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WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)

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July 29, 2005
Scene from the middle of the street by my house in which my handyman neighbor (who owns a grill so large that it has to be towed around behind a pickup truck) and I discuss a potential BBQ this weekend
Filed in: Current Affairs, Good eats

Me: Goat!

Pete: Pig!

Me: Goat!

Pete: Pig!

Me: Goat! Goat! Goat!



Pete: Well, it's large enough - we could do both.

Me: I do not want any pig smoke on the goat!


Me: Let's just do the pig.

Pete: You sure?

Me: Yes.

Pete: Really? Because we could...

Me: I hate that goat...

Pulled by Emcee on July 29, 2005 at 06:55 PM
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July 28, 2005
Holmes, Holmes on the range...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Good eats, Politics

Jake and I are going to have lunch and then go to Wade's firing range and hit some targets. Update later and a Jake's Take if he's willing ...

UPDATE: We had a good feed down at Las Margaritas in downtown Bellevue. Chili Verde and Spinach and Mushroom burritos were the orders of the day.

Went down to Wade's. I should have called this post: Jake the Marksman! Whoa! Talk about something to aspire to!

Here's Jake shooting:


Here's his typical group - this is with his Sig 40 (Yes the 4 0) at 30 feet:


Any questions?

Seriously, this guy can shoot! We're talking about hooking up with some more shooters next time - maybe down SondraK's way ... Jake can conduct shooting instruction for us...

Jake's Sig is a very smooth machine - has less lift in it than my Browning 380 - probably because it has a pretty good weight and has a great soft trigger.

...Continue reading "Holmes, Holmes on the range..."

Pulled by Emcee on July 28, 2005 at 04:26 AM
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July 17, 2005
So you wanna see a picture?
Filed in: Current Affairs, Good eats, The Armadillo Conceptual Series

Jeff talks like the invisible robe was his idea, but it was really the little guys'.

Turns out the little guy has been begging him all week to get it done - and we all know that Jeff won't wear a robe anyway.

Here's what happened: The little guy saw a new menu offering from the Palomino in Denver that Jeff had laying around. The chef from the Palomino had been to New Orleans recently and was impressed with his trip to Mulate's. He wanted to introduce something that would meet their format but be reminiscient of the fried crawfish, crawfish etouffee combination so famous there.

What he came up with, as a French and regional American dish, is their new half escargot, half baby armadillo combination (UPDATE: and as Diana points out, it is served sashimi style.)

Problem is when the little guy looked at the menu item, he was immediately convinced that the armadillo portions were more of the sweetbreads variety. Hey, he's not afraid to serve in Iraq, but given his experience in Japan, the prospect of losing some precious body parts has sent him into hiding in the invisible robe.


Now Jeff has been explaining that those are not armadillo cajones that the Palomino is serving up, but the little guy is still wary. We're hoping for a dancing appearance next week.

Poor little beggar.

Pulled by Emcee on July 17, 2005 at 11:50 PM
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June 18, 2005
Sure, the glue may be fun to start with...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Good eats, The Armadillo Conceptual Series


but when your beer gets stuck to your nethers - you'll wish you had danced.

Pulled by Emcee on June 18, 2005 at 12:39 PM
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June 11, 2005
Creative Pizza
Filed in: Current Affairs, Good eats, Japan

Anyone that says that creative sensibilities are not characteristic of Japanese production have never seen the Japanese version of pizza.

With the possible exception of the olive oil and heavy crust versions typical of Chicago and New York with roots in the bowels of Sicily, pizza is considered an American cuisine.

I believe there are still a few Shakey's Pizza parlors in the US. I remember one in West Seattle that I've been to for lunch buffet before.


Shakey's lunch buffet in Kichijoji, Japan does not serve your father's pizza.

...Continue reading "Creative Pizza"

Pulled by Emcee on June 11, 2005 at 03:35 PM
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June 10, 2005
Poor little beggar ...
Filed in: Bioethics, Current Affairs, Good eats, Japan, The Armadillo Conceptual Series

Dsc_0358jpeg I know it's early in Colorado, so maybe we can call this a 'pre-post' trackback. I beg Jeff's forgiveness for being off topic - this has nothing to do with burnt broccoli, a Scotch-Irish woman's feet, or educational English lessons from Mrs. Hapke ...

I was just coming in to Narita Airport to head back to Seattle, when I noticed a new addition to the 'endangered species' case. I could have sworn that last time I looked at this there was an Ocelot or Manx or something - this time, be still my heart - there's Jeff''s Armadillo.

Now, I know that Fridays, Jeff usually promises to trot out that Armadillo - but for the last many, many weeks, there has just been excuse after excuse proffered like like so many Michael Jackson missed court appearances. I know that it has been rumored that the little guy has been on the lamb, and, occasionally, sad pictures have been offered up as to one fate or another.


This time it looks like - now I'm just saying it appears to me - the little guy has given his life for others of his kind to stop the callous importation of the many coveted Armadillo parts.

Last time I looked into it, there were 1,432 Armadillos per capita in Texas, and 1,107 per capita in Alabama, so I surely hope that the little guy didn't become some messianic armadillo offering for nothing.

I'll grant that it is possible that Jeff has another explanation - but, sir, you must produce the Armadillo and he must dance, dance, dance or he will be oft remembered as the one that landed in an endangered species case - displacing a more common feline species - because no one in Japan had ever seen anything like it in their entire collective experience.


UPDATE: So no dancing armadillo today... It's called denial.

Pulled by Emcee on June 10, 2005 at 04:07 AM
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May 05, 2005
Happy Cinco de Mayo
Filed in: Current Affairs, Good eats

Always a good day to go down to the Las Margaritas in Bellevue (as if I don't at least two or three times a week anyway) and get a spinach and mushroom burrito - Mmmm! Oh, and iced tea as usual - they still call me Senior Iced Tea.

UPDATE: It's not only Cinco de Mayo - it's 05-05-05 - 555 for short. I was wondering if anyone was making a big deal out of that - some of our local restaurants are offering large or cadillac style margaritas for $5.55 or appetizers for that price. Domino's is running a 3 pizza's for $5 each deal - its own version of 555.

In Oakland California at 555 City Center they held a Cinco de Mayo celebration today - I guess that's 555 at the 555.

So far, I don't see any prophetic prognostications on the significance. No celestial alignments along 5 angles, no 5 planets aligned, no magnitude 5 quakes.

Oh well, please be safe - stayin' alive on 555!

Pulled by Emcee on May 5, 2005 at 01:14 PM
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April 07, 2005
Japan: The freshest!
Filed in: Current Affairs, Good eats, Japan, Photography

Well, a wild ride for us on Wednesday in Tokyo.

We showed up at the Tokyo Fish Market - Tsukiji -(called "Tsiji" by the locals) early in the morning - OK, not that early - we weren't there for the auctions - just walked through.


This is what the main market looks like as we approached it.


But that really belies just how huge it is - this is the largest fish market in the world. If you know Pike's Place Market in Seattle - it is at least 100 times as large - I'm not kidding. The photo above shows the hundreds of building and dozens of acres that this market covers.


Anyone for pickled 'tako' (octopus)? One of the many delicacies at the market. Most startling about this market to me was that there is absolutely no fish smell - I know that's hard to believe, but it is most remarkable - the amount of time they spend cleaning and the preparation they do with their fish is their secret they say.


Cleaning live flounder.


Mmmmm, fresh clams!


'Glowing eka' (squid) - I've eaten these before but usually pickled - these are fresh little guys.


'Samuari' tuna knives - that thing is about 7 feet long that he's cleaning.


I didn't see any really big tuna hanging - but this was about a 150 pounder prepared for chopping into 'roast' size pieces. I have been casually aware that there are different parts of the tuna that are suited for different kinds of sushi quality - but I was really in for an education Wednesday.


Our host took us to a kind of obscure area around the market. There are hundreds of little sushi shops to one side of the market buildings - these are, for the most part, there to serve the workers in the market. Our host picked out one of these for us to go to.


Inside this place is about 20 feet long by 8 feet wide. 5 of the 8 feet is taken up by the sushi bar and the preparation area. It was tight! We stored our bags on a shelf above our heads - but we were sitting right under the shelf with our backs against the wall.


I don't know how to describe this sushi. It was the certainly the freshest that I've ever had in my life. If you are a sushi/sashimi fan this is nirvana. Our host ordered the 'chef's selection' - which just meant that the sushi chefs made us what they had bought the most of that morning and as much as they chose to serve us. The two chefs treated their work like an art - their motions as they prepared each piece were like a dance and they put great energy and heart into the preparation - of course we were nearly sitting in their pockets so we had a clear view of what they were doing. They served each piece on a big green leaf. In the picture above is some of the selections that they presented to us. On the far left is a kind of shrimp - boiled - and put on a pat of sticky rice with wasabi. Next to the shrimp is some rare kind of fish that I have never seen before and can't pronounce. It was nicely oily and tasted delicious. Next to that is some shell fish from something like a 'conch' shell. This had an almost crunchy texture - again extremely fresh and indescribable. Next to the shell fish is a short roll with a couple of those fresh glowing eka atop with some sauce spread over them. Despite these little guys kind of staring me down, they were marvelously tasty. You might think that their texture would be unappealing - but they were tender and so fresh ... mmmmmm. Next to the friendly glowing squid is a short roll with 'uni' (sea urchin) atop. I've had plenty of uni here in Japan - but nothing like this. It literally melted in my mouth. Fresh! Next to these is another leaf with much the same but with a piece of 'maguro' (tuna) mixed in.

They filled up our leaves with selections 4 times and then said "this is the last" as we forced down the last several bites. They served us several different maguro pieces - which varied from the very lean that you see in the right hand side of this picture to cuts with marbling in them to one particular piece near the end that looked like it was coated in butter. It was an extremely fatty piece from a certain part of a certain species of tuna - I can't name it - but it was nothing short of astounding to eat. They said that in the market it goes for about $300/kilo - a little less than $150 a pound.

In the picture you can also see a bowl of miso soup - that came along with the rest - but this was no ordinary miso - each bowl had about 30 little clams shells within - fresh and delicious. Fresh ginger was served as well.

About $35 a head for this 'chef selection' tapestry and I will certainly remember this meal for the rest of my life.

Pulled by Emcee on April 7, 2005 at 04:13 AM
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February 11, 2005
The Best Ceviche
Filed in: Current Affairs, Good eats

I'm on the road again. For some reason what I want to blog about when I'm traveling is food. Analyze that if you want. Maybe I'm a frustrated culinary travelogue writer in a past life or something.

Ever had ceviche? If you haven't (pronounced say-vish'-ay)- it is a Mexican white fish that has been 'cooked' in a lime juice and vinegar 'brine' by marinating it for several hours - this is spread in small chunks (it breaks up into diced firm texture pieces during the marinating process) on a flat tostada shell and most of the time mixed with vegetables and/or salsa fresca or salsa verde. Sometimes ceviche is served in a 'shrimp cocktail' glass with a red sauce - that's not the kind I'm talking about.

Los Sanchez

For my money, the best ceviche that I've ever had anywhere is the Los Sanchez restaurant in Anaheim, California. This little piece of Mexico is South of Katella on Harbor Avenue (in the Disneyland neighborhood - I'll get the actual street address and put it in this post so you can Mapquest it if you want to go) - between Katella and the E-W running Highway 22. It's almost next door to the Crown Plaza Anaheim hotel.

They make everything - and I mean all the food on their menu - including chips and salsa - right there on the premises. They are most famous for their Carne Asada burrito - and for their 'on mike' announcements when the food is ready. Until you hear it enough times and it just becomes part of the background ambience you will really get a kick out of hearing one of the servers say "Carne Asada burrito we-e-e-e-e-e-e-t ready amigo, number 88" (say it as low as you can then imagine an octave lower - really draw out that 'wet'. A wet burrito is probably what you imagine it to be - smothered in burrito sauce and melted cheese.)

Los Sanchez

What is still a little known secret even at this location is their home made ceviche - I've had it dozens of times and it is always extremely fresh - made daily I'm sure. They have both a shrimp and a fish (pescado) ceviche - and you can get them mixed if you want. I prefer the fish.

They pile it up over an inch thick on a 5 inch round crunchy (and housemade) tostada chip. The fish is mixed with fresh cilantro and onions. They cover the mixture with about a half of one fresh avacado. Then they put a little over one whole lime - sliced into wedges on the plate. One ceviche tostada is still $2.50 - steal of the century- in Seattle we'd pay that just for the avacado.

I like to add a little of their salsa verde (green) on top. This is the kind of food that will crank up your salivary glands immediately - incredible combination of flavors. If you like sushi you will love this - if you just like fish you will love it.

Their burritos really are great too - I just can't eat more than a couple of the ceviche tostada's and I always choose those over a burrito there anyway.

So, next time you get to SoCal or you visit Disneyland - make sure to make it by Los Sanchez for the best ceviche and let me know what you think.

Pulled by Emcee on February 11, 2005 at 04:12 AM
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January 11, 2005
Dinner in Chicago
Filed in: Current Affairs, Good eats

Where do you think of going when you think dinner out in Chicago? Chop House? Ben Pao? Joe's Seafood Prime Steak and Stone Crab? Pump Room?

These are all terrific places in their own right - and, like San Francisco, you almost can't do wrong in hundreds more - but when I come to Chicago my favorite place to go for dinner is Harry Caray's - progeny of fabled sportscaster of the same appellation.

I once had the priviledge of having Harry pop in on an upstairs gathering there while he was still alive. (How strange that I must bring in that caveat - it's only because I cannot escape the fact that the dead voted in Washington state just a few weeks ago.)

Tonight they had a bone-in 15 ounce filet that in my best Babwa was "I tell ewe - it was like butta, I tell ewe, like butta!" They prepared it medium rare to perfection - they had rolled it in peppercorns (like a New York cut) and smothered it with a peppercorn and drippings allemande.

The creamed spinach was to die for. How is it that the best creamed spinach in the world is only available in Chicago? Don't they grow it everywhere?

Tastes of creme broulet and key lime pie finished us off.

Let this be a recommendation for the next time you come to this windy city.

Pulled by Emcee on January 11, 2005 at 08:20 PM
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