Friday, October 31, 2008

Ooh. Scary.







Happy Hallowe'en,

-J.

P.S. Still here, just swamped.

Posted by Joke at 12:00 AM 1 comments

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's clickage time.

Do your duty, please.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 3:55 PM 4 comments

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saying what I would say, if I owned a major financial publication.

A lucid look, for a change, at the mess the economy has become.

Well worth your time.

-J.

P.S. I got another TINY bit of good work-related news yesterday, so keep up your thoughts/prayers/crop circling.

Posted by Joke at 4:07 PM 5 comments

Monday, October 20, 2008

Actual Blog Content Follows

Yes, yes, yes. I am blogging. I mean blogging-blogging.

Not that there is all that much to report, but I figured my multicontinental audience deserves some actual bloggery every now and again, and not just YouTubing and mild whinging about the precarious* state of the economy in general.

The main thing to keep in mind is that Eating Season (ES) is nearly upon us.

ES, by my lights, begins with Halloween and wraps up around Easter. Much like an old-fashioned rollercoaster, it uses its own internal momentum to propel you from one eat-fest to the next. Granted, the touchstones of which I refer are purely USAish, even our Canadian first cousins have some variations. So your mileage (or kilometrage) may vary.

OK. This is how it goes:

Oct. 31, Halloween - Mostly children, mostly gorging on $#!+ candy. Half of which will be gone by All Souls' Day -- in some parts of the Iberosphere this is called Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos, FYI -- and the rest is gnawed away steadily until we get to

Nov. 27, Thanksgiving - The supreme, eat-fest, by my estimation. This is the only holiday I can think of which is based on near-gluttonous mania, compounded by expressing massive thanks to the Almighty for having the opportunity to ingest half a ton of L-Tryptophan-laden foodstuff and then crumpling in a digestive stupor. The nice thing is that more often than not, the food featured here can actually be -- there are no guarantees, natch -- pretty decent.

Even when relatives descend upon you in numbers rivaling a brigade, you will have monumental leftovers with which to contend. These will not only strain your creativity in serving them to your family, they will more seriously strain your creativity in making them fit in your refrigerator. You may be forgiven for wondering if Christ descended into your kitchen when you weren't looking and doing something of that loaves-and-fishes thing with your turkey and stuffing, because it will surely seem as though you have more left over than with what you started.

Still, my favorite Thanksgiving leftover thing is a sort of variant of Shepherd's Pie, which involves shredded bits of turkey tossed in a bit of gravy, topped by leftover stuffing and baked briefly to warm through and crisping the top. By the time you get around to finishing off all those leftovers it will be

Dec. 25, Christmas** - Depending on whence your forebears hail, the beast roasting merrily in the oven might be porcine (Italian & Iberic), ovine (French and Greek, I think), bovine (I'm guessing somewhere in England) or avian (everyone else, including some English and/or Americans. Although I might be wrong.). These choices also bring forth a dizzying variety of side dishes, none of them in the "light and clean" end of the spectrum. THEN you must schlep to the houses of the people whom you didn't see on your subculture's big day (i.e. if you normally go big on the 24th, then you do your schlepping on the 25th, if you normally do thing on the 25th, then you spread yourself out on the 26th, etc.) for varying days to exchange gifts and bemoan the horrifying racket the children are making. This lasts until

Dec. 31/Jan. 1, New Year's Eve/Day - This day carries a lot more fluid weight, if you see what I mean, than all the others. The food tends to come at you posher and smaller; and, because you're standing up and half-tanked to start, you consume even more of both fluids and solids than you might ordinarily. (A bit of advice, and I know the more seasoned revelers among us will agree, if you can moderate your intake of potables and edibles, there is an excellent chance your beloved will wish to avail him/herself of the wo/manly bounty that is you, so plan accordingly.) The next day may seem like Purgatory after an earthquake. Just roll with it and stay in your pajamas. The nice thing is that there are no leftovers with which to deal, the lousy thing is all those food gifts you received that must be consumed. These will probably carry you until

Feb. 14, St. Valentine's Day - Go out to dinner with your beloved and half of the civilian population of the western world. The more romantic the dinner the more diminished the chances for anyone availing her/himself of anyone else's bounty. No leftovers, but something of a credit-card hangover. For a real hangover, we must arrive at

Mar. 17, St. Patrick's Day - Either cheapo lager dyed green (ew!) or Guinness or something in between, and a strong likelihood of corned beef and cabbage. You will feel inexpressively awful the next day and nobody will have availed him/herself of anything. But that brings us to the culmination of ES

Apr. 12, Easter*** - This brings a lot of factors together in one ES-ending blowout: $#!+ candy, mythical characters bringing goodies to well-behaved children, tradition-laden meals of monumental proportions, varying degrees of religious observance, and ridiculous amounts of leftover food. And a coma that will take until October to dissipate.

Now you know.

-J.

* We are still "OK" and, God willing, shall remain so. But keep doing, on our behalf, whatever your theological proclivities suggest.

** There will be variations here if you are one of the Jewish kids or one of the Orthodox kids. Feel free to chime in. Either way, there will be masses of food, no getting away from that.

*** See above.

Posted by Joke at 10:18 AM 5 comments

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Maybe his collection of Liza Minelli CDs threw her off.



-J.

P.S. Since y'all allegedly enjoy the somewhat uncommon things which blip my radar, I thought I'd share more.

Posted by Joke at 10:34 PM 2 comments

Friday, October 17, 2008

Today's inappropriate crush.



I give you Ronni Ancona.

Smitten, I am.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 6:13 AM 4 comments

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Just in time for Hallowe'en...

Something creepy-ish.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 5:59 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Today's Update du jour

For those of you who've been, on my behalf, working them Rosaries, performed Druidic somersaults around oak* trees, sacrificed to Baal, chanted in the general direction of the Wailing Wall, or merely checked in via email etc.:

There are chemical traces of improvement. I am by no means breathing easy, but I am breathing a tiny (and I want to emphasize the TINY) bit better.

Do not let up.


More bright 'n' cheery stuff will follow.

-J.

P.S. Why...yes, yes it does suck. Its suckitude is thorough, complete, and impressive.

* Those being Orthodox Druids. As we know, Reformed Druids may also worship around shrubbery.

Posted by Joke at 8:59 AM 6 comments

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bright 'n' cheery.



-J.

Posted by Joke at 3:27 PM 1 comments

Thursday, October 09, 2008

"...I think it will give you pleasure."



-J.

Posted by Joke at 8:22 PM 1 comments

A minor frustration

Dear Internet,

It is driving me mental.

As you may know from watching the news, there is worrisome stuff going on. That's life, it happens, there will be stuff like this until the world ends.

What is driving me up the proverbial wall is running up against people who are, to use the rather quaint Catholic phrase, "invincibly ignorant." The areas where the frustration mounts are:

1- Things are not as simple as the invincibly ignorant person may suppose (The financial whatits that Bank X defaulted on affect the stock market in Lower Elbonia, which in turn...)
2- That some things are not, as previously supposed, facts but rather matters of opinion. (No, if you withdraw liquidity -- tax increases, "oil shock" or a failure of some financial sub-market -- from a cash-starved economy you will go from recession to depression.)
3- The information you get in the non-financial media is "all you need to understand"

That is all.

-J.

P.S. Keep chanting, praying, sacrificing marmots, thinking pure and kind thoughts, sending me "white energy" (whatever THAT is...although it sounds like a drug-related euphemism) and all that; things at my end seem to be getting microscopically better. Not out of the woods by any means, but at least we have moved past a tree or two.

Posted by Joke at 8:54 AM 0 comments

Monday, October 06, 2008

Protection racket.

Peer into the future with me, won't you?

-J.

Posted by Joke at 12:29 PM 6 comments

Sunday, October 05, 2008

More survival tips.

Some of you gasped in disbelief that I would publicly posit a notion so contrary to tradition -- what with me being hidebound and reactionary and all -- as a frozen margarita. So, in the interest of fairness, justice, equal time and balance, here is my "straight-up" margarita.

Incidentally, there are many fanciful tales about how/when the margarita originated. Most of them are utter, frightful bilge. The rest are merely wrong. "Margarita" is simply the Spanish word for "daisy" and there was (still, is, FWIW) a drink called the "Daisy" and it was gin, grenadine and lemon juice served in a sugar-rimmed glass. Replacing these ingredients with tequila and those with which is usually associated (lime and salt) and triple sec in lieu of grenadine to take the edge off and voilá: Margarita.

Anyway.

The main difference, ingredient-wise, between my frozen and straight-up versions is in the proportion of Cointreau to tequila. (Keep in mind that most recipes call merely for "triple sec" and that is a lower proof than Cointreau.) In a version that doesn't have the analgesic coldness of a slushy frozen concoction, the same amount of Cointreau would give too much alcohol-hotness in one that is merely shaken with ice. This is also why you want a more flavorsome tequila. Any "100% agave" white tequila will do. (Any that is labeled "gold tequila" is merely white tequila tinted with caramel trying to mimic "añejo" or "reposado" tequila. Which aren't really suitable* for margaritization. So never mind.)

Here is my straight-up margarita.
Gather your implements. This is a Boston shaker (steel tumbler, slightly smaller glass tumbler -- I like those with cool gradations and recipes printed along its surface -- and a "Hawthorn(e) strainer.)
The ingredients: 100% agave tequila (Patrón Silver) and triple-sec (Cointreau) and limes.
For the lovely and gracious Suse; a close-up of the limes.
You'll also need coarse salt, for the rim of the glass.
One jigger of tequila, one half-jigger of triple-sec.
Juice the limes in question. (One lime per person.) Note the absence of any sugar in the straight-up margarita; these are supposed to be unarguably dry.
Pour the tequila and triple-sec into your glass tumbler.
Fill the steel tumbler with cracked ice.
Put the glass tumbler into the steel tumbler, squeezing the latter slightly to create a vacuum seal between the two. You'll note the condensation on the steel tumbler.
After some pretty ærobic shaking, you'll note the condensation has gone a bit frosty, and is higher up along the steel tumbler.
The contents. Bubbles mean there has been adequate æration of contents, i.e., everything is properly mixed and diluted the correct amount.
Everything goes into the glass tumbler.
Slip the Hawthorn(e) strainer (OXO makes the best one, but any that fits your glass vessel will do) over the glass tumbler.Strain out the revivifying fluid into the chilled glass that has had its rim frosted with salt.
(You know you have done it right when you can see a layer of ice one trillionth of a millimeter thick.) Serve and drink.

-J.

*You may also be tempted to really go for Grand Marnier over Cointreau. Don't. The brandy base of the GM really doesn't play nicely with the more assertive flavor profiles of lime, salt and tequila. It sounds very chi-chi to say you make your margaritas with gigabuck aged ("reposado" or "añejo") tequila -- like Cuervo's "Reserva de la Familia" which is sadistically expensive -- and Grand Marnier and Key Limes, but it tastes pretty awful. AMHIK.

Posted by Joke at 5:05 PM 10 comments

Saturday, October 04, 2008

My plan for surviving whatever may be ahead.

So, perhaps, in these trying times -- and they may get trying-er -- a palliative might suit the national mood. I hereby proffer my version of the frozen margarita. (You'll doubtlessly not be the least surprised to know I have a version for the "rocks" and the "straight-up" margarita as well. Those will follow should demand warrant.)
We start with a couple of limes (one per person), Cointreau and Cuervo white tequila; in some markets it's called Cuervo Clásico and in others Cuervo Blanco or Cuervo Silver...same diff. (If this were a straight-up margarita, I'd use a 100% blue agave tequila -- I like Patrón Silver -- but we're not doing that this go-around.)
Key to a proper frozen drink is getting the ice shaved properly. The average blender can't get all of the ice shaved down, so it's best to handle that function separately, ahead of time. I picked up that Oster ice shaver for PEANUTS on eBay. (A toy snow-cone machine also works marvels, if you can stand the shame of having a Snoopy as part of your batterie.)
Cut the limes.
Juice said limes.
Put juice in the blender. (You may want to add a few tablespoons of superfine sugar if you like your margaritas not as dry, or as much as a 1/8 of cup per person if you really like 'em on the sweet side. In the frozen version I like them just off-dry, thanks for asking.)
One ounce of Cointreau, one jigger of plain ol' white/blanco/silver Cuervo tequila per person (Seriously, any tequila more posh than this would be wasted, as the subtle nuances would get lost amid all that ice and coldness.)
Shave the ice. (If you are planning to shave a LOT of ice, you may want to do so into a colander over a bowl, to prevent any undue dilution.)
Put all in the blender. Blend (2 second pulse-another 2 second pulse-run at max. speed for 10 seconds-2 second pulse-2 second pulse).
After blending take out a margarita glass from the freezer.

Serve. You are now in good shape to brave the TV news, newspapers, and other aggravations.

Repeat as needed.

-J.


Posted by Joke at 3:48 PM 10 comments

Friday, October 03, 2008

I think I'll be a Post-Revisionist

Bette_2This is the new Bette* Davis stamp, issued by the US Post Office.

You will kindly note some things, courtesy of our current revisionist frenzy:

1- Her ever-present cigarette is absent, and

2-The non-fur coat also seems quite interesting, unless there is some scarlet mammal of which I was not previously aware.

3- Is it just me, or does she have that whole David Bowie-eyes thing going on?

It goes without saying I'm not a fan of this revisionism -- sure, we don't want to encourage all of those young children who are avid fans of Ms. Davis' ouvre to take up Mme. Nicotine, as they certainly would otherwise -- but I think this has given me a new purpose in life. I shall found and lead a new movement in arts and letters: Post-Revisionism.

Wait.

To be safe I will contact my attorneys, that such stellar intellectual property be fully protected.

OK.

This movement will be called Post-Revisionism®.

-J®.

* Rhymes with "jetty" not with "jet." Please get it together.


Posted by Joke at 11:01 AM 4 comments

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I don't even know how...

...to comment on this.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 4:38 PM 4 comments

Here's MY latest

The client project I mentioned previously MIGHT* come to some sort of positive fruition unexpectedly -- but welcomedly -- soon (i.e., at some point in the few days, in fact) and as such you are all exhorted, requested, begged, implored, asked and/or cajoled to pray for this success however** your theological proclivities suggest. Please feel free to harass others to do likewise.

Me, I'm developing 2nd-degree Rosary burns.

-J.

* Maybe, possibly, perhaps, Deo volente, it could...you get the idea.

** Hopping and chanting, sacrificing rodents on a stone altar, dancing around an old elm tree, fixing your gaze somewhere in the Holy Land, whatever.

Posted by Joke at 2:09 PM 5 comments