Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ice Storms accross the east... duck and cranberry bratwurst on a house-made caraway roll with whole grain mustard and local micro mustard greens... paired with Mitchell Katz Fat Boy Red Wine in the west. :-)

Hey there all my midwestern and far eastern friends. Here is what we do in California while y'all are freezing your rear ends off with ice storms and power outages. We go to wine releases here in the valley! We went to the Fat Boy release at Mitchell Katz in Pleasanton today. As you can see another brutal California winter is being suffered here:

Orloff Park, Pleasanton, California (PWS)
Updated: 1 sec ago
76.0 °F
Humidity: 38%
Dew Point: 49 °F
Wind: 0.0 mph

Mike, Lora and Serenity at Mitchell Katz today.

We had a reprise of last year's Taste of Terroir Peoples Choice Award winner:

For the second year in a row, the Palm Event Center was presented with the People’s Choice award at the annual Taste of Terroir Event organized by the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association.
For this year’s competition, the Palm Event Center was teamed up again with the Mitchell Katz Winery to create the perfect food/wine pairing. Sixteen chef/winery teams were chosen for the event and judged on a variety of categories including best use of local ingredients and most innovative. The Palm’s winning dish featured house-made duck and cranberry bratwurst on a house-made caraway roll with whole grain mustard and local micro mustard greens, which was paired with Mitchell Katz Winery’s Fat Boy Red Wine 2005. Executive Chef John Jackson and Chef de Cuisine Alex Olson worked hard on creating another dish to live up to the standards set by 2007’s winner of Wild Boar Sliders on Sweet Potato Brioche with Syrah-Sour Cherry Ketchup.

When asked about the complexity of the dish, Chef de Cuisine Alex Olson explained, “The sweet
and savory flavors of the bratwurst along with its creamy texture was meant to balance nicely with the acidity of the red wine.” The bratwurst/caraway roll also won a second award as Best Dish at the event.

Good wine, good food, good music, sunny and warm... ah yes, the winter here can be so very brutal... we picked up 6 bottles of 2005 Fat Boy Cab, 2 bottles of Alicia's Elixir Zin and 2 Bottles of 2005 Sangiovese Port. Yum, yum and yum.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

John Updike

John Updike recently passed away. I saw a poem by him about the resurrection, very good stuff! I would not have expected it from him but here it is.

Seven Stanzas at Easter

by John Updike

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

It's Tax Time again

I just filed my extortion papers with the Imperial Robbery Service and lo and behold William Grigg posted this today, serendipity or what?

Kleptocrats of the World, Unite!

His name isn't Barton, but he is certainly a Fink: Newly installed economic dictator Timothy Geithner.

Perhaps the only commendable thing newly installed Economic Dictator (and Barton Fink lookalike) Tim Geithner has done in a public career otherwise devoted to serving the Power Elite was to
"cheat" on his taxes.

Given that taxation is theft, "cheating" the taxman is bit like refusing to disclose every hidden pocket of household wealth to an armed robber.

Unless they're sick unto death with some form of collectivist psychosis, Americans submit to government taxation for the same reason they would pay off any other irresistibly powerful extortionist.

At some point in any conversation about taxes someone, acting with smugly misplaced confidence in the power of cliche, will deploy
Justice Holmes' dictum about taxes being "the price we pay for civilization."

Actually, taxes are the price extracted from us by those determined to undermine civilization, which is built on the peaceful, mutually enriching exchange of knowledge, goods, services, sound traditions, and culture among people of goodwill.

As Justice Holmes would have understood, had he not been a blinkered positivist and deranged militarist, taxation is what fuels the forces of barbarism -- the Warmakers, empire-builders, and practitioners of public plunder in all of its malignant varieties.

Read more here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The United States of Zimbabwe here we come...

We could go the way of Zimbabwe... as Father Hollywood said in his intro to this video on his blog, how are we going to avoid hyperinflation?

Quote(s) of the day

"My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself." George Bernard Shaw

Lora, Serenity and I watched 3 versions of Pygmalion, written by George Bernard Shaw, last week, the 1938 film version, the 1964 musical version "My Fair Lady" and BBC Play of the Month production. We all liked the 1938 version the best, followed by the BBC version, at least for Eliza as played by Lynn Redgrave. In any case having just watched all of these so recently this quote caught my attention when I saw it in an email. I have been unable to locate a source for it, but in my searches for the source I found two other fine quotes related to it:

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." -- Mark Twain

"The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school." -- George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, January 24, 2009

After a party

So, Serenity went to McKenna's birthday party across the street this afternoon and came back with more than she left with, a passel of balloons, a new dress and other goodies:

Cleese is anti-everything

I sometimes find myself 'channeling' Cleese :-)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama = Evil Emperor of Death

BO has already proven he is actually worse than the pathetic Shrub. Witness the following 2 news reports, number 1:

Obama ends abortion-related funding restrictions for aid groups
McClatchy Newspapers WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama signed a memorandum Friday that ends a prohibition on supplying federal family-planning funds and contraceptives to international aid groups that provide abortions, abortion referrals or abortion counseling.

So more babies will be murdered, and number 2:

President Obama 'orders Pakistan drone attacks'

US Air Force unmanned predator aerial vehicle with a hellfire missile attached

(US Air Force/EPA)

A Predator drone

Missiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president and a clear sign that the controversial military policy begun by George W Bush has not changed.

So people will continue to die for the glory of the Empire in the Middle East... Like I said before "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, won't get fooled again...."

More tragic job losses

and this time it's all Obama's fault!

Click here or on the cartoon to grab a readable version of it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mengele "Twin Town in Brazil"

OK, now that's just a little bit creepy...

From the Telegraph:

Nazi angel of death Josef Mengele 'created twin town in Brazil' The Nazi doctor Josef Mengele is responsible for the astonishing number of twins in a small Brazilian town, an Argentine historian has claimed. By Nick Evans in Buenos Aires
Last Updated: 10:52PM GMT 21 Jan 2009

One in five pregnancies in the small Brazilian town have resulted in twins - most of them blond haired and blue eyed.

Full Story.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Awesome Awesomness

Ooh ooh! I just found out the most coolest awesomest thing! Dan Piraro, creator of the syndicated cartoon, "Bizarro." has a blog! Woo Hoo! Add it to your blog reader now, if you don't use a blog reader, dude, get with the 21st century already.

Here is today's comic:

On flubbing the oath (Updated)

So Obama flubbed the oath because the nit in a robe flubbed it first. The lack of concern over saying the oath properly just demonstrates that no one in the Imperial Government takes it seriously, they don't think an oath matters in the least, it's just a quaint formality to them. Not that it matters, no president or congressman, other than Ron Paul and maybe one or two others, have actually upheld their oath of office for over a hundred years anyway.

UPDATE: CBS News reports that Obama has no plans to Retake Oath. Which makes perfect sense since oaths are just quaint and essentially meaningless formalities with no real effect in the world, right?

As far as I'm concerned as long as he refuses to take the oath of office properly he is not President of these united States at all. So there :-P~~~

Belief in God

Interesting graph from Spiegel OnLine found in an article called "Has Darwin Failed?"

Herald Trumpets

It's a minor thing really, but seems rather symbolic to me. I noticed there were herald trumpets being blown to announce the arrival of the new Emperor while I was watching the Imperial Coronation yesterday. Maybe they've used them since George Washington, I don't know, it just seems to be wrong for a republic. Maybe it's just seeing them in all those movies about Rome or the Middle Ages announcing the bad guys... whatever.

Insects and Bureaucrats And yes, there is a difference, says Larry Beane

Father Hollywood has a funny-sad story about a trip to a museum in a building owned by the Federal Government posted to Lew Rockwell today, check it out. Father Hollywood is the Lutheran voice on Lew Rockwell these days :-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Birthday of a Great American

Happy Robert E. Lee's birthday! Father Hollywood has a good article about the day here, check it out. It's good to read about an American leader who actually had a sense of honor. Especially when you look forward to the Coronation of our God-Emperor tomorrow. Ah well, let us all say a prayer over the corpse of the republic and for the new Emperor to rule us, his unworthy subjects, with wisdom and benevolence.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cops, who needs them?

A snip from "Say No to Cops: A Brief Case for Reduction and Elimination" by William Buppert as posted on Lew

I am even hard-pressed to think of a good reason to keep police on the streets. Cops are basically historians who come to a crime scene after the fact. Their entire charter has changed from being peace officers to becoming law enforcers (no matter how silly). Has anyone else been irritated by the changing nature of police cruisers? Usually festooned with light bars and clear identification, the new trend has been stealth police cars with hidden lights and antennae. Why? Most likely to more readily stop speeders or other non-crimes for which the revenue streams are so lucrative. Imagine, for instance, if a state instructed all highway patrol organizations to stop speeders but only insurance points would be assigned with no fines imposed. The vehicle stops for speeding would dry up because the remuneration incentives would evaporate. This is not about safety, it is about revenue. "Research conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation showed that the percentage of accidents actually caused by speeding is very low, 2.2 percent."

One of the most frightening implications of all this is that the continuous shaping, conditioning and consequent cowing of Americans will lead to the seamless transition to a full-blown police state (we’re close)...

I do take solace in the observation that every time a united States subject is stopped by the cops today, all visions of Officer Friendly are soundly defeated and they discover that the police are far more concerned about obedience than criminality. I have no beef with cops per se, I simply don’t need them.

Yep, what Bill said.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Magazines are dead

I tried to keep them alive, really I did. As of this very morning I still had subscriptions to a number of them, wonderful fascinating magazines with well written and thoughtful, useful content.

My subscriptions included:

Analog, a source of great short science fiction.

BBC Music, even comes with a "free" CD each month.

Touchstone, "Mere Christianity"

Outside, a magazine of outdoor activity.

World, a conservative look at world news.

In the past I subscribed to many more, Scientific American, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Asimov's, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Bicycling, US News and World Report, Newsweek and many more.

This morning I had a stack of renewal notices from Analog, Touchstone and some others and I started thinking about renewing them. It was then I finally realized that the magazine is dead. I have several months of all of my magazines sitting unread. They sat decoratively on the coffee table (a table whose sole function is supporting piles of unread magazines, never coffee though) gathering dust. After careful consideration I gathered up the stack of unread magazines, and with sadness in my heart I tossed them into the recycling bin, along with the renewal notices.

I don't read magazines, instead I read blogs, that is just the way it is. The trees need not die for me to read good solid science content, the mail trucks need not roll down the road carrying their corpses so I can find out the latest in theological discussions.

The paper magazine is dead, along with the paper newspaper and the network news on TV, long live the blog. This does not make me happy, but reality is reality. I can no longer justify supporting magazines now that it has finally become clear to me that I simply do not read them any more.

I suppose books are next, though so far I've avoided getting Kindle from Amazon, I have in the past read books on a Palm device with great pleasure, up until it died on me. Now I can still read those books on my computer but that is rather limiting. Still, I don't doubt that fairly soon paper books will be a novelty.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Here is an interesting podcast from Issues Etc. on Pietism: Subjective, Indvidualistic & Experiential Christianity with Dr. Larry Rast of Concordia Theological Seminary-Fort Wayne, IN, or, "How we ended up with American Fundagelicalism and Methobapticostalism" ;-)

Crossless Christianity

The cross is too "Scary"... How pathetic, without the cross what is the point of Christianity?

Church removes 'scary crucifix'

The sculpture of Christ on the crucifix
The 1960s sculpture of Christ is made of coal dust and resin

A large sculpture of Christ on the cross has been removed from outside a church in West Sussex after its vicar said it was "scaring young children".

The Reverend Ewen Souter said the 10ft crucifix was "a horrifying depiction of pain and suffering" which was also "putting people off".

Full story here from the BBC

I assume these folk were not overly fond of the Passion of the Christ either:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Ten Commandments

From time to time certain Christian groups will get all up in arms over posting the Ten Commandments in some public place like a courthouse or a school or what have you. I have always thought this was misguided effort actually. Today, while reading from the Book of Concord the the readings suggested in the Treasury of Daily Prayer, I read this from the Large Catechism:

67] From this you perceive that the Creed (from what goes before this we understand this to mean the Gospel) is a doctrine quite different from the Ten Commandments; for the latter teaches indeed what we ought to do, but the former tells what God does for us and gives to us. Moreover, apart from this, the Ten Commandments are written in the hearts of all men; the Creed (again the Gospel), however, no human wisdom can comprehend, but it must be taught by the Holy Ghost alone. 68] The latter doctrine [of the Law], therefore, makes no Christian, for the wrath and displeasure of God abide upon us still, because we cannot keep what God demands of us; but this [namely, the doctrine of faith] brings pure grace, and makes us godly and acceptable to God. 69] For by this knowledge we obtain love and delight in all the commandments of God, because here we see that God gives Himself entire to us, with all that He has and is able to do, to aid and direct us in keeping the Ten Commandments-the Father, all creatures; the Son, His entire work; and the Holy Ghost, all His gifts.

So it seems to me that if you want to put something out in public it ought to be the Creed, not the commandments. The law they already know, even if they would fight against it and deny it, it is the Gospel that is a mystery to them. But even that is no good, really just having the words there makes no sense, they need to hear the Law and the Gospel preached to them together, rightly divided. I don't think you can really do this effectively in a plaque on a courthouse wall.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Here is the latest from the BARDIOTS:

BART considers cutting extra off-peak service

BART is considering cuts in the extra off-peak service added one year ago – meaning trains will come every 20 minutes instead of every 15 minutes on nights and Sundays. The change would help deal with a budget deficit and bring service in line with off-peak ridership levels that did not increase significantly when the extra service was added.

The plan to reduce off-peak service, which would go into effect in February, would save $1 million during the rest of the current fiscal year, and $3 million in the new fiscal year, which starts July 1.

The more-frequent service went into effect on January 1, 2008, on hopes it would attract more riders during the off-peak hours. But ridership during those times did not increase as expected.

Under the new schedule, trains will come every 20 minutes beginning at around 7:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday. All other times, service is generally every 15 minutes.

The idea is planned for presentation to the BART Board of Directors on Thursday, January 8th.

OK, so here is what REALLY happened. BART made the announcement that they were "increasing night and weekend service" early last year. Of course they actually did no such thing! They added about two trains per day while at the same time they slashed the length of the trains to 4 and sometimes 5 cars. The result was that EVERY Dublin/Pleasanton train was, and still is, packed to the point of standing room only at Embarcadero Station. What difference does this make? People who heard the announcement that BART was increasing service may have decided to give the service a try, however, after riding in a crowded car, standing up next to some greasy homeless bum who hadn't bathed in a year, unable to sit down for the 45 minute ride, uncomfortable and disgusted they never came back. The only people who ride BART are those who have NO CHOICE because they don't have parking downtown. That is the only reason I still ride BART! If I could afford parking in the city I would ditch BART in a heart beat.

Add that to murdering their passengers and it is no surprise BART ridership did not increase!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


You've probably heard of TANSTAAFL, There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, but you may not be aware of the even more common TANSTAAFC, There Ain't No Such Thing As A Fruit Cup... it's a big lie, they are ALL melon cups...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Little Feat - Willin'

Willin' by Little Feat was/is one of my all time favorite songs... also one of my all time favorite buzzes, weed, whites and wine ;-) It came up during a conversation with Mike just now, somehow he claimed never to have heard of it! Unpossible!


A break from cranky political stuff, check out the very cool ice photos on "The Big Picture, Icy days and nights."

Thugs with guns on BART

Story in the Chronicle today.

BART police, what a useless pack of low IQ thugs they really are. They murdered a young man, an unarmed man, who was laying face down on the platform waiting to be handcuffed. What in the world do they need weapons for?! BART would save a lot of money just hiring a security guard for each train and having them call the local police at whatever station an incident might occur in. This idea of having armed idiots roaming a few of the trains, but mostly loafing in the back room of some station eating donuts and swilling coffee all day long, is just plain stupid. It's not as if they are any quicker to respond to an incident than the local PD would be.

Take the guns away from BART Police Now!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Our Little Town

The San Francisco Chronicle has a story on our town of Pleasanton in the Sunday edition on page K-4:

If the city of Pleasanton - approximately 65,000 people residing on 21.7 square miles of land located about 25 miles east of Oakland in the Amador/Livermore Valley - were somehow miraculously transformed into a person, she would, by all accounts, live up to her name: Attractive, intelligent, naturally charming and imminently sensible, she would be the kind of woman a man would have no qualms about bringing home to meet Mom.

Read the whole story here, and weep with jealousy ;-)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Is the Pope Catholic?

Are Lutherans Protestants?

The question surely strikes most people as utterly nonsensical, for if Lutherans AREN'T Protestants, then who is? But it is a useful question for clarifying what is meant by "Protestant." And I'd suggest that - setting aside for the moment the Western Rite Orthodox - the simplest answer is this: Protestants are Western Christians who reject the claims of the Bishop of Rome to be the universal bishop of the Church, the divinely-appointed head of all Christians. If THAT is the definition, then, indeed Lutherans are Protestants, and we can wear the name without any sense of dishonor, for it does not imply in any way the revocation of our catholic heritage.

Sadly, though, in most folks ears I suspect that "Protestant" equates rather to something else, of which the Reformed (of whatever stripe) tend to be the epitome. Lutherans, to their eyes, seem to be but quasi-Reformed. Almost, but not quite there. Luther they pay homage to, but honestly believe that his conservative tendencies got in the way of a thorough-going Reformation and in fact ended up tragically and needlessly splintering the Reformation movement.

The key is always to ask how a person understands the term. Lutherans most certainly ARE Protestants vis a vis the papal claims. But we see that position of protest in no way as undercutting our commitment to a truly catholic heritage; rather, it is mandated BY that heritage. Dr. Secker relates how when Dr. Piepkorn heard of some Lutherans converting to Rome, he remarked that he would march to the gates of Rome and plant his banner. He was convinced, utterly convinced, that the key to fidelity to the catholic heritage was embracing the Lutheran Reformation. For here he found the faith of the Fathers and a catholicity whose supreme mark was adherence to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only Savior of sinners, as witnessed by the infallible Word of God, the Sacred Scriptures.

If anyone asks me if I'm a Protestant, I don't hesitate anymore to answer: "Indeed I am. But maybe a Protestant is something different than what you are thinking! For I am an original Protestant. That means, I am one who believes that Baptism is for infants and adults and through it the Blessed Trinity saves us; I am a Protestant who believes that in the Eucharist Christ gives me to eat and drink His most holy body and blood beneath the appearance of bread and wine; I am a Protestant who believes that the words of Christ's called servants release me from sin, forgive me, and open wide the gates of heaven; I am a Protestant who believes that the Eucharist is the beating heart of the Church's life; I am a Protestant who rejoices in the liturgy of the Mass and the Daily Office; I am a Protestant who acknowledges the Office of the Holy Ministry as divinely established and ordained for the salvation of our souls. Please don't call me 'high church' or 'hyper confessional.' Just call me Lutheran. For that's what I am."

Friday, January 2, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009