Saturday, January 14, 2017

It's MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY, goddamn it!

Last night (ironically, the first Friday the 13th of the new year), the mayor of Biloxi put out a tweet that rather specifically did not call Monday's holiday "Martin Luther King Day."
It was a fascinatingly specific error (yes, let's just call it an "error," shall we?), but they left it up overnight, finally deleting it this morning, and a lot of the Twitterverse noticed. My personal favorite response was this.
Let's remember that Biloxi, Mississippi was the site of the infamous "wade-ins" in 1960, to protest the fact that the miles of available beach in Biloxi were "whites only," with only tiny "colored" bits of beach available. (That one didn't end well for the protesters in Biloxi, by the way, although it did bring the city to national attention).

Of course, the whole state has a terrible history in the civil rights annals - they didn't call the movie "Alabama Burning," after all.

And let's add this little detail to that list of Mississippi's record on civil rights:
  1. In 1910, the state passed a law to honor January 19 as Robert E Lee's birthday.

  2. In 1983, Reagan made Martin Luther King's Day a federal holiday, observed on the third Monday in January

  3. In 1987, calling it a "cost-saving measure," the state of Mississippi combined the two holidays, in a move that most people understand was a backhanded insult to King (MLK Day was already a Federal holiday - you want to lose a holiday? Accept that you probably shouldn't have a day honoring somebody who committed treason, and get rid of that one.)
And then, in 2017, the mayor of Biloxi decided that the combined holiday needed a name, since everybody was still referring to it by the name of that Negro. A move which he probably regrets, since he's been trying to walk it back all day.

Remember, as we enter the Trump Era, undercover racists are going to keep trying to do this kind of crap.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Golden Showergate

The news this morning is full of prostitutes, urine and Trump.
The story began making the rounds at Washington dinner parties late last summer: Donald Trump had been caught in a compromising sexual position by Russian intelligence agents during a business trip to Moscow. According to one version, told by a high-ranking Obama administration diplomat, Russian intelligence services, acting on Trump’s well-known obsession with sex, had arranged an evening for him with a bevy of hookers, with hidden cameras and microphones recording all the action. The jaw-dropping detail that topped the story? Trump had somehow engaged in “golden showers,” sex acts involving urine.
Now, the guy getting blackmailed by Russia says it's all a lie. And the country doing the blackmailing says it's all a lie. Of course, the intelligence report says otherwise, but it's become obvious that Donald Trump doesn't use intelligence.

I feel I should point out that there's nothing in the Constitution requiring a compromised president to step down: I mean, a man with principles would, but I think we've established pretty clearly that the GOP didn't elect one of those.

Think about it for a second: if Donald Trump steps down in the face of these golden shower allegations, his brand is dead. He's spent his entire life selling himself. Building up his name as a symbol of wealth and privilege. And if he just admits it's true, he just pisses all that away.

So Trump's going to try and brazen this out, which will just precipitate a constitutional crisis further down the road. Remember that Russia's goal for decades has been to damage the credibility of the United States, in order to increase their own. So now, whatever Russia has will be slowly leaked out, a little bit at a time, by a giggling Vladimir Putin.

What happens now? Well, if the President steps down before taking his oath of office, nothing says that the Vice President-elect gets to take over. By definition, the Vice President was not the person elected President. Ironically, Trump's beauty contest has a clearer plan of succession for a situation like this than the US Constitution.
If the winner, for any reason, cannot fulfill her duties as Miss Universe, the 1st runner-up takes over.
All this time, we thought Trump's weird orange skin was due to cheap bronzer, not to the fact that Russian prostitutes don't hydrate properly.

It's weird that the White House staff now has to study up on removing urine stains. But this whole thing has brought a new light to that infamous solid gold toilet that Trump has.

All this kind of explains that pissy look on Trump's face all the time. Do you think anybody ever be willing to shake Trump's hand from now on? I'm betting that sales of hand sanitizer in DC are going to go through the roof.

So, it's time to start a new birther theory: Donald Trump has always claimed to have been born in Queens. But it looks now like he might have been closer to Flushing.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Somebody's off their meds

Somebody told Rudy Giuliani that he's relevant again. That person should be flogged.

In case you missed it, this is the 15th anniversary of 9/11. And you have to wonder - does Rudy throw a party every year on this date, or does he just raise a silent toast to the 19 hijackers who gave him a job for the last decade and a half?

Rudy was once a reasonable person: a centrist, alternately registered as a Democrat, an Independent, and then, so that the Reagan administration would hire him, as a Republican. But, since he stopped lawyering and started in on punditry, he's apparently lost his mind.

Asked on ABC This Week if Trump was right, and that we should have "taken the oil" from Iraq, he made a fascinating comment.

Did you catch that? "Of course it’s legal; it’s a war. Until the war is over anything’s legal."

Let's be clear here. Rudy Giuliani has never been in the military. He's never even been to a war zone, as far as I know. New phrase for you, Mr Giuliani. You might want to look it up.

"War crimes."

Saturday, August 27, 2016

How I spent my Saturday

ABQ Ride Customer Service
Alvarado Transportation Center
100 1st SW
Albuquerque NM 87102

To whom it may concern,

Saturday morning, I went to Kirtland AFB to get some work done on my car. Not a real problem, nothing to worry about, but since I didn't particularly want to wait around in the mechanic's waiting room, I checked the schedule and noted that Route 157 was running on Saturday morning.

This is where the problem comes in.

I ride your buses just about every weekday to get to work. I don't tend to ride them to the base a lot, so I'm not entirely familiar with your routes in that area. So I checked your app, and the "Plan My Ride" feature told me that I needed to get to Building 800.

(As a side note, one of the alternate routes that it planned for me involved me walking up Wyoming Boulevard, and climbing the eight foot tall, locked steel gate that doesn't happen to be open on a Saturday morning, and catch a bus that way. Which isn't quite as helpful as you might think.)

Now, I retired a little over ten years ago, and "Building 800" wasn't a particularly descriptive term (another side note: you could mark it as "377 ABW Headquarters," which might be a little more helpful), but I remembered that there was a bus stop right by Gibson Gate on the way out, so I walked that way.

Arriving at the bus stop, I noticed that the sign didn't list Route 157 as one of the buses that stopped here. This seemed odd, since the stop was blatantly on the bus' route. But while I was considering my options, I happened to glance up and notice that the bus I wanted was entering the base. This coincidence made me reasonably happy.

I crossed the road and, when the bus stopped to let the guard on to check ID on the passengers (standard practice when entering the base), I walked up to the open door and said "Mind if I get on here? I'm really not sure where your stop is."

The driver glared at me and said "No. The stop is Building 800."

Considering that I had my bus pass in my hand, the bus was already stopped and the door was open, I have to ask what kind of sense that made? Do you even consider training your drivers in the concept of "customer service," or is yours the only section in the Transit Department who are tasked with that?

The two guards at the gate didn't know where Building 800 was, either, so I felt a little better about my confusion (as I said, consider labeling it differently), but the one in the Visitor's Center was able to make a call and learn that it was at 8th and K, right off Wyoming Blvd, which was helpful. Eight blocks east, ten blocks south. I had a little over 20 minutes, so I made it in plenty of time.

At which point the driver glared at me again and said "We aren't boarding yet."

I asked him to please explain how that made any sense, but he didn't reply. So I got the opportunity to stand around, outside an idling bus, for about 10 minutes before the driver could be bothered to allow me to enter.

And incidentally, on the ride, I discovered that there was, in fact, one more stop on base: outside the gym, at G Street and Texas. Which would have been a short walk (two, maybe three blocks) from the gate. This would have been useful information the driver could have, for example, passed along when denying me entrance at the gate.

So, what we're left with is three suggestions:

1. A more descriptive listing for "Building 800" would be helpful.
2. Somewhere in your app, a listing of the minor stops that the schedule itself omits.
3. Perhaps a remedial class in Customer Service for at least one of your drivers. Maybe make it an annual thing.

Just a thought from one of your customers.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton and the press

The press has an interesting complaint about Hillary Clinton: not that she doesn't talk to them - she does. She gives hundreds of interviews, she has about one press gaggle every two weeks, she literally talks to everyone who comes near. But just like Trump, she hasn't set up a press pool. And more importantly to them, she hasn't held a formal press conference since last year, and this makes them pissy.

Now, let's be clear on this. They want to spin those last two points into "she doesn't talk to the press!" But that's obviously a lie. Their problem isn't that she's not talking to the press, but that she isn't doing it like they want her to do it. She doesn't duct-tape reporters to her ass and drag them behind her in a mewling mass. She doesn't charter a plane for them, serve them meals and charge their phones when their batteries are getting low.

Really, this is more of a reflection on the state of our media than Hillary Clinton. They're lazy; they just want to be handed entire stories that they can file without doing any actual work. And Hillary Clinton doesn't do their jobs for them, and this makes them unhappy.

At last estimate, in May, she had given 300 interviews, so it's clear that she's obviously not avoiding the press. So what's their problem?

Really, there are three factors at play here. First, the press is in an abusive relationship with Donald Trump: he holds "press conferences" where he openly lies to them, and they report it without question. Admittedly, there's a good reason for that: anytime they point out the actual facts, he insults them, calls them dishonest, or actually bans them from events. (Admittedly, by banning the Washington Post, they've started to do actual reporting, and point out what a lying bag of ass the cheddar-colored fuckweasel actually is.)

Second, there's a little bit of a history between the Clintons and the press. There is a well-documented right-wing movement to try to paint the Clintons in the worst light possible, and the media has been complicit in this conspiracy in their refusal to actually do their jobs: they'll unquestioningly reprint press releases, and always accept the sordid insinuation over actual consideration of facts, if the insinuation will get noticed.

News, after all, is a business: it's long been a maxim that "if it bleeds, it leads." The stories that sell papers (or that more people will click on) have to have priority if they want to make any money. They don't have time for nuanced reflection on complex topics: they have to appeal to the base instincts of an audience with an eighth-grade education at best. The business isn't journalism any more; it's more accurate to call it scandalism. And the anti-Clinton forces have cheerfully used that preference for the sordid and the shocking over actual facts for the last 35 years. There are conspiracy theories about the Clintons murdering hundreds of people, or that no woman is safe near Bill Clinton.

(Quick side note: Bill Clinton did, in fact, have sex with Monica Lewinsky. A consensual affair with an adult woman. He also faced impeachment over that affair, which was pressed by several Congressmen who were worse sexual predators than Bill Clinton ever was. And, although the Right hates to admit it, Bill Clinton was also acquitted, but only after months of intense scrutiny, and press coverage that focused on Bill Clinton's penis. Or as it came to be called, the Clenis.)

Oddly, despite years of allegations of rape, murder and thievery, not a single one of these despicable acts has ever been been proven to have actually happened (which, of course, the right wing spins to mean that they're obviously all true).

So perhaps it's understandable that Hillary Clinton isn't a huge fan of the media.

But finally, there's a third aspect to Hillary Clinton's actions that really need to be considered: the best advocate for a Clinton presidency these days is Donald Trump himself. His rolling dumpster-fire of a campaign is proving that the only possible worse choice for president than Donald Trump would be Charles Manson on crack, or possibly a rabid badger with a flamethrower.

Her résumé and accomplishments are already a matter of public record. In the bigger picture, why should she do anything but stand back and let us all watch him implode?

We're ba-a-ack

It's been about 8 months since I posted anything here, and with the election coming, it's damned well time I got back into it. I discovered Twitter a while back, and I'm fairly active there, but some thoughts deserve more consideration than 140 characters. So let's do this.

I can't promise anything on a regular basis, but let's see what happens.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Holidays (2015 edition)

Apparently, novelty candidate Donald Trump and some random Youtube pastor have decided that the annual "War on Christmas" is starting again: this time, it's because Starbucks changed their cups to plain red (which is particularly stupid, since what Starbucks removed from the cups wasn't Christian imagery; it was just random snowflakes, reindeer, and other secular decorations).

But as usual, the cries of "they can't say 'Merry Christmas' anymore!" are also going up. (I particularly like Trump's quote: "If I become president, we're all going to be saying, 'Merry Christmas' again. That I can tell you." Because he thinks that's a law he can pass? And people complain that OBAMA is a "dictator"?)

But, you know, "happy holidays" is actually a valid thing to say for the rest of the year. It isn't that there's a war on Christmas - somebody seems to have forgotten that there are other holidays.

For example, today was Veteran's Day. Speaking as a veteran, fuck you if you're ignoring it in favor of something a month and a half away. (The British call it "Armistice Day." If you happen to be Canadian, it's called "Remembrance Day" - same thing, just more polite.)

If you happen to be Hindu, this whole week is a celebration, based around Diwali (most of the festivals have different names in different parts of India, since they have a cubic buttload of languages in that country). You missed Dhanteras on Monday, but today is specifically Diwali, the "Festival of Lights," which spiritually celebrates the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. It's a big-ass party, and you're missing out on it just because you're too small-minded and provincial to move out of your comfort zone.

It also happens to be Kali Puja, where the remembrance of Kali sets you free from evil, both within yourself and from the world around you. So there's that. And then tomorrow, the fourth night of Diwali, is called Govardhan Puja, when Krishna defeated Indra by benchpressing the Govardhan hill. (Seriously - look it up.)

And then, on the fifth day of Diwali, we have Bhai Dooj, which is all about celebrating the bonds between brother and sister. (It's a little bit sexist, to be honest - the sister is supposed to cook the brother's favorite food, and it's all about the duty of a brother to protect his sister, and a sister's blessings for her brother. But, hey, if they aren't yelling at each other? That's a bonus right there.)

Then, this Sunday (November 15th) through Wednesday morning (the 18th, if that math is a little hard for you) , we have Chhath Puja, which is thanking the Sun god for his blessings (and maybe getting a little spiritual cleansing in, at the same time). It's famous for being the holiday when Hindus bathe themselves in the waters of the Ganges and epidemiologists have heart attacks.

The day after that, November 19th, is the Great American Smokeout. Not really a holiday, but since my mom smoked herself to an early grave, I support it. So there it is.

And for Pete's sake, we haven't even made it to Thanksgiving, people! How can you bitch about "taking Christ out of Christmas" when you're ignoring "Giving Thanks"? (And for my own little part in the War on Christmas, Santa needs to haul his fat jolly ass back on the other side of Thanksgiving, where he belongs!)

Advent begins on November 29th, too. You're going to bitch about ignoring Christmas, but all you do with Advent is pull pieces of chocolate out of a calendar?

For that matter, both the Christian tradition and our secular friends have a whole flood of holidays throughout the month of December, as I've covered before. Feel free to review some of them if you're curious.

Among the Buddhists, the 8th of December will be Rohatsu, or Bodhi Day. (Rohatsu literally means "8th day of the 12th month," incidentally.) It commemorates the day that the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautauma, or Shakyamuni) achieved enlightenment. Traditions vary amongst Buddhist sects, but usually include meditation, study of the texts, chanting the sutras, or simply performing kind acts toward others.

Now, Chanukah this year will run from sunset on Sunday, December 6, through Monday, December 14, 2015. This should be moderately important to Fox "News" watchers, since they like to trumpet the importance of the "Judeo-Christian tradition." Weirdly, the "Judeo" half of that seems to fall to the wayside a lot.

Which means that they'll also be ignoring the fast of the Tenth of Tevet (in Hebrew, עשרה בטבת‎, or Asarah Be'Tevet), which happens to fall on December 22 this year. It commemorates the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and among observant Jews, it's a day of fasting from dawn until dusk, with a small service at the end of the day.

Most interestingly, to me at least, December 24th (Christmas Eve to most Americans) has a special meaning this year. It also happens to be Eid Milad ul-Nabi, the Sunni celebration of the birth of the Prophet: the Sunni celebrate it on the 12th day of Rabi' al-awwal (the third month in the Islamic calendar); the Shia celebrate it on the 17th of Rabi' al-awwal. (If you're curious, some sects of Islam, particularly the Wahabbi, consider the celebration itself to be bid'ah, an unnecessary religious innovation.)

Depending on where you are in the world, the observance can be anything from a solemn ceremony to a carnival atmosphere, and can include anything from an exchange of gifts to doing charitable work.

So you see, there are plenty of holidays to come through the end of the year. And with about 3 out of every 10 customers not being Christian (and even among the remaining 70%, there being a lot more than just Christmas to be observed), obviously, it's only reasonable to say "Happy Holidays!"

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Twitter Trolls and "Hackers"

Our right-wing, anti-choice "friends" have a new tactic on Twitter. They're effectively hijacking accounts. For example:

There's a guy on Twitter calling himself "Realtin Connor" (@RealtinConnor). He's been around for about 5 years, and he's pro-choice. In the middle of September, another account appeared, calling himself "Ryan Cooley" (@RealtinConnor1). His first tweet is September 14, although he retweeted a couple of things from September 11.

I came into this story yesterday, when the new one, Ryan Cooley, followed me. Never met either one before this. But I always check people before I follow back, and I noticed that most of Cooley's tweets were "my original account has been hacked. Please report @RealtinConnor." But I've been seeing a lot of douchebags running around Twitter lately, and didn't think I should just take this new guy at his word.

After all, let's use Occam's Razor: what is easier to do? To hack somebody else's account? Or to set up a fake account?

So I scrolled through both timelines. The most obvious difference is that "Realtin Connor" reads more like a real person - he can be a little bit of a dick, but he actually interacts with people, making decent arguments and seems to believe in what he's saying.

On the other hand, "Ryan Cooley" (the one with the "1" after the username) has a fairly shallow timeline. He retweets from a limited number of sources, and makes bad arguments. His tweets seem more like someone pretending to be pro-choice, but not really believing it.

His first two "original" tweets (not retweets) aren't really the words of someone furious because his Twitter account has been stolen (or even particularly feminist).

Some of his retweets are... let's call them "inartfully phrased." The type of tweets that someone who is virulently anti-abortion would think was indicative of the pro-choice movement, but more reasonable people look at and think "Oh, honey. You could have said that better."

He made the somewhat lame excuse that he could prove he was the original, because he NEVER makes typos.
Then there's this interesting little exchange between some rabid anti-abortion types.

That link, by the way, is to an anti-abortion blog which tries to dox Realtin Connor as Ryan Cooley. This is presumably when @RealtinConnor1 started calling himself "Ryan Cooley."

(Now, a quick philosophical question - why would the anti-abortion type not report both names, if both are pro-choice? Collusion, perhaps? Just a thought...)

Shortly after that, he got his standard whine a little bit backward at least once.

The part that I find the most suspicious is that he had several interactions with "Tom LaRue," who has been targeting and harassing several pro-choice women in the last few days. (This example appears to have occurred around the time that Tommy abandoned his old account (@TomReformed) and started a new one (@TomReformed1) - presumably because he was either suspended, or felt he'd been reported a little too often.)

I actually took longer writing this than I'd planned - it just kept getting weirder the more I looked.

This is all circumstantial, but it suggests to me that:

1. Realtin Connor (@RealtinConnor) was never hacked - he has an impersonator.

2. Ryan Cooley (@RealtinConnor1) is the troll in this case.

I don't have the "forensic internet tools" to be sure in this case. But this should be fairly easy for Twitter to establish. Look at the source information from the original account (@RealtinConnor) - location, phone number, email address - prior to September 1. Compare it with the information from both accounts right now. I suspect that the original account will have matching data.

Elementary, my dear Watson.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Denali: a quick review

The "big scandal" last week was the renaming of an Alaskan mountain to its original name, which, the Right claimed, was an obvious overreach of presidential power and a blatant example of the tyrannical Obama administration desecrating American history!

The rest of the country yawned. Except in Alaska, where they poured another drink and said "About damned time."

The outrage pretty much played itself out almost as quickly as it began, but let's take a quick run-through of the actual facts of the situation.

On Friday, August 28, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell issued the order changing the name to Denali.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) expressed his deep disappointment on Sunday night about the decision. Of course, since he spends every day looking for new things to complain about regarding Obama, nobody really cared.

Another Ohio congresscritter, Rob Portman, whined on Facebook that "This decision by the Administration is yet another example of the President going around Congress." Which is technically correct - it's a job that Congress didn't need to be involved in. The Secretary of the Interior was just making an administrative correction to the record, changing the mountain to the name preferred by the people of that state.

But perhaps you should hear the whole story.

See, the Athabaskan natives who inhabited the area called it Denali, which, loosely translated, meant "that big fucking hill over there." (OK, admittedly a very loose translation.) The Russians, when they owned the area from around the mid 1700s until 1867, called it Большая Гора (Bolshaya Gora) or "Big Mountain" basically the Russian translation of Denali. The Russians left, and it was Denali again (with a brief period as Densmore's Mountain in the late 1880s and early 1890s, after the first English-speaking white man to reach the base of the mountain).

In 1896, a gold prospector named named William Dickey wrote an account in the New York Sun about his travels through Alaska, and took it upon himself to name it "after William McKinley of Ohio, who had been nominated for the presidency, and that fact was the first news we received on our way out of the wonderful wilderness."

(Side note: McKinley was a strong proponent of the gold standard, so it follows that a gold miner would be a big fan.)

William McKinley was elected president the following year. The United States formally recognized the name Mount McKinley after President Wilson signed the Mount McKinley National Park Act of February 26, 1917. Which confused the Alaskans, most of whom had been calling it "Denali" all this time.

In his entire life, McKinley never visited Alaska, and in fact, he'd been dead for almost 60 years before it became a state.
In 1975, the Alaskan legislature backed a proposal to switch the name back to Denali. But when the Board on Geographic Names requested public comment on the matter, Ohio Rep. Ralph Regula, who represents the district where McKinley grew up, swiftly came to Mount McKinley’s defense. He convinced the entire Ohio congressional delegation to oppose the recommendation, and the names committee put off the matter. He also added an amendment to the 1980 legislation expanding the national park around the mountain that would rename the park “Denali,” but keep "McKinley" for the peak, in hopes that a compromise would settle the debate.
So basically, it's just Republicans and people from Ohio whining about it. Because apparently, "state's rights" doesn't mean as much in the GOP as it once did.

Bristol Palin, taking a break while waiting to whelp yet another out-of-wedlock child, weighed in to complain "By the way, no one is buying the 'Denali is what the Alaskans have called it for years' line. I’ve never called the mountain Denali... and neither does anyone I know..."

Bristol, permit me to introduce you to someone you might be interested in. Her name is Sarah.

Right about a minute and a half in, Sarah says "Denali, The Great One, soaring under the midnight sun." It's subtle. You might have missed it, particularly if you nodded off like most of us do when your mom starts talking.

Rob Portman (R-OH) took to Facebook to whine "I now urge the Administration to work with me to find alternative ways to preserve McKinley's legacy somewhere else in the national park that once bore his name."

Well, I'm sure there's an outhouse up there somewhere that could use a name plaque. Because seriously, what the hell business is it of the people of Ohio to try and interfere with a matter internal to Alaska? Send them a statue - I'm sure they'll be happy to mount it in front of the Visitor's Center. Or name something in your own godforsaken state after him.

Once again, our friends in the GOP just started whining as soon as they saw Obama's name. This one fell apart on them pretty quickly, but I'm sure they'll be on to something new soon enough.

Maybe they can complain about the color of Obama's suit again. That one was pretty funny.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Yes, We Have No...

So, we had a couple of bananas that were about to "go off." I had an hour and some ingredients. So there it was.

There's a basic recipe I like, from the first edition Betty Crocker cookbook (1950 - it isn't exactly mint condition; the spine is held together with duct tape, and some of the pages are in bad condition). Banana bread isn't exactly rocket science, to be honest, but it's practically bulletproof. The basic recipe reads:

Mix together:
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup soft shortening
2 eggs
Stir in:
3 tbsp sour milk or buttermilk
1 cup mashed banana (mashed with fork or pastry blender)
Sift together and stir in:
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Blend in 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

Pour into well-greased loaf pan. Let stand 20 minutes before baking. Bake at 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes. Let it stand for about 10 minutes on a cooling rack before you take it out of the loaf pan.

That's it. Pretty straightforward, and pretty damned quick.

Thing is, you don't have to follow things exactly. Let's start with the fact that I had 3 bananas: probably two cups (I'm not sure - who the hell measures bananas?). Oh, well. Throw it all in there.

I wanted to use brown sugar. That has to be by volume, not weight: you gotta pack it into the measuring cup.

And we don't use a lot of shortening around my house. Normally, I replace butter with shortening (you have to use about 25% more butter), but I had cream cheese that needed to be used - closer to half a cup, maybe a little more.

Had a kind of an issue with the eggs: I started to crack it on the mixing bowl, and apparently found a weak part in the shell - most of the eggwhite ended up on the floor. So I added another egg. This loaf got an extra yolk.

Sour milk? With my son? We can't keep milk in our house long enough to go sour. I swear he just pulls a gallon out of the fridge and sticks a straw in it. And we don't drink a lot of buttermilk in these parts, thanks; I'm not gonna buy it special just to use up a couple of bananas.

Sift? Motherfucker, that's why they MAKE blenders. Just pour it in slowly so you don't get stuff all over the kitchen: first the baking powder, the soda and the salt, then the flour. Lob the nuts in on top, and stop as soon as the flour is mostly mixed in (don't go too long - you don't need the extra gluten that you get from too much mixing).

As for letting it stand before baking for 20 minutes? It sits there long enough for the oven to preheat. And that whole "Let it stand for 10 minutes" thing? Nah - that's how you get it stuck to the loaf pan. I flip it out on the cooking rack right away. (Do I have to mention that it's hot? You're an adult, right?)

And you know how it came out? Goddamned perfect, that's how it came out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wimoweh (The Lion Doesn't Sleep Tonight)

Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, is now wanted in Africa for poaching. Do we have an extradition treaty with Zimbabwe? Because I'll be happy to set up a GoFundMe to ship him back there to face trial.

I don't oppose hunting. Culling the herd, eating the meat: at that point, if you also want to take a trophy? Well, it's a little creepy, but that's another part of the animal that won't go to waste, I guess.

But every time another detail come out about this story, it just gets worse and worse.

Palmer claims he was on a legal hunt, with all the proper permits. That's bullshit - pure, unadulterated bovine fecal matter. Palmer is so full of crap his eyes are brown.

At what point did anything about this hunt seem legitimate? They dragged a dead animal behind their jeep to lure an endangered animal out of the preserve. That didn't seem a little questionable to him? They let him shoot a 200 pound lion with an under-powered crossbow. When, as anybody who knew anything about hunting could have foreseen, the lion didn't immediately die, it took them almost two full days to track it down, as it slowly bled out, suffering and in pain. They tried to destroy the radio tracker around the lion's neck, but couldn't even do that right.

Nobody eats lion meat by choice. It's a predator, which means the meat is tough and stringy; it's a carnivore, which means the meat is rank. The only reason to hunt them is because you think you deserve to kill any damned animal on the planet.

Palmer isn't a hunter, he's a sadist. He's been charged for illegal hunting before, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that his basement was set up as a torture chamber for the squirrels he could trap around his home. He was probably the type of evil kid who giggled after jamming firecrackers up a cat's butt or stapling a duck's beak shut.

I've got to admit that I don't have any problem with the fact that, in the uproar, he's had to close his dental practice, and protesters are setting up a memorial to Cecil the Lion outside it. Palmer is an evil, overprivileged bastard, and he needs to learn what the inside of a Zimbabwean jail looks like.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Whatever happened to Trump University?

The Republican party has been trying to reach out to the Hispanic community to garner votes, and it's been a struggle for them. A struggle that Donald Trump made worse two weeks ago, saying that all illegal immigrants were drug dealers, rapists and criminals. ("And some, I assume, are good people," he grudgingly added.)

The Hispanic community was understandably outraged. And Trump, as he does, refused to back down from those statements.

Obvious anagram Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, had to call Trump to tell him to tone down the rhetoric, because it was hurting the Republican brand. That's not likely to work - whether it was negative or positive attention, he got attention for his remarks, and that's what Trump lives for.

(On a side note, who was the first person to call him "Obvious anagram Reince Priebus"? Because I'd like to shake that guy's hand.)

Donald Trump has been called "the id of the Republican party," which is accurate enough. He is the embodiment of the basic, instinctual drives of a person, the reptilian forebrain slipped into human skin. But more than that, he is also the Ego of the Republican party. By any definition. He is a self-serving, self-centered evangelical preacher of the Word of Trump. He, himself, is the center of his entire universe, and nothing is more important to him than building himself up, so that others can marvel at how important he is.

Trump feels the need to keep reminding people that he's "really, really rich." Well, of course he is: his father was a multi-millionaire real estate developer. The children of rich people tend to be rich, too.

The man who's filed for bankruptcy four times wants us to trust him with America's economy. That seems like an obviously stupid idea to anybody who thinks about it, but Trump is trusting most of America to be as stubbornly ignorant on as many subjects as he is. (And sadly, that may be a good bet.)

The man has had to close or sell off almost as many casinos as he's opened. And it's really hard to lose money with a casino. But it's easy to set up a scam, isn't it?

People, it's only been two years. Has everybody forgotten that Donald Trump got sued by the State of New York for a scam called Trump University?
The lawsuit, which seeks restitution of at least $40 million, accused Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization and others involved with the school of running it as an unlicensed educational institution from 2005 to 2011 and making false claims about its classes in what was described as “an elaborate bait-and-switch.”

In a statement, Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general, said Mr. Trump appeared in advertisements for the school making “false promises” to persuade more than 5,000 people around the country — including 600 New Yorkers — “to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford for lessons they never got.”

The advertisements claimed, for instance, that Mr. Trump had handpicked instructors to teach students “a systematic method for investing in real estate.” But according to the lawsuit, Mr. Trump had not chosen even a single instructor at the school and had not created the curriculums for any of its courses.


The inquiry into Trump University came to light in May 2011 after dozens of people had complained to the authorities in New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois about the institution, which attracted prospective students with the promise of a free 90-minute seminar about real estate investing that, according to the lawsuit, “served as a sales pitch for a three-day seminar costing $1,495.” This three-day seminar was itself “an upsell,” the lawsuit said, for increasingly costly “Trump Elite” packages that included so-called personal mentorship programs at $35,000 a course.
The details of this story kept getting more and more bizarre as press conferences were held and details were leaked.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says many of the 5,000 students who paid up to $35,000 thought they would at least meet Trump but instead all they got was their picture taken in front of a life-size picture of "The Apprentice" TV star.


The lawsuit says many of the wannabe moguls were unable to land even one real estate deal and were left far worse off than before the lessons, facing thousands of dollars in debt for the seminar program once billed as a top quality university with Trump's "hand-picked" instructors.
(More details can be found here and here.)

There is very little in Donald Trump's business dealings that aren't self-serving, shady, or both. This might make him the perfect Republican, but it would make him a very, very bad president.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Failure at the Bully Pulpit

On Wednesday, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink confronted Lindsey Graham at a press conference, and really didn't do a particularly good job.
Benjamin was supposed to be asking the Republican presidential candidate a question, but instead held onto the microphone for more than two minutes before security escorted her out of the room. While she still had the floor, Benjamin implored Graham to speak out against beheadings in Saudi Arabia and the Israel’s “repression” of the Palestinians, among other issues.
Graham had a chance to respond appropriately, and instead he chose to flounder.
“Is there a question?” an uncomfortable-looking Tapper asked as Graham chuckled to himself and rubbed his eyes.

“I’m going to put her down as undecided,” Graham joked after Benjamin’s mic had been taken away. While he said he respected her right to express her opinion, the senator said, “I couldn’t disagree with you more.”

“I think people like you make the world incredibly dangerous,” he continued. “I think people like you are radical Islam’s best hope.” He argued that the Iraq War did not create ISIS just as American intervention did not set the stage of 9/11. “You’re not going to fool me that somehow we brought this upon ourselves,” he said.
So, apparently, despite being a US Senator, Graham is either willfully ignorant or a liar. (I'm willing to say "both," but perhaps I'm too forgiving.)

OK, let's go through this quick: in the 80s, the CIA funneled money to train fighters in Afghanistan. One of those fighters was the son of a rich architect, a guy named Osama bin Laden who would go on later to create a little social club called Al Qaeda. So, already we see where American intervention over there didn't do us much good.

Then we went into Iraq and started blowing shit up. People lost their homes, their families and their hope. And like many hopeless people through history, they turned to religion.

On top of that, we left former Iraqi soldiers and former Al Qaeda operatives with no jobs, and since all of their training was in the area of "urban destruction," and they suddenly had plenty of time on their hands, they needed a hobby as well. So, Lindsey, that was how we helped create ISIS. Simple, right?

But both Lindsey and Benjamin held the national stage for a moment and neither one used it appropriately. Benjamin came to the Atlantic Council knowing that Graham would be there, and had plenty of time to prepare. She could have asked him a question that he could have been forced to respond to in some way.

For instance, "Senator Graham, you supported the invasion of Iraq. You consistently support our relations with Saudi Arabia, a repressive regime where most of the 9/11 terrorists came from. You have been consistently wrong in every way in dealings with the Middle East. Why do you think we should listen to you now, and especially why do you think we should put you in the White House?"

Instead she chose to do what CODE PINK does most of the time and just disrupt the proceedings with some incoherent rambling and unfocused anger.

Lindsey could have found a way to respond graciously, or could have begun discussing Middle Eastern policy. Instead, he make a lame joke and tried to dismiss with non sequiturs and lies.
“I think people like you are radical Islam’s best hope.”
How is that, Senator? Because she chose to exercise her right to free speech (even if she didn't do it well)?

Lindsey Graham showed that, at his best he would probably be an ineffective president; at his worst, he would most likely be that most dreaded of all natural disasters, a third Bush term. Medea Benjamin and Lindsey Graham met Wednesday night. But they were both prisoners of their own ideology.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Thank You For Your Service

It's that wonderful time of year in New Mexico, when we pack dried-out tents full of explosives, which are sold by sweating meth-heads smoking cigarettes.

Every year, this state loses thousands of acres of land to wildfires. And we celebrate independence by firing pyrotechnics into dried grass. Because that makes sense. But let's not worry about little, unimportant questions like "physics." Instead, let's consider the realities of living in the 21st Century.

For example, a few years ago, we had the C-Student President, whose advisers felt we needed a permanent base in the Middle East. So he took us to war. Around 68 hundred American soldiers died for this idiotic attempt to flex our military muscle. But, more importantly for (but oddly related to) the following issue, 970,000 soldiers were damaged (mentally or physically) in the course of fighting in those two related wars.

I figured out, some years back, my own minor insanity. I have the mildest case of PTSD ever reported - I just get cranky and irritable when shit starts blowing up. Which, if you think about it, just qualifies more as "survival instincts" than truly being PTSD.

But here's the problem: explosions have somewhat lost their thrill for a certain percentage of the American populace.

Remember, more now than for any generation of American people in decades, when shit blows up, it doesn't make you want to stand proud. It reminds you of a time when you didn't have control. When your friends and comrades were getting killed around you, and there was nothing you could do.

There was a time when the Republican party celebrated the sacrifices of the American fighting forces. Now, they'd like to forget they exist.

But maybe, just maybe, you can remember them, just for this year. Every time you blow something up, you're reminding them of a time that they'd rather forget. Every firework you set off hurts someone in ways you can't begin to imagine. Be respectful of our troops.

Some of them sacrificed more than you think.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Why do you think they're using the "Confederate Battle flag," specifically?

Let's talk about the Confederate flag, shall we?

In the wake of the racist hate crime in Charleston, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley apparently felt that residents of the Palmetto State weren't ready to discuss removing the Confederate flag just yet.
You know, right now, to start having policy conversations with the people of South Carolina, I understand that's what ya'll want, my job is to heal the people of this state... There will be policy discussions and you will hear me come out and talk about it. But right now, I am not doing that to the people of my state.
Apparently, this sort of flag talk is very traumatizing in South Carolina.

Eternal debutante Lindsey Graham positively got the vapors at the thought.
If at the end of the day, it is time for the people of South Carolina to reconsider that decision, it would be fine with me, but this is part of who we are.

The flag represents to some people, a Civil War, and that was the symbol of one side. To others it is a racist symbol, and it has been used in a racist way. But the problems we have today in South Carolina and across the world are not because of a movie or because of symbols, it is because of what is in peoples' hearts.

How do you go back and reconstruct America? What do you do in terms of our history?
Well, here's the thing about history, Scarlett. You aren't required to celebrate it. Particularly when it's the history of a group of people who felt they were allowed to keep other people as livestock, because those other people happened to have a darker skin.

There are things we shouldn't be proud of. Slavery is one of them.

The "heritage" argument has been around for years, and it's always been a fairly thin argument. As Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention put it:
Some would say that the Confederate Battle Flag is simply about heritage, not about hate. Singer Brad Paisley sang that his wearing a Confederate flag on his shirt was just meant to say that he was a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan. Comedian Stephen Colbert quipped, "Little known fact: Jefferson Davis - HUGE Skynyrd fan."
Or, to put it another way,

And it's not like this is a big secret, either. It's literally known around the world.

And yes, that is a fact.

So let's consider not clinging to your slave-owning past, and put away the symbols of racism. Maybe it's time to move on.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Nothing New Under The Sun.
Or In Pop Culture.

Do you think memes are something new?

In 1928, a cartoon by Carl Rose, which was captioned by E.B. White (of Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web fame), was published in The New Yorker. Broccoli was a new thing on the American plate, having been introduced by Italian immigrants on the East Coast.
The New Yorker was only three years old at that point, and was not as successful as it would be later. (Also, in what might be entirely coincidence, "spinach" was a term in 19th Century England for "nonsense.")

For whatever reason, the phrase caught on: "I say it's spinach" came to mean "to hell with it," and eventually "spinach" came to mean something worthless. Elizabeth Hawes, for example, titled her 1938 autobiographical exposé of the fashion industry, for example, Fashion is Spinach.

Alexander Woolcott used the phrase in 1934's While Rome Burns ("I do not myself so regard it. I say it's spinach.") S.J. Perelman was an American humorist who wrote (among other things) two Marx Brothers movies (Monkey Business and Horse Feathers) and, in 1958, a TV version of Aladdin with music by Cole Porter; he wrote a story in 1944 for the Saturday Evening Post called "Dental or Mental, I Say It’s Spinach."

Speaking of Cole Porter, other musicians used the phrase, too.

As with most immigrants, Israel Isidore Baline (better known as Irving Berlin) felt he needed to be more American (and more patriotic) than anybody around him. (It's pretty common with a person "born-again" into any subculture - religious, societal, or any other coherent group.) His way of doing that was to be more in touch with popular culture than anybody else. So he wrote songs that reflected "the common man" - many of them, we would now consider racist (but that was very common in America at the time).

In 1932, Berlin was already a successful musician, when he wrote the musical Face the Music. (That wasn't redundant. Shut up!) In it, he included the song "I Say It's Spinach (And The Hell With It)."

The lyrics start at 1:14, if you're in a hurry.

Also, despite the impression you get from the video, the first Popeye cartoon was made by Fleischer Studios a year after this song was recorded, in 1933. And at the end of the song, the Popeye-like voice is by a man named Poley McClintock. He'd been using the low, croaky voice on records since 1927; some people have suggested that voice actor William (Billy) Costello based the voice of Popeye on McClintock.

So, even without the internet, a single meme could find a place in the popular culture of America before parts of the country even had running water.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

On 8 July 2003, in the middle of the night, a squad of 13 guys led by me landed on the runway of what had been called, until very recently, the Saddam International Airport in Baghdad. We were there to take over security of the area from one of the squads who'd gone in to set up the camp four months earlier.

The landing was pretty standard for a region known for rocket attacks - we flew over the end of the runway, and then spiraled down, straightening out at the last possible moment, to touch down while presenting as small a target within reach of the ground forces as possible.

At that point, I was a lukewarm liberal, not the most outspoken person politically; my wife had eased me out of some fairly conservative views, and turned me into a compassionate human being (I'm not sure I've ever forgiven her for that).

While over there, seeing the rubble we'd left of a beautiful city and learning more and more about how the Bush Administration had lied to get America to go to war, my attitude began to swing more firmly to the left.

I was lucky (if that's the right word) that none of the guys I took there came back in a box (one of them essentially came back in a straightjacket, but that's a story for another time). We didn't have a lot of direct fire - our big risk was the daily, ongoing rocket and mortar attacks.

I started learning more about what went on in the run-up to the invasion, and when I got back to the States, I volunteered for the Kerry campaign. And I wasn't the only vet in the room. That didn't work out as well as we'd hoped, and the day after Kerry gave his concession speech, I filed my retirement papers from the military.

So maybe I have a different perspective on the subject. I find myself getting a little angry as the GOP tries to rewrite what is, for many of us, current events.

We didn't invade the country that attacked America, we invaded Iraq based on lies that they weren't cooperating with US weapons inspectors. To call that action "a mistake" is an abuse of the English language. But that's the currently popular position to take on the Right.

The full story (that some people in the Bush administration felt that we needed a permanent base in the Middle East, and it was just fine to destroy a country to get that) wasn't something that would go over well with the American people. So they had to change the narrative. It wasn't a "mistake," it was a calculated effort to mislead the public.

(If you don't know about them already, you should read up on the think tank that called themselves The Project for the New American Century. Jeb Bush is trying to back slowly away from his statement that he would have invaded Iraq, just like his brother did. (And of course he would have. Most of his advisers previously worked for his brother.)

Marco Rubio won't even go that far - he thinks it wasn't a mistake because it got Saddam out of power. So apparently, all those Iraqis can just suck it.

In a recent Rolling Stone article, Matt Taibbi pointed out that, as I said above, it was actually clear to a lot of people "that the invasion was doomed, wrong, and a joke."

It was not a "mistake," it was a cold-blooded, calculated conspiracy, carried out from the highest office in the nation.

It's a hell of a "mistake" that leads to almost 4500 dead Americans, and literally countless Iraqi dead and injured.

Memorial Day. It's all about remembering.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Maine Thing is Being Fertile

In Maine, we have found something almost as rare as a 3-legged Sasquatch. It's a Republican who wants to expand the Affordable Care Act.

Maine Senate Majority Leader Rep. Garrett Mason authored a bill that would force insurance companies to pay for fertility treatments. Which sounds, for a Republican, almost sympathetic: you have a couple trying desperately to have a child, and finally reach the point where their only solution is medical treatment that would cost thousands of dollars that they just can't afford. And Maine wants to make their lives just a little bit better.

Except for one thing: it includes a morals clause. The original language of LD 943, An Act to Provide Access to Infertility Treatment, has the following provisions:
A. The covered individual must be married;
B. The covered individual's infertility may not be the result of a sexually transmitted disease
And once again, the "small government Republicans" want to ensure that they can get the government to intervene in women's personal lives. Because everybody deserves the chance to have children, unless they're a slut. Because god knows that if they had an STD, they must have proven that they're unfit parents, right?

Now, Mason has said that he's open to removing the provisions. "I'm totally willing to do something that fits Maine better, and that is why we have the committee process."

Which is probably best. It's good that he's willing to remove these ignorant nanny-state provisions. I mean, it totally shows what a completely unthinking, small-minded, judgmental, moralistic fucknozzle Garrett Mason was to include them in the first place, but still. It's nice that he's willing to put them aside.

Because in its original form, this bill would lose the first time it went before the Supreme Court, which should have been obvious to anyone with the brain power of an Eastern White Pine (the State Tree of Maine).

It's good to know that rape victims who received an STD from their attacker might have had a good chance of being declared "unfit parents" in Maine, thanks to this simpering, slack-jawed, puffy-faced used car salesman.

I'm a little curious whether, if a couple has a divorce midway through treatment for infertility, would they be on the hook for the entire bill? Or just for the portion of the infertility treatment that came after the divorce was finalized? And would there be a "statute of limitations" for divorce? How long would the new parents need to stay married before the state wouldn't arrest them?

This bill has, at least, one area where it isn't discriminatory. Maine has recognized same-sex marriage since 2012. So at least it would be easier for lesbian couples to get pregnant.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Lemon Pudding Cake

OK, so do you have about an hour and a half, just a couple of ingredients and some kitchen hardware, and want dessert? Good for you. You might or might not want to keep reading.

So here's what you do. You take two lemons, and you zest them.

Now, if you don't cook much, "zest" is the yellow part of the lemon skin, without any of the acidic white part under it. There are any number of ways to do it. Here's mine.
Yes, that's a microplane grater. Bought it at the hardware store. We only use it for food. (Trust me on that part. Sawdust should never be considered a food product.)

(On that subject, of course, look up the term "cellulose," and groove on how often it turns up in prepared food. Just a thought.)

The recipe calls for one and a half teaspoons of zest. I got this.
That's probably a tablespoon and a half. Maybe two. You got a problem with that? Yeah, then screw you, too.

Now, once you've taken a lot of the yellow off the outside of the lemon, you should probably juice it. (Sure, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. Where it will turn interesting colors and eventually get rushed to the outside garbage can. Or you can just juice the damned thing now, OK?)

Fortunately, we need some of that juice now, too. First, you do this.
Yeah, seems obvious, right? This dessert is so goddamned simple, you'll be able to make it, like a champ, even if you needed that last step. OK?

Now, here's what I use. If you paid more than two bucks for it, you're an idiot.
It's a juicer. It isn't hard to use. Trust me.
OK, so you're done with that? Good. Leave it. You'll get back to it later.

Step one, you preheat the oven to about 350 degrees. You're also going to need a pot of boiling water.

Now, you take a 1/4 cup flour. The recipe says "sifted." I say "fuck it." We'll see who's right.
Add a cup of sugar, and the recipe says "1/4 teaspoon salt." Here's what I do.
You're measuring? Salt is cheap. Measure some, pour it into your palm, and remember what that looks like. And then never measure it again, OK?

Dumped that in? Now, that's all the really dry stuff. Remember that "sift" thing? Stir it with a fork. Trust me. The sugar and the salt breaks that shit up pretty well. Just do it.

Now you're going to get into some fancier cooking shit, OK? You get to separate two eggs. There's plenty of Youtube videos to teach you how to do this. Basically, you crack the egg carefully, and pour it back and forth between the shell halves, over a mixing bowl to catch the egg white. Then you drop the yolk into a different bowl.
So, what you end up with is this. You got a bowl with the yolks, and a mixing bowl with the whites.
Technically, you might notice that there are 3 yolks there. What happened was, in separating the second egg, the yolk broke, and I got some in with the whites. So I had to start over. The other yolk was fine, though, so why toss it?

So the recipe calls for 2 whites and 2 yolks. Will this be an issue? Hopefully not.

The whites get whipped in the mixer; while they're doing that, whip the yolks with a fork, just enough to mix them. The egg whites need to get to stiff peaks, so turn the mixer up to high, until they look like this.
Now, the recipe called for 1.5 teaspoons of zest. I've probably got 3 to 4 times that. It all goes in,
along with 1/4 cup of that lemon juice I squoze earlier,
the egg yolks and a cup of milk.
Just stir it enough to mix, and then fold in the egg whites.
(Basically, I dumped the whites on top, then used the spatula to slice through at an angle, and pull some of the liquid to the top. Do that a couple of times, and it's mixed reasonably well.

You can pour the mix into a 7.5" casserole dish, or, like I did, ramekins (some people call them custard cups); you put whichever you use into a baking pan.
Now, if you want to take a chance at hurting yourself or making a mess, you can do this some other way. What I do is I opened the oven door, pulled the rack halfway out of the oven, put the pan on the rack, and pour the boiling water (remember that from earlier?) about halfway up the cups, until it's even with the top of the batter in the cups.
Carefully slide the rack back in and close the oven. The recipe said to let it cook for 45-50 minutes. I checked them at 35 minutes, they were browned on top, and I pulled them.

Carefully remove from the oven. Now's another tricky part: the water is still boiling, and you need to get the cups out of it. (If you used a casserole, it's easier - just lift that shit out.) I took a big spoon in one hand, and an oven mitt on the other,
and transferred them to a cooling rack. (There will be a little dripping here. Keep being careful.)
And there you have it - six cups of lemony awesomeness. You have to let them cool before eating, but it's got a cakey crust on top, creamy, lemony bit on the bottom - it's amazing.
After I made it, the Trophy Wife told me that I was supposed to start with cold water in the pan - it'll boil in the oven. (Did that change the cooking time? Probably not 10-15 minutes worth - I also live in Albuquerque, a mile above sea level.)

This recipe is pretty much impossible to mess up. Everything I screwed up as I was making it, and it was still incredible.

In case it's important to you, here's the original recipe, from the 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook.

Lemon Cake Pudding

Sift together in mixing bowl:
    1/4 cup sifted flour
    1 cup sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
Stir in:
    1 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind (1 lemon)
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    2 egg yolks, well beaten
    1 cup milk
Fold in:
    2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Pour into 1 1/2 quart casserole (7 1/2") or 6 custard cups. set in a pan of water (1" deep). Bake. Serve warm or cold, with or without whipped cream.

Temperature: 350 degrees (mod. oven)
Time: Bake 45 to 50 minutes
Amount: 6 servings