Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Aren't they cute

Hat tip to SB Nation for this one. Clearly, the couple that fences together, stays together. Olivia Munn, main squeeze of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, is in an upcoming X-Men movie, which might explain her practicing sword-play. Nothing explains what Aaron is doing:

I am thrilled that he is the Packers' quarterback, and not the resident ninja.

Chile checks in for the first time

Mind you, this is not a travel blog. Unless, of course, I say it is. Glad to see that Chile has joined the majority of South American countries in dropping by Eff You, so I will give you all a little background on Chile.

As my libtard friends know, Chile is pronounced on NPR as "Chee-Lay." NPR likes to give the proper Spanish pronunciation for the names of countries that have names of Spanish origin. On the other hand, they don't give two shakes of a rat's ass about the pronunciation of the names of countries in other languages -- hear about "Deutscheland" much on NPR, do you? -- so as far as Eff You is concerned, the name of this country rhymes with "Willie." Don't like it? Refer to the title of the blog.

 In any event, Chile
 officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passagein the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.
They have a lot of copper, and they export that. The Incas used to live there, but the Spaniards came in the early 1500s and killed most of them, either directly or through disease. Naturally, they stole the Inca's gold and stuff first. The Spaniards were like that, back when they were swinging a stick. It's been a while.

After a bunch of fighting with Spain, Chile declared its independence in 1818. With all due respect, what followed was mostly political instability or else oppression. Lately they've been politically stable and economically prosperous, at least relative to the region. They still do a shitload of copper mining.

Chile is pushing tourism as an economic engine, and with the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island among its possessions, they have stuff to sell. Plus the Inca ruins, like Machu Picchu. They're getting it done on that front. Looks like a bucket list item:

So everybody toss out a big Eff You welcome to Chile. Thanks for coming by, keep coming back and bring your friends.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Meanwhile, on the home gardening front

Last fall, Mrs. Wolves severely cut back on my flower acreage. This spring, in one of my former prime tulip spots, she planted garlic. Yes, we are growing garlic on The Farm. Please don't ask. Late last week, she harvested. Had she asked, of course, I would have suggested waiting. Like about two months. She didn't ask.Of course, this has been looking like a good year for garlic, but we needed several weeks of hotter, drier weather before harvest. Anyway, they are small, but very well formed:

Jeez Louise, we are going to be doing a lot of cooing involving garlic. Of course, we should have no trouble with vampires.

Summertime, and the farming is easy

The move to a sunnier location has really paid off this year. The bug traps are working great,  and we are up to our butts in veggies, despite the early date. Rhyme not intended. Anyway, I went to The Farm today, and Farmer Tom had already gone batshit harvesting green beans. A week ago, the beans were flowering. Today, we could feed an army:

Yes, that washtub is full of green beans. Could have filled another, but Farmer Tom only picked the big ones. I can't can that many beans, so my neighbors scored. As you can see, the beans and, to the left, the carrots look great:

Last year, in the less-sunny location, these carrots would have been considered a rousing success. This year, this is what we get when we thin the carrots:

The cucumbers are flowering:

The tomatoes are starting to put out fruit:

And they look good doing it:

No, really, we have lots of green maters on the vine:

Pleased with the onions:

Just a few weeks until we have some potatoes:

Ditto for squash. Jury out on the zucchini:

Last year, this would have been our champion onion. New location, and this is a guy weeks away from harvest. Very pleased:

Jeb the Wonder Dog also looks pleased, but he is not the one who weeded the garlic:

But he rides shotgun like nobody's business:

Can't wait to see what is blossoming next week. Squash on the horizon, plus maters and more beans. We will be doing some new planting, too, to replace crops that are done. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The kit-tays have moved, but Mrs. Wolves follows

So, yeah, I am still posting cat photos. On Saturdays, when both Cpl. Wolves and Married Into Wolves work, Mrs. Wolves goes to the second wolf den and kit-tay sits. Because of the nature of the kit-tays, and Mrs. Wolves' nature, this results in pictures. Because I want to wake up tomorrow uninjured, this in turn means that I have a post of kit-tay photos. Deal with it.

This week, we are featuring "Kitty in a bag." I have no damn idea which kitty it is, nor why the bag was there, nor why the kitty decide the bag was a good place to hang. So I offer these without explanatory commentary:

Sure, she's cute. I have no damn idea why she likes hanging in a bag. You tell me.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mrs. Wolves and her camera strike again

Actually, I think she took these pictures with her iPhone. In any event, after I told her that wildfires in Alberta, Canada were pumping soot and ash into the air, making for spectacular sunsets and sunrises at points east -- like here -- Mrs. Wolves has been keeping a sharp eye on the sky, looking for spectacularness. The other day, I guess she got it.

It is not often that the sunset is pretty amazing in all four directions, but earlier this week, I guess it was. This is looking east across Farmer John's field:

This is looking southeastish, also across Farmer John's field (and, yes, his name is almost undoubtedly not John):

This is looking west-northwestish, across my back yard:

And this is looking southwestish, across my front yard:

Whole lotta pink going on there. Red sky at night, sailor's delight, they used to say.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Did a little farming on Saturday

Yes, it tends to take me a few days to put up my Farm posts. One reason is the heat here is so bad, I am drained when I get home. The other reason is I am just fucking lazy. In any event, Jeb the Wonder Dog came along, of course, and the heat was hitting him hard, too:

With few exceptions, though, the heat seemed to not be an issue for the crops. Here, the onions continue to thrive, post-weeding:

The squash and zucchini are starting to flower. I suspect this weekend I will see fruit:

The potatoes are mighty:

From the right, the carrots, beans and peppers are doing well:

Up close and personal, the beans are flowering:

The peppers are producing:

The lettuce is booming:

The peas suffered a catastrophic trellis failure during a thunderstorm -- they have come nightly the last week or so and have been exceptionally violent -- and so we were harvesting, trying to save what we can:

The maters look good, and are flowering:

The squash and zucchini need weeding, though:

Our pea rescue efforts turned out reasonably well:

I'll probably have to go by one night this week to finish harvesting the peas so we don't lose them. Next weekend, I suspect we will be putting something else in that bed.

If I had been born when my oldest son was, I'd still be in jail

A website I normally go to for economic analysis, especially of economic figures released by the federal government, has posted a list of things that kids used to do that will now land the kid or his parents in jail. I did all of them, and then some:
  1. Raise your hand if you survived a childhood in the 60s, 70s, and 80s that included one or more of the following, frowned-upon activities (raise both hands if you bear a scar proving your daredevil participation in these dare-devilish events):
  2. Riding in the back of an open pick-up truck with a bunch of other kids
  3. Leaving the house after breakfast and not returning until the streetlights came on, at which point, you raced home, ASAP so you didn’t get in trouble
  4. Eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the school cafeteria
  5. Riding your bike without a helmet
  6. Riding your bike with a buddy on the handlebars, and neither of you wearing helmets
  7. Drinking water from the hose in the yard
  8. Swimming in creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes (or what they now call *cough* “wild swimming“)
  9. Climbing trees (One park cut the lower branches from a tree on the playground in case some stalwart child dared to climb them)
  10. Having snowball fights (and accidentally hitting someone you shouldn’t)
  11. Sledding without enough protective equipment to play a game in the NFL
  12. Carrying a pocket knife to school (or having a fishing tackle box with sharp things on school property)
  13. Camping
  14. Throwing rocks at snakes in the river
  15. Playing politically incorrect games like Cowboys and Indians
  16. Playing Cops and Robbers with *gasp* toy guns
  17. Pretending to shoot each other with sticks we imagined were guns
  18. Shooting an actual gun or a bow (with *gasp* sharp arrows) at a can on a log, accompanied by our parents who gave us pointers to improve our aim. Heck, there was even a marksmanship club at my high school
  19. Saying the words “gun” or “bang” or “pow pow” (there actually a freakin’ CODE about “playing with invisible guns”)
  20. Working for your pocket money well before your teen years
  21. Taking that money to the store and buying as much penny candy as you could afford, then eating it in one sitting
  22. Eating pop rocks candy and drinking soda, just to prove we were exempt from that urban legend that said our stomachs would explode
  23. Getting so dirty that your mom washed you off with the hose in the yard before letting you come into the house to have a shower
  24. Writing lines for being a jerk at school, either on the board or on paper
  25. Playing “dangerous” games like dodgeball, kickball, tag, whiffle ball, and red rover (The Health Department of New York issued a warning about the “significant risk of injury” from these games)
  26. Walking to school alone
Actually, Pop Rocks were after my time, I think, so I didn't do that one. On the rest, though, I am batting 1.000. Also, the site left out things like riding your bike several miles to baseball practice, or riding your bike several miles to buy that penny candy, or going out unescorted on Halloween at age 12 and staying out until people were refusing to answer their doors. All these and more. I can't believe my childhood has been criminalized. Actually, I wish I couldn't believe it. I actually am too acquainted with the nanny state losers who are determined to run all aspects of our lives to find any of it unbelievable any more. Unbelievable?

Yeah, it doesn't anymore.

Argentina, y'all

We got our first visit from Argentina over the weekend, so I wanted to do a little bit to welcome Argentina to the Eff You family. We'll start with the basics:
Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a federal republic located in southeastern South America. Sharing the Southern Cone with its smaller neighbour Chile, it is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north; Brazil to the northeast; Uruguay and theSouth Atlantic Ocean to the east; Chile to the west and the Drake Passage to the south.
With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi),[B] Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the second-largest in Latin America, and the largestSpanish-speaking one. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
It is worth noting, of course, that Argentina's claims over the Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands are, to say the least, disputed by Great Britain, whose subjects actually occupy those islands and pretty much always have. But I digress.

Argentina was one of the world's top 10 economies early in the 20th Century, and was a top 25 economy into the 1940s. A period of political instability starting in the 1930s was largely responsible for the drop, but the country's real decline began following the election as president of Juan Peron in 1946. Peron, a fervent supporter of Nazi Germany during World War II, nationalized industries and basically put the "Socialist" back in "National Socialist." Dramatic overspending by the government (sound familiar?) damaged the economy, and while Argentina has gone through periods where it rejected Peronist socialism, it has never been far from power. The current regime is led by second-term President Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner, who carries on the socialist policies of her predecessor as president, her late husband, Nestor Kirchner. Her tenure has not been good for Argentina's long-term prospects, economically:
The government expanded state intervention in the economy throughout 2012. In May 2012 the Congress approved the nationalization of the oil company YPF from Spain's Repsol. The government expanded formal and informal measures to restrict imports during the year, including a requirement for pre-registration and pre-approval of all imports. In July 2012 the government also further tightened currency controls in an effort to bolster foreign reserves and stem capital flight. In October 2013, the government settled long-standing international arbitral disputes dating back to before and following the 2001 Argentine financial crisis. During 2014, the government continued with expansionary fiscal and monetary policies and foreign exchange and imports controls. Between 2011 and 2013, Central Bank foreign reserves had dropped $21.3 billion from a high of $52.7 billion. In July 2014, Argentina and China agreed on an $11 billion currency swap; the Argentine Central Bank has received the equivalent of $3.2 billion in Chinese yuan, which it counts as international reserves.
In 2014, the government also took some measures to mend ties with the international financial community, including engaging with the IMF to improve its economic data reporting, reaching a compensation agreement with Repsol for the expropriation of YPF, and agreeing to pay $ 9.7 billion in arrears to the Paris Club over five years, including $606 million owed to the United States. In July 2014, Argentina made its first payment to Paris Club creditors since the country’s 2001 financial crisis. At the same time, the Argentine government in July 2014 entered a technical default on its external debt after it failed to reach an agreement with holdout creditors in the US. The government’s delay in reaching a settlement and the continuation of interventionist and populist policies are contributing to high inflation and a prolonged recession, according to private analysts.
Yeah, Wikipedia doesn't mention that shit, since the site hates to acknowledge the failure of socialism. But hey. What's at little debt default among friends? And some high inflation and prolonged recession? Shit, bad things happen to good people, right?

Anyway, welcome to Eff You nation, Argentina. You might want to consider a new economic course, but keep visiting, regardless, and bring your friends.

Monday, June 22, 2015

So, was Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo a good thing?

The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo was Thursday, and I originally decided not to comment. As it turned out, there was a massive re-enactment (although nowhere near as large as the original battle, obviously) which sounds pretty cool:
The famous fields of Waterloo have not seen anything like it since Wellington and Napoleon faced off against one another 200 years ago. The Allied ranks alone include 50 cannons, 170 cavalry and close to 2,500 infantry. The French are a truly international cast of re-enactors, including units from Britain, Germany, Norway, Russia - and of course France itself (although they seem to be well outnumbered by the foreign enthusiasts).
Waterloo, obviously, is when Napoleon Bonaparte met his final defeat before being exiled for a second time, this time to St. Helena in the South Atlantic, bringing to an end the Napoleonic Wars.  For more than 15 years, Bonaparte's wars of conquest dominated the European continent, ending on June 18, 1815 at the Belgian village of Waterloo. My original decision not to comment on the anniversary was based in the fact that the event is pretty fucking European, although it is considered one of the most significant battles in world history. Two things changed my mind.

First, the number of re-enactors involved made for some pretty sweet sights, like these guys forming a British infantry square:

This formation ruled the world's battlefields for more than 100 years, and nobody did it better than the British Army. It was cool to see a picture of it in all its glory.

But the thing that really got me thinking was an article in Smithsonian Magazine arguing that Napoleon losing at Waterloo was a bad thing. The article argues persuasively that Napoleon did not want to fight the Allies again and had given up on dreams of empire, hoping only to continue the reforms in France that he started before his first exile. In fact, he was working toward that end upon his return from Elba when the Allies decided he couldn't be trusted to keep the peace. His defeat at Waterloo ensured his return to exile, this time to the far more distant St. Helena, bringing an end to his considerable contributions to Western civilization.. Some of the author's conclusions are a bit speculative, but certainly worth considering:
If Napoleon had remained emperor of France for the six years remaining in his natural life, European civilization would have benefited inestimably. The reactionary Holy Alliance of Russia, Prussia and Austria would not have been able to crush liberal constitutionalist movements in Spain, Greece, Eastern Europe and elsewhere; pressure to join France in abolishing slavery in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean would have grown; the benefits of meritocracy over feudalism would have had time to become more widely appreciated; Jews would not have been forced back into their ghettos in the Papal States and made to wear the yellow star again; encouragement of the arts and sciences would have been better understood and copied; and the plans to rebuild Paris would have been implemented, making it the most gorgeous city in the world.
Napoleon deserved to lose Waterloo, and Wellington to win it, but the essential point in this bicentenary year is that the epic battle did not need to be fought—and the world would have been better off if it hadn’t been.
No way to say the author is right or wrong, but it is the first time I've seen Waterloo through this particular lens. An interesting viewpoint, to be sure.

A special post on cute chicks elected to the Danish Parliament

(Editor's note: I have long suspected that Denmark will lead us into the future. This confirms it, in the first of what we hope will be many posts from Eff You's European Correspondent. Please welcome RAF with a big Eff You.)

Eff You European Correspondent

An election for the Danish Parliament was held on Thursday, June 18th. The pro-freedom wing of the Parliament won a narrow victory and deposed of the socialist PM Helle Thorning Schmidt (of ”selfie with Obama” fame.)

The leftists won 89 seats and the responsible and rational parties won 90 seats. The election was a close run between the rival wings of parliament, despite leftist government of the last 4 years being very unpopular. The main theory behind this is that the voters weren’t too keen on the PM candidate of the right wing, Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Lars is a bit of a twit, and although the right wing won, Lars’ own party (Venstre) got a beating from the voters.

Anyway - straight on to the important stuff: Pictures of chicks.

Mai Mercado, de Konservative (”the Conservatives”).

The Conservatives are a tiny party of proper, old-fashioned reactionaries. For God, King* and Country!

(*Well, Queen at present, but the traditional saying is ”King”)
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Britt Bager, Venstre (”the Left”). Venstre is a classical liberal party: Pro-freedom, pro-business and anti-government. This may confuse Americans, as ”liberal” means something else entirely on your side of the pond. Their name refers to the early days of Parliament when conservatives sat on the right side, and liberals on the left.

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Sofie Løhde, also from Venstre:

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Mette Hjermind Dencker, Dansk Folkeparti (Danish Peoples’ Party). The Danish Peoples’ Party are tough on crime, anti-islam and anti-EU. This makes them immensily unpopular among the politically correct ”elite” - and very popular among Danish voters.

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Socialdemokraterne (”the Social Democrats”). A leftist party and traditionally the biggest party in Parliament. Full of career politicians. Here’s a few of them:

Ida Auken. Cute, but bat-shit crazy. Would gladly send anybody who disagrees with her to Gulag, if she had the power to do so.
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Astrid Kragh. She can dance.

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Pernille Skipper, Enhedslisten (”the Unity Party”). A fringe party of outright communists. But even communist can be pretty:

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Pork chop food porn, anyone?

Yeah, made a new dish the other night -- smothered pork chops. Turned out well, if I do say so myself. Where to begin?

How about at the beginning? You will need 1 cup of flour, 2 tablespoons each of garlic powder and onion powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of cayenne (or red pepper), 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, 4 bone-in pork chops, roughly 3/4 inch thick, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 vcup of chicken broth, and 1/2 cup of buttermilk:

Combine the flour, onion and garlic powder, salt, cayenne and pepper in a shallow dish and mix it up right:

Dredge you pork chops in the seasoning mix:

Plate those suckers:

Heat up the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, then slap those chops in there:

Cook about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown:

Once again, plate those suckers. Add some of the seasoned flour to the pan:

Stir the flour into the pan drippings:

Add the chicken broth:

Let that cook down a little to thicken, about 5 minutes, then add the buttermilk to creamy it up, stir it all together until smooth. Mix it up right, people:

Put the chops back into the pan:

Cover those bad boys with the sauce, simmering them for about 5 minutes:

Pull them out and plate again:

Serve with rice, corn, peas,  bread or whatever. Suit yourself:

Bon appetit, y'all.