Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gut Jul 2011

As King John said:
To All & Sundry 
F. Christmas in particular!

And may none be denied light enough to see by.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Noir with …

Review by Martin Langeland 
Bruno Heinz Jaja's PunktContrapunct was introduced at the Hoffnung Interplanetary MusicFestival as a sort of kaffee with flagellated cream.
If it weren't a tautology, I might call Roy's book a Noir with … but you see the problem. Fortunately you can read this delightful yarn available at several locales [Itunes, Smashwords, B & N], cheap, and enjoy the whipping as a bystander. From one sentence to the next he will surprise you with wry laughter, or conjure a rueful sigh, at a sharpish observation, while he slips in the necessary info to keep the plot humming along and your ratiocinative powers nicely misdirected. This is that rarity, a book that has been intelligently edited. No wasted effort. No windmilling. Just graceful, skillful language deployment in service of the muse. The sex is nice too. I give it five stars only because a one to four star system permits no higher accolade.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The MBA Culture Defined

 Atrios muses:
I don't have a fully fleshed out point here, but it occurs to me that there are certain people in politics who are like the finance guys in business. They're so removed from the actual product that they're selling that they forget that customers actually need to like and buy their crap.
That's how the Plundecrats go to work this past thirty years and more.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Actually that should read "I've Joined".
Intermittent blogging continues here. But those seeking a social network experience should look for dumluks@diasp.org.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bela Lugosi Slurps Again

The fortnight of seasonal tricks and treats quickly, but stealthily, approaches.
To aid your mayhem quest and spread the cheerful dread I offer this virtual haunted house tour through the cobwebby passages of Dum Luks.
Bela Lugosi fans look here for the tale direct and here for the flourishes and details of incipient verisimilitude which warm the cockles while chilling the spine.
Muse on all the likely comers.
When the hobgobblins and haints depart it will be timely to make our penitient orisions with this carefree ditty.
Yet one dry squib remains to delight as our guide turns on his peg leg to ask a penny for the guy.
As the children's radio show host said: That ought to keep the little bastards. Alas the mic was still on and so that was his last show. Fear not. This omnibus score card is neither final nor farewell.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

A Dirty Secret

What price a turn of phrase?
Dailykos posts a diary recommending some counter actions to ameliorate the unhappiness of local merchants over toilet use at the Wall Street demos: OWS. It concludes with the above photo of a mural depicting a common cliche.
Thing is, carpets are dirt traps. Dirt arriving on top from boot soles, shedding animals, plants and so forth, wend their way through the warp and weft of the carpet to the floor where continued traffic turns it into an abrasive. I suspect that many a tweeny has been unjustly accused of sweeping it under the carpet when nothing more than normal activity by the occupants of the room caused the pile. No justice for the lower 99%.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Chair

Left to Right:LapSang Souchong, Bruiser James and Smedley Q. Clangwheedle take the seat while Ozma Tiamat Mehitabel, with suitable disdain, turns her back to all above.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Consult Consultants Consulting

Earle: "The job of a consultant is to restate the client's question in such a way that the problem states its solution."
At present we have a depressed economy with too little demand.
Unemployment is unconscionably high.
Major corporations are awash in cash.
Income inequality is at the highest level in generations.
Manufacturing has moved offshore.
Research is moribund.
Our greatest innovations are fraudulent financial instruments.
Infrastructure -- roads, bridges electric grids, water supplies and sewage systems, et. al. -- are antiquated and crumbling.

So: Government should tax the rich to get money to build infrastructure, providing demand to employ people, increase investment in manufacturing, spur innovation by increasing research, and regulate the banks to make them the servants of capitalism they are meant to be rather than the piratical bosses they claim to be now.

Plutocrats own the government.

Geez! It was working so well until that last line!

So maybe the real solution is to get new elected officials -- ones who serve the public rather than the plutocrats?

Friday, September 09, 2011

Curiouser and Curioser

Saw this ad on my morning Krugman:
What caught my attention was the graphic. Circles with lines taking various controlled paths. In three colors. Red. Blue. Yellow.
Reminds me of ...
oh, yeah. A stylized color offset press.
Just the thing to bring the digital world to mind.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Marketing Fail

My bank statement -- always a fantasy exercise -- is even more over the top due to an ad for a visa card. The headline is "Carpe Savem Translation: Seize the Savings!"
As it happens, Latin is one of several languages that Dum Luks can be misunderstandable in. So I seized my ancient Collins Gem (Carpe liber) and found this:
Save is servāre. Save up is reservāre. No conjugation leads to savem which sounds like it might be very vaguely Piute or even more distantly Shoshone. The closest to a root for savem I found in a quick look is: Sāvior "to kiss".

So it might read "Seize the kiss!"
But a freer rendering might be: "Getcha Redhot Kiss Off!"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Softly He Lifts His Snow White Mane ...

Despite his work life incarceration in the enforced gezelligheid (Dutch) of the modern era, here he skips bringing a sweet offering called Platterland. It is by Rob Hunter. It is sub-headed You'll Be Happy Here. But this is less an imperative and more a winsome blandishment softly uttered in anticipation rather than trepidation, one imagines. The author calls it a “hypertext puzzle box.” And — filled with nine stories and a novella — so it is.
Certainly “The Orange Virgin” —  the novella in question — is a quandary box filled with the seminal clutter of a well stocked mind made redundant — thereby free to gambol — by an errant world devoid of all nous about the classicism once imparted to a tender youth through a stern apprenticeship to Greek and Latin Masters frequently mistaken, though no more, for antarctic birds. In it a clash of titans fills the foreground as the earth goddess and sky demon jostle one another back into their proper dominions. A lavish palimpsest of characters spatters the way, like the texture of a well painted flat, rich in hue and vast in breadth while the depth leaves the reader breathless. Call it Ulysses in Willapac or the Decimated Decameron. Hell, its really Shakes' comic countrymen gathered in a giddy fête to gigue around the good old phallus. Lots of slap the stick humor. The image of a thousand clowns emerging from a VW or a deux chevaux is commonplace. Conjure the effort of stuffing the 957th clown in! In the 30 years Rob struggled to create his Parnassus he must have felt like that when he wasn't envying the easy life of Laocoön. Oh far far better to cope with seas snakes than with narrative strands! Golems dance with demi-urges to the heady rhythms of cigar chomping manticores while Ur Goats nod and udderful bulls bellow to be milked though they know not where. Life is confusing for a bas relief left to the imagination below the belly button.
Notice must be taken of the cover art by Anna Wilkenfeld. Two of Swords distils Platterland — You'll Be Happy Here to a heady liquor while serendipitously capturing the current political scene.
But there is more. Nine stories more, sort of like this:
What is alien? Perhaps no more than your full on normal point of view, but seen out of the corner of another's eye?

So a Fixer says to the Golem behind the bar somewhere in the Larger Magellanic Cloud: Which way to the Poconos?

Now appearing nightly: Ernie Kovacs and Arnold Stang in "King of the Wood" the new off-off Willapaq hit play from the Golden Bough.

"Three smashed thumbs!!!" — The Carpenter of Kennebunkport.
"Huh?"  — Burt and I.
"Nertz" — Unperiodic Variety.
Who was that white suited dude with the handlebars?
You mean a mustache?
One of those too.
Was he driving a late model Fulton Riverboat?
No he was in the subway. In Milan.
Oh, Mark Twain.

Memory is the available time machine. Our own Doc Wonmug dials the relevant and irreverent past to show: 'here be dragon'.

But, seriously folks... Rob Hunter has assembled a delicious assortment of adventures with an interstellar cast of characters including Flyin' Ed. Those of you who have read Rob's work before will dispute my clumsy attempts above to assault the flavor of Rob's wit, imagination and sheer narrative dazzlement. Those who don't know Rob's work ... first, I envy them the encounter whose consummation is devoutly to be hurried to commencement and savored in the repletion during. There is no second because you are already clicking on the handy order form.
For those so churlish as not to have done so, follow the links for print, e-book and audio book formats. all for the amazingly low price — offer only available this century —of absolutely not a nickel, no shipping or handling, free — except where otherwise stated in the fine print.
— ml

The Pace is Just Dizying ...

Here is a re-post of a milestone:
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Word Inflation

One of Earle's favorite comments was:
"The first fifty years are the hardest."

But I first encountered word inflation, not through Victor Borge's twoderful skit, but when Earle turned 45. Overnight the comment grew:
"The first hundred years are the hardest."

Now is Dum Luk's time. About 11 am PST visitor number 10,000 (according to Sitemeter) came calling from Princeton, New Jersey, in quest of portable beehive ovens.
So now all of you kind readers are "among the lucky first twenty thousand".
It is worth re-posting because sitemeter informs me that visitor #20k came calling at 10:52:38 pm on 20 July 2011. The visitor, from Sarawak, Malaysia, googled for "word inflation". Hopefully I satisfied that itch.

Consider yourself, dear reader, to now be among the first fifty thousand visitors. Early adopters all.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Fatalism is Lazy

Paul Krugman complains about the fatalism which pervades the Masters of the Sands of Policies Box.
I would add that there is also an element of laziness which prevents a more active approach.
Much of the work that needs doing is boring, stupid and dumb stuff. Like rebuilding old bridges, replacing sewer lines, upgrading water works or remaking the various highways for power, data, goods and people into more efficient 21st century models. How about insulating houses for an exciting job? How about cleaning up urban streams for rugged outdoor activity.
Yeah. Right. Not sexy like writing up a derivative trading algorithm to make a ton of money for the Masters of the Sands of Policies Box.
We've ignored maintenance for two generations too long. It isn't romantic work. It is hard back breaking labor. You have to wear work clothes to do it, not fashionable whatevers from Armani.  So the Masters of the Sands of Policies Box have ignored it. They kept the money to pay for maintenance in their own pockets. With more than five applicants chasing every job opening I bet it's easy to find workers willing to do the jobs. I don't think there are too many non-tea party mayors who would refuse the offer. All that lacks is a bit of can do from the Masters of the Sands of Policies Box instead of the fatalism we get.
The lazy fatalism that won't sully its hands with anything less filthy than money.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


About three o'clock every afternoon a persistent question seems to present itself.
No matter how well answered yesterday, it returns day after day to pose a problem susceptible to a rich myriad of divergent solutions. How rich? Why as rich as my most vivid imagination yet admirably suitable to my meager purse. The solution may expand to fill all comers at a serendipitous meeting of old friends, or contract to suit the contents of the cupboard.
What might answer? Flanders and Swann sang a song that catches the thought:

We have a song here, more or less as a postscript, it's about something that's not really an animal, but it's certainly more than a mere vegetable. I am referring, of course, to that fantastic newly-discovered hybrid, the Wompom. ...
You can do such a lot with a Wompom,
You can use every part of it too.
For work or for pleasure,
It's a triumph, it's a treasure,
Oh there's nothing that a Wompom cannot do.

Oh, the flesh in the heart of a Wompom
Has the flavour of porterhouse steak.
And its juice is a liquor
That will get you higher quicker
And you're still lit up next morning when you wake.
The answers have no known geographic limitation. They range from collations as simple as flour and water to the austere complexities of a jaded gourmet's palette wake-up regime. While masters strain and heave the veriest amateur may strike it lucky and carry off the prize. Or not. The point is: It fills. It satisfies. Brillat-Savarin beams.

The question is: What's for dinner?
My all purpose response is: Gorp.

So just what is 'gorp'?
Not so easy. Like a wompom it is so flexible as to evade precision. That lack of precision might be a key that you are on to it. A plain rare chop doesn't give you much room to dance. It either is or it isn't. But don't you dare claim to know the only true recipe for chili (Chile? Chilli? Chilly?). Fist fights seem inevitable in any crowd larger than two. Experts differ. Any peaceable discussion requires a definition of terms. By chili we often refer to a reddish soupy sauce containing beef and/or pork either ground coarsely or diced into ¼” to ½” pieces and spiced with capsicums in the form of chile powder(s) mixed with other herbs and spices. (Chili powder's a gorp to itself. See here or here for recipes to make chilli powder. But there are more variations on the recipe for chili powder than there are chiles.) How about cumin? (“Ewh! Armpits!” Says the rude child) Or cinnamon, cloves, cacao, or herbs such as marjoram, oregano or thyme. How hot do we spice it? Just the virtual thrill of cayenne or the blazing full out hell fire of Naga Vipers at 800,000 – 1,382,118 Scovilles.
A pot of chili usually contains meat and often onions. I was once served a bowl that contained a boot lace eyelet. No doubt it featured well aged, even tanned, beef. Muy auténtico. Possibly there are tomatoes and other vegetables. But, important distinction, do we include beans? No Texan would say yes. But if so, what sort of beans? The non-Texan part of the world makes other choices indulging in a plethora of legumes. Accompanied by: Rice? Cheese? Noodles?Various chopped vegetables – tomatoes, lettuce, scallions, peppers, olives, et al? Oyster crackers?  Saltines? Chips – corn, tortilla or pita? Tortillas – flour or corn? Use mere dots? The table covering models? Or something in between-ish? Or corn bread? White or yellow or a mix including sweet corn? Serve it in a bowl? Or in wraps and sauce as a casserole? Or a stand alone 'handwich'? These are only a few of the changes cooks ring on this basic food. Every sort has its adherents proudly claiming the pinnacle of savor.
As Chili is claimed by the Southwest of North America, so any good gorp may be closely associated with a culture. Perhaps this association is more or less specious. No matter. Spaghetti is Italian – except the regions of Italy each do something completely different with their particular local pasta and sauce than most mid-westerners, as an instance, expect.
Dorothy made her spaghetti sauce from a pound of ground beef, with an onion, a rib or two of celery and a quarter of a green bell pepper diced fine . Add a can of button mushrooms, a small one of tomato paste, a tablespoon of oregano, the merest blessing of an ancient, consecrated clove of garlic, and a grind of pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes and serve.
How very different her modest restraint was from Earle's more complex chemistry experiment:
Dad's Spaghetti Sauce
Dice 4 slices of bacon, 3 ribs of celery and 4 onions.
Mince 6 cloves of garlic.
Sauté bacon slowly to render fat.
Brown 1½ pounds coarsely ground beef.
Add vegetables. Sauté about 5 minutes.
Add 4 cans consomme, 2 large cans tomato paste, (1 large can tomatoes), (⅓ cup dried shitake mushrooms), ⅓ cup oregano, 1 bunch parsley, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon mustard, ½ teaspoon cloves, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon tarragon, 2 teaspoons celery seed.
Simmer at least 4 hours.
Thicken with 1½ tablespoons cornstarch per quart.
Let stand overnight. The flavors need time to blend. Freezes very well.
A third version is Strike Night Spaghetti.
Mix your favorite red sauce with a mess of cooked pasta (rotelli work very well with lots of crannies to hold the sauce) and fill an oblong baker. Bake to warm and cover with cheese (Mild cheddar, colby or co-jack). Brown that and serve.
This was a favorite with the crew about 1 am of a Sunday morning as we finished clearing out the set (usually two stories and free standing – that was built more like a house than a suit of flats) of the production that closed Saturday night so we could erect the set for the next play on Monday. We had to clear and clean the amphitheatre by 10 am Sunday for rehearsals. This was called striking the set, hence 'strike night spaghetti'.
At the Kirin Beer Hall in Shinjuku they made a wonderful spaghetti with a red sauce, featuring tiny mushrooms, which was vaguely Italian, but decidedly Japanese. What might you expect in an ersatz German Beer Hall? The beer was very good, too.
Yet all of these delicious red sauces are only part of saucing pasta. Sauces may be varied. With cream sauces. With fish sauces.  The Italian Food page at All About dot com is a good jumping off point if you are unfamiliar with Italian cooking as Italians do it.
Gorp also results when two cultures meet. Chop suey, supposedly, was the result of Chinese in the US trying to please the tastes of European descendants working on the California end of the Transcontinental Railroad. And succeeding.
This is a myth, apparently.  The late nineteenth century immigrants from Taishan in Guangdong Province were enterprising restauranteurs who offered a native za sui, or sub gum (sub gum, Cantonese: “numerous and varied”, means one or more meats or fish with mixed vegetables, Rice or noodles or soup, i.e.: gorp) stir fry, served on rice. Their non-Chinese customers miscalled it Chop Suey and loved it. One American addition is the deep fried noodles that make a nice crunchy garnish.
In the wheat growing regions of Northern China, noodles may be boiled or steamed or served in soup or stir fried in oil (Chow Mein) or stir fried with a stock (Lo Mein) or fried into a pancake or served cold with fresh garden vegetables in a sweet sour stock as a summer cooler or deep fried as a ″bird's nest” or as a crunchy topping or … but I go on.
Pizza is another American innovation (or not, as one prefers) only reminiscent of the bread, herbs and cheese of Roma. Consider a recipe for Neapolitan Fried Pizza ascribed to Sophia Loren which I clipped from a feuilleton some forty or more years ago.
Neapolitan Fried Pizza Sophia Loren
Proof 1 tablespoon of yeast in ¼ cup lukewarm water.
Mix with 5 cups flour and 1 cup, or more if needed, of water .
Knead and let rise about 30 minutes.
Saute 6 minced cloves of garlic in ¼ cup of olive oil.
Puree 3 pounds of Italian Tomatoes.
Add to garlic with fresh basil.
Cook over high heat for 15 minutes.
Form dough into 6” rounds. Fry in olive oil.
Spread with sauce and cheese., fold in half.
Not exactly your B'way slice with the cheesy top lost in a swamp of red yellow oil. First I had was in 1962 when a window to the street served a four inch slice from a 20” pie on a paper napkin for just 15¢. Bread and cheese with flavored oil. Yum.
Today pizza is a proud exemplar of a truly global dish with bells and whistles, from ultra-super-thin crust to Chicago-Sicilian-drown-your-enemies-in-a-bathtub deep dish, with added refinements in every region. Even I, here at Dum Luk's, once made a double decker pizza as a way to make stuffed crust even more ... Stuffed. Think of it: A crisp crust on the bottom covered in a meaty sauce and cheese under a softer layer of bread covered in a meaty sauce with cheese. That's a jawbreaker of pizza goodness about 2” thick. Well ... I always admitted to being a gourmand. That's a politer (to porcines) way to say pig.
Then there is macaroni cheese, which I consider one of the finer achievements of gorp. My extensive experience was mostly gained as a means of feeding The Kid™ and utilizing the five pound block of government cheddar and pony keg of powdered milk which came our way once a month from a more generous (to the dairy industry) surplus food program soon to be stopped by a rogue regime in the eighties. To this day The Kid™ believes, with a goodly portion of truth on her side, that the best dinners begin by sautéing a mess of onions. Meanwhile boil some pasta in another pot. Add meat, if available, to the onions. A can of tuna fish can substitute or skip it for a veggie delight (lactose tolerant). Add garlic, celery, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, green beans, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, scallions, Lima beans, corn, leeks, or whatever takes your fancy or you happen to have. Add more. Add less. Cook's choice. Add herbs, cook's choice: maybe celery seed, oregano, thyme; or celery seed, basil, bay leaf (crunch it up); or fennel, ginger and allspice. Salt. Pepper. To make your sauce, in the pot stir in a tablespoon or two of flour and some dry mustard to make a roux with the fat (butter, olive oil, or both) in the pan. Add powdered milk, if using. Stir to spread the dry stuff in a thin layer to avoid clumps. Add stock – Milk, water, chicken, beef, mushroom, veggie-- what do you want it to taste like? Let this simmer for a quarter of an hour or so. Time depends on how you like your veg. Stir it now and then to keep it dancing. By now it should be a bit thick – but not a lot. Add a pound or so of cheese diced fine or grated as you have the patience for. Stir to mix and melt the cheese. Add the cooked pasta, stir some more and serve. The Kid™ still adores this meal—which we used to have every Tuesday night for half a dozen years — and was taking a college nutrition course before she tumbled that I was slipping her the vegetables.
Why every Tuesday? That was the day Diana was scheduled to work the swing shift at the library and so it was just The Kid™ and me and maybe Del (who thought I was stingy with the cheese.) Diana took her vegetables in a less cheesy manner. She prefers her mac cheese as Noodles Jefferson
Old Tom was an inventor and promoter. That way he had with words! While President he expended much personal energy on ways to expand the products of American Agriculture. His sojourn in Paris broadened his culinary horizons. He thought American farmers – particularly in Virginia and the Carolinas – could make a good thing out of sesame seeds, particularly the oil. Among many other foreign blandishments the lobbyists eager for American trade foisted on this simple country boy was some pasta and a wheel of Parmesan cheese.
This led to Noodles Jefferson. Cook pasta. Mix with melted butter and grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. Elegant and simple at once.
One of The Kid's™ good friends was beyond finicky. Her idea of macaroni cheese was tres tres nouvelle cuisine. I fetched her with a simple bowl of buttered orzo flecked with a few cut leaves of Italian parsley.
On line most any good recipe site will provide dozens of variations on this essential comfort food. There does seem to be a bit of a continuo in the noodle. Elbows. Elbows? Well. I have nothing against elbows. I have a great tuna casserole from the fifties that uses them. But what about Rotelle? Or Radiatori? Del always preferred Rotini for there superior sauce conveying areas. But there's also gemeli and bowties and farfalle and conchiglie – aka shells (I like little ones for pasta salads and The Kid™ likes big un's. So there.) Well here's a list. Here's a bigger one.
So, Gorp = meat (protein, animal or vegetable) + veg (vitamins & minerals) and flour(thickener, carb) + water (stock, milk, wine)?
That's neat phony math, but way to limiting to be gorp.
This is just one byway of one pot meals. There are all kinds of soups and stews. There are salads. There are sausages. There are hamburgers, the least of which are merely ground beef formed into a patty. There are breads.
Breads merit a completely different post. But consider that, not just one or two, but whole libraries of books have been written on ways to mix flour and water, with or without a leaven, to obtain nourishment. Something that basic/fanciful, simple/complex and quick/slow that its variations keep us happy all our lives long if only we try; That's gorp
And that's whats for dinner.

UPDATE: to fix link

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Archy's Clever Wife proves it with a debut blog post that shoots the bobbin through the bell.
Welcome to Sleeping with Leonard Cohen!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tempus Crawls to Flight

Six years today.
394 posts.
19,687 unique visitors who viewed 24,643 pages.
But who's counting?
I know it makes a pretty hefty paper back if printed. Larger than a standard novel, but less than a block buster (in more senses than one). Poke around and see what you find in the tags on the right side bar. Might learn something, or get a laugh. Mostly I endeavor to amuse.

There are still more posts floating around among the dust kitties and pebbles between my ears set dancing as I come down the stair of life, bump, bump, bump. There's the rest of the history of the stove. There's discovery of bread making to share. There's the explication of gorp I promised Roy. Perhaps I'll get them typed up just as soon as ...

Thank you for stopping by.
Thank you for the use of the hall.

Most of all:
Thank you.

Monday, March 07, 2011


From the IWW via Oly Mike at the Left Coaster:
That's more like it.
And if you feel the need for an apposite stem winder, see Tommy Douglas clips at You Tube. His Mouseland parable is particularly appropriate for this poster. Funny, if you elect white cats in preference to black cats, they still write very good laws -- for cats. The Us needs us mice to gather and elect mice to govern. Only then will we have a chance to create a progressive society where all care for all, and each can be their best.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just a Thought ...

This is my preferred campaign:
The progressive who's policy is:
”... It's simple. Its effective. Its doable. Right Now.”
and makes it so, wins.
Think: "Not Insurance reform -- but medicare for all."
or "This year the Bush tax cuts expire. Today I introduce the Obama tax reform -- one which lowers taxes on 90% of Americans while raising the revenue we need to defend, to leran, to repair and to grow."
or: "To survive, this great nation must be as good as its word. So today I have asked Congress to investigate all questionable actions of the previous administration to assure all of us, the American People and the people of the world, that in America we do not break our oath. And if any do so in our name, they meet prompt, swift, but above all, fair justice."

A different world? Maybe. But one that invites.

Aren't you glad I don't run the zoo?