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Paul Sizer was on the radio tonight! I even got a shoutout. Here’s the MP3! And guess what else? He’s also Ninth Art’s Book of the Week.

And guess what else what else? Our buddy Emily and her boy Dirk are in today’s NARBONIC. Shaenon, you and Dr. Narbon Rockity Rock Rock.

Acorn meal

There were a bunch of forces conspiring against me getting anything else done tonight, so I decided I’d just set the acorns out to boil and see how they turned out. I checked in on them about once an hour as I did various other things.

1 lb of acorns == 1/2 pound shelled acorns (a lot were bad or iffy).

1/2 lb of acorns required about 15 gallons of water to get them all de-tannined. Now I know why the native americans just dunked their baskets full of shelled nutmeats in a fast-moving river.

At the end of the night I got maybe 1/2 -2/3 of a cup of very dark brown acorn meal that tastes very bland and un-bitter. as the tannin leached out, there was a very distinct, unpleasant taste to the meal, not unlike latex. Latex being a natural plant sap, this is not too terribly weird. Once it was fully leached, however, the latexy taste went almost completely away. Tomorrow I may try baking a loaf of acorn bread, just for kicks.

I learned the following things:

— grind the shelled nutmeats first using your food processor, then leach them. The smaller the pieces, the faster the leaching process went. (duh).

— boil until the water turns a deep dark impenetrable brown before changing. Yeah, the white nutmeats turn the water dark shoe-leather brown. It’s kinda cool.

— look for a different tree. Contrary to the common wisdom, that particular bur oak had very bitter acorns indeed. If I need a decompressor, this weekend I may head down to Burr Oak Street to have a look at their trees.

Quite time consuming, much like making maple syrup. Still, I’ve blown evenings on dumber pursuits before.

Ya know, I gotta go with the big JC on this one.

31″When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Urban Wilderness

What happens when you take a farm kid obsessed with gardening and nature and the outdoors and cram her into the city for fifteen years?

She starts going a little crazy.

First, she starts gardening. Then she starts landscaping for edibles. Then she starts eating her weeds. Then she starts roaming the neighborhood looking for other wild edibles.

I wish I were kidding.

Paul and I took a trip to the Kzoo nature center this weekend where I saw that the acorns are out in profusion — and I caught a bug in my ear. I’ve long known that acorns are edible, but I’ve never tried processing them, and after about three weeks of solid work (dayjob, novel, websites) I’m about to die in need of some distraction. Some little fiddly crafty thing I can do with my hands. So I went out looking for a white oak today on my lunch hour. A nearby neighborhood street was happy to oblige, and in no time flat, I’d picked a lunchbag full of tiny bur oak acorns.

I have a recipe to use for Acorn Bread. I’ll let y’all know how it turns out.

This won’t be the first time I’ve flipped out and started trying to eat my neighborhood. Back when I lived in Ypsi I’d bike through Gallup Park and pick the fox grapes growing on the railroad fence. They made outstanding grape jelly. Nice and sour.


After watching last night’s broadcast of The Daily Show, it’s official – I want to have Jon Stewart’s babies. The best part? Paul gave me full permission.

Those special prom noogies you ordered…

Remember the big news? It’s here.

What Barbara Bush Thinks About The Poor

Barbara Bush, wife of former President Bush and mother to our current president, has long been presented by the media as a grandmother figure who likes to read to kids and stands by her man through thick and thn.

When Ms. Bush opens her mouth, however, the strangest things come out.

For instance, on March 18, 2003 she spoke to the hosts of Good Morning America about the days-old Iraq war:

“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths,” Barbara Bush said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on March 18, 2003. “Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”

Now hear what she has to say about the disaster in New Orleans:

Accompanying her husband, former President George H.W.Bush, on a tour of hurricane relief centers in Houston, Barbara Bush said today, referring to the poor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, “This is working very well for them.”

The former First Lady’s remarks were aired this evening on National Public Radio’s “Marketplace” program.

Then she added: “What I’m hearing — which is sort of scary — is that they want to stay. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

“And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this–this [she chuckles slightly]is working very well for them.”

Don’t believe me? Hear the audio for yourself, on NPR’s Marketplace.

Let them eat cake, indeed.

Watch this video, if you dare.

New Orleans’ Jefferson Parish president speaks

Rehnquist is dead.

Ladies — in regards to your civil rights — Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

FEMA’s Brown forced to resign from last job…

due to scandal and incompetence. Go figure.

If even ten percent of this post is true…

… then I take back every nice thing I ever said about Ray Nagin. *shiver*

General Honore …

… You are the whippity shit:

The general came to rescue of one young mother trying to carry her twin babies down the street in the terrible heat and humidity of New Orleans, Starr reported. The mother was so exhausted the children were almost falling out of her arms.

The general went up to the woman and took both of her babies, handing them off to soldiers to carry, as he promised the mother that they were going to get her some help. The troops helped the three hurricane victims to a Coast Guard ship, where they were treated for exhaustion and dehydration.

Honore said he wants his troops’ profile in New Orleans to be that of humanitarian relief operations, leaving the law enforcement role to the local police.

John! Scalzi! Rules!

On Being Poor

Roundup of today’s best snark

You know, I was going to write this big long post showing how most of CNN’s reporters just miraculously, spontaneously developed spines, but Jack Shafer over at Slate already did it for me. Go. Read. Has links to real good stuff. Make with the clicky.

Oh, and listen to NOLA Mayor Ray Nagin lay the smackdown on FEMA. Here’s another version.

Furthering the “We oughtn’t spend money to rebuild NOLA ‘cuz it might flood again” logic: Map of Places you better not live in the US because crazy shit happens.

Outraged readers react to today’s quote from GWB by putting his own words into proper perspective.

Putting that one infamous Grover Norquist quote into new light…

Via John Scalzi (Lurve! Again!): Nick Mamatas posts an essay from a guy who literally just escaped NOLA.

Over at, they’re calling for leadership.

Annnnd, lest anyone think I’m laying the blame for this tragedy of epic proportions solely at the feet of the feds, I give you this entry by the Junkyard Blog.

FEMA Director Brown claimed not to know about 10,000 Convention Center Refugees

Via CNN:

MICHAEL BROWN, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: Paula, I think it’s so important for the American public to understand exactly how catastrophic this disaster is.

I mean, we have a major American city, a major urban area that has been totally demolished. And what we’re finding is, is that, as we continue to do the evacuation and get people out, people who have completely lost everything, they have no place to go, they have nothing, that we’re finding other people who are literally coming out of second stories of homes, that are suddenly appearing on bridges that are not under water, that people who were unable or chose not to evacuate are suddenly appearing.

And so, this — this catastrophic disaster continues to grow. I will tell you this, though. Every person in that Convention Center, we just learned about that today. And so, I have directed that we have all available resources to get to that Convention Center to make certain that they have the food and water, the medical care that they need…

ZAHN: Sir, you aren’t telling me…

BROWN: … and that we take care of those bodies that are there.


ZAHN: Sir, you aren’t just telling me you just learned that the folks at the Convention Center didn’t have food and water until today, are you? You had no idea they were completely cut off?


BROWN: Paula, the federal government did not even know about the Convention Center people until today.

The live feed for has its anchors saying: “Last night, refugees arrived in Houston by the busload, and when the AstroDome filled up, over five hundred Houston families turned up to take people into their homes. If these families in Houston could hear about the refugees, why couldn’t the head of FEMA?”

More John Scalzi Lurve

Tell it, Scalzi.

Tell it again.

Oh, and where’s Condi during all this?

Our Secretary of State is shopping for shoes.

And our Vice President?

He’s still on vacation in Wyoming.

I hardly know how to respond to this. The entire southern half of the US — the people who elected these clowns — is in turmoil, and they’re out shoe shopping and on vacation?!?

Way to go, leaders of the free world.

Anderson Cooper Loses his Shit

Look, kids! Anderson Cooper actually starts reporting like a human being with emotions and outrage instead of like an automaton!

The woman that he’s tearing a new asshole is Louisiana’s Democratic Senator, and she deserves the ripjob, because of her simpering — spending precious airtime on sucking up to politicians.

I’m stunned. Nine-Eleven saw the Big Media giving no argument whatsoever against our leaders — any dissent was unpatriotic — but I guess it takes rat-gnawed corpses on Bourbon Street to wake us up.

Thanks to Crooks and Liars for the vid.

Mister Bush, Rome is on Fire.

It is strongly suggested that you quit fiddling.

Scroll down to the bit by CNN Anchor Jack Cafferty.

Hell just called. It’s frozen there.

Did I —


— just hear pResident Bush tell his fellow Americans to conserve energy resources?!

Sorry, I’ll post more after I pry my jaw up offen the floor.

NYT Op-Ed unloads on Bush

Waiting for a leader:

George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.

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