Saturday, October 25, 2014

We interrupt this silence to ask,


I am not an LSU fan. I am certainly not a fan of That School Up North. BUT ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Two calls in a row?? 

Let's just play tiddlywinks. 

Neither of those two calls was justified. 

Please note my formal protest against the SEC officials.

Please note that I already have a tag, "SEC," for just such occasions. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Place for Everything


"Mom? Where's that deer skull?"

"Ummm... . In that chest in the foyer." Right side. Top shelf.
Because, like, doesn't everyone have a deer skull in a chest in the foyer? 

The steer mandible is in the garage near the Area 51 rock. The goat skull is on top of one set of encyclopedias-- I think the stack that is weighing down some pressed four-leaf clovers. Those little bottles of model car paint with their cute teeny tiny little brushes are in the right hand drawer of that crappy old white metal kitchen cupboard under the air conditioner in the workshop. And the vintage mint-in-box Scarlet O'Hara Barbie is in the store room on the top shelf, one section over from the left.

And the truck keys are... . ... . ... ?

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Country Mice Are On The Move Part 2: This Week (with a spot of how to convert a Lickert scale to something that makes sense)

Miss M and I really did go to Our State Capital the other day, but we didn't stay.

Daughter C and Mr. Big Food really did go to Hotlanta. Oh! What stories they brought home. (They showered upon their return, ensuring that stories were the only things they brought home.)

But that was last week.

This week Miss M and I really are going to Our State Capital but won't be staying until next week.

Mr. Big Food is headed to Long Island. 

[with caption stating that if I had my things about me, I could find an even better photo-- I have a bunch of crappy old history of biology books. Point being that Mr. Big Food for the second time in his life will be at Cold Spring Harbor]

And Daughter C is at home on the Farm for the duration. As Miss M & I will be.

As we were all here last Sunday evening, we* enjoyed Entry #4 in our Fall '14 Macaroni & Cheese Contest: Diner Mac & Cheese with Turkey Franks.

Diner Mac & Cheese with Turkey Franks is the leader, thus far. I can prove it. 

Diner Mac & Cheese with Turkey Franks is a classic mac & cheese recipe. Cheesy sauce with a touch of mustard that I could have done without. But an excellent-- truly excellent!-- breadcrumb topping. 

On the back of the envelope where I collect the various bits of data concerning the Fall '14 Macaroni & Cheese Contest are written two quotes:
10/19 CLC: Please note that I've liked every one.

10/19 JB: Please note that... .

Daughter C also commented that the mac & cheese contest was a lot harder than the soup contests. Which I hope explains my comment about the mustard. It's a grain issue. When you are ranking soups... . Haven't we covered this already?
The second problem is that macaroni and cheese casseroles have just two unchanging main ingredients. Look back at the variety of soup entries-- not often two soups had the same two main ingredients. 
Back to Diner Mac & Cheese with Turkey Franks which got two #1 votes and one #2 vote. How does it fair compared to, let's say, Veggie Mac & Cheese with One #1, one #2, and one #4? Or Ro*tel with two #2 and one #3???????

Our weekly rankings are ordinal. We've covered this many times here and when I don't have to be up at O'Dark Thirty to take Mr. Big Food to the Airport, I will link. But for now-- consider that there are four entries. All we need to do is rank them. And therein is the pitfall.

It is impossible to quantify the distance between "1" & "2" & "3". More impossible still to quantify and standardize the distances between a star and a moon and a clover. Ranking things that are not measurable leads to all sorts of problems. 

Here's how you get around this problem-- Dawgs are still #1, by the way, even though they didn't play this weekend. You make everything a pair-wise comparison with a clear winner and looser and add up the wins and loses. 

So. see?  With a score of 7.2 Diner Mac is #1!! And Ro*tel is tied with Veggie for #2. 

*So by "we" I mean we were all on the Farm but as a vegan, Miss M did not participate in the mac & frank dinner.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

+/- 1 or thereabouts

Life is pretty amazing, isn't it? 

On any given day in May, June, July, August, September or October the ambient air temperature can be 98 °F or greater in Mississippi.

Take a look at these 48 data points. Consider different pairs of monthly high & low records: -5 & 85 (Jan.); 54 & 107 (August). There are 80 and 53 degrees difference, respectively, between those two sets. 

I can tell the difference between -5 and 85. Heck. I can tell the difference between 92 °F and 107 °F, can't you? I cannot tell the difference when the air is 92 versus when the air is 87-- a difference of 5 whole degrees Fahrenheit. Can you?

Think how remarkable it is, then, that we-- you and I-- know something is amiss when our body temperature is not 98.6 but 99.6-- or worse yet, 100.4! 1.8 degrees and we know things are not 'normal'. 

What's my point? 

Homeostasis is cool err err ... neet. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Country Mice are on the Move

Miss M & I are headed to Our State Capital day after tomorrow.

So much to think about. What books to take in the Traveling Library? How much canned Canada Dry can we reasonably transport? I never did order that quick one cup little traveling coffee maker... how to improvise such that I have coffee when I need it? And somewhere in this house there is a pair of black sweatpants that belong to Miss M. Can we find them in time? Do we know where the soft serve food outlets are in Jackson?

Meanwhile... Daughter C and Mr. Big Food will head to Hotlanta, Georgia. (It's purple on the map.) 

Still more to think about. Good grief! We're almost out of hand sanitizer and Daughter C and Mr. Big Food will be within spittin' distance of Hartsfield International Airport. I can say with absolute certainty that the LAST thing we need is for the Farm to be GROUND ZERO on an EBOLA infection here in Mississippi.

So. If you have Ebola-- stay the hell away from us Country Mice. 

We just want to go where we need to go. Do what we need to do without bothering any one. And get back home. 

Monday, October 13, 2014


Ro*Tel Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Ha ha ha haha. You thought I was going talk about college football, didn't you?

I've tabulated the results after three games entrees and the polls results for The Fall '14 Macaroni & Cheese Contest are in! Vegetable Macaroni & Cheese is in the lead with two #1 votes. Ro*Tel is #2 with one #1 and two #2 votes.

This was a good mac & cheese. More classically cheesier than the two previous entries. If you are a huge fan of Ro*Tel, then you would have voted this #1 as Mr. Big Food did. It wasn't too Ro*tel-y, but as a main dish-- we make these rules up as we go along*-- it was a bit too Ro*Tel-y for my taste. 

But again, it was by far the best cheese sauce so far.

* below

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cue up the Twilight Zone

You know what's more odd than the Ole Miss vs. A&M and the State vs. Auburn scores? The sound bar arrived today while Mr. Big Food & I were at the game. 

I coaxed Daughter C into hooking it up after I hooked it up after we had supper after we got back from the game. (She did a much better job than I. It actually works now.) 

What a nice distraction the game was! We ran into an old friend!!

La Girl with la Cool Name




"Missy? Where are you?"



"Wake up, Boy! Where's Missy?"

"ru.. ruf... f"



"Gosh, Rocky. I'm sorry I woke you. I'm still stoked up over the game and don't feel like sleeping. I thought you and  Missy might want to watch the new episode of Dr. Who. We recorded it, don't you know?


"Oh. You know."


"Where's Missy?"



"ru... f... f"

"Well. I see. Well, then good night Boy."


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Let this sink in a minute

Via Instapundit at Business Insider a "Beautiful Visualization Of Nobel Prizes By Country Since 1901.

It is beautiful, isn't it?

Suggestions for further reading:

Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. Edward R. Tufte. Graphic Press, Cheshire, Connecticut. 1997.

Sign, Image, Symbol. Gyorgy Kepes, ed. George Braziller, New York. 1966.

The Great Books Foundation Set One Volume Four: Aristotle, The Federalist Papers, Adam Smith. Great a Books Foundation, Chicago. 1966.

Foundations of Liberty: Independent Study Materials. Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.

Our Wonder World: A Library of Knowledge in Ten Volumes Volume Two Invention and Industry. Howard Benjamin Grose, ed. Geo. L. Shuman & Co., Chicago and Boston. 1914.

Being a Boy. Charles Dudley Warner. Hard Press at Amazon. Offprint originally copyright date 1877.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Things that Tire Me: Parts 3 & 4 of 365

3. Lies.

4. Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (E.S.P.N. dadadada).


Until 5pm this afternoon, FedEx tracking had my order arriving today. Who were they kidding? Hutchens, TX is 8 hours from here. 

It's not arriving tomorrow, either. We all know that. Tomorrow is Game Day. Ain't nobody gonna be driving a FedEx truck out the The Farm on Game Day. 

I'm never shopping at Walmart ever again. Never. Ever. Never. I don't like Sam Walton, lying thief that he was. 


I hate ESPN. 

At no time in the history of our planet have so many lives been so distributed but one stupid television network as ours have been by ESPN. Week after week, year after year, ESPN dictates when our teams will be playing, and by extension when our tailgates will start, what we'll have for breakfast, what time we'll need to get up, go to bed the night before... . ESPN even tried to start a new Mississippi Thanksgiving tradition! Who gave EPSN and its corporate shills that power? Not me! 

I'm tired of ESPN.

See you at the game. Go Dawgs.

And you know what the sad part is? Those staying home to watch the game won't even be able to listen to it on the new sound bar because the sound bar is in Columbus and as we have established, ain't nobody gonna be driving a FedEX truck out to The Farm on Game Day.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


From a crappy old book.

I'm on a mission to catalog 365 Things I Am Tired Of Which I am Tired. In the interest of positive thinking, I thought I should counter with a year's worth of things that tickled me to no end. This illustration from a 1933 edition of The Pilgrim's Progress is #1.

Maybe this is funny only to me. I was just the other day trying to remember all 12 of the cranial nerves and no one makes fun of German accents anymore. 

Recipe: Fruit Dumplings

Cherry Dumplings topped with cinnamon sugar
Before we go to the recipe, I'd like to say a word or two about 'Dumpling Culture'. Dumpling Culture refers to the crappy old times in which folks ate a lot of dumplings-- usually with sauce or gravy. I will not say that those were simpler times because making dumplings is complicated business. But they were good times because dumplings are yummy. 

We used cherries rather than plums.


3/4 C milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 C flour (or more)
2 eggs
plums cut into pieces
cinnamon sugar

Combine milk, salt and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add flour and stir constantly until mixture is stiff and doesn't stick to spatula or pan. Remove from heat, let cool slightly. Add eggs. Roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut into squares. Wrap each square around a plum piece. Spoon dumplings into rapidly boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dumpling Culture is Alive and Well

Just add cinnamon sugar

I am trying. 

I may remind one & all that I am not the only one who has admin posting privileges. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

My Thoughts On Mac & Cheese

As I mentioned, we're having a contest: The Fall '14 Macaroni & Cheese Contest.

Some time ago Mr. Big Food made a Mac & Cheese dish and I asked how many Mac & Cheese recipes he had. He didn't know for sure but guessed about 70 or 80. What an exaggeration! He got to counting and only has 60 something. Along the way, we decided we should re-imagine our traditional Fall & Winter Soup Contest as a Macaroni & Cheese Contest

Here we are in week two of the contest and Daughter C for one couldn't be happier. She loves macaroni & cheese. 

The Fall '14 Macaroni & Cheese Contest does present some problems that the soup contests did not. Most glaring is the Recency problem. As in, "My God! This week's macaroni & cheese is really really good!"

The second problem is that macaroni and cheese casseroles have just two unchanging main ingredients. Look back at the variety of soup entries-- not often two soups had the same two main ingredients. 

THerefore, it is imperative that we take excellent notes. 

To that end, here are my thoughts (with visual aids) on the first two entries. Recipes to follow just as soon as I am able.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fresh Air

Don't get too excited.

I know 'Fresh Air' is a ® of NPR-- your tax dollars at work. But dammit. Fresh Air belongs to all of us! All I have to do is prop open one door, and then another, and then bingo bambo...

This happens every Spring and Fall. It's better outside than in. 

'Sposed to get down in the 40s tomorrow night. 

Wondering why I am whooshing heat out of the house.

Oh. Right. Fresh Air. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Civilisation, Descartes, & Stuff

I found this quite odd.

Frans Hals, Descartes
From page 208 of Civilisation by Kenneth Clark (1969). 

Civilisation was a BBC series. It spun a book. I don't have time to critique the crappy old book in the full measure with which it is due since it's late and we're under a tornado watch so I'm on high alert. Yes. You read that correctly. It's October 2nd... soon to be October 3rd, 2014... and we are under a tornado watch. Not that a tornado is coming. We're just watching out for one. Still, I don't have time to delve into the absurdity of a book titled Civilisation: A Personal View

But here's my first reaction!

I picked this book up today at the Starkvegas Library and thought it had potential. Who doesn't like crappy old books concerning civiliZation? It was definitely worth fifty cents. (But no more.) 

Here's what the back jacket says:
A personal view of how Western Europe evolved after the collapse of the Roman Empire and produced the ideas, books, buildings, works of art and great individuals that make up a Civilisation.
And you see whose likeness is on page 208?

Cogito ergo sum, idiot

'Western Europe' didn't do jack. 

'O': Denotes first person singular in a lot of verbs. This is like 8th grade Latin stuff and 9th grade Logic stuff. 

What does it even mean to say "Western Europe produced..."? Like, the Urals or the Alps just spit out Descartes or Locke or Mozart or Luther or Sherlock or Dr. Who or-- what the hell? Kant-- or whohaveyou? Like Dvorak and ... oh nevermind. 



"Missy? Where are you?"



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Into This New Month"

The Lost Summer began mid-May. Between then and now-- i.e., during those four and one-half months-- I added 207 crappy old books to my library. That's one and one-half books per day!* Some came from my old haunts, others from a new crappy old bookstore I found in Jackson, still others from the Neuroscience & Anatomy conference room in the research wing of UMMC. (FYI: You can never have too many books on the anatomy of the lab rat. And who doesn't need a two volume, 2791 page reference on Medical Physics?)

I traveled to Birmingham, and then to Jackson, with many of my crappy old new books (and some old favorites). This one-- Meditations for Women (1948, edited by Jean Beaven Abernathy) was piled in a 'must read' pile on a table covered with a sheet to protect them-- the pile and the table-- from drywall dust until today when it traveled with me to Memphis.

As a woman, and a survivor of The Lost Summer, I read with interest the meditation for October 1:
Into This New Month 
The sun and the stars do not break up eternity into thirty-day cycles. Their schedule provides for no momentary slowing down to celebrate accomplishment, nor for any speeding up to dramatize a new beginning. 
But we who live under the sun and stars have a recurrent need to say, "There-- that much is done," and to say, "This is a fresh start." Out of our human need we design a calendar pattern that can be imposed upon the endlessness of time. 
And although all our logic may tell us that the first day of a new month is just like any other, yet our feelings tell a different story. With some flick of thought, some quickening of the spirit, we acknowledge the difference-- ahead of us there is a month in which anything can happen; in which no mistakes have yet been made; in which we can begin again.
Frankly, I think Bonoro W. Overstreet, author of October's meditations, might have benefitted from a little introduction to astrophysics. Though to her credit, she doesn't talk about the moon. But I liked the sentiment. A whole entire month in which no mistakes have yet been made! WhooHooo!! 

ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN! The ceiling in the Greenhouse apartment might get painted! 

THERE! That much is done. I wrote a blog post!

*It tickles me no end when folks say stupid stuff like this. There's no such thing as 1.5 books. No one-- not even I-- buys a half a book! (Though I did buy an 1856 edition of Macaulay's The History of England from the Accession of James II Volume I which had a less than mint condition spine. I was missing Volume I. You take what you find when you find it.)