a Someone should care, maybe not you....: November 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.

28 November 2006

Cooking again.....

As the Thanksgiving Day celebration rolled around I knew it was time to cook again. I though for awhile I would do the big deal, the BIRD. But my father decided he would do it as he enjoys cooking the turkey. There had been sort of a plan among us siblings that we would do the cooking and let the parents relax, but hey, if he wants to continue making great turkey, that is fine by me. I was of course making Sima, which I have written about and described before. (Here) It also came about that I would do bread. And not just any bread, a special bread that had become a tradition in our family since we lived in Finland for a year back in the late 60s. I had always heard it called Swiss Braid. (which really makes no sense at all when one thinks about it since it was a Finish bread but hey, it is my memory.) The recipe book calls it Pulla, a yeast coffee bread. Ingredients are as follows:
1 package active dry yeast; ½ cup warm water; 2 cups milk, scalded then cooled to lukewarm; 1 cup (or less) sugar; 1 teaspoon slat; 7-8 whole cardamom pods, seeded and crushed(about 1 teaspoon); 4 eggs beaten; 8-0 cups flour (sifted)1/2 cup melted butter.

Then there is a glaze that goes on top that is 1 egg beaten, and you can add sliced or chopped almonds and crushed lump sugar if you wish.

To begin, you dissolve the yeast in the warm water, then stir in the milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, eggs, and enough flour to make a batter, (about 2 cups)You should beat this until the batter is smooth and elastic then add three more cups of flour and continue beating untl it is smooth and glossy in appearance. Now is when you add the melted butter. (I have been told that adding it with the other ingredients will pretty much ruin the bread) Continue beating the dough until it is again glossy then add the remaining flour and stir it in until a stiff dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, cover and let rest for 15 minutes. (I guess it is tired after being beaten smooth and glossy) Then you knead it until it is smooth and satiny. (I beat the fool out of it. kneading bread dough is fun) Now you put the dough into a lightly greased mixing bowl turning it so both sides are greased, cover let rise in a warm place for about an hour. It should about double in bulk. Then you beat it down and let it rise again for about half an hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and divide into three parts, divide each of these into three parts too. (Math quiz, without using your fingers or going back to re read the sentence, how many parts do you have now?)
Roll each of the parts into a strip about 16 inches long by rolling between the hands and the board. Braid three of the parts into a loaf and repeat until all parts are gone and you have three loaves. Place on a baking sheet, cover and let rise for about 20 minutes. Glaze with the eggs and sprinkle the almonds and sugar onto if you wish. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes. Take out when they are a light golden brown.

Now my variations, I used more cardamom on the advice of my mother who said 1 teaspoon was not nearly enough. I used about three. (She thought I should have used more) When my mother made this she has always made it as a double layered loaf, a bigger braid with a smaller braid on top. I tried this too. It takes longer to cook and in my case the top got a bit too dark to look perfect but it still tasted good. Now, my almost disaster with this came about because I am: A. unemployed and poor, and B. a cheapskate. Thus I don’t use the heat in my house. (Hi welcome, come it, Here’s a coat for you) I do have a wood burning stove that I fired up as I was making this but didn’t make a very big fire. Thus when it came time for the dough to raise my house was too cold and it just sat there. I built the fire up big but by then it was too late. It was time for dinner and the bread was still flat. (CURSES!) I carried the dough with me to the parents’ house where it finished rising and I cooked it after dinner and it was very good. But after is not the same as with dinner. (GRUMP!) Luckily we did have some rolls so there was bread with the dinner anyway.

At any rate, here I what it looked like.

22 November 2006

Interesting? I think so....

I have often made the point in various conversations that the Army is in many ways too interested in keeping good PR on the American TV than in doing the most effective thing to win the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most obvious way this happens is the limits they put on troops to avoid casualties that prevent the troops from doing their jobs. I know, there are a lot of folks who will say, "but they are only trying to protect the soldiers!" And that is good. A soldier should never be wasted in a foolish operation. But, being a soldier in a combat zone is a risky proposition, and dying is part of the game. IF you are too worried about a soldier dying and getting a lot of bad press about it then you are preventing the soldiers from doing their jobs. This was brilliantly pointed out by some Marine snipers in a recent article in the New York Times.

But some snipers now worry that the difficulties they face have been compounded by rules and conditions placed on them by senior military leaders.

Marine snipers have customarily trained to work in two-man teams who hide and stalk for days, seeking targets a half-mile or more away. Often an area might be saturated with snipers, so they can support and protect one another while confusing an enemy force with different angles of fire.

This way, according to their thinking, they can kill more enemy combatants, and sow more fear.

Those two-man teams are not allowed in Iraq, in part because of the killings of two groups of snipers earlier in the war... The losses have made commanders hesitant to send out small teams, Marine officers said, a decision that many snipers said inhibits their work.

Snipers argue a counterintuitive point, saying that even though two-man teams have less firepower and fewer men, they are safer because they can hide more effectively.

Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin, the leader of the battalion'’s First Sniper Team, said the sniper community was suffering from an overreaction. “It’s sad that they got killed, but when you think about it, we’ve been here three years, going on four, and we'’ve only had two teams killed,” he said. "“That'’s not that dramatic."”...He said snipers were willing to assume the risk of traveling in pairs. "“It'’s a war," he said. "“People are going to die, and the American public needs to get over that. They need to get over that and let us do our job."” (emphasis added by exmi) Snipers also say that other force-protection issues are limiting their operations, including requirements to wear helmets and flak jackets, which slow snipers down and make hiding more difficult.

"“You go to a 10-week sniper course and never in that course are you in Kevlar and a helmet,"” Sergeant Jones said. "“Then you come to Iraq and immediately you'’re in your flak jacket and helmet, and you'’ve got a huge pack of gear."

Sergeant Chamblin agreed. "“We are carrying way more stuff than we can be tactically sound with,Â" he said. Â"My arms are numb because my pack is so heavy. Sometimes, on my missions, my pack has weighed more than I have, and I weigh 150 pounds."”

I have heard th same arguements and complaints from SF soldiers that I know or worked with in Afghanistan. These guys are volunteers, they are trained to do a certain job and they know the risks of that job. Let them go and do it.

18 November 2006


I have been reading various political blogs again. Or still.  The left leaning blogs seem to be repudiating all of the bi-partisan talk that the Democrats in Congress are spouting.  They are almost uniformly screaming for a bloodletting.  One writer keeps repeating the phrase “We have subpoena power!” in various forms and declares that she doesn’t want the Democrats to play nice.  The others I read are of much the same line of rhetoric.  In all honesty, I think that the Democrats engaging in a two year vengeance quest would probably be the best thing that could happen to the Republican Party.  Because then when elections roll around in 08 the Republicans could say “Look, the Democrats have been in power for two years and look what they have done for the country, nothing but try and destroy the government.”  And after two years of rhetoric and screaming on the news, that is a call that will resonate with voters, and it will help the Republicans get back into power.
Now the Republican talking heads and blogs are doing their best to make life easier for the Democrats in 08 too.  There is this term I heard on talk radio recently and have begun seeing in blogs now, RINO, Republican In Name Only.  Basically anyone who doesn’t toe the Rush Limbaugh line is declared to be a Democrat in disguise.  When terms like this are thrown at guys like John McCain who have been Republican mainstays for DECADES it does not help the party.  Frankly, if you looked at what Ronald Reagan did during his term in office and what he often said I think he would be considered a RINO today too.  And when the Party ahs turned so much that the father of the modern Republican Party wouldn’t be accepted something is seriously wrong in the state of Denmark.

If the Democrats want to stay in power what should they do?  Work with what is left of the moderate Republicans.  Get some real legislation accomplishments done so that when the elections roll around they will have something POSITIVE to point too.  It would also help if they didn’t nominate Hillary Clinton for President because that would bring the boiling right wing base swarming out to the polls like nothing else.

On a slightly different note, in the left blogs a few weeks ago we were reading that the government needed to listen to Gen Anthony Zinni and the other retired Generals who were calling for Rumsfeld’s  resignation because they are the military leaders and they know what they are talking about.  I somehow don’t expect to hear these bloggers saying we need to listen to these same Generals now that they are ALL, uniformly, saying that to pull out of Iraq in the manner that Carl Levin and John Murtha propose would be a total disaster.  I guess Generals are only useful when they agree with you.  But what else is new.

13 November 2006


I mentioned that I was about to do a post on transvestites the other day and got distracted by pork flavored humans. Well, back on topic.....

A couple of weeks ago I had two movies at my house. One was a stand up comedy routine by Eddie Izzard and the other was the movie Kinky Boots. NOw for those who may not know, Eddie Izzard is a transvestite. (An Executive, Action transvestite to be specific.) Kinky Boots is a movie about a shoe factory in England that is going broke. After a chance meeting between a Drag Queen named Lola and the owner of the factory the ownder decides that ther might be a niche market he can exploint in making sexy boots for drag queens.
Now, where these two intersect as to attract my attention is in the word Transvestite. IN KInky Boots the term Transvestite is used for Lola. Even more so in the comments on the movie if I recall correctly. The term "Drag Queen" I cannot recall being used in the film at all but I may have missed it. Lola is a homosexual wonderfully played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. I say this becsaue in Eddie Izzards routine he talks about being a transvestite and one of the things he states quite firmly is that Transvestites are not the same as Drag Queens. To paraphrase him, A Transvestie is a male tomboy, you could even say a male lesbian in that they like to dress like girls but they still like girls. Drag Queens are a position held by Gay men. He says most trnasvestites are hetrosexual. Now I personally don't know. I am sure there is some clearly defineing difference but I was jsut struck when watching the two films that someone obviously had their terminiology wrong.
I just thought it was interesting.

Oh, and by the way, Go watch Kinky Boots and find Eddies DVDs. They are both great.

11 November 2006

Says You!

Courtesy of my sister I got to go to Charleston South Carolina the other day and sit in on the live recording of this wonderful little word game show. If you haven't turned on your NPR radio station and listen to this you should. It is entertaining, and educational at the same time. Says You is a "A game of whimsy, bluff, and bluster." It will give you the oportunity to learn new words such as "GIB" or "SCRUTO"
go to you local NPR station and listen to this program. Wish that you were as quick witted as some of these folks are.

10 November 2006

uh oh......

Well I was going to write an interesting thing on transvestites but this came up instead. (ok, how many of you are shaking yours heads now wondering if I have totally gone over the edge?????)

It seems people do taste like pork. This has often been stated but no one I know has ever tried it to see. I know that the cannibals of the South Seas used to refer to human meat as "long pork". (It is thought this may have something to do with the fact that humans like pigs carry their fat outside the muscles instead of marbled within them. Taste Study)

But, to get back to the source of this particular bit of writing, the Japanese have come up with a robot that is capable of "identifying wines, cheeses, meats and hors d'oeuvres" when given a small sample. It is planned to enable people to tell the authenticity of wines, or identify unknown food perhaps. (Or maybe the Japanese just thought it would be fun. Who knows?) At any rate a reported stuck his hand into the robots mouth and was identified as bacon. Another tried and came out as prosciutto. (a fancy Italian ham for those who wonder) So, it is official. We do taste like pork. Or maybe reporters really are pigs......


08 November 2006


Two in a day but hey, Donald Rumsfeld has resigned at SecDef. All I can say to that is


I really think he should have been canned back about August 2003 when it became glaringly obvious that he had been dead bloody wrong when he Pooh Poohed Gen Shinseki's concerns about how many troops would be needed to pacify Iraq and how long it would take. (more than we have there now and several more years)

Former CIA head Robert Gates has been nominated as his replacement. I expect the confirmation hearing will be brutal.

It's over

The election that is. thank god. I was getting REAL tired of picking up the phone to hear "I am calling with an Important message about......" and getting a million dead trees in the mailbox for this candidate or that one.
The Dems won as I am sure you all know unless you hiding under a rock. Now the big question is what are they going to do with Congress now they have it? They obviously have no plan to accomplish anything. Or if they do they have been hiding it from everyone. (Which should make us all nervous) Many left wing bloggers are actually calling for congress to spend the next two years on a witch hunt against the Bush Administration. I suppose from a political POV the Republicans should welcome that. It will make the Dems look mean spirited and will prevent them from actually accomplishing anything. And the Reps. will happily sell Bush out to regain the House adn prehaps keep the WH.
Unfortunetly for the country if this path is taken, NOTHING will get done for the next two years.
It will be interesting to see how the new moderate Democrats that have just been elected to office will interact with the exceptionaly non moderate Party leadership. Not smoothly I suspect. Will there be any Bi partisanship displyed? Probably not because the moderate Republican who would have worked with the Moderate Democrats were for the most part the guys who got voted out of office. So the House consists of the hardcore Republican Right and a Democratic Party led by the hardcore Democratic Left.

It will be an unpleasent two years. God alone knows what effect this will actually have on the War. (My personal guess is very little. Depite all their talk no Dem wants to linked to abandoning the effort so it will continue. But with probalby less focus.)

05 November 2006

Why not something different?

It is about time to vote and everyone is pulling out their red and blue states. Well folks, if you are REALLY unhappy witht he way things are going in this country it is well beyond time to stop looking Republican or Democrat and choose something new. Now I know everyone will say "But voting for a third party is throwing your vote away!" Or "Voting for the X party is giving the election to the(insert Republican or Democrat here depending on who is complaining)" I beg to differ.

What will really make the political parties sit up and take notice? Staying home? Nope, they absolutely don't mind if the majority of the people sit home, so long as more of the ones who come out vote for them. What bug them the most is if you leave and vote for someone else. And since the Republicans and the Democrats have had equal opportunity to screw up the system in our government it is time to go and vote for someone else. Now. Will that someone else win? Probably not. But if the main parties see everyone going off to other groups they will begin to absorb the platforms of those other groups to draw people back. You saw this after the Ross Perot uprising, everyone went "Reform" crazy to bring those voters back. It has been done in the past too. The Socialist party was the first to push for Child labor laws and Womens' suffrage, the major parties followed when the idea became big. The income tax was first pushed for by the Populist Party and the Socialist Party. And there are more

So go and give a third party a look.

There are a lot of them.

The Constitution Party

The Green Party

The Independence Party (of Minnesota) Are these a national group? I don't know......

The Natural Law Party

the Libertarian Party Note: I LIKE these guys, just wish they would come up with a RATIONAL foreign policy.

The Socialist Party

The Communist Party USA

The America First Party

The US Marijuana Party (Guess what they advocate?)

For a much longer list check HERE they include such wonders and the National Barking Spider Resurgence Party, The Scorched Earth Party, The Federation for Southern Independence (where the Confederacy is being reconstituted as I type), and just to cover most parts of the political spectrums The United Fascist Union

Go, give them a look, find someone NEW to vote for and upset the Reds and the Blues by voting MAGENTA!

02 November 2006

I wasn't going to do this.....

I was planning on skipping the whole John Kerry insults the troops by calling them stupid but wait, no it's just that he is too stupid to tell a joke right. (yeah, I am sure his speach writers sat up for awhile to think of that one.)
But, I got this picture in the email today and it is just too appropriate.

The unit making this poster is the 34th Infantry Brigade of the Army National Guard.