Monday, April 30, 2012

What in tarnation??

What in tarnation??  What in the hell is that supposed to mean . . . that word ‘tarnation’?

My first recollection of hearing that word was from my youth . . . Saturday morning plopped in front of the boob-tube with a heaping bowl of Cheerios watching Looney Toons.   Yosemeti Sam would exclaim in frustration . . .  “What in tarnation??”

What in indeed.

Tarnation . . . a word used to express exasperation.  I always kind of thought it was a made up nonsensical word used in cartoons . . . after all, that was the only place I’d ever really heard it used.

It turns out it is, in fact, a real word.  Tarnation is defined as the act of damning or the condition of being damned. 

The word was popularized in gentler times when men were careful not to offend the delicate sensibilities of the weaker sex.  God forbid you use profanity in front of a woman . . . she might require the waiving of smelling salts under her nose or a cool towel touched upon her brow.  Basically, it would cause a scene.

So other words were used in the stead of everyday ordinary vulgarities. 

Many, many, many years ago . . . like a couple hundred or so . . . ‘tarnal’ was a vernacular form of 'eternal'.  ‘Eternal damnation’ was slangified into ‘tarnation’ and this became the acceptable substitution for expressing anger at something or other . . . most likely about how frustrating it was keeping women from fainting all over the place at the drop of a misspoken expletive.

Another good one is ‘where in the Sam Hill?’ . . . another Yosemite Sam favorite.  It’s a variation on the same theme . . . let’s not offend the babes and come up with a supposedly civilized way of saying something that everyone knows what it means but heaven forbid we say the actual words. 

‘Where in Sam Hill’ is simply a euphemism for saying ‘where in the hell’ . . . such a naughty, naughty word. 

Southwest Black Bean Chicken in the Crock Pot

4 Chicken Breasts (You May Even Start With Frozen)
1  8 Oz Can Tomato Sauce
1/2 Of A 6 Oz Can Tomato Paste
2  15 Oz Cans Corn
2  15 Oz Cans Black Beans
2  15 Oz Cans Kidney Beans
2  14.5 Oz Cans Mexican Stewed Tomatoes
1 Southwest Marinade Packet 
Sour Cream
Tortilla Chips or Whole Wheat Tortillas

Mix all ingredients except the chicken, cheese, and sour cream and tortillas in the bottom of a large crock pot. If you want it a bit thinner to eat as a soup, then add the liquid from two of the cans. Otherwise drain the liquid from the cans.

Place the chicken into the crock pot and cover it up with the sauce.

Cook on high for 4 hours. After it has cooked for 3 hours, take the chicken out, shred it and put it back in the crock pot for the remaining hour.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Girl with gun . . . A free people ought to be armed.

I recently acquired a US Revolver Co. (made by Iver Johnson) top break revolver.  The caliber is .32 Smith and Wesson which was originally a black powder cartridge.  This means that modern smokeless powder .32 caliber round will not work in this gun.  They will fit but it is a more powerful load and most likely destroy the gun if fired.  The loads are extremely difficult to come by, we will hand load them.  

Iver Johnson was a U.S. firearms, bicycle, and motorcycle manufacturer from 1871 to 1993.  The U.S. Revolver Co. was an offspring and set up as a mail order only company to rid themselves of the Second Model frames when the Third Model (designed for smokeless powder) frames came out. They were of the same quality and had the same pricing as the Iver Johnson models.

Iver Johnson's have been known to be of lesser quality than their Smith and Wesson cousins but the values on the S&W's are well out of my price range.

This gun particular gun was manufactured between 1910 and 1923 but we have not ascertained the actual age because the serial number is under the grips.  The grips are mother-of-pearl, which are very fragile.  We could easily break them if we tried to remove them so we have not attempted to do so.

I have wanted a break top revolver for quite a while.  Many years, in fact.  Why?  Because its neat!  Most revolvers you see the cylinder will either be fixed or swing out. In a top-break revolver, the frame is hinged at the bottom front of the cylinder. Releasing the lock and pushing the barrel down exposes the rear face of the cylinder, which also extracts the cartridges.  

The condition of the gun is remarkable considering it's age and its difficult to find them at reasonable price in such good condition. A pretty cool little gun, but I don't know how much I'll be shooting it.

”A free people ought to be armed.”
~George Washington

Friday, April 27, 2012

Firewater Friday - Happy Birthday to me . . . Cheers!


Vodka And Strawberry Lemonade

Dangerously delicious . . . once you start drinking this you won't want to stop!

4 oz Strawberry Lemonade (from this recipe)
2 oz Vodka

Fill a shaker half full with ice cubes. Pour all ingredients into shaker and shake well. Fill a glass almost full of ice cubes, and strain drink into glass.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Brew Thursday - Moat Mountain Iron Mike Pale Ale and Chatoe Rogue OREgasmic Ale

There are many types of ales . . . Pale ones, Brown ones and Ales that hail from Scotland and Belgium, there are Old ones and Mild ones and so on and so forth.  They all have their own special characteristics, but in general ales are brewed from malted barley and hops.  

Ales are top fermented at a warm temperature because of the variety of yeast used.  Ales tend to have a sweet, full bodied, fruity taste and, depending on the amount of hops used, the hoppy bitterness acts in concert with the sweet malt to create symphony of flavor.

One of my favorite ales is Iron Mike’s brewed by Moat Mountain Smokehouse and BreweryMoat Mountain is a small brew pub the makes micro batches of some marvelous beers.  Located in the Mount Washington Valley of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, it is one of our favorite places to stop for beer and food when we vacation there. 

Iron Mikes is a pale ale that comes in BIG 24 ounce cans . . . and like it says . . . everyone likes big cans! 

Don’t be put off by the fact that this beer comes in a can.  The can does an excellent job of protecting the beer from ultra-violet light.  Not that I don’t like bottled beer, but the cans protect the beer from skunking much better than bottles that allow the evil light in. 

Poured into a tall, cold glass Mikes flows a paled golden color with a fluffy head.  It imparts a citrusy aroma that is a mouthwatering tease to the grapefruity flavor.  It’s hoppy without being overly bitter . . . Mikes is nicely balanced and a truly refreshing brew.  A very drinkable 5.6% ABV . . . sit back, have a couple and chill.  All hail the pale ale!

For more information, check out Moat Mountain's website or visit them on Facebook

A new-to-me ale that I picked up recently was Chatoe Rogue OREgasmic Ale brewed by Rogue Brewery. Rogue is easily one of my favorite micro-breweries.  Located in the pacific northwest they are another brewery that made their start as a brew pub but have now expanded distribution so that we on the east coast may enjoy their yummy beers.

OREgasmic Ale is one of four special brews that are marketed as GYO (grow your own).  This particular beer is made with Dare malt and Revolution hops which Rogues grows on their micro farms . . . get it?  GYO?  

This ale has a golden amber color that holds it's creamy head.  Pouring this ale will release a piney/fruity aroma.  OREgasmic is a full bodied beer that tastes of hops and malt and caramel . . . 

. . . an amazing blend of flavors that are very well balanced.  It finishes clean with little to no after taste.  Quite delicious!  6.0% ABV

Visit Rogue at their website  or on Facebook 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I don't, for the record, have a Tweety Bird fetish.

I’m an early bird . . . early to bed, early to rise, getting the worm and all that.  

Hubby is a night owl . . . if it was practical he would stay up all night and into the wee hours of the morning.

Even though he can’t go along with his biological clock he’s still not ready to go to sleep when I am . . . which I fully admit is toddler early but that’s when I get sleepy . . . but I still want him to come to bed with me.

Why?  Because I just so happen to love him and like to be near him.  I sleep better when he’s in bed next to me.

You might think this would cause some feathers to fly in our love nest.  But since we are pretty  much attached at the wing tips, it really doesn’t.

Why?  Because hubby is a big sweetie-bird and willingly comes to bed with me . . . just so long as it’s not too early.  There are  certain time parameters . . . if I ask too early then he asks if I know what itme it is.  Of course I know what time it is.  Sheesh.

So, even though he’s not ready to go to sleep, he plops himself in bed between me and his laptop.  So that he can continue to do whatever he’s doing and I get to snuggle.   

Yeah, I know that the laptop is taking up space on the bed but that just mean that my hunny is closer to me.  It all works out.

Funny story that sort of related . . . the other night hubby was ready to go to sleep and he rolled over to cuddle.  I was facing away from him and he spooned up against me and put his arm over me. And then, because he wanted skin to skin contact, he put his arm under my shirt to rest his hand on my tummy.  I was aware of what was going on because I woke up when he flipped over.  So there his hand is on my belly and the next thing I know he stuck his finger in my belly button. Just a quick beep . . . it was kinda cute.

So the next day I mentioned it to him and he had zero recollection of this.  He even went so far as to say I made it up.  But I didn’t. 

Cuddling included belly button beeping, I guess.  :)~

Espaguetis (Spaghetti a la Dominicana)

A wonderful and surprising combination of flavors. 

1 Lb of Spaghetti
1/4 Lb. of Dominican "Salami" Diced Into Small Cubes
1/4 Cup of Ground Parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon of Capers
1/2 Cup Pitted Green Olives, Cut into Pieces
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Large Green Bell Pepper Cut Into Small Cubes
4 Plum Tomatoes Cut Into Small Cubes
2 Cups of Tomato Sauce
1 Large Onion Sliced Finely
1 Pinch of Oregano
1/2 Tablespoon of Mashed Garlic
1/2 Cup of Evaporated Milk                       

I didn’t have Dominican "salami" so I used Chinese pork sausages.  They are slightly sweet and a little spicy plus they add color.  Very yummy!

Boil the spaghetti until slightly softer than al dente having added a teaspoon of salt to the water. Drain the water and reserve the spaghetti.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat.

Cook and stir the salami (or sausage) until it browns.

Add the onions, pepper, olives, garlic and capers and cook and stir for a minute.

Add the tomatoes and oregano; simmer over low heat until the tomatoes are tender. 
Add the tomato sauce and the milk and mix well.

Simmer over low heat for a minute. Stir often.
Season with pepper and salt to taste.

Serve hot over the spaghetti and top with grated cheese.

I don't, for the record, have a Tweety Bird fetish.
Brian Lamb

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Or wear some stinking merkin for a beard

I come across some pretty weird stuff on the interwebs.  One such bizarrity is a merkin. 

The first thing that popped into my head when I saw this word was that I thought it was something like a murse . . . you know, a man-purse. 

Holy cow, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Like I said . . . weird stuff.

So, what exactly is a ‘merkin’?  I can tell you it is not related to man bags.   If you really must know . . . read on. 

My first stop was a dictionary.  It seemed a logical place to start.  Merkin is an artificial hairpiece.  But not for a head . . . what it is is a  . . . ugh . . . a pubic wig.  Yeah, you read that right; a pubic wig.

Basically, a merkin is a wig for women with no pubic hair.

About 300 years before the discovery of penicillin, loose women with a penchant for indulging in fleshly pleasures and got themselves a raging case of the clap had no way to cure the cooties.

One popular treatment was the application mercury which, among other things, caused the hair  . . . uhm . . . down there to fall out.  Other venereal diseases caused nasty sores.   So the ladies of the night would use merkins to hide the problem from their gentlemen customers  . . . that and adulterous wives would use them to hide their problem from their husbands.
Also, improper hygiene was commonplace; therefore, lice was a big problem.  An effective treatment was the removal of all body hair . . . including down there. 

Obviously, its embarrassing not to have pubic hair . . . I mean, you never know who might see what you’ve got going on down there.

Nowadays, strippers who work in places where full nudity is not allowed will don a merkin so that she will not be completely nekkid.

Merkin . . . now you know.  Maybe you wish you didn’t but it’s too late now!

Bailey's French Toast

Bailey’s Irish cream adds a ka-powie to French toast . . . and when made with cinnamon bread  . . . zing!

4 Slices Cinnamon Bread
2 Eggs
3 Tbsp Irish Cream
1/8 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla

Mix together the ingredients.

Soak the bread in the mixture. It should soak up everything

Cook over medium until golden brown.

Plate and serve with the topping of your choice . . . and that should be a pat of butter and real maple syrup!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Men still have to be governed by deception

Herring . . . a fish, of course, but also a food staple for many cultures all over the world.  But this excellent source of protein and nutrients spoils quickly and must be preserved in some manner almost as soon as they are caught.

Before freezing was available, the only practical way to preserve the fish was cure them by means of salting and smoking.  Preserved in this manner the herring can keep for months but have to be softened and desalinated (by means of soaking) to make them edible once again.

Although the flesh of the fish is white, when the fish is heavily cured (up to 10 days) it turns a deep crimson color . . . and gets pretty stinky, as well.  From this we get red herring . . . the food product and the idiom . . .  something that distracts attention from the real issues.   But how does the fish relate to this expression?

A popular English journalist of the early 1800’s wrote a fictional story about how as a boy he had used a red herring as a decoy to deflect hounds chasing after a hare.   He further used this story as a metaphor to criticize other members of the press who printed misinformation without the benefit of verifying the facts leading to domestic complacency in the face of external threats . . . namely; falsely reporting that Napoleon had been defeated and therefore was no longer a threat to the nation. 

He wrote “It was a mere transitory effect of the political red-herring; for the scent became as cold as a stone.”

He repeated this story enough that the symbolic implication of ‘red herring’ became well-established.  The unfortunate result is that people also began to believe that laying a false trail of stinky fish was a normal practice amongst huntsmen.

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup of Water
1 Pint Fresh Strawberries
1 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice (About 8 Lemons)
5 Cups Cold Water

Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and heat until the sugar in completely dissolved; swirl the pan occasionally. Let cool.

Once the simple syrup has cooled, puree strawberries in a blender with ½ cup water.

In a large pitcher, combine strawberry puree, simple syrup and lemon juice.

Add 5 cups of cold water. The amount of water you use will depend on your taste, so add as little or as much as you want to achieve your perfect sweet/tart balance.

Serve over ice. 

Men still have to be governed by deception

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I'm not full of crap just because I don't 'poo

Just about a year ago I began an experiment . . . no-poo.  Which is to say, I gave up using shampoo to wash my hair.

It was a scary prospect, to be sure.  Clean hair without shampoo?  Impossible!  Or was it?  

I did a whole bunch of research before I made the decision to do this.  I found out that a lot of people no-poo. Some because of allergies, some because they want to get away from chemicals, some because its economical . . . all of that is true but the fact that it's effective is the clincher!

So, like I said, I have not shampooed my hair in a year.  In all that time I've used a combination of baking soda mixed with water (about 2 Tbsp mixed with 16 ounces water) to wash; and cider vinegar mixed with water  (about 2 Tbsp mixed with 16 ounces water) as a rinse.  Sometimes, if I'm feeling fancy, I'll use lemon juice mixed with water as a rinse.  My hair is pretty long so if your hair is short you can probably bet by with a 1 Tbsp to 1 cup ratio.

How well does the baking soda clean?  Very, very well.  It removes dirt and oils and odors.  If my hair is especially dirty or stinky . . . I say stinky because I work part-time as a bartender where people smoke cigarettes and cigars . . . I may use a little less water to make more of a paste and really work it in good.  But generally I simply I wet my hair, pour the baking soda/water onto the roots of my hair, work it in to my scalp then down to the ends and rinse with water.  

Baking soda doesn't get foamy like shampoo, but it doesn't need to.  You're hair will have a slick feel to it until you rinse it out.   Then it will feel . . . well . . . clean.

Then I rinse with the cider vinegar/water mixture.  I just tilt my head back pour it over my hair and let it flow to the ends and rinse it out. 

Why the rinse?  Baking soda is alkaline; which will leave your hair unmanageable because it leaves the scales of your hair shaft "ruffled".   

The vinegar or lemon juice is acidic, which will smooth down the scales on your hair shaft and make it smooth and shiny.  Note:  Don't use a stronger vinegar . . . like white vinegar . . . because it is too strong.  

How does my hair smell?  I can assure you that it does not smell like a salad, if you're wondering.  I can also tell you that your hair will not smell flowery or perfumy either.  What it does smell like is fresh clean hair . . . nothing more,  nothing less.

How does it look?  Glossy, healthy . . . beautiful.  Don't take my word for it.  These photos I took just yesterday as I was getting ready for work.  They are not retouched . . . what you see is what you get.

The only real draw back is the big box of baking soda and the gallon of vinegar hanging out in the bathroom.  You can get baking soda really inexpensively in bulk and vinegar is super cheap.  

So, not only are you keeping all kinds of nasty, carcinogenic chemicals off your hair and skin but you're saving money.  And . . . if you're a greenie . . . you're saving the earth, too.

It's a win / win.

A word of warning . . . if you decide to go no-poo just know that it may take a week or up to a month for your body to acclimate to not having all that crap disrupting it.  The early results maybe that your hair and scalp are oilier until you adjust.  

The reason for this is because all the stuff they put in shampoo is designed to remove dirt and oil . . . aggressively.  Which is why your hair gets squeaky clean and why it looks so oily if you miss a day or two from washing your hair.  

Newsflash . . . you're hair and scalp actually need those oils . . . that's why your body produces them.  So, when you are shampooing your oil glands are working overtime to produce even more oil to make up for all the oil you've removed.  

It takes a little time for your body to realize that your no longer removing all the oils and for your glands to back it down to normal production levels.  So when things are normalized your hair won't look oily but it will look nice and shiny . . . from all those natural oils that are supposed to be there.  Shocking, I know.  You'll get over it, I promise!

I'm happy with the results and I won't ever go back to using all those over priced, nasty hair products.  

By they way . . . I also have not had my hair cut in about a year.  My hair has grown like a weed . . . there are no split ends, it's elastic like it should be, and there's no breakage.  

Just healthy hair.  And, that speaks for itself.