Death once had a near-Sarah Palin experience.

calendar   Monday - January 13, 2020

Cory Who?

Cory Booker has withdrawn from the Dem’s shortbus full of wannabes.

This follows Marianne Williamson’s leaving the old campaign trail on Friday.

I guess that cuts it down to ... what, about a dozen? 16? Still far too many of them, and not one of them’s worth a spoonful of snail slime.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/13/2020 at 01:02 PM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat Leftists •  
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Old Guns, Again

Sunday’s Time Waster

In which an odd corner of an old illustration causes Drew to sieve the internet looking for information that doesn’t exist, coming up with loads of interesting links and eating up half the afternoon.

Somewhere online I ran across a picture of a medieval illustration of the attack on Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. This was on April 12, 1204.

This painting was done, probably by a bunch of monks, somewhere in the 15th Century, around the 1450s; a couple hundred years later. This was long before Byzantium fell to the muslim horde and became Istanbul. The attackers were western European Christians, the defenders were eastern European Christians. Eastern Orthodox, with a lot of Greeks. This is the big “act of betrayal” from that messed up Crusade where the Venetians sacked cities to recoup their investments, after having turned their entire economy upside down for more than a year to equip and transport the vast army of soldiers and horses promised by the pope that never materialized. They were hundreds of thousands of marks in the hole, equivalent to tens of millions of dollars in today’s terms.

Venice was a trading nation, with almost no land or resources, but was really good at buying and selling. Situated on a river delta / tidal swamp up at the top of the Adriatic on the east side of Italy, they were the pivot point between Europe and the far East. Nominally Catholic Christians, but they put religion on the back burner and got down to business, unlike a large chunk of the world in those days, who put piety at the very top of their life list. So there were tensions with Rome, all sorts of politics and intrigues, etc. But Venice became rich, while the rest of Europe plodded along with feudalism and subsistence agriculture.

Anyway, looking closely at the illustration, I saw this:


That’s a gun, baby. A fire stick. A “hand gonne”, “culverin”, or “hand bombard”. *

And therein lies the problem. The standard article of faith is that Marco Polo brought back several things from China: pasta, paper, gunpowder, VD, and the plague. Problem is, old Marco wasn’t born until 50 years after this attack happened. So where did the gun come from?

“Respected authorities” put the beginning of firearms in Europe around the 1320s. But what is their definition of Europe? I’m sure Hungary counts themselves part of it, but perhaps we’ve got some “just the north” kind of centrism here.

The Chinese had bombs, rockets, fireworks, and possibly cannons and guns for several centuries before this. Marco Polo was not the first westerner in China. There is strong evidence that the Mongol horde - a pre-islamic invasion, at first - used some kind of guns when they attacked Hungary at the Battle of Mohi in 1241. But China didn’t attack Hungary, or Constantinople. The Mongols did. KHAN!!!. Um, the same Mongols who were just beginning to take over China at this time. Good old “Jenghis” Khan ( and his happy buddy Kubla? Turns out that Xanadu was real ). But good technology spreads quickly, and the Silk Road ( that both Venice and Constantinople lie alongside ) was a knowledge corridor as well as a caravan route. So it wasn’t impossible.

On the other hand, a lot of these old medieval paintings aren’t precisely factually accurate. The whole style back then was to make pictures of ancient events and fill them with people dressed in the current fashions of Europe. You know, David and Goliath wearing doublets and hose, with pointy cloth shoes. And Middle Ages armor. Um, riiight. So maybe the gonne got in there by accident, put in by a bored monk tired of drawing swords and horses.  On the third hand, the other weapons in the picture are accurate to the period, and the period was a slow one. It’s not like they reinvented the wheel every 18 months like we do today. R&D was nearly at a standstill. Heck, these guys wouldn’t even figure out the horse collar for another couple hundred years (another Chinese import? They’d had them for 800 years at that point).

The thing is, the internet being so broad and deep, that I could not find a single mention of this oddity in this rather common illustration. Not even a few words supporting it or decrying it. Nada. I can’t be the first person to have noticed this in 575 years, can I?

* : Interesting aside: by 1410 the French had a “murderer”, a small pintle mounted swivel cannon with a locking breech and cartridge ammunition. While pretty rough in form, such a gun loaded with lead or iron shot could wreak mayhem, and would have a pretty fast rate of fire - at least 10 rounds a minute - if several of the cast iron bottle shaped cartridges were available. Seriously, there isn’t much new in firearms design that hasn’t been around for centuries longer than most people know.

This wrought iron thing was also known as a Pierrier à boîte, a thrower of stones. Perrier is the English version of the word. While not the tightest design, this kind of breech loading anti-personnel swivel gun quickly caught on all around the world, and was used for centuries ... as late as the Moro uprising in the Philippines in 1904.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/13/2020 at 10:52 AM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun ControlHistoryMiscellaneous •  
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calendar   Sunday - January 12, 2020

Fixed, For Now

Had to fix the toilet this afternoon. There was some kind of slow leak. Worse, the cat pan is right next to it, and you know how messy kittehs are. And we use that clumping litter, so it was kind of a gummy mess down there. American Standard sent me a new tank a few weeks ago, warranty replacement for the old tank that had developed a little crack, but wasn’t yet leaking. I figured I had a fussy job ahead of me, taking off the water line, getting the float valve, the flush lever, and the flapper mechanism out of the old tank and into the new one. But when I opened the box, inside was a whole new top to the toilet: new tank, new lid, new float valve, lever, and flapper. All installed and adjusted. Thanks American Standard!!

So I took it all apart, got it cleaned up and off the floor. There was a whole clam farm of wet cat litter silt under the bowl. That had to go. Scrubbed it all up, then sanitized the whole area with my good old D-128 disinfectant. And then I found that it was the water line valve that was the culprit, along with the crush washer in the water hose. Too late to go to the store, so I did what I could do with tape dope and some silicon caulk. Good enough for tonight. I know you’re not supposed to, but I put the bowl back in with a nice bead of caulk under it, so it’s sealed to the floor. If I have to, I can use a knife or a spatula to get it off, but for now there won’t be anymore litter mud underneath. That made it nearly impossible to get the floor clean.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/12/2020 at 12:08 AM   
Filed Under: • Daily Life •  
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calendar   Saturday - January 11, 2020

With 3 Don’t You Get Eggroll?

Iranian Commander Knocked Off In Iraq

Oh, and when Salami got whacked, the blast took out another Iranian militia leader too.

So that makes three.

Call it a start. I’m sure there’s dozens or hundreds more.

High-level pro-Iran militia commander is assassinated in Iraq by unknown gunmen

PMF leader Taleb Abbas Ali al-Saedi was shot dead late on Saturday in Karbala
The shooters have not been identified and the US military has not commented
Al-Saedi was a prominent commander in Iraq’s pro-Iran Shiite militias

A prominent pro-Iran militia commander has been killed by unidentified gunmen in Iraq.

High-level Popular Mobilization Forces leader Taleb Abbas Ali al-Saedi was shot dead late on Saturday in Karbala, a city about 62 miles southwest of Baghdad.

Local media reported that al-Saedi was ‘assassinated’ by unknown gunmen, but no further details about the shooters were immediately available.

Al-Saedi was the commander of the Karbala Brigades, a unit within the Iran-backed Shiite PMF umbrella group.

U.S. Central Command, which oversees American military activity in the Middle East, did not immediately respond to an inquiry from about the shooting.

It follows the January 3 U.S. drone strike that killed another PMF leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, alongside Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Know what would be awesome? If Trump’s act started an Iraq-wide game of whack-a-mole, Iranian style. Even better would be if all the plain old Iranians got fed up, and had a revolution, throwing all the mullahs into the flames as they deserve.  And it would all be Trump’s fault.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/11/2020 at 11:36 PM   
Filed Under: • War On Terror •  
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calendar   Friday - January 10, 2020

Here I am, stuck in the middle again

We played Jeff, Tom, and Boober’s team tonight, we had a great time. Talking food, and more food, and football, and what’s going on with all the people that we know. Plus books and movies. So great socializing. Super. We had a blast. I brought in the remains of my final pretzel bake, and they went in a flash, with lots of approval.  They’re all pretty good bowlers when things are working right, but our teams faced off on the notorious end lanes 25 and 26. There is something weird with those two. Maybe they aren’t flat, maybe they’re too close to the outside wall. I don’t know, but they break down (the oil pattern wears out) much faster than any other lanes in the alley.

So they took the first game, but only by 24. Boober threw really hot, scoring something in the 240s. I was even with him to the 6th frame, but he’s far better than I am, so he kept right on racking up the strikes when I stumbled. We got 92 pins in handicap from them, and needed all of it. We won the second game, plodding along just above our team average, while they had a rough time of it. So we closed the points gap to just 3, winning Game 2 by 21. They couldn’t get back in the groove in the third game, while my squad threw perhaps our best game this season, with our low average bowler going 13 over and the rest of us rolling 200+ games. A 205, a 207, and I did my job as the anchor and pulled a 224, beating Jeff’s 223 by a single pin. A 761 score for my team. Fun! So we got that game too, and took overall wood by nearly 100 pins. A 5-2 victory is nice; we’ve been plodding along the last few weeks. This will also bring us up to just a hair over a 50% victory rate, putting us squarely in the middle of the pack. Fine by me, and it beats the heck out of dead last (still occupied by ex teammates Joe and Dave and their new crew).

Our new teammate F was telling us all about this chili she makes. It’s got 4 kinds of meat, including bacon and sweet Italian sausage, “red and yellow bell peppers for the heat”, “a whole 2 tablespoons of chili powder”, a jalapeno, and added baker’s chocolate and maple syrup. WHAT WHAT WHAT??? I guess chili is one of those open ended terms these days, and can mean whatever you want it to mean. Kind of like “martini”, of which her favorite kind is made with pineapple juice and vodka. Um, Ok. Let’s give it a try.

My favorite martini is made from Bombay Sapphire gin, kept in the freezer, with a small splash of refrigerated Noilly Prat French sweet vermouth. Sometimes I go “dirty” and add 2 or 3 fresh green olives and a half teaspoon of olive brine. Put the booze together in a shaker with 4 or 5 ice cubes and have at it. Using nearly frozen gin and cold vermouth keeps the ice from watering things down much at all, and I get a crisp and classic cocktail. Let’s face it, a martini is a lie in a funnel shaped glass; it’s got just enough added bits to let you rationalize that you aren’t just doing shots of grain alcohol. But you really are. 

Likewise, my chili is pretty traditional too, but equally strong. Oh, I can make it as hot as you want, anywhere between “spicy enough” and “molten lava”. But my recipe uses at least a dozen chopped anchos and guajillos, a couple of jalapenos, 3 or 4 chipotles, a handful of toasted fresh ground cumin, and then a few more tablespoons of dried ground chiles near the end to adjust the taste. It’s pepper stew, that just happens to have a lot of meat in it, along with some pinto beans and stewed tomatoes, several onions and cloves of garlic. Moistened with a cheap beer or two, usually Coors or Bud. It may not be perfectly authentic to the purists ... I don’t care. It’s a thick hearty paste that fills you up. Add a little grated cheese and some sour cream and you’re set.

So we might have a chili exchange in a few weeks. Sausage bacon chili with chocolate and syrup? What is the world coming to??

Ok, I’m keeping an open mind. Heck, I might even try one of these myself ahead of time. 


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/10/2020 at 11:10 PM   
Filed Under: • Bowling BloggingFood •  
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And There Goes Virginia Beach

Biggest City In Virginia Now Second Amendment Sanctuary

Story is a couple days old now. Most of the counties in Virginia have already gone 2A Sanctuary, but the cities are where most of the people are.

The City of Virginia Beach voted 6-4 last night to become a ‘Second Amendment Constitutional City’.

Per WKTR, Mayor Dyer, Vice Mayor Wood, Council Members Moss, Abbott, Berlucchi and Wilson all voted yes.

This resort town, home to 460,000 people, is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Republican activist and Virginia Beach resident Scott Presler tweeted the final vote:


In a 6-4 vote, Virginia Beach is now a Second Amendment Constitutional City.

VB is the largest city by population in Virginia.
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) January 7, 2020

He also filmed the overflow crowd from last night’s meeting on the vote:

The media will never show you this:

Hundreds & hundreds of Second Amendment supporters outside of city council in Virginia Beach.
[ Twitter video link. There’s an army of them outside the statehouse. Sadly, no pitchforks or torches. YET. ]

I heard reports from several people on the ground that upwards of 1,700 concerned residents in favor of this resolution were present. That’s impressive.

While this move doesn’t have as much teeth as the sanctuary county votes, it’s a symbolic gesture showing Virginia Beach, home to several military installations and next door to the world’s largest naval base, is reliably pro-gun.

This vote to affirm support for the Second Amendment will stun gun control activists, who thought they could exploit that tragedy that befell the city on May 31st, 2019. However, many survivors of the municipal building felt these interests exploited this tragedy for their cause. One survivor, Vincent Smith, told WAVY back in November he hoped the city would become a sanctuary Second Amendment city

So, the new left wing Virginia legislature is now in session. Let’s see what they do. And let’s see how the people react. I’d like to send Virginia a Gadsden flag, but somehow I kind of think they’ve got them raised already. In their souls.



Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/10/2020 at 04:25 PM   
Filed Under: • FREEDOMGovernmentGuns and Gun Control •  
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Ancient Tidal Farming

Study: Paleo Clam Gardens More Productive Than Natural Mud Flats

Well duh. That’s the whole idea of farming, right?

Yeah, I’m weird. This kind of stuff interests me. We’ve all read those articles about how anthropologists have found evidence of ancient First Peoples by the shell midden heaps they left everywhere. I guess the idea was that them old injuns would walk around every year or two to some productive spot by the water’s edge, and chow down on clams and oysters, toss the shells in a pile, and move on. And lather, rinse, repeat, for thousands of years. “Move to where the food is” is a great idea.

Well, it turns out that in some places, at least the Pacific northwest, folks had been doing aquaculture for thousands and thousands of years. At least as far back as the end of the last Ice Age.

Changing the very shape of the seashore by building and maintaining clam gardens. Clam gardens? What are they? Let’s go right to the PNAS and find out.

That Extra Special Human | Clam Relationship

Our understanding of the historical ecology of humans and butter clams on Quadra Island not only illustrates the long-term and intertwined relationships of these 2 species but also, serves as a model for studying the intricacies of other human–species relationships. In the case of butter clams, a culturally valued species, there was a myriad of ecological and cultural factors that influenced population viability throughout the Holocene.


On the Northwest Coast of North America, as in coastal communities worldwide, the human–clam relationship is age old and continues today. Tracing that history and situating these relationships in the context of modern management decisions take bringing together data from multiple sources and using diverse types of analyses. They also require recognizing the sometimes-active role of humans in modifying coastal ecosystems of the past as well as the present and that not all long-term human–ecological interactions have negative ecological consequences on biological diversity.

In our study area, our analyses of shells from intertidal death assemblages, archaeological shell middens, and modern clams provide insights into how clams, clam habitats, and human–clam relationships changed through time in a specific place. More specifically, the analyses reveal how clam life histories have responded to shifts in harvesting, habitat alterations, climate and environmental factors, and management practices. Taken together, the temporal and spatial variability that we document is another reminder of the need to gather site- and time-specific baselines for modern management. We have demonstrated that ocean temperatures and substrate play a role in butter clam life history. Thus, it is no surprise that there is considerable variation in estimates of butter clam size in the literature (46⇓⇓–49), just as there are in our modern data and paleodata. Management plans based on local, modern, and paleoecological data are likely to be more robust than those based on more general spatiotemporal data from the literature. However, under future climate change scenarios, environmental variables are likely to resort in different combinations than those of recent history and perhaps, with few analogs in the past.

Previous research on clam gardens in our study area demonstrated that clam gardens today are at least twice as productive as nonwalled beaches. This has implications for the numbers of people who can be locally supported by this ancient innovation in mariculture. Our data, however, show that clams in clam gardens today are far less productive than they were before European contact and industrial logging—that is, when traditional management systems were active and shell–sand–gravel vs. silt-rich beaches dominated clam habitats. This highlights the possibility that, if traditional mariculture methods were applied to clam beaches today, they could produce even greater yields than those estimated based on current ecological conditions—assuming similar pelagic production and oceanic conditions. In fact, many Indigenous communities along the Pacific Northwest Coast are exercising their rights to access and collective choice by restoring clam gardens and the traditional protocols associated with them.

Paleo Pete and Holocene Harry built up low walls of barely submerged stone across mud flat beaches at the low tide line. When the tide would rise, fresh silt and nutrients would wash in, but stay there when the tide went out, filtering through the loose stone walls. This made a perfect clam habitat.

In time the accumulation of silt changed the slope of the beach, flattening it out and growing the land. Clams thrived in this protected environment. People would come in and harvest them, safe behind the walls in the water. The more big clams they dug up and ate, the more room there was for the little clams to grow. Pretty soon you had clams enough for the multitudes, and some of these clam gardens stretched for miles. There are thousands of them along the coast, from Alaska down to Washington. And that’s the ones we can find today. How many more were lost beneath the waves as the post-glacial oceans slowly rose?


Indigenous people of the west coast of North America used a range of techniques and practices to maintain or increase the production of culturally important foods, including clams. These practices are encompassed within age-old social, economic, and spiritual beliefs and practices of coastal First Peoples. One long-lasting and visible practice was the building of clam gardens.

Clam gardens are ancient intertidal features constructed by the coastal First Nations of British Columbia (Canada) and Native Americans of Washington State and Alaska (USA), to enhance shellfish productivity. These features are made by constructing rock walls at the low tide line along the edges of bays and inlets, transforming naturally sloping beaches or rocky shorelines into productive, level beach terraces.

Coastal First Nations knowledge holders note that the very act of harvesting clams keeps clam beaches productive.  Digging for clams creates healthy bivalve habitat by turning over the beach sands and silts, exposing these sediments to oxygen. In an unworked beach, seaweed and dead clams can accumulate on the surface of the beach, suffocating live clams.  When digging, people ensured that populations were healthy by thinning clams or preferentially harvesting larger ones to allow younger clams to grow. We learned from Indigenous harvesters that some people added broken shells back to the beach to augment the sediments as needed.


Amy Groesbeck’s recent investigation into these ancient structures found that clams are more plentiful, and grow bigger inside of clam gardens. Butter clams are known to grow four times as big in clam gardens compared to non-walled beaches (Groesbeck et al, 2014). There is speculation that the rock walls could also provide a home for other creatures including young fish, sea cucumbers, and other invertebrate species. Current observations suggest that building clam gardens may change the types of species surrounding the clam garden, but will not likely have a harmful impact on the species already present.
Clam gardens have recently caught the attention of many academics, researchers, resource managers, and First Nations along the Vancouver coast – who has joined forces and formed “The Clam Garden Network”.

And you know what else? Clams fight both pollution and global warming. Well, the things are filter feeders, so they suck the yuck out of the ocean and live on it. And as clams grow, their shells grow. The shells are made of calcium carbonate. This means that clams reduce greenhouse gas by locking up huge amounts of carbon dioxide by building their shells. So they’re good for the environment. And good to eat.

Seriously, we don’t need to go all Greta and destroy our world to reduce our Evil Carbon Footprint. Just plant more trees, and farm clams and oysters.  It’s organic. It’s sustainable. And it costs hardly a thing.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/10/2020 at 03:50 PM   
Filed Under: • Archeology / AnthropologyEnvironmentFoodGardens and plants •  
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The Big Lye Part 2: Goldilocks Follow Up

Laugenbrezel Perfection


Not underdone, not overbaked. Just right. 11 minutes at 460, on parchment paper on a well heated baking stone.

Not a weak flavor, not an overpowering one. Just right. 20-25 seconds dip in a room temperature half molar lye bath (20gm lye in 1 liter water), then left 2 minutes to drip off.

Goldilocks, I’ve got you now.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/10/2020 at 03:33 PM   
Filed Under: • Food •  
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calendar   Thursday - January 09, 2020

The Big Lye

Ok, and the results are in ... for this round.

I think I’ll do the whole thing over, and bake them for a shorter time. I noticed that after a certain point, the pretzels didn’t really get any darker, although they did get a somewhat earthier, toasted flavor. Too much of a good thing I think.

This batch cooked at 450°F for 13 minutes. I think 11 might be better, if only to highlight the lye dip differences without overwhelming them with browning.




For this round, the half molar solution for between 10 and 20 seconds seems to be the winner, giving a robust pretzel taste without a dark undertone. OTOH, the 5 and 10 second dips in the .75M solution were really good, but very strong. The .25M solution doesn’t do the job unless you’re looking at a 25 or 30 second dip.

Oh, and the 0.25 Molar lye solution is still about 14 times stronger than a super strong (1M) washing soda solution, and orders of magnitude stronger than anything you can do with baking soda. You. Need. The. Lye.

I think I’ll give the next batch another variable, and use room temperature lye solution. I used 105°F water, only because so many of the pretzel recipes out there call for dipping them in some hot or nearly boiling solution. Dude, that’s how you make bagels, not pretzels. The hot liquid does give them a thicker, more rubbery skin, which will crisp up in a hot oven. I think - not 100% sure - that a “real” Bavarian method does not use hot water.

I have a few bits of dough left over in the freezer, but Round 2 may wait for a while. I’m about pretzeled out at this point.

And one other thing: white parchment paper sucks. The kind you buy in the grocery store just doesn’t get the job done. The commercial weight brown parchment paper is so much better. 


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/09/2020 at 08:52 PM   
Filed Under: • Food •  
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That Ruse Didn’t Last Long

Iran Shot Down Uke Airliner With Russian Mobile AA Missiles


The Ukrainian flight that crashed just outside the Iranian capital of Tehran was struck by an anti-aircraft missile system, a Pentagon official, a senior U.S. intelligence official and an Iraqi intelligence official told Newsweek.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, a Boeing 737–800 en route from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airpot to Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport, stopped transmitting data Tuesday just minutes after takeoff and not long after Iran launched missiles at military bases housing U.S. and allied forces in neighboring Iraq. The aircraft is believed to have been struck by a Russia-built Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system, known to NATO as Gauntlet, the three officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, told Newsweek.

Newsweek reported the flight that crashed just outside Tehran late on Tuesday was struck by the Russia-built Tor-M1 system also known as Gauntlet.

The two Pentagon officials told the magazine that the tragedy was accidental.

Reuters also cited US officials as it reported the plane was most likely brought down accidentally by Iranian air defences.

One US official said US satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion.

Two officials said Washington believed the downing of the plane was accidental.

The Associated Press quoted two US officials saying it is “highly likely” an Iranian anti-aircraft missile brought down the passenger plane.

The crash occurred soon after Iran launched missiles at military bases housing US troops in neighbouring Iraq amid a confrontation with Washington over the drone strike that killed an Iranian general last week.

The Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800, flying to Kiev and carrying mostly Iranians and Iranian-Canadians, crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport, killing all 176 people on board.

Yes, “accidental” in that it was not officially sanctioned and ordered from the top down. And some unidentified Achmed will take the blame, if he’s ever found. Iran had fired 15 missiles into Iraq a few hours earlier, but managed to not hit anything. Pretty amazing, given that those missiles are precise enough to hit within 2 meters of their target; each carries a 650lb bomb in the nose. So either they missed on purpose (by agreement via back channel diplomacy; we KNEW the missiles were coming before they were launched, or because our guys can jamb or override their guidance systems), or the whole launch was just bearding the lion, trying to prompt a response ... like a bombing raid against Tehran, where they could then play the victim card while also shooting some Great Satan weapon out of the sky in full view of everyone in their capital city.

The reports say that the Iranians have the Tor-M1 system, but that’s old tech at this point. We have no idea if they’ve upgraded to the -M2 or later versions. Probably. While the system isn’t quite an “Iron Dome”, it’s pretty damn modern, mobile, linkable, jam resistant, fast firing, and effective. Each launch vehicle carries 2 packs of 4 of their 9331 anti-aircraft missiles, and can track and fire on multiple targets, small fast ones at low altitude, possibly while still moving. And now we know that at least 2 missiles were launched. With that good a system, that big, close, and slow a target, that means two hits, guaranteed.

The TOR-M2 / M2E is designed to attack aircraft, helicopters, aerodynamic UAVs, guided missiles and other components of high precision weapons flying at medium, low and extremely low altitudes in adverse air and jamming environment. The Tor-M2 missile system can be mounted on wheeled or tracked chassis. The Tor-M2 doubles the number of targets that can be engaged simultaneously by a single combat vehicle to four. The Armenian Armed Forces have received the latest TOR-M2KM surface-to-air defense missile systems, according to a statement published on December 21, 2019, to the official website of the Armenian Ministry of Defence.

So perhaps this is the actual revenge they promised, and the other missile attack was just a fireworks show. Now let’s find out just how many of the citizens of all those countries on board the plane were actually Iranian ex-pats, going home from a visit to the old country. Would Iran shoot down a plane filled with their own people, just to get some “sand cred”? Why not? We’ve got hundreds of SJW Climate Savers setting Australia ablaze to “prove their point”, and ... surprise!!! ... a large part of them are muzzy immigrants. Them people be nutz.
It’s possible that Iran didn’t know who was on board. They might not have cared if they had. It’s possible that this was a real accident, some nervous Abu at the controls, knowing that Great Satan was probably going to drop a shitstorm all over his capital city.  But there may have been Jeffrey Epstein “suicide” levels of planning here, wheels within wheels. And not all of those wheels would spin in Tehran.

The world will write this off as an accident, and quickly look the other way. The Assatollahs win, Trump wins, Boris gets to make some noise in London, Trudeau gets to go extra dhimmi in Canada. And Israel gets threatened. In other words, just another Thursday.

Good to know that our side has such a lock on Tehran that they can spot and differentiate two nearly simultaneous heat blooms (missile launches) coming from only inches apart. From space. The 9331 missile isn’t very big. 4 of them fit into a firing clip about the size of a king size mattress.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/09/2020 at 01:38 PM   
Filed Under: • muslimsPoliticsTerrorists •  
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calendar   Wednesday - January 08, 2020

Yeah, but did they make pretzels?

Archeologists: Bread Is Older Than Farming

At an archaeological site in northeastern Jordan, researchers have discovered the charred remains of a flatbread baked by hunter-gatherers 14,400 years ago. It is the oldest direct evidence of bread found to date, predating the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years. The findings suggest that bread production based on wild cereals may have encouraged hunter-gatherers to cultivate cereals, and thus contributed to the agricultural revolution in the Neolithic period.

A team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen, University College London and University of Cambridge have analyzed charred food remains from a 14,400-year-old Natufian hunter-gatherer site - a site known as Shubayqa 1 - located in the Black Desert in northeastern Jordan. The results, which are now published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , provide the earliest empirical evidence for the production of bread.

How about that? It figures though; that’s the whole gatherer part of the hunter gatherer thing, right? No need to farm if the grains are growing everywhere around you.

But let’s get the story from PNAS. Because if the info comes straight from the PNAS, you know you can swallow it. Um, uh, right.


World’s oldest bakery. Sorry, no cupcakes today, or for the next 13,800 years.

Remnants of oldest bread made 14,000 years ago found in Jordan

AMMAN — The discovery of the oldest remains of bread in the world adds to Jordan’s reputation as a key contributor to civilisation, pundits said on Tuesday. [ July 2018 ]

Research published in the US-based journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on July16 said that the finding is the earliest empirical evidence for the preparation of bread-like products by Natufian culture of hunter-gatherers, 4,000 years before the emergence of the agricultural way of life in the Neolithic Age.

The flatbread, likely unleavened and somewhat resembling pita bread, was fashioned from wild cereals such as barley, einkorn or oats, as well as tubers from an aquatic papyrus relative that had been ground into flour, according to the research.

The bread was found at “Shubayqa 1”, which is dated to the early and late Natufian culture (from 12,600 to 9,600 BC). It is located in northeast Jordan, in an area known as the Black Desert, according to the research.

General Director of the Department of Antiquities Monther Jamhawi stressed that the discovery entails the “surprise” that bread- making dates back to a much older era than previously known.

Jamhawi said that the place has little ruins, such as remains of walls and chipped basalt stones.

“It is not about the site’s components, but about the finding itself, which is a milestone in the drive of archaeological discoveries”, Jamhawi told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

Omar Al Ghul, an associate professor at Yarmouk University, said that in terms of importance, nobody can belittle such a finding because it adds to the story of mankind’s understanding of his environment, creatures, resources and geography.

“What was discovered supports the significance of findings that provide information about the daily life of prehistoric civilisations”, Ghul said, adding that such sites are no less important than globally renowned major sites, such as Petra and the pyramids of Egypt. 


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/08/2020 at 10:17 PM   
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kitchen chemistry experiment

I’m always on the lookout for a new or different recipe. I don’t haunt the foodie forums, but I do search things up every once in a while and look into them, along with whatever comments might be there.

I made a batch of my pretzels last week, using the recipe that I’d developed from lots of trial and error, which turned out to be a variation on the classic recipe from some famous pretzel maker’s book. Yes, there are famous pretzel people, and some of them write books about it. I have the book, purchased after I figured out the recipe of course, and I was pleased and surprised that my recipe was so similar, albeit a bit stronger. And I got the standard reaction when I gave a couple away; “these are the best pretzels I’ve ever had”. Uh huh, I know. The ones you buy from the snack bar at the bowling alley are junk. So are the frozen ones you get in the grocery store. And the ones at the mall aren’t a whole lot better.

So I read this new recipe, and the author actually instructed people to use a lye water dip. Most pretzel recipes shy away from this, because people are paranoid about lye. Sorry, it isn’t that bad. Even for a strong solution, you really don’t need all kinds of safety gear. No, it’s not going to hurt having it, but as long as you turn on the fan and work carefully, you aren’t going to corrode yourself. Get any on your hands and just wash them off, or wear rubber gloves. Be careful, that’s all. Boiling them in baking soda doesn’t do the job. Baking your baking soda into washing soda [ sodium carbonate ] (400 oven for 30 minutes) helps, but it still isn’t potent enough. A molar solution - 106gm in a liter of water - gives a pH of 12.16. That’s nearly 4oz of the stuff. You need the lye, period.

Anyway, the guy says to use a 3/4 molar solution. And I’m thrilled, because now we’re talking chemistry. Thanks to ... Avogadro’s number, 6.022 X 1023, the number of atoms of a substance in a unit quantity called a mole is equal to the atomic number of the substance times Avogadro’s constant. And this works out exactly to (atomic number) grams. Science rocks. In terms of solution, we generally talk about grams per liter of water. So a mole of lye, sodium hydroxide, NaOH, is 40 grams (Sodium, Na, 23, plus Oxygen, 0, 16, plus Hydrogen, 1). By the very definition of pH, this gives a pH of 14, which is as alkaline as it gets. pH = 14 + LOG10(decimal molarity); the logarithm base 10 is the exponent that 10 is raised to the give the resulting number; a whole mole is a decimal molarity of 1.0, and 10 raised to the 0 power is 1, so the pH of 40gm lye in liter of water is 14 - 0 = 14. This is some damn corrosive stuff, m’kay? This is as caustic as anything anywhere gets, period. Anyway, since the Log of 1 is 0, any number less than 1 will have a negative Log, since a negative exponent simply means “one over whatever”; it’s a fraction, but still a positive amount. The Log of 0.75 is - 0.125, so the pH of a 3/4 molar lye solution is 14 + (-0.125) = 13.875, which is still mighty caustic. By the same method, the pH of a 1/2 molar solution (0.5M) of lye is 13.7, and a 0.25M mix is 13.4. Two pounds of food grade lye costs $11.26. 908gms. (actually the lye itself is cheap. Safe shipping is 80% of the price). So, 30 batches of pretzels or 120 for the same cost? No brainer, right? Go with the 0.25M solution. But is it strong enough, or will I have to dip them for weeks??

And that’s the experiment. I already know that a 0.75M solution and a 15 second dip is nearly too much, so IMHO this guy’s instruction for a 30 second dip is way too much. The pretzels will bake up nearly black and be bitter. So I’ve got another batch of dough going, and tomorrow I’ll try a series of timed dips using a 0.25M and then a 0.5M solution. The weaker the solution, the longer it should take to get the same reaction, which gives the flavor and color. But if the solution is too strong, then the dipping time is going to be negligible and leave you almost no tolerance. I’d like to find one that works, uses less lye, might be a bit “safer”, and gives me a few seconds leeway in case I go 3 seconds over.

So, a 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 second dip with both solutions. Two pretzel rods each; 20 rods total. Maybe run a 0.75M control group. Take lots of pictures and analyze taste and texture. I’ll have plenty of dough; one batch of dough yields 8 32” long ropes. Ok, time to go knead the dough. Autolyse should be done by now.

Footnote: My recipe uses beer as the main liquid. I’ve made many batches of these things over the past few years, and I’ve tried many kinds of beer. I think this Radeberger Pilsner is just about perfect. For pretzel making; the beer geeks don’t think it’s all that special, just a typical pilsner. I’d give the #2 pick to the Czech Pilsner Urquell. Both of these beers have been around a very long time, so they qualify as authentic if you want to get all Bavarian.

Yeah, maybe someday I’ll try one of those pretzel recipes that use plain white flour and milk. Might as well load them up with sugar and put cinnamon on top.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/08/2020 at 08:39 PM   
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Escalations In Iran

So last night it was at least a dozen surface to surface missiles, but they didn’t hit anything. This blatant act of war follows closely on the heels of the attack on our embassy in Iraq, another blatant act of war, that was orchestrated by this Saleimeni salami guy, who we took out. And so the bloody ping pong ball goes back and forth again in this ongoing low key war.


Hours after the missile attack: This morning a Ukrainian airliner fell from the sky and all 176 people onboard are dead. Plane took off from Tehran, climbed to 8,000 feet, and then suddenly lost all contact. Somehow the skin of the plane is all full of shrapnel holes. Bystander video shows the plane falling, burning. Nothing to see here, move along. Don’t think about how tight Russia may be with Iran and how unhappy they are with Ukraine. Don’t think about any other airliners in the past that have crashed or been shot down when tensions with Iran were high. Oh, and the Ukrainian embassy there says no terrorism, don’t worry. Ignore the news that Iran has already stated that they won’t hand over the black box when they find it.

Sure, it could be a total coincidence. And the plane was another one of those problematic Boeing 737-800s. Sure, maybe. Or maybe not.

President Trump to address the nation this morning at 11:40am. With the reassuring message that “All is well”. Uh huh.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/08/2020 at 10:02 AM   
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calendar   Tuesday - January 07, 2020

Not Loser Loaf

Ta Da, no Loser Loaf


Ok, came out better than expected. I was betting on Loser Loaf; sourdough just sits there doing nothing for so many hours. After 7 hours in the proofer it went in the fridge overnight to retard, then baked at 500 this morning. With 30% WW I was expecting a dark taste, but the spelt really sweetened it up. So, not bad. Good crumb, nice ear, robust flavor. A keeper. It’s half gone already.

200gm KABF
100gm Pillsbury AP
150gm KA WW
50gm Bob’s Mills spelt
14gm kosher salt
100gm starter, 100% hydration, well fed and tangy
385gm hot water
crust top with sesame seeds before placing in banneton

Whisk flours together. Heat water 1 minute in microwave; very warm but not steaming. Mix into flour to form the classic “shaggy mess”. Cover, let autolyse for 45min.
Add starter, mix it in while adding salt. Get it mixed, then power knead (speed 2) for about 3 minutes. Transfer to large lightly greased mixing bowl, cover and start the rise. Do a stretch and fold - a dozen rotations - every half hour for the first 2 hours. Let rise all damn day, at least another 6 hours. Get impatient, do another stretch and fold rotation, see that the dough is coming together and pulling away from the bowl. Preshape the dough on a floured surface, roll the top in sesame seeds, place seed side down in a well floured banneton. Cover and stick it in the fridge.

Heat the oven and a cast iron Dutch oven to 500°F with your morning coffee. Turn banneton over onto parchment paper, gently lift off the basket. Brush off extra flour. Into the Dutchie, covered. Bake 500F, covered for 20 min, reduce oven to 450, then bake uncovered till done (~20 - 23 min), then oven cure for half an hour outside of Dutch oven.

This is pretty much a half recipe of this guy’s mix, except 1) I did a hot water autolyse which is faster and more effective, 2) for the white flour part I used 2/3 bread flour 1/3 all purpose for some extra gluten power, 3) I didn’t have any la-ti-da einkorn so I doubled up on the spelt, and 4) I did the covered part of the bake at 500 not his 550. That’s too darn hot, but those Bay Area sourdough junkies are always dark roasting their loaves.  My loaf came out better than his did, taller with better crumb. Neener neener.

I will give props; his idea of putting a cold baking sheet under the Dutch oven once the lid comes off works well. It cools off the underside a bit and keeps things from scorching.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/07/2020 at 11:35 AM   
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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