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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Today's Quotes

"You've got your phenomenon on one hand. Concrete and knowable. On the other hand you've got the incomprehensible. You call it God, but to me, God or no, it remains just that, the unknowable."
~Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, Northern Exposure, A Wing and a Prayer, 1994

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."
~Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

"A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the word you first thought of."
~Burt Bacharach (1928 - )

"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."

Barbaric, and then some...

In the former Soviet state of Kyrgyz a practice known as "ala kachuu," which translates roughly as "grab and run" is one of the standard ways "men" use to acquire a bride. Sick of all the courting and the costs of the standard "bride price" (up to $800, plus a cow)? Easy, just kidnap your wife.

She might think less than kindly to your overtures though, and the occasional dead young woman does wash up on the riverbanks, but I guess it's all part of the game. The New York Times recently noted that:

Once a woman has been taken to a man's home, her future in-laws try to calm her down and get a white wedding shawl onto her head. The shawl, called a jooluk, is a symbol of her submission. Many women fight fiercely, but about 80 percent of those kidnapped eventually relent, often at the urging of their own parents.
Can anyone else say Stockholm Syndrome?

I don't give a rip about cultural relativism and being politically correct. This is a barbaric practice ranking right up there with female genital mutilation and slavery. Add circumcision to the list too if you want. I've got mixed feelings about that one, but anything that has been reported as making sexual sensation dulled to the point of being "compared to sight without colour" sure does make me a little resentful of my parents.

Recipe: Home-Made Spagetti Sauce

I figure everyone can always use a good recipe, so as I come up with some from time to time I'll be posting them. Feel free to rant at me for the horrors, or angels, I've unleashed after you make it and decide what you think, but remember that I happen to think they all taste pretty nummy...

- 16 oz tomato puree (½ water, ½ tomato paste, whipped with an egg-beater)
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 2 small ripe tomatoes - diced
- ½ medium white onion – fine diced
- 2 cloves fresh garlic –fine diced
- 3 sprigs of fresh oregano, stripped off the stem
- 3 sprigs of fresh basil, stripped off the stem
- pinch of garlic powder to taste
- pinch of ground oregano leaves to taste
- pinch of ground basil to taste
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil

The dried spices are just to lower the amount of time the sauce has to simmer to develop a full flavor, as well as to heighten the taste of whichever seasoning you find you like best.

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet
2. Add onion and cook until translucent. Do not brown
3. Add ground sirloin and cook until done, making sure the meat is crumbled when done
4. Add tomato, garlic, and fresh oregano and basil and simmer 2 minutes
5. Add tomato puree, salt, and dried spices and simmer covered for 1-2 hours, or until desired potency. Stir occasionally to avoid bottom burn.
6. Serve with some garlic bread and your preferred spaghetti noodles. Makes enough for 3-4 people.

-if the sauce gets too thick just add a little water and stir it in.
-only use a small amount of dried seasoning until you figure out how much you like.
-save a little of the fresh herbs to sprinkle on top of the served dinner, it adds to the “chef style” effect.

Site Additions

As you may have noticed my article frequency has been a little slow lately. Ok, it's been dead. But have no fear, I've just been moving, not rotting. Sooo.... I've got a few additions I'd like to announce.

1. Science & Politics - a moderately left-leaning blog focusing on the interaction of science and politics, as well as personal musings.
2. Across the Great Divide - a strictly moderate political and social commentary blog.
3. PolySciFi Blog - Random musings on political science, science fiction, and anything else that strikes their fancy.
4. The Carpetbagger Report - Reality-Based Commentary, Analysis, and Tirades on Politics in America.
5. The Woodshed - an indispensable guide to the best website tutor sites I know of.

1. I've added a site resources bar as a repository of links to all the major help I've found on the web in my quest to look like I know what I'm doing.
2. I've purchased the domain name pointprogression.com and I'm in the process of setting it up to forward to my blogspot address (still working out how to transfer everything over to powerblogs.com for hosting, so this'll have to do for now.)

Other than that.... well just read the articles and tell all your friends :-)

Update: The site forward seems to be working for my domain, so please update your blogrolls.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

"The GOP establishment in Washington today has become the defende of big government."

So sayeth the Cato Institute. Too bad this soundbite won't see the light of a media's day, but it's still telling.

Monday, May 02, 2005

...American Dud...

I'm usually a huge Seth MacFarlane fan, but this newest cartoon just doesn't cut it. The format parallels between American Dad and Family Guy are just too numerous to ignore, and the jokes weren't funny. I hate to say it, but I think we've got a dud...

Family Guy, on the other hand...

Well, let's just say that being able to watch a new episode was as close to Nirvana as I've been in a long time.

Target Practice?

How much of a target for insurgents or future conflicts do you think this will make Baghdad residents? In an age where communications networks are the first thing to go in a fight I definitely wouldn't want one in my neighborhood, let alone my back yard.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


I must apologize for the spotty posting schedule. I'm in the process of moving into a new apartment and my access to the internet is currently shoddy at best. I'll do what I can, and hopefully it won't take too long to get back to normal.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Update: Freezer Mom died "naturally"

It looks like Philip Schuth's mom died of natural causes, most likely kidney or heart failure.

He's still a loon though.


The federal House of Representatives passed H.R. 748 - The Child Interstate Notification Act today by a vote of 270-157, in yet another move to block access to perfectly legal abortion services. Legal Fiction has a chilling fictional piece that could very soon mirror actual events:

At trial, the defense attorneys pointed out that the father had, on occasion, physically abused his daughters when he lost his temper and had repeatedly warned them about becoming pregnant. “I was just so scared for her,” Jane testified with a wavering voice, “I wanted her to go to college like I did.” Jane added that her father would never have paid for her sister’s education if he discovered that she was pregnant. “I didn’t want to break the law, I just wanted to help my little sister.”

Dr. Smith was less contrite. “I did it, and I’d do it again,” he noted calmly as he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. “This is the United States, not Saudi Arabia. And I don’t think it’s right for the state to force themselves into people’s private lives in the name of one group of people’s religious views. The government is sending me to jail for serving the needs of my patient.”
Read the rest here.

Here's the deal

I've converted my blog into the fabled "three tier format". I have also clarified the permalink location and added a trackback feature courtesy of Haloscan. I will be making additional heavy modifications for some time as I get used to the world of blogging, and I will continue to tweat the site in minor ways quite possibly forever, as I see fit. By the way... hope you approve of the change.

Extremism, but by who?

"James Trussell, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, has estimated that, if emergency contraceptives were widely available in this country, they could reduce the approximately 1.3 million abortions that take place yearly in this country by half. If a culture of life is so sacrosanct, shouldn't that trump the issue of premarital sex?"

"According to Trussell, who studied statistics from 1998, about 22,000 of the 25,000 women who became pregnant from rape could have prevented pregnancy with emergency contraception."
Consider those two statements for a second. Ok, done? Then maybe you can tell me why it is people in favor of making Plan B a behind-the-counter medicine to women over 16 are considered the extremists.

According to The New Republic Online "the FDA's own scientific advisory panel endorsed the application by a vote of 23 to four", but opponents have still managed to block this measure so far. I'm at a loss, or is the pro-life movement’s stance on when life begins and the immorality of premarital sex so strong that they would block efforts that would, in the end, greatly help their cause. Reducing unwanted pregnancies in half and nearly eliminating rape-causal pregnancy sure seems to be worth some compromise, but then I guess I'm naive.

Sans gas?

The California Cars Initiative (CalCars) has developed a modification kit the Toyota Prius that, by beefing up the battery capacity and allowing it to be plugged into the grid for charging, makes the daily commute (up to 30 miles total, roughly) possible without the use of gas. Anything longer activates the gasoline engine, but I think the idea of a daily commute without fumes rushing through my car while in gridlock is a great idea. Now I've just got to get a Prius...