Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Wonder if This Will be a Problem?

I renewed my Delaware driver's license today. I was very pleased with the DMV in Dover -- for the most part. There's just one little problem with my new license: the weight listed on the license is about 42 percent of what I actually weigh.

I know I told the clerk my actual weight. I was, after all, admitting to being 10 pounds heavier than the fiction listed on the license I got back in 2005. I even weighed myself this morning so as to be (sorta) accurate.

I'm a little surprised. I don't think anyone looking at me would think it possible that I could weigh 42.55319 percent of what I actually weigh.

I wonder if this could be a problem; me walking around with a license that says I weigh less than my lovely, slender wife. A legal problem, I mean. I'm sure Karen will forgive me.

On the other hand, the picture came out pretty good.

Update (1/1/10): I went back to the DMV yesterday and they were kind enough to change my license to a weight that I then completely made obsolete by eating a huge, delicious, New Year's Eve meal with Karen and friends at Nage.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Lake Champlain Bridge: 1929 to 2009

They blew up the Lake Champlain Bridge today. The bridge, which ran from Addison, Vermont, to Crown Point, New York, was old and out of shape and judged to be unsafe.

The bridge was opened in 1929.

This bridge has a small part in our family memories of Vermont and the Tyler Place. We used it at least once on a return trip; we used it to visit Fort Ticonderoga one summer.

But recently, engineers determined that the bridge was unsafe. And so it came down on a snowy morning.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Changes for a New Year

I took some flak from family members over the holidays for the slow-down in blog posts over the last few months. I have let my on-line energy be soaked up by twitter and facebook, of late. I've decided to try to bring some of that back here. As part of that, I've started moving to a three-column layout. Things may change a bit over the next few days as I settle-in and settle-on a new look.

Reversing A Trend?

The LA Times has an interesting article about an idea to save the city of Detroit: Investors see farms as way to grow Detroit.

The idea is to take the many acres of abandoned factories and crumbling homes left after the auto industry fell apart in Detroit and reclaim them as productive aglands.
Hantz executives envision a city where green fields and apple orchards flourish next to houses and factories, and forests thrive alongside interstates and highways. The team is still figuring out what will grow where: Tree groves could be planted where the soil is too contaminated to grow food, and empty factory buildings may be converted to house hydroponic fields to raise specialty vegetables, fruit and cooking herbs.
Here in Delaware, especially in the south where I live, we are, of course, going in the opposite direction. Yet we are also starting to see abandoned subdivisions as builders fail and fall away. perhaps, some day, we'll also re-green.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Food for a Rainy, Snowy Day

With Delaware forecast to get a winter storm of biblical proportions (did they have snow in the Bible?), I thought today would be a good day for a crockpot meal. Thus, we have Crockpot Experiment #219.

This morning I started what I hope to be a tasty, hearty dinner. I documented the steps both in the slideshow above and in a series of tweets (#crockpot219).

This one includes potatoes, beef (browned with spices and garlic), peas, sweet corn, condensed french onion soup, and an old beer from the back of the fridge. I'll try to add updates when it is un-crockpotted later this evening.

Update: We ate this at about 6 pm, over bismati rice. I paired it with a recent Yuengling lager. It went over well, though Colleen disapproves of the peas. It had thickened nicely; browning the meat with flour seemed to help. (8:30 p.m.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Furthur, On Up The Road

I went up to Asbury Park yesterday to see Furthur, the new band put together by Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, of the Grateful Dead. My golf-buddy Andy came along for the ride. He's not a deadhead, but is not unaware of the music and was open to a new adventure. We had good seats and were well-placed for photography. I had fun with my camera.

The key to this band is the addition of guitarist John Kadlecik, until recently the "Jerry" specialist in the highly-regarded Dark Star Orchestra. Kadlecik plays and sings enough like Jerry Garcia to bring Phil's bass and Bobby's wonderfully complex rhythm guitar into a focus that dead fans will instantly recognize. But he does not come off as a Garcia imitator. That's a good thing.

The setlist is evidence of Kadlecik's influence. I don't think I've ever heard The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion played live, but it was part of last night's show as was Viola Lee Blues. Both were outstanding.

The sound in the Asbury Park Convention Hall was pretty terrible. It's really just a concrete box and probably better-suited to the pro-wrestling and roller-derby that the beer-selling lady told me are common events there. The sound was muddy and the vocals, particularly Bob Weir's, were hard to pick up. In Bobby's case, I think there was a microphone problem.

The short video below (a bit of Althea) will give you some idea of the sound. Though, in fairness, this was taken with my digital camera.

I bought the insta-CD of the show (soundboard?) and listened to some of it today. The sound on that recording is very good (though the Bobby mic is low). There's a version (audience recording?) on the bt.etree archive of the show (thanks to @nemski for the tip). For deadheads wondering what is possible, post-Jerry, this is worth a listen.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Scrapple Flame Wars of 1872

MetaFilter points to an entry from the New York Times of a few days back that reports on an incident of angry letter-writing in the Times in the late 1800s.

"The Way We Ate: The Great Scrapple Correspondence of 1872" recounts a discussion of scrapple, our regional "delicacy," in the Times' letters. It all started with a note from a transplanted Pennsylvanian, who wrote, in part:
In Pennsylvania there is an article in general use called "scrapple," or "scrappel," which is one of the best substitutes for meat that i know of. On coming to live in New-York I missed it very much, and, as a consequence, it cost us a large amount for mutton-chops, beef-steak, &c. , for breakfast, for which "scrapple" is excellent. My wife then brushed-up her house-keeping and cookery lore, and resolved to make the article herself, which she does to perfection. And the result is, we have a delicious article of diet at a very small cost, which takes the place of meat for the morning meal, and which is, I believe, quite as nutricious, as I know it is more toothsome.
This led to the eventual publication of a recipe for scrapple, which was discussed and debated at some length.

The MetaFilter post points to this as an early example of the sort of behavior that is now known as "flaming" on the internet. It's comforting to note that nastiness, cynicism and brutal satire are nothing new; they are, in fact, a part of our national character.