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And other things that don’t make sense


Can anybody explain the hunger strike to me? Why they ever work, I mean.

You’re in prison, say. A political dissident. Your government would like to be rid of you, but doesn’t dare execute you. So you announce you’re going to starve yourself to death.

I’m thinking that’s a win for everybody.

Oh, well. Bunch of students in Texas are hunger striking in favor of the DREAM act, AKA the petite amnesty. L’amnestita.


Thanksgiving week, and a bunch of kids 18-20-something will go entirely without food. Uh-huh. My experience of that demographic is, they’re an assortment of insatiable appetites on legs.

Anyhow, travel safe. Don’t let Janet Napolitano mess with your bikini area. Hug Grandma for me.

I’ve got a pumpkin pie to make. I have to tell you, the stuff I scraped out of that pumpkin doesn’t smell ANYthing like familiar old pumpkin pie.

I suspect the chickens’ll have it.






Comment from Mitchell
Time: November 24, 2010, 9:41 pm

I guess it worked with Gandhi, but nobody else that I can think of. That’s really the only reason they do it – so they can compare themselves to him. Of course, I think we’ve pretty much established that the guy was mostly a dick, so there’s that.

Comment from Monotone The Elderish
Time: November 24, 2010, 10:08 pm

They do it to (hopefully) put so much international pressure on the government that they do want the hungerstriking people want. thats pretty much it in a nutshell.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 24, 2010, 10:29 pm

I just don’t see where the pressure comes in. Invite the Red Cross over for tea, let them confirm he’s doing it to himself, shrug.

You know, I got enough pumpkin out of an ickly, tiny pumpkin for, like, three pies. Or, as it turned out, one pie, three tiny pielets and a pudding basin full of pumpkin.

We’ll know more in an hour.

Comment from Giles
Time: November 24, 2010, 10:33 pm

“The [hunger] strike [by IRA prisoners] radicalised nationalist politics, and was the driving force that enabled Sinn Féin to become a mainstream political party” (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_Irish_hunger_strike ). So not much of a win for the guys who died, but it apparently worked out well for their cause.

(I was 7 at the time, so older and wiser heads might be able to give details on what happened and whether it helped the strikers’ cause.)

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 24, 2010, 10:43 pm

The Suffragettes did this too, didn’t they?

I know it works. I just have a hard time understanding why. I guess you really really don’t want me as a member of your oppressive totalitarian government.

Comment from Giles
Time: November 24, 2010, 11:06 pm

Perhaps that’s exactly it — it only works against democratically-elected governments of at-least-vaguely decent people. Have there been any successful hunger strikes against oppressive totalitarian governments?

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: November 24, 2010, 11:14 pm

I think it has more to do with motivating your own side, rather than convincing the people that you are trying to get something from….

Personally, I see it as a 2 year old holding their breath and scratching themselves to get attention. The last time I saw a friends child doing that (and them wringing their hands about it), I told them that the best way to stop it was to ignore the blue faces (he’d start breating again when he passed out, in the unlikely event that he was dedicated enough to go that far) and to swab the scratches with alchohol to make them BURN (since the kid wasn’t going to push himself past his own pain threshold)

Sure enough, next time I saw them, the alchohol was sitting on the kitchen table in plain view, and the kid was TOTALLY stumped on how to get attention when he was being bad….

Comment from Frit
Time: November 24, 2010, 11:16 pm

I have to agree with you Stoaty. That whole hunger strike thing just doesn’t work for me. Someone wants to starve themselves to death, fine!

My reaction is: “YOU! OUT OF THE GENE POOL! NOW!”

But then… I’m also definitely not the person someone who wants to threaten suicide should call, either. I’m more likely to offer to help in the suicide, rather than trying to talk them out of it. (Actually happened once. Someone I knew called me up with the whole “Poor me, my life sucks, I’m gonna kill myself,” routine, and I proceeded to give them helpful suggestions on ways to kill themselves off, the pros and cons of each method, and suggestions on how to write the farewell note, depending on what impression they wanted to leave behind. In case anyone cares, no, they didn’t kill themselves. They also quit whining for attention and started working on their problems.)

Comment from Frit
Time: November 24, 2010, 11:21 pm

Cheers to you, Scubafreak! When ever I was babysitting bratlings who tried temper tantrums, I’d just point and laugh until they stopped. When they tried the “I’ll hold my breath until you do” tactic, I’d cup my hands, blow into them and then close them like I was holding something inside, and tell the kid: “Ok. You hold your breath, I’ll hold mine. Lets see who wins.” Amazing how quickly the little bratlings give up that tactic when they realize it won’t work!
No, I’m not a nice person. Why do you ask? 😉

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: November 24, 2010, 11:32 pm

Frit: Challenging them to a screaming contest is pretty effective, too. Make sure that you lace the contest with critiscisms that if they can’t do better than that, then they’ll NEVER make it to Hollywood (and grin at them alot in the process so they’ll know you’re having fun)…….

Works like a charm! 😉

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: November 24, 2010, 11:33 pm

What can I say? Parents when I was growing up were OLD SCHOOL, not these little pansy Dr Spock wannabe’s…..

Just remember that that kid is just as smart as you are, and lean on your far greater experience, and you’ll do just fine.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: November 24, 2010, 11:42 pm

Hunger strikes aren’t just for frustrated leftists.

Some Cuban political prisoners have used hunger strikes against Castro.

Orlando Zapata Tamayo died in February after an 85 day fast. He was a bricklayer and plumber, sentenced to 36 years in 2003 for “Causing public disorder” and “Disobedience”, i.e. joining a group hunger strike led by the dissident group “Assembly to Promote a Civil Society”.

When Zapata died. Guillermo Farinas then fasted for over 130 days. He stopped in July when the regime released 52 political prisoners.

Farinas is a psychologist, decorated combat veteran of the Cuban army (service in Angola), and former General Secretary of the Union of Health Care Workers. His father was a prominent Communist who fought with Guevara in Africa.

In other words, he’s someone even Castro can’t ignore – which is why the regime backed down in July. In October, Farinas was awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament.

What a hunger strike does is say to the other side, and to all observers “I’m serious; I’m comitted; I really mean this.”

When it’s someone like Farinas, even a bastard like Castro feels heat.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 24, 2010, 11:50 pm

I just don’t get how you could have the stones to let somebody like that rot in prison, Rich, but panic if he starved himself. I would think prison is pretty bad for your health even when you aren’t trying.

Comment from Mark T
Time: November 25, 2010, 12:19 am

They’ll eat. Just you watch. Sweasel, I went to Selfridges today and bought a couple of cans of Libby punkin. Ready? £3.39 a can. Make that $5.19. Pumpkin-Chocolate Cheesecake Bars tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving to all who read here.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 25, 2010, 12:40 am

My pumpkin pie turned out too loose, but otherwise — MWAH!

Which is good, because I have a metric shitload of it.

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: November 25, 2010, 12:41 am

I’m staying home both Thanksgiving and Christmas, glory! I’ve got everything done that I need to have done by now, so all is well. A lot of fuss for just four of us (two daughters, my sis, and moi), but it’s way better than having some family members I could mention but won’t.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: November 25, 2010, 1:00 am

I would bet that the chicklets would be GLAD to finish off any of that pumpkin pie that y’all are unable to handle. Although if you DO let them do so, a shitload of something else might be what you get in return.

Happy Turkey Day! Or whatever y’all call it on that side of the pond…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 25, 2010, 1:21 am

Don’t call it anything. Brits are vaguely aware of it, is all.

I bought the chix a heating pad kind of thing. You nuke it for 8 minutes and it stays warm for 8 hours. I wrap it in plastic and stick it in the house on cold nights.

They’re probably scared of it, but I hope it helps them stay warm. They’re only little chickens and there’re only two of them.

Comment from Deborah
Time: November 25, 2010, 2:04 am

Happy Thanksgiving Stoaty and Uncle Badger!

Comment from Randy Rager
Time: November 25, 2010, 2:50 am

I have a potatoes au gratin recipe that is pretty much guaranteed to necessitate a cardiologist visit, if you survive the initial assault, that is.

Let me know if you’re interested. In all seriousness this thing beats out every other au gratin recipe I’ve ever eaten.

You start by frying a great big whack of bacon. How can you go wrong with that?

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: November 25, 2010, 2:55 am

Stoatie – I tend to prefer my chick warmers to be of non-stick cast iron…. 😉

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: November 25, 2010, 2:56 am

randy – lay it on us, dude.

Comment from Chef Mojo
Time: November 25, 2010, 4:08 am

A few notes on pumpkin and cooking:

A traditional pumpkin? The one you turn into a jack-o-lantern? Not good at all for cooking. Never, EVER, try to turn that into pumpkin pie. It’s hopeless.

The stuff in the Libby’s can is NOT what you carved your pumpkin out of. In fact, it bears more resemblance to a warped, mutant gourd, that just happens to have a succulent inside that just happens to taste like “pumpkin.”


Don’t use a pumpkin patch pumpkin for a pie. You know the one I mean. Big ass orange thing that great for carving shit into. That is not what you make pies out of,

Let Libby’s do the work, baby! That’s what it’s all about.

As a corollary, we chefs tend to say that whipped cream that we make ourselves isn’t right if it doesn’t taste like Cool Whip, because that’s what everyone expects whipped cream to taste like.

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: November 25, 2010, 4:35 am

I like whipped cream a lot better than cool whip, although I’ll eat that in a pinch. And I agree with the canned pumpkin–I’ve done it from scratch and it was fine, but using the canned pumpkin is so much easier.

I made pumpkin cheesecake this year, though.

Comment from Poindexter
Time: November 25, 2010, 5:29 am

I totally stole that image (“…smacking myself in the face…”) and will find places to make good use of it. ..poindexter..

Comment from Randy Rager
Time: November 25, 2010, 5:36 am


6 large red potatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick, slices quartered.
3 green onions, sliced. Put the tops with the liquid ingredients, the stronger flavored white portion goes with the potatoes.
12-16 ounces of bacon, cut into 3/4″ pieces.
1 1/2 cups heavy cream.
1/2 cup whole milk.
2 tablespoons of flour.
4 cloves garlic, chopped.
salt and pepper to taste.
8 ounces grated cheese. Kraft Cheddar is fine, but feel free to experiment.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Fry the bacon in a decent sized skillet until done enough to crumble. Remove from skillet and reserve the grease. Fry the potatoes and bottom halves of the green onions in the bacon grease. Remove from skillet when the potatoes are softened and just barely brown.

Mix the cream, milk, flour, green onion tops, garlic, salt and pepper thoroughly. Crumble in the bacon. Put the potatoes into a shallow baking dish and pour the liquid ingredients over them. Stir thoroughly.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, top with cheese and broil long enough to just barely burn the cheese into a nice crust.

The French would put the potatoes into the dish without frying them, thus requiring an extra thirty minutes of (covered dish) cooking time, but what the hell do the French know about cooking? The original recipe didn’t even have bacon and green onions in it, for crying out loud! What sort of savage would serve potatoes without bacon and green onions?

You Brits and Canadians reading this need to remember that when an American says “bacon”, they are referring to what you call “streaky bacon”.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 25, 2010, 8:00 am

Happy Thanksgiving, From The Badger’s Burrow in Wisconsin!

Comment from Frit
Time: November 25, 2010, 10:08 am

If anyone is interested….tho it’s a bit late for Turkey Day – I have recipes for a sweet potato/apple casserole that is nummy, and also my Wicked Fudge™ recipe I’m willing to share for the holidays. Just say the word, and I’ll post them. 😉

Comment from j2
Time: November 25, 2010, 10:21 am

loose pie….

there’s a joke in there somewhere….

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Comment from EZnSF
Time: November 25, 2010, 3:27 pm

Let em Starve.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I made pumpkin flan last night, and it turned out a disastrous mess and nothing like flan. We’re sticking with pie next year.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: November 25, 2010, 3:46 pm

For Frit:

Comment from gogman
Time: November 25, 2010, 5:25 pm

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope the pie came out all right!

Take care and God bless.

Comment from Bill (now the .000357% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: November 25, 2010, 6:11 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, kids!

*gimping off in search of another rocket to not get hit with*

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 25, 2010, 6:25 pm

Bill! We were just talking about you the other day. When somebody in your position drops out of sight…well…you wonder. Be safe!

We had burgers for lunch. We do turkey as the evening meal, so we haven’t geared it up yet.

Hope y’all are having a great Thanksgiving!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 25, 2010, 7:06 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, rebel colonials!

What?… What?!

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 25, 2010, 9:49 pm

The Badger’s Burrow in Wisconsin is full of the smell of roast turkey. We are having a Thanksgiving Pot Luck at work tonight. Being the best cook, I am doing most of it. I have to serve 9 people, and have 3 turkey rolls in the oven, ( turkey rolls are easier to transport than roast turkeys, and they still taste great ). Later on, I will be making both regular, and cheese mashed potatoes, and stuffing, too. I have a bag of that marvelous ne corn that Birdseye sells, that you nuke in the bag it comes in, where it steam cooks itself, and tatstes like August.

I have to remember to bring in butter, as Lovely Virginia, our retired USMC dispatcher is baking home made dinner rolls. I also have to bring in a crock pot, as Kyle is going to bring in 2 gallons of real apple cider, the dark brown, pulpy stuff that tastes so much better than the pale yellow clear filtered stuff. (For the English readers here, in the US, apple cider is non alcoholic.) We will warm it up in the crock pot, and serve it with cinnamon in it. Andrew is bringing a punkin pie, and Shannel an apple one. Nate is bringing a venision and cheese tray. I am not sure what either Steve 1 or Steve 2 are bringing, but I am sure that Jason will be bringing a healthy appitite.

I shall go in early, and get everything ready, and Virginia will watch over it. Bar Time in WI is 0200, and by 0300 things have quieted down, which gives us an hou and a half to catch a quick meal, before we have to be on the road, for the Black Friday traffic of people heading for the stores 6:00 AM opening. There is always a fender bender or two that morning. Nevertheless, by eating when we can during the 2300-700 shift we should all get ourselves filled up.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: November 26, 2010, 1:13 am

Randy, we do potatoes au gratin here with a mix of cheeses…usually a white cheddar and pepper jack and heavy cream.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 26, 2010, 2:13 am

Post away the fudge recipie!

Comment from Frit
Time: November 26, 2010, 7:32 am

For Mark Matis & SCOTTtheBADGER:

First; Be careful what you ask for… you may get it!

The following is my Wicked Fudge™ recipe. Warning, is also evil and addictive. If you like someone, share.
If you don’t like someone, they only get ONE piece! 😉

Wicked fudge:

Don’t know if the brand names will mean anything at all to you, but here goes:

11.5 oz-bag Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Bittersweet chocolate chips [Dark Brown package]
http://www.ghirardelli.com – Follow the links for Products -> Baking -> Baking Chips -> 60% Cocoa Bittersweet chocolate chips…

Plus 2/3 of a cup from a bag of the semi-sweet chocolate chips [Gold package]
http://www.ghirardelli.com – Follow the links for Products -> Baking -> Baking Chips -> Semi-Sweet chocolate chips…

[Note: If you prefer ‘milk chocolate’ over ‘dark chocolate’ use all semi sweet chocolate chips:
1 – 11.5oz bag + 2/3 cup from second bag, instead of one bag of the 60% dark chocolate chips.]

1- 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 tablespoon of real vanilla (* see Alternatives below)

Combine all in heavy bottomed pot or double boiler, heat on stove, stirring constantly to prevent burning. [If you use a heavy bottomed pot, use medium heat. If double boiler, get the water boiling, then turn down to medium to maintain the heat while the chocolate melts and all ingredients go Zen on you, becoming one with each other.]
Alternately: combine all in a 4-cup container, and microwave on high for 2 – 3 minutes, (time pending the power of the nukum.)

Stir until glossy and no lumps of unmelted chocolate left, then pour into a 9″x9″ pan – can help if you line it with wax paper first, or dust it with chocolate powder to prevent sticking.

~ Note on the chocolate powder: I have used straight unsweetened baking powder, as well as mixing equal parts unsweetened with hot cocoa mix [Ghirardelli’s Double Chocolate hot cocoa powder] and I have experimented with adding a bit of spice, such as cinnamon and nutmeg when making the chocolate/orange fudge. Play with it yourself, and see what you can come up with. Have fun!

Stuff it in the fridge for about 2-3 hours, then cut and serve.
[Wire Cheese cutter works best, knives stick! …And is like cutting a paving brick]

Alternately, can use bread loaf pans, cool longer.

Or – use spatula to press still warm mix into a cake decorator or cookie press and make individual pieces
– squeezing them out onto sheets of wax paper dusted with powdered baking cocoa and chill for 2 hours before serving.

The new flexible silicone ice cube trays and muffin pans may well work too, for making individual pieces. Probably want to dust them with cocoa too, just in case. 😉


* Alternatives: If you want a flavored fudge, can replace vanilla extract with one of the following [ or invent your own! ]
pure extracts of:
cinnamon [Tastes like dark chocolate crossed with Red Hots!]
hazelnut [Note: Hazelnut is very mild, may only be noticeable in the “Milk chocolate fudge” variant.]
Also, can add various nuts, dried fruits, the zest from lemons or oranges, swirling in peanut butter (see below), mini marshmallows or marshmallow cream, pour over butter toffee… keep warm and dip fresh fruit… [Fudge Fondue!]

I’ve found a small jar of Skippy’s Roasted Honey Nut peanut butter is great to swirl in for marbleized chocolate peanut-butter fudge! Or lay down a thin layer of fudge, refrigerate about an hour, then spread on a layer of warm peanut butter, chill again for about an hour, and top with the rest of the fudge, slightly warmed for spreading.
Just pick 6oz or 12oz jar, depending on how much peanut butter you want.

…oh bother, you get the idea! `/;)

Comment from Frit
Time: November 26, 2010, 7:36 am

Next, we have the Apple-Yam bake!

Ingredients for 8 servings:
* 4 large yams
* 3 large apples – peeled, cored and sliced
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I prefer the dark brown, your choice.)
* 1 1/2 cups apple juice
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1. Place yams in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook 30 minutes, or until tender but firm. Drain, peel, and cut into 1/3 inch thick slices.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the cornstarch and brown sugar. Mix in the apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, and allspice.
4. Alternate layers of yams and apples in the prepared baking dish. Pour the apple juice mixture over the layers.
5. Cover, and bake 1 hour in the preheated oven. Remove cover, and continue baking 30 minutes. Baste frequently with the juices from the pan to prevent drying.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ In Crock Pot~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Reduce apple juice by 1/3 and cook for 4-8 hours on low heat. Also, for powdered spices, at the last hour, remove some of the liquid, dissolve the spice in, and return to the crock pot.

Comment from Bill (now the .000357% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: November 26, 2010, 8:09 am

‘Twas catastrophic server failure, Mizz Stoaty.

Rumors to the contrary, when the rocket hit, my brain only got rattled, not blown through my right eardrum.

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