Dec 22, 2008

Fran's birthday party and more

Fran had another birthday party, as usual.  It started out as a small and innocent (as usual) Christmas Cup of Good Cheer Party and grew to a make lots of food and buy lots of alcohol party (as usual) and have more people over (as usual) than originally intended...and turned out to be a lot of fun (as usual).

Friends from the neighborhood, a few from the squadron, and some from past assignments all showed up and we had a good time.  We made Wassail (from apple cider), mulled wine, homemade eggnog, and served Fran’s second birthday cake of the week. (there was a slight, uhh...technical, malfunction with her first cake, but no need to go into any gory details on that, right?)

We were supposed to go to Washington DC this weekend to stay Sunday night and explore DC in Christmas spirit, but the weather threatened to be snowy and icy.  We were to pick up our airstream (out for repairs) on Monday on the way back, but we decided to skip DC and pick up the trailer on Saturday instead while the weather was clear.

It turned out to be a lucky move as the weather in DC was cold and here in Yorktown the electrical power in the neighborhood failed Sunday night around dinner time.  So we moved the cooking out to the trailer and had a quiet “campout” in the driveway.  We may not have a household generator, but we have an entire escape pod if we need it.

The power came back on in the middle of dinner, but ended up failing again this morning at about 7am.  We hope they figure it out, as it turns out to be the coldest day of the year so far.  At 10am this morning, it is still only 28 degrees.  It was a bit chilly by the time we got up to make breakfast.  

Even though the power was out, it was interesting to know we still had email and internet b/c of our iPhones can still get to the 3G web service.  We could monitor the weather channel, send out email updates if we needed help, and of course use the phone to contact emergency services.  I think that the iPhone is a remarkable "phone" and most applications are still fairly narrow in their usage, but the capabilities the iPhone brings (internet and email even without local power) could make it a game changer in survival/disaster scenarios.  I wish I were an iPhone programmer...I'd whip up some type of "Swiss army knife" survival suite of apps....compass, GPS coordinate marking, Emergency Bulletin Service monitoring, National Weather Service monitoring tool.

We getting together with Al and Sharon for Christmas, so I’m busy organizing the Christmas dinner contributions we’ll take over.  I think we’ve settled on:

City ham recipe (courtesy Good Eats)
        (recipe starts at the 2:50 mark on this youtube clip--
Maple Orange Glaze (courtesy Cooks Illustrated)
Best Sweet Potato Pie (courtesy Cooks Illustrated) which was a big winner at Thanksgiving...
Egg Nog Ice cream (courtesy Good Eats)
        on a nearby web page you can find the recipe I used to make the regular egg nog served at the Christmas Good Cheer Party that garnered rave reviews. I suspect the ice cream version will go over well also.

Here’s the leaf cam snap for the day, very cold and clear.  All leaves now gone!

Dec 21, 2008

Waiting for Hollywood, NYT, ACLU, BDS, Moveon outrage

My Way News - China blocks access to New York Times Web site

China has blocked access to the New York Times Web site, the newspaper said Saturday, days after the central government defended its right to censor online content it deems illegal.

Computer users who logged on in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou received a message that the site was not available when they tried to connect on Friday morning, the paper said. Some users were cut of as early as Thursday evening, it said.

The Web site remained inaccessible from Beijing Saturday.

No real loss for the Chinese people with good literary taste, but I am waiting for the standard litany of outrage at President Bush...because he is the world's biggest threat you know. Nevermind actual losses of civil rights and loss of media control and true oppression from the Chinese gov't or truly oppressive regimes in Africa or the Middle East.

No, the ire of "liberals" is reserved for our own government who is only accused of maybe/possibly/reportedly transgressing freedoms, based entirely on unsubstantiated rumors from unnamed sources with no real proof. Not to mention there have been no screaming headlines of anyone actually being "disappeared" off the streets due to "domestic spying" or mass arrests of "subversives". But rumor and hysteria alone are enough for people to rally in the streets of west/east coast elitist-towns and yammer incessantly about impeachment. If you don't demand impeachment, you're not very trendy, not part of the in-crowd.

Meanwhile in the real word, governments are really torturing, really attacking, really starving, and really stealing the rights of their people. In our country if someone who makes $30K per year can't afford a new Mercedes and a $500K home, it's Bush's fault and he is the country's worst president.

Just ask Robert Redford, Barbara Streisand, Rosie O'donnell and other political geniuses. Just don't ask them about what they think of the Chinese government. Real oppression is just too messy to deal with and doesn't sound as cool in the headlines--especially in China.

Dec 17, 2008

Algore, save us! - News - McCarran closed to arriving and departing flights due to snowstorm

McCarran (Las Vegas) closed to arriving and departing flights due to snowstorm

Oh mighty Goracle, we do not know what to do.  Even though we are throwing all our money on the altar, and forcing the non-believers to pay you tributes, all the weather gods are taunting us.

Oops...did we just say god?  Of course we meant...the recent data does not correlate with the known truths about Global Warming, so it will be cast out as an inconvenient anomaly.

Dec 16, 2008

From the office of of someone who will never be in charge of the office of president-elect.

Gov. David Paterson unveils dire New York State budget that includes new taxes, layoffs and cuts

Some of his great ideas:

An "iPod tax" that charges state and local sales tax for "digitally delivered entertainment services" - in other words, that new Beyonce song you download.

Higher taxes on wine, beer and flavored malt beverages. He would also impose an 18% tax on non-nutritional drinks like soda.

Sounds like change we can all believe in...coming to a tax office near you soon!

Nanny senator for a nanny state

'Nanny' TV star Drescher seeks Senate seat -

'Nanny' TV star Drescher seeks Senate seat.

So the Nanny is competing with Princess Kennedy over Hildawg's warm spot in the senate?  Seems ok with me, she's probably more qualified of the three to hold office.  With the exception of her recent Hollywood years, she's the only real person in the bunch.

I'll take stunningly accurate quotes for the ages for $500, Alex

who said:

"For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as
though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things
that seem than by those that are".

someone who had trouble sleeping the night of 4 Nov 2008? no....but i think this speaker would have been very proud of the new chief of the office of president-elect.

someone in charge of the NYC state senate race in 2000? no...

someone in charge of the NYC state senate replacement in 2008? no...

is it the same guy who invented hollywood, US media, and the word "sheeple"? no...but you're getting warmer!

here's a hint--a famous Italian politician. (no...not the pope!)

Dec 14, 2008

Christmas must be close...

I know because we completed one of our annual holiday events....we fussed at each other about how/when/where to take the yearly photo. :)

But the results were very nice, don't you think?

The only problem with the presents yet!

Poor old Santa; he gets further and further behind every year.

Dec 13, 2008

Yorktown Christmas Market

Fran collects some goodies at the last Yorktown market day of the year.

War on Leaves

Recent high winds and rain have stripped all the remaining leaves and
dumped them on our patio.

I think we need to appoint a Czar of Dead Leaves to handle this urgent
situation, before the US economy collapses from the flood of now
unemployed leaves.

Dec 10, 2008

Fran is ready for the party

Dec 9, 2008

iphones for xmas

survived the squadron xmas party on saturday night. it was much better than last year (where we left early to get the pub ready for the after xmas party that never happened). pretty good time. so-so “squadron movie”, but what can i say.

we bought our xmas presents early. we are at the end of our verizon phone contract and have been planning on getting iphones. so we went ahead and bought them saturday. so now life is just appley-perfect, eh? some things not quite as good as on my palm. some things really really cool.

my parents made it home ok after being gone for over two weeks. it was a good visit but i know they’re tired. hopefully they will recover in time to come back to visit next summer.

Dec 3, 2008

Ungrateful Indians...don't they know a Christian Messiah when they see one?

MSNBC Anchor Frets: Why Hasn't Obama's Election Ended Terrorism? --12/2/2008-- Media Research Center

File this one under "Deluded Expectations." During MSNBC's coverage of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, daytime anchor Alex Witt seemed frustrated that the election of Barack Obama 23 days earlier -- and the accompanying "global outpouring of affection, respect, hope" -- had not caused an end to terrorist violence.

Talking with correspondent John Yang, who was covering the Obama side of the story, Witt conceded that while "you certainly can't expect things to change on a dime overnight....There had been such a global outpouring of affection, respect, hope, with the new administration coming in, that precisely these kinds of attacks, it was thought -- at least hoped -- would be dampered down. But in this case it looks like Barack Obama is getting a preview of things to come."

I think it is very un-sheep-like not to recognize the BO as a universal messiah when US media has been patiently telling everyone who reads english that He has been elected on behalf of the entire world.  What is up with those crazy non-BO fanatics?  It is not respectful to kill yourself when the BO is clearly here to save the world.

If they aren't careful, the democrats will issue a Fatwah on their non-believing asses...and then Hollywood actors with explosives strapped under their Dior and Bill Blass will descend upon them.  When Micheal Moore shows up in Islamabad or Mecca looking unusually lumpy, don't say I didn't warn you.