be glad I sent you.  I’m a fool, a joker, a fiddler of words. Elizabeth is wise, plain and simple, and it’s good to be exposed to that as frequently as possible.

I’m always fascinated by my brain, mostly because it often fails to do what I want it to. I forget things I want to remember, and can’t forget things I want to forget. It fails to shut up when I want it to a lot, and that really pisses me off cuz I can see God at the back of the room waving his hand like mad, and I can’t hear him most of the time for the din in my head over “how does a worm know when it’s rolled over?” Crap like that can drive you nuts.

Well, it seems that there is something to my concerns. Brain researches (now they must be a crazed bunch no doubt) claim that our brains live on the edge of chaos. Yes, on the edge. Now, I can worry about falling off the cliff even more often!

Worse yet, it appears that the brain can see a mistake coming about a split second before it occurs. How’s that for being johnny not on the spot? It seems it would make freakin’ sense if we had a bit more lead time wouldn’t ya think? May then WE COULD STOP THE MISTAKE?????? Some kind of humor there God!

It just seems that everything is working against me here. And to beat all, we’re looking for a freakin’ SNOW STORM???? What fresh hell is this as Dorothy would say. No not Dorothy of OZ, Dorothy of Parker. Duh.  Course, I’m not in Fargo, and that is a blessing. What kinda nutzy is that? Flooding and blizzards and ice? I mean this is a planet on drugs or something.

So, it’s Friday, and not the 13th and that means that I can’t fob off any of this silliness on that.  It’s March Madness, yeah, I can blame that maybe. But UConn won and MSU plays tonight. So I haven’t lost my marbles over basketball yet.

Oh, and a good coleslaw recipe here, and a good cocktail sauce here or there, where it’s highlighted. Don’t put them together,that wouldn’t be wise or tasty.

So thanks for reading, and have a good day, and come back again if you think it’s safe. But don’t go in the water, if you get my drift.


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Trapping the Lint of My Mind

Things are getting busy everywhere now. The time of the year of course may have something to do with it. Planning for a ridiculous meal that will take all of 20 minutes to consume. It never ceases to shock me, after putting in hours of work designing and cooking it.

Adding to this is my continued involvement at Christ Church. My meeting was moved to Friday at the last minute. I’ve had contact as well with the Adult Ed program that runs four years. I think they are waving me off until next fall, with but at least I’ll get the summer reading program underway sometime. It’s still unclear to me, and they said they would get back with me. As well, the jail ministry won’t commence until spring, mostly because the jail won’t be ready for occupancy again until then. This due to the floods.

Add to this the Contrarian has got three appointments for various consults at the VA and more to come. Most is just the usual, a new colonoscopy is due, and an MRI. He has balance problems but this is something that has gone on for years and they are thinking perhaps a pinched nerve. It is something he has learned to live with, but treatment would be a blessing. No major concerns on our part at all, just the misery of driving to Iowa City and sitting in waiting rooms. You cannot know how much the Contrarian hates this. “Might as well just rent a room down there and stay for two months,” he carps.

So, with all that, I’m sure I’ll be missing some postings along the way. But I trust that most everyone else is just as busy. I was grousing last night about what to do for dinner today, when his Majesty, the Contrarian whimpered with the appropriate tear in the corner of his eye, “Perhaps chicken potpie?” he whispered. I looked with disdain,

“Do you have a clue how much work that is? I mean we have the chicken, but cutting up veggies, making a gravy, and then making a biscuit crust to bake on top? Do you know how much time that takes?” “But it would be so good,” he retorted, his soft blue/grey eyes begged silently. “We shall see,” I replied, unmoved by his puppy dog eyes. (So you can guess what I did this morning after cleaning the kitchen and laundry room!”

I wanted to show off my FIRST scarf that I knitted. It shall take me forever to make them of course, and certainly, I won’t have more than a couple for the upcoming winter, but I think it turned out nicely enough.

nov19_01I did it in a simple k5, p5 for five and alternate. It looks to be plenty warm and I hope someone enjoys it. I’m making another but for myself. I bought a “new” coat at the Goodwill, my favorite place to shop, and I had nothing that would match it, so I am making a scarf and hat to go with it. Hopefully it will be finished before the winter takes hold!

Now I thought I would lay out the menu for Thankgiving. It’s a huge meal for us, but we eat it for three days with relish and then I freeze up the remaining turkey and dressing if any is left. I’ll give some of the recipes should anyone be interested.


  • Turkey
  • Dressing
  • Mashed potatoes/gravy
  • Winter squash
  • Caramelized onions
  • Cranberry sauce
  • rolls
  • relish tray
  • Parmesan Creamed corn
  • pumpkin pie
  • german chocolate cake
  • wine


By all means brine your turkey. It makes so much difference you will never not do it that way again. The brine consists of:

  • 1 1/2 C salt
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 TBSP whole coriander
  • 1 TBSP juniper berries
  • 2 TBSP who peppercorns
  • 1 TBSP fennel
  • 1 TSP mustard seeds
  • 1 Bottle white wine
  • 2 medium onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • Enough water to cover the bird.

Place all in a bucket, lined with plastic bag, secure, and keep in a very cold place, outside if possible or in an unheated garage, for 24 hours. Drain, pat dry and prepare as usual. I’m told the brining reduces the cooking time by about 20%. If you have no cold place, put all in a cooler filled with ice bags. It is also better to dissolve the salt in part of the water heated until dissolved. Add the spices and herbs to this and allow to cool a bit before proceeding to the bird.


I got this last year from GMA from their dressing contest. I have no idea whether this one won, but it was one of the 4 finalists, so I tried it, and we loved it past adoration. We scarfed it unabashedly as if we were stealing. It is sinfully caloric and fattening, but so good it will become your favorite. I am just giving the ingredients, you know they all get added together. Bake at 375 for 45 min or so. depending on what else is in your oven at the time.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Italian sausage, decased and cooked
  • 1 large onion, sauted
  • 7 ribs celery, sauted6
  • 4 cloves garlic, sauted
  • 6 oz bacon, ham or panchetta cooked and crumbled
  • Add to:
  • 6 C. bread, staled and cubed
  • 3 C cornbread, crumbled – make ahead a day or so
  • 1/2 C butter, cubed
  • 1 TBSP sage
  • 1 1/2 TBSP poultry seasoning
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 2 C mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1 C Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 C pinenuts
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth.

Mashed Potatoes

Nothing special here, but I am adding some rutabaga and parsnips I think to the potatoes to enliven the taste a bit


I’ll use the neck and gizzard, heart and liver which I will cook in some chicken stock and then remove the meat from the neckbones. I’ll add minced onion, garlic, mushrooms and saute them. Salt, pepper, a bit of worcheshire sauce, and then butter/flour and the chicken stock and heat until boiling and thickened. Add a bit of cream if desired.

Winter Squash

I always bake this a day ahead, remove from the skin, add butter, salt, pepper, some maple syrup and mix together. On the day of eating, I’ll add pecans to the top and bake covered until warmed through. Also can be microwaved if space is hard to find in the oven.

Caramelized Onions

Nothing tricky here. Just simmer your onions a bit, cut off the root ends and slip the skins off to a clean new surface. Drain nicely, add to a pan with butter and just saute forever until they are nicely browned all over. Slow is the key, don’t turn them too high or they will burn. Make the day before and then you can just heat them before eating.

Cranberry sauce

Prepare according to package directions. I then section an orange, and add it, and some of the juice to the cooled cranberry sauce. Just before the meal, add chopped walnuts or pecans. I think I may add a bit of raisin this year and see how that tastes. I’m also adding some minced fresh ginger as well.

Creamed corn with Parmesan

This is simply corn, sauted with salt and pepper, some cream, a bit of chicken stock and Parmesan cheese. All done on the stove. The recipe calls for 6 cups of corn to serve 4. If you use that much, use 3/4 C of the cream, and 1/4 C of the stock, with 1 C Parmesan. I plan to cut this down to closer to half. (Martha Stewart Living recipe)

Pumpkin Pie

Directly out of the Joy of Cooking , the bible of American cooking

German Chocolate Cake

Right off the back of the package of the German chocolate

Well, that’s about it. We don’t go to nearly this trouble for Christmas, but we really enjoy this meal a lot. The only thing different this year is the corn recipe.

I do as much of the stuff ahead as I can. I’ll start on Tuesday and do the bulk of the cooking on Wednesday. Thursday will be for roasting the turkey, potatoes, and gravy mostly.

Have a blessed day everyone, and stay warm!

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Short Takes on the Day 10/13/08

Desperate times call for desperate measures. So the McCain campaign is coming out with more “economic” fixesfor America. These are touted as being aimed at the middle class, that group that McCain pretty much ignored until, well, he needed their vote. Trouble is, his new plan is fraught with all the same problems as his previous ones: they have little to do with helping the average Joe Sixpack. What to do, what to do? This campaign is floundering and I think getting advice from a Ouija board now.

Tread quietly folks, we are entering the hospital room of one GW Bush. He is sedated, but you can smile and he will respond. Our boy idiot, doesn’t think he had a thing to do with ANYTHING that went wrong in Amirika, but he sure is glad he had himself at the helm to steer us poor folks through the murky waters of all these disasters. Yes indeed, with all those fine folks like Dick and Condi, and Rummy to help him and us out, well gosh, we would just be in a durn pickle if it hadn’t been for him. Laura regrets that flowers have arrived in such truckloads that she must refuse any more, so send your donations to the GWB Memorial for Brain injured NUT Heads. Next stop: The Twilight Zone.

Having just done a piece in which I cited the unfavorables of McCain, I’m happy to report that new ones are out, and they are worse than those I stated. McCain’s fav/unfav are now at a paltry +6, while Palin’s are an even worse +4. Obama’s have improved to a +24. You can read all about it at Glenn Greenwald‘s  blog from the Salon. Please check out this link, as there are a huge number of other internals that make is very very clear that Palin continues to drag the McCain campaign downward literally by the day. Just a teaser: the rate at which people think that one campaign is negative versus the other is huge, something not seen in either 2000 or 2004, if you can believe it.

Shannyn Moore  gives us her take as an Alaskan, to the revelations of the Troopergate report. She alleges that the McCain spin machine has been at work overtime to make black white and so forth. I wonder if Sarah will have a chance at re-election in Alaska whenever that might occur. One begins to doubt that anyone who has brought such attention to the State in such an unfavorable way would stand a chance.

I know I posted this a good while ago, and it lurks somewhere in these archives, but in case you missed it, here again is a recipe for making your own vanilla. Given its price, we all can use it. It’s way cheaper to make than buy I tell ya. It doesn’t get any simpler, and if you bake a lot, as I do, this is a real money saver. Even places to buy the beans from in bulk, and help in defining the different varieties of beans.

Anyone who comes here regularly, knows I love the American Prospect magazine. Their articles are simply well done. I know I am beating a dead horse in a sense, but they have a fine article on how McCain has destroyed his own brand. His dismissive claims that he “takes care of veterans” and other such nonsense, as “I know how to do, I’ll get it done” without more, have worn paper thin, especially when laid alongside his new propensity to win at any cost. Honorable politics have been discarded, because John knows that we need John, and we are going to get John even if John has to shove John down our throats with force.

Need more evidence that the McCain machine is missing a wheel and is off to schizophrenic arguments? Now it’s Michelle Obama’s “ties” to terrorists. Once Johnny said that spouses were out of bounds, now it seems, anything that might work will be tried. Check out this utter piece of drivel from The Anonymous Liberal if you are unconvinced that McCain’s campaign needs anti-psychotic drugs at this time.

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Lil Bits of Rancor or Not 8/22/08

A very interesting post at AlterNet. While we grouse about the McCain tactic of slash and burn Obama as his vehicle for success, the desire of the neo-cons is much more serious and permanent. Nothing less than full scale destruction of the liberal as an philisophical alternative is actually contemplated.They echo Maggie Thatcher in this. They are seriously about the business of transforming America into a land where there is no place for liberalism, in reality it will be an oligarchical state wherein business and the market place rule. Read this fascinating look at the dark side. It’s another article that will chill your soul and wonder if you live in America any more.

I haven’t watched the “debate” between McShame and Obama at the Saddleback Church yet, but I thought you might like to review this piece. Apparently John, told a story about a “cross in the dirt.” These are always stories about his POW days, days he insists he hates to talk about, before he again starts to talk about them. Anyway, apparently it is another of his made up stories. According to An Adequate Level of Plausible Deniability, anyway.  I followed his link and found this. Apparently, he likely lifted the story from Alexander Solzhenitsyn and his Gulag Archipelago. Hardly new news, Johnny seems to lift  information and alter stories quite a bit these days. He’s old what can you say? Those trying to track this story have found no mention of it on either of two occasions when you would have expected McCain to have mentioned this “deeply moving” story. I think that rat is roaming around my house again!

Copycat Restaurant Recipes has a Bennigans recipe for “Hot Bacon Dressing.” So utterly perfect for spinach it’s dangerously criminal to eat. Take a look, it’s easy to make and can be stored as well. So next Sunday, after cooking that bacon, make up some and enjoy some fresh spinach salad later!

Watch out the wingnuts in Dubya’s administration of horrors are at it again. They are trying to redefine abortion to include an contraceptive means that has the possible result of causing the termination of a pregnancy. This could include morning after pills, and IUD devices among others. This all has to do with federal funding and insurance companies, and attempts to thwart state laws that give equal access to all women to reproductive assistance. In Iowa, Gov. Culver opposes the change in definition as do Harkin, Boswell, Braley, and Loebsack. Read the full report from Essential Estrogen. This attack of course is by no means limited to Iowa, but effects some 34 states who have legislation in place that would be effected. Check what you state is doing to stop this under the table attack on a woman’s right to choose.

Go read Garrison Keillor today. Why? Well because it’s like Church, because you should. Today, it’s worth the effort to do so. I’d never steer you wrong. And have a steam bath on me!

Mike Tomasky’s Blog has an excellent post on why Republican attack ads always work better than Democratic ones. Democrats would do well to learn the sordid means by which the GOP dopes do it. And you can pick up a few character flaws about John McBush along the way, so it’s worth the linkage!

Iowans should know that according to Senator Tom Harkin, John McCain is no friend of the farmer. He says that, ” McCain voted against the 2002 farm bill and has said that if he were president today he would veto the current farm bill — one which all seven of Iowa’s federal elected officials, including three Republicans, supported.” As an embarrassed Iowa, embarrassed because we are still considered up for grabs this November, I call McCain’s position good news for Obama, and that’s good news for me. I rather suspected that the $500 shoe man with his 7-10 homes is more the elitist than Obama, and wouldn’t really know which end of a pitchfork is the business end.

On Tuesday of this week, I reviewed Rich Shenkman’s book, “Just How Stupid are We?'” Here’s a link to his blog. It appears he does his part to debunk the usual lies of the candidates and their campaigns in an attempt to keep up informed. You might want to bookmark it and check it every so often and learn the truth from the lies.

Oh, before I forget, those of you struggling with grocery prices or just fumed that it costs an arm and leg these days to shop for food period, may want to stop by this site: http://budget101.com. It has a long list of stuff you can make at home for pennies compared to buying them at the store. Mayo of course, and Bisquick substitutes. There is also a feature wherein you put in your zip and it gives you all the stores in your area and you can pick the ones you use, and then it will give you the weekly sale items. Worth a stop, there’s more stuff, but go see yourself if so interested. Coupons too!

Sr. Joan Chittister has a thoughtful post on our lying ways in our political lives and how they threaten to destroy us. No confession is good for the soul any more. We just continue the lies, believing them in the end ourselves. Many of us are bemoaning the abject absurdity of what politics has become. Voters haven’t a clue what they are doing, and one branch of government spends all its time campaigning while another imperially runs things without answering to anybody, using the big lie as a shield. Read this and well, I don’t know, get mad enough to get off your duff and write your congressman, learn what’s happening, but don’t take it any more!

Knitters and crocheters hearken! Vicki at Knitting Dragonflies linked to a wonderful site called Simple Knits. It has the most wonderful array of patterns, all grouped by amount of yarn you might have. Many of the patterns are free, and those that aren’t, are linked to where you can buy them. It looks like a huge place. So indulge and find a great pattern for that next project!

Anyone who is a regular knows that I adore Scandalous Women blog run by  Elizabeth. Today, I’m linking you to the general site, because she has two magnificent entries, one on Princess Michael of Britainand the other on one of my favorite women the notorious literary giant, Lillian Hellman. Please go read these wonderful biographies. The first is from Aug 20 and the Hellman piece is from Aug 13 I believe.

If you are interested in the people behind the Obama campaign, American Prospect has an great article that examines the “big 15″ and gives you a mini biography of each. Very interesting stuff, I found.

If you are like me, you are probably just about crazed with the polls these days. All over the board and some late ones have McCain started to pull up to Obama. It can make you want to cry. Paul Hogarth in a piece at the Huffington Post, tells you not to worry, and shows you why. It’s all about money, position, and which polls to rely on. From his lips to God’s ears as they say.

Another terrific article at The Nation, this one by Robert Scheer. He wonders just how it is that Republicans and John McCain manage to get voters to vote against their own interests time and again. He explains the fallacy of McShame’s worldview and why it is so out of step with today’s reality.

If you are interested in a bit of the history of Cindy Hensley-McCain’s life and how she brought the Mac to prominence with her family’s dough, read a nice long piece at The New Republic. It’s not a muckraking piece, but is actually a fair portrait of her life and how she and Johnny came to be. A little bootlegging never hurt anyone!

Hold the presses! The Quaker Agitatorseems to have caught a little remark of McDope’s that suggest he might be willing to re-institute the draft. I would guess that might be of some interest to a few folks around the old US of A. Read more at his blog post.

You have heard about the legendary McCain temper? Well he went a bit too far the other day in calling Obama “testy.” And the DNC has hit him hard, asking “Do you really want to go down that road?” Answering with remarks from fellow Republicans, I’d guess McBush better shut up fast. I’ve read a number of these things too over the last few months. Reports of his threatening other senators on the floor, wanting to duke it out “outside.” The worst was a statement by a fellow congressman who said McCain on a negotiation in I believe Latin America, literally grabbed a foreign negotiator by the collar. I don’t think he’s stable myself but who am I to play doctor. His colleagues however, well they have a good idea wouldn’t you think? And some are quite plainly worried.

And it seems that “horizons” in Iraq have turned into “aspirational timetables” which really means that Bush is doing what Obama suggested and the Iraqis want which is SET A TIMETABLE. Wonder what oh McCain will have to say to that?

In what can only be termed as another outrageous bid for attention, McCain sincophants are running the name of General David Petraeus as a possible GOP VEEP. Petraeus to his credit said he would reject such an offer should it be made. This is after McShame had to apologize for circulating photos of himself with the general some time ago. It is considered a no-no to involve the military in any way in a political campaign. Shame on ya John–as usual your fishing for votes.

And that Angry guy from Africa is beginning to be a regular swan song here on Friday. Not his next weeks news today though. Today he takes on the huge task of making fun of us Americans!Imagine the cheek as the British would say. Link up and have a giggle as he roasts us on our own petard. Well deserved in most cases I might ad. And the bit about the medal race in the Olympics was a surprise. I din’t know dat one! Oh and the court cases–worth the price of admission alone. Oh free, I forgot. Get over there!

Okay, that finishes up all the stuff you must read if you want to be in the know this week. See ya next week with another round of tantalizing stories. I have the smartest readership in the world, cuz I said so!