Can I have what they’re smoking?

Mick Mulvaney says DHS can’t ‘spend money from Mexico’ for wall: ‘We have to get it from the treasury’

Mulvaney said that through the new agreement, “American workers are going to do better, the government is going to do better, and you could make the argument that Mexico is paying for it in that fashion.”

Seriously? This is how the current administration is justifying taking five billion dollars from the US taxpayer for a device to prevent border crossings. A device that the Chinese will tell you did not work as advertised, but did employ a lot of people. Mostly slaves.

I can think of a lot of things that five billion dollars can buy that will do a lot more good for the US economy. And for those playing the home game, five billion is the buy in. Current estimates are north of $20 bn for actual completion. For that the US could make Dominica a State. With cash left over. Or how about 50,000 teachers for a decade? No? 50,000 miles of road repairs. Surely that is just as important, and the follow on spending would boost a number of local economies. How about feed 3.4 million people for a year. We always hear about the homeless, many of whom are veterans in need of more than just food. We could also house some 300k of them.

Clearly preventing a tiny percentage of illegals has a cost (yes, tiny. The Census estimates less than 20 million illegals are in the US. That is the population of the state of Texas or a bit more than 4 times the population of New York City. A drop in the bucket) but the cost of building an ineffective preventative wall is even higher when you consider what can be built with it. (The next aircraft carrier is only $13 bn).

Let’s go Congress, show some leadership. Fix immigration.

New Year, New Keys

When I first created my PGP keys, all those years ago, I created them with PGP. And for some reason, that I am not sure of, they were created as only 1024 bit keys. So as part of my new year clean up, I have revoked my keys and issued new ones at 4096 bit.

The revoked fingerprints are as follows:

For the ARRL account:

5C44 E28D 49FE 24D6 A9DA  1545 CD57 C291 0A53 3C19

For my Gmail account:

2428 CE82 2E0C E6B7 E1E3  8D84 85BD BF93 B6CF CE1B

The new fingerprints are:

For the ARRL account:

7AB2 2840 5C8F 7427 78E3  9105 9DCE F014 AE06 230B

and for my Gmail account:

1E01 F6F2 E5C7 9405 336C  4E89 4128 6E0B 102B 8367

As usual, the keys are at your neighborhood public key server or you can download them below. These keys were generated with GPG, but they will be usable in any PGP/GPG program.

ARRL:

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gmail:

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Can I Get The Recipe For That – Prosciutto Fritters

As many people know, I spend my spare time cooking. I bake, and lately, I have been expanding out into full meal cooking. Moreover, as I do this, many people are asking for me the recipes for the various dishes I make. Rather than responding to each person individually, I decided to add a section to this blog, so anyone who wants to can make it themselves.

To start with, let’s dive into the appetizers from Saturday’s Italian dinner walk through. The menu was as follows:

Appetizer: Prosciutto and Cheese Fritters and a Virginia sparkling
Main: Fettuccine Carbonara and a Chianti (Nipozzano)
Dessert: Italian cookies and Sambuca

I will be posting other recipes as the week goes by, but let us start with the fritters.

Ingredients

1 cup water
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 oz prosciutto crudo, diced
1/2 cup grated caciocavallo cheese
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
lard
salt

Directions

Heat the water, salt, and butter in a saucepan, preferably of copper, and when it boils, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to the heat and work the mixture continuously with the spoon; after a great deal of stirring the mixture will have formed a solid and homogeneous ball of dough. Let it cool, then incorporate the eggs one at a time, constantly kneading (using a mixer can save some of this effort).

When the dough forms bubbles, work in the prosciutto, caciocavallo, and parsley. When this is done, set the dough aside in a cool place.

Heat several inches of lard in a high-sided pan until hot (but not smoking), then drop in 1-inch balls of dough. (You can make the balls with a spoon or spread out the dough and cut it into cylinders to roll directly into the pan.) Let these fry slowly, reducing the heat if they start to brown too quickly

Remove them with a slotted spoon, put them on a serving plate covered with paper towels, and serve hot.

Enjoy!

There Should Be A Law: Christmas Carols

Even though it snowed in Metro Washington, DC yesterday, it is still only the middle of November. And while many of you probably do not support my position that the Christmas Season should be restricted to the two weeks from December 15 to December 26, I am confident that many of you, especially those in retail, think that the push of Christmas into almost September in many cases, is excessive.

Today, while sipping my latte from a Christmas themed cup, I noticed that the music playing was, indeed, Christmas carols.

To me, this is excessive.

I grew up in Canada. The Thanksgiving dinner, held in the United States in November is held in mid-October in Canada. Then it is Hallowe’en. Many a Hallowe’en saw me trick-or-treating with a coat under my costume. But no Christmas ornaments were competing with the jack-o-lanterns for attention. And it was not until late November or early December when the Christmas decorations began to arrive.

In the US, it seems to be entirely different. Over the last decade, we have seen Christmas decorations arrive earlier and stay up longer, and incorporate the themes of the holidays it is stepping on. A turkey in a Christmas sweater is very jarring. And of course, the carols. Those insidious earworms that flood the background sonics to the point where they cannot be ignored.

Further, as the Christmas season expands (balloons), we are hearing complaints about it stepping on the sanctity of Thanksgiving. I wrote a post about that fallacy back in 2014, and it is as relevant today as it was then. You cannot have it both ways.

Maybe someday, the economic cycle will be less focused on the fourth quarter as the retail make or break quarter, but until that happens, I cannot see any way to avoid starting Christmas as soon as possible, but could we wait until Black Friday? This Christmas year round is really getting tiring. And I am so tired of hearing Run Run Rudolph.

Snow in November?

I noticed the number of posts about the hottest month on record has dropped. Could that be because it has not been very hot, or that, at least here in the US, where it is hot is being balanced (slammed) by the areas that it is not.

Take the Eastern Seaboard. Our Augusts are normally hot, humid. Not pleasant. Between hurricanes and constant rain since June, I am struggling to remember any days over 90 this year and certainly only on or two near 100. DC looks more like Seattle at the moment with the overabundance of rain and very little sun. The wines from Virginia just won’t be for 2018.

And then, there is this. Snow. Inches of snow. According to Al Roker, the DC area has not had measurable snow this early since the late 1980s. The last couple of years we have been wearing light jackets well into January.

Climate is changing. It does. That is the nature of climate. But I am not liking the weather much either.

Apple’s TOCK upgrade

Yesterday, Apple announced the biggest iPhone ever, with stunning new displays. They also introduced a new watch that will read your EKG better, stronger, faster. Yawn. Sorry, what?

If this morning’s mullet wrappers (as an old boss used to call the tech press) are any indication, they are less thrilled then I am about the new Apple hardware. Lead on Computerworld this morning? A review of five digital whiteboards. Apple’s releases were the fifth bullet down behind Slack adds enterprise key management and How you can train for your MCSA and MCSE certifications (a house ad).

A couple of days ago, one of the luminaries in the Apple world asked Has Apple lost its shine? A valid question, especially related to the release yesterday. Sure, there are those that will go gaga over the new hardware, but those of us that have been in IT for more than a couple of months don’t pay attention to new processors unless we need a feature in that new processor. And when it is only a tock (speed, security) upgrade, we really do not get excited.

Apple will continue to promote its new devices. The iDevice market is a considerable part of their revenue stream so they really cannot do anything else. But when the most exciting thing is the camera (and I can buy better glass for my DSLR for less money then they will ever be able to stuff in a phone case), perhaps Apple really has lost its way.

One minor thing of note. In iOS 12, there will now be almost complete support for the reading of NFC tags. I say this is a slight note because the NFC people have been asking for this for more than a decade when it first appeared in Android devices. Thanks for joining the planet Apple.

Auto-start Auto-stop Engines

I recently had the opportunity to drive a car with these new auto-start/auto-stop engines. You know the type. You are standing next to an idling car, and suddenly the engine stops. In the old days, we called it a stall, but new engines are doing it for fuel savings and saving the environment. I am all for protecting the environment, but I am not a huge fan of these engines. Let me explain.

These were first seen in high-end Mercedes and BMW cars. Today, they are everywhere that is not a hybrid. The idea, as I said, is to reduce carbon emissions while at idle, something most cars do a lot of in urban environments. Idling creates a lot of carbon because the gas does not fully combust, unlike when the vehicle is in motion (not entirely sure why) and it also creates a pocket of concentrated CO2 gas, along with some other not so healthy gases. So anything that makes idling cleaner is a good thing.

The problem comes about when you need to actually get going again. Because the engine actually stops, there is a brief delay before it gets started again. This is a bad thing in certain situations.

For example, if you are anything but number one in line, the delay in getting the engine started, and the gears engaged (all of which is automatic) is not a big deal. The three or four-tenths of a second it takes is manageable and usually is accounted for by the car in the number one slot getting his vehicle moving. Not a big deal.

However, if you are in the number one slot, and the car behind you is not suffering from waiting for his engine to start, you are going to get honked at, at the very least. I had a couple of near collisions simply because it took that much longer to get the car moving off the line when the light turned green.

The second issue is safety. I was taught, when I learned to drive a stick shift, that you never ride the clutch. The engine should be engaged at all times. The problem is that the sensor that puts the engine to sleep when you are idling at a traffic light does not know the difference between idling at a traffic light and waiting to make a left-hand turn. I had the engine cut out just as I had an opening to make a turn and missed the opportunity because the engine was off and had to restart. Fortunately, there was no one behind me trying to make the light as well. This is not safe. The same is true with stop and go driving. I had the engine shut off just as I went to touch the accelerator.

Finally, a minor note. The engine shutting off also shuts off the air conditioner. It will kick back on, but I can see where hot climates will result in higher in-cabin temperatures, especially in stop and go driving, where the engine shutting off actually makes it more uncomfortable inside for the passengers. Again, I cannot see this as a win.

I am sure someone has done the math, and everyone is perfectly happy with the reduced emissions, while the safety issues are perceived as minor. As a driver, I do not find that these sorts of engines are good, or safe. Time will tell.

Play Ball!

Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

–Crash Davis, Bull Durham

Where in the World…

Perhaps I am a bit nuts. If you have been reading my posts at all, you probably came to that conclusion a long time ago, but for the new people that just came in, it is a possibility. Then again, you have to be a tad off to stay sane in the world anymore.

To wit, over the next few days, I hope to be taking up a new position that will require a bit of travel. Not that unusual, I have had these sorts of jobs before, but this time, even the Welcome Aboard and Indoctrination is going to require me to travel. I expect that for a while, I will be like Carmen. I will not know where I am, or what I am doing until I get there.

Want to play along? I will see if I can find the time to post some pictures of where I am, and you can try and guess the city. I might even post the famous ones. In the meantime, wish me luck!