Thursday, February 28, 2013

Three Empty Seats at the Table

For reasons that I'm absolutely wholly certain must be really really important, some folks were absent from our final round of play this evening. (Y'all didn't answer your phones/texts, etc. Hope you are okay.) Therefore-- and I'm sorry to have to say this because I know everyone is on pins and needles awaiting it-- I cannot post the final seating arrangements for our Imaginary Dinner Party.

The order of play this final evening of the game was this (from first to last): me, Miss M, Miss M's Friend, Kat, Daughter C, Tony, A. Leland, Mr. Big Food. After a necessary and sufficient grace period, we passed over Kat..., then Tony..., and A. Leland.

We five who played this evening invited...

Amelia Erhart (aviator, &c.; me)
James Cash Penney (rolling over in his grave founder of The Golden Rule Store now known as the tanking JCP; Miss M)
Mitch Hedberg (comedian; Miss M's Friend)
-- (;Kat)
James Taylor (cellist & musician; Daughter C)
-- (; Tony)
-- (; A. Leland)
Mike Judge (creator and star of King of the Hill; Mr. Big Food)

Truth be told, I'm a bit disappointed this evening. I was looking forward to wrapping up the data collection phase and moving on to the analyses. Alas, my data set is incomplete. One cannot assume Kat will invite a chef (since she invited Teddy Roosevelt) any more than one can assume Tony will invite a contemporary genius (since he invited a farmer) or A. Leland, an old dead white guy philosopher (since he invited Jesse James).

Meanwhile, we have a number of imaginary guests who've consumed too much imaginary home made wine and who are anxious for an imaginary dinner but who are, nevertheless, content to sit around chatting-- as long as the wine keeps flowing. 

At some stage of this game, though, our imaginary guests will rise up and demand they be fed. Three empty seats be damned.

Who's the first of our imaginary guests to demand this?

I have a question.

This up just a bit ago at

NEW YORK TIMES: American Women Are Fat Because They Don’t Vacuum Enough. “Women, they found, once had been quite physically active around the house, spending, in 1965, an average of 25.7 hours a week cleaning, cooking and doing laundry. Those activities, whatever their social freight, required the expenditure of considerable energy. . . . Forty-five years later, in 2010, things had changed dramatically. By then, the time-use diaries showed, women were spending an average of 13.3 hours per week on housework. More striking, the diary entries showed, women at home were now spending far more hours sitting in front of a screen. In 1965, women typically had spent about eight hours a week sitting and watching television. (Home computers weren’t invented yet.) By 2010, those hours had more than doubled, to 16.5 hours per week. In essence, women had exchanged time spent in active pursuits, like vacuuming, for time spent being sedentary.”

This’ll be well-received. But hey, it’s science. You can’t argue with science.
[my emphases]

I haven't had time to read the article yet-- I'm vacuuming. No. Really. I am. But I have a question.

Can we infer that houses are not as clean now as they were in 1965?


After I finish vacuuming the upholstered furniture, I'll steam it. (Thankfully, the steamer survived wall paper removal.) After that, I'll dust and then spot polish the floors.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When in Doubt, Check the Math

I knew something was wrong, and I was right.

According to all of our previous calculations, to finish the Imaginary Dinner Party Game we should need to add three chairs tomorrow. But when I counted the empty chairs at Table 2, and subtracted from eight players, the result was two. It didn't add up.

And then, while pouring over the Dinner Party Invitation Log, it hit me!

Daughter C's pick from Tuesday had not been seated!! (Although it was dutifully noted in The Log.)
Beginning Tuesday, seating mattered to many of us. I hear tell that Daughter C's invited guests are mostly interested in sitting in chairs that aren't going to break. (This is embarrassing when it happens in real life. I mean, we have nice chairs but they are sort of crappy old nice chairs, and more than one has broken during a time when a real guest was seated.)

Your call, Daughter C. Tonight, seating mattered to almost everyone. No one had a chance to sit next to Diane Keaton. What should we do? At one end, we can turn back the clock and do a total re-do. At the other, Diane can just pull up a chair. Your call.

Please note that you can respond by logging onto you gmail account and fishing around and finding this blog and ... .

Only a Few Seats Left | The Dinner Party

We'll pull up two more chairs tomorrow.*
Tonight we sent invitations to

Representative Ron Paul (patriot; Mr. Big Food)
Antonín Leopold Dvořák (composer; me)
Alan Alda (actor; Miss M)
Oscar Wilde (playwrite; Miss M's Friend)
Freddy Mercury (musician; Kat)
Gene Roddenbury (policeman and screenwriter; Daughter C)
Joel Salatin (farmer; Tony)
Alvin Plantinga (philosopher; A. Leland)

With just one round left, here is the seating arrangement for Table 2 (as before, funny corner symbols represent table corners, blank spaces represent empty chairs):*

Philip K. Dick 

Gene Roddenbury

Alvin Plantinga
Bertrand Russell
Joel Salatin
Hunter S. Thompson
Willie Nelson
Ron Paul
John Wayne
Grace Kelly
Nassin Taleb


Jerry Garcia


Keith Richards
Thomas Edison
Denis Leary
Alan Alda
Oscar Wilde
William Shatner  

As we near the end of our little game-- which, by the way, has no clear "objective" other than our having fun-- I thought it might be useful to post Table 1's seating arrangement and a word or two about us.*

Rocky & Missy Sittin' in a


iThink I've Made the Right Decision

crappy old books
via Instapundit:
WARNING: Do not install the new Kindle-for-iOS app. It’s got serious problems. “Amazon yesterday updated its Kindle for iOS app, which works across iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, to version 3.6.1. The update was meant to fix a few bugs as well as the registration process. Instead, that update seems to be wreaking havoc on bookworm-style iThing owners who watched as their Amazon digital libraries and saved settings were erased before their eyes.”
 [my emphasis]

more crappy old books
I went to Palmer House the other day in search of crappy old books and believe it or not-- this is a first for me-- I only found one! It's a real find, though. Select Translations from Old English Prose edited by Albert S. Cook and Chauncey B. Tinker [there's a last name that was selected against], published by Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1935. 

and more
It was from this crappy old book that I learned about Bebe, the scholar and monk who wrote the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. The five volumes cover English history from A.D. 55, the time of J. Caesar's invasion, to the book's date of completion, 731.

modern books
I would not care to read Bebe in Latin nor in Old English but the modern translation I have is an easy and enjoyable read.
King Oswin was of a graceful aspect, tall of stature, affable in discourse, courteous in behavior, and bountiful to all, whether gentle or simple; so that he was beloved by every one for the kingliness of his spirit and his looks, and for his distinguished merit, and men of the very first rank came from almost every province to serve him. Among other virtues and rare endowments, if I may so express it, humility is said to have been his greatest, as one example may suffice to prove. (from Bk. 3 chap. 14 of EHEN; Oswin ruled from 644-651)
Now, see. Isn't that easy to read-- despite that first run on sentence? And aren't I happy that passage in my crappy old library wasn't erased before my eyes?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


She fits in well.

But don't mess with her.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner! | The Dinner Table Round 5 UPDATED

Interesting pairing thus far at Table 2: Hunter S. Thompson & Willie Nelson; John Wayne & Grace Kelly; Thomas Edison & Kieth Richards
What with the hubbub associated with our frequent power outages last evening, I didn't get around to posting last evening's invitations list, most of whom are seated at Table 2. Here they are now.

Phillip K. Dick (Sci-fi author; Tony)
Jesse James (bandit; A. Leland; seated at Table 1 between Richard Feinmann and Lauren Becall, age 19)
Willie Nelson (musician and pot head; Mr. Big Food)
John Wayne (actor, patriot; me)
Jerry Garcia (musician; Miss M; Mr. Big Food used to follow the Dead)
Keith Richards (musician; Miss M's Friend)
Neal Stephenson (Sci-fi/Spec-fi author; Kat; seated at Table 1 between von Neumann and Teddy)
Lavar Burton (actor; Daughter C)

Tonight's invitees are a mixed bag... 

Bertrand Russell (philosopher; A. Leland)
Hunter S. Thompson (author; Mr. Big Food)
Thomas Edison (inventor; me)
Grace Kelly (Princess of Monaco; Miss M)
Denis Leary (actor; Miss M's Friend)
William Shatner (spokesman for Priceline (TM); Kat)
Nassim Taleb (author; Tony; more on this dude later)
Due to the power outages and my subsequent failure to post Monday evening's entire guest list, there was a miscommunication. Daughter C's Tuesday's choice will be posted as soon as I have it.

Alternatively... . One of my co-bloggers who has first-person knowledge of her choice is welcome to update! 

UPDATE: Diane Keaton (Actress; Daughter C)


Sidenotes in Dinner Party History

Method, Meet Madness

Won't you join us for two minutes twenty-two seconds?

It is cold and wet out there today. I thought seriously of not taking them out. 

But I'm glad I did! Zzzzzzzzzzz

All Is Well

Turned out to be just another stormy early Spring night.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I don't like to talk about it

too much, but our Country Mouse Borrow is sort of Big. There's a lot of space to patrol. As I was patrolling, I ran into Miss M. and it was the funniest thing.

Does it surprise you that we both had flashlights in our hip pockets?

There it goes out again.

And again.

Rocky is all over it. We need to be on alert tonight. 

Flashlight By My Side

Here's Table One. See this post to understand seating arrangement designations.

Harper Lee
Jack Kerouac

George Carlin
Henry David Thoreau
Robert Johnson
Patrick Stewart
Quinton Terantino
Benjamin Franklin
Richard Feinman
Jesse James (bandit; A. Leland)
Lauren Becall (age 19)
Samuel Colt
John Ford

Robert E. Lee
Martin Luther King, Jr.

T. Jefferson
C.S. Lewis
Ayn Rand
Teddy Roosevelt
Neal Stephenson (Sci-fi/Spec-fi author; Kat)
John von Neumann
Lewis Carroll
Christopher Wallas
Julia Child
Gordon Ramsey
Mark Twain

Table One Has No More Vacant Seats

What seems like several years ago, but was really just two months ago, Mr. Big Food, Kat, Tony & I were rummaging around Greensboro where I found an orange date book. Late in December I have good intentions with respect to date books, so I bought an orange date book. Early in the New Year, I filled in dates that were set for January & February-- commitments to go to Starkvegas, houseguests, trips to Memphis and NOLA, not to mention farm projects-- and I said, "Holy Cow! We will be busy in January and February." And Mr. Big Food said, "Yes. Yes we will be."

It is February 25th. There are tornadoes lurking around, but we survived January and are trending to survive February. 

This past weekend was particularly harsh for us. We were in New Orleans and we were so busy we had to pause the Dinner Party Game until this evening. And so... . After a glorious morning with the dogs in the overgrown pasture, and some time spent doing mundane satisfying chores, and trip to Starkvegas... . We sat down to a wonderful dinner, thanks to Miss M. (vegan lasagne is good!) and played another round.

Wow. I'm going to post this now on account-- we like to say that-- on account of the fact that the power has gone off now three times. And although my trusty little computer can run on battery... .

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Cat Is Probably Out of the Bag

Mr. Big Food and I are in French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. It's been way more exciting than you can possibly imagine. Please hold your applause until the end.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Due to various technical difficulties, the fact that it's the weekend, &c., the Dinner Party Game is pausing, momentarily. Here's the 1/2 time show.

Stay with it. They're a family.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Some interesting folks were Invited

to our Dinner Party this evening. Unfortunately, because of some technical difficulties, I am unable to share the Guest List and Seating Arrangements with you.

As I recall, Franklin, Thoreau, and Lauren Becall, aged 19 were invited. Julia Child. Tarentino. But now it comes down to seating.

I'm sure my trusty co-bloggers will be along shortly.

I had to reconnect three times just to post five lines.

I blame Katrina.

Technical Problems

My phone is having a really hard time talking to my computer. It's a hardware issue. The tiny usb connection thingy is bent.

I'm hoping my silent co-bloggers can pick up the slack while I endeavor to unbend the tiny usb connection thingy.

It took about 45 minutes to post these five lines-- not to post the lines but to get connected.

I should show this to Missy.

I can't figure out how to embed the video but you must watch this!

h/t Goldberg at The Corner

Isn't That Special?

There's been some chatter about having an imaginary Dinner Party with fictional guests. I wonder if the Dude would abide?

Tip of the Cowboy hat to Mr. Big Food's Dad for the photo.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More Guests! | Invitations to the Dinner Party 2

The Table is more than half occupied!
Earlier today, one new player joined the game. As we are only on the second round of play, Miss M's Friend traveled back in time and invited George Carlin last evening.

Tonight, we invited eight guests-- and there was beginning to be some consideration as to where Guests were seated. 

Let's just go clockwise around the Table, beginning with Harper Lee (Daughter C's invite from last evening) who is seated on the left at the top Head of the Table. Tonight's invited Guests are in red with commonly known occupations* and host's name noted. For orientation purposes, Table corners are represented by the symbols "⊢" "⊣" "⊤" and "⊥"**; empty seats by "--"

Harper Lee
Jack Kerouac (author; Miss M's Friend)

George Carlin
Robert Johnson (blues musician; Miss M)
Patrick Stewart
Richard Feinman (physicist; Tony)
Samuel Colt (gunsmith; Mr. Big Food)
John Ford

Martin Luther King, Jr. (preacher; me)

T. Jefferson
C.S. Lewis (author; Daughter C)
Teddy Roosevelt (US President; Kat)
John von Neumann
Lewis Carroll (pseudonym; author; A. Leland)
Gordon Ramsey
Mark Twain

So. There you have it! 

This is a fluid game!!! 

Photos with No Captions: Pure Reason

Each morning, after I have coffee and breakfast and we've had our run in the over-grown pasture, I grab another cup of joe, make the bed, and settle in to wander around the world wide web. Missy usually wanders about a spell, settles on the couch, and wanders around. Rocky turns down the covers and makes himself a nest under them. I fuss at him occasionally but most often I let him be. When it's time to move on, Rocky engages his little brain and reasons his way out from under.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Invitations to the Dinner Party: 1

We've sent off the first batch of invitations!
Each of us placed our guest's name at a place at the table. From top to bottom, left to right

Harper Lee (author)-- Daughter C.
Mark Twain (author pseudonym)-- Miss M.
Gordon Ramsey (chef)-- A. Leland
John von Neumann (mathematician)-- Tony
T. Jefferson (patriot)-- Marica
Patrick Stewart (actor)-- Kat
John Ford (film director)-- Mr. Big Food

I am sad to say I did not properly communicate the rules to Kat initially. Her first pick was Grandpa Bobby. I had to tell her that people from personal lives are not allowed. This was a point of discussion when we discussed the rules last evening. I was tempted to make an exception. Kat-- not being part of last night's discussion-- was, at the time she invited Grandpa Bobby, ignorant of the rules. But rules are rules. Besides, according to one widely-held World View, Grandpa Bobby is at all of our dinner parties, real and imaginary!


OH! I know who I'm inviting next!! 

The Dinner Party Gameboard

"We're having a Dinner Party. Who should we invite?"
That's correct. I had nothing else to do today. On the bright side, I didn't make too big a mess.

Why yes. That is duct tape. How would you secure a table cloth to a cardboard table on a gameboard for a game about an imaginary Dinner Party?

Oh Those City Mice!

They're always good for a laugh, aren't they? Quoting at length from The Washington Post because it's just too rich.
Is a rabid fox ‘a really good sign’ for the city?
By Annys Shin and Theresa Vargas,February 14, 2013

A rabid fox bit a young mother on the leg this week as she crossed a road in Northwest Washington’s Rock Creek Park.

Tuesday’s attack was bad news for the fox, which was later captured by D.C. animal control officers and put down, and for the victim, who has to get a series of rabies shots.

But it was good news to city officials, who saw it as confirmation that the District’s environment is improving, making it more inviting to wildlife, even an occasional sick one.

“It’s actually a really good sign,” maintained Najma Roberts, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Health, which oversees animal control. “When you look at areas that are filled with pollution — not a lot of trees and grass, and garbage everywhere — there is less wildlife.”


The woman who was bitten described it this way on an online forum for denizens of Mount Pleasant: “I was crossing by the bridge (Tilden?) at the end of the little trail down the hill behind Ingleside when a little fox attacked my ankle and wouldn’t let go. I had the baby in the carrier in front and couldnt see very much, but I eventually managed to get him off of me just as Animal Control happened by. I am not sure if they caught him. He looked really sick and I’m still not sure why he came at me or from where but keep a look out.”


The attack has left some residents wary of the creatures, which are about the size of large cats. Some Crestwood residents suspect foxes are to blame for unexplained cat injuries and fatalities, and they’re keeping their felines indoors at night.

Christina Ryan, who has worked in the neighborhood for 20 years, wondered if foxes were responsible for the disappearance of rabbits, which she used to see regularly. Others welcomed foxes because they believe they keep deer with Lyme-disease-carrying ticks at bay.
 I have just three short comments.


That's one BIG large cat!
Boy with a Gun. Oh my!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Party On!

Mr. Big Food, Miss M., and I were chatting about a hypothetical dinner party this evening. We decided to turn our chit-chat into a little game.

The question is, "Who would you invite to an imaginary dinner party?" 


The invited guests must be Real People. Dr. Who, Sherlock, and Mr. Spock cannot be invited. (That's a game for another rainy week.) They can be from any where in the world but they must have lived within the last 150 or so years.* Neither Aristotle nor Jesus can be invited this time, maybe some other. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Country Mice Do Some Talkin'

Don’t Throw Out the Tin-­‐Foil Hats Just Yet: Libertarian Criticisms of Keeley’s “Of Conspiracy Theories”
Mr. Big Food, Brian, A. Leland, and I went to Memphis the other day. Mr. Big Food and I talked about Big Egg, a now-defunct piece of legislation that I blogged about last summer, and conspiracy theories. Brian talked a bit about conspiracy theories and more about folks who hear colors. A. Leland talked about many things, among them the Sisters of Mercy-- a sad tale. No dull moments for the Country Mice this weekend! But boy! Are we glad to be back on the Farm.

As I have a few minutes, I may post a draft of our Big Egg project over at Other Thoughts. Our thoughts involve Individual Liberty. Go figure.

In other news... isn't that an awesome picture? Kat made it. She blogs about photography at Pare and Focus and talks about GIMP (a free photo editing program) and her "How to GIMP" book here.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Central Bar-B-Que, Memphis
Reliability: It's an epistemological B-B-Que concept.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Away from My Desk

I'll be busy doing fun stuff but I'll have my camera with me so stay tuned.

Hummm. Wonder if my blog helpers would like to contribute? [Hint. Hint.]

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Spam: Enough's Enough Already

I am in the process of trying to remember a whole bunch of stuff I was happy to forget and am not in the mood.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Recipe: Chocolate Chocolate Chip/Chunk Muffins | U...":

I used to be unbelievably impressed because of the depth of data you chose to share below.

Thanks for taking the time to write these an insightful and
instructive piece
Review my homepage
As we are fond of saying here on the Farm, "GO AWAY."


And no, Missy. You are fine. It's spammers for who I am in no mood.

I haven't given a talk in ages.

Recipe: Chocolate Chocolate Chip/Chunk Muffins | UPDATED for Vegans

From Miss M. She used chocolate chunks rather than chips.

This is veganizable and just as soon an Miss M. let's me know how to do that, I'll share.

UPDATE: Substitute soy milk (or another non dairy alternative) for milk and 2 Tbs cornstarch plus 1 Tbs water for the egg.


1 3/4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 large egg
3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C milk
1/3 C oil plus 2 tsp
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients well. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full and bake at 400° for 20 minutes.

Recipe: Turkey/Duck Gumbo El Dorado

I think this should wrap up the recipe posting for a while.  My mistake. Miss M. has emailed me to tell me the location of the vegan muffin recipe. So look forward to that during my next break from tidying up the house in preparation for company. 

Says Mr. Big Food about this gumbo, "We made the duck gumbo with wild turkey breast (including the stock) and I used 2 lbs andouille (store-bought) instead of the shrimp."

We froze the little that remained because you can never have too much gumbo.


Serves 12 generously

5-6 lb duck, dressed
2 sticks butter
1 C flour
2 C white onion, chopped
2 C celery, chopped
1 lb okra, fresh or frozen, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 6 oz can tomato paste
15 oz stewed tomatoes (can use canned, flavored variety)
2 tsp Accent
1 C bell pepper, chopped fine
1 bunch green onions and tops, sliced
1 bunch parsley, chopped fine
1 tsp dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme leaves, crushed
2 Tbsp salt (or less, to taste)
1 Tbsp black pepper (or to taste)
½ Tbsp Cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 lbs cooked shrimp (cleaned, thawed if frozen)
Box of wild rice, cooked according to package directions (or half wild rice, half rice)
File powder

Directions below

Recipe: Hollister Vegetable Casserole

I am discovering that this vegan food isn't half bad!

“A finalist in the Garlic Recipe Contest and Cook-off, Lena says this entry is a favorite with her family and some of the Gavilan College staff where she is Cafeteria Manager. “This dish is particularly good for vegetarians,” says Lena. It would also be a good choice as a side dish to serve with barbecued meats.”—The Garlic Lovers Cookbook (1980)


6 zucchini, sliced
6 potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 bell peppers, cut into strips
2 large onions, sliced
1 large eggplant, sliced (and peeled, if desired)
½ C Romano or Parmesan cheese, shredded (or use 4 Tbsp vegan cream cheese for a vegan casserole)
Salt, pepper, to taste
5 cloves fresh garlic, sliced or pressed
1 tsp oregano (or more, to taste)
8 large tomatoes, sliced, or 2 lbs canned tomatoes, broken up
½ C oil or olive oil (or combination of both)

Preheat oven to 350o. Place layers of zucchini, potatoes, bell peppers, onions, and eggplant in a greased baking dish, alternating with 4 Tbsp shredded cheese, and salt and pepper. Combine garlic and oregano with tomatoes, and top casserole with tomato mixture and remaining 4 Tbsp cheese. Drizzle oil over top, cover casserole, and bake 90 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 375o, uncover casserole, and bake 90 minutes longer.

Recipe: Baked Omelet

served in a Fancy dish!

"Another fabulous breakfast dish. Can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled . . ."


6 eggs
6 Tbsp butter or margarine
½ C flour
3 C milk
1 ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper OR 1 ¾ tsp Creole seasoning
Shredded cheese, for topping omelet

Preheat oven to 350o. Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in flour, blending well. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper and cook until sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Beat eggs and blend with white sauce. Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 1 hour. Top with shredded cheese during last 15-20 minutes baking time.