Saturday, July 31, 2010

Style Saturday - 7/31/2010

My Folks are taking a trip in September. They like to travel, and this year they are going back to Alaska for another Cruise. They say that it will be the "last big trip" they'll take, due to their advancing years, but I don't believe that for a minute.

I'm sure they'll have fun, and the boat will be nice enough - by today's standards. It will undoubtedly be several steps above the usual commuter ferry decor that's normally found on short hop excursion boats.

ferry interior

I don't imagine it will be on par with the steamships that plied the Coastal areas and Great Lakes waterways during the first half of the 1900s, though.

For example, this is The City of Detroit III.


She was a side wheel steam ship that ran between Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo from 1912 until her retirement in 1950, when the company that owned her went out of business. Here is a photo of her pilot house.

1912 City of Detroit III pilot house

And here is a view of the Grand Salon:

1912 City of Detroit III steamer resized

You won't see details like this on any boat ferrying people around in the Great Lakes area today, I'm pretty sure.

1912 City of Detroit III steamer detail 2

1912 City of Detroit III steamer detail 1

Pretty freaking amazing, yes?

The entire ship was sold for scrap and dismantled in the early 1950's, with the exception of the Smoking Lounge, also known as the "Gothic Room". It found a home at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. Lots of gorgeous carved hardwood and stained glass. I can imagine gentlemen of the day relaxing while they smoked their cigars and pipes, perhaps enjoying a bit of brandy.

city of detroit gothic room

B&W pictures via Shorpy, and the Library of Congress Archive online.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Girl Friday - 7/30/2010 - Anne Francis

This week's Girl Friday starred in one of the Classic Science Fiction films of all time, and went on to star as the first female detective to be featured in a Television series of her own:

Anne Francis

anne francis smoking hot

anne francis sig

anne francis 3

Anne Francis was born in 1930, and began acting in films in the 1940s. She appeared in several noteworthy films such as Bad Day at Black Rock, and Blackboard Jungle, before appearing in possibly her best known starring role - Forbidden Planet.

anne francis forbidden planet

Anne Francis 2

Anne continued to appear in films and made regular appearances on TV series during the 70's, 80's, and into the 90's.

anne francis elopement

anne francis 4

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blech... for more than one reason.

I hate Summer Colds.

I had a hay fever flair up this week that's turned nasty on me. I actually came home after work yesterday and just climbed in bed. I'm feeling a bit better today. At least I'm able to putter around the house now. I'm still all clogged up and feeling run down as hell. The throat feels like I've been gargling with steel wool.

I came across a story this morning that added to my general head-cold induced disgust with life.

This is Christopher Clancy:

christopher Clancy

Looks like the typical Emo-looking kid you'll see at the shopping mall, doesn't he? He is 19, and lives in Ireland. It also seems that Christopher had a little bit of difficulty separating what he sees on the big screen from what is expected of us in the real world. Via the Irish Independent:

A former school pupil dressed up as 'Batman' character 'The Joker 'and set fire to the building causing more than €1m worth of damage, a court heard yesterday.

Garda Liam Ganny told the court that Clancy, who had left the school the previous November, filled six large jerry cans with petrol and cut his way through a wire-mesh fence to access the school grounds. He smashed in a glass door and proceeded to spill the contents of one can along the corridor. He then lit the petrol and escaped from the school.

When gardai arrived at the scene they noticed a man dressed "in a purple suit, with green hair, a white face and red painted lips".

Christopher said he did it because he didn't like the way the staff at the school treated his friends.

Friggin' self indulgent, spoiled brat, vandalizing idiot. But wait... there's more. My disgust with this story didn't really get ramped up until I read this part:

"He was 17 at the time of the offence and is an introspective and reserved person. He left school to attend Youth Reach," said Mr Clarke. (the defense attorney)

Judge Patricia Ryan said the offence "seems to be a one-off incident" and "the difficulty for the accused is that he hasn't really addressed the depressive episode".

She ordered that he attends his GP for a medical report and adjourned sentencing until October.

I guess that pretty much takes care of the question of why Christoper Clancy assumed that he could get away with such a blatant, unrepentant act of destruction . When surrounded by people that consider you "introspective and reserved" while you're dressed as the Joker and burning down buildings, its no wonder. Add to that the fact that when caught, you're turned over to receive your punishment at the hands of a judge that is more concerned that he hasn't "addressed the depressive episode" than she is the fact that the douchebag did 1 million euros worth of damage to a school in a long pre-meditated act of violence that was designed with one end goal in mind:

To draw attention to Christopher Clancy.

When a guy plans and prepares for weeks, then dresses like this:


before setting fire to a building - all while filming himself on his cell phone - and then goes immediately to the first people he can find on the street to brag about what he's done, he's not temporarily overcome by depression or insanity. He's a freakin' jerkoff who wants so badly to be the center of attention, that it doesn't matter who's life he has to jack up to do it.

I guess its OK though.... after all, it was only a "one-off incident". If he does it a couple more times, maybe they'll have to revisit the issue and think about doing something about it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Everyone relax, the whole messy business with Al-Qaida will soon be resolved - now that France is in the fight.

On Thursday, the French backed Mauritanian forces in attacking an al-Qaida camp on the border with Mali, killing at least six suspected terrorists. It is the first time France is known to have attacked an al-Qaida base.

Boy, am I relieved.

In the interest of fairness...

Since I've been on about vintage stuff and waxing more than a bit nostalgic lately, I thought that I would offer up a bit of counter-point to my (probably) over idealization of days past. There obviously ARE things that are better here in the modern age.

I Found this offering on Shorpy this morning:

manhattan injection

Thats a photo of some circa 1920's "cures" for various venereal diseases. Pretty interesting old stuff, especially if you take a closer look at the instructions for use on some of the products:

manhattan injection crop

I'm confident that I'm not the only guy who read that and involuntarily cringed. If I had been around back in those days, and was familiar with the method of treatment for "diseases of indiscretion"... I think I would have become a monk.

Cuz' remember fellas:

she may look

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sh*t on a Shingle.....

This past Sunday was my beloved Wife's Birthday. I normally work Sundays, but I took the day off so that we could spend it together. We had a really nice day, but then again every day we spend together is pretty damned good.

We caught the early showing of Inception at the movie theater. Really good movie. My expectations were pretty high after hearing other people's rave reviews, which is normally a set up for being disappointed. I enjoyed it a lot. We ran some errands, and then we went home so that I could make her the Birthday Dinner of her choice.

So what did she pick, having a wide variety of culinary delights to choose from?

Creamed chipped beef, on toast.

I crap you not.

When my Mrs and I first got together many years ago, I had been living on my own for several years. While I was living the fabulous bachelor life, it didn't take me long to discover that I couldn't afford take-out every night, and vienna sausages right out of the can soon lost its thrill. I bought some cookbooks and taught myself to cook.

As a result, I came to love cooking and continued to do most of it after we got married. Once, shortly after we got hitched, we found ourselves with slim pickings in the grocery department (as was often the case back then). Scrounging together some left overs, I whipped up my version of Creamed Chipped Beef - otherwise known to many as Sh*t on a Shingle. I couldn't believe that she had never tasted the dish before, and even more amazing was the fact that it immediately became a favorite of hers.

I have to admit, unfortunate nickname aside, it's pretty damned good the way I make it. You can scale the dish to fit whatever amount of meat you have, based on the proportions below:

Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast

4 Tbls Butter
4 Tbls Flour
1/2 onion, diced finely
salt/pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup broth (beef or chicken)
About 1 1/4 lb chopped or shredded beef roast
Slices of Toasted white bread

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Add onions and cook until the onions are clear and starting to soften. Add flour and whisk it into the melted butter and onion mixture. This is forming a "roux", which will not only make the sauce taste good it will allow it to thicken later.

Allow the roux to cook over medium low heat for a couple of minutes. Stir occasionally with the whisk while its bubbling. Combine the milk and the broth and heat it in the microwave for a couple of minutes to get it hot. Add the milk/broth mixture to the roux and whisk it all together. Turn the heat up a bit, but don't go crazy or you'll burn the sauce. Whisk it pretty much continually until it starts to boil. Turn down the heat a bit and add the chopped beef.

I usually make this after cooking a potroast, and use the left over potroast. I have been know to cook an entire roast, though, purely with the intention of making chipped beef out of it :)

The cream gravy will thicken as it cooks above simmering temperature. Keep stirring the mixture until its as thick as you like and the meat is heated through. Serve over toasted bread with plenty of salt and pepper.

creamed chipped beef

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Alphonse Mucha!

Ok, so its actually a day late, but I didn't realize yesterday was Alphonse Mucha's birthday. 150 years ago, the father of the Art Nouveau style was born in Czechoslovakia.


Mucha was a prolific illustrator that painted in a style that was unlike anything on the scene when he first came to public light in the late 1800s. His flowing style was soon copied by many from the turn of the century right up to the Art Deco period of the 1930's.

mucha moet

Alphonse Mucha was fiercely proud of his Czech and Slavic heritage. He was captured and interrogated by the Gestapo after Germany invaded his homeland in 1939. The physical stress of the ordeal proved to be too much for him and he contracted pneumonia while in Gestapo custody and died later that year.




Mucha chocolate


Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Feature: Style Saturday

I'm going to try and remember to post a new regular feature here at the Reluctant Paladin, called "Style Saturday". I say try... because pretty much the only reason that my only other weekly feature (Girl Friday) gets posted on time each week is that I sit down and create 4 or 5 of them at once and schedule them to post automatically :)

Otherwise, Girl Friday would only make it to the web about twice a month - probably on a Tuesday, at that.

Anyway, the gist of Style Saturday will be to showcase stuff from the past and present that I think embodies what I think looks beautiful, or elegant, or fine. I've carped often enough about the general laziness in our style these days and since I'm a visual person it only makes sense to express my impressions through visual media.

Yes.. I will most probably over idealize and romanticize things. That's what I do :) That's part of what nostalgia is for anyway, isn't it?. I know we live in a wonderful age of miracles and amazing achievement. I think its terrific that we have high-speed internet, modern medicine, and air conditioning. But in gaining all the good, I think we lost some important things along the way.

It may be art, it may be architecture, it may be clothing, or lifestyle, or whatever strikes my fancy at that particular moment. Sometimes I'll just let it stand on its own, and sometimes I show it in contrast with what I think is its antithesis ..... like this:


Geez.... what a douchebag.

You think you look "good", Junior? I got news for you. You can't in your wildest dreams ever achieve the bad-ass quotient laid down by these Cats:

easter chicago 1941

Click the image to see it LARGE at

That's Easter Day on Chicago's South Side in 1941.

Even little kids knew how to look cool in 1941. Or at least their Mother's did, and that's probably where even more of the difference between now and then lies - if truth be told.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Girl Friday - 07/23/2010 - Jennifer Love Hewitt

Jennifer Love Hewitt -

Dang ...



I'm coming late to the Jennifer Love Hewitt bandwagon. I hadn't seen anything she had done, though I knew who she was from blurbs in the news. My Mrs. got me hooked watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs a while back, though, and I was surprised to find that I actually liked the show.



JLH is a Texas Gal, who lived here until moving to LA with her mother when she was 10, to pursue fame and fortune. She's done pretty well, I'd say.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Workshop doin's

Is it Fall yet?

At least I can take some time now to plan out what projects I'm going to work on once things cool down enough in my workshop for me to survive more than 30 minutes before bursting into flames.

My Daughter sent me an email the other day, posing as Bailey, and asking me to build her a playset for her room for Christmas. Does she know how to work her Old Man, or what? :) "Bailey" apparently wants something like this:

bailey playset

Its pretty cool, but costs over $1000 if you buy it from the company that sells them online. I'll knock one out, customized for my Baby Girl, for a crap-load less than that. That will take up a good bit of my shop time since I'll want to be done by December. Hopefully, Summer won't drag its feet and I'll be able to crank the workshop back up to speed in September or October.

About the only thing I've done recently project-wise is finish the masonry base for the Parlour Stove:

heater project brick base

Its a bunch of 2x8 pavers that I picked up at Lowes. I arranged them the way that I wanted and then built a box out of pine with a piece of plywood recessed into the bottom. Came together pretty good and it makes the stove look more natural than it did just sitting on the carpet.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A touch of vintage style..

A while back I mentioned my dissatisfaction with the almost complete lack of style and panache that most modern people (including myself) possess. I don't plan to make "fashion" a major part of this blog, but I figured that I would post some pics when I find them, as examples from the past to illustrate that phenomenon or links to some modern folks who are bucking the trend and share my interest in vintage style.

This guy has a distinctive look that I like:

hunters pipe

That's got WIN written all over it :) .

From the description on
the Flickr page:

A Militär Beamte (see below) with his Fernglas (binoculars), Jägerpfeife (hunter's pipe), double-barreled shotgun and trusty dachshund.

And here's another look that would be less ... alarming... were you to emulate it in modern society:


Gilbert Roland certainly cut a dashing figure, didn't he? Needs to work on his trigger discipline, though. There was a time when gentlemen didn't go out without a hat, jacket, and tie. I certainly don't think we need to go that far... but it would certainly be an improvement on the current norm.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lucky Gunner Ammo Giveaway!

Lucky Gunner has gotten together with The Firearm Blog in a promotional effort to give away 1000 rounds of .380 ACP. As you may remember, Lucky Gunner was one of the online sources that I referenced in a previous post on ordering ammo online. I love the fact that they have real-time quantities listed so you can see how many of whatever type of ammo you're looking at are in stock.

The Firearm Blog is a regular stop for me each week as I browse my favorite blogs. Lots of great info on both old and new firearms and accessories.

I'm always on the lookout for .380 at a decent price, since its one of the calibers we shoot most often - while its also tended to be one of the last calibers to come down in price/increase in availablity as the ammo shortage continues to wind down.

Lucky Gunner has ammo at some of the most competitive prices I've seen on line, even on .380 ACP. Getting 1k rounds free, though, would be even better :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Girl Friday - 07/16/2010 - Shirley Temple

Now hold on.... I know you're thinking, "Shirley Temple?... the annoyingly cute little curly headed kid from the 1930's movies is Girl Friday?"

Calm down.

The Shirley Temple I've selected as this week's Girl Friday is actually the version found somewhere between the 1930's moppet and the 1960's beehive topped Republican Ambassador :)

Shirley Temple

shirley temple guy madison

shirley temple

Shirley Temple was one of the original actresses to fall victim to her own success as a child star. She was so wildly popular as a little kid, that no one could see her in any other role. The public refused to let her grow up in their minds. As she became a beautiful young woman, roles got harder to find and the ones that she did get didn't receive positive reviews for the most part.

shirley temple 2

shirley temple fort apache

Ms. Temple married briefly the first time at age 17. That marriage ended in divorce and she married her second husband, Charles Alden Black, in 1950. They stayed together until he passed away in 2005. Shirley was active in the Republican Party and served her country as a representative to the United Nations General Assembly, as well as being Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia over the years.

Compare that track record of Marriage and Career to most of the more recent child stars, and see how they measure up ...

shirley temple 3

shirley temple hat

shirley temple color

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Working to keep you safe....

H/T Geekologie

I you want to survive the coming Zombie Apocalypse, you have to be willing to think outside the box and try new ideas.


Even if they don't have that much chance of succeeding :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

*Hey Everybody!... Let's put on a SHOW!!

Wow... two Animal Control related posts in one week. Don't worry, I'm not gonna make it a habit. Except for the Hat Cam stuff, discussing Animal Control, Animal Rights, and "Humane" Organizations all tend to bring out my cynical side. I couldn't resist commenting on some stuff I recently found online, though. My ire for this crap is not so much Animal related, as it is Dumb Ass People related.

The animals in this instance just kinda provide a backdrop for the dumbassedness.

First, a touch of background info:

When the Taliban was largely in charge of Afghanistan, animal fighting was Verbotten. Seems that Islam doesn't look favorably on pitting animals against each other for sport, so the practice was banned. That ban didn't mean, of course, that the public's appetite for the blood sport wanned at all. As the Taliban proceeded to get knocked off its perches throughout the countryside, animal fighting enjoyed a resurgence.

afghan dog fighting


These are elaborate, popular affairs with the masses. Many Afghan people celebrate the new year with games of all types, including animal fighting. The animals are often decorated with graffitti and colorful harnesses to identify them and their owners/tribal affiliation.

afghan dog fighting 2

I say "animal fighting" as opposed to "Dog Fighting" or "Cock Fighting" because the Afghan people don't limit themselves to just the two forms of animal combat best known in the US. They also enjoy Ram Fighting:

afghan ram fighting

As well as Camel Fighting:

afghan camel fighting

Which brings me to the oddly useless website that I stumbled upon the other day.

I happened upon a website called the Care2 Petition Site. Apparently, this is a place where people can go and sign petitions of all sorts. They have petitions for and against pretty much anything you can think up. Mostly against. Thousands and thousands of people look over the issues presented and then decided whether to sign the petition, or not. Their catch phrase is "Start a Petition, Change the World!"

One of the petitions currently up for "signatures" is this one calling for the halting of Camel Fighting in Afghanistan.

I shit you not.

It should be pretty obvious that I'm not a fan of animal fighting (to put it mildly). You wouldn't think that I would need to state that outright given what I've spent a great deal of my life for the past 16 years doing every day, but some people are dense and will leap to the conclusion that because I make fun of the people who sign petitions against Camel Fighting - I clearly must be in favor of animal torture.

Now that we have that out of the way...

People, people, people..... Do you want to change the world? Well, it's gonna take more than signing your name to a petition online. It will take more than "hope". It will take more than casting a single vote for someone you think has "vision". It will take more than wishing upon a star, or clicking your heels together...

Bringing about actual change takes lots and lots of work, or lots and lots of time, and often lots and lots of both. We've apparently spawned an entire Generation that is laboring under the assumption that if they want something bad enough, it will simply manifest itself for them with a little Poof! and some Confetti. Some folks are very disappointed when they discover the truth, and feel bad that bringing about "change" isn't quite as easy as they thought.

Doesn't bother me one little bit.

I'm personally glad that broad, world altering "Change" isn't as easy as flicking on a light switch. It should be hard. Or maybe "hard" isn't the word I'm looking for. It shouldn't be possible to bring it about at a mere whim, would probably be a better way to put it. If you don't agree, just spend a little time browsing through the comments section on any issue oriented, liberal leaning blog. Or any conservative leaning blog, for that matter.

Would you want your world transformed into someone elses vision of utopia so effortlessly that it could happen just because of a few digital signatures on a website petition?

Push button "Change" hasn't worked out all that well for us recently, and that should be a lesson to everyone.

Probably won't be, though.

And now, a few of my favorite dumbass well intentioned but totally ineffectual comments from the Camel Fighting Petition:

1:55 pm PDT, Jul 8, Philippa Nugent, Australia - No animals should be killed and no animals should be used for anything in anyway at all.

5:35 am PDT, Jul 1, Name not displayed, United Kingdom - I'd prefer to set the humans who organise on this on eachother - to kill themselves to the death - would solve it. meanwhile we must put with these 'humans' infecting the planet with their 'sport' - i hope petition works

Jun 30, 2010, Jo Tohara, New Zealand - Would you want to see this? Would camels have feelings? And what are your feelings on this topic?
Why do people find pleasure in watching these cruel and inhumane sports? Why does no one stop them?

Jun 22, 2010, Alice Anderson, Indiana - These poor animals are beautiful and not to be killed for sport. Please end this practice immediately--it would show that Afghanistan is a humane place for animals and not a cruel killing place.

Jun 19, 2010, Suzie Desrochers, Canada - That's a really dumb activity... The bastards who want the animals to fight for their pleasure should be the ones fighting to death and that way, bad people would die before they can hurt animals.

Jun 19, 2010, Riou Gwenael, Armed Forces Europe - STOP THAT IMMEDIATELY!

I'm particularly fond of the one that hopes the organizers of animal fighting "kill themselves to the death".

I lol'd :)

Don't worry folks.... I'm sure the people of Afghanistan just weren't aware that you disapproved of animal fighting. Now that you've explained to them that animals have feelings just like you and me, I'm sure they'll hold domino tournaments next year instead.

I mean, just look at this crowd:

afghan dog fighting crowds

A Draconian Religious Zealot Government couldn't stamp out their love of animal fighting, under pain of public stoning and execution... but I'm sure they'll all be very sensative to your feelings and wishes on this matter.

*Post title compliments of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. At least they put a little effort into their plans to save the farm.