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November 13, 2003

Congratulations to the Wootens!

Sara Maria Wooten entered this world yesterday. Mom, dad, and baby are all sleeping at last check.

Posted by dylan at 11:36 PM

Update on that baby thing

Had an ultrasound today.

PTBNL at 19 weeks in utero

Everything seems to be there and in working order. Squirmy little bugger, though. Takes after its father.

More on the baby blog.

Posted by dylan at 10:57 PM | Comments (2)

November 11, 2003

Corn Casserole

One of the traditional Thanksgiving foods of my family is the corn casserole, aka two-corn casserole. Since I keep forgetting the recipe, I'm posting it for posterity. Supposedly, it came from a late '70s Southern Living cookbook.

1/2 cup butter (1)
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper (2)
1/3 cup chopped onion
one 17 oz. can creamed corn
one 17 oz. can whole kernel corn, undrained
3 eggs, well beaten
8 1/2 oz. box corn bread mix (3)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4)

Melt the butter in a frying pan; add pepper and onion and cook until the onion is translucent. Combine the eggs, corns, and cheese in a large bowl, then add the cornbread mix and mix well. When peppers and onions are ready add everything in the pan (including the hot oil) into the mixture. Mix to combine. Pour mixture into a casserole of at least 1 1/2 quarts and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 55 - 65 minutes, or until the top is brown and yellow and looks like cornbread. Remove from oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

(1) Yes, that's a lot of fat. Alternative option is to use either 1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp olive oil or 2 tbsp butter to cook, then 1/3 cup half-and-half in the batter, but be ready for a slightly soupy pudding that'll need a little more time to set. Yes, you can use skim milk (and fat-free cheese) if you don't want it to be edible.

(2) The fam now uses one Anaheim pepper, diced. I sometimes use 1/2 a green bell and an ancho. If you like hot peppers, try using a couple of Fresno peppers.

(3) Jiffy corn muffin mix is what I use (not to be confused with Jiffy Pop).

(4) Really, any shreddable brick cheese will work. I sometimes cut the cheddar with pepper jack.

Posted by dylan at 10:35 PM | Comments (6)

November 08, 2003

Psst! Wanna buy a ferry?

The state of Washington has sold one of its passenger ferries, the Tyee. The state mothballed the ferry after the people of this fair state slashed their license plate taxes and knocked the financial support out from under the ferry system. The big car ferries lumber on, but the passenger-only ferries are gone to history.

Some have suggested that private industry replace the service, but since the state was running them at a loss, there isn't a working business model that ensures the possiblity of just breaking even.

At some point the anti-tax pro-privatization nuts will go a bridge too far and discover that the economies of scale a government program can offer far outweigh privatizing everything under the sun. Not saying that privatization isn't necessarily a good thing, but there are a lot of things governments provide that are, by their nature, loss leaders.

Posted by dylan at 09:33 PM

November 07, 2003

Why not MD 20/20 at your next party?

Seen on a unmemorable wine's placard at Larry's last night:
"Screw top ensures quality!"

The wine guy's tongue is firmly in cheek.

Posted by dylan at 09:58 AM | Comments (5)

November 05, 2003

Seattle election results

City council woman who had the autocratic mayor endorse a newspaper columnist-turned-lapdog to replace her? Out.
City council woman who was only a sideline player in the strip club fiasco? Out.
City council man who was not only front-and-center in the strip club fiasco but also committed a major ethics violation when he flew on Paul Allen's private jet? Stays.

Just when you think you don't understand Seattle politics, something comes up to affirm that yes, you really don't understand Seattle politics.

Posted by dylan at 02:14 PM | Comments (1)

November 03, 2003

Evil Eye for the Maniacal Dictator Guy

There was a bit in the Guardian today about the web publication of 1938 Homes and Gardens puff piece extolling the grand and glorious design of Der Furher's mountain villa. That's right, an article on Adolf Hitler's "handsome Bavarian chalet," Haus Wachenfeld. The Guardian's new media editor, Simon Waldman, posted it to his personal site. Since then, he's endured a lawsuit threat from the current Homes and Gardens for violation of copyright, received glowing praise from neo-Nazis in his comments, been spared from the copyright sanctions by a number of Jewish groups, and seems to have had a head spinning time all around.

One issue in this article (the Guardian one) is that Homes and Gardens told the poster he was violating copyright -- but they didn't bother to validate whether the article really was copyrighted. In fact, the photos were public domain, and in the end whether the article was indeed wholly owned by the publishing house was thrown into question. This bothers me as much as it did Mr. Waldman. Shouldn't there be a requirement that anyone rattling the copyright (or DMCA) saber prove that they have done their due diligence?

It bothers me that fair use is being trampled in the name of profits. If someone wants a copyright in perpetuity, fine, but they should pay for it. If Disney wants to keep Mickey Mouse from becoming public domain, they should be charged a percentage of the annual revenue they generate off the Mouse. With movies, works should pass into the public domain if the owner does not maintain the quality of the prints. With books, if they fall out of print (and I mean large press run print -- you better be printing 10,000 copies, not 10) for more than ten years, the copyright should expire automatically. Ditto music.

Sadly, the Bush administration has sided consistently with the corporations out to protect their financial interests over the rights of the public domain. You ask any of the remaining Democratic presidential candidates to give you their opinions on the scurrilous DMCA, and you'll get a blank look. If the moment in copyright law continues unabated, "fair use" will no longer exist. You won't be able to record a TV show for later use without paying a fee. Music will be locked behind DRM, and you'll have to buy a license to play an album for EACH machine you want to play it on. You think CD prices are bad now? Wait until you have to buy an album three times just be able to play it on your home stereo, your work computer, and in your car. And just wait until e-books catch on -- and you can't loan the latest Kingsolver or Franzen to a friend because it's only licensed to your system.

Sad thing is, the abrogation of fair use sounds familiar, like the minister who stayed silent when the Nazis took away the Jews and the gypsies. When the Nazis came for him, there was no one left to plead his case.

Posted by dylan at 05:38 PM

November 02, 2003

All Souls

Today is my middle brother's birthday -- he's now in the waning year of his 20s. Happy happy to him.

Tuesday is Election Day in Seattle, and it's time to elect half the city council. Unlike other more sensible and reasonable cities, Seattle's council members are all at-large -- no wards or districts. A great system in, say, a town of 50,000, but gridlock-inducing in a city of 500,000. So, for the third time in the last 15 years or so, there's a citizen's intiative to junk the at-large setup and create nine districts which would each elect one council member. Finally, if you have a problem in your neighborhood, you'll have one person to call, one person to fire if they are unresponsive. Every other large city in this country does it this way, and it works quite well. It's reasonable. It's sensible.

And since it's reasonable and sensible, just about everyone in power in this city is against it. You get editorials like this one in the P-I bemoaning the "lack of diversity" in district elections and how much more diverse the Seattle city council has been with at-large elections. What they don't mention is that there was a long period when there was no council member residing north of the Ship Canal -- an area where a majority of the city lives. There is no council member who lives west of Aurora and north of the Canal now, an area that includes Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge... in essence, the residential core of the city. There are no council members who reside in West Seattle, none who reside anywhere near Rainier Beach or Georgetown or White Center. There has been a black council member for years, but that's because there's this "understanding" that seat #8 is the "black seat." Anyway, this is Seattle, one of the most liberal cities in America, and this means the council would have a large amount of racial and ethnic diversity even if you gerrymandered every district to make the conditions for a nine white male council possible.

So, the charter amendment will go down in flames on Tuesday. But, then, this is Seattle, a town where decisions aren't nearly as important as getting input from at least 2000 community groups first.

Posted by dylan at 10:54 PM | Comments (2)