Wednesday, June 5, 2019

What used to be normal, isn't any more

I live in the Appalachian Mountains of western Virginia.  Our Air Force and Navy like to practice their defensive maneuvers in our area.  They fly a variety of planes among our mountains and valleys executing dramatic ascents, descents, and sharp turns.  This has been going on for decades.

About the year 2000, I wrote a letter to then Virginia Senator John Warner about a huge C-130 cargo plane that had disappeared behind the 1,500 foot hill in front of my home (which is at about 1,400 feet ASL).  The valley floor beneath the plane is 1,200 feet ASL; the rear stabilizer on the plane is about 70 feet high.

Three members of our armed forces responded to my query to Senator Warner.  All three assured me that it wasn't their airplane.

I concluded that it had been the Russians.

Now when I hear the jets, I look up and wonder if Donald Trump has started World War Three.

What used to be normal, isn't any more

I live in the northwestern Virginian Appalachian Mountains.  Our Air Force and Navy like to practice their defensive maneuvers in this area, flying very low through the mountain gaps and making dramatic turns, ascents and descents.   This has been going on for years.  Around the year 2000, I recall writing to then Senator John Warren about a huge C 130 cargo jet that disappeared behind the 1,500 foot hill in front of my home at 1,400 feet ASL; the valley floor beneath the plane is 1,200 feet ASL.  The vertical stabilizer at the rear of the plane is about 70 feet high.  Three members of our armed forces responded to my query, all assuring me that it wasn’t their aircraft.  I concluded that it was the Russians.
I had about gotten used to the jets when Trump came on the scene; now I look up and wonder if he’s started World War Three.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Who's out there?

Last week someone accessed every single one of my posts.  Creepy, huh?

I've never had more than 30 people access my blogs on any one day before.  Think I've been accessed by a bot?  I do.

I just don't know what to do about it.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sour Dough Starter

Care and feeding of 130-year-old sour dough (well, it was 100 years old in 1974 when I got it).
We keep about a cup of our sour dough starter in the refrigerator in a sealed 24 oz. yogurt container  (just a pinhole in the top). Since the yeast is anaerobic, it doesn’t need to “breathe air” but of course, if left sealed for too long, it would eventually suffocate by carbon dioxide from respiration. IT’S ALIVE! We’ve left the starter sealed in the refrigerator for as long as six weeks without apparent damage (if your starter is getting old, pour the gray liquid off the top, waste some starter and add fresh flour and water). It’s better to feed it more often than that. Once a week is best.
We usually feed the starter on a weekly basis by simply making sour dough pancakes each Sunday morning. I start the evening before by mixing the approximately one cup of starter with about a cup of white unbleached flour and enough tap water to form a thick batter.  Half of this batter is returned to the refrigerator in its container.   For your pancakes, it’s at this point that you can add more warm water and flour, whole wheat or buckwheat, etc. You can experiment with the thickness of the batter, but remember that it will grow and become slightly wetter/less viscous overnight so you need a fairly large bowl with a good cover. Also, in the morning, you’ll be adding the moisture in an egg and some honey and oil so if you like thick pancakes that rise, you’ll need to make the batter thicker than what you want for the final product. It has a bit of a “personality” and turns out a little different each time (plus, I never measure anything). Thicker batter rises more than thin. The correct overnight temperature is important: 75 to 80 degrees is good (I used to have a range with pilot lights, that was perfect in the winter, now I sometimes slightly warm the oven and leave it closed up in there overnight).   I cover the pancake batter with something that maintains high humidity. Otherwise, you get a dried “skin” on the top of the batter). The longer it sits the sourer it gets. For pancakes, in the morning I add:

1 warm egg   1 tablespoon honey   1 tablespoon oil    1/4 teaspoon salt     mix well

Cover and return to warm spot. In an hour or so I ladle it onto a hot dry griddle for pancakes.
Or if you’re just making bread, leave out the egg.  Add enough flour of your choice and warm water for the right kneading consistency.  Follow a bread recipe as to kneading time, temperature, punch down and baking.  Whole wheat flour rises less than white, buck wheat even less.  I use a bread machine.

I have found that 10 minutes of hand kneading helps me get my unmeasured moisture level right.  I sometimes have to add a little flour as the machine mixes everything and eyeball the consistency, or a little butter if it gets heavy and dry.  Dough that is too wet falls, too dry cracks, so slit the top just prior to the baking cycle.  This works for us, but like the pancakes, the bread has personality, and seems to turn out more or less sour, light or dense, according to some internal inscrutable will of its own...  The point is to maintain the starter in plain flour and don’t add the “other stuff” until you’re making bread or pancakes or paper mache (I can’t spell French), or whatever.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

I pooped my pants today...

I pooped my pants today; it didn’t make me happy, but I did have to laugh.  Being happy and laughing are not necessarily the same thing, they don’t have to be.

I’ve noticed that many of us have complained about what are obviously glaring faults with Trump’s worldview, his gestalt of the human condition, and what he says and does.  Many people have tried to constructively criticize his words and behavior.  Maybe we’ve been “complaining, noting, commenting” on the wrong faults of his psyche.    Maybe we have found ourselves stuck on the symptoms rather than the causes.  

I’ve decided to take a radical new tact:  I believe that all, ALL of Trump's problems are a result of a 100% total lack of a sense of humor.   A sense of humor requires a commonality of emotions:  love, joy, sorrow, anger, and shame.  Trump only has the one emotion; “I am a very stable genius.”  Has anyone ever heard him say a single self-deprecatory thing?  Has he ever made fun of himself?  If you can only laugh at others and have never laughed at yourself, it’s not humor; it’s bullying.  It’s all put-down.  It is playground humor at the expense of others.  You know, just like emotionally six-year-old behavior by the not nice kid, the one who has never had to take personal responsibility for anything.

So Trump’s problem is a lack of a sense of humor.  He doesn’t laugh at others the right way and he doesn’t laugh at himself ever, and he doesn’t drink.  Are these things related?  Well, most of us who do drink have at least one incident of getting drunk and doing something really stupid (something that if we have a sense of humor and are honest with ourselves, makes us connect with all the other humans on earth).  DUH; we all fuck up some times.  Some of us recall how smart we thought we were being all the while that we were being super stupid.  

Has anybody ever heard Trump admit to a mistake?  No.  So we have a man that thinks that he is perfect.  He thinks he’s smarter than every person on earth, that he’s never made an error.  I think it’s because he has no self awareness, no connection with all of the rest of the humans on earth, all of whom recognize their faults that are so often exposed by the acceptance of fallibility that is the essence of humor. 

That’s funny!  I remember I did that once!  I thought it was smart at the time.  Have we all done THAT at some time?   Not Trump; his ego requires the “greatest most stable genius" (president, human, American), his self image is necessary to play his bullying game.

Trump can’t laugh at himself because he only laughs at others because he thinks he’s the smartest human that ever lived and everybody, you and me, his wife, his advisors, what he reads in books and sees on TV, everything in the newspapers, are all written by people inferior to him.  

Everybody is inferior to him; that is the world where he lives.

So if you can’t admit that you ever did anything wrong, that you never pooped your pants, that you found yourself laughing at yourself; you really aren’t a human being. 

You are the:  “Only one who can fix it.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Goodlatte's office response to my question

In his reply, Bob Goodlatte quoted the Constitution to me (I had already read it several times) .  He pointed out that Donald Trump  was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Bob reminded me that, " ...he will have the power to execute the law under Article II of the Constitution.  Likewise, Congress will have the power to write the law under Article I of the Constitution.”  [And that]  “Our constitutional system of three co-equal branches of government and a Bill of Rights therefore prevent one branch from assuming too much authority without a challenge from the other branches of government." 

I have some information for Mr. Goodlatte; nowhere in the Constitution does it require US legislators to support crude, ignorant, stupid, mentally ill, and traitorous behavior by a president.  As Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob has the Constitutional authority to question, and at times, push back against unlawful and destructive behavior by a sitting president.  In fact it is his duty to do so.

Instead, Mr. Goodlatte has been a staunch supporter of all of Trump’s actions to date and a chief attacker of those who do criticize the president.  Bob Goodlatte has abrogated his sworn oath of office to the United State’s House of Representatives.  

By the way, his staff sends out anodyne boilerplate responses to all enquiries from his constituents. They’re just doing their jobs, unlike Bob.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

An open letter to Representative Bob Goodlatte:

Dear sir: 

I would very much like to hear your analysis of these comments by Donald Trump:

“I have broken more Elton John records, he seems to have a lot of records. And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And lots of other people helping. No we’ve broken a lot of records. We’ve broken virtually every record. Because you know, look I only need this space. They need much more room. For basketball, for hockey and all of the sports, they need a lot of room. We don’t need it. We have people in that space. So we break all of these records. Really we do it without like, the musical instruments. This is the only musical: the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth. Right? The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain. The brain is much more important.”

Should we study the "very stable genius' " words? 

Since you are such a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, I’d like you to explain this presidential proclamation for us all.  I suggest that you do it while sitting up at attention. 

If you want me to have any respect for you, you must defend why you have any respect for the person who spoke these words; the person who once again declared himself to be a “very stable genius’ on the world stage.

I would suggest that defense of the indefensible is morally bankrupt.  Unless you supply me with a cogent explanation, (I expect that your staff might not have a boilerplate letter on hand for this one) I will have no respect for you, and no one, not even your children should either.