Thursday, December 31, 2009


I had thought that my unpleasant memories of the Campus Crusade for the nice Jewish Boy Frequently Mistaken for Deity were more or less just manifestations of my generally unhappy year trying to fit in at a new university. Turns out my memory is pretty much fine.

I've had two groups come to my house so far this afternoon. They're all from the Campus Crusade and I can see that there are at least two other groups of them out there. Each group of 3 to 4 teenagers is carrying some paperwork and a large package of some sort wrapped in plain brown paper and taped up well. They ring the doorbell or knock and say, "Hi, we're from the Campus Crusade. We're looking for families in need so we can give them this package of non-perishable food for their New Year dinner."

This is so very many degrees of fucking stupid I can't even count them. I want to grab these kids and shake them.


Who would ever accept the package (which, btw, is sealed up well enough that you can't quite tell what's in it and the shape suggests it's not cans) offered when it's phrased like that? You'd have to be homeless or nearly so not to take some degree of offense at it. Add to that the clear religiosity of it, and it adds up to bad proselytizing.

I'm certain these kids mean well. I'm certain they are doing this because just donating doesn't feel personal enough, even donating actual food. They wanted to see the people they were helping, to know that their work was having a direct effect, and possibly to spread their religious beliefs as well.

The trouble is, they're making fools of themselves and no one (including me) has the nerve to call them on it. I don't know about anyone else but if you're like me it's because you were raised to spare other people needless embarrassment.

And this, I'm afraid, may be at the root of the aggressive behavior many of the more pushy Christian groups demonstrate. No one ever told them how stupid they come across as. And, as time went by, the attitude became their idea of proper conduct.

If another pack of CCC's shows up at my door with their suspicious looking package, I'm going to try. I'm going to really, really try to point out their mistake. I'm going to give them a list of places that would happily take the packages off their hands and distribute the food to those who need it, without the inadvertent sneer. And if I can do it, maybe, just maybe, at least one person will come away knowing that his or her behavior can reflect the good their religion instills in them, without making it into something obnoxious and nasty. Maybe, just maybe, one of these teen-agers will figure out that tolerance doesn't mean being polite to anyone who doesn't disagree with them too much, but means accepting that there is good in everyone.

I suspect, though, that the kids have already pointed out my house and said that they've spoken to me and I don't want their brown paper wrapped packages of charity.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Did I not promise some knitting?

It was cold yesterday. Not Boston cold. Not even Colorado cold. Just cold. And I forgot my coat. Yeah, you read that right. I forgot my coat. It was that kind of a morning. Fortunately, I was knitting something for myself and I happened to finish it just in time.

Gypsy Cowl

1 skein super bulky yarn (I used Rowan’s Big Wool for the gauge, and then switched to an unknown yarn of the same dimensions for the actual piece. Thus I don’t know the exact gauge)
Size 17 circular needles, 16” or even smaller will do.
1 marker to fit needles

Cast on 60 stitches.
Place marker and join.
Row 1 Being careful not to twist the yarn, K around.
Rows 2-3 Repeat Row 1
Row 4 Purl around
Row 5 Knit around
Row 6 *K5, K 2 tog* K1 (53 stitches remain)
Rows 7-8 Knit around
Row 9 Purl around
Row 10 Knit around
Row 11 K, *K 2 tog* K3 (46 stitches remain)
Row 12 K around
Row 13 Purl around
Rows 14-20 Knit around
Bind off. Weave in loose ends.

Sprint PictureMail
Originally uploaded by ms.gyspy
This is how it looks, although the colors are brighter than they appear in the photograph. I wore it in the biting wind this morning. YES I remembered my coat today. This was wonderful. I could even bury my ears in it!

So I guess I have more food on my mind

I invented this the other night. To be honest, my friend Kim mentioned a recipe for maple glazed chicken and I just let my tastebuds run with the concept. Living alone, I often cook for one. This means my recipes are easily adaptable. All you have to do is take my recipe and multiply by the number of people you are feeding.

If you make this let me know how you liked it. And if you find typos feel free to make fun of me. I know my fingers have lives of their own.

Gypsy's Mustard-Maple Glazed Chicken
Serves 1

(Can be doubled. Or tripled. Or quintupled. Quantities need only be multiplied by number of diners.)

1 Tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon canola or other neutral flavored oil
1 teaspoon dehydrated onion (note: If substituting fresh, use 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion, see below for how to do this.)
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, about ½ pound

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Combine mustard, syrup, oil, and dehydrated onion. Mix well. Make sure chicken is dry, then rub glaze all over. Place in a small baking dish that has been sprayed with a nonstick spray or greased. (Use a dish to fit the quantity you are making, of course.) (If using fresh onion, put it under the chicken.)

3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes.

4. Remove aluminum foil and continue baking until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170F. Allow to rest a few minutes before eating.

5. If the dish appears dry and too crusty when you remove the aluminum foil, add a teaspoon or so of chicken broth.

6. The chicken will be moist but this recipe does not create much, or anything, in the way of gravy. It would be reasonably tasty served over a piece of sourdough or rye toast, however. If desired, spread butter or mustard on the toast.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's been ages since I've updated

And to be honest, talking about the health care debate just pisses me off more and discussing Afghanistan frustrates me.

So instead, here's the recipe for the gingerbread brownies that I made for Thanksgiving last week. They were SCRUMPTIOUS and must be tasted to be believed. I made two changes to the recipe. They are in italics. Otherwise, this is the recipe exactly as it appears at the referenced website.

Gingerbread Brownies
Category: Brownies Serves/Makes: 24 Difficulty Level: 3 Ready In: 30-60 minutes

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional. I left it plain and it was excellent.)

Directions:Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and cloves in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, molasses, and eggs and vanilla extract. Add to flour mixture, stirring until combined. Do not beat (the batter will be thick).
Spread batter in a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool on a wire rack.
Dust with powdered sugar sprinkled through a paper doily if that's what you're doing. Cut into squares.
Recipe Location: ID: 85143

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Read at your own risk.

I'm not being funny. The link below will take you to the transcript of a very unnerving interview with an eyewitness to some of the violence in Iran. I don't claim to know what should be done about it. I just know what's going on there is horrific.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Proof that you can use statistics to prove anything

This blog entry from the US News and World Report blog pretty much exemplifies the reaction of most of the media to the recent Gallup poll on the subject of abortion, in which people who describe themselves as pro-choice made up 42% of the respondents while those calling themselves pro-life were 51%. This led to a hoot and a holler about how the "tide has turned" and now is the right time for Roe v Wade to be challenged, and that Obama needs to go with the flow of the populace and so on ad nauseum.

The US News article pays some lip service to the fact that the majority of Americans feel that abortion should remain legal. They disagree on when, but on the fundamental concept the majority still agrees.

But more than even that, there is another question from the poll that isn't being flaunted. And for good reason, at least if you're a right-winger.

With respect to the abortion issue, would you consider yourself to be pro-choice or pro-life?

Note the carefully worded qualifier. "WITH RESPECT TO THE ABORTION ISSUE." And here are the results from that question:

May 7-10, 2009
Pro-choice 51%
Pro-life 42%
Unsure/No answer 7%

May 12-13,2009
Pro-choice 50%
Pro-life 43%
Unsure/No answer 7%

The one percent change between the weeks could be accounted for many ways. It might have been a different geographical sample. It might have been that the question was asked right after a widely publicized event dealing in the subject. There are a lot of ifs here. The bottom line is, while the majority of Americans call themselves pro-life, they are not referring to it as an abortion-centered pro-life stance.

I'm pro-life in that I object to taking human life without really damn good cause. Like self-defense. Things like that. And I'm very pro-baby. Just ask some of the babies I'm friends with and make toys and hats for all the time. But I'm totally pro-choice. I don't see the contradiction.

And apparently, neither does a good percentage of the US population.

If you have a lot of time to spend watching a video

Did anyone doubt there are people in the military who think their mission as an American is to wipe out Islam and convert all of the Middle East to Christianity? (Sorry it's not embedded; I can't figure out how.)

I used to think it was just a few bad apples. (Sorry. That's only supposed to refer to the poor saps who followed orders at Abu Ghraib, isn't it...) Now it sounds like it's a pretty organized and sizeable group of idjits. Granted, they are not the largest sub-group in the military, but they are one of the groups that is at greatest odds with the Constitution they are supposed to be defending.

Are you ready to be cheered up?

Does Sean Hannity ever even guess that he's being played by a pro?


And it couldn't hurt to read the article that accompanies the video at Alter-Net.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Republicans object for the sake of objecting?

While the entire article is of interest I'm including a few excerpts that I found particularly interesting. The words I find most interesting are in red.

Conservatives Map Strategies on Court
Published: May 16, 2009

1. While conservatives say they know they have little chance of defeating Mr. Obama’s choice because Democrats control the Senate, they say they hope to mount a fight that could help refill depleted coffers and galvanize a movement demoralized by Republican electoral defeats.
2. The movement is much diminished from four years ago under President George W. Bush, when Supreme Court vacancies last arose and conservatives marshaled their forces to champion his nominees. (Judge Richard Posner, a prominent Reagan appointee, wrote recently that the conservative movement suffers from “intellectual deterioration.”) Republicans have lost control of the White House and Congress, have no clear party leader and have received low approval ratings.
3. “The risk for the Republican Party is they will be tempted to be more gentlemanly than Democrats are when a conservative is nominated,” Mr. Bauer said. “By doing that, they will not only lose an educational moment with the public, but they will risk driving the base of the Republican Party to once again be frustrated.”

1. I'm cynical, I know, but I think the conservative (bowel) movement really needs to reexamine their fundraising efforts. They cannot continue to do things "the way my grandaddy did." I have seen their efforts to fundraise on the internet and they give the phrase Johnny-come-lately a whole new meaning. Starting a fight over a judicial nominee is not going to help them as much as they seem to be hoping.

2. That phrase "intellectual deterioration" just seems so apt. It's exactly what's happened. This is no longer Barry Goldwater's party. I blame Nixon. Well, and Reagan. And the Bush Crime Family. And Darth Cheney. And....oh, you know what I mean.

3. There are just so many things wrong with this point of view. The Democrats weren't gentlemanly. They were puppy-dog like. Roberts: nominated September 5 and confirmed the 29th (a little over 3 weeks. Wow, what a nail biter that one was!) Alito was nominated on October 31 and while the confirmation on January 31 seems like a long time, remember Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks interfered. Don't tell me the fight over Harriet Miers is the proof. Among other things, it was Bush's own party who fought hardest to remove her. And, besides, she was nominated on October 3 and withdrew on the 27th. Comparable to Roberts, but against opposition from the Republicans. So...who wasn't gentlemanly?


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jonah Goldberg's Recto-Cranial Inversion is more serious than previously thought

And he needs to see someone about it, soon. Because it'll only get worse if he keeps spouting off this kind of bullshit.

The EPA is choking democracy

by Jonah Goldberg, syndicated columnist
Wednesday April 22, 2009, 5:30

One of the most important events of our lifetimes may have just transpired. A federal agency has decided that it has the power to regulate everything, including the air you breathe.

Nominally, the Environmental Protection Agency's announcement last Friday only applies to new-car emissions. But pretty much everyone agrees that the ruling opens the door to regulating, well, everything.

According to the EPA, greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide -- the gas you exhale -- as well as methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. It is literally impossible to imagine a significant economic or human activity that does not involve the production of one of these gases. Don't think just of the gas and electricity bills. Cow flatulence is a serious concern of the EPA's already. What next? Perhaps an EPA mandarin will pick up a copy of "The Greenpeace Guide to Environmentally Friendly Sex" and go after the root causes of global warming.

Now, don't think this it the end of ol' Jonah's hyperbole and mouth breathing. But it is a good representative sample. Other things he's bloviated upon in this article include his odd belief that the Supreme Court is anti-democratic ("Two years ago, the Supreme Court -- the least democratic branch of our formal government -- "), that the EPA is exercising new powers not previously granted to the President ("So the government bureaucracy is on its way to strong-arming the economy in ways Congress never imagined when it passed the Clean Air Act in 1970. Or the president has suddenly gained sweeping new powers over American life, in ways never imagined by Congress or the founders, and despite the fact that these new powers were never put before the voters. ") and that, by doing what the law permits, the EPA is being used as a threat ('California's Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has said as much: "EPA, through its scientists, has given us a warning that global warming pollution is a clear, present and future danger to America's families. If Congress does not act to pass legislation, then I will call on the EPA to take all steps authorized by law to protect our families."
Translation: Either you vote our way or we'll render voting meaningless
. ') And then he concludes that all this provides evidence that no one in DC, at least no Democrats in DC, take their oaths of office seriously. (Almost but not quite a direct quote.)

Jonah Goldberg's influence isn't nearly as profound as he'd like to think but it's still real. And something is very, very wrong with the man. He may not need a strait-jacket and padded cell a la Glen Beck, but he needs something. Pills, maybe. A few sessions of heavy therapy. Something.

And he really doesn't belong in the Oregonian. Not that anything like common sense has ever stopped the Big O before...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

And imagine my surprise that it's Spike, and not Fox, doing this...

(No reference to bad boy vampires or FBI agents named Mulder intended.)

Spike seals deal for show on Navy pirate hunters
April 14, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Barely a day after the daring rescue of an American sea captain, cable TV's Spike announced a deal Monday to produce a show about U.S. Navy pirate hunters.

Two crews for 44 Blue Productions hope to be on board Navy vessels patrolling in the pirate-infested waters off the coast of Africa within two weeks. The company is aiming to have a series ready to put on the air by September, said Rasha Drachkovitch, 44 Blue's president and founder.

He'd been talking to the Navy about the idea for three months, but it was finished late last week while the standoff with pirates who had taken Capt. Richard Phillips hostage was going on.

"We had no idea if last week's events would actually kill the deal or seal the deal," said Sharon Levy, Spike's senior vice president for original series.

Drachkovitch said he thought the Navy would put the project on hold, yet instead the Phillips incident seemed to accelerate things. Commander Robert K. Anderson, Navy spokesman on the deal, said the agreement had essentially been made before the U.S. ship was attacked.

and continued at link above.

Honestly, if they hadn't been convincing about having thought up the show months ago, I'd have hooted "exploitation." But as it is, all I can think is that there really are too damn many networks and yet there's STILL nothing good on 99 percent of them!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I've been looking for this clip for a month

Michelle Bachmann=COOL? OMG! This would be embarrassing except I'm hardly a Republican nor conservative so I just find it high-larious!

The first segment is a little disturbing

The third segment is cute, too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Whoever did this is a genius

Really. This is wonderful. And should be a billboard.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Kent Jones as Lawton Smalls. This act deserves an award.

Kent Jones also does the final segment every night with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. He really deserves recognition at some level other than just online.

He just won't go quietly, will he?

I guess it's like those parodies of "Return of the Jedi" where Yoda takes twelve or thirteen pages of dialog to die.

Cheney Says Obama Has Increased Risks

Published: March 15, 2009

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that President Obama had made the country less safe, asserting that the new administration’s changes to detention and interrogation programs for terrorism suspects would hamper intelligence gathering.

Mr. Cheney said the moves suggested that terrorism was now being treated as a law enforcement problem.

“He is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack,” Mr. Cheney said of Mr. Obama in an interview on the CNN program “State of the Union.”

and so on and so forth.

Y'know, he's been wrong pretty much 100 percent of the time on this subject. And his attitude and policies lost rather decisively in the last election. So I have to wonder why any news organization (other than one owned by Rupert Murdoch) will give him airtime anymore.

On a lighter note, why am I awake so early when I don't have to be at work today? I must be in a masochistic mood. Because I don't have to be anywhere until noonish. And then it's to enjoy a nice lunch with before hauling myself onto an airplane and off to Sacramento. Where, best I can tell, the closest alternatives to eating at the hotel are going to be in a mall food court. But at least I'll learn lots of federal regulations. I can't wait.

If you can't tell sarcasm when you read it, you need to develop the skill...LOL!

Friday, February 27, 2009

I don't know that I like this idea but it made me laugh

Jewish family gets big bucks to move to Ala.

Matthew and Michelle Reed, along with their 2-year-old son and newborn baby boy, are the first of what could be a stream of people to move to Dothan under a program that offers Jewish families as much as $50,000 to relocate and get involved with the city's only synagogue, Temple Emanu-El.

I had to laugh. Usually you read about fundamentalist Christians trying to pack their town, often to have political influence. So when some group, ANY group, does the same thing, no matter what the reason, I have to wonder what the reaction among the fundamentalists will be. So many amusing scenes are playing out in my head. I don't know that I like the idea of anyone doing this sort of thing but I love when the tables are turned on those who usually do it.

I don't know that I like this idea but it made me laugh

Jewish family gets big bucks to move to Ala.

Matthew and Michelle Reed, along with their 2-year-old son and newborn baby boy, are the first of what could be a stream of people to move to Dothan under a program that offers Jewish families as much as $50,000 to relocate and get involved with the city's only synagogue, Temple Emanu-El.

I had to laugh. Usually you read about fundamentalist Christians trying to pack their town, often to have political influence. So when some group, ANY group, does the same thing, no matter what the reason, I have to wonder what the reaction among the fundamentalists will be. So many amusing scenes are playing out in my head. I don't know that I like the idea of anyone doing this sort of thing but I love when the tables are turned on those who usually do it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

When did he say it?

You know, my faith is one that admits some doubt.-Barack Obama

This was my Obama quote of the day. I love it but have no idea when he said it and in what context. Can anyone enlighten me?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This is wrong. So very, very wrong.

Why does Disney have to brand EVERYTHING? EGGS? Are they kidding?

Who is this being marketed to? You know, right? Hassled moms who are doing grocery shopping with children in tow, children who are whining "buy me this, buy me that." And this ploy encourages that kind of behavior. No wonder American children are so poorly behaved.

Not that any child *I* know is poorly behaved. At least not in that sense. But I hear them at the grocery store all the time.

No clue what to do about it. I'm just whining....

Friday, January 30, 2009

And somehow this appears to be being blamed on Obama...

From the Los Angeles Times

New political era? Same as the old one

The all-too-familiar machinery of partisan politics surfaces over the House economic stimulus vote.
By Peter Wallsten
January 29, 2009

Reporting from Washington - Democrats talked about the jobs to come from modernizing the electric grid, weatherizing homes, and repairing roads and bridges. Republicans too had ideas for reviving the economy, focusing on tax cuts and carefully targeted spending. But many in the GOP also wanted to talk about something else: sexually transmitted diseases.

As the House on Wednesday gave President Obama the first big legislative victory of his term, it was clear that his efforts so far had not delivered the post-partisan era that he called for in his inauguration address, when he proclaimed an end to the "petty grievances" and "worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics."

The fault lines of past ideological wars were in view during the fight over the $819-billion stimulus package, with shots coming from well-known conservative warriors such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Matt Drudge.

The familiar machinery of partisan politics, a fixture of the Clinton and Bush eras, kicked into operation undaunted as Republicans began running a TV advertisement in the home state of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, charging that his support for the stimulus bill was tantamount to "wasting our hard-earned money."


While the idea that the Democratic administration should have done away with all partisan bickering within a week and a half of Inauguration Day is clearly absurd, the article seems almost happy about it. I have to wonder if Limp-ball's stated desire to see Obama fail has started to permeate the weak minded and attention driven. (I know nothing about Wallsten, so I could be miles off base here, but the article really annoyed me.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Only a doofus like you"...turns out the nasty brother was right

From the Washington Post via The Jew and the Carrot

Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury
Monday, January 26, 2009; 12:00 AM

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.
HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.

"Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply," said the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies.

In the first study, researchers found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS. The study was published in current issue of Environmental Health.

In the second study, the agriculture group found that nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was most common in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.

The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury cells are used to produce caustic soda.
"The bad news is that nobody knows whether or not their soda or snack food contains HFCS made from ingredients like caustic soda contaminated with mercury. The good news is that mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good push to only use those ingredients," Wallinga said.

Fine when used in moderation, the ad says. Kinda like lead in paint is fine when used in moderation.