Month: July 2012

Dinner Tonight: Almond encrusted salmon

Just a simple one tonight, Almond encrusted salmon and Broccoli Rabe.

I love almonds – we usually have them in the house. And I had gone looking for lobster yesterday but only found salmon. So the idea popped into my head:

Almonds would make a nice coating for salmon.

The recipe – says it’s only good for 8oz. of salmon but I used this with 1.5lbs of salmon and it came out perfectly.

1.5lb salmon, cut into 4oz portions
2 Eggs – whites only, discard yolks
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped almonds (Food processor does a nice consistency here)
Zest from one lemon
2Tbsp chopped parsley

Put almonds, lemon zest and parsley in food processor. Run it for a good minute or so. Get it all chopped up.

Empty into dish.

Season salmon with salt and pepper and dredge both sides in flour. This one gets messy.

Brush egg whites on tops of floured salmon. Then dredge salmon in almond mixture.

Over medium heat, heat two tablespoons olive oil.

Fry the salmon, almond side down, for 5 minutes, turn over and cook for 5 more minutes.

It’s delicious – simple, and being I love salmon, this rates up there with the cider/brown sugar salmon I did a couple years ago. Speaking of which I have to make that one again.

And yes, there is leftover salmon.

Voter ID: Sometimes I just can’t help myself

So I heard the news today that AG Holder is calling the Voter ID law in Texas a poll tax. And I also saw that DOJ is going after Florida for it’s voter roll purges.

So it prompted me to send the following to Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President M. Theresa Paiva-Weed, as well as to Rep. Michael Tarro and Sen. Paul Jabour in RI:

And in other news, AG Holder calls Texas Voter ID law a poll tax. And here in RI you geniuses in the legislature by enacting our Voter ID law, you actually opened up an avenue for fraud to occur. I’ll let you read the act of course but it’s because you can use a HEALTH CLUB ID card as proof. That is easily spoofed.

But what you need to know is that since 2008, RI has used a Central Voter Registration Database. You’ve probably purchased a copy for your own uses in elections. But the point I’m making is that the database exposed what little fraud there was in RI. It’s time to take a look at the Voter ID Act here and get rid of it. I find it highly abhorrent since it’s only real purpose, in my view, is to disenfranchise voters. And I’m surprised it made it through our legislature.

I can’t help myself but to point out idiocy wherever I see it. Be it in the laws of the city, state or federal governments, or the general ineptitude of legislators, I love hitting them where it hurts.

Another reason Romney aka Rmoney shouldn’t be President

This is from 2007 – but it’s relevant:

The man is dying – only marijuana alleviates his symptoms, and he cannot tolerate synthetic cannabis.

The things that come out of Rmoney’s mouth are just stunningly ignorant.

And in other news, it seems that there might be another reason that Willard Mitt Rmoney doesn’t want to issue his tax returns. Seems he registered to vote at his sons house in MA, but the returns would show him living elsewhere.

Voter fraud is a felony – here’s to hoping someone digs deeper on this one.

What is really wrong with the U.S. economy

It’s a crisis of faith to some degree. But with recent news of the London Inter Bank Offer Rate (LIBOR) you begin to understand to some degree the pervasive nature of it.

Take consumer credit – it’s tied to the prime rate in most cases. And the prime rate, it’s determined in part by LIBOR!

A massive ripoff – I did a little playing around with various interest rates on a $1,000 debt for 12 months at 10% interest. You end up paying $1,054.98, not too bad.

But lets say because of LIBOR – you now pay 15% – you end up paying back $1,083.09. Sure, it’s only a difference of $28.11. But now multiply it out by the number of credit card holders – probably 100 million people. That’s an additional $28,110,000.

It’s high time we regulate the banks again. Scrap the insurance company/bank merger bit, and break up a few national banks. You’ll see interest rates drop, and better yet an easing of credit.

Another industry ripoff I see is the utility game. Wire line phone service is one of them, and it’s only getting worse. The phone systems have gotten so automated that labor costs were greatly reduced. And the bell companies get good rates from electric providers. But yet they milked the customer for all we are worth – what with the fees and such. Even VOIP isn’t immune.

Hell – a regular Verizon pots line around here is $45 without any features. A phone you can’t take with you. Meanwhile for an additional $5 per month over what a wireline phone would cost, I have not only phone service I can take with me, but sms, web, email, facebook, flickr, kindle – you name it.

Electric providers are another case. The cost of electricity here is going down because natural gas prices are going down. Yes, all to do with all that fracking which I find distasteful, but electricity prices are dropping by 21% around here. So what does National Grid do, but hike the distribution charges.

We should never have deregulated utility providers. We’ve found out what deregulation really does, it destroys the environment, destroys consumers, and all in all is just a REALLY bad idea.

Think about it, all this money we pay to companies just because they can charge what they want, if we pumped that back into the economy instead of into the pockets of the utility shareholders!

Dignity in Death: Choosing to Die by Terry Pratchett

Go and watch this video.

Talk about dignity. Dignity in choosing to go out of clear mind but broken body. Dignity to take ones own life when they feel they’ve had enough, that they won’t succumb to the ravages of disease.

The reason I believe assisted suicide is illegal in the United States and in the Westernized world has to do with religion. If you delve into Christianity, Islam and even Judaism to some degree there is that destiny, that submission to a deity. It is why suicide itself is so abhorrent to people of a religious bent. It is because they see it as a circumvention of said deity’s will. In other words, how dare you take the life given to you by god.

But I look at it this way – I would much prefer to end my own life if I know that the ravages of disease are going to make me suffer for a period of months, or even years. I would much prefer to take myself out, with the assistance if necessary of a medical professional. Just slip the needle in and it’s over.

Here’s to hoping that someday our governments will see their way clear to allow assisted suicide.


More on the Dorr War

I’m now 41% through the book, at Chapter 8 titled “There is Danger Here”. (Location 884 of 2156).

Not going to spill much detail, you have to read it if you’re a Rhode Islander, or even if you’re not.

All I can say is the mid 19th century wasn’t a good time for all. You had the misogynistic, racist elements in control. You had obstinate legislators (Hmm, that sounds familiar!) and at one point two competing governments in the state at the time.

It’s really fascinating.

Why you’re starting to see more LED TV’s

It’s for a very simple reason, or reasons.

1) LED’s are super cheap. I can get a bag of 100 3mm LED’s for $1.95 – the effective cost per LED is 2 cents each. If you are an electronics geek hit Marlin P. Jones Associates, Inc.. They’ve got some good deals on stuff.

2) Current LCD TV’s use fluorescent tubes which require AC current. This means inverters need to be on most TV’s. This is expensive.

With LED’s all your really need to do is limit the current a little bit, something easily accomplished with resistors which are also cheap passive devices. No transformers, no oscillators, just LED/Resistor combination.

So that’s why we’re seeing more LED TV’s come out. They’re less expensive to make.

Currently Reading: The Dorr War: Treason, Rebellion & The Fight For Reform in Rhode Island

The book is by Rory Raven and the Kindle edition is only $9.99!

I’m only at location 220 out of 2156 but I found this quote and just had to share it. The quote is from former President of Brown University Francis Wayland (Hence, Wayland Square in Providence) around the time of 1834.

Wayland didn’t like immigrants. That much is certain. He’d probably hate my Italian-American ass, but here is what he said:

We ought to recollect that all the evils which may result from an extension of suffrage will be evils beyond our reach. We shall entail them upon our latest posterity without remedy. Open this door, and the whole frame and character of our institutions are changed forever.

Now go and listen to the arguments of the religious bigots of the 21st century and you get the uneasy feeling that this element of haters has been with us for a minimum of two centuries, and probably a hell of a lot more.

But we the people are winning. The religious arguments are looking more and more ridiculous as time rolls away from us.

This is why I love reading local history as well as other historical works. You glean so much of the zeitgeist of the time when you delve into the history.

Another interesting thing in the book resolves a quandary I’ve had for some time. A friend of ours believes that RI is still a royal property. I think I know where it comes from now.

You see in 1663 the State of Rhode Island, then a colony, received a charter from King Charles II. That charter stood until 1840. Recall I have mentioned before that RI was the last of the original thirteen colonies to approve the U.S. constitution. Well – we took our sweet time breaking away from the charter.

But make no mistake about it, the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is part of the United States, not of the UK. And we have a rather proud history behind us. Which is all the more frustrating since we should be on the leading edge of freedom today. Sadly we are not.

The Truth about Student Loans

Listen to this – I’ve been doing some research on them and I did find out that it’s only been since the late 70’s that lenders have been protected from people discharging student loans in bankruptcies.

But get this – they’ll sell your loan off to a company that will do remediation. That’s nice but they also whack you an 18.5% fee on top of the balance. So if you owed say $70,000 you’d get whacked with a $12,950 fee, bringing your balance to $82,950!

It reminds me of the prohibitions on interest present in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic texts.

In the Bible it’s Deuteronomy 15:1-7 —

Deuteronomy 15

15:1 At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release.
15:2 And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD’s release.
15:3 Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release;
15:4 Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the LORD shall greatly bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it:
15:5 Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day.
15:6 For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee. (15:7-8) Cited by Associated Baptist Press in defense of the Affordable Care Act.

(15:7) “If there be among you a poor man … thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother.”

I think the key areas here are 15:1-2 – every seven years there is a release that is God’s release. And when you think about it, U.S. Bankruptcy law is based on the Bible. So why aren’t student loan creditors?

If you read the entire seven verses you get the idea – there is to be forgiveness for debt. But by allowing the student loan industry to get away with this, we are violating Biblical principle.

Even though I’m not Christian or Muslim, there is some good, practical ways of doing things in the books. Our legislators would do well to look at the book from time to time.

Cars – which one to choose

So if I do get the job up in MA I was thinking that a 2.5 hour commute on public transit would only be cute for about 3 or 4 months. So I figured it out, I could sock enough away to get a decent used car in about 4 months.

So I’ve been looking at cars. I had wanted a 2004 Nissan Maxima but doing some research I discovered that 2004 was the first year they started making the Maxima here in the U.S. I also saw that complaints about transmission problems crop up starting in 2004.

So I decided to expand the search a bit. I started looking at Toyota Camry’s. They’re kind of pricey even used but just about every manufacturer has now stopped using timing belts, and Toyota is no exception.

However I’m not averse to say a 2003 Nissan Maxima, and if I could find one with the six speed manual transmission, worries solved, even after 2003. Standard transmissions are actually a fair bit simpler than automatics. Essentially you have your gear set and a synchro set – this allows you to easily switch gears by rotating the entire gearset at the same speed. It’s quite clever.

Then over the course of say 12 months I could sock enough away to buy a new Toyota Prius C. I definitely want something that gets a minimum of 30MPG highway, preferably 40MPG. And while I had once toyed with a Smart car – it’s not practical for my needs. Traveling in it would be painful.

But it’s not even just travel, a trip to the grocery store means only one person in the Smart, not bloody likely.

So not to put the cart before the horse but it does help to do ones research.