Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Bush Fraud Indictment

The Indictment
United States v. George W. Bush et al.

By Elizabeth de la Vega

Assistant United States Attorney: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. We're here today in the case of United States v. George W. Bush et al. In addition to President Bush, the defendants are Vice President Richard B. Cheney, former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice -- who's now the Secretary of State, of course -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

It's a one-count proposed indictment: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. I'll explain the law that applies to the case this afternoon, but I'm going to hand out the indictment now, so you'll have some context for that explanation. Take as long as you need to read it, and then feel free to take your lunch break, but please leave your copy of the indictment with the foreperson. We'll meet back at one o'clock.
The Last Temptation of Office Jesus

Office Jesus can't get up a good pickup line.
What A Wonderful World

The Bush Regime could use this video for its White House Christmas greeting.

Flood Plain Means "Flood"

Another case of housing developers getting so greedy they're willing to put people's lives in danger just to make a buck.
I don't know the details of this story, but if you build a house in a watershed's flood plain, then sooner or later you will get flooded.
I witnessed this phenomenon a few years ago when a river in this region overflowed a lake spillway and washed out numerous homes downstream.
In one subdivision along the river where residents were scraping mud off the living room carpet, it was revealed that a developer back in the 1980s lobbied a legislator to help lower a FEMA flood plain map. A parcel of land that farmers remembered as a flood-prone property was zoned for residential development. The houses on the river side of the street have flooded every time the river rises out of its banks.
Older residents of the community in question remember the devastating nature of this river when it hits flood stage, and they live on nearby hilltops.
Yeah, go ahead and fudge the numbers on a FEMA flood plain map. Build your house one foot above the base flood elevation, and believe you are safe from raging floodwaters.
Be prepared, however, to watch your prized possessions (children?) wash away in the next 100- or 200-year flood.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ten years after-Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

Five minutes with Ten Years After.

Download This; May Need It

This is a Test

Wow. It even happens on blogs. Hi Lucy.

See "Mike the Headless Chicken" at WikiDumper

My afternoon interlude with the computer allowed me time to find the article about Mike the Headless Chicken on the WikiDumper blog. If you think this is a hoax, see the original Wikipedia article by clicking here.
I recommend that you read it while you chomp on a leftover Thanksgiving turkey breast and dressing sandwich during the intermission of your favorite college football game.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hollywood Park Deer Trapped by TxDOT

A district judge recently ruled against residents of Hollywood Park, a Cottonwood City surburb wherein they have sued for the right to feed semi-tame white-tailed deer, an indigenous species in the New Philippines Hill Country, where Republicans have flocked to live since they heard that the last of the pristine drinking water in the state lies underground. What they've done to poison that water source is a different story, but this one seems somehow relevant.

Since the lawsuit dates from 2003, I filched some copy that I wrote for back in 2003, as follows. I'll have a one-or-two line comment at the end:


Depending on whom you ask - the bucks, does, and fawns, or the residents of Hollywood Park - this suburban city either has a deer problem or a people problem.
From the deer's viewpoint, people have displaced and crowded their herds, which depend on the natural forage that is wiped out when subdivisions are built. Some human residents are exasperated by deer chewing on their fruit trees and plants, or wandering into yards and roads in this North Side suburb. And other humans, who are happy to coexist with their four-legged neighbors, are fed up with Hollywood Park's ban on feeding them - and upset that police could have the right to shoot the deer in the street.
In mid-December, Hollywood Park's City Council crossed antlers with local animal lovers and banned the practice of feeding the city's deer population, which lost access to its Hill Country habitat after U.S. 281 and Loop 1604 were built to the north and east of Hollywood Park, a San Antonio suburb that was incorporated in 1955.

And at last week's City Council meeting about the ban, some residents brought their children, who stood on the curbside of Mecca Drive and held signs that read "Don't Starve Bambi," and "We Want Our Rights Back." The sign on the marquee in front of City Hall read, "Council Meeting at 7 p.m., Deer Feeding Prohibited."
Rebellious residents claim that their elected officials have not represented their interests in adopting an ordinance against feeding the deer - and that City Police are enforcing the law and issuing citations to residents who continue to do so. "I want my rights as a homeowner back," one Hollywood Park resident protested last week. "What's with the Gestapo tactics at City Hall?"
"At least four people have gotten tickets," resident Bob White said. "People are putting bird seed out and the Hollywood Park police are giving them a damn ticket. Something has gone crazy."
Shirley Matter, who has lived in Hollywood Park for 40 years, said she was ticketed because she consented to an interview with a local TV station about the practice of feeding deer in Hollywood Park. A citation arrived at her home via certified mail. "They saw me on TV and they sent a ticket." Her court date is March 5.
"They did this without asking the public," Matter said in reference to the feeding ban.
"We want our town back like it used to be," longtime resident Cherie Emick said. "We should be able to feed animals in our own yard."
Hollywood Park deer lovers will get little help from Texas Parks and Wildlife; the advice from Jerry Cooke, chief of TPW's game branch division is simply, don't feed the deer. This will encourage the herds to seek natural habitat away from populated areas, instead of hanging around neighborhoods where residents feed them.
TPW also could issue a depredation permit to Hollywood Park police, which allows officers to shoot the animals and remove the carcasses - in full view of the community's children if the officers are indiscreet.
Deer-loving citizens have formed the Hollywood Park Humane Society, and member Donald Yena delivered 527 letters to Mayor Harold Burris during the Council's citizen communication session. "We are responsible for this," the letter reads. "We trapped the deer here with our highways and growth ... what kind of example are we setting for our children and the planet with these values?" The group demands that City Council rescind the feeding ban.
Hollywood Park's City Council is not alone in its struggle to cope with "The Deer Question." Residents of Lakeway on Lake Travis nearly came to blows when city officials obtained a deer depredation permit from TPW. But instead of killing deer and processing the meat for a local needy population - an option that some residents preferred - the City received permission to relocate several hundred deer to a ranch in México, until the Mexican government stopped the practice. TPW also allows a community to round up a portion of its deer population to be shipped to a game management area in Texas, but few of those places are available.
Hollywood Park residents who insist on feeding the deer could be on a quixotic quest. The Fund for Animals recommends modifying habitats to provide less food and shelter, which encourages animals to move elsewhere. A brochure distributed by the Animal Protection Institute recommends, "all artificial feeding of deer must be stopped. While one individual may wish to attract more deer to her property, a neighbor may be attempting to drive them away. Deer are responsive to human-initiated changes in their habitat by adapting to live in our midst. It is our responsibility to tolerate their presence and treat any conflicts in a humane manner."

You might notice that I mentioned the construction of several super highways that have cut off the Hollywood Park herd in the years that Cottonwood City expanded northward (untrammeled by common sense) over the past 40 years.

If the highway department had thought to leave open a few deer paths in the manner of tunnels (not underpasses), leaving intact some natural foliage and feeding grounds, the unfortunate white-tails that are trapped in Hollywood Park might have escaped to the northern reaches of the Hill Country, only to have their descendants run over by all the sports utility vehicles that everyone in said region appear to own and drive on our highways nowadays, one person at a time (translation, no passengers for those commuters).

It's a lost cause to save the Hollywood Park deer population.
Be merciful, kill them all now and be done with it.

As a friend from Vermont likes to say, "they're just oversized Texas rats."

What do you think? Leave your comments here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

BBC Recipe for Caldo en Calabasa

Okay, it's Thanksgiving 2006. We're going to a friend's house; someone else can cook the turkey this year, although I probably will roast a breast so I can later make some calaguen (I'll soon reveal that recipe, perhaps the weekend after Thanksgiving).
Last year I took an assignment from the food editor of the San Antonio Current (marching orders were somewhere along the lines of do something with a pumpkin).
It's not my original recipe with the pumpkin, I found it on the net (yeah, the caldo recipe is mine, a modified version of my mother-in-law's caldo tlalpeno - pronounced ennyo, I'm too lazy to find the Spanish letter that belongs in place of the n). But it surely would be on the next BBC menu (Portland, Oregon?).
I have to admit that when I first cooked this dish last year, I started out trying to cook the caldo from scratch inside the pumpkin. It didn't take long to realize that I had made a mistake. The pumpkin would melt long before the caldo was done. So I took it all out and cooked it in my favorite pot.

Without further ado, or how-do-ya-do, here's the recipe that was printed in the Current.

The great pumpkin
By Michael Cary
Stew your caldo inside a pumpkin and watch both disappear
Autumn’s annual debut in South Texas has crept up on us, finally sweeping those 100-degree sweltering days into the history books. Now is the time to ponder carving pumpkins and simmering pots of caldo on the stovetop.
Jack-o-lanterns lie tumbled in local grocery aisles. They weigh anywhere from seven to 15 pounds, and carry an ample harvest of pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, an easily prepared snack with a little salt (and no oil) and a 10-minute visit to a 350-degree oven.
Local pastry chefs undoubtedly will whip up the classic pie for Thanksgiving, but what else can you do with the pumpkin or, in our other language, the calabasa? Pumpkin is a squash, the big orange cousin of acorn and butternut, and nature doesn’t add nutmeg or cinnamon while it grows on the vine. Slice, butter, and bake it, and you’ll be surprised at how much it tastes like crookneck or zucchini squash — there’s just a lot more of it.
Now then, put the pumpkin aside for a while. The cooler weather dictates that it’s time to get a caldo, prepared from an old family recipe, simmering on the stovetop.
Caldo is soup. Popular in many local restaurants, it contains hefty pieces of corn on the cob and beef bones with the obligatory skein of fat, and lots of comino to dull the taste buds. But for discerning home chefs, a leaner cut of beef, pork, or chicken awaits at the grocery. And family recipes differ. In this case, the brew is a loose translation of a caldo tlalpeño concoction, courtesy of Mamí Carmen, a beloved mother-in-law who lives deep in the heart of México.
Reenter the pumpkin, if only for a moment. Surprise the niños with a fun way to serve a favorite fall caldo recipe — inside a piping-hot calabasa. Begin with the caldo, which should be lovingly simmered to its reassuringly savory flavor in the family cazuela.
Cover the bottom of a hot skillet in olive, canola, or vegetable oil and brown a couple of pounds of beef tips (or stew meat) cut into bite-size pieces.
Next, unearth the old soup pot and dust it off.
While the meat is browning, cut a large, white onion into quarters and throw it into the blender. Add an 8-ounce can of Rotel brand tomatoes with green chilies (excuse the typo on the can, it’s chiles), fill the blender with water, and liquefy.
Pour the blended ingredients into the soup pot, add the browned meat, toss in four to seven dried chipotle peppers, add more water to fill the pot, and set it to simmer.
Meanwhile, pull out three or four red potatoes, a few stalks of celery, a good handful of carrots, crookneck and zucchini squash, and add a couple of turnips, cut into stew-sized chunks. (Remember, we’re cooking the soup the whole way through before we even think about the pumpkin.)
After about an hour, add the potatoes, carrots, and turnips to the stew. Simmer another 20 minutes or so, add the squash and celery, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add three or four epazote leaves (if you still have any growing in the backyard this time of year), replace the lid, and let the stew rest.
Note that ingredients and seasonings may vary from household to household: The contents of a favorite caldo are not an exact science, so feel free to modify the recipe to this point.
While the family recipe rests on the stovetop, prepare the pumpkin for its debut as a stewpot. Wash that 13-pound pumpkin and cut out the top as you would a jack-o-lantern. Remove the seeds and save them for roasting later. (Discard the stringy stuff that entangles the seeds and clings to the inside of the pumpkin. I scrape it out with the edge of a large soup spoon.)
Oil the bottom of a flat baking sheet.
Pour more oil onto a paper towel and, before it can drip down your apron onto the floor and your custom chef shoes, coat the outside of the pumpkin, especially the bottom.
Set oven temperature to 325 degrees in the bake, not broil, mode.
This is the exciting part. Take your pot of caldo and spoon it into the cavernous interior of the pumpkin. Replace the hand-carved lid, and set it onto the baking sheet. Shove it into the oven, and leave it there for about two hours, until the pumpkin is fully cooked. It will take some resolve to ignore the sizzling sound of the pumpkin as the exterior turns a deep, burnt orange hue, but the surprise on your family’s face will be the reward when the table is set with a steaming caldo a la calabasa.

A note of caution: If the pumpkin is overcooked, its bottom can give way, spilling boiling caldo on you, the kitchen floor, and any pets loitering at your feet. Always support the bottom by placing the pumpkin on a large serving plate.
Don’t forget to scrape a few chunks of the pumpkin into the soup bowls before la familia squeezes on the jugo limón and dives into this traditional recipe with a holiday flair. They will savor the familiar, reliable caldo tlalpeño, and they’ll be sure to come back for seconds. •

Banned Books Cafe Blog Wide Open

After reading something the other day about how blog "lurkers" are loathe to register, or sign in, to make comments on blog posts, I've decided to open up the comments to the general public. The article recommended that blog administrators open up the comments section to allow visitors to leave messages without registering or verfying their identities. It pointed out that 95 percent of blog visitors who might leave a comment avoid doing so if they have to go through a registration process. What that means is, if you see a post here, like or dislike it, or just want to add your comment, feel free do so. Here it is, comment away, but be warned, spammers will be unmercifully ridiculed.
If you find you can't make a comment without signing in, send a message to me, and I'll try to fix the problem, if there is one. I also turned off the word verification thingy, but I might turn it back on if the spammers get too boisterous.

Dear Mayahuel, I'm happy that you finally found your voice.
Janis Joplin is top drawer, I wish she was still with us.
Janis Joplin

I was fifteen when I got into Janis. I used to hide in a cool boutique in Mexico city called Freak. I had no idea what the word meant and my parents hated the place, but I liked to hang there. Did that make me a freak? Not anymore than the rest of my friends, I suppose. Today I still like to listen to Janis Joplin full volume. In my book she will never go out of style. Cheers.
david bowie - space oddity

I am finding my favorite music. I feel like a kid with a new toy. Prepare for what's to come...seatbealts on?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

j;kjk;j;lkjl;ij;kj j;lkjl;kjl;kj

What's going on?????
Is there a "blogger for dummmies" somewhere???
4 Non Blondes - Spaceman

To my husband... this great song brings great memories. I hope you like it.

Breaking news: George Clooney really is sexiest man alive


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Crossing Woman Hollering Creek

Sometimes the long commute home from the Banned Books Cafe was extended by a few miles when we took the scenic route home from the big city. Woman Hollering Creek is a small waterway; it meanders through sylvan glades past majestic mottes of live oak trees. We once lived about a mile from here. I planted a Lacebark Elm tree about ten years ago on a hillside, and sometimes I drive past to check its progress. It's a beautiful tree, nearly thirty feet tall in the current property owner's front yard.
There's no official explanation about how the creek got its name. Mexican writer Sandra Cisneros (she's from Chicago but claims a homestead in Cottonwood City) used the creek in the title of a book of her short stories, but in my opinion she's overrated by English professors who assign her work to hapless second year college students. She's just not, in my humble opinion, a good enough writer to enter the American literary canon with the likes of John Steinbeck, but there's a dearth of Mexican-American novelists, so she'll have to do for now. Somebody who is really good, and Mexican-American, would be Ana Castillo. I thoroughly enjoyed her book, "So Far From God," and had a great time watching my fellow Mexican-American literature classmates squirm when I worked out the theory of the "immaculate contraction of the AIDS virus" after I did a "close read" of Castillo's story (read it if you dare). I bet that my professor stole my idea and used it in one of those books that college professors are obliged to write so they can retain their university tenure but I really don't have a care about it.
Maybe Woman Hollering Creek's name is connected to La Llorona, who according to legend drowned her children, and can be heard wandering along the banks of a river, crying for her children, but that's just folklore ... maybe.
Woman Hollering Creek crosses Interstate 10 at some point, and I believe it eventually empties into Cibolo Creek, which is much more impressive, and has more written history, at least after the Anglos stole the land from Mexico in the 1830s.
There's really not much point to this blog post, except that I happened to have my camera when I crossed the creek recently, and I stopped for awhile to check it out.
We miss the country living, and someday we'll return to it, on a plot of land where with any luck, a creek just like this one will flow through it. I'll plant another lacebark elm tree, and watch it grow.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Okay, I Watch Too Much YouTube

Are those bullets flying through the air? My vote for restaurant - where you have to eat for the rest of your life: The Banned Books Cafe. Of course, I'm biased. Apologies to Wild Bill if I revealed too much information on first contact, but I was somewhat overwhelmed with our first conversation in more than twenty years. Indeed, I'm happy, without the aid of any type of illegal substances.
I'm just high on life, just like the princess in the video.

Unemployed? Look up old friends.

I'm posting this photo that Enrique shot of me a couple of months ago at the Banned Books Cafe. It's for the benefit of a great friend that I met in Navy boot camp in 1974 - Great Lakes, Chicago.
I always called him "Wild Bill," but I was the wild one, and as he was the boot camp company clerk, he always kept me out of trouble with our commander. Anyway, since I'm between journalism jobs (my blogger friends should know that I'm a full-time grill cook at a local seafood restaurant in a Cottonwood City suburb) and I have some free time on my hands, I decided to look some people up.
Wild Bill was first on my list.
Fortunately, I found his little brother listed on the net in his home town in northern New Philippines. He remembered me and gave me a quick history on the entire family: "Everybody's healthy."
That was good news.
And it was great to get a call from the Wild One (again, much tamer and more apt to avoid trouble than yours truly), a few hours later.
We've re-established our connection, much to my happiness. It tends to overshadow the doldrum of job hunting.
Update on my life. I do not plan to string shrimp on kabob sticks for the rest of my days, but it's a job, not too far from home, hence no highway commute. I have had an interview with a local newspaper, and I've broadcast my resume and some clips from my work at the San Antonio Current to newspapers all over the state.
I heard from one editor in the far north Hill Country (lake district), but since it's the weekend, I'll likely not hear anything from anyone else until next week.
My life is in a flux, and it can become depressing having to wait around for word from a potential employer. But I'm a patient person. Something will happen. Soon, I hope.
The latest joy in my life? Getting back in touch with "Wild Bill." I don't know whether he is interested, but I'll send him an invite to join this blog, and you can possibly hear for yourself what he does with his life nowadays.
Stay tuned, and if you hear of any good job leads in the journalism business, send them my way (no, I do not lay out pages, that stuff is for editors, I'm a writer/reporter who most of the time needs a good editor, as you can tell from this copy).
Next person to look up? Tony Wamego, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the hell are you - I'm still pissed off at you for convincing me to join the submarine service?
Signed - Winston, still not finished with "1984," too many distractions these days - but I did get in some flying time with the kites when that cold front was here - it almost destroyed my box kite.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remixing Bill Maher on Larry King Live

Bill Maher outs Ken mehlman remix

The Friday night Bill Maher mentions is Friday, November 10. His HBO show, "Real Time with Bill Maher" will replay several times this week on HBO. Check it out.

Don't be fooled...

Read more about the unstoppable Charlotte Flynn.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Nope. That Ain't Me In The Cowboy Hat


Damn! He almost got away with it, if not for his big mouth. Look for him on American Idol, once he posts bail.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Only Blogrrrl is back (still anonymously!)

Off to a creeky start... but ready for your comments!

For now, in homage to Nervana and Pineapple, a picture of some things that should be banned:

Election Over: Go Fly A Kite

Way back in the spring, or early summer, when we still had money, we went to the coast to camp on the beach for three blissful days. Preface that with late winter when my family presented me with a new suit for my birthday. I returned the suit for a refund, and instead ordered a bunch of kites online after a short period of waiting to see if this was just a passing fancy.
I don't know what happened to me. I was at the playground with my granddaughter, and the notion seized me to purchase a kite at the local dollar store. We flew it with little success, until I loaded her into the truck and drove to the nearest big box store, where we bought a three-dimensional kite that resembles a fish. It flew much better than the two-dollar model from the one-dollar store.
As we stood on the edge of the field that borders the playground (it might not be there much longer as it is for sale as a huge commercial lot), I met a chaplain who was seriously into kite flying, and he broke out some heavy duty equipment.
Back to the kite order. One of the kites that arrived in the mail shortly after I sneaked my wife's credit card out of her purse was this stained glass box kite.
Alas, it won't fly in less than 10 mph or so wind, or at least not in my hometown which lies about 140 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
Of course it stays up for hours - and did - on the beach, but the wind here is slim to none where we only have two seasons.
I tried to launch it the other day when the Weather Channel said we had 12 mph winds, but there are apparently too many inland factors that prevent this beautiful kite from soaring as it should, such as trees, houses and other obstacles to a good wind.
There are other kites in my possession, including a 45-foot long rainbow dragon kite that I am afraid to launch for fear of failure.
But I'm not giving up. Weather forecast for this region says wind will be about 10-15 mph on Veterans Day. And the following Monday has more promise, with wind speed forecasts of 10 to 15 mph.
Overall, however, I've concluded that the weather here really sucks for kite flying. We have summer, and we have about two days of winter, then more summer. I admit that I had some success at the playground during the summertime, with a couple of different kites, but that box kite in the above photo won't give you the time of day unless there's a good wind.
My wife thinks I'm crazy, or obsessed, but I counter that she is equally hooked on the Cable News Network, 24 hours a day - she watches nothing else on TV unless I change the channel.
There is a difference between us. I see no end to her tendency to lock the tv remote onto CNN, but I'm going to seek help for my addiction.
I plan to join a kite fliers club.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day: Bush Beats Up On Cuba

It's 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, Election Day in the United States of America. As I cross my fingers and hold out hope that U.S. voters will turn away from the "dead hand of dictatorship" that is the George Bush presidential administration, I run across the news that U.S. sanctions are tightened against our tiny neighbors in Cuba. Who will they stomp on next?
Cuba might be the last thing on our minds right now, but it represents our country's 1984ish policies toward whatever is foreign to us.
I want to visit Havana, and the government would slap me with a $10,000 fine for doing so?
What gives, America?

Thursday, November 02, 2006