Saturday, April 12, 2008

Summer Drinks

A while ago, I put up my recipe for a mojito cocktail (pronounced Moe-He-Toe). This is a great Summer drink, but it is a bit complicated and needs fresh mint leaves. So here is another classic Summer drink--which is super-easy to make.

The Margarita


Mixes are all poor substitutes for real ingredients and you will have no use for unused mix. Use limeade instead. Either the frozen concentrated kind or not-from-concentrate type are both good. They should contain real lime juice, sweetener and water (if already prepared).

--Take a 12 oz glass and put a few ice cubes into it.

--Add one shot of Tequila (I recommend Cuervo Especial)

--Add between 1/3 and 1/2 shot of either Cointreau or Grand Marnier.

--Fill the remaining space in the glass with Limeade.

--You may wish to salt the rim of the glass with kosher salt and garnish with a wedge of fresh lime.

It is still early Spring here in New England, but my hope is that if we start to act like it is Summer, then Mother Nature will get with the program.

ADDED: It kind of worked: Yesterday started bleary, then got sunny and nice, then rained, then got sunny again and finally got cold and drizzly.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Last week our town had a tax over ride question on the ballot which failed to pass. As expected, the schools chose to "cut-back" in the way most painful to parents: They will charge $200/student to ride the bus.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Running Log and after Dog

I did my usual day-off 9.5 miler today (after doing my taxes). I had a bit of an earlier run though, thanks to Meenah.

After taking the children to the bus stop, I normally allow Meenah some off-leash time in the fenced-in back yard. She loves to dash around and I think it makes her more calm later,-when she is in the house. I let her run around for 20-30 minutes but then she wouldn't come to me when I wanted to go in. The fence is not yet escape-proof, so I didn't want to leave her alone out there. I had to chase her down. She is very fast and can dodge well, but I kept her on the run and she has little endurance. I scooped her up in less than two minutes of chasing around.

In the afternoon I took her out again. This time I brought kibble that I could train her with. At first, on leash, I had her sit and wait to be called. Then I took her off leash, and had her do the same thing. Last, I let her wander, but would call her from time to time and she would come bounding over to me for a treat.


After a hard bit of running around...

Kind of makes you think...

A commenter to an earlier post got me thinking.

If you had a friend who claimed to see ghosts, what would you think of them?

There are three alternatives which spring to mind:

1) There are ghosts, and they really can be seen by the friend.

2) There are not really any ghosts, but your friend does believe he is seeing them--they are figments of his imagination.

3) The friend is just making it up.

There may be other alternatives, but they are complex and the above three probably account for most of the possibility set.

I think that in most cases, you can dispense with 3), if you know the person well and they have been honest in all other matters. To some extent you can also dispense with 2) if the person functions well in the world. E.g. he has a job which requires intelligence and good judgment. He is able to run his private life with a minimum of drama--not in trouble with the law, gets along with friends and family etc. These things would indicate a healthy mental state and people with healthy minds don't usually hallucinate.

The problem is that 1) is not that believable either. Scientists have tried for decades to show (in laboratory-controlled conditions) that there is something to the para-normal. All of these efforts have failed so far.

Maybe there are options 4), 5) and 6) that I haven't thought-up yet.

What if a parent told his child a parable, for instructional purposes only. Then that kid brought the story up in front of other adults? The parent is in a dilemma: Wreck the story by admitting it was made-up, or repeat it in front of others. Eventually one could become trapped into vouching for a story which was never really meant to be taken literally.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Was it all about the money?

Back when Hillary Clinton first ran for her Senate seat in New York, I made the same assumption everybody else did: President Clinton helped her do this because he owed her—big time—for sticking-by him through his scandals.

Now that the scale of the Clinton-family earnings have come to light, another thought has intruded: Maybe it was, at least in part, about the money. The largest chunk of earnings has come from personal appearances by the former President and most of the rest from book sales. Who would want to hear from Bill Clinton if his wife was not a presumptive leading candidate for President? Who would read their books?

So, after this election if it isn’t “Madam President” for Senator Clinton, it probably never will be. Oh, and the gravy-train will dry up too.

You came close, but you never made it, and if you were gonna make it, you would have made it before now.—Pulp Fiction 1994

Added: I was wrong: The old lady hung on and dang if she didn't get a shot at the big chair 8 years later. Still lost, but I guess the well will now dry-up.


While watching the TV show Psych the other night, I was reminded of something I have always thought regarding "psychics" who help the police.

In defense of the show--which I like, the main character is actually just very observant and only pretends to have psychic powers.

It seems really obvious to me that psychics (and to some extent anonymous tipsters) are just cover stories. It is easy to see lots of reasons why police would know who to investigate, but not want to give out that information. E.g. they may have an informant that they want to protect, or use again, etc.

Monday, April 07, 2008

AllenS said... I'm not sure how this is going to make me look, but last fall I plowed about 3 acres so I could plant some corn this spring. I'm going to use it in my corn burning furnace.
Why not sell your corn at $6/bu and then turn around and purchase coal? Here is a place that sells 50lb bags for $10. Probably cheaper in bulk

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Diorama Closeup...

Surenna made a diorama for a school project and I wanted to get some pictures of it before she dismantled it...

Her younger sisters wanted to play with it, so Surenna kept it intact but won't mind if they wreck it. Her A+ on the project is already 'in the bank'.

On a lighter note...

Here are "saffron" threads from our Crocus vernus This is not the species of Crocus which saffron is normally made from, but I think these smell much like the saffron we buy from Spain.

These threads have dried overnight and are ready to use--probably throw them into some Basmati rice

A dreary Sunday with skinned hands

It is gray, cold and threatening rain this Sunday. As a consequence, I don't feel like the usual long run nor any kind of big outdoor project. So, I decided to finally pound a sump-pit into the floor of our basement.

For the first four years in this house, we never got water in the basement from the ground. We had some leaky pipes and a failed hot water heater, but that is another story. I don't know what changed in the last couple of years but now if there is a big thaw or a few days of heavy rain, we get water seeping into the basement.

Lacking a sump-pit, there was no way to use a sump-pump. We live on a steep hill, so I have been able to setup a siphon to drain out the water. This works fine but has two problems: 1) There has to be water on the floor for it to work and I don't want there to be water on the floor. 2) Since there is no collection point below the floor, the siphon sucks air and stops working while there is still a little water left.

A pit should solve all problems. Water will be able to be pumped before it reaches the level of the basement floor. When the siphon fails, the water level will be below the height of the floor. I have even considered that if I dig the pit deep enough then the siphon will never fail because as the head approaches the level of the outlet hose, the flow rate will slow--eventually to zero if the pit is deep enough.

So my hands are skinned since I made the hole in the slab only just wide enough for my hand to fit.