Joy to the World...

...the sun is come.

The days will start getting longer now. Hopefully moods will be lifting as well. Despite the lack of sunlight, and my attendant grumpth, this is my favourite time of year. I spend it surrounded by loved ones, in light and warmth. There is always good food, warm drinks, and conversation around the fireplace. There is always snow and cold on the outside, and blankets and couches on the inside. There are always arguments; there is always strife. But we wouldn't be us if there weren't.

There are dogs to walk, pies to bake, potatoes to mash, and yes, even a turkey to roast.

There are candles to light, and latkes to fry, and chocolates and oranges in abundance.

I'll be there in less than 48 hours. I can't wait.


The Voters Delivered the Jab, Now Judge Jones Gives the Reverse

The Dover ID trial is over and the good guys won. The judge thoroughly spanked the ID proponents, as can be seen from the decision. Here are some of my favourite bits:

...Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God. (P-718 at 705) (emphasis added). As no evidence in the record indicates that any other scientific proposition's validity rests on belief in God, nor is the Court aware of any such scientific propositions, Professor Behe's assertion constitutes substantial evidence that in his view, as is commensurate with other prominent ID leaders, ID is a religious and not a scientific proposition.

It is notable that not one defense expert was able to explain how the supernatural action suggested by ID could be anything other than an inherently religious proposition.

It's so nice when someone really seems to get it.

More from the decision:
The Supreme Court instructed in Edwards that it has been particularly
'vigilant in monitoring compliance with the Establishment Clause in elementary and secondary schools.' 482 U.S. at 583-84. The Supreme Court went on to state that:
Families entrust public schools with the education of their children, but condition their trust on the understanding that the classroom will not purposely be
used to advance religious views that may conflict with the private beliefs of the student and his or her family. Students in such institutions are impressionable and their attendance is involuntary.

Id. (citing Grand Rapids Sch. Dist. v. Ball, 473 U.S. 373, 383 (1985); Wallace, 472
U.S. at 60 n.51).

After a careful review of the record and for the reasons that follow, we find that an objective student would view the disclaimer as a strong official endorsement of religion.

The decision is a long one (139 pages), but I suggest everyone at least skim it. It's good reading.

I congratulate this judge on a job well done.

(hat-tip, Pharyngula)


Another Meal Born of desperation: An Attempt at Fart Juice Soup

Fart juice, for the uninitiated, is the liquid that's left over from cooking dried beans, so called because of what it makes most people do.

Now, opinions differ when it comes to what one should do with this liquid. Some cookbooks say to strain it off and rinse the beans, lest the fibre that has leached into the liquid cause discomfort and embarrassment, while others claim that much of the beans nutritional value is now it the water and throwing it away is wasteful. I used to abide by the former recommendation, not out of any desire to avoid flatulence, but rather because I would have had no idea what to do with the juice, had I kept it. Until one day I was cooking with Floh. I forget what we were making, but we were cooking beans, and when it came time to strain them, Floh strained the liquid into a container and stuck it in the freezer. In Costa Rica, Floh explained, one *never* throws away the fart juice. No, no. In Costa Rica, one reserves it, along with some beans, to make Fart Juice Soup another day.

"Sounds good," I thought to myself, and the next time I cooked beans I reserved the liquid. Then I called Floh.

"I have three litres of fart juice in my freezer," I said. "What do I do with it?"
"Three litres?!?" came the reply. "Jeez, well, I'll come over and make soup, but I can't use all three litres!"
So, come over she did, and soup she did make. But that was almost a year ago. And I've had two litres of fart juice sitting in my freezer unused ever since. Until yesterday.

Yesterday I was hungry. I wanted something that would make me feel good. Something high in fibre and vitamins and low in fat. I looked in the fridge. I hadn't gotten around to doing a proper grocery shop in a while, and my produce supply was down to two carrots of dubious quality and a few apples.

"But I want vitamins!" I cried, "I want veggies!"

"Well, I'll start making some brown rice," I thought. "It's got lots of fibre in it, and I can eat it with whatever I come up with." So I put 2/3 of a cup of rice and 1 1/3 cups of water in a pot on the stove and set it to boiling. Then, out of desperation, I looked in the freezer. "Fart juice!" I exclaimed. "Fart juice has vitamins! Fart juice has fibre! I'll make Fart Juice Soup!" Then I realized a problem. When Floh made me soup, it contained veggies. It had tomatoes and potatoes and all manner of good and healthful things, none of which were to be found in my apartment. Not to mention beans, to thicken it. But the beans that the fart juice was made from were long consumed. Not to be discouraged, I looked in the pantry, on the legume can shelf. There stood one lone can of chickpeas. "Chickpeas are beans," I reasoned, and grabbed the can.

Still not sure where I was going with all this, I put the yogurt container of fart juice in a pot of hot water to melt, and examined my options in the freezer. There was a bag of freezer-burned corn, some frozen berries, and a plastic bag containing the results of my cleaning my snail tank, which I freeze to kill off the eggs.

Sighing, I pulled the corn out of the freezer. Freezer burnt though it was, I supposed it would do.

The fart juice was now sufficiently thawed that I could get it out of its container, so I poured the water out of the pot, dumped the fart juice in, added my last can of chickpeas and a bunch of corn, and put it on the stove to heat up, along with a bunch of tabasco sauce and some salt. When it all came to a boil I slowly poured in a whisked egg.

Once the rice was almost done I strained the water off and added it to the soup. And you know what? It's seriously yummy!

Thanks, Floh!

(x-posted to Knife-Wielding Feminists)


Knitblogging III - Christmas is a'coming and there's yarn in the air

I was looking over this blog and I realized I haven't knitblogged in for*ever*. Well there's a reason for this.

Since Christmas is on its way, most of what I'm knitting now is gifts. Since I don't know which of my family members read this blog, I don't want to report on what I've made until it's been distributed. Don't worry, though, I'll be taking plenty of pictures before I give things away, so you'll get to see what's what.

For now I'll just give you a teaser and say that all my presents are being made from the coloured versions of Cascade Yarns' Eco wool

Purty colours!