Thursday, October 30, 2008

Armadillo fun

Ask and you shall receive. This one's for Mary, mostly, but I hope everybody enjoys it.

Just finished this tonight and it's in the fridge chilling for the trip to Corvallis tomorrow. Crab mousse mocked up as an armadillo.

The "bloody death puke" is remoulade sauce with chunks of shallot and cracker. Really pumps up the old appetite, huh?

Dorsal view:


Photos courtesy of MJ. Thanks, baby!

We have our costumes ready and we're (mostly) packed. Hitting the road early tomorrow. Ok, "early" in Maier terms. Grin! Hope we don't shake up Mr. 'dilla too much on the drive.

If you're interested, here's my crab mousse recipe:


Ingredient list:
1-1/2 envelopes gelatin (plain)
Celery – coupla stalks (chopped fine)
Onion – about a cup (chopped fine)
Shallots – 1 bunch or about a cup (chopped fine)
Garlic - several toes (chopped fine) (more is good)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese (substitute generic brand at your own risk)
1 tsp. horseradish (I like to use wasabi) (more is good)
1 tsp red pepper (more is good)
salt and white pepper to taste
16 oz. crab meat (substitute krab or similar at your own risk)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like Hellman's. Please don't use MiracleWhip et al.)
1/2 cup creole (stone ground) mustard

Chop all veggies fine. Dissolve gelatin in 1/2 cup of water in a mixing bowl of a size sufficient to contain all ingredients. (If you have crab water, either from cooking or because you used canned crab, use that.) In a saucepan, melt cheese and soup together. Mix everything together. Chill, preferably in a whimsical (crab-shaped would be excellent!) mold. When doubled, this recipe fits pretty well into a bundt pan.

Serve on a pretty platter with some green garnishes and a variety of crackers. Complement it with a nice white wine, for example, Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne (a delightful white Burgundy).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For Robin

Regarding the photo on this post, Robin teasingly asked,

"Is Ronnie wearing a fur wedding dress with lace at the wrists? How decadent. :-)"

Ok, I shoulda been prepared with a nouveau-crunchy-hippie, fur-is-death defense right on that post but, yes, that is a fur coat. It's ranch-bred animals, mostly mink with silver fox at collar and shoulders. Beyond that, I offer no defense. We bought that coat when we were DINKs and could afford it. I'd buy it again today, if I had the money. Ronnie looks transcendentally beautiful in it. Mustelids are the nastiest animals in the world; they should all be turned into warm coats instead of being allowed to run around in the world. So there.

The wedding dress she wore, the wrist of which you see in that photo peeking out from under the coat, looks like this:

It ain't too shabby a look itself, is it?

P.S. (10/30/08) While I'm in defensive mode explaining things, lemme state for the record that in the photo on the other post, you'll see me in a tuxedo. It's not a rental; it's my tux. The bow tie is not a clip-on; it's hand-tied. IMO, rental tuxes and clip-on bowties are nekulturny. Ok, datzawl.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another meme

I find this one fairly stupid in its salacious titter-factor approach; but what the hell. Here it is...

Would you do meth if it were legalized?
I have tried it; it's not for me. Ick! Where the narcotics is at?

Abortion: for or against?
Pro-choice. If the radical neopuritans would stop opposing actual sex education instead of their ridiculous abstinence-only position and if birth control were more widely used, we wouldn't really need to have this discussion.

Would our country fall with a woman president?
As opposed to what's happened under the current man? Only Sarah Palin could do a worse job than Bush.

Do you believe in the death penalty?

Do you wish marijuana would be legalized already?
In this area, I'm a libertarian (small "l"). Why should anything personal and non-harmful to others be illegal? "Legalize" everything.

Are you for or against premarital sex?
For. I'm for sex of all kinds!

Do you believe in God?
No. What a silly concept. I'm anxiously waiting for humanity to outgrow the need for such foolishness.

Do you think same sex marriage should be legalized?

Do you think it's wrong that so many Hispanics are moving to the USA?
No. At a selfish level, I like paying low prices for produce, lawn care, etc. At a more humane level, I feel we should have a legal immigration policy/process and pay everyone a living wage. I'll just hafta put up with $10/head for lettuce, $100 to mow my lawn, etc.

A 12 year old girl has a baby. Should she keep it?
Kinda like the abortion question. What do I know about her life and family? It's up to her/them. None of my business.

Should the alcohol age be lowered to 18?
Absolutely. It used to be that when I was younger. Has society been "improved" by increasing the limit to 21? See my answer to marijuana decriminalization. Restrictions of this sort are *all* crap. Eliminate 'em all.

Should the war in Iraq be called off?
Yes. ASAP. Those who promoted that war with lies and fear-mongering should be tried for treason and hanged. Not necessarily in that order.

Assisted suicide is illegal. Do you agree?
Not illegal in all states. Will (hopefully) be legal here in WA soon. Should definitely not be illegal.

Do you believe in spanking your children?

Would you burn an American flag for a million dollars?
Our flag is a symbol. When it's used to symbolize evil, decent people hafta reclaim it. I'd happily burn an American flag right now. For free. And I'd happily continue burning flags until we, the people, have reclaimed it as a symbol for good or, at minimum, non-evil.

Are you afraid others will judge you from reading some of your answers?
Nobody who's ever read my blog or knows me even a little will be shocked by these answers.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Craig, Gillian, Effie, and Fergus bribe #2

Remember, Bribe #1 is still hanging out there; but now it's time for something completely different.

Zenma's sugary treat concept seems to be having some effect, so I'll amp things up with this offer. I'll make y'all a classic Southern treat which I haven't made in 15 years...

Red velvet cake

But wait, there's more. I'll do a Steel Magnolias and make it in the shape of an armadillo

When we cut into it, the grey "skin" (icing) will give way to that fabulous blood-red color and it'll look almost like we're actually butchering an armadillo! How cool is that? Fun, huh?

Still not convinced? Ok, howzabout if we throw in this fabulous offer... For a main course to devour before we cut into our red velvet armadillo cake, I'll pay homage to another movie and make a meatloaf shaped like an armadillo with cornflake scales a la the wonderful comedy Another Stakeout.

I couldn't find an actual image of that dish from the movie, so look at this substitue and imagine it being... ummm, meatier, and with cornflake scales, and, well, just meatier. Ok? Oh yeah, and as Rosie O'Donnell explains in the movie, it's not made from armadillo meat. It's just regular meatloaf *shaped* like an armadillo. Ok?

How can you resist a double-dose-of-armadillo weekend? This is a limited-time offer, so ACT NOW! Operators are standing by.

Seems like old times

The extended Maier family of my dad's generation is putting together a family cookbook and, in addition to recipes, they wanted each of us to send in a little writeup with some photos of our particular nuclear ( pronounced nuke-lee-ur, not nuke-you-lur) family. While digging through our archives for suitable shots, I came across this from our wedding a bit more than 18 years ago. I felt compelled to share it here.

Wow! Check those crazy kids!

Love you even more now than I did then, sweet potato, and that's saying something!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fergus bribe

To supplement Zenma's efforts, I hereby introduce my first, magnificent, seductive, official Fergus bribe to try to tempt him into visiting us silly Americans for Halloween. This bribe is for Effie, Gillian, and Craig, too, of course.

Doesn't that look like more fun that sitting in a crowded car, waiting for the ferry, waiting for customs, spending hours on the boring interstate highway? Now, picture yourself, the inestimable Fergus, sitting here instead of the kid who's shown in this photo.

If you were sitting in the right front seat, you could even fly the plane for a while if you wanted to. How cool would that be?

Effie, after a while, we could swap spaces and you could sit in front and fly the plane if you wanted to.

Sounds like fun, huh?

Your friend,


P.S. If I were ever to write a novel as profound long as Moby Dick, it would open with the line: Call me Mephistopheles.

P.P.S. No, I have no actual access to that particular plane; but I could probably get my hands on a sister ship, if y'all were seriously tempted.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I voted today

My political leanings should be pretty obvious from my posts and my Meez. At root, however, I am simply an American, one who believes in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and who is always hopeful about our political process, even when it seems to have gone terribly wrong. If you agree with me about this presidential election, by all means, GO VOTE! Even if you disagree with me, I still exhort you to vote. If there's integrity in the process, there'll be integrity in the results.

Participate! Government is not "them;" it's us. Well, it should be us.

"The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults." - De Tocqueville. Let's stop breaking shit and get in there and start fixing some of the broken stuff.

"Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner." - usually attributed to Ben Franklin but probably from James Bovard. John Stuart Mill (the darling of radical libertarians, most of whom seem not to have actually read him, given their beliefs) wrote at length, often referencing De Tocqueville, on the tyranny of the majority.

Please, vote!

Frank - proud to be a liberal American

Gort delivery photos

I finally just dumped all the photos I took on our sailing trip to flickr. No labels or titles; but they're in reverse chronological/trip order, so they start in New Orleans and go backwards to St. Augustine. (I dunno why they're reversed; this is my first time using flickr.) They're here. Trip report with selected photos is here.

It's getting cold here. Well, Northwest cold - dipping into the 40s at night and reaching only the mid-50s in the daytime. Trees are turning. Holidays are crowding up like oblivious bovines following the Judas goat into the chute. Wish I were back on that boat. With Ronnie and the girls. Heading South down the sailors' I-65. (This refers to the fact that the classic offshore route to the Lesser Antilles from the East coast of the US is to sail East-ish until you hit 65 degrees West Longitude then "drive" South along this nautical "I-65" til you hit the Leeward Islands, usually the Virgins.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

How cool is Obama?

Now that's cool!

Shudder! That's a nasty looking zack (or zed-head, if you're British) behind him, too. It looks like a loooooong-dead one; they're the worst. Ick! (And speaking as a guy born and raised in the New Orleans Voodoo tradition and erstwhile captain of the Zombie Princess, believe me, I know zombies!)

If I were in that position, I'd be sweating inside my armor while rapidly drawing my katana (nukitsuke) for the killing cut (kiritsuke). But not Barack. He's cool.

(Thanks to G&C for sending this. What a hoot!)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

30-questions meme

Self-explanatory. Here I go:

1. Person with the same name as you?
My grandfather. Guy for whom they named the "Frank Maier marathon" in Alaska. German actor. Australian boxer. Several others.

2. Where was your first kiss?
Hell if I remember. It was about a thousand years ago.

3. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else’s property?

4. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?

5. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people?
Yes. See this post for a hint at my musical history.

6. What’s the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Literal answer: Body type is, obviously, the first thing I "notice." Secondarily, personality characteristics. The personality characteristics are more long-lasting and more significant… unless, of course, she has a *great* body.

7. What really turns you on?

8. What do you order at Starbucks?
Nothing. I don't drink coffee and the only hot chocolate I like is Ovaltine. And I ain't gonna spend that kinda money for a cup of tea.

9. What is your biggest mistake?
Just one? Sheesh.

10. Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose?

11. Say something totally random about yourself.
I love my car.

12. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?
Sometimes I get Richard Dreyfuss comments. Wanna hear me say, "This was no boat accident!"?

13. Do you still watch kiddy movies or TV shows?
Some. I like many Disney movies.

14. Did you have braces?

15. Are you comfortable with your height?
I'm used to my height but I am awfully short for an American male.

16. What is the most romantic thing someone of the opposite sex has done for you?
My wife and daughters let me take three weeks away from home to help my pal Bob move his new boat from Florida to Louisiana. Wonderful for me; a big sacrifice for them.

17. When do you know it’s love?
When you're still crazy about her after more than 20 years together.

18. Do you speak any other languages?
No. Not terrible in Latin. Used to be pretty good at Cajun French but I've been away for more than 30 years.

19. Have you ever been to a tanning salon?
Yeah. Once to prep for a Caribbean trip in the Winter. (I live in the rusty Northwest where the sun doesn't shine in the Winter.)

20. What magazines do you read?
Whatever's on the coffee table.

21. Have you ever ridden in a limo?
Yes. The best was a 1950s Rolls Royce.

22. Has anyone you were really close to passed away?
Yes. All 4 grandparents, my mother, two uncles, and my older sister (Marjie).

23. Do you watch MTV?
Not often nowadays.

24. What’s something that really annoys you?
Willful ignorance.

25. What’s something you really like?

26. Do you like Michael Jackson?
Now that he's a mutant and probably a child molester, I dislike *him*. Still like some of his music.

27. Can you dance?
I'm pretty good for an old White guy.

28. What’s the latest you have ever stayed up?
More than 24 hours.

29. Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?

30. Do you actually read these when other people fill them out?
Yeah. They're interesting.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Awwww, what a great story!

This is for everyone who sends me those heart-warming stories in email. Finally, I have one of my own to share...

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee, inspected the elephant's foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter's legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same fucking elephant.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Rotorcraft fun

Ok, I know I *should* blog about L&L (Live and Learn Unschooling Conference), Lago di Garda, Trento, Roma, Venezia, Dublin, Wexford, Achill Island, etc.; but, with no apologies, I'm blogging about this first.

Yeah, boyyyyeeee! That's me in the left seat!

Of course, those of you who know better (obviously NOT including hollywood moviemakers cuz they usually make this mistake), know that in rotorcraft the RIGHT seat is the PIC. That's ok. I had a PERFECT time flying left seat in a beautiful rotorcraft over the exquisite Dolomite mountains of Northern Italy.

Chiara's dad, Gianguido, took us to his company's Trento operation. They're a FBO there and at a coupla other airports - ItalFly. Now this post is about rotorcraft fun, so I'm gonna skip over all the cool fixed-wing stuff they have, including a coupla motorgliders, and talk rotorcraft.

Aside from their stable of "real" choppers, they have a coupla Robinson R22s. Very cool. And for my EAA pals, I have a fun shocker. As we wandered through the hangars I noticed this hidden in one corner:

That's right, flying fanatics, it's a Revolution Mini-500. Eek! A creepy feeling flowed through me, kinda like what I'd feel if I'd been wandering through a candy store and suddenly came across a display of cyanide capsules.

Those of you who are not aircraft-literate might find this illuminating: Mini-500 safety record and/or this. If you don't feel like following the links, lemme just offer my opinion that this is the most dangerous aircraft (kit) designed/produced in the latter half of the 20th century.

Update 10/12/2008: Ack! I've been away from the world of homebuilt/kitbuilt aircraft for too long and completely forgot about Jim Bede. Pretty much all the aircraft he's designed and sold (but rarely delivered) have been deathtraps, when they flew at all. He's a strong contender to replace the mini-500 for the worst-of-the-worst award, since that's only one terrible aircraft while he's responsible for several.

So I asked Gianguido about it. He said that it had been purchased by/for a guy who'd failed his medical (and therefore lost his license) but wanted to continue to fly, which is possible to do if you're flying experimental, which the mini-500 is/was. However, they quickly determined that the aircraft was an unsafe, unflyable POS and it was just sitting there, awaiting destruction. Phew! I was happy to hear that.

But... Hee-hee, wonder what Cap'n Zoom would have to say about that? Wonder what ol' Jim's been up to lately? Ahhh, a quick net search reveals this. It looks like "the lyin' king" is still at it. Snicker!

Well, I've gone wandering around in my mind, just like I wandered the aircraft candystore of ItalFly's hangars. As for our flight through the Dolomites, all I can say is - Ahhhhhhh!

Remember: Any landing you walk away from is a good one. Any landing where the aircraft is reusable is a great one. (VBG!)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Home again, home again...

poor as churchmice!

We're back from Europe; it was fabulous but expensive. Well, what else is new? Gotta settle back into real life here, then I'll blog a bit about stuff we saw and did.

Having just returned from the European Union, I have a great new international joke for y'all:

Sarah Palin

Yep! And I thought that we couldn't possibly bemuse/amuse the world any more than we had with Emperor George the Second for the last seven years. What a fucking joke.