Flash At the Sound of Lies

Blogger is once again a mattress pea to your pretty principessa. While I’m here muttering, “Gimme strength! And coffee! I’ll settle for coffee…” please note events, they are eventing.

The Independent:

The global price of wheat has risen by 130 per cent in the past year. Rice has rocketed by 74 per cent in the same period. It went up by more than 10 per cent in a single day last Friday – to an all-time high as African and Asian importers competed for the diminishing supply on international markets in an attempt to head off the mounting social unrest. The International Rice Research Institute warned yesterday that prices will keep going up.

The buffers stocks of staple foods that governments once held are being steadily exhausted.

This morning, the Today Show reported that the big club retailers are asking customers to limit purchases of rice. The financials lady I’d never seen before says in many countries people are going to die but in the US, hey, it’s all hype. I was plotting and scheming a crazy plotty scheme to hoard Quaker Instant Oatmeal when I saw the How To Of the Day – How to Make Dandelion Wine. Yippee! Let’s mow!

Ingredients
* 1 package (7 g) dried yeast
* 1/4 cup (60 mL) warm water
* 2 quarts (230 g) whole dandelion flowers. Using 2 quarts (160 g loosely packed, 200 g tightly packed) of just the petals can make for a less bitter wine
* 4 quarts water (3.785 L)
* 1 cup (240 mL) orange juice
* 3 tablespoons (45 g) fresh lemon juice
* 3 tablespoons (45 g) fresh lime juice
* 8 whole cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon (1.25 g) powdered ginger
* 3 tablespoons (18 g) coarsely chopped orange peel; avoid any white pith
* 1 tablespoon (6 g) coarsely chopped lemon peel; avoid any white pith
* 6 cups (1200 g) sugar

Steps
1. Put the yeast in the bowl of warm water and set it aside for it to dissolve. (Option for prepared yeast)
2. Wash and clean the blossoms well. Think of it as a fruit or vegetable; you don’t want bugs nor dirt in your food. Remove all green material.
3. Soak flowers for two days.
4. Place the blossoms in the four quarts of water, along with the lime, orange, and lemon juices.
5. Stir in the ginger, cloves, orange peels, lemon peels, and sugar. Bring the mix to a boil for an hour.
6. Strain through filter papers (coffee filters are recommended). Let the wine cool down for a while. While the wine is still warm, stir in the yeast mix.
7. Leave it alone and let it stand overnight.
8. Pour it into bottles, leave them uncorked, and store them in a dark place for at least three weeks so that it can ferment.
9. Optional: Rack the wine several times. Racking means waiting until the wine clears, then pouring the liquid into another container, leaving the lees (sediment) at the bottom of the first container.
10. After that time, cork and store the bottles in a cool place. Allow the wine time to age. Most recipes recommend waiting at least six months, preferably a year.

I get confusd between step 1 and 3. Am I really proofing yeast for two days? I doubt it. Maybe georg or minstrel will straighten us out on that score. The idea of storing liquid uncovered in my basement sounds like a recipe for sticky varmint-related disaster. Ooh! Tips, etc.:

* It may take more than three weeks for your wine to ferment if your home is cold. Try putting the bottles on top of your hot water heater or behind your refrigerator for faster fermentation.
* This recipe will produce a light wine that mixes well with tossed salad or baked fish. To add body or strength, add a sweetener, raisins, dates, figs, apricots, or rhubarb.

Warnings
* Avoid using dandelions that may have been chemically treated. Also, try to stay away from dandelions that have been graced by the presence of dogs, or that grow within 50 feet of a road.

Graced by the presence of dogs? Also: I’m in New Jersey. There’s not a speck of lawn further than 50 feet from road. Five blocks from my house, people grow pre-smoked tomatoes in postage stamp-size gardens on the curb. Bon appetit!

To sum up: while famine is spreading and white lightning is now $4.25 a gallon, lawn debris is actually foliage and you can brew up your autumn entertainment now. April and May are prime dandelion picking season, but it’s never too soon to plan ahead.

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Take Me To Another Place

Once again, Blogger will not upload pictures. This time, it offers a novel error message, which explains nothing and doesn’t help. I would actually prefer error messages that brought the problem into focus:

* Publish? Fuck that. Where’s our pizza?

* Pictures? Pffft! Send us boobies.

* Lost your blog? Like we care. We’re Blogger.

Obviously, if I ship Blogger techs Skittles and porn, I stand a better chance of being in business.

Every Purpose Under Heaven

It rained here for a day and a half, sometimes with impressive ferocity but it didn’t seem like anything special. It was raining. Then it stopped. As anyone who lives on a river knows, your weather matters but what matters more is the weather upstream. For two days, upstream, it was monsoon season. This morning, Pete and I drove two miles to Mr. DBK’s house on the other side of the river, and to cross we had to backtrack around a flood plain. The park glistened where the river broke its banks and settled, bringing hungry geese almost to the road’s edge. We decided then that later we’d go out and take pictures. Turns out taking pictures along the river just before sunset is a bitch.

The Raritan is a wide tidal river of variable depth. Pete and I both remember big boats on the river when we were children, their starling horns renting the air. Now, even the unnamed university’s boathouse is a ghost town and it’s possible the crew program’s been disbanded; in any case, the only little motor boats on the river seem to glow a little and commute back and forth to the Arthur Kill. That can be seen from space, you know.

Mighty Route 18, which skirts New Brunswick before zipping across the river and stopping in the middle of nowhere, has been under construction for three years. I can see construction from my living room window, and listening to it has been pretty awesome. It’s got a great beat, but absolutely nobody can dance to it. Years ago, I read the plans and saw something I didn’t understand: specs for a tunnel under Albany Street, which is to say the bridge I walk across into the city. There’s no place at the edge of the river where anyone needs a tunnel. I waited and waited, and one day I found the construction had hollowed out a section of previously stable Route 18 and Route 27 merge space, wrecked the road surface and put in a set of concrete stairs to …nothing. The sidewalk I walk on is cracking under the pressure. The tunnel itself is crushed and failing. Well, that’s not true. Along the edge of the river live the homeless, and these concrete steps take one to the spot where people have always lived out of doors. There’s trash everywhere. When Pete and I went down to look at the tunnel, we saw someone living in it.

The tunnel goes nowhere. We’ll go take more pictures – but not of the river people. They don’t need attention. Someone besides us should know of this wasteful bullshit, and the tunnel that serves no purpose but to destroy the bridge.

Note: Fucking Blogger won’t upload pictures tonight. I’ll add them to this post later.
Update: Images added Monday night. Blogger’s help board was full of messages about this since early Monday morning, and Blogger kept mum. I guess you get what you pay for there.

Just Keep the Groove And Then

Each time Blogger leaps about like a puppy about to pee itself, I get nervous. A lot of bloggers get nervous. Over the weekend sometime, Blogger upgraded some contraption and now I can’t preview. What’s this post going to look like? We don’t know! Fortunately, I love surprises, and when one of my posts doesn’t suck, it’s Happy Birthday to Me! So let’s hope for cake.

Two stories are burning up bandwidth in the Blogosphere tonight. One is that Bush is actually planning to double the number of combat troops in Iraq, which comes with a tasty sidedish of Congressional Democrats caving. The other story is that the President appointed himself Emergency Czar. This is a highly unusual step that circumvents two whole branches of our government as described by the Constitution. On a daily basis, I find one news story out of Washington so astounding I can’t believe what I’ve just read; to find two appalling stories in one day is almost more than I can bear. I gotta think about something else tonight.

Daria and Tyler are in Hawaii, which doesn’t suck except that neither of them sleeps well and there’s a substantial time difference between the Jersey Shore and the North Shore. After that last gypsy caravan to Virginia, Tyler handed me one of his cell phones he didn’t use, said, “Use it to call your sisters,” and stalked off. I stared. Talk to them more? Not without quitting my job, I can’t. But what the Hell, Sunday I charged the paperweight and called. It was noon on my living room floor. Daria was thrilled to talk to me at six in the morning because, of course, she was up. She sounded like her eyes were rolling around in her head but if you have to have insomnia, Maui is a fine place to have it. She said they were thinking of going snorkeling or canoing with giant tortoises and suddenly I pictured a family reunion coinciding with Discovery’s Shark Week. I said she should stick to canoing, as it had a lesser probability of ending in teeth.

On the other hand, what the hell do I know? For months, I’ve been staring at the weights on my living room floor and wondering why I’m not lifting them. I love lifting weights. I’ve been doing it off and on for thirty years. I’ve stared at the yoga mat. Why am I not doing yoga? I don’t know. I haven’t known for a long time. Yesterday, I was staring at the weights again when I thought, ‘Uh, princess, you walk to work every day. Why not velcro on those wrist weights?’ Sure, I felt stupid getting a bright idea at this late date, but this morning I wrapped the weights around my wrists and patted the fastener, then repeated the process on the way home. I should have done this months ago.

And frosting. I should’ve done that, too.

All You’re Giving Me Is Talk Talk

Why is the only place to report a problem the one where other people are complaining about theirs? This has been my problem for the last few days.

We’re sorry, but we were unable to complete your request.

When reporting this error to Blogger Support or on the Blogger Help Group, please:
Describe what you were doing when you got this error.
Provide the following error code and additional information.
bX-8f2o1
Additional information
uri: /post-edit.do
host: www2.blogger.com

This information will help us to track down your specific problem and fix it! We apologize for the inconvenience.

What was I doing at the time? Can there be an answer besides, “I’d have to say ‘up the butt,’ Bob”?