The Rump & His Minion call for More Rope!

The current President of the United States, the man who lost the national popular vote, continues to believe that he can run his life as if he’s the only person to whom he’s accountable.  He seems to be on the verge of getting some lessons in politics and, hopefully, humility (one can only hope, I know, I know).  One can only hope he has the modicum of intelligence to read the all-too-obvious signs…

I was gladdened and inspired by Hillary’s commencement speech at my alma mater (which happens to be hers, as well).  The (somewhat new) college president, Paula Johnson, gave those assembled (as well as those who, like I, watched online) a great introduction to this accomplished and (I’ll say it again) inspiring woman who has spent her entire life pursuing the public good.  It’s really a shame – a damn shame – that such a qualified (the most qualified ever – perhaps even overqualified?) person should have been robbed of her place in history by a no-nothing, to whom I refer to as The Rump, for he is, at best, an ass, if not merely the orifice it contains.

As the Rump continues to contradict his handlers (to his own detriment – or so I hope), The Rump seems to be begging for more rope.  I can only hope that such an execution will occur sooner.  The only (only!) negative outcome of the removal of The Rump from the Oval Office will be that an anti-choice self-proclaimed god-fearing (and therefore know-nothing) Minion will assume the power of the highest political office in this country.  Fortunately, the Democrats are starting to find their wits, at least enough to stand cohesively against the Repugnican-backed proposed federal budget.  I’m waiting for the government shutdown.  Let those who voted for The Rump and his Minion suffer from their own foolishness, for many of them were fooled by his “charm” and “success.” They were conned to believe that he would do anything that benefits anyone but himself.  Fools.  I don’t even know if I can find very much sympathy for these deluded souls who were used by a con man to obtain his own ends.  It’s not as if his winning will rub off on them and turn them into winners.  In his zero sum game mentality, he can only win when others necessarily lose.  He must take from others to feel that he has anything of worth.  He must rob others to enrich himself, as evidenced by his business actions with too many contractors who worked for him and then were left unpaid.

The Rump doesn’t even have a sense of self.  He can only see his reflection in the popular media.  He foolishly believes he can pick and choose his reality.  When he was a television personality, he was able to do so, pretty much with impunity, since that of which he was in charge was, in reality, something quite trivial.  Who really gives a flying fuck what he thinks or feels?  Apparently, there are some.

Who is the more foolish:  The Fool or the Fool Who Follows?



I’m making a tri-color gnocchi dish.  I’ve got all the gnocchi in the freezer.  I made the beet gnocchi first, then the butternut squash, and, finally, today, just plain potato gnocchi.  I will prepare a browned butter with sage sauce to accompany them for dinner tomorrow evening.  The potato gnocchi have fresh rosemary mixed into them, whereas the beet and butternut squash gnocchi each have ricotta and Parmesan.  This should be good.

In other news, however, I’ve been at times worried on a personal level and at other times worried on an existential level, mostly relating to the politics of today.  The Rump is trying to get his Supreme Court nominee confirmed, and I’ve been telling both of my senators to filibuster the nomination and to call for a delay in all presidential appointments until a full investigation into The Rump’s relationship with He who must not be named (Ras-) has been completed.  NO APPOINTEES, NO ACTIONS until there is a FULL INVESTIGATION.


Two Weeks With No Classes

The final course in the Revit series had started without me, so I’m waiting for the next session to take it.  That leaves me with two weeks to practice what I’ve already, hopefully, learned in the software package.  This is my second week since the third course ended.  The fourth and last course becomes available on 10 March, so I’ve got another week (actually, two, since today’s Monday and the course will begin on the Tuesday following the 10th).

I’ve found a new bread recipe that I’m quite fond of.  It’s a potato bread that is heavily scented with rosemary and garlic.  Because I don’t have fresh rosemary at the moment, I’ve been substituting dried, with acceptable results.  I always add a bit more of the flavorings than called for, since I like pungency in foods as much as I appreciate subtlety in visual art.  I think it’s because my own taste buds are growing ever less sensitive, and I therefore need more pungent flavors that my tongue can detect.

The potato bread actually starts with what is called a biga, which is a small amount of dough that is made the day before the bread, in order to provide more flavor.  I’ve got a biga in the fridge right now.  It’s about a week old at this point, so I expect it to impart some good, mature flavor to the next potato bread I make, which will be in a day or two, as soon as we finish the loaf of challah I made yesterday.

I bought some dried cherries and dried blueberries for use in oatmeal as well as fruit bars, which I endeavor to make again.  I’ve learned that the baking time need not be very long, just long enough to set the fruit into a cohesive mass.  I want to try to recreate the fruit bars that were introduced to me last year, in which the primary ingredient is dates.  The other ingredients were simple, such as other ground fruits and crushed nuts.

I believe K wants oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow, which is fine.  I’m assuming at this point that she will want me to ferry her to school in the morning, especially if it is once again raining heavily as it was today.  Then I will jump on the bus 31 to UTC, and, from there, either the 202 traveling west up Nobel, or the 30, 150, or 41 to the La Jolla Village Drive entrance to the UCSD campus, from which I’ll walk up the hill to Peter’s.

I will take Peter to the airport, then go to Fashion Valley to help get some accounting paperwork completed.  From there, I’ll travel up to Harvest International Market on Balboa, where I will buy dates, and perhaps a couple other fresh fruits or vegetables, although we’re expecting another share next Tuesday and therefore I don’t want to fill the fridge already so that our share can fit.  I will learn on Thursday what our share will contain, and see if there’s any customization desired.

Tomorrow, there is a possibility that I may miss the noontime gathering at Senator Feinstein’s, though I’d still make it to the afternoon meeting at Senator Harris’s San Diego office.  I don’t remember what this week’s topic is, so I will learn when I arrive.  I should be able to make it on time, since the morning’s errands ought not run too late.  After leaving Senator Harris’s, I’ll come home, heat up leftover carrot soup and roast Brussels sprouts for dinner.  I know K is not a fan of Brussels sprouts, but I like them roasted, heavily flavored with roasted garlic and salted.  Then it’ll be time to prepare for bed.

Wednesday will be spent learning (or at least trying to learn) some of the more subtle operations in Revit.





What Concerns the Little Man

I don’t know why he was ever called “President Elect,” because he wasn’t elected by a majority of citizens of these United States of America. Donald J Trump (or, as I prefer to refer to him, “The Rump”) is a spoiled adolescent who never grew up. As Jon Stewart has said, The Rump is a Man-baby, with the visage of a man and the temperament (and hands) of a baby…

The fact that this little man still hasn’t gotten over a decades-old public slight speaks volumes (or, in his case, a few words making up a disjointed sentence). His reliance on using Twitter as a “get even” tool is nothing if not childishly immature. What the man lacks could fill volumes, but the most immediate things that come to mind are the qualities which he professes to have, and clearly does not. He claims to be a great intellect, and yet refuses to listen to scientists in the most pigheaded, head-in-the-sand fashion. His lack of curiosity makes his world a narrow one. He surrounds himself with fantasy Barbie-doll lookalikes, believing that others will look up to him and even envy him his trophy wife (the most recent of many – I’ve lost count). When the new First Lady complains that she will not move into the White House because it’s not as fancy as their New York flat, it says something about both the state of her mind, its lack of creativity, and the relationship between the newly-appointed First Couple. Of course, The Rump will miss his arm candy enough to order her to come down to DC occasionally in order to serve him and dance for any foreign dignitaries he entertains. That is, if any foreign dignitaries should choose to come to the White House during his tenancy, which, hopefully, will be brief. Besides, he has his golf courses to return to…

I marched in solidarity with those who have promised not only to oppose The Rump, but all that the fascist, sexist, ignorant regime that is the Repugnican Congress. They will have two years (until the next Congressional election) to convince their constituents that they are a party of action, of change, rather than a party of obstruction, a role which they had played with relish over the past eight years.  We’ll see if there’s anything that they will pass that will both feed their own egos and satisfy their constituency.

Listening to Elizabeth Warren speak at the Women’s March brought forth a renewed faith in humanity in me. It is a humanity that refuses to be cowed, a humanity that will fight for the rights of all and not just those who have already succeeded. Hers is a voice of compassion and passion, a voice who calls us forward to become engaged, to activate our civic selves, to fight as if for our lives, for it is our very lives for which we must wage battle.

Bad News and Then Some

After bidding Peter fair travels at the airport, I took my car to the dealership this morning to have the power windows inspected, as I wasn’t able to open any of the other windows outside of the driver’s from the driver’s controls.  The individual windows could not be opened by those sitting in their associated seats, either. I could only control the driver’s window. Kat had been complaining about not being able to open or close the window next to her seat (behind the driver’s) for several months now. Turned out that there was a switch that needed replacement. $150.

Naturally, when a car is brought in for any reason, a car dealership will tell owners of any and all other items that might want attention, whether it’s necessary or not. The one that got my attention today was that the rear brake pads are down to 10%, and the dealership typically recommends replacement at 20%, so I added their replacement to the work order. Then I learned that the wheels needed alignment, since when I got the tires replaced at Discount Tire, they didn’t provide that service. Another hundred or so dollars for that. The power steering fluid was looking manky, so he recommended that it be replaced within the next thousand miles. I told him I’ll wait until next year to get that done (note: it’s currently December, and I’m unlikely to drive a thousand miles within the next three months).

So the total cost for today’s work comes to just over $500, which is not the amount I’d expected to pay out, but I concluded to get the work done, since it’s better to keep the car running well, as it’s almost 15 years old now (model year 2002), and I intend to keep it running at least until Kat goes to college in two and a half years or so.

Depending on when the work is completed, I may have their shuttle pick me up from home and I’ll drive to Point Loma to talk to Tyler, the instructor for the second course I’m taking to learn the basics of SketchUp, which Google sold off to another company a few years back (it’s probably been longer, but I haven’t been keeping up with Google’s business activity, so it’s news to me).  I’m struggling, and hope to discover a solution with Tyler, who will, hopefully, elucidate what exactly it is that I’m doing or not doing that keeps SketchUp from completing the operations needed in order for me to move onto the next portion of the project, creating the landscape and placing the building on it.

Thursday will start out with my trial for speeding on Miramar Road. During the initial hearing, the magistrate was unwilling to listen to explanations, so I had to plead not guilty and go to trial, where I can plead guilty and provide an explanation for why it was that I was going over the speed limit early on a Saturday morning when the road was all but deserted (besides me and the cop who had been sitting at an intersection and who had pulled me over and given me a ticket). I’ll explain that when I drive, I drive contextually. When I’m in heavy, or even not very heavy, traffic, I drive at a speed comparable to the cars around me. From what I learned in school, this is called following the flow of traffic.  When I’m alone on the road, there are no other cars by which to compare my own speed, so it’s very easy for me to lose track of how fast I’m driving. And I was driving Peter’s car, which is different enough from my car (I have a Honda CR-V, and Peter has a Mazda Miata) so that it wasn’t immediately apparent to me that I was traveling at a speed very different from my usual traveling speed on that particular road. So that’s it. We’ll see, first, if the ticket issuer shows up in court, because if he doesn’t show up, the case should be automatically dismissed (or so I believe). However, since the cop will be paid whether he’s in court or actually on duty, he’ll likely show up. At the end of the day, it will cost the so-called justice system a maximum financial input to secure my conviction (that is, if I’m convicted, which appears quite likely)…  And this leads me to wonder if the reason we have so many inane traffic laws is to provide police departments with their donut slush funds through maximizing revenue through creative ticketing…

~Time Passed~

It is the end of the day, and I have a flan in the oven being baked for tonight’s dinner. I’m actually feeling a bit more relaxed about Thursday, as I will try to have as normal a day as possible tomorrow.  I plan to go to the gym, as I typically do on Wednesdays, then go grocery shopping, as it appears quite necessary right now.

In the evening on Thursday, the high school band, in which Kat plays flute, will present its Winter concert.  By then, I’ll know my labor schedule or fine, so I can move on after this most unpleasant business.

The Time Ahead

A grey day greets San Diegans.  The sun appears shy and tentative.  A wintry breeze, inasmuch as one exists in SoCal, causes movement in the pines above as well as the narrow broad-leafed understory.  The radio news program speaks of the historical nature of the communist leader whose passing marks the end of an era.  His son has moved Cuba closer to the materialistic ideals of capitalism, much to the dismay of some of his followers.

The passing of Fidel Castro is being celebrated by many who left the island to settle on a low-lying finger of the nearest continent.  His passing is being called a good thing by one critic, who celebrates his death in light of his own potential personal financial gain.

The Rump, had, during the time of the Stalinist leader, attempted to further his own financial fortune on the island, and failed.  He will likely seek further enrichment of those fortunes at this time, being set free (or so he believes) to do as he wishes.  The Rump claims to have no conflict of interest in taking the most powerful political position in the Human-led World, but many of us know otherwise.  The Rump will utilize the office of President to enrich himself only.  He is, after all, a businessman first.  Anyone else who benefits shall do so as a mere consequence of the policies The Rump will champion to increase his own personal fortune.  It will be collateral damage paid for by the Citizens of these United States, but what will he care?  As long as he comes out ahead, he’s a happy fat child.

Lighter Fare: Savory Breakfast Muffins

4 strips pork bacon (turkey or soy bacon may be substituted)

3 large green onions

4 oz. cheddar cheese (DON’T substitute soy cheese)

2/3 c. unbleached a-p flour

2/3 c. whole wheat flour

2/3 c. masa flour (finely ground corn, typically sold for making tamales)

2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

1 T. granulated sugar

1 1/2 c. buttermilk

1/3 c. grapeseed oil

2 small or 1 large egg, at room temperature

desirable:  silicone cupcake liners to make life easier

Place bacon slices into a wide, shallow skillet.  Cover with water, and cook over high heat until water comes to a boil.  Continue simmering the bacon until it is fully cooked, with a lot of the fat coming out on top of the water.  Pick up bacon slices from water, and drain on paper towels.  Julienne the bacon crosswise.  Chop green onions (white and green parts), and grate the cheese using the large- to medium-sized holes in the grater.

Mix flours and masa in a large bowl.  Stir in the soda, sugar, and salt until well incorporated.  Add bacon, chopped onions, and grated cheese to the flour mixture, and stir until fairly well distributed.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat eggs until they are fairly uniform in consistency and color.  Add oil and whisk until emulsified.  Add buttermilk, and stir until well combined.

Make a well in dry ingredients.  Pour egg mixture into this well, and stir just until all of the dry bits are moistened.  This will make a fairly stiff batter.  Scoop about 1/3-1/2 c. batter into each silicone-lined muffin cup.  Bake for 25-28 minutes (test at 25 minutes with a toothpick).  Cool in pan 2 minutes before removing to a linen towel-lined serving bowl.  Fold the towel over the muffins to keep them warm.  Serve with butter and/or creme fraiche.