24 March 2008

Last night I was musing while the aforementioned slab of beef was being infused with the smoke of the mesquite tree, and I was struck with what I saw as an amusing false etymology of the word "politics."

  1. Poly- is a Greek prefix meaning "many."
  2. Ticks are small arachnids that live off the blood of humans and other animals. They often carry and spread disease and are generally nasty little creatures.

So, "politics" refers to a large quantity of blood-sucking, invertebrate vermin that spread disease and misery to their hosts. Probably makes a great deal more sense than the actual etymology.

Apologies if this joke has been done before. It is such an easy joke and on such a popular them, I can't imagine that other people would not have stumbled onto it first.

23 March 2008

This is my dinner tonight, and the fruits of my labours for about 8-9 hours today. Look at that smoke ring...the effects of 8 hours smoking and a whole bag of mesquite chips. The beverage is my Agincourt Ale, a Belgian style dubbel with a sweet, malty flavour. Not much head, but its a stronger, sweeter style, it isn't really supposed to be highly carbonated. Well, mine isn't, at least.
Now I'm off to actually eat.
Brief little blog entry on something I found amusing.

Robert Catesby was the ringleader of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot, for which the slightly more famous Guy Fawkes is known. On his Wikipedia article is the following:

Following the discovery of the plot, Catesby and the other conspirators
fled to the Midlands. He died three days after the discovery of the plot at
Holbeach House near Kingswinford in Staffordshire during a shoot-out with
officers sent to arrest him.

What I find funny is the idea of a "shootout" in 1605. Everyone gets out their matchlock or wheel-lock muskets and arquebuses, and goes to it. A quick series of bangs, and then while the smoke clears everyone gets out their powder horns, and starts reloading their weapons...which is not a simple or a quick process. "Hang on a minute, officers, I've misplaced my ramrod...anyone got a spare?"

08 March 2008

Been revisiting my musical roots today.

Here's the guy that first got me to appreciate the bass as more than a prison sentence for the not-good-enough guitarist (as I at one time viewed it):

Cream - Spoonful

Make sure to watch until the midsection when they get out of the "form" and start just grooving. Jack Bruce is a wild man on the bass, and one of the first to really advance past the "thump thump" rhythm keeper it was in the early 60s...coming from a jazz background, he really advanced it to the point that it could be an improvisational component of a musical combo, not just a low frequency foundation for vocals and guitar solos.

Here's a great early instrumental recording...alas, no video, but pretty good sound:

Cream - Steppin' Out

Again, after they run through the form a few times, the interaction gets a bit more interesting. Bruce and Baker again get a bit wacky for a blues-rock rhythm section!

07 March 2008

Number Thirty-Four in Neufeld's Methods to Annoy Your Neighbors:

Sit outside four times a week pouring sweet smelling smoke out of your grill/smoker, to the point that their paint starts to yellow on that side of their house. Kidding!

No, but seriously, I feel I have graduated from BBQ U. And my diploma is a grill that doesn't suck. Below is my new grill:

It is a Weber 22.5" One-Touch Gold, a classic kettle grill with a nice green enamel coating for corrosion resistance. It has the "Gold" model amenities, including a hinged grill grate for adding coals and wood to the fire, and a useful aluminum ash pan on the base of the grill.

I also bought what is an essential accessory: the Smokenator 1000. This is an ingenious bit of bent sheet metal that acts as a baffle to isolate the coals in the side of your Weber, which allows for easy heat control for long, efficient smoking periods. Works very well! Still takes a bit of tending, but I enjoy the tending part anyway. You can see it in the grill below, along with a pork butt about 2/3 done, on its way to becoming pulled pork sandwiches.

Tonight I'm going to do a good long smoke of some hot Italian sausages. Something about the zip of spicy Italian sausage goes great with wood smoke; it is a major ingredient in my smoked meatloaf recipe.

I think it may be lunchtime, I'm getting rather peckish.
Opening Day at the Zoo...

Well, a sort of opening day. First day that Africa was officially open, and there were huge crowds. Just the last weekend, the place was virtually empty!

The elephants were out:

These might be gibbons? I don't remember.

African Wild Dogs:

A rhino in the sun:

The ever amusing Rock Hyrax:

Some variety of desert fox, I believe a Bat-Eared Fox.

Sacked out after a long day of....sacking out.

Something that would probably taste nice smoked over oak or hickory:

One of the many duikers:

A slightly more delicate, deer-like duiker:

The last duiker I found:

File this one under "Weird Birds the Name of Which I Never Bothered to Read":

A leopard laying on the cage structure over the walkway:

Up close....pissy, but lethargic. A classic cat.

Another variety of hooved mammal that looks rather grillable.

Strange birds that flipped out and tried to take off en-masse (to no avail):

Another closeup of that aforementioned walking hamburger:

Gorillas have the funniest facial expressions:

My lovely wife, taking a break after traipsing through most of the Africa exhibit:

Lastly, this statue gets me every time. If cranes ruled the world, they would commission this sculpture in their nation's capital. It's like their hoisting the flag over Iwo Jima, each crane posing heroically with beaks upraised and wings spread gloriously in a timeless celebration of crane patriotism. Now, the fish in the beak of the crane on the left, you can guess he didn't care much for posing for this sculpture.

05 March 2008

This is rather funny. That's all.
Debra and I just watched the series finale special of "Extras", the followup series Gervais and Merchant did after "The Office". All in all, the series was excellent and the finale was good enough to be a movie, on its own. For fans of the BBC "The Office", if you haven't seen Extras (I'm going to skip using quotation fingers right about now) it might be worth a shot. Gervais plays what one can only assume to be himself (or very nearly), and he's the straight man surrounded by comic characters in contrast to The Office, where aside from Gareth he was the sole comic character in a real-world array of serious characters. Stephen Merchant, who I liked from the Ricky Gervais podcasts, is stupidly funny. Fans may remember him as "Nathan/The Oggmonster" in a brief cameo on The Office.

The best part of the whole show, that was so funny we were almost gagging with laughter, was when Gervais' character is ill-advised enough to attempt to audition for a part in a period drama for a younger, fitter actor, and wears a girdle. He is auditioning in front of his smug, more successful rival, and you hear a horrible rip, and his stomach comes out like his torso was a kernel of popcorn. Context is of course important for why this was so funny, but we had to rewind it several times. "Your reputation precedes you, sir..."

Unfortunately I am not as hip to the celebrity culture as others might be, but I did recognize (at least the names) of George Michael, Clive Owen, Gordon Ramsey, and a host of British celebs I don't know. Ramsey's cameo was very funny, with the inevitable verbal fisticuffs, and Gervais pointing out that he was such a big man, yelling at people in kitchens...who works in kitchens....women and gays...oh, and the French...big man!