June 29, 2004
Canadian Election Trivia

Brief notes on Colby Cosh's coverage of the Canadian election:

  1. Most amusing bit of trivia: There is a riding in (I think) Saskatchewan called Souris-Moose Mountain. Too bad the first word is in French: translated entirely into English, the place would be Mouse-Moose Mountain.
  2. Cosh is one of the few bloggers whose entries have names or abbreviations instead of numbers, even for the links. The anchor for this one is 'vrfr', but the title displayed is "Viceregal rumbles?". I see where the V, the R, and the other R come from, but what about the F? I suppose that stands for some obscenity or other.
  3. To a non-Canadian, even cliffhanger elections are boring when they're Canadian. And a 'cliffhanger' there means wondering who's going to get a plurality, since we already know an actual victory for one side or the other (or the other or the other) is not going to happen.
  4. Oh, and thanks for getting our hopes up, Colby. I thought conservatives around the world were supposed to be celebrating a huge Conservative plurality today.
Posted by Dr. Weevil at 09:22 AM
June 25, 2004
Educational Riddle

Suppose you're teaching at a boys' high school. On Monday, your students greet you by shouting: "Have you heard? X has been expelled for putting seventeen stitches in Y's face!"


  1. On what day will X actually be expelled?
  2. How many stitches were there?

The answers are in the extended entry.


  1. Wednesday, and the student may well have been allowed to 'withdraw' to avoid expulsion. I wasn't specifically told.
  2. Eleven. A 50% markup, rounded upwards, seems about right for excited adolescents.
Posted by Dr. Weevil at 08:37 PM
The Real Arnold?

Travelling Shoes quotes from a New York Times story on Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Asked to describe his governing philosophy seven months after toppling Gray Davis in California's recall election, he said, "Crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women."

He stopped himself. "Wait a minute, that's Conan," he said. "I stepped out of character here for a second."

Shouldn't he have said that he stepped into character? Maybe he just misspoke, but there are more disturbing possibilities. Perhaps he thinks of the California governorship as just the latest role he is paid to play. But then shouldn't he have said "I changed characters", not "I stepped out of character"? The plain meaning of his words is that governor of California is a character, but Conan is the real Arnold. If he ever decides to stop acting and be himself, it could get interesting.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at 08:28 PM
June 20, 2004
Mulligatawny Soup

As a follow-up to Wednesday's post about inexpensive food, here is my mother's recipe for Mulligatawny Soup. It is inexpensive, nourishing, and very tasty, basically a chicken stew with three differences: (a) lots of garlic and curry for flavor, (b) an apple substituted for the usual potatoes, and (c) the whole thing run through the blender at the end. The only drawback is that it takes two or three hours to make. However, it is also very suitable for making with friends or relatives, since there's a lot of slicing and dicing and stirring involved, and much of the time it can be left to simmer unwatched. I believe it comes from Singapore.

Mulligatawny Soup

In large pot, place:

1 1/2 quarts water
1 frying chicken, cut up
2 tsp salt
2 onions, quartered
1 stalk celery, sliced
3 carrots, sliced

Bring to a boil and simmer at least 30 mins. Remove chicken pieces from pot and allow to cool. Remove meat from bones and put meat back in pot. In frying pan, place:

1/4 cup oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tart apple (e.g. Granny Smith), peeled and chopped

Simmer 5 minutes or so, until onion is transparent. Blend in, to form a thick paste:

1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp curry powder

Take a ladle or two of broth from the pot and stir into the mixture in the frying pan (to help liquefy it), then pour entire contents of frying pan into pot. Bring to a boil once more, and simmer again for at least 30 minutes. Stir frequently, since the flour and meat tend to stick to the bottom. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool, and mince mixture in blender, a pint or so at a time. Check the blender after each batch, since the giblets tend to get tangled with the blade.


  • The blender is necessary, and not only to mix the flavors properly. The soup looks mildly revolting before it is blended, with limp vegetables and oil floating on top.
  • Freezes well.
  • Microwaves well.
  • If boiled long enough and blended fine enough, it ends up the consistency of oatmeal, and is very tasty spread (hot) on toast.
  • It is a nourishing food (half meat, half vegetables) for those with jaw or teeth problems. I once had a student whose jaws were wired shut for a week after surgery. She was very grateful for this recipe, since it only takes a day or two to get thoroughly tired of oatmeal and milkshakes.
  • Other than the flour and maybe the apple, there is nothing that would offend the shade of the late Dr. Atkins.

Update: (6/24, 6:54 PM)

I'm no expert, but I believe this soup is also kosher, assuming the chicken was executed with the proper formalities. Can anyone confirm or deny my surmise?

Posted by Dr. Weevil at 12:24 PM
June 19, 2004
There's Always An Exception To The Rule

Steven Den Beste on the Berlin Wall:

I don't remember ever hearing about anyone trying to sneak into the Soviet bloc that way, let alone dying in the attempt. About the only people who might have wanted to would have been spies.

That's not quite correct. In the late '70s or early '80s The American Spectator reported that a young West German had tried repeatedly to do just that. After apprehending him for the 8th or 18th time (details are a little fuzzy now), the East German authorities demanded that the West German authorities put him in a mental hospital. It was, as TAS noted with cheerful contempt, a very revealing demand.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at 12:24 PM
June 16, 2004
Notes From Underground

In other old business, I've been meaning to blog about Stefan Beck of the New Criterion and his efforts to live (with a friend) on $10 per day for food. (Links here and here.) The two of them obviously know very little about saving money on food, since their list starts with "6 chicken breasts". Breasts? What were they thinking? It would be hard to prove, since prices vary and different organs and limbs have different percentages of bone, gristle, and skin, but I'm quite certain that the breast is the most expensive part of the chicken. If you really want to save money on food, you buy chicken gizzards or (much tastier, if you can find them) hearts. But even legs or thighs would have been significantly better than breasts. Wings may be cheap, but they're not necessarily much of a bargain, since they have so little meat on them. Gizzards have a fair amount of gristle, but hearts are nearly all meat. Asian grocery stores often carry them, right near the tripe, frozen blood (choice of cow or pig), and other delicacies.

Other tips for impecunious interns and graduate students:

  • Ramen: nasty but cheap, and an egg or some bits of green onion will make them signicantly less nasty.
  • Kraft macaroni and cheese. Like Ramen noodles, these are often on sale in college towns in late August and early September. Warning: I have heard of a graduate student on an inadequate stipend who ate nothing but Kraft macaroni and cheese without the butter and milk -- until he was hospitalized with scurvy. I imagine his doctors were thrilled to deal with a new (that is, very old) disease for a change, though I hope they were professional enough to hide their glee.
  • Hamburger Helper: it does help, and hamburger is cheap, especially if you buy the high-fat kind. Hot dogs are, too, as long as don't buy the all-beef brand name kind.
  • Someone I went to college with decided to get in touch with his roots and study Polish in graduate school. Since he didn't know the language, he first spent a year on a farm in Poland -- this would have been the mid-1970's. He told me that one particular recipe he learned there served him in good stead in graduate school: Fry up a small onion in a large frying pan with a little bit of oil. Then fill up the pan with half raw cabbage and half previously-boiled noodles and fry until done. Very cheap, very nourishing, and relatively palatable if you're hungry. I take it the small onion is necessary for the last.
  • Another person I went to college with spent an entire summer living on $5.00 per week for food. This was in the late 1970s, so that would be equivalent to $15 or $20 per week today. She and her housemates bought a 100-pound bag of rice at the beginning of their jobless summer and lived on a stereotypical Asian peasant diet: lots of boiled rice, some green veggies, no meat (she was already a vegetarian), and nothing but water and tea to drink. She told me she was so bored she would sit in front of the gas stove for hours waiting for one of the numerous cockroaches to set foot on a burner. It was like a video game: you had to be very quick with the controls to set one on fire before he could run away.

All in all, Stefan Beck and his friend seem to be (deplorably? thankfully?) unfamiliar with the culinary lower depths.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at 12:57 PM
Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Sleet, Nor Bugs . . . .

I've been meaning to blog about this, but haven't had time.

A couple of weeks ago, near the Catonsville Post Office, I saw a mailman equipped with:

  1. a pith helmet,
  2. mosquito netting all the way around from the top of his helmet to his waist, and
  3. a large fly-swatter at the ready in his right hand.

I gather he is not fond of cicadas. He was certainly well equipped to deal with them. I only wish I had had my camera with me.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at 12:13 PM
The Mighty Blogosphere

For a moment, I thought Belmont Club was crediting Instapundit with single-handedly damaging France's foreign relations:

France appears to be less influential than it once was even in Africa (thanks to Instapundit).

I was impressed, until a more careful second reading of the sentence in context showed that he meant "hat tip to Instapundit", and was thanking him for the information, not the lessening of French influence.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at 12:00 PM
June 10, 2004
Where Did Hesiod Go?

It has been over a week since the blogger who calls himself 'Hesiod Theogeny' has updated Counterspin Central. He left no farewell post, and the automated e-mail message some readers report receiving is rather cryptic:

My friend, I have decided for personal reasons to stop blogging entirely for the foreseeable future. Please understand my choice is a personal one, and I hope you will honor and respect it. In the mean time, keep up the good fight. -- Hesiod Theogeny

This is quoted from the comments to his last post, which are otherwise filled with fond regrets and paranoid musings, including suggestions that he has been silenced by thuggish Swift Boat veterans or the Bush administration. Other hypotheses are far more likely:

  1. The first is quite simple. He is too vain to admit it, but 'Hesiod' can't update his site because he forgot the password. He has previously -- in the comments to his own blog or another, I forget which -- said that he can't delete even the most offensive comments from his site because he forgot his HaloScan password. At the time, I thought that was just a lame excuse for doing what he wanted to do anyway, since the offensive comments were mostly of the 'Bush = Hitler and we're all going to be shipped to Guantanamo for saying so' class.
  2. Of course, another possibility is that the wife he occasionally mentions finally found out what he was doing in all his hours on-line and threatened to divorce him if he didn't immediately go 'cold turkey'. Until last Thursday, she had been blissfully unaware that he was actually posting his words and thoughts on the web (more of the former than the latter, of course) and assumed that he was spending all those hours on-line in some relatively inoffensive and socially-acceptable way such as surfing porn sites.
  3. The third possibility is that the White House has decided to gradually shut down some of their false-flag internet operations, starting with 'Hesiod' and Media Whores Online, which also recently and mysteriously went silent blank. (Or so I'm told: I wouldn't have known otherwise.) Maybe it really was the Bush Administration that silenced him! As I wrote almost two years ago, I had long suspected "that 'Hesiod' is a low-level employee in the basement of the White House or the Pentagon assigned to discredit the anti-war movement by impersonating an unusually rude, stupid, and dishonest opponent of war on Iraq". It looks like he may have been fired for excessively low (or even insufficiently low) product quality, or quit because he was sick and tired of his sordid and degrading (though valuable and patriotic) work. Perhaps he was even corrupted by the assignment and began to believe some of the crap he was spewing, like a cop who turns bad after years of close dealings with criminals and losers. If so, we shall have to see whether 'Hesiod' pops up under another name somewhere else. The (to put it politely) idiosyncratic spelling will help identify him. Then again, I didn't realized that 'LT Smash' was the Indepundit until he said so himself.

It is curious that none of Hesiod's allies (or 'allies') on the left seem to have noticed his silence. At least they have nothing to say about it. Do they know something? Something they would be ashamed to reveal?

Posted by Dr. Weevil at 01:51 PM
June 09, 2004
Inepter Reporting

Why can't CBS tell us the names of the speakers? That was definitely Dick Cheney who just finished, and did quite a good job. The one before him -- not half so eloquent -- looked mildly familiar: Denny Hastert? And the one before him? I have no idea who he was, and I follow politics more than most. From what he said, he is probably a member of Congress and certainly not much of a speaker. I'm not asking for intrusive voiceovers, just a small label on the screen so we know who's speaking. Name and title would help, for the average American who may not know that Cheney is the Vice President and those other two guys are whatever the Hell they are.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at 08:06 PM
Inept Reporting

I've been watching the coverage of the Reagan funeral procession while I grade final exams. A few brief notes:

  1. CBS doesn't have a clue as to what they should be explaining. Who were those 12-15 people greeting the plane at Andrews AFB? I think that must have been Ron, Jr. and Patti Davis (with the very long hair) up front on the right, but I'm not sure which of the middle-aged men was Michael Reagan, and who all the other people were. (I don't watch a lot of TV, so I don't know what they look like.) One of the younger women looked rather like Jenna Bush, but I imagine if Jenna had been there, Barbara would have been, too, so it was probably a Reagan grandchild. Would it have killed them to explain? I don't even know how many grandchildren there are, though I'm pretty sure there are several.
  2. Was that Patti Davis sitting next to her mother in the limousine? Hard to tell on my small-screen TV, and CBS surely knows. Why not say?
  3. Similarly, we were told the names of four of the pallbearers, Michael Deaver, the President's long-time physician, and a couple more I've already forgotten. Who were the others? And why can't they show us pictures? When they did show a row of pallbearers, some looked vaguely familiar, but identifications would have been helpful. Who was the tall bald guy at the end of the row? You won't know if you watch CBS. (I don't have cable, and CBS is the only channel I can get with a clear picture and uninterrupted commercial-free coverage.)
  4. No explanation as to why the pallbearers aren't actually bearing the casket (is 'pall' another name for a casket?). A brief mention of the difference between the apparently honorary pallbearers and the military men who actually carried the casket wouldn't have hurt.
  5. Dan Rather just quoted Reagan comparing Congress to a swarm of cicadas "17 or 18 years ago". If you know anything at all about cicadas, you know it must have been 17, not 18.
  6. Judging from what CBS has shown, the funeral is entirely military in tone. I like seeing the various service members, but would also have liked to see some Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, college or high school marching bands, and so on in the procession. Am I wrong to think that?

More soon, on various subjects. In general, I suppose CBS is doing a fairly decent job of showing the funeral procession.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at 07:16 PM
Not Dead Yet

Sorry about the long silence (blankness?). It's exam week, and I've been very busy finishing off an not-very-pleasant job. I'll post a few things tonight, and lots more as soon as I hand in my grades Friday.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at 07:02 PM