Rollin' Like Sisyphus

Good Music Friday

Posted in Good Music Friday by Huckleberry on October 17, 2014

It’s about that time – on the south side of October, most of the Halloween stuff has long been cleared out of the stores in favor of Christmas wares, and it’s a chilly 77 degrees outside as I type this. Not sure what happened, but this week seemed to go at a normal pace – I’m neither surprised nor alarmed by the arrival of yet another Friday, so we’ll mark that in the books as win.
What’s on tap for the weekend?
Nothing much around here. Because I’m tired of burning out cheap Black & Decker weedwackers in my nearly indomitable back yard, I’m going to build my own. Drew up some plans last weekend and I’ve been picking up the pieces I need throughout the week.
A high amp electric motor, hard PVC tubing for the frame, a throttle control board with a dimming slider to control the motor’s RPM, and some other assorted goodies.
We’ll see how it goes.
It’s worth noting, beyond metaphor, how Our Simple Affirmative Action Government can’t even get its high-ranking officials home from overseas on important junkets, yet we’re to be assured that dozens of issues are well within its purview to contain.
I feel reassured, I can’t speak for y’all.
Have a bitchin’ weekend and get ‘em in.

Pork Marinade

This is a simple marinade for smoking any kind of pork, but it works especially well for spare ribs and whole picnic shoulders. One of the things that’s all the rage now is “injections”, injecting a marinade deep into the meat.
That’s cheating, and I abhor the practice.
Just whip up this marinade and let the meat soak it up naturally, then apply your rub and get to it.

FIXIN’S

3 quarts apple juice
2 tablespoons Tapitio sauce
1/2 cup apple vinegar
1 cup A-1 sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup salt

DOIN’S

Mix everything in a bowl, then put it on a low flame and bring it to a slow boil. Make sure the sugar cooks down, then let it cool. Place in a container or bag with your trimmed meat and let it work overnight.

Song Selection

Los Angeles Is Burning
The Empire Strikes First
Bad Religion
Epitaph Records | 2004

That Fusion Thing

Posted in The Fail Pail by Huckleberry on October 17, 2014

Go ahead. Cram this into a bottle. See how that works out for you.

Go ahead. Cram this into a bottle. See how that works out for you.


So Lockheed Martin announced earlier this week that it wants to put a little sunshine in your back pocket with a “revolutionary” thermo-nuclear fusion reactor. They have created a rather impressive set of marketing materials designed to attract venture capital for the project, materials that are boastful and vague:

To mimic the energy created by the sun and control it here on earth, we’re creating a concept that can be contained using a magnetic bottle. The bottle is able to handle extremely hot temperatures, reaching hundreds of millions of degrees. By containing this reaction, we can release it in a controlled fashion to create energy we can use. The heat energy created using this compact fusion reactor will drive turbine generators by replacing the combustion chambers with simple heat exchangers. In turn, the turbines will then generate electricity or the propulsive power for a number of applications.

Could this work?
Sure.
Would I want to be on a boat, a plane or in a building with, basically, the heat and fury of the fucking sun trapped in a bottle, trying desperately to get out, while the only thing holding a near-instantaneous incineration of everything I know and love at bay is a magnetic field – which is difficult to keep stable in even ideal environments — powered through a constant flow of electricity that can blink out at any time due to external circumstance or internal interference?
No.
No, I think I’ll skip that altogether, if it’s all the same to you.
Besides, this makes it seem like the only thing keeping fusion reactors locked in the realm of pipe dreams is unwieldy size. In fact, if the reaction could be made 1) safe and 2) efficient, someone would have made a building-sized thermo-nuclear reactor workable. The fact is that this is one of the few instances where size truly doesn’t matter. We’ve had hot fusion reactors available for more than half a century.
To wit:

It’s been widely accepted – and I agree – that the only practical fusion reactor for power generation is one that uses a cold-fusion process, which would also theoretically be compact and efficient. However, that just may not be feasible either, because it’s been more than 50 years and we’re not there, so don’t put away your fossil fuels quite yet.

Wherein Huckleberry Is Almost Tempted To Support Democrats Retaining The Senate

Posted in The Fail Pail by Huckleberry on October 15, 2014

Don't ask stupid questions.

Don’t ask stupid questions.


I’ll just let a GOP “strategist” lay it out there, and see if you can guess what I’m driving at here:

Current conditions are so favorable for the GOP — including the president’s poor poll numbers, the states with Senate races, the lower turnout of Democratic groups in midterm elections, the quality of this cycle’s Republican Senate recruits and the daily dose of negative news that should help the party not holding the White House — that Republican Senate gains of fewer than six seats would be a punch to the party’s solar plexus.

Okay, I put the relevant part in bold.
I couldn’t help myself.
But honestly, the fact that these fears are being aired in, as the strategist suggests, such a favorable environment underscores just how pathetically awful the GOP is these days. Let’s put that on a campaign button for Election Day – Don’t Vote-Gut Punch 50% Of The Deserving.
In other news, “confirmed” cases of US ebola have gone up 100% overnight, as another health care worker contracts the virus. But don’t worry, she was quarantined “90 minutes” after reporting her fever. And it’s not like she was on a plane with 132 other people a mere 12 hours before:

A second Texas nurse who has tested positive for Ebola was on a commercial jetliner from Cleveland to Dallas the night before she arrived at the hospital with a fever and was later diagnosed with the deadly virus, officials said today.

Game on.

Thine Pail Overfloweth With FAIL

Posted in The Fail Pail by Huckleberry on October 14, 2014

A perfect plan.

A perfect plan.


Given the state of the world at the moment, one does have to ask the decreasingly rhetorical question of what comes first – the incompetence or the decline. While each naturally reinforces the other, are we more dumb and incompetent as a result of sliding down the southern slope of civilization, or are we using dullardry and incompetence as the cross-country skiing sticks to push us along more quickly?
I guess when we finally get to the end of the ride, the answer to that question won’t matter.
In the meantime, though, a modicum of mental alacrity is important to hold on to, so let’s sift the question around the back of our minds while we dive into a grab-bag of suck.
First up, let’s calibrate hopelessly provincial sensibilities to a more global perspective:

• The average person is worth $56,000.
• If you have $3,650, including the value of your home, you’re among the wealthiest half of people in the world. (This is net wealth – so, once debts have been subtracted.) The other half own less than 1pc of global wealth, while 77pc of adults – that’s 3.3bn people – have less than $10,000.
• The top 10pc of people – membership requirement is $77,000 – hold 87pc of the world’s wealth.
• You need $798,000 to make it into the top percentile of the world’s wealthiest. This select group accounts for almost half – 48.2pc – of global assets.

Excellent news.
If cost-of-living were universal, the world would tip off its axis in a handful of hours.
And hey, call me old fashioned, but I’m pretty sure most of the world’s wealth is still underground.
Moving on, it’s worth noting that the Stormin’ Mormon is a lot like Marvelous Marvin Hagler in demanding a rematch that can’t constitutionally take place:

People in Romney’s vast political orbit who are waiting and wishing on him to launch another campaign said Romney has done little to quiet them and has been hazy about his plans following next month’s midterm elections. Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R), who briefly ran against Romney in 2012 before becoming a close ally, said he wants to see Romney give it another go. “There is a feeling that the country missed out on an exceptional president,” Pawlenty said.

The fun part of this act is where the Stormin’ Mormon plays coy, making it seem as though he’ll have to be “drafted” into running again, just like he was “drafted” in 2012 and 2008.
I’m sorry, but you don’t get pushed into running for president even once, let alone three consecutive times.
But it would save me the trouble from having to come up with a nickname for the eventual GOP nominee if Romney spins the bottle one more time, so there’s that.
The President of Guatemala has a surefire plan to help the United States curb illegal immigration – pay off his country with “billions” of dollars:

Last month, the three countries pitched Washington an ambitious development plan to confront the issue. They want to pump about $10 billion into the region to create jobs and lift living standards, with the bulk of funding coming from the United States, Perez told Reuters.

What could go wrong?
And finally, I’ve already told the Wife that if any of these clowns happen upon me, I’m shooting on sight:

The latest after-dark sighting came Saturday, when police in Bakersfield responded around 8 p.m. to a report of a clown holding a firearm. Officers searched but didn’t find anyone. The Bakersfield Californian reports that the latest sighting came after a week during which police received numerous calls about scary or mischievous clowns. According to the newspaper, police said they have arrested one minor who acknowledged dressing up and chasing younger juveniles.

Fucking clowns.

No, Ebola Isn’t Texan For A Type Of Neck Tie

Posted in The Fail Pail by Huckleberry on October 13, 2014

Always.

Always.


Top CDC bureaucrat takes time out from studying the ills of fifth-hand smoking to calm a nervous public:

“We have the ability to prevent a spread in Ebola … We know from many years of experience that it’s possible to care for patients with Ebola safely, without risk to health care workers.”

Well Hell, if only protocol were followed, we’d be all clear. What protocol wasn’t followed, you ask?
You tell me:

“I think the fact that we don’t know of a breach in protocol is concerning, because clearly there was a breach in protocol,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden concurred in an appearance on CBS News.

So there you go. They have no idea how the breach in protocol happened, but that it must have happened, because even idiots qualified for government work know that ebola is only transmitted via direct contact between bodily fluids and that protocols are foolproof and failsafe.
That most of the infected are also health care workers following the same protocols to no good effect shouldn’t force anyone in charge of these things to question either 1) the effectiveness of ebola prevention protocols or 2) the communication of those protocols, because apparently they’re either ineffective or too complex to implement by, well, anyone treating the infected.
To be honest, the biggest threat isn’t even direct transmission from West Africa to the United States.
My fear is when this thing hits some other densely populated and poorly run country, gets a six-month head start on incubating all kinds of neat mutations, then comes at the United States from 39 different places simultaneously.

Good Music Friday

Posted in Good Music Friday by Huckleberry on October 10, 2014

I can’t speak for y’all, but I’m just about ready for this week to be over and done with. For as much as I don’t like people as a practical matter — in the abstract we’re all good — they sure do want a piece of me, at least this week.
Nothing much on the agenda this weekend. After a relatively cool week temp wise, the mercury is set to hit about 100 again for both Saturday and Sunday.
So yard work should be fun.
Other than that, I’ll be keeping track of ebola — a much easier task now that the talking heads are getting worked into a bit of a lather over it — and it’s worth noting that the math isn’t in our favor.
I note the cautious glee with which conservative political pundits are greeting the news that deadlocked election polls appear to be breaking their way, maybe.
I’ll still laugh if they lose.
Our Simple Affirmative Action President and his trusty sidekick Vice President-Sheriff Joe Biden have been in town all week, crushing the weary souls of the region’s travelers amid unholy gridlock while shaking what’s left of the Donor Class for cash.
Eh.
Have a kick-ass weekend, stay cool and/or warm as the situation dictates, and get ‘em in.

Huck’s Burger Dogs

This one is simple, and kids tend to really enjoy it too.
Chop up a quality hot dog into small pieces, mix with diced onions and ground chuck, then instead of pressing into patties, form them into the shape of hot dogs. Let them chill in the fridge before grilling, then cook ‘em at about 325 until they’re done.
Serve on hot dog buns and top with chili and cheese.
Depending on how lean the chuck meat is, you may have problems with the burger dogs breaking up as you grill them. The more fat in the meat, the better they’ll hold together, but even if they break apart a little, slop the remains into buns and enjoy.

Song Selection

Southside of Heaven
Mescalito
Ryan Bingham
Lost Highway Records | 2007

The Lost Art Of An Honest Day’s Work

Posted in A Chronicle Of Decline by Huckleberry on October 10, 2014

It never ends well.

Works and Days.


For all the kvetching about the value of labor, very little is actually placed in the pursuit anymore. To a degree, this is due to the corruption of the relationship between labor, the product of labor, and the compensation exchanged for the time it takes to perform labor.
In the old paradigm, the end goal was the paramount concern – shoe the horses, tend the fields, forge the metalwork – whatever the trade, you could usually draw a clear line between the labor and its product, but only the product had value.
The problem today is that only the last part of that is still true – the value is inherent in the result, not the process. If you’re a shitty blacksmith, it doesn’t matter how much effort you exert or how long you spend forging your metalwork; if no one wants to buy it, you starve. If a lot of people want to buy it, you take on an apprentice.
With as many checkpoints as there are now between a body and the tangible results of his labor, it doesn’t take a long-winding exegesis to describe how fewer and fewer people regard the concept of a work ethic as anything more than a quaint relic of days gone by – you know, among the ones that can still read. The concept of a work ethic, while easily conflated with the labor theory of value by the unique brand of dullards produced by the stamp mill of 21st century American academia, the two concepts couldn’t exist any farther apart on the spectrum of Things Academics Always Get Wrong.
While there are obviously numerous differences between the two, it mainly boils down to the distinction between efficiency and expediency. True efficiency is honed through careful trial and error, while expediency is all about simplifying the immediate obstacles to reach the day’s finish line and punch out the clock.
Which one do you think pays dividends in the end?
I guess it doesn’t matter, though, because robots and software will be doing all of the jobs soon, even those of the cushy white-collar cubicle farm dwellers.
That’s when the fun begins.

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose – The Utility And Futility Of Sports

Posted in A Chronicle Of Decline by Huckleberry on October 8, 2014
Noted football experts breaking down game film.

Breaking down game film in the 21st century.

One of the curious developments of the 20th century is the rise of “sports culture” as we know it today – a top-down hegemony of competitive games that used to be a pass-time but is now one of the most economically prodigious industries humanity has ever witnessed — Rome had one Coliseum; we have thousands. With this relatively new take on an old idea, the grouches grouse that sports are a waste of time; that grown men (or cis-men, depending on the audience) shouldn’t be paid obscene fortunes to play the games of children; that if sports weren’t such a massive heat sink for the time, attention and passion of John Q. Public we’d have collectively cured all disease, overcome all political discord in favor of the grouse’s personal biases, abolished violence and/or successfully utilized righteous violence to obliterate the grouse’s enemies.
Poppycock, obviously.
History pretty clearly shows that if it weren’t a dominant sports culture subsuming John Q. Public, it’d be something else – probably crime – and I posit that the 20th century would have looked more like the other 19 rather than distinguished as the pinnacle of human civilizational advancement.
That’s not to say sports and the prevailing sports “culture” doesn’t present problems – it surely does, and is doing so far more widely and frequently as we tumble into the 21st century.
I love sports because at its best, it is the epitome of human co-operation and competition. That the participants on each side will both work together to achieve a common goal (victory) and that each side will agree to abide by a set of formal rules and conditions while doing so, under the auspices of a formal and impartial arbiter, and the most notable feature – that when time is up, its up, and the winner wins while the loser loses but everyone gets to go home.
That sports are so rarely played at their best anymore isn’t a fault of sports, but with the tediously and tendentiously fragile snowflakes chaffing against life’s challenges in just about every possible way. It seems that the prevailing social order is determined to diminish the few redeeming qualities that sports presents while polluting the industry with the same sick cancers that eat away at every other aspect of society.
I apologize for the jumble of this – I guess I’m just trying to work out some things in my head regarding sports and the popular culture. Without any better way to say it, something broke for me this past weekend with the sports I love.
I just don’t think I can do it anymore.
In the past, as a player and as a fan, victories were ecstatically sweet and losses were aggravatingly painful. Now, the losses are even more aggravatingly painful and the victories are merely a relief with little joy to be found at all. By itself, that would be fine, but every other aspect has only grown more antagonizing and adversarial – this insane 24-hour sports news cycle comprised almost entirely of gossip and pseudo-moral preening is beyond the pale.
Anyway, I don’t wish to bore y’all with that.
We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled panic over infectious diseases soon.

No, Ebola Isn’t Spanish For ‘Everything’s Under Control’

Posted in The Fail Pail by Huckleberry on October 7, 2014

Great news from the Land of Chasing Windmills:

Three more people were under quarantine Tuesday for possible Ebola at a Madrid hospital after a Spanish nursing assistant became infected there, authorities said. More than 50 others were being monitored as experts pressed to figure out why Spain’s anti-infection practices failed. Health authorities were investigating how the nursing assistant, part of a special team that cared for a Spanish priest who died of Ebola last month, became infected … Rafael Perez-Santamarina, the hospital’s director, said authorities did not know yet how the nursing assistant got infected despite the use of internationally recognized precautions against Ebola.”

The Hell you say…

Good Music Friday

Posted in Good Music Friday by Huckleberry on October 3, 2014

Ah Hell, another Friday.
Swear to the holiest of holies that we JUST did this.
But alas.
Anyone watch that Oregon/Arizona game last night?
That was fun to watch, not only because a team I’ve hated for a long time (Oregon) got their Championship hopes and dreams crushed on National Television once again, but they did so while wearing these God-awful uniforms. It was a fun game to watch, but I’m a little worried that Arizona is going to be a tough one for UCLA to beat this year. We’ll see.
Today has just been a nightmare of crap to deal with. Had a post I wanted to write, but haven’t had the opportunity. The fact that it’s October 3 and 102 degrees as I type this isn’t helping.
Not much on the agenda this weekend, because it’s going to be too fucking hot. I’ve got the Dodgers playing the Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs tonight and tomorrow, with the Bruins taking on the Utes Saturday night, and the Chargers battling the Jets on Sunday.
My liver may not make it, but that’s alright.
For the recipe, I’m giving you a good dry rub and wet mop for any kind of beef that you want to throw in the smoker.
For the song, well, it should speak for itself.
Get ‘em in and enjoy the weekend.

Huckleberry’s Beef Rub

Crush up and mix the following:
1 tbls of garlic salt
2 tbls of brown sugar
2 tbls of chili powder
1 teaspn of ground cumin
1 teaspn of cayenne pepper
2 tbls of red pepper flakes
1 teaspn minced garlic
1 teaspn minced onion
2 tblsn of sweet paprika
2 tblsn black peppercorn

Huckleberry’s Beef Wet Mop

1 teaspn table salt
1 tblsn of brown sugar
1 tblsn of red pepper flakes
1 tblsn minced garlic
1 bottle of lager
1 tblsn black peppercorn
1 cup apple vinegar
Ground up dry ingredients first, then pour in the vinegar and mix thoroughly. Pour in the beer and mix even more thoroughly.

Song Selection

Talkin’ Softball
Homer At The Bat
Terry Cashman
Sea. 3, Ep. 17 of The Simpsons | 1992

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