Monday, January 31, 2011

Fort Worth Lovin'

Mrs. Paladin and I hopped over to Ft. Worth on Saturday, for our annual visit to the Fort Worth Stock Show. We go every year. Its like a smaller version of the Texas State Fair - only without the choking mobs of people and the escalated risk of mugging as you walk through the surrounding ghetto neighborhood to the Fair Grounds.



Every single year before this, its been cold and rainy on the day we attend the FWSS. No big surprise there, since January/February in Texas is usually cold and rainy. This year, though, Mother Nature offered up a gorgeous day. We took the opportunity to visit the surrounding museums and other outdoor spots in Fort Worth while the Texas sun shined down on us.

between the slats

leddys boots

The weather forecasters are calling for a return of dreary winter weather next week - so I'm glad we had a chance to get outside and enjoy a reminder of spring to come.

We followed up the Fort Worth trip by stopping in a Norma's Cafe over in Oak Cliff on the way home. Awesome diner fare - and the best Chocolate Pie I've ever had that didn't come out of my own kitchen :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Mrs Paladin's Father: "I love you, Bailey."

Bailey (age 2): "I lub yoo, Gumpa"

Mrs. Paladin's Father: "I love you more."

Bailey: "Ok."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Very Special Day

Lovers Fountain Kiss 1908

I know this is normally the slot for "Style Saturday". More than anything else.... Love never goes out of style.

23 years ago today, Mrs. Paladin walked down the aisle with me. Thus began the most wonderful adventure of my lifetime. It was a small ceremony, with only a few friends and immediate family present. I didn't even own clothes fitting for the event, and had to borrow a sport jacket and tie from my future father-in-law.

As a young man, I never thought that I would be married - ever. Don't know why that is, but I just didn't see it in the cards for me. I had never found anyone that I could stand to be around for more than a couple of hours - much less around the clock. And don't even get me started about the prospect of "kids". I wanted nothing to do with that - No Siree....

Just goes to show that we don't always know what's good for us, and sometimes we should be thankful that life throws us curveballs that we don't expect. My Wife and I only knew each other for 7 months before we got hitched. While I don't recommend that scenario for most people, against all odds it worked for us.

Being 46 years old, and having been married now for the last 23, it occurs to me that from this moment onward I'll be married to my beloved for longer than I spent without her.

That's pretty cool. The thought brings me great comfort.

lily elsie kiss

So... What's the secret to surviving as a couple for 23 years?

A lot goes into it. This helps quite a bit...

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Girl Friday - 01/28/2011 - Ashley Green

I like this week's Girl Friday, even if she did appear in the Twilight movies....

Ashley Green

ashley green

Hit the jump for more....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Haggis... Food of the Gods

Tuesday night was January 25, which is the traditional night for celebrating the birth of Scottish Poet Robert Burns at a "Burns Supper". I had to work late Tuesday, so with all due respect to the Poet we shifted our Burns Supper to Wednesday. The traditional meal at such an event is some combination of Haggis, Swedes, and Potatoes - otherwise known as Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties.

Neeps is short for Turnips.... though its not the turnip we are familiar with here in the US. What they call a turnip is actually a Swede. Swedes are more familiarly known in the US as a Rutabaga.


You prepare mashed Neeps just like you would mashed potatoes, only they are a little more substantial than a spud so you have to boil them a little longer for them to soften up. I dice and boil them fork tender and then drain and mash with butter, a little salt/pepper, and a touch of sugar to taste. You can also mash them with some cooked carrot to get the touch of sweetness. I want them to be somewhere between a Sweet Potato and a regular Potato.

You generally can't pick up a Haggis at the grocery store here in Texas, and assembling the ingredients and cooking one of my own isn't something I've had the time/inclination to do yet. Luckily, though, I've found a really good replacement that isn't *too* hard to find:

cal kitchen haggis

Caledonian Kitchen is a US company that cans its own Haggis and sells it over the internet and in small British specialty stores throughout the US. Thats where I get mine - at Brittish Emporium over in Grapevine, Texas. Its surprisingly good, for Haggis in a can. They have it in Lamb, Sirloin, and Highland Beef.

haggis neeps tatties

I first had Haggis Neeps and Tatties at a Scottish Festival in Dallas, many years ago. I've been hooked ever since. Haggis in a Can isn't cheap.... but its nice to be able to get it more than once a year when I get the itch for it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.

Mark Twain

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Style Saturday - 1/22/2011

1960 photogs

That's a group of Photographers that were following John F. Kennedy around during his Presidential Campaign in 1960. The photo was take by Photographer Paul Schutzer, and was featured in Life Magazine. Snappy bunch of dressers, all piled on top of the trunk of a brand new 1960 1959 Chevrolet Impala, with some awesome (and now vintage) still and movie cameras.... way cool.

Go ahead and try having just one or two adult people kneel on the trunk of your modern car in the driveway... but don't send me the repair bill when the trunk lid buckles under the weight.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Girl Friday - 01/21/2011 - Heather Locklear

Farrah Fawcett may have been the poster child for the quintesential late 70's/early 80's chick, but this week's Girl Friday held a much more favored position in my teenage dreams....

Heather Locklear


Hit the jump for more....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weirdness from the past....

You all know my love of photo browsing over at Shorpy.  Images of architecture, automobiles, and people of the past are all easy for me to get lost in. Here's a recent pair of pictures that rate pretty high on the "Huh?" meter:

1905 tinfoil uniforms cropped and resized

That's a group of school children in front of Saints Peter and Paul Academy, circa 1905. Lets take a closer look:

1905 tinfoil uniforms crop

What the ......? Tin Foil uniforms and swords in scabbards? General consensus in the comments section at Shorpy is that the kids are most likely costumed for a school play or other presentation. The guys are pretty funny looking, but they pale in comparison with the girls' costumes:

Hit the jump for more...

Sunday, January 16, 2011


"Why are we sending yet more violins to the Middle East? When I voted in 1988, which was the last time I left the house, I did not vote for President McKinley merely so that our government could continue flooding the Middle East with wasteful and unnecessary violins. What problems will violins solve that could not be solved just as effectively by soprano recorders, which are much more economical, especially when they are manufactured from cheap plastic? Soprano recorders are standard teaching instruments in elementary schools, and a ready supply is always to be had, available to be deployed in large numbers at a moment’s notice."

Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Style Saturday - 1/15/2011

leather clockwork corset

leather clockwork corset detail

Corsets are good. Leather Corsets are Great. Leather Steampunk Corset/Bra combinations with pierced gear and cog designs are so wonderful they threaten to open up a Black Hole of awesomeness and suck us all in...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Girl Friday - 01/14/2011 - Sara Maldonado

OK.... I'll admit it.

Sometimes, when there's no one around to make fun of me, I channel surf through the Spanish Language stations on cable. I don't speak Spanish. I can understand a little, but not enough to be useful.

I'm there strictly to ogle. Don't judge me. If you're a guy, you know you've done it too :)

Sara Maldonado - Mexican Soap Opera actress

Sara Maldonado 2

Hit the jump for more....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Maybe if we all lived in a bubble.....

JayG points out the obvious truth.

Freedom is messy. It involves risks. It's a tradeoff of security - more specifically, the illusion of security - for liberty.

Unfortunately its a truth that will be totally ignored in mass quantities in the days and weeks to come.

Read the whole thing, please.

High Tech robotics... 18th century style.

I saw this picture recently, on Tumblr:


I was intriqued enough to wander around the web a bit and see if I could find out more about this curious device. Turns out its an Android Tympanum player. A tympanum is a not often used word for Hammered Dulcimer. It as built by a pair of Germans - one a clockmaker and one a cabinet maker. They sent the Android to Marie Antoinette in 1784, and she was so taken with it that she bought it and installed it at the Academy of Sciences.

Its made of Steel, Wood, Ivory, Brass, and Cloth. The Android, who is rumored to be based on Marie Antoinette herself, plays several tunes on the 46 string dulcimer. She is controlled by a sping motor and brass cylinder hidden under her dress. The cylinder rotates, causing the armature and levers to operate the Android's arms - playing the songs. Her head and eyes move as well, adding to the eerily beautiful affect.


It truly is a wonderful thing of beauty, isn't it? The technology and skill required to make something like this that actually works is incredible for that time. The beauty and art it possesses are astounding no matter what the time period. Here's a video of the Tympanum Player in action.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads, to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.

-Bram Stoker

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Style Saturday - 1/08/2011


That's Solanah, who works in the Vintage Clothing industry in the Northwest. She dresses the part quite often, and does so very, very well. I love the fact that some folks are bold and interesting enough to bring the style of the past right up into everyday modern life.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Girl Friday - 1/07/2011 - Elaine Stewart

This week's Girl Friday went from Hollywood Actress, to Game Show Hostess -

Elaine Stewart

Elaine Stewart

Hit the Jump Link to see the rest...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Out of the Frying Pan - Part 2

The other day, our overly fat housecat worked up the gumption to jump up onto the hutch where my latest Steampunk lamp sits. This is uncharacteristically ambitious for him as he has made an art of exerting as little effort as possible.


Having achieved this feat, Taylor the Wonder Cat proceeded to rub against the lamp with his considerable bulk until it toppled off the hutch and onto the floor, breaking the Squirrel Cage Filament bulb in the process.

splamp 3

I cleaned up the mess in about 2 minutes, replaced the bulb, and chastised him for his thoughtlessness. The event did cause me to consider yet another mess the Progressives have visited upon us in their never ending quest to produce solutions for problems that don't exist at great expense and varying amounts of consequences that are worse than the "problem" they seek to solve.

Progressives, in collusion with spineless Republicans, passed the The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which effectively bans the sale of incandescent light bulbs beginning in 2012. They will largely be replaced by these:


In addition to being ugly, the CFL bulbs pose a tangible risk to users. This is the required regime to safely dispose of a CFL bulb should you experience breakage in your home, via government guidelines:

How should I clean up a broken fluorescent bulb?

Because CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines:

1. Before Clean-up: Air Out the Room

Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.

Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.

Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

2. Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces

Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.

Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass pieces and powder.

Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.

Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

3. Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug:

Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.

Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.

If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.

Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

4. Clean-up Steps for Clothing, Bedding, etc.:

If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.

You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when you cleaned up the broken CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct contact with the materials from the broken bulb.

If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels or wipes in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal.

5. Disposal of Clean-up Materials

Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup.

Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.

Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.

6. Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming

The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming.

Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.
Once you have cleaned everything up, you now are faced with what to do with what's left of the bulb. You'll have to consult your own municipal and state requirements for what to do with the trash, however. In many areas you can't just throw it away. You have to take it to a qualified recycling center capable of handling the toxic waste safely.
Of course, all this could have been avoided if the Progressives and their allies wouldn't force their way forward blindly pushing us into technology that isn't shelf ready yet. That would require a level of patience and forethought that they are not capable of.

To see an even worse example of this in action, check out my previous post on this subject here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

True Grit

I don't normally do movie reviews, 'cuz I suck at them and end up dropping spoilers into the mix. Just wanted to leave a quick note to mention that my Wife and I went to see True Grit this weekend.

I'm a huge John Wayne fan. True Grit is one of my favorite Wayne movies. I also happen to not care much for Jeff Bridges. Never have. I know, I know.... everyone I know just loves the Big Lebowski. "You don't like the Dude?"....


That being said, the latest version of True Grit was really good. I was determined not to like it but was pleasantly surprised. Bridges was awesome in it, and has the one eyed killer's stare down perfect. The girl who plays the lead opposite Bridges is head and shoulders over the girl in the original. Likewise, Matt Damon leaves Glen Campbell in the dust as the Texas Ranger character.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


It is the fate of all banisters worth sliding down that there is something nasty waiting at the far end.

Terry Pratchett, Maskerade

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Style Saturday - 1/1/2011

Happy New Year Everybody!

This edition of Style Saturday comes via a reader submission from Tango. It's 1951... and even acrobatic comedians dress better than 99% of people walking around today.