mytopleft

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Yeah-we-should've-won-that-game food porn

At Atlanta, a team with a potent offense, we went in with pretty much everybody hurt and out of the game -- our top three cornerbacks,  two of our starting receivers, our top two running backs, our best defensive player -- and still we lost by only one point late. Thought we had it, but disappointment awaited.

Not on the game food front, however, Married Into Wolves was there early to watch the Saints bitch-slap the Seahawks. We also caught the end of the Redskins-Bengals game from London. We didn't want to, but the rat bastards went into overtime and pre-empted the first quarter of the Saints game, so we had no choice. Yes, Married Into Wolves' family is from the Big Easy, so she's a Saints fan.

In any event, we did staggered game food, trotting out dishes throughout the day rather than all at once. We started with stuffed tater tots:


Later, we brought out pigs in a blanket:


Naturally, for the main event, we included stuffed potato skins:


And to make the Packers late-game game food more dinner-like, we had bacon cheeseburger macaroni and cheese:


Yummy, even if the Packers result was not.

Tanzania, come on down!

So we have a first-time visitor from Tanzania. Come on down, y'all:
Tanzania. . . officially the United Republic of Tanzania . . .  is a large country in Eastern Africa within the African Great Lakes region. Parts of the country are in Southern Africa. It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south; and by the Indian Ocean to the east. Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, is in northeastern Tanzania.
 It's funny how Wikipedia calls a dictatorship a "one-party dominant state." It's a fucking dictatorship. It's funny how Tanzania's dictator, John Magufuli, denies that he is either crazy or a dictator, thereby pretty much confirming that he is both. Anyway, Tanzania is really fucking poor. Agriculture is a huge part of the economy, but production is way down under not-crazy, not-dictator leadership. There is some energy production. Realistically, anybody with any ambition or ability already left. Sorry, Tanzania, that it sucks so bad to be you, but thanks for coming by.







Another lesson on cover songs that were better than the originals

In this post I gave a boost to this post, which made that case that the Everly Brothers' version of their own song, "Love Hurts," was at best the third-best version of the song. I just think that there is no shame in doing cover versions of songs because, sometimes, the cover version is better than the original. As Part II in this ongoing series, I offer up "Reason to Believe."

The original version was written and recorded by Tim Hardin in 1965. That's correct, you have no damn idea who that is, and no reason to, really. I guess he was folk singer, but he wrote this song:



Yeah, not exactly ripping your heart out. Sorry Tim. Five years later, The Carpenters decided it would be a good idea to cover Tim's song. They were wrong:



Pretty version of a song that cried out for anguish. She ripped his heart out and stomped that sucker flat, dammit! Even Tim Hardin didn't capture that feeling in his recording, and he wrote the damn thing. Fortunately, Rod Stewart knows heartache, and he did it right:


He hasn't even finished pulling the knife out of his heart as he sings that song. If you don't think that version isn't better than the original -- and for that matter, any other cover version you can find -- there is something seriously wrong with you. Rod Stewart owns that song, no matter who wrote it. And that is your lesson in covers for the day.



Friday, October 28, 2016

San Marino, still too proud?

In the last day or so, I've had visitors from Tanzania, Portugal, Denmark, Ukraine, Poland, Canada, Ireland and a number of other low-population or low-tech countries. Is there some reason San Marino can't grace this blog with a visit? Seriously. Is this some kind of "smaller than thou" horseshit game they're playing? Yo, San Marino, come on by!

Sometimes I like to promote an old post

This post is suddenly doing very well with traffic. I approve. This particular post makes a case for cover versions of a song being better than the original. Feel free to comment.

Somebody needs to find out how they cured this swordfish

Just a couple days ago, I figured the swordfish was dead meat. Because of the trial schedule, I was pretty sure that Wednesday was when this project would look like this:


On the deck, dead meat, no life left. That didn't happen. So I figured maybe they would let us finish the week, which still meant the project was getting last rites:


Yeah, couldn't figure out how to Photoshop a swordfish into that picture, but you get the idea. In any event, I was sure today was the day I would get fired..

Nope. The firm came up with what looks like about two more weeks worth of work. It is meaningless make-work, so yeah, they are padding, featherbedding and milking this project for every nickel they can get out of it, but it is project-extending work nonetheless. Mostly, I think, they want to keep a fire brigade around, because this is litigation and you never know when a hand grenade is going to go off in a bucket of shit. When that happens, you really want some folks around to break out the mops. Once the main opportunities for that sort of clusterfuck pass, this project will be toast. In the meantime, giving us busy-work is better than paying us to do nothing, I suppose. What that means is that the swordfish suddenly looks more like this, at least for a couple weeks:


Not for me, mind you. Monday is my last day. I'm moving on to a new project that will have lots of overtime and a several-month lifespan, just in time to make up for the shitty year I've had so far. This is my new swordfish:



Strong, baby. Dig it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

High-tech life-support systems keep the swordfish going for reasons not entirely clear

We've been doing bullshit work for a couple weeks now, when we even have work at all. Really, we're the fire brigade, kept on just in case some kind of shit hits the fan and the law firms need bodies to do grunt work. Currently, we are doing reviews that the firm itself has done repeatedly -- they don't expect us to find anything, because they believe they already have found everything worth finding. They might be wrong, but they are probably right, and they certainly aren't relying on a bunch of mouth-breathing temps to find the stuff they might have missed. They probably already found everything worth finding, and they certainly don't think we will find it if they didn't. So there you go.

Why are we still here, you might ask? Because the firm gets to bill our time to the client -- at a mark-up -- the agency gets to bill our time to the firm -- at a mark-up -- and we still get paid. No one has any incentive to cut us all loose until there simply is no plausible reason for keeping us. Personally, I think that moment arrives either at the end of the day tomorrow or Friday. Anything beyond that is shameless padding, featherbedding, milking, whatever you want to call it.

Of course, that doesn't mean it won't happen.

Sometimes, you just need a post about a kit-tay in a drawer

Let's face it. Who hasn't left a dresser drawer open and returned to find this:


Sure, she might shift around a bit and show this:


But really, hasn't this happened to all of us? And sure, we've all closed the drawer a little to try and encourage the kit-tay to go somewhere else, right? And then found the kit-tay still in the drawer an hour later, right? Happens to everybody:


Doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The swordfish is in surgery

He's not expected to survive. I think the swordfish has about 36 hours to live, and the best doctors in the world can't save it.

Monday, October 24, 2016

So good to see a man give expression to his inner creativity

Mrs. Wolves sent me this, so not sure to whom I should give a hat tip, but I like this:


Here's the website. I guess this guy is well-known. He should be. Given the lack of gunshot noise, I assume those pistols are .22s.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

OK, this is freaky-deaky

The U.S. military recently conducted an exercise that tests experimental technology, known as the Annual Navy Technology Exercise (ANTX). In my opinion, this year's exercise was pretty fucking awesome:

The exercise began with instructions issued from a ground control station to the Submaran, an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) developed by Ocean Aero. The USV relayed the instructions it received via an acoustic modem to a submerged autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), Lockheed’s Marlin Mk.2, which carried Vector Hawk as it cruised below the surface of the Bay.
The Vector Hawk (left) and Marlin (right).
Enlarge / The Vector Hawk (left) and Marlin (right).
Upon receiving a command order from Submaran, the Marlin AUV transited to a launch site as instructed, where it then surfaced. Once above water, the Marlin acted on further instruction to ready a canister containing a Vector Hawk. The canister received a GPS position, which was passed to the UAV. Then the top of the canister opened and the Vector Hawk was ejected from the canister, unfolding its airfoils and flying away.
OK. In case you missed that, a surface vessel ordered a submarine to launch an aircraft, and none of the craft involved were manned. Mind blown.

I don't think there is any question that this kind of technology is going to play a huge part in modern warfare going forward. What blows your mind today will be commonplace tomorrow. Mind blown, again.

Friday, October 21, 2016

I don't know why she does this, she just does

For reasons that escape me, Mayhem likes to come into the bathroom in the morning while I am brushing my teeth and jump up on my left shoulder. She does this pretty much every day. She has taken to waiting on the toilet or sink while I am in the shower, so that when I come out, there she is. Usually, she waits until I get dressed and come back the the bathroom to brush my teeth before she heads for the shoulder, but not always.

She also used to leave it alone on weekends, because I get up so much later. No more. So now I get kit-tay on the shoulder everyday until she decides it is time to get down. During the week, this works OK because I go to put food in their bowls, and she wants down. Weekends are a different story, and I can wind up walking around the house for quite some time with a cat on my shoulder, as here:


She gets quite comfy, actually.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Does the Air Force really have a plan to replace the A-10?

No, but they say they do. Personally, I do not have high hopes for this particular endeavor. The A-10 is the ultimate in simplicity: it is a virtually indestructible aircraft that is a flying dumptruck, able to carry unbelievable amounts of firepower, deliver it precisely and survive the harshest of battlefield conditions. Given the way the U.S. military has operated for at least 20 years now, "simplicity"" is not a word that is in the Air Force's vocabulary.

This is an early stages evaluation of what the Air Force would want in an aircraft to replace the A-10. The problem, of course, is the Air Force hates the role of the A-10, doesn't want to perform that role, and has an institutional resistance to the highly effective, low-cost solution the A-10 provides, even if the Air Force were interested in actually providing a solution to the problem the A-10 solves. Were the Air Force interested, it could provide engine, avionics and targeting upgrades for the A-10 and keep the aircraft in service for decades more. The airframe itself  has been proven top-notch time and again.

The Air Force has been trying for years to retire the A-10 because it is not in keeping with the Air Force's view of its core mission. That "core mission" has changed over the years, depending upon which faction is in the ascendancy in the Air Force high command, but close air support has never been one of those factions. There are two dominant, competing factions within the Air Force -- strategic forces (long-range bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles) and fighter forces. Right now, the fighter pilots are running the show, which explains why the F-35, with all its problems, remains the primary aircraft acquisition program for the Air Force. A replacement for the B-2 bomber, a 1980s program, is not really in actual motion. Hell, we still use the B-1 (1970s) and B-52 (1960s) as strategic bombers.

The Air Force never really wanted to do close air support. Close-air guys are called "mud movers" by the Air Force, and it is not a term of affection. The Air Force prefers to soar above it all, whether that is in air-superiority fighter aircraft or strategic bombers. That's why the Marines always have had their own air wing, which focuses almost exclusively on supporting ground troops in combat. It also is why the Navy, which carries Marine aircraft to places where they can provide that close air support, also has tactical bombers, most of which are the same ones flown by Marines. The Navy's primary focus in aircraft is planes that can protect aircraft carriers from aerial attack and, to a lesser extent, planes that can sink enemy ships (although the Navy prefers to rely on missiles for that).

To the extent that the planes the Navy has that can sink enemy ships also can provide close air support for ground troops, the Navy is willing to accept that. It is not, however, their preferred aerial role. Only the Marines and the Army care about close air support, and the Army has no fixed-wing combat aircraft. The Army's fixed-wing aircraft are primarily artillery and close air support spotters. They have extensive rotary wing aircraft (helicopters, y'all), but those are primarily designed for anti-armor missions. They are highly vulnerable to ground fire in a close air support role.

The A-10, on the other hand, is considerably less vulnerable and is famous for coming back from missions with damage that would have left most aircraft a smoking heap of wreckage:



The Air Force is not interested in performing this mission. I'm sure that by the time they finish their evaluation process of what needs to replace the A-10, it will result in something that costs far more than the A-10 and cannot perform the mission.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I had one Farm task this past weekend

That, my friends, was to wash the bumper crop of potatoes that Farmer Tom harvested:


Washed them, laid them in the sun to dry, then bagged them up. Saved some for seed potatoes in the spring. The crop turned out pretty good. Lots of good-sized potatoes, which we have not had in the past. I think the current beds are going to work going forward. Farmer Tom and I are having discussions about changes in the spring, but I think the location of the potatoes is not one of them.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Game food porn, despite my heavy heart

We played like shit against the Cowboys last night, and the score reflected that poor performance. You can't turn the ball over four times and expect to win. We didn't. The game food was better, but we did have what I think is the first-ever game food failure. I picked a promising recipe, but it turned out to suck.

 First, we will go with the game food that didn't suck. These three items are old reliables. First, we had the stuffed tater tots:


We also had stuffed potato skins, because that's what we do:


Then I threw in some mini-lasagnas, always a winner:


Then I tried a new recipe. It really didn't work. You start with a box of macaroni and cheese mix, prepared according to the instructions. Add about a half-cup of mayonnaise:


Stir that up, then add cooked broccoli and stir that in thoroughly:


Add some cooked chicken, the put the mixture in a greased muffin pan:


Cook it for 15-20 minutes, then let it stand for at least 5 minutes before you try to take it out of the pan. As you can see, my effort failed to maintain its muffin-cup shape:


I'm not sure why the recipe failed. Mrs. Wolves has a theory, though: "No cheese, no sticky-sticky, no goody-goody." I think she might be right. Maybe cheese, maybe more mayo. Hell, I don't know. It tasted fine, but it was basically macaroni and cheese with chicken and broccoli stirred in. Not what we were looking for. Kind of like the game result.

Lotta small countries coming by, still no San Marino

Some people, you just can't reach.


The swordfish is not looking particularly spritely

This project is in the dying days. The swordfish is not on the deck, but he's within range of the gaffe hook. If we go beyond Friday, I'll have a heart attack. Of course, if we don't go beyond Friday, I might have a heart attack, too. My cardiac status is pretty much unrelated to the project status.

Sure, it's another kit-tay post

Life is not complete without cute kit-tay pictures. So here you go. No damn idea who Mayhem is snuggling here:


Yet another morning where Mrs. Wolves wakes up covered with kit-tays:


Kit-tay fix? Check. Food porn coming.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Can we please glass these people?

The USS Mason is patrolling off the coast of Yemen, and the Yemeni rebels trying to overthrow the government there -- with the support of Iran, thank you very much -- keep shooting missiles at the Mason:
The destroyer USS Mason fired defensive countermeasures in response to what may have been incoming missiles, a defense official said . The ship had been attacked two times before in the past week, which triggered retaliatory strikes against radars used by Houthi rebels in those attacks. The Pentagon is investigating the incident.
"A U.S. Strike Group transiting international waters in the Red Sea detected possible inbound missile threats and deployed appropriate defensive measures," said a U.S. defense official. "Post event assessment is ongoing. All U.S. warships and vessels in the area are safe."
The destroyer USS Nitze and the USS Ponce, an afloat forward staging area ship, were close to the Mason at the time.
U.S. officials had said earlier Sunday that the Mason had come under attack from two inbound missiles that originated in Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.
By my count, this makes four times the Mason has been fired at. I'm glad to see we've started shooting back, but we really need to do enough to ensure that they actually can't shoot at us anymore. It's time to turn the rocks into pebbles, the pebbles into sand:


Seriously, Iran is giving these guys the missiles, and we keep pretending everything is hunky fucking dory. Why don't we just give Iran a couple of our nuclear weapons and save them some trouble? Hell, maybe Barry the Lame should go ahead and give in to his inner desires and nuke Israel so Iran doesn't have to.

Three strikes and you're out

The USS Mason already has been shot twice at by Shiite rebel missiles twice off the coast of Yemen. Apparently that was enough even for this pussy-ass administration to retaliate. Well, I guess we need to turn some sand into glass over there, because the Houthis are at it again:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy destroyer was targeted on Saturday in a failed missile attack from territory in Yemen controlled by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, the third such incident in the past week, U.S. officials said.
Multiple surface-to-surface missiles were fired at the USS Mason sailing in international waters in the Red Sea but the warship used on-board countermeasures to defend itself and was not hit, one defense official said, citing initial information.
The latest attack could provoke further retaliation by the U.S. military, which launched cruise missiles on Thursday against three coastal radar sites in Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen in response to the two previous failed missile firings against the Mason.
At least one source has suggested that the Houthis are using old technology missiles with a very short range and that the missiles are failing to even reach their target, much less hit it, because the Mason is too far away. That makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, we still have to do something, unless we want everybody with a grudge and an anti-ship missile to start shooting at us everytime we get anywhere near thei territory.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

It's almost as if there were different standards of justice for Clintons and regular people

Last week, a person was arrested for allegedly having classified documents at home without authorization. No, it wasn’t Hillary Clinton—but it makes you wonder, why not?
Police executed a warrant to search Harold Thomas Martin III’s home and found classified documents. Did police execute a warrant to search Clinton’s home? No, of course not.
What is the evidence against Martin? First, they found documents that “contained highly classified information of the United States, including Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (SCI).” Hillary Clinton’s server also contained eight email chains of Top Secret information and had emails classified as Special Access Programs an even more restricted subcategory of Sensitive Compartmented Information.
Six of the documents found in Martin’s house were “obtained from sensitive intelligence” including being produced “through sensitive government sources, methods, and capabilities.” Hillary Clinton’s emails contained spy satellite information on North Korean nuclear assets. It is hard to get more “being collected through sensitive government sources, methods and capabilities” than that.
There's no longer much question that Hillary Clinton got a pass from the highest levels of government.

Recent FBI document releases make it clear that Emperor Barry the Lame, despite saying he learned about his former secretary of state's private email server at the same time the rest of us did, in the newspapers, corresponded with her using that server address. Yeah, he lied, and he didn't want that kind of stuff coming out in a criminal investigation.

Further, the FBI apparently granted immunity to almost everybody and accepted significant restrictions on what information they could have -- restrictions imposed by the people they were investigating -- that made it pretty much impossible to prosecute. FBI Director Bill Comey might be facing a revolt from within FBI ranks. He certainly is no longer viewed by anybody but the most die-hard Democrats as anything but an Obama hack. The rule of law is significantly damaged by this entire affair.

I wonder if Mr. Martin's lawyers will try the "Hillary defense?" He had no evil intent, after all.

Fall farming is much easier

Wow. I'm going to The Farm again tomorrow, and I am just now putting up last week's farming post. I guess that's because it isn't really that exciting. There really isn't very much to do right now except hope that the stuff grows fast enough to beat the killing frosts. It's already getting into the 30s and 40s as night. I'm a little worried that our cold-weather crops might have gone in too late. Also, I barely have any idea what Farmer Tom planted. I think this is kale and kohlrabi, whatever that is:


This is some kind of lettuce, and beets:


Turnips and parsnips here. As you can see. the stuff is mostly coming in OK, I just worry that it might get too cold too soon:


More turnips? I don't know:


A little broccoli. The big one was from the first planting, which largely failed because of weather. Too damn hot. The little ones came later:


Same story for the cauliflower:


And for the spinach:


And for whatever this is, which I think is beets:


Some kind of spinach or lettuce:


The carrots, peppers and tomatoes continue to come along. Maters almost done. I've bee jarring a bunch, and making sauce. We'll see what we see tomorrow.

Complicated but awesome food porn

Tonight I fixed salisbury steak using a fairly complicated recipe. It was worth the effort, as it tastes magnificent. You should seriously consider it. It does come in several steps, however.

To make the actual salisbury steaks, you will need 1 tbsp of butter, 1/2 cup chopped onions, 1 tbsp olive oil (they call for extra virgin, but there are no virgins in my house), 1/8 cup of milk (that means 2 tbsp), 1/8 cup of heavy cream, 1/8 cup of beef stock, 1/2 tsp of onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 cup of bread, without crusts (about 3 pieces of bread), 1 beaten egg, 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce,1 pound of 80/20 ground chuck, 1/2 pound of ground sirloin (very lean ground beef will do -- 7 percent fat or less), and 1/2 pound ground pork:


In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium heat, and toss in the onions:


Cook them for a couple minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the milk, cream, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and bread:

Mix that shit up right, letting the bread soak up the liquid:


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, put the meat in a large bowl. No need to start mixing yet:


When the bread-and-other-stuff mixture is cool, stir in the beaten egg:


Add that to the meat:


Mix that shit up right:


Form 5 or 6 football-shaped patties out of the mixture. Put that stuff on a plate for a minute:


Now, in a large skillet, melt a tbsp of butter and add a tbsp or 2 of olive oil. Again with the virgin stuff -- I don't care what kind of olive oil you use. Heat it over medium high heat, and when nice a frothy, add you chunks o' meat:


Cook for about 5 minutes per side, then platter those bad boys. No, they're not done yet, but be patient:



Now, for the mushroom sauce, you will need 2 cups of beef stock, 1/4 cup of heavy cream, a pinch of salt, a little pepper, 1/2 tsp of thyme, 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce, 3 tbsp of butter (you actually just used one, plus the olive oil), 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1/4 cups chopped onions, 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms and 2 ounces of flour (about 2 tbsp):


In the oil-butter-juice mix left after you cooked the meat, add the onions and sautee for a couple minutes:


Then throw in the mushrooms and turn the heat almost to high, browning the 'shrooms:


Remove that mixture to a bowl and set aside. Next, melt 2 tbsp of butter in the same skillet and add the flour:


Stir it over medium heat for about 5 minutes until smooth and no longer smelling like flour:


In a medium saucepan, combine the beef stock, cream, salt, pepper, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce:


Heat that up and keep it ready. Might want to have it ready before you do the flour-butter roux thing. Anyway, gradually add the beef stock mixture to the flour-butter roux, stirring constantly:


Add the onion-mushroom mix:


Add the meat, and spoon the mushroom mix over the top:


Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes:


Looks good, don't it:


You can serve with mashed potatoes, corn, whatever. We threw in broccoli, bread and peas:


Worked out pretty good. Bon appetit.