Taking It To Karl

In the wake of Karl Rove's recent public remarks, Take It To Karl, a blog, has been set up to allow veterans and current service members to respond to him.

Over 32,000 visitors in two days. Take a look.

IMBB #16 -- Eggs

There's a more or less monthly foodblogging event called Is My Blog Burning?, which posts a theme at the chosen host blog. People who do dishes around that theme post their work in their own blogs, and the host blog posts links to all the various entries.

This month's theme is "Eggs", and the host blog is Seattle Bon Vivant's blog.

Update, 7/16/05: Seattle Bon Vivant has the links to other entries posted now, here in Part 1 and Part 2. (81 entries in all.)

I've been following the IMBB events for a few months, but haven't had the time or inspiration to contribute until today, when I realized the lunch I was whipping together fit the newest IMBB theme. AND I had the digital camera handy. So here it is:

AKA Blutwich: Blutwurst Scramble Sandwich

1/2 Cup diced blutwurst
2 Eggs
2 tablespoons buttermilk
The Holy Trinity (salt, pepper, garlic) to taste.
French roll

Saute diced blutwurst slightly until it starts to crumble in the skillet. Mix eggs, buttermilk, and seasonings together. Arrange blutwurst in a ring in skillet, pour egg mixture into center. Cook, turning gently; you want the eggs and blutwurst mixed but not homogenized.

Spoon cooked mixture onto French roll. Enjoy

Blutwich in progress. Posted by Hello

Finished: looks gruesome, tastes good. Posted by Hello

Making this again, I'd probably cut the recipe in half and put it on a smaller roll, or split it between two people; it was a bit large for one.


I Have No Idea. . .

. . .why everything in this blog after the header is suddenly appearing underlined and/or boldfaced.

Update, 6/23/05: I checked the template, per Patrick Connor's suggestion, but didn't find anything that, so far as I could tell, would account for the universal underlining after the header. (Didn't really expect to, since the last time I made any changes to the template was when I updated some links on the blogroll, months ago.)

So I decided to try changing templates. Seems to have worked, except that the profile is now underlined. I can live with that, if the rest of the blog stays okay. Now I'll have to reinsert the blogroll info and the Malzberg quote.

AND... when the Malzberg quote came out underlined, I checked again, and found an end-underline command in the template, WITHOUT -- search as I might -- a begin-underline command anywhere before it in the template. But by moving that end-underline command before everything in the sidebar, I seem to have gotten everything back the way it should be.


I was getting a little tired of the "Scribe" template anyway, so we'll stick with this "Sand Dollar" for a while.

Re-Update, 6/25/05: Well, fooey. The more recent posts are okay, but now everything from the "HEY KIDS!" entry and after is underlined again. [scratches head]

[a few minutes later] Found it. Missing closing HTML for the title on the 'HEY KIDS!" post. I'm scrabbling up the learning curve bit by bit.

The Household's Newest Occupant(s)

We've been holding the line at four cats for the household (our three -- Gremlin, Tia, and Bastet, and our housemate Kay's one --Shadow).

However, when Hilde and I were over at her brother and sister-in-law's house last month to help Greg install a new swamp cooler on the roof, Hilde was sitting out in the front yard when a small, incredibly friendly, young cat came up and started rubbing against her legs and purring. Greg and Deb said it had been around the neighborhood for several weeks, but apparently didn't have owners. They hadn't taken it in because of 1) their large dogs, and 2) one of their closest friends and another frequent visitor are EXTREMELY allergic to cats.

So we ended up bringing the cat home, right? Wrong! We were tempted, but we gritted our teeth and kept telling ourselves "We already have four cats, we already have four cats..." and went home without it.

So a few days later housemate Kay goes over to visit Greg & Deb, and comes home with...

Cassandra Posted by Hello

...a small, incredibly friendly, young cat.

Cassandra was kept in a separate room for several days, until we could get her to the vet and checked out for feline leukemia or other diseases. The vet said she was about nine or ten months old, and gave her a clean bill of health.

Well... if you don't count the part about being pregnant, and probably due to drop several kittens in 1-2 weeks.

""We've been suckered!" I cried when Kay told us the vet's news. "Again!" responded Hilde. (Back in the early 80's, a small white cat, mewing piteously, jumped up on the kitchen windowsill while I was getting ready for work. We took her in, and several weeks later Bridget gifted us with five kittens.)

This actually explained a lot. Cassandra had obviously spent a lot of time around people and other animals, and not that much out on the street. So apparently her original owners, when they realized she'd been knocked up, drove her to a different part of town and tossed her out to live or die on her own. Which is how our household eventually ended up with such a sweet-tempered cat. (So thanks a lot, you fucks, you shits, you goddamned walking pieces of moral filth! Thanks.)

Rather than 1-2 weeks, it turned out to only be one day later before Cassandra produced...

"Tentatively Andy" Posted by Hello

...a white & dark-grey tabby-marked kitten. (There was a second kitten, but it didn't survive. It may have been laid on by its mother and suffocated; this happens sometimes, particularly with first-time litters.)

The kitten's slightly over two weeks old now. Both mother and kitten seem to be doing fine. Our friend Anne has expressed interest in adopting Andy when he gets old enough.

The other cats, and the dog, seem to be adapting well to the new cat. (I'm not sure they've realized the kitten is there yet, since it's only been out of its nesting box a few times, for a few minutes.)

Well, for some reason, Gremlin does seem to feel a bit insecure about his place in the household...

We are not recycling any of the cats, honest. Posted by Hello

HEY, KIDS! Don't Let Any Of Your Dumb-Ass Grownups Try This At Home!

Multi-tasking is NOT an option. Posted by Hello

Who knew? Dry potting soil is flammable.

In fact, it will smolder and burn slowly, for hours, like a not-so-good cigar, as all the peat moss and other organic material in the potting mix burns into ash, and the plastic pot melts and shifts into a Geiger-influenced piece of alien art.

The lesson here is... when you have smokers visiting the house, maybe you should hunt up an actual ashtray for them to use, rather than having them drop their cigarette butts into that handy pot of "dirt".


Why Enlistments Are Down

The Army and Marines are continuing to fail to meet monthly enlistment quotas.

I am reminded of one of the other neighborhood kids in my teenage years, in the late Sixties, during the Vietnam War.

Mike was a war-lover. His idea of "The Good Old Days" was World War II. He hated Germans. Nazis in particular, but Germans in general. He wanted to kill Germans. He used to take war comics and slash at them with a penknife, muttering "Take that, Jerry! Die, Kraut!" He was... oh, what's a polite word?... nuts.

But since WWII was over ("Damn it!"), it looked like he'd have to settle for Vietnam, and a chance to kill Asians instead. As soon as he finished high school, he said, he was going into the military and volunteering for Vietnam.

Then his mother had a heart-to-heart talk with him:

"Mike, as your mother, I want you to know that I don't want you going into the military, and I especially don't want to see you going to Vietnam. In fact, I so MUCH want you to not go to Vietnam that I will STOP you. I will stop you any way I have to. Do you see this box on the table? Let me show you what's in it. This is your father's handgun. It's loaded, and I'm pointing it at your leg. Specifically, I'm pointing it at your kneecap. If you TRY to join the military, if you even THINK of trying to join the military, I will take this gun and put a bullet through your knee. I am serious; I mean every word I am saying. If you try and join the military, I WILL SHOOT YOUR STUPID BRAINLESS ASS RIGHT IN THE KNEECAP. I will CRIPPLE you. I will cripple my own son, and go to prison for it, rather than see him die in a godforsaken hellhole for no good reason. Have I made my feelings on this matter clear?"

Mike never enlisted. Last I heard of him, he was leading a normal life, with a wife and children, in Puerto Rico.

I suspect there are other mothers right now, holding similar conversations with their children about the military and Iraq.



A French shoe designer is producing a line of shoes decorated in "Hindu mythological style", including a depiction of the Hindu god Rama.

A number of Hindus are upset.

The news article says, in part:

"It has come to the notice of Hindu Human Rights Group that you are currently marketing shoes with the pictures of our sacred and highly revered Hindu god Lord Rama printed on them," said a letter sent to Minelli by Web-based activist group Hindu Human Rights Group (www.hinduhumanrights.org) .

"We wish to point out to you that Lord Rama thus illustrated is actually worshipped by millions of Hindus across the world. It stands to reason that such a display of contempt for the spiritual beliefs and practices of a billion Hindus worldwide is causing a sense of fury and outrage in the Hindu community and we have received numerous complaints from Hindus in France."


The group wants Minelli to withdraw the product. "Hindu Human Rights ask that you withdraw this line of shoes from circulation and sale immediately so as to prevent further unwarranted stress and distress to Hindus worldwide. Naturally, we also expect you to publish a fully apology to the Hindu community," the website adds.

Expatriate attorney Brij Mohan Dhir has supported the bid, and is himself mobilizing opinion to protest production and marketing of the shoe.

In a letter to Minelli, he wrote, "Your act and conduct showing Lord Rama on shoes is rather degrading, defaming, agitating, upsetting, intolerable, outraging our religious beliefs and emotions, spreading ill will and hate between the communities, and against the norms of democracy and fraternity or brotherhood and against law and order as it may cause breach of peace in the world."

The San Francisco-based activist has circulated a copy of the letter widely on the Internet. If Minelli doesn't back down, he is considering filing a complaint in the European Court of Human Rights, he warned.

I recognize the language used in the complaining website and by Mr. Dhir: It's lawyerese.

"contempt", "fury", "outrage", "stress", "distress", and that entire "degrading, defaming" et cetera paragraph from Dhir are all in a standard style for complaint letters: use strong language, predict dire consequences, and imply that any offense by the person addressed was deliberate and malicious. In short, start from the most extreme position.

Doing so means that when both sides compromise and reach a settlement, the odds are it'll be a fairly reasonable settlement. Standard legal negotiating tactic.

But... c'mon, is there an official Office of Hindu Symbolism Trademark & Copyright Protection somewhere? What Minelli has done is... crass. It's commercial. It's co-opting religious symbols to make money.

But what he's also done is... produced some really cool-looking shoes. I think those white pumps with the Hindu-style woman's face are lovely. I can appreciate them as art and design. I don't think I'd buy a pair (if I could wear shoes that narrow), because they are decorated in a style associated with a particular religion, one I don't follow, and it would feel disrepectful and hypocritical to wear them. (Buy a pair purely as an art object, to put in a display case? Mmmmm... maybe.)

But if I was Hindu, I'd consider buying a pair for my wife to wear for fancy occasions. In that context, wearing them would be respectful.

If the shoes had been designed and produced by a Hindu designer, rather than a French one, I don't think the likelihood of the complaints, particularly such strident complaints, would have been very high.

And one bit of irony to finish off with: On the India Times webpage where the article appears, at the bottom of the webpage, the very first Google Ad to appear is for...Ganesha-shaped chocolates.

(Last minute: Showing a draft of this to Hilde, she raised the question of whether Christians would be similarly upset by shoes with Jesus portrayed on them. Apparently not: I gotcher Jesus Shoes right here. [most of the way down the page, between the Jesus Visa and the Jesus hot air balloon])

(Last last minute addition: Alternately, a little more searching finds the news report that apparently "Jesus & Mary sandals" were sold by one European store, who withdrew the product after receiving 200 complaints in 48 hours; but they also sold 4,000 pairs. From the photo accompanying the BBC article, I suspect the problem wasn't that Jesus and Mary were portrayed on the sandals, but that wearing them involved walking on Jesus' face.)