C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Crumpet Controversy

Tempting, yes - but is this a real crumpet?
Picture from King Arthur Flour Company.

Just to show that the Blue Truck remains undaunted in its mission to shed light upon the pressing issues of the day, and to follow fearlessly wherever the pursuit of Truth may lead, we now take you to the wilds of Indiana for this revealing exposé.  Viewer discretion is advised, depending on how you really feel about pikelets and barm.

More 18th century cooking videos can be found at James Townsend's YouTube channel.

Bonus video: Are your crumpets too heavy? Maybe you're overdoing the flour.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Pork Boys Do Thanksgiving 2016

Just a few pics to show you fellas how it went at our house.  First, a couple of pics of last month's Halloween decorations, all the credit for which goes to M.P., the creative partner (I just do the dishes):

Click to enlarge.

Some daylight photos of the Thanksgiving table:

The hors d'oeuvres included egg salad and pimento cheese, both homemade, as were the whole-wheat wafers; also cheddar and swiss cheeses, pepperoni slices, and sliced beef roll-ups.

The appetizer was fluffy, savory quichettes hot from the oven, with egg, ham, broccoli, and cheddar wrapped in a flaky homemade crust.

M.P. set a beautiful Thanksgiving table with a gold damask cloth and a handmade cornucopia, partly filled with found items from the yard and garden.

The turkey took a long time to cook, M.P. basting it in a slow oven for about ten hours, but when it was finally done, it was worth the wait:

A couple of side dishes are pictured below:  maque choux (a Cajun corn mixture) and the classic green bean casserole, which I made from the original Campbell's Soup recipe - it's getting to be one of my specialties. Since we didn't have a can of French fried onion rings, M.P. sliced an onion very thinly and fried the rings himself.  He also julienned by hand a whole can of regular green beans, which he says was not so daunting as you might think.

I also made a sweet potato souffle topped with mini marshmallows (not pictured, alas), which I've been doing for the last forty years or so, a very simple thing but always a crowd pleaser. M.P. made his marvelous featherbed rolls, so called because they are so soft and light - wonderful with a big pat of butter:

We also had a few other things I should have gotten pictures of - the homemade sausage M.P. used in the dressing, flavored with fresh herbs from the garden, also his lovely homemade pecan pie, and my store-bought pumpkin pie, but at this point hunger overcame photography, so I will close with a picture of my full plate, moments before it mysteriously vanished:

From 12 to 2 o'clock:  sweet potato souffle; 3 to 6 o'clock: turkey and dressing; 7 to 10 o'clock:  maque choux; squeezed in from 10 to 12:  green bean casserole.  Not pictured:  real mashed potatoes, which I had no room for, and the giblet gravy and cranberry sauce, which were waiting just offstage to be added.

And of course we will have plenty of good leftovers to feast and refeast upon for a good long while, as is only to be expected. So despite a rather tight budget this year, we ate very well and were most grateful for all our blessings, culinary and otherwise.

How did it go with you fellas?

Waitin' for the Weekend

Noah Mills

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Yes We Cran

For a few chuckles and groans, here's President Obama pardoning the National Turkey (note to overseas readers:  that is not Donald Trump, not yet) for the last time:

Here's wishing peace, good cheer, and a very Happy Thanksgiving with all the trimmings to my truckbuddies.

Is the Law Really on Trump's Side?

The law's totally on my side, meaning, the president can't have a conflict of interest.

--Donald Trump, interview with the New York Times, November 22, 2016
Perhaps some of my truckbuddies were as surprised as I was to hear that the Orange One is not required by law to place his business holdings in a trust when he takes office. But it's true, and as a public service, your Head Trucker has tracked down what the law says about it. The relevant statute is Title 18 of the United States Code, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, under Part I of which Chapter 11 deals with Bribery, Graft, and Conflicts of Interest - here is the first part of the contents of Chapter 11, via the Legal Information Institute of Cornell University:

Click to enlarge.

Section 208 of Chapter 11 deals with Acts affecting a personal financial interest, and applies to all federal officers and employees; but Section 202, subsection (c), specifically exempts the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and federal judges. Read it yourself:

Click to enlarge.

This law was passed by Congress in 1962 as a comprehensive reform of conflict-of-interest guidelines.  Here is what the Washington Post's Fact Checker has to say about it:
The law doesn’t say the president can’t have a conflict of interest. But Congress, under Title 18 Section 208 of the U.S. code, did exempt the president and vice president from conflict-of-interest laws on the theory that the presidency has so much power that any possible executive action might pose a potential conflict.

“As a general rule, public officials in the executive branch are subject to criminal penalties if they personally and substantially participate in matters in which they (or their immediate families, business partners or associated organizations) hold financial interests,” the Congressional Research Service said in an October report. “However, because of concerns regarding interference with the exercise of constitutional duties, Congress has not applied these restrictions to the President. Consequently, there is no current legal requirement that would compel the President to relinquish financial interests because of a conflict of interest.”. . .

While spoken in classic “Trumpese” that fails to capture the nuances of the law, the president-elect did rightly point to an exemption for the president and vice president in conflicts of interest laws. And while such an exemption exists, the theory was that the presidency has so much power that any policy decision could pose a potential conflict. The law assumed that the president could be trusted to do the right thing and take actions to avoid appearance or presence of impropriety — not that the law is “totally” on the president’s “side” or that it would allow the president to use the exemption to his favor.

Trump’s statement does not quite rise to the level of a Geppetto Checkmark, nor does it qualify for a Pinocchio. So we will not rate this claim. Trump, nevertheless, should be more careful about his wording on this point. It’s quite possible he will face a number of conflicts of interest during his presidency. The law may offer an exemption for the president, but political reality — and perception— often does not.
So there you have it. Trump can legally, in his words, "run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There's never been a case like this." The only hindrance is the provisions of Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution:
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
But little good will that do with a man whose global business organization far outruns anything the Founding Fathers could have imagined.

Some other pertinent readings on this topic if any of you boys are interested enough to look at them:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

George Takei: Gaman

Loz takei 2015 side

Famed Japanese-American actor and activist George Takei in the Daily Beast:
Permit me to share some personal experience. When Japanese Americans were sent away to internment camps during World War II, simply because we looked like the enemy, we had legitimate fear of angry mobs, as well as a deep and utter despair over a country that had turned its back, not only upon a whole group of its own people, but upon its very values. But amidst all the unfounded hate and suspicion of us, there were also many good Americans who came to our aid: neighbors who offered to look after farms, homes and pets; Quakers who visited us in camp to bring vital services and monitor our treatment; lawyers who filed suits on our behalf and saved tens of thousands of us, including my own mother, from being deported. Even in the darkest of times, there were so many ordinary heroes who gave us hope and succor. It is they whom I remember most today. It was they who helped change things for the better.

There are many who rightly feel afraid for what will happen next. But hard as it is to face, we must remind ourselves that fear is the favored weapon of bullies and thugs. Fear can make us turn away from our hopes and give in to mistrust and cynicism. Let us instead take each moment of fear as a challenge to stand up ever taller. When my community was faced with some of the harshest of treatment during the internment, there was a word we often repeated: gaman. It means to endure, with dignity and fortitude. We did not permit them to strip away our basic humanity. We rallied, gave comfort to each other, and got through it. Gaman has been a steadying and comforting bedrock principle for me through these many decades. . . .

Some sixty million Americans voted for Donald Trump, and I refuse to accept that most did so because of what he stands for, but rather despite it. And while some argue that enabling or ignoring his rhetoric when casting a vote makes his supporters complicit, I choose to find hope in the despite—in the fact that most Americans still agree that racism, sexism, and discrimination of any kind is wrong. For these voters in this election, these things sadly did not outweigh their bitterness and mistrust of the political establishment. Our answer must not be to shut them out as uncaring or bigoted, but to address their concerns, to win back their trust by restoring their hopes, to not turn our backs but to open our hearts. And to do so when all of our instincts cry out simply to cut them out—that is the measure of true commitment. . . .

With the bulk of Trump’s supporters, we must find common ground, as tough as that presently sounds. But let me be clear on this other point: It is one thing to reach out, as we must and should, to white working-class voters who rejected our message in this election. But it is another thing entirely to oppose, as we must, the real threat to our values, progress, and rights presented by the incoming administration. While we recommit ourselves to being the champions to all middle class and working Americans, we can and will do so by holding Trump and his cohorts accountable at each step for their regressive economic agenda, by safeguarding our cherished liberties of a free press and the right to worship and assemble, and by opposing any policies or actions that might do damage to our communities, our economy, and our environment. . . .

No one is under any illusions that the next four years will be easy. But the Japanese have a saying: “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” It is time for us to stand up again, and to press on with renewed determination. So hold your heads up high and carry on, turning your fear and anger into clearest resolve. As my mother would say to me in the camps, “Gaman, Georgie. Gaman.”

Monday, November 21, 2016

Liberal Redneck: Trump and Turkey

Well guys, I posted a lot of things last week, and I could post a lot more - but frankly, I'm quickly reaching my load limit of outraged, despairing, OMG-what-a-nightmare, the-fascists-are-coming news posts. In times of tragedy, there's only so much grief and pain your heart can stand; and then you have to back off a bit, get quiet, and try to consider the bigger picture and the way forward.

At this point, all the news and all the jabber boils down to: yes, the future looks pretty damn scary, but we have to live it one day at a time and just do the best we can to get through it unscathed. All else is unknown at this point, and it won't help you or anyone else to spin out and crash now when your help and talents may be needed later. So just chill for a while, guys, and meanwhile focus on what's really important in your lives, and how you can make that better, here and now.  We don't know what tomorrow will bring, so take care of today.

My darling Mama used to chide me when I'd get into a fret about something or other, saying, "Don't worry so much! Ninety percent of what you worry about never happens." As I've grown from youth to old man, I've come to realize that she was, of course, right.

I'm not going to stop posting but I think I will throttle back a bit on the Blue Truck here. You guys can check out Google News as easily as I can, and there are specific gay-news links in the sidebar at the right that cover stories pertinent to People Like Us. I never have tried to cover all the news, all the time in this blog. I'll go on posting, as usual, a highly personal selection of tidbits and newsbites that arouse my interest or strike my fancy.

And for the record, I may not agree with every single thought or phrase in the things I post, and there might be more to the story than is reported; but in what I post there's usually some point that I think is worth pondering or adding to the store of one's knowledge. The more you know, the more you grow; and as Socrates famously pointed out, the wise man is the one who knows that he does not know everything.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
--Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata"
That said, here's comedian Trae Crowder in his typically vulgar character, giving his take on the meaning of the election results:

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Two Americas, Mapped

The New York Times has generated a couple of fairly large geographic maps showing the difference between the America that voted for Clinton and the one that voted for Trump.  The small snip below is just to whet your appetite, so go look at the real thing..

And in case you are wondering -- I have been surprised to discover that there is no single nationwide authority for the popular vote, which is still being counted in some states by election officials. However, it seems that two private websites that keep running totals of the vote are regarded by the general media as being more or less dependable; here they are:

The Cook Political Report

Dave Leip's Atlas of U. S. Presidential Elections

Not that the vote count really matters at this point; but the stats are there if you want to see them.

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