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Holy Crap.

Katrina: The Gathering. Genius. Pure, unadulterated genius. Hammers the left as hard as the right.

Big Dog Rides Again

You know, Clinton wasn’t the best president we ever had, and God only knows he had his share of fuckups, but Lord above, listen to the man speak and ask yourself if you wouldn’t rather he be in office right now. O for a leader, instead of a glove-puppet.

Best. Venison Stew. EVAH.

So it’s almost hunting season, and we still have a few packages of last year’s doe meat in the freezer. Time for it to go, to make way for the fresh stuff, ergo, time for my favorite venison stew recipe. This makes a big darn pot; enough to feed a large family of hungry people, or two people for several meals.

Ingredients:

6-pack of dry hard cider (I like “K”)

1 sweet onion, minced

Double handful of crimini mushrooms, sliced

other vegetables to taste (peas, beans, carrots, baby potatoes — whatever you have lying around)

handful of pearl barley

Miso paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 packages venison steaks (elk or moose would also do, for my Alaskan and Canadian buddies)

Place the thawed steaks in a tupperware container and pour in four bottles of the hard cider. Cover tightly and marinate the steaks overnight, turning them over once in the process.

The next day, pour off the marinade into your biggest pot and set it a-boilin’. Trim all the tendons and connective tissue and bones off the steaks. As you do, don’t throw them away. Toss them into the pot so they’ll add to the flavor of the broth. Slice the steaks into bite-size nuggets and brown in a little olive oil. Deglaze the pan with a little of the broth mixture, and add to the pot. Set cooked steak aside. Panfry the mushrooms. Deglaze. Panfry the onions. Deglaze. Set each aside with the steak.

Let the broth simmer while you chop up all the rest of the veggies. When you’re done, strain the broth from your big pot into a smaller pot with a colander in it. Make sure all the marrow’s out of the bones and into the broth; if it’s not, use a knife to poke the marrow out. Set aside the cooked, tendony steaklets and empty bones for your neighbor’s dogs. Pour the now-strained broth from the smaller pot back into the big pot and return to heat. Add miso paste to taste. (I like miso much better than boullion or canned broth — its earthy, fermenty taste goes especially well with this recipe. Add paste until the broth becomes as salty as you like it.)

Dump in the uncooked veggies, the onion, mushrooms, barley, garlic and steak. Cover and cook for several hours.

Eat. Drink the two remaining ciders from the 6-pack with dinner.

Fill the crockpot for the next day, and put any stew that won’t fit in tupperware and freeze. Cook crockpot all night and all day, adding water as necessary. It only gets better, the longer it cooks.

Two-Stroke Invasion Tour

Hey, y’all. Paul’s out doing a signing at Green Brain Comics, one of our favoritest stores in the whole wide world. You should totally go. Know why? In addition to the Moped Army Comic debut, you also get to meet members of the Actual Moped Army: the Noviy Lef branch. You also get Moped Army cookies, which we frosted last night. Dang, wish I’d taken pictures.

Sanity Day

I took today off as a sanity/catchup day, and boy am I glad I did. I got out of the house, did some baking, did some around-the-house tasks and used last night to get caught up on old tasks. Now my desk is clear and I’m gonna spend the rest of the night finishing paintings, and maybe writing one of Jen Contino’s long-lost columns. Paul got signoff on the first Manga site, and I’m ready to start pounding code for it. Woo! We may make it through this month after all.

Acorn Bread

… is yummy. I baked it today after returning from the Great Q-Tip Caper.

Recipe:

Acorn bread

Makes 1 loaf

1 cup acorn flour*

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 egg

1/2 cup honey

3 tablespoons cooking oil

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine egg, honey, milk and oil. Add wet mixture to the dry ingredients gradually while mixing with a whisk or electric mixer. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

******

I actually made another (very) small batch of flour last night from the Prospect Park bur oak trees. Their nutmeats were much larger and sweeter than the other oak tree’s, and only required about three changes of water. They tasted better after one boiling than the others did after seven or eight. So yeah, I guess you just gotta make friends with a good old oak tree; find one that gives you nice big sweet acorns and visit her often.

MMmmm, acorny. I *do* need a coffee grinder, though, to make proper acorn flour instead of meal. Anyone got a spare?

The Great Q-tip Caper

So I was finally sick of screaming at the TV and the computer, apoplectic with rage at the handling of Hurricane relief. On Wednesday, I emailed the local branch of American Red Cross to see if there were anything I could do (other than giving cash) to directly help out the 250+ Hurricane Evacuees that are staying at Fort Custer in Augusta Township, near Battle Creek.

They said yes, and forwarded me a list of items they needed, in large quantities. After I touched base with my friends and rounded up some donations for the cause, I settled on two items to provide: deodorant and q-tips. Now, I know that sounds stupid, but when I asked the ARC contact which two items were the most urgently needed, that’s what she told me.

I phoned around on my lunch hour on Thursday and found out that no local chain stores would help me buy the items by offering me a discount. Not Meijer’s, not Kmart, and I was warned by ARC to not even bother with Wal-mart. When I called Meijer’s corporate, the secretary got real snippy with me, too ( Hey, snippy secretary: You suck. I know Meijer donated a ton of product already, but Meijer is a Michigan company, headquartered here, and these are evacuees located in our state. Thanks for the friggin hospitality. ) Yeesh.

I finally got one of the independently-owned grocery stores here in town to agree to sell me the stuff wholesale, but they didn’t call me back with a confirmation until noon Friday, after I’d already left to start shopping. Didn’t really matter in the long run because Dollar Stores RULE, and the Harding’s wholesale price wouldn’t have been much cheaper.

The original game plan was for me to spend Thursday night running around and buying all the stuff, and drive it out on Friday, but I hesitated and waited to see if I could get any corporate sponsorship. So instead of spending today painting and last night running around, I flipped the two; got most of a page painted and studio errands done, then ran around buying stuff today.

So I bought 250 deodorants (125 male, 125 female) and 175 boxes of q-tips. Unsurprisingly, the q-tips were the buggerall to find. Things would have gone faster if I’d have just skipped the Rite Aid, Walgreens and Meijer’s altogether; Thankfully we live in a lower-income part of town, and the Family Dollar, Big Lots and Harding’s-with-the-dollar-aisle were all within 1/2 mile of the house, and each other. Another dollar store netted me 70 boxes of q-tips (score!) and I was off to Battle Creek with my toiletry booty.

The ARC people were, like, overjoyed to see me. Seriously. How awesome is that? I guess they really needed those items. If there was only one lesson to be learned out of The Great Q-Tip Caper, it is this: CALL AHEAD AND ASK WHAT ARC NEEDS. While I was there, I watched the ARC members turn away kindhearted couples who showed up with bags of food and pillows and such. These were ordinary, well-meaning citizens who’d tacked on a few extra necessity items to their shopping list and brought them over, trying to help out their fellow man. Only problem is, the items were one of this thing, or two that thing, and they’d need to be divided among 175 families. Not to mention sparing the manpower to sort and deliver each item as it came in. Because I called ahead, I found out exactly what they needed and how much of each item; I was able to fill a specific need (as dorky as it may have sounded initially) and therefore was able to help the ARC instead of hindering them.

If you have evacuees in your community (and doubtless many of you do if we’ve got some here in Battle Creek, of all places) and you feel moved to help out directly, please follow this advice and call your local ARC chapter to see what they need and where. They may need you to even do administrative stuff like sort toiletries or write thank-you notes to all the donors. Ya never know.

The total came to around $600; thanks to everyone who already agreed to pitch in and share the load. I’ve put the word out to our local Quakers, and they seemed interested in helping fund it too. If you feel moved to throw a couple bux my way though, I won’t say no. Paypal account is OrderVogelein@hotmail.com.

Rockstar!

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.

Lurrrrrrve.

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

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