a Someone should care, maybe not you....: August 2006 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

31 August 2006

Apple pancakes....

I mentioned the Finnish Baked Apple pancakes I made last week and said I would get back to them. Well, this morning I woke up early and made some for breakfast.

These are really quite simple to make.
You need
4 eggs, 1.5 cups of milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 cups of sifted flour, 3 tart apples, 3 tablespoons of butter, and cinnamon sugar (the book recommends 1/2 cup sugar mixed with 3 teaspoons cinnamon)

You beat the eggs until thick then add the milk, salt and sugar. Sift in the flour (I just added it) and mix it in well. Let the batter stand for 30 minutes while you peel, core, and slice up your apples and make the cinnamon sugar.
Now you butter two 8-9 inch pans well and sprinkle in some of the cinnamon sugar. Arrange the apples in the pans. Sprinkle the remainder of the cinnamon sugar on the apples and "dot with butter" I really have no idea what "dot with butter means so I melted the stuff and poured it onto the apples. Now pour the batter over the apples dividing equally between the two pans, bake for about 30 minutes at 375 or until the top of the pancake is golden and set.
Serve it hot. Cut into wedges. Traditionally cream is poured over the serving and you eat it that way.
I put Eddy's Vanilla Ice Cream on mine.
As a variation I made one of them with Apples and the other with hard pears picked from my trees. The Picture below is the one with pears.

I am still working on my long post which is a story from my time in Iraq which was brought to mind by this story.

30 August 2006

What is this?

I am actually in the process of writing a very long post but since I am only half way through it here is something to ponder while I finish it.

Can you tell me what this is? Kudos to those who can guess correctly. I'll post a recipe in your honor.

HINT: It is biological.

28 August 2006

You may have already heard this but Hassan Nassrallah, the head of Hezbollah, has declared that if he had known that it would cause a war he wouldn't have ordered his fighters to capture the two Israeli soldiers that started this whole mess. I just wonder how he could NOT have known. Hamas had captured one soldier and drawn the Israeli army back into Gaza in force searching for him. How could Nasrallah expect less? Add to the capture of the two soldiers the fact that Hezbollah was launching rockets into major cities and it seems kind of like a dare. One that he wasn't expecting Israel to take.

Of course he hasn't released the two soldiers he captured yet so all of this could be just so much talk to make himself look better. I rather doubt it though. I suspect he was expecting some artillery and maybe a brief raid by Israeli Special Forces. I don't think he was expecting a response on the scale he got. Not that it makes any real difference in the end. He still leads a private army that needs to be disarmed if there is to be any hope of peace in Lebanon.

26 August 2006

One would think I didn’t have anything to say since I haven’t been posting. Not even comments on other people’s blogs. But no, it is more that, my DSL modem got killed in a recent storm and I just managed to get it set back up yesterday.
At any rate, I have decided that I really need to stop living my life as a metaphor for the Middle East. Last week I had decided to tame the rough edges of my yard. As I was running the mower over the yard suddenly I was engulfed in a swarm of yellow jackets that had set up housekeeping in a hole in my yard. If you have never had the opportunity to sit on a riding lawn mower in the midst of a stinging swarm, consider yourself lucky. It is not an experience I recommend. The yellow jackets hurt me (enough stings and you begin getting strange tingling sensations and aches in your arms), but in the end I upped the force level and killed them all. (a quarter of a gallon of gasoline delivered to their hole finished things handily.)

On a totally different topic, I recently watched one of my favorite movies, Cemetery Man starring Rupert Everett. If you have never seen this then I recommend that you do. Although I must qualify that recommendation with the caveat that this movie is … different. How different you ask? Well, it is a zombie movie. An Italian zombie movie. A zombie movie that features a loving caring relationship between the severed head of the Mayor’s teenage daughter and Gnaghi. What is a Gnaghi you ask? Good bloody question. He is the assistant of the cemetery caretaker and is in theory a human. The caretaker himself, Fransico Delamorte, falls in love with, then kills the same girl three times while also dispatching the walking dead (including a busload of boyscouts). So it is a zombie movie with necrophilia and mass murder. And, to top it off it is an ART FLICK! Yes, you read that correctly, it is an Italian Zombie Art Flick. Watch it if you dare.

While the DSL was out I cooked again. Sorry, no pictures of it at the moment but I will do a repeat as it was A. VERY GOOD, and B. Very Easy. Finnish Baked Apple Pancakes. Eggs, a little flour, a little milk, a lot of cinnamon and sugar, and some apples. Exceptionaly good.

Now on to topic number four for the day, the UN in Lebanon. I am vastly amused that France which was going to lead the peacekeeping mission weaseled and said it would only send 200 troops. Then, when Italy ups and says it will be happy to lead the mission and send 3000 troops, France suddenly says “NO wait, we’ll send 2000 and we want to lead it.” I have heard a lot of commentators and reporters asking what changed and heard a lot of answers about France receiving guarantees from the Israelis and the Lebanese, or a clearer definition of the mission (France wrote the UN measure that called for Peace Keepers, don’t you think they would know what the mission was????) NO, the reason France stood up to do the job suddenly is because their Gallic Pride couldn’t stand the idea of Italy taking over and doing it instead of them. Personally, I hope the UN goes ahead and makes Italy the leader of the mission. Frankly, in this case I do not trust the French to actually make any effort to disarm Hezbollah. I actually rather doubt that anyone is going to make any effort so this “Cease Fire” is just that, a brief Cease fire before the fighting kicks off again in a much larger and serious battle. As Israel tries to pour a gallon or so of gas on their yellow jackets.

17 August 2006

How would you like to sleeping one night and have the person sleeping next to you sit up (thus waking you) and say in a creepy dead pan voice "Put it on the table." "huh?" you ask, "Just put it on the table." "Ah, put what on the table dear?" "The body, put the body on the table." Then they go back to sleep.

No, this did not happen to me. It was a story told by a voice actor telling why she thinks she got a role playing a rather strange character in an anime called Noir. I thought it was interesting. And I did like the anime too.
This anime leads me to ask the great question yet again of why (in movies at least) do evil geniuses keep kipnapping groups of girls and torturing and killing them until only one is left to become their great assassin. IN my mind that would be excessively foolish because you are A. Wasting huge amounts of resources training people that you are going to slaughter and B. What on earth (at least in the real world) would keep this finalized perfect assassin from looking at you and say thanks for the gun and blowing your brains out? Who knows but it certainly is a much reused theme. Noir does manage to jump out of this at the end but I was wondering for several episodes.

Now, on a different topic. I nearly fried myself the other morning. Literally. I was using an old vacuum cleaner to clean up some cat liter when it's motor began to emit smoke and such. It was dead. So I turned it off and decided I would throw it away when I hauled my trash out later. When I came back about an hour later I picked it up them looked at it's very long cord and though "I can use that, maybe make an extension cord from it or something." So, I went to my tool bench and picked up a pair or wire cutters and went back and sniped the cord off. When the sparks began flying out of the cord and the popping noises began it dawned on me that, like a TOTAL IDIOT, I had not unplugged the damn thing. I am mildly impressed by my reaction time because when I noticed it I was suddenly five feet back crouched on the weight bench examining my hand for burn marks. NO burns, not even shocked which surprised the heck out of me. Especially since the wire cutters I was using were old and had no insulation on the hanldles. I was, suffice it to say, luckier than I have any right to be. I reached over, unplugged the cord and went on about my day shaking my head at my stupidity.

In Lebanon Hezbollah has declared that it won't be disarmed. The Lebanese Army has declared that it won't try and disarm Hezbollah, and the French who were expected to take the leading role in this UN force to occupy southern Lebanon has declared that it only wants to send a small contingent of troops. I knew this would happen. This is not a peace opportunity, this is merely a pause to rearm and catch ones breath before fighting again. There will be no peace in Lebanon as long as there are private militias operating in the area.

13 August 2006

Sorry for the delay

Sorry for the delay folks, I have been away from the internet for a few days.  Up painting my sister’s dining room, cleaning her pool, and doing a few other random chores.  Her pool was interesting as it was the first opportunity I have had to use my SCUBA gear in awhile.  It is more fun scraping algae off the sides and bottom while underwater.
I awoke earlier this week and thought to myself,  “Well, self, I guess it is time to turn NPR on and see what abomination we have done to ourselves today.”  And sure enough, several “quiet, peaceful” folks in England had been arrested after deciding to blow up a bunch of airplanes filled with their fellow Great Brittan’s, and assorted tourists.  Luckily for all concerned they were arrested beforehand instead of in a sweep afterwards.
I had a request to address this issue and how it may affect us.  Frankly, except for the vast inconvenience to be experienced by flyers, it probably won’t.  The system worked just the way it is supposed to work.  Intel services in Pakistan and G.B. worked together after an arrest in PK triggered some alarms, interrogations were done and information was gathered leading to the detention of a bunch of suspects who were “allegedly” plotting evil deeds.  It is good to see things work right.
Is it now safe to fly?  Yes.  Frankly it is safer today than it was last week because these fools are out of the system. Is it vastly annoying to fly?  Yes and it will be so for awhile.  Especially if you are going through London where you cannot take any carry on luggage at all.  I would HATE being stuck on a trans-Atlantic flight without even a book.  But that is what it looks like folks are stuck with for awhile.  Here in the US we merely can’t carry liquids or gels on the plane.  So no more taking a bottle of soda with you on the plane, you have to depend on the airline for that half a can of whatever.

Now there are a few people out there who will mutter and cry that this whole thing is a diversion to distract attention form some other event.  I doubt it.  There are whole groups of people who examine things like this for what if scenarios.  But for most of us if we start down that road pretty soon we end up with a Sicilian assassin talking to a pirate about who knows what concerning Iocane powder.  And down that road lies confusion and madness.

On other fronts, the Israeli Government is secretly celebrating that the UN finally got around to giving them an acceptable out to the Lebanese Tar Baby.  All their talk of expanded land offensives was a pressure tool to get people moving faster.  They did not want to get further involved.  Hezbollah is equally happy because while they have been getting great headlines they have also been getting their asses kicked.  They will be happy to get back to muttering dire threats without having to worry about bombs and artillery.  The sad thing though is that this won’t solve anything.  There is nothing in the UN agreement (and it would be ignored if there was) disarming Hezbollah.  And as long as there is a militia force sitting near Israel with the stated intention of destroying said nation, then it is a foregone conclusion that there will be a repeat of the past month.  It is just a matter of when.  Next time it will be worse too because Hezbollah will be even more cocky and confident in it’s ability and the Israelis will not be going for a limited force air strike option.  They will go full out crush, kill, and destroy.  Lebanon is pretty much screwed unless its government (which includes Hezbollah) can find a way to rein Hezbollah in.  And that won’t be easy.

04 August 2006


Or to be more specific, Cake. The other day I got a bit of junk mail from Southern Living advertising a recipe book. As part of it they had a recipe for a Chunky Apple Cake with Cream Cheese frosting. I took a quick look and decided this was a go. So , last night I baked again. It is good.


1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Cream Cheese Frosting
Chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl until blended.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apple slices and 1 cup walnuts. Spread into a greased 13- x 9-inch pan.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread with Cream Cheese Frosting; sprinkle with walnuts, if desired.


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and salt, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla.

Now, as usual I modified the recipe a bit to fit my needs. I used the hard pears that grow here instead of apples. I have an apple tree but the few apples it produces are about the size of a golf ball. (and those are the big ones) So, pears it was. Also I only had one cup of regular sugar so I finished up that two cups of sugar bit with a cup of brown sugar.

Over all the cake is excellent.

03 August 2006

Guilt in the Middle East?

Well, everyone who had been saying “Israel is doing the right thing!” are starting to change their tunes. It seems the thought of civilian casualties turns Israel from a righteous defender of their territory to a vicious oppressor of the masses. The sad ting I suppose is that it seems that Israel wanted to strike back at Hezbollah without invading Lebanon so they went with airpower. Unfortunately this kind of restraint has a serious downside. Namely, that airplanes are great for blowing up buildings but really lousy about knowing what is inside them. So, if some rockets are launched from the vicinity of a building the airplanes come and flatten the building without being able to see that there is a bomb shelter inside it. This is a serious downside to airpower. All of this should be clearly obvious to anyone who has observed the effects of America’s past efforts. Airpower is excellent for blowing up tanks that are on the move or are sitting in the dessert. It is much less effective when vehicles are hiding or small groups of people are hiding. Airplanes haven’t worked for hinting down and destroying Al Queda in
Afghanistan and it won’t work for killing Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel has realized it now and the troops are moving in across the boarder which will simultaneously result in fewer civilian casualties and in increased condemnation from the international community. Unfortunately, the decrease in civilian casualties will be short lived because Hezbollah’s fighters will set up their defensive positions right in front of or even in the civilians of the area. Of course in that part of Lebanon Hezbollah really is the civilian population. They are the police, the teachers, the firefighters, the politicians, damn near everyone. So the folks who aren’t Hezbollah are thoroughly mixed with those who are, and when mixes like that happened people are just going to get killed. Who is in the wrong here? Everyone, no one, take your pick. They are all guilty. As George Carlin says, “Your birth certificate is proof of guilt.” In this part of the world I think that is a pretty accurate call.