Monday, November 23, 2009

Gingerbread Men Generations

I picked up a plush Gingerbread Man for the Grandbaby while at Barnes & Noble this past weekend. Lots of wonderfully illustrated classic children's Christmas books were there too - but I'll wait until next year to start with those. She's more likely to try to eat the book pages at this age. She seems to be particularly fond of munching on my Sportsmans Guide Catalogs right now :)

Next year, though, there's potential that she might show interest in the actual pictures and story. Looking forward the that, I am.

gingerbread generations

Here's the little Gingerbread man that will snuggle in her stocking on Christmas day from her Mema and Scruff (that's the Mrs and me). Its along side my very own old Gingerbread Man that was given to me over 40 years ago. My Mom has kept it all these years.

Mine is a little raggedy around the edges (like me)... but seeing the two stuffed friends together gives me have hope that as weird and disjointed as life can be these days compared to when I was a little boy, loving your kids (and grandkids) is one of the constants that will see us through.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Paladin's Random Crap - Fairy Lamp Project

Finished one side of the backyard fence project this weekend, in spite of the all day rain we had Friday. Looks really good and should last a lot longer than the crap fence my neighbor put up last time. I'll try to work on the short front section and gate over Thanksgiving - weather and time permitting.

The Display table project for my Daughter's Christmas present is progressing nicely, too. Should be able to get it done by Christmas with no problem. I even had a couple of minutes this weekend to work on a lamp project.

A while back, we picked up a crappy looking old ceiling light fixture at a flea market:

lamp project 1

Doesn't look like much, but the Mrs and I really dug the heavy glass shade. Its extremely thick and heavy. Glass on lamps today tends to be really thin and light. I'm pretty sure that I could bludgeon someone with this bad boy and not even crack it.

lamp project 3

As you can see, the fixture itself is pretty worthless. The wiring is brittle and the metal is sad looking.

We both thought the same thing when we saw this old mess: Fairy Lamp. The glass shade would be perfect for a modern take off on the old Victorian Fairy Lamps. I found an Ebay store a while back that carries modern castings for replacement lamp parts. I ordered a short base that we liked.

lamp project 2

The glass shade is pretty narrow, so I cut the old shade holder (harp) off the ceiling fixture and soldered it to the harp bracket for the new lamp. I picked up a bakelite pull chain socket from the hardware store and put everything together with left over connectors and a threaded lamp rod scrap. A coat of paint and an electric cord, and I was done:

fairy lamp 1

It has a 25 watt bulb, which is just about perfect for beside use. The old glass gives off a nice, diffused, almost amber tinted light.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Add this to the Bucket List

This is footage from the recent launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis... I've about run out of time to see a launch in person, what with the shuttle fleet on the verge of retirement next year. Maybe I'll get around to seeing a launch of the replacement rocket they are switching to one day. I need to start a bucket list, and start checking items off.

I actually saw a shuttle re-entry several years ago. I was on my deck in the back yard in the wee hours one morning. Great big blazing, meteor-like trail of fire went across the southern sky. I actually thought it was a meteor, until I heard later that it was the shuttle.

Beautiful video, below. Makes you optimistic that we can actually do great things in this country without necessarily screwing them up every time.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Girl Friday 11/20/2009 - Rosalind Russell

When I started this "Girl Friday" thing... I just assumed that everyone would be familiar with the actual term "Girl Friday".

I am reminded, though, of the old saying about what happens when you "ASSume" something.

"Girl Friday" is a term coined around 1940. It's a take off of "Man Friday", which was in turn derived from the fictional Robinson Crusoe story. The Native that Robinson Crusoe saves while stranded on a desert island was named Friday, as you may recall.

A Man Friday was a trusted, indispensable assistant.

In 1940, a movie was made based on a Broadway play featuring such an assistant, and the comedic lengths to which the boss went to keep the assistant from leaving his employ.

When they made the movie, however, they decided to change the "Man Friday" to a female role. Now, you can't very well refer to a woman as a "Man Friday", and thus was born the "Girl Friday". The very title of the movie was "His Girl Friday", and it stared Cary Grant, and this week's Girl Friday in the title role.

Rosalind Russell

rosalind russell 2

Rosalind Russell played the wise cracking, quick witted newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday. The basic plot of the movie sets her as the employee, and ex-wife, of the newspaper editor (Cary Grant). She threatens to quit the newspaper business in order to marry another man, and the general plot of the movie involves Cary Grant trying anything and everything to keep her on the job.

rosalind russell girl friday

Ms. Russell had a long career, and is possibly best known in later years for her portrayal of Auntie Mame. I think my favorite Rosalind Russell film, though, is His Girl Friday.

rosalind russell grant

After last week's lovelorn Lana Turner posting, you'll be happy to know that Ms. Russell married only once. That marriage lasted 35 years, and only ended due to her death in 1976.

Rosalind Russell - by George Hurrell 1936 - Trouble For Two

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I've got to try this....

I saw this picture on yahoo news earlier this week.... I'm thinking I have to try this in some variation.

We usually have two separate Thanksgiving dinners on Thanksgiving Day. We have lunch at my folks with my sisters, and then end up eating supper at my Wife's folks with her brother. I don't have the opportunity, or need, to cook another huge turkey just for the Mrs and me. I'm stuffed enough that day from the eating marathon as it is.

I may do this with a roasting chicken, though, later in the week :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Get the Blues 'bout Every Night...

I put this vid together featuring pictures of Classic Hollywood couples, but the main purpose is to showcase the 1947 recording of Dinah Washington singing "Since I Fell for You".

Whoever digitally recorded this track chose to record it from the original 1947 vinyl.

It's freaking wonderful.

Dinah Washington's voice is soulful and smokey. The lyrics to the song are outstanding. You can hear the hiss and pop of the needle on the record album.

If you watch this vid and listen to the song, and still don't understand why I love it so much - you don't know me at all...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fishin' Saturday

The Mrs and I found ourselves with nothing to do Saturday.

Actually, that's not true. I have a TON of stuff to do. I just wasn't going to do any of it when I could be outside on a beautiful Fall day with the woman that I love.

So, we went fishing ;)

november fish 2

We caught a ton of bass this size and a bit smaller, at the stockpond out at my folk's place. Nice, healthy largemouth bass in the 1 to 2 pound range was the norm. We started out with jointed minnows (Rapala), and ended up fishing spinner baits. The water level was very high due to recent rains, but very clear.

We did catch a couple of larger bass, including someone you might recognize.

november fishing bob

That's Bob the Bass, that you might remember from a previous post from last May. If you'll remember, we caught Bob a couple of times that day. We noticed his gimpy looking Nemo fin when we caught him twice that day. You can clearly see the gimpy fin in the picture above.

My Wife and I decided to make it a contest from now on - to see who will catch Bob first on the fishing trip :)

This was the largest fish of the day - Probably 4 - 4.5 lbs.

november fishing 3

Its really nice to see the bass getting to this size. Next spring/summer should be great fishing if we can keep normal rainfall levels. Here's a pic of me with the big bass -

november fish

Damn... I'm fat enough, huh? Quitting the smokes really did a number on me. Guess its better to be plump and jolly than thin(er) and hacky, though.

Seriously, I've gotta quit putting it off and get serious about getting back into shape.

Its either that, or let my beard grow out and get a part time gig as Santa at the mall...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Girl Friday - 11/13/2009 - Lana Turner

Today is Friday the 13th, a traditional day for bad luck. Today's Girl Friday was certainly unlucky in love.

Lana Turner

lana turner young

Lana's life started out rough, and then looked like it would be a storybook. When she was a young girl, her father was murdered and robbed after winning at a crap game. While living in LA, the 16 year old Lana was discovered by a magazine publisher as she sat drinking a Coke at the Top Hat Cafe - and the well known legend was born.

lana turner 5

Lana proved to be not only a pinup success, but also a well reviewed actress. She appeared in many films from the late 1930's up through television appearances in the 1970s and 80s.

lana turner 2

Lana was married a total of 8 times, to seven different men. Most of the marriages ended disasterously. Not as disasterously as her affair with Mobster Johnny Stompanato, though.

Stompanato was a small time hood, associated with the more sizable gangster Mickey Cohen. He and Turner had a stormy romance, to say the least. He once stormed on to the set of a movie she was filming in England - brandishing a gun and accusing her of cheating on him with actor Sean Connery. Connery punched Stompanato, disarmed him, and had him removed from the set.

lana turner 4

Once back in the US, Turner and Stompanato reportedly got into an argument that turned physically violent. Turner's teenaged daughter was present, and she ended up stabbing Stompanto to death. The Courts later ruled that the stabbing was self defense.

lana turner 3

Yeah... she was a beauty, all right. She also was reportedly a really sweet lady. But what is it with gorgeous women and crazy drama? Lana Turner is a classic example of the woman who is constantly attracted to the "bad boy".

Here's a Youtube clip that I really like, featuring a very young Lana Turner staring as a Soda Fountain worker in a Dept. Store. The movie is "Slightly Dangerous", and unfortunately it's not out on DVD or Video - so you'll have to catch it on TCM sometime if you want to see the whole thing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quickie - 'Cuz I Can't Resist the Dumbass

The lack of regular posting is due to the MOUNTAIN of stuff I have to do. I'm in the midst of three yard projects that I'm trying to get done before nasty weather settles in, and I'm also trying to build my Daughter a piece of furniture she's been wanting for Christmas. Posting will be hit and miss for a good while - until I get caught up.

I came in to look something up on line, and stumbled across a
story that made me laugh, as much as I tried not too..

Ever seen or heard of a Bugatti Veyron?

Bugatti Veyron

Nice car, huh? It just so happens that, in addition to looking way cool, the Bugatti Veyron is the fastest production sports car on the planet. We're talking 16 cylinders and four turbochargers. When tested, it does 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and can reach a top speed in excess of 250 mph! This is a very rare, very high performance vehicle - that will set you back about $2 million, if you can even get your hands on one.

Here's what one looks like when you get distracted looking at a bird flying by, drop your cell phone, and plow it into a saltwater marsh outside Galveston:

bugatti fail


I've never known anyone with the amount of cash it takes to get into one of these cars. However, the general douchiness of every high dollar sports car owner that I ever have known, makes me completely comfortable making fun of this guy.

If you've got the time, check out this video of someone test driving a Veyron - its bad assed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

support troops

Today, when some of our leaders will be taking the (photo) opportunity to publicly express their support for our troops overseas and at home, please take a moment to hold them in your hearts and prayers.

To the Veterans who read this post, you have my eternal gratitude and respect.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Defending our Place in the Food Chain

I've been enviously reading the hunting stories on a couple of my usual blog haunts over the past couple of days. Then, I read this story.

SHERIDAN, Wyo. – Retired orthopedic surgeon Chris Smith thought his hunt was over when he bagged a white tail deer with a bow and arrow near Sheridan. Because the light was fading, he decided to return the next day to recover the deer. But when he returned Wednesday morning, the carcass had been covered by grass and bush — which is what mountain lions typically do.

Smith, who was unarmed, then saw the big cat about 25 yards away.

He backed away slowly and went to call the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Officials said he had two choices — return with friends, making noise to scare the animal away, or purchase a mountain lion hunting license.

He opted for the license, and dropped the lion in one shot.

Good for you, Dr. Smith! Aside from the fact that I personally wouldn't have walked around in Mountain Lion Country without a means of defending myself - The rest of the story is the perfect example of enjoying your place on the food chain, and then vigorously defending that spot :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This is one of the first breads that I ever made. The basics of the recipe I got from my Mom, and she used to make it around Christmas and Thanksgiving every year when I was a kid. I came to associate cooler weather with it, and still do today.

This is an "egg bread", meaning that there are eggs among the ingredients. At it's most basic, bread is just flour, water, yeast (or some other leavening agent), and maybe a touch of salt. Although, you could argue that "bread" doesn't even need yeast. It would be unleavened bread.

Its important to note, though that flour + water is also the basic recipe for a type of glue. It's the combination of technique and additional ingredients that make bread stand apart from elementary school paste.

Here's the basic recipe:

6 to 7 cups flour
2 pkgs yeast
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp salt
3 eggs

Cinnamon mixture:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Powdered Sugar Icing (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
milk to drizzle consistency

Combine 3 cups of the flour with the yeast in a large bowl and set aside. Heat milk, sugar, butter, & salt over low heat stirring until the butter melts and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. As a rule of thumb, the milk mixture should be pleasantly warm, but not too hot to hold your finger in it before proceeding.

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix together. Add eggs, and beat with an electric mixer until it looks like smooth pancake batter (about 3 minutes on high). Mix in enough remaining flour with a large spoon to form a dough. Remove dough to a floured surface and knead well.

I won't go into instructions on how to knead bread. If you've not made bread by hand before, check out the kneading instructions here.

Once you've kneaded the dough, rub cooking oil all over the inside of a large clean bowl and place the ball of dough inside. Turn the ball to coat the ball with a touch of oil. The ball in the picture below looks a bit smaller than yours will. The recipe above makes two normal sized loaves. I was making two half-sized loaves when I took these pictures, so I halved the recipe.

dough 1

The stoneware bowl in the picture above, is one of two that my Grandmother gave me before she passed away.

Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a warm place to rise until doubled. I turn my oven on preheat just long enough to warm the oven a bit, then turn it off before putting the bowl inside. You want a warm enough environment for the yeast to make the bread rise, but not so hot that it kills the yeast.

dough 2

That's how it looks when doubled. Punch it down and divide the dough in half. Perform the following to each half of dough.

Roll the dough out in a rectangle, using enough flour dusted around so that the dough doesn't stick to the surface or the roller. The shorter dimension of the rectangle should be just a bit longer than the length of your loaf pans. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick. Doesn't have to be exact. Brush the surface of the rectangle with a little water, and sprinkle half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture over it. You'll end up with something that looks like this:

dough rolled out

Then start rolling the dough up like a jelly roll, starting from the short side. Keep the roll tight. When you get to the end, pinch the seam and the ends together to seal up the roll.

dough loaf formed

Place the rolled dough, seam side down, into a greased loaf pan. Repeat with the other half of dough, and place the pans back into the warm spot to rise again. When the dough is risen the way you want it, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Make sure you take the loaves out of the oven first if you're using it as the rising place.

dough risen pan

Bake the loaves 30-35 minutes. The loaves are done when nicely brown and sound sort of hollow if you pop them out of the pans and thump the bottom.

Here's mine after I removed them from the pans:

bread baked

I used half sized pans that I picked up at a flea market a while back. They are pretty cool old pans, and date back to the late teens-early 1920's.

vintage pan

If you want to ice the loaves, sprinkle the cup of powdered sugar with the vanilla extract. Tip in a little milk and mix to drizzling consistency. Be careful, though. It's real easy to add too much milk.

Here the loaves are iced.

bread done

We like this sliced as-is, or toasted and buttered. MMMMmmmm.......

cinnamon bread swirl

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pretty please.....

Beg will follow.

I read my friend Borepatch on a regular basis.... but it seems I should pay a bit more attention to the Internet Security posts in addition to the gun, climate change, and other interesting posts.

I had to download and run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware today, due to an extremely annoying 'bout with the evil "Antivirus Pro". I must have crapped around with this shite for over two hours before I got it sorted out and removed from my computer.

All is well now, and I can testify that the software does its job. Just with I'd listened to the expert.

Now for the beg: Christmas is coming. I've been relatively good all year.

Someone get me three minutes alone in a room with the rat bastard that developed the "Antivirus Pro" nightmare.

I'll cut that bitch up.

Girl Friday - November 6, 2009 - Ingrid Bergman

This week's Girl Friday is Ingrid Bergman:

ingrid bergman color

I was watching TCM the other night, and saw Gaslight for the first time. It's a 1944 movie staring Ingrid Bergman as a woman whose husband is trying to convince her she is crazy, in order to have her committed. I won't give away any of the plot beyond that, but Ingrid won an Academy Award for her performance.

ingrid bergman gaslight

You'll really hate Charles Boyer, by the end of the movie. The Bastard. You'll also enjoy seeing a VERY young Angela Lansbury as the naughty maid, in one of her first on screen appearances.

A couple of nights later, I caught another movie I had not seen before. Halloween night TCM played Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde circa 1941. It was the version with Spencer Tracey in the lead role and an even younger Ingrid Bergman as the barmaid Mr. Hyde chooses to canoodle with... against her will, of course.

ingrid bergman jekyll

A very young Lana Turner was also in this movie. Ms. Turner is destined to be a Girl Friday very soon, so I won't dwell on her now, but I was struck by the differences between her and Ingrid Bergman. Both are beautiful women, but Ingrid is much more of an "earthy" type. Despite her obviously-not-english accent in the movie, you believe she would be at home dodging the advances of drunk bar patrons in Londons less affluent neighborhoods at the turn of the century.

She's the hot girl that isn't afraid to get her hands dirty..

ingrid bergman jekyll 2

Ingrid Bergman spoke 5 languages. Her native Swedish, English, French, German, and Italian. As someone who has difficulty just being understood in ONE language, that amazes me.

ingrid bergman

And, lest we forget, Ingrid Bergman may be most famous for her role in Casablanca, along side Humphrey Bogart.

ingrid bogart

Here's a couple of Youtube clips of Ingrid, as she appeared in Gaslight and in Dr. Jekyll.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Living under threat

Saw this story this morning, and thought it was interesting - and it made me a little sad. Not because I have any interest at all in seeing the movie "2012". I'm not a big fan of "disaster flicks", such as they are. They seem to always try to wow the audience with special effects in lieu of anything like an interesting, believable story.

No... my interest in the story centered around a facet of modern life that we generally aren't allowed to comment on these days - lest we be declared racist.

In the movie, 2012, there are a multitude of scenes featuring the destruction of cities, landmarks, and religious sites. All this mayhem is, undoubtedly, meant to instill a feeling that all our works and beliefs as human beings can be laid to waste easily in the face of disastrous forces. They show the destruction of Christian churches, as well as the Vatican.

The writer/director and his co-writer both made a conscious decision, however, to not show the destruction of the

The Kaaba is the square structure in the center of Mecca, around which thousands of Islamic Pilgrims throng during Haj.

Their reason for the omission?

"Well, I wanted to do that, I have to admit," the filmmaker told "But my co-writer Harald [Kloser] said, 'I will not have a fatwa on my head because of a movie.' And he was right."

Emmerich went on: "We have to all, in the western world, think about this. You can actually let Christian symbols fall apart, but if you would do this with [an] Arab symbol, you would have ... a fatwa, and that sounds a little bit like what the state of this world is.

It makes me angry and it makes me sad, but I don't blame them for their choice one little bit.

Am I any worse off because there isn't going to be a scene in a movie that I probably won't even bother to see?


Am I any worse off because there are evil, extremist bastards who will gleefully kill me if I "offend" them, in some way?


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Recap

What an awesomely beautiful day for Halloween. Not a cloud in the sky and temps ranged from the 40's in the morning to low 70's in the afternoon. It was a wonderful change from most of the rainy month of October.

We took off early Saturday morning and drove over to Canton for Trade Day (flea market). Lots of cool stuff, but we managed to get out having bought only one item. It's a old ceiling light fixture with a very heavy glass shade. Most of the fixture is really ratty - but the glass shade is awesome. Don't have a pic up of it yet, 'cuz it isn't much to look at. Plans are for me to use the glass shade for a small bedside lamp for my Mrs. I'll post before/after pics when there's something worth showing.

On the drive over, we saw these:

oreo cow

oreo cow 2

Those are Belted Galloway Cattle, sometimes called "Oreo Cows". The breed originated in Ireland. Pretty cool looking....

Saturday evening we were home for the Trick or Treaters... all 6 of them. I shit you not,- we only had six kids come by our house all evening. What a drag. We get fewer and fewer kids by every Halloween. Hardly seems worth getting candy, now.

Got to see the Grandbaby, though, when my Daughter and Son-in-law brought the kids by at the beginning of their Halloween "rounds".

bailey pirate

Bailey was a Pirate Princess this year... and even a plastic sword in the hands of a 9 month old can be an interesting experience :)

bailey pirate swipe

Paladin's Random Crap - misc

I've got a couple of projects going in the workshop, but nothing ready to be posted yet. So, in lieu of a more substantial project rundown, here's a couple of quickie projects that I knocked out this week:

rocking chair before

This is my Daughter's Rocking Chair from when she was a little girl. It's been in our attic in storage for probably over 15 years. It was starting to look rough before we put it up there, and the attic conditions haven't improved it's state any. That's pink fiberglass insulation stuck all over it. Our attic isn't made for storage - but that doesn't stop us from cramming as much crap as possible up there.

The Grandbaby will be in need of a little rocking chair very soon, though, so I crawled up there and fished this old girl out to see if I could bring it back to life a bit.

I removed the old remaining finish with Formby's Furniture Refinisher. Then I wiped on a coat of Watco "Light Oak" danish oil. The next day I sprayed on a couple of coats of clear, and the chair looks much better now:

rocking chair refinished

I also tackled a little gauge that I picked up a while back.

kellogg gauge before

Its an old Kellogg Air Gauge that dates back to around 1904, or so. I liked the style of it and the lettering on the face. I figure I'll end up using it on a steampunk style project in the future. Here she is all cleaned up:

kellogg gauge after