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Dave’s Not Here, Man November 28, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Dave at Garfield Ridge is out.  His last couple of posts sounded ominous.  I hope everything works out ok for him.

Back From Vacation November 27, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I didn’t actually go anywhere, just took a break from the internet and blogs for a few days.  Lots of cooking, cleaning and eating the last few days, of course.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Mine did – the stuffing came out great and I’ve got lots of it for leftovers.  While waiting for stuff to cook and whatnot we amused ourselves by playing Tri-Ominos.  I got this game as a Christmas present when I was a kid in the mid-70’s.  The last time I played it was sometime in the late-70’s.  I’ve hauled it across thousand’s of miles and damn near three decades without losing a single tile of the game.  We had fun.  Or, rather my Dad had fun by winning every game we played. 

The day after Thanksgiving my parents came back and my Dad helped me replace my garbage disposal unit*.  I’ve lived in this house for almost two years now, and my previous disposer never worked right.  I upgraded with a much nicer unit and OMG what a difference!  It actually grinds up the stuff!  And it’s very quiet – you can hardly hear it running. 

*Well, actually I helped him replace it.  Sort of.  Not really, though since I mostly just stood around and watched him do it and handed him the tools**.  I read the instructions though.

**When I had the tools.  This little project highlighted the relative paucity of tools around here. 

Dad:  “Do you have any regular pliers?”
Me:  “Well, I have needle-nose pliers.  Somewhere.” 
Dad: “You don’t have any regular pliers???”
Me: “Uhhhh – no?”
Dad: “Do you have and icepick or an awl?”
Me: “Uh, no – not really.”
Dad: “Well, how about a nail?”
Me: “No – I don’t think so.”
Et cetera…

Later on the needlenose pliers I did have broke in his hand.

I think I might be getting some tools for Christmas this year! 😀

Cornbread Recipe November 22, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Well, we made three pans of the stuff today and each one turned out picture perfect and delicious!  Alas I don’t have a digital camera handy so no actual pictures will be posted.  The recipe itself is really very simple – as befits a common staple of Southern cooking.  I wrote before that my Mom got this recipe from her mother – nope!  It’s from my Dad’s side actually.  Anyway, here ’tis:


1-3/4 cup cornmeal*  

1/4 cup unbleached, self-rising flour

3 TSP baking powder 

3/4 TSP salt (plus a dash or two more)

1/2 TSP baking soda

1/2 cup of water

3/4 cup buttermilk (plus a bit more)        

2 eggs

3 TBSP margarine*  


1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

2. Mix all ingredients – dry stuff first then buttermilk, water and eggs, but reserve the margarine.  Be sure to mix it well – no lumps. 

3. Heat skillet using reserved margarine until it’s sizzling; add hot margarine to cornbread mixture and mix.

4. Pour mixture back into the skillet and put it in the oven and bake for 20 – 30 minutes until done,  and it’s done if the top is firm and starting to brown a little.  Ours took about 28 minutes. 

5. Take it out of the oven and flip it onto a plate.  Cut it like a pizza and cut each triangle in half through the middle and put a pat of butter in it and close it back up to melt.  Serve warm.


  • Why margarine?  Margarine has a higher smoking point – it’s easy to scorch butter.  We actually used half margarine and half butter and it worked just fine. 
  • Be careful about the cornmeal you get, and be sure it’s cornMEAL and not corn flour.  Also be sure it’s not coarse, stone ground cornmeal.  That turns out gummy.  We used Quaker brand cornmeal and it’s my Mom’s favorite. 
  • Get good buttermilk too.  We went to three different grocery stores today to find Knudsen 2% buttermilk. 
  • Also note that we used my cast-iron skillet to cook the cornbread.  I suppose any other cookware that can go in the oven will work, but I’ve never seen it cooked in anything else, so I don’t know how it will turn out.  Properly seasoned cast-iron cookware is naturally non-stick.  If you use something else you might want to grease it up a little. 
  • Cornbread will keep in the refridgerator up to a week, and indefinitely in the freezer.  Cornbread is best warm or hot, but it’s good cold too.  DO NOT microwave cornbread!  Gumminess will insue – toast in toaster oven instead and it will be delicious. 
  • Finally, another way we like to eat cornbread as a quick snack is also quite good.  Crumble up a portion of it into a glass with a chopped up green onion.  Pour in buttermilk to cover the cornbread and onion and stir it up with a spoon.  Eat and enjoy!

Asking for Prayers… November 21, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I want to extend my own hopes and prayers to blogfriend Retired Geezer‘s son and passenger who had a terrible accident today.   May they come through this incident okay.

Thanksgiving Is Almost Here November 21, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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My parents are in town and we will have Thanksgiving dinner at my home.  We decided to not go the turkey route this time around and instead go with chicken.  There’s just the three of us here, so it doesn’t make sense to cook up a big ol’ bird.  Well, I guess we’re fudging that a bit since we’re going with two chickens, but prepared two different ways.  One is the beer-butt chicken and the other will be roasted in a more traditional manner.  Chicken or turkey, it hardly matters actually since the central dish of our meal is really the stuffing!  Seriously.  The relative success or failure of cooking the fabled “moist turkey” has always ranked a distant second place to the successful creation of our traditional corn bread stuffing.  Dry turkey can always be remedied by giblet gravy.  Bad stuffing cannot be remedied so easily.

My Mom will be here tomorrow to cook up the cornbread and some other things to get started for Thursday’s meal.  Mom’s homemade cornbread is the central ingredient for the stuffing of course.  It’s the same recipe she’s used for 40+ years that she got from her mom and she’s baked it in the same exact cast-iron pan for all of those years.  She never cooks anything else in it.  I LOVE my Mom’s cornbread.  I’ve never tasted any better in any restaurant, or anywhere else for that matter.  For some reason a lot of cornbread recipes are sweet – hers is not.  At any rate I will get her recipe and I will post it here. 

My Dad actually prepares The Stuffing – it’s his major contribution to the whole Thanksgiving feast.  It’s a fairly significant undertaking too – in terms of all the getting all the ingredients arranged, the chopping and mixing and whatnot.  The written recipe is really good in terms of specifying the elements and quantities needed of the major ingredients, but it takes an experienced hand to really put it together correctly and make sure it gets cooked the way it’s supposed to.  Half of this recipe is on a 3 x 5 card, the other half is in my Dad’s head.  This time around I want to be more in the central role and start learning my Dad’s half of the recipe. 

So, this was my pre-game round-up for Thanksgiving.  I have MUCH to be thankful for, and much to look forward to.  To the handful of readers who check in here from time to time I wish you all a good Thanksgiving! 

An Interesting First… November 20, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Strange & Unusual.
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Last night I had a dream that I was dreaming about work.  No kidding!  At some point in the dream I questioned the reality of the situation and wondered if I was dreaming.  Shortly thereafter I “woke” up from that dream only to find that I wasn’t in my bed at home, but elsewhere.  I questioned the reality again and then really woke up in bed at home.  For the rest of the night I was fighting Night Terrors and whatnot and never really getting back to sleep for long.  Frankly, it’s nice to get some relaxation at work from all the effort of trying to sleep last night.

Ssss Aaaa Ffff Eeee Tttt Yyyy – SAFETY DANCE! November 18, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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Many thanks to the friendly Amish fellow for these wonderful songs!  I LOVE the extended dance version particularly.  If you ever need help raising a barn just let me know and I’ll send Kevlarchick to lend a hand!


A quick check of my email showed that Retired Geezer, the famed former Lightman to the stars at BlogIdaho responded to my distress and sent me an mp3 file of The Safey Dance as well.  Thanks RG!

I’m Ever So Pissed November 17, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I can’t buy The Safety Dance by the one-hit-wonders Men Without Hats from iTunes without buying a whole album of other-sorta-big-hits-from-the-80’s.  I would be tempted, but — $19.98???  For just that one song??  And it really is just that one singular song – the rest of the album has no interest for me whatsoever.  There were other interesting songs from that year, but this compendium adroitly sidesteps all of them.

Anybody else have some one-hit-wonder favorites?  My last purchase was The Lion Sleeps Tonight by TheTokens.  I’ve loved that song since I was a kid.  I used to be able to hit those all of those high notes too.  I still can for some of them on good days 😉

The Whim November 16, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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Elzbth has called me out.

In answer to your question – no I have not fulfilled my duty to create and award the “Whim” prize to Kevlarchick.

I feel very bad about this.   At the time I really thought I could turn around something neat & quick.  Alas, I’m a flake and I’ve not done so, even after all this time.

Still, I’m obligated.  Kevlarchick – you have the choice of the ceramic skull thingy you originally requested or the eventual watercolor painting I will do for you.

SkullI have some interesting ideas kicking around in my head, but I’ll admit it takes REALLY hard kicks to knock them out of the realm of idea into actual reality.  This is why I don’t make my living doing this stuff.  Anyway, let me know. 

How Can They Possibly Predict!… November 7, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Politics.
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Every election year the inevitable question comes out – “How can they (TV, Radio, etc.) possibly call an election based on 3% (or whatever) of the results counted!!! 

If you work in any statistical related field you know of course that it takes a relatively small sample size to reach statistically significant (and thus fairly predictable) result.  Piling on more election tallies beyond the first few thousand results tends to more firmly fix exactly the margin of victory, rather than move it significantly.  BUT this is true ONLY IF that original result sample is representative of the entire body.   Every election year there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over how many people don’t bother to vote – a majority of the population, actually.  There is always a lot of speculation on how “Things Might Be Different” if only that vast, indifferent majority could somehow be coaxed to speak in an election!  Especially in the “young people”. 


It really doesn’t matter, actually.  The percentage of population that does vote in each election year accurately reflects the opinion of the electorate in general.  Personally I’m pleased with how much money, time and effort the Liberollywood types spend on these last few weeks to crank out votes from the same demographic that they’ve largely spent the previous 22 months grinding into cynical indifference.  Good luck with that!