Sunday, January 10, 2010

criminal justice and other mad ramblings

Speaking of the 'Upsala Hydrant,' I didn't tell you where it originated . . . because I can't remember where it originated. I think it might have been Lorne Ulley's Innovations column that he used to write for Firefighting in Canada, but I'm not totally sure. It would have been a lot of years ago, because I've been using the idea for a lot of years. I will gladly give credit where credit is due, as soon as I find out to whom it is due.

Excuse me while I make a totally uneducated ramble on criminal justice. I know that in free counties, people are innocent until proven guilty. I know that having a bomb in your underwear doesn't prove that you wanted to blow up a plane on Christmas Day. And I know that things aren't always what they seem . . . but . . . it still seems a little odd that this dude pleaded not guilty. I'm talking about the guy who was in court Friday for trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane and murder at least 289 people in the process. You can read the article

There could be a perfectly sane and logical explanation why he has to drag this through the US court system (aside from wanting to have a global platform to spew his extremist views). I always like to see things from the other guy's perspective, so let me give this one a try:

Bloomer Bomber is not guilty because:
  1. He didn't know he had a bomb in his underwear. (Perhaps Osama bin Laden did his laundry that day.)

  2. He knew he had a bomb in his underwear, but it was his mom's fault. She didn't teach him not to play with fireworks.

  3. He wasn't playing with fireworks . . . he was transporting them for an Al Qaeda New Year's party, and got the dates mixed up.

  4. He needed extra cushioning on his tush for the long Atlantic flight, and his extremist buddies convinced him that Pentaerythritol was perfect padding. The spontaneously combustible chemicals were just a heart warming added touch.

  5. He honestly believed all of the above to be true, which would make him stark raving mad, therefore not criminally responsible.

I should be this guy's lawyer.

Back to a more comfortable and boring topic. The weather has gotten milder and is supposed to stay that way for a week or so, with highs between -6 and 0 (21 and 32 for the Fahrenheit-minded). If anyone was thinking they really must have a fire this winter, now would be a good time.

I'm going to impose another 'recipe' on you (Note: I use the word 'recipe' loosely, much like I use the word 'hydrant.' I don't know much about either). (Second note: if you really dislike my intrusions into the culinary world, I won't mind if you skip to the last paragraph).

Unconventional Shepherd's Pie

  1. Dig out the leftover prime rib from last night's supper and decide that it would be a shame to serve it as "boring old leftovers." (Note: this step is essential. Otherwise you'll just heat up the leftover meat and potatoes and a new 'recipe' will never be born).

  2. Put the leftover gravy in a pot and add water. Turn on medium heat and stir for a bit.

  3. Taste the gravy and frown because you watered it down too much.

  4. Add some soy sauce (I prefer Kikkoman), garlic, salt, and pepper.

  5. Taste the gravy and frown again. Add some Chinese noodle seasoning (leftover from lunch . . . chicken flavour was what I had, but any would work . . . msg is a pretty universal flavour fixer). Beef base would work as well. Taste the gravy and allow yourself a very small smile.

  6. Boil some potatoes (this step is not required if you had enough leftover from last night. For that matter, if you had enough gravy leftover, you could omit the last several steps).

  7. Combine the boiled potatoes with last night’s leftover mashed potatoes. Add garlic, grated cheese, Parmesan cheese, milk . . . and salt and pepper. You can put some butter in as well. Never mind measuring, just add everything to taste (hey, I warned you this wasn’t a real recipe).

  8. Mash the potatoes. If they are too stiff to spread easily, add a little more milk.

  9. Chop up the prime rib.

  10. By this time the gravy should be done (if you didn’t burn it). Taste it one more time to make sure it has enough flavour (a little Worcestershire Sauce might help), and thicken if necessary with a mixture of cornstarch and water.

  11. Mix the gravy and meat, and put it in a casserole dish. If you can’t see the meat, you’ve probably drowned it in gravy and should take some out.

  12. Spread some frozen corn on top of the meat.

  13. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the corn.

  14. Sprinkle some paprika on top, just because.

  15. Bake at 350 until it bubbles. Cover if necessary to keep the top from burning.

The kids said this was my best Shepherd's Pie ever . . . which means it was awesome, OR it was mediocre and my other Shepherd's Pies were lousy, OR they just wanted to make me feel good. Erinn is the Shepherd's Pie Queen, by the way.

I should really leave this cooking tom-foolery and write about some earth-shaking event that is rocking our hamlet. Let’s see . . . perhaps the Mayor is involved in a scandal . . . nope, we haven’t got a mayor. Perhaps the OPP uncovered a terrorist cell in downtown Upsala . . . except we don’t have a downtown, and the terrorists can’t even find Upsala. I’ve got it. A local bush pilot tried to blow up his ice fishing customers by planting a bomb in his underwear. He wanted to make a statement to the world about . . . about . . . I’m not sure why he would want to do something so ridiculous. Oh well. That story idea is taken already anyway.

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