Common-Place Book Entry

“In the course of our reading we should lay up in our minds a store of goodly thoughts in well-wrough words, which shall be a living treasure of knowledge always with us, and from which, at various times, and amidst all the shifting of circumstances, we might be sure of drawing some comfort, guidance, and sympathy.

~ Sir Aurthur Helps (July 10, 1813–March 7, 1875) English writer and dean of the Privy Council, youngest son of Thomas Helps, a London merchant, was born near London.

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Morning Rounds

News, Views, stuff I found interesting and hope you do, too, items for the news notebooks of the Common Room Scholars:

From Instapundit, Riehl World has two stories in one- blogs scoop NBC, and the story they scooped NBC on was an abuse of funds by the levee board in NOLA.

“Along with establishing an Airport and Marina, the levee board is said to have also played a key role in establishing a floating casino and a fiber-optic cable network around the levee. Unfortunately, fiber optics don’t hold back much water. However, I would think they, along with a marina, casino and private airport certainly could be good for business. One source indicated that the levee board spent approximately two-million dollars to erect a fountain and light show at a local lake in recent years.”

For more click on the link.

Senator Joe Biden, Dianne Feinstein, and Slate magazine all have something in common- besides being leftist Democrats, I mean. See No Left Turns to find out what it is.

Lorie Byrd, one of the smartest women in the blogosphere, tells us what she wishes President Bush would say in his speech Thursday night. So, Common Room Scholars- make a copy, amend it to make any additions or deletions, and compare it with what the President actually does say.

Delta Airlines has filed for bankruptcy (via the Corner)

Also from The Corner, Tom Delay’s unbelievable statement that Republicans have trimmed all the fat out of the Federal budge, and why he’s wrong. So Wrong. This is where the DHM reminds her Dear Family that she is not a Republican.
Right Wing News has more on the same, and is just as incredulous as the DHM, though more profane than the DHM- we’d give it a PG. Did the DHM mention that she is not a Republican?

The Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional again. At least in public schools receiving federal funding. Of course, it is unconstitutional for the Federal government to have anything to do with education, so one wonders if one unconstitutional activity cancels out the other so that now both are constitutional. We rather think not, having learnt, once upon a time, that two wrongs do not make a right.

And most of our readers will not be surprised to note that Senator Feinstein lied during her questioning of Judge Roberts yesterday. WEll, that’s a little strong. She wasn’t really doing much questioning- she lied during her speechifying to Judge Roberts yesterday. She claimed “as a member of the California Women’s Board of Terms and Parole, when California had what was called the indeterminate sentence law, I actually sentenced women who committed abortions to prison terms. I saw the morbidity. I saw the injuries they caused. And I don’t want to go back to those days.” It’s been fact-checked and the Corner has the results. Today she’s asking Judge Roberts how he feels, as a man, about something or other. Ew.
I will say that I was surprised and disappointed that she was dishonest. She used to be my SEnator, and while I never, ever agreed with her, I wrote her and Senator Boxer often, and I was always disgusted with Boxer’s replies, and impressed with Feinstein. She never pretended to be other than she was, she never gave weasel worded answers- she was straight-forward and honest, while maintaining civility. I appreciated that. Maybe I was naive. Maybe she only appeared direct and honest in comparison with Barbara Boxer.

This is funny. What are Judge Roberts’ favorite movies, and why should we care? Well, we don’t care, but we are impressed. Go read, it’ll only take a minute, and I promise we will be here when you get back.

WitNit (not always suitable for kids) has done some serious dogsbody work and collected transcripts from the Roberts Confirmation Hearings- I’m not going to take the time to read them, but maybe somebody else needs the information.

We mentioned this briefly, but the POlitical Teen has video footage: 8 term Democrat, member of Congress, senior member of Ways and Means Committee under investigation for bad stuff, “used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops.” This civic minded public servant also set up a special fund for contributions in the aftermath of Katrina. For his legal fees. Thanks to New Orleans resident Paul, from the blog Wizbang, who says that in order to understand NOLA politics, everybody should watch this while changing “It’s good to be king; It’s good to be king…”

RightPUndit catches something in that Blanco tape that we all missed- the tape where Governor Blanco gets caught on tape saying something along the lines of “I really should call for troops, I should have done that right away,” after she’s been telling everybody that she did call for troops…. RightPundit says what we missed is

“Governor Blanco’s statement about not wanting federal troops in New Orleans because they would arrest looters disproves her spin that she thought she was asking for troops when she asked President Bush for everything he had. She can’t have it both ways. She could not have thought she was asking for troops on the Saturday before the storm while at the same time be making a conscious decision to not have troops in Louisiana in order to make sure looters were not being arrested.”

A brave man in China was collecting the stories of women who have suffered from state-forced abortions. Contemplating the Laundry says he’s under house arrest now.

While we were watching the Katrina coverage, Palestinian Muslims were murdering attacking a village of non-Muslims. There is more here, but please, parents should preview this one. It contains some pretty brutal information.

Katrina- one volunteer’s story over at Memento Moron. Information on the best people finder search, and a final detail that breaks your heart. Read it, because we don’t want to forget these people too fast. Blanco, Nagin- they are just bothers at this point. They need to be held accountable, but there are still people who need help.

Ugly, ugly news from Iraq.

Let’s wrap up with this post from Gates of Vienna- an explanation of bureaucracy and why it gets bogged down

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Myths and Lies

John at WuzzaDem is one of the funniest bloggers I’ve seen (but not always suitable for the young maidens of the Common Room), and he has a very big heart. He’s said some very kind things to us here about our young Cherub, and we appreciate it.

He has a must read post today- unfortunately, it’s not funny, but it is about some funny business.

A few nights ago Tim Russert of NBCs Meet the Press interviewed one Aaron Broussard, who made many very damning accusations against FEMA, and concluded the interview in tears, sobbing about his friend’s mother, who died in St. Rita’s. He claimed that he spoke to this woman every night for several days, promising her that somebody was coming to get her. HE specifically claimed that the son spoke to his mother Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night after Katrina hit, promising her that somebody was coming because he believed somebody was coming. The press was all over this man and his story. A Chicago paper called it ‘one of the defining moments’ of Katrina coverage. Except, and you know what I am going to say, it was not true.

The friend’s name is Thomas Rodrique. He did talk to his mother, and he did call the home where his mother lived, and he did call Parish officials. On Saturday. His mother, like the other patients abandoned by St. Rita’s owners, died Monday night when Katrina hit. There is no way that Broussard’s version of events could possibly have happened, unless he wishes to claim that Rodrique spoke to a ghost. It is New Orleans, after all. I know this sounds cruel, and I do not mean it to be- but if I sound cruel, what is Broussard? He is making political capital by telling lies about his friend’s dead mother. What an opportunist.

In case you haven’t done it yet, here is Louisiana’s own disaster plan- it’s a PDF file. REad it and see exactly what Louisiana officials were supposed to do and compare that to what they did do. WuzzaDem has more, so please click on the link and read it all.

UPDATE: MSNBC and NBC admit that Broussard’s timeline was erroneous, that he was wrong about his friend’s mother calling him repeatedly (she never called him at all, and he seldom called her during the ordeal- he called the nursing home and the parish authorities to try to get them to perform their responsibilities), in short, there is very little Broussard got right. MSNBC/NBC say it was ‘an emotional moment and a misunderstanding.’ Right. WuzzaDem has the update, and he says that he watched the video and it’s obvious Broussard is reading from his prepared notes, which leads WuzzaDem to an interesting conclusion. Click on this link and scroll on down to see what it is.

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Disaster Prep Posts- a Common Room round up

Wiz-Bang got an Insta-lanche, and since I had posted to the insta-lanched thread, we’re getting a mini-lanche of people looking for the frugal emergency plan posts.
We’ll be posting on the topic all month. Meanwhile, here is a link to all our posts thus far (and I’ll probably continue to update it throughout the month):

Things We Can Do Even If We Have No Money: This was not technically a frugal guide to an emergency kit. Rather, it was a list of ideas on ways those of us with little or no disposable income might provide some assistance to hurricane survivors. I list it here because some of these ideas would also help a family living at the poverty line come up with a few dollars for a few emergency items. Even if you can’t put together a full three day kit, half a loaf is better than no bread.

Frugal Guide to Disaster Preparedness- the first post- here we have tips on state of mind, faith in God, water storage, wild foods, and instant bean soup flours you can make with a grain mill, and how to meet somebody with a grain mill.

The 2nd Frugral guide post- dehydrated foods, recipes, and links- how to dry food in your oven, etc.

Here’s a great hurricane hero story which illustrates a basic survival tip- if you don’t have this, all the supplies in the world won’t help you.

Why it is NOT compassionate to argue that the poor have no means of putting together an emergency kit.

Four basic items from your grocery store

Frugal and slightly less frugal ideas for things you won’t have to cook. Like Ramen Noodles. Yes, Ramen noodles. Go see.

More later.

Added: Granola and homemade candy using an often overlooked resource

Added: The Indispensable non-food item Lefties hate

Added: Who’s in charge? Also a very frugal recipe for a popular and versatile item.

Added: Flexibility vs Complexity, and why to tape a pair of flip flops to the bottom of your bed

Added: Small Selection of Seasonings and Sweeteners

Added: What lowers cholesterol, kills stomach viruses (virii), kills athelete’s foot, adds needed potassium back into the diet, treats burns and sunburn, and much, much more?

Added: Water: storage and emergency supplies you probably didn’t think of.

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Frugal Emergency Kit

Our friend B. Durbin from BookLore blog doesn’t think we’ve mentioned enough spices in these posts.
Here are some suggestions for inexpensive food items that will help liven up your emergency food supplies:

Jelly- I don’t like it much, but grape jelly is generally the least expensive, with apple butter coming in a close second. You can also can your own- apple butter is pretty simple to make and it’s very tasty. Use your jelly to spread on granola bars, any bread that you might have had in your pantry, crackers, bannock, or just eat a spoonful for dessert or to raise blood sugar levels. Put a spoonful of jelly in a cup of reconstituted powdered milk and stir or shake it very, very well for a drink the children might enjoy. Some people do this to use the last of the jelly in a jar- add milk, put the lid on and shake until all the jelly is disolved.

honey- sweetener for anything

Pancake Syrup- very inexpensive because you won’t be buying the gourmet brand. Use in drinks, on bannock, mix with peanut butter and dip crackers in it.

Vinegar- good for adding some zing to your vegetables, tenderizing meat, rinsing hair, spraying on mold, and treating fungal infections.

Cinnamon- toast, bannocks, granola, oats- or add it to rice with some milk for a breakfast food.

Garlic Powder
Chili Powder
Dried, minced onion
Salt
Pepper
Bouillon Cubes or powder

The above items are self explanatory as far as using them. To purchase them I recommend you look in the mexican food section of your grocers, or at a Mexican grocery store. They will be much cheaper. Other inexpensive sources- large discount warehouses and the bulk section of your natural foods store. We buy a one pound bag of broth powder in a foil pouch. It costs us about as much as 6 ounces of bouillion cubes in the grocery store.

B. Durbin recommends tobasco sauce, and so would the Headmaster. I’d prefer a bottle of worcestershire, and maybe soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (health food store, not frugal, but is tasty, use like soy sauce).

Also remember that the seasoning packages in your Ramen Noodles can be used to season other foods. Use half a foil packet for your noodles, save the rest for some soup or stir fries, or to add to instant mashed potatoes. We like them sprinkled on our popcorn, but in an emergency, it is doubtful you would be able to pop popping corn- unless you have a wood stove and the emergency is being snowed in with plenty of fuel.

Table of contents to previous posts on this topic

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What Do You Know About Where You Live?

Kevin Kelly has a very interesting exercise. Can you do it? Thirty questions about where you live, ranging from easy to very difficult (point north, the time of sunset is, five birds in your area are, other cities that share your latitude). See how you do. He also has a request- can you help him with it?

Bonnet-tip to the lovely Reflections in d Minor.

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Xanadu

While reading to the FYB and FYG the other day, The Equuschick came across this poem by Samuel Coleridge. She had forgotten how much she loved it, and was flung into a nostalgic passion that led to the remodeling of her entire personal blog page. It is now marked by a decidedly oriental theme and has the text of “Kubla Khan” as its background.

Also, Zeusie now has his own rubber ducky. He loves it. He carries it about in his mouth like a little girl carries a favourite baby doll, and then he drops it and it rolls underneath him and he can’t find it. His eyes and head rove all over trying to find his poor duck while his cruel family sits on the couch and choke themselves with laughter. Poor doggie.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !
A savage place ! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover !
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced :
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail :
And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean :
And ‘mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war !
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice !
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw :
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ‘twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome ! those caves of ice !
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !
His flashing eyes, his floating hair !
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Myths and Lies

John at WuzzaDem is one of the funniest bloggers I’ve seen (but not always suitable for the young maidens of the Common Room), and he has a very big heart. He’s said some very kind things to us here about our young Cherub, and we appreciate it.

He has a must read post today- unfortunately, it’s not funny, but it is about some funny business.

A few nights ago Tim Russert of NBCs Meet the Press interviewed one Aaron Broussard, who made many very damning accusations against FEMA, and concluded the interview in tears, sobbing about his friend’s mother, who died in St. Rita’s. He claimed that he spoke to this woman every night for several days, promising her that somebody was coming to get her. HE specifically claimed that the son spoke to his mother Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night after Katrina hit, promising her that somebody was coming because he believed somebody was coming. The press was all over this man and his story. A Chicago paper called it ‘one of the defining moments’ of Katrina coverage. Except, and you know what I am going to say, it was not true.

The friend’s name is Thomas Rodrique. He did talk to his mother, and he did call the home where his mother lived, and he did call Parish officials. On Saturday. His mother, like the other patients abandoned by St. Rita’s owners, died Monday night when Katrina hit. There is no way that Broussard’s version of events could possibly have happened, unless he wishes to claim that Rodrique spoke to a ghost. It is New Orleans, after all. I know this sounds cruel, and I do not mean it to be- but if I sound cruel, what is Broussard? He is making political capital by telling lies about his friend’s dead mother. What an opportunist.

In case you haven’t done it yet, here is Louisiana’s own disaster plan- it’s a PDF file. REad it and see exactly what Louisiana officials were supposed to do and compare that to what they did do. WuzzaDem has more, so please click on the link and read it all.

UPDATE: MSNBC and NBC admit that Broussard’s timeline was erroneous, that he was wrong about his friend’s mother calling him repeatedly (she never called him at all, and he seldom called her during the ordeal- he called the nursing home and the parish authorities to try to get them to perform their responsibilities), in short, there is very little Broussard got right. MSNBC/NBC say it was ‘an emotional moment and a misunderstanding.’ Right. WuzzaDem has the update, and he says that he watched the video and it’s obvious Broussard is reading from his prepared notes, which leads WuzzaDem to an interesting conclusion. Click on this link and scroll on down to see what it is.

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Subtle Rhythms

I really don’t like a lot of modern music. I don’t like having a song’s beat shoved down my throat; I like to discover it myself, sweetly mixed in with the other elements of the piece.

Unfortunately not all of my siblings share this view and after listening to one of their selections I generally need to go through remedial treatment. Today my therapy took shape in the form of listening to Ronn McFarlane’s wonderful album, The Renaissance Lute.

This happens to be a CD that belongs to mother, and not to me. Some day I will have my own copy. Yes, indeed.

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Nuts and Geese

Twice this week, even though it was 90 degrees out, we looked up and saw the moving finger, the ‘V’ that stirs my blood every September, as the geese join in a great community and migrate south for the winter.

Today it’s not 90 degrees outside. It’s overcast, wet, and cloudy. That’s my favorite kind of weather. The children went outside to gather hickory nuts. FYG climbed the tree to shake down the nuts, the others picked them up off the ground and did the first shelling right there. They have to pull off the outer layer of the nut, which is pretty simple if the nut is ready. They left the shells on the ground, but more frugal people than we are right now would save them and use them to mulch the garden. Currently, we are more profligate with our time.

The children are hammering the nuts open right now. The inner shell is thin, unlike our black walnuts, but still tough and hard as, well, as hard as a hickory nut. Not one of my better analogies, is it? The thin inner shell is the color of oak wood freshly lumbered. I understand the hulls make a nice yellow dye, which we might try some other season.

I’ll have to go buy a nut pick for the next step, as ours never has shown up again after the last move two years ago. I suppose a nail would work. Once all the nuts are shelled we will set them aside in a bag for another day when we will have time to sit around together and carefully pick out the nutmeats. We’ll have to get them out in pieces, as they don’t come out easily, like pecans.

Some of the nuts have fat white grubs in them. They are truly disgusting, but I must confess to a grudging admiration for anything so hardy. They can burrow into the nuts, overwinter in our cold Indiana winters, and survive in their little nuthouses for two years as grubs. When they grew up they become weevils, and begin the process of infecting our tree all over again.

Our tree is a shagbark hickory, which makes the sweetest nuts, so we’ll have to do something about these grubs. I’m holding a cracked hickory nut in front of me right now, and I wish I could pass the scent on through the internet. The smell of a freshly cracked shagbark hickory nut is the smell of spiced cider, maple syrup, cinnamon toast, freshly baked nutbread, and all things fall. Truly, it does smell something like fresh maple sugar, sweet, delicious, and full of autumn’s flavor.

It will take us a day or two to crack the nuts and pick out the sweet meat. When we’re done, for all our labor we might have three cups of nutmeats. I might make Biscotti. Remember the Carpe Diem and Biscotti post? No? Well take a moment to go read it. That coffee shop I mentioned? It’s for sale. Please pray for the Headmaster as he wrestles with what to do, what to do. I think he should do what he thinks best. His dilemma is that he’s not sure what is best, and he has made certain commitments to be at his current work place for a very long time. He wants to keep his commitments, and he is hoping to figure out a way to do that and follow his dream.

Meanwhile, we’ll bake some cookies, sit near the windows at Granny Tea’s house, sip warm drinks, eat hickory nut biscotti and listen for the wild geese.

Something told the wild geese

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered – “Snow.”
Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned – “Frost.”
All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.
Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly -
Summer sun was on their wings,
winter in their cry.

-Rachel Field-

Posted in cookery, frugalities | 2 Comments