Thursday, June 30, 2011


A nice quiet day off. Since I have to work on the 4th I decided today would be a good day to grill a few ribs and enjoy some of the fruits of the garden. Fresh corn on the cob roasted in their shucks, pig sickles, and fresh green beans. Corn was glorious with Irish butter but the ribs were lacking. The pork nowadays is just too lean to do a really great rib and these turned out just a little dry but tasty. Back to work tomorrow but I do have Saturday off which should allow a little more battery charging. Going to have to do something with cucumbers.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Running Hard

Today is the last in six straight days of work. 12 to 9pm and I get a day off tomorrow. Did get some garden time in this morning. Picked lots of cukes, a dozen tomatoes, okra, eggplant and peppers. We even had the first corn from the garden last night for dinner. Nothing better than freshly picked corn on the cob especially with Irish butter and sea salt. The fourth of July holiday should bring and end to the full work weeks as shopping normally slows during the summer and staffing is reduced accordingly. I am only scheduled for 29 hours next week with a couple of half shifts. Probably a good thing as I am getting tired of 40 hour weeks and the garden is showing the neglect even though Madam is doing some good work out there.
Off to pack my lunch and head out.
Oh, and I did get my lab results back from the doctor and everything looks good A1C, lipids and all that. Did detect some micro albumin in the urine  which is not unusual in diabetics but something that might need to be dealt with by a specialist as it might indicate kidney issues or other subclinical things.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Very Interesting

An extreme eight-week diet of 600 calories a day can reverse Type 2 diabetes in people newly diagnosed with the disease, says a Diabetologia study.
Newcastle University researchers found the low-calorie diet reduced fat levels in the pancreas and liver, which helped insulin production return to normal.
Seven out of 11 people studied were free of diabetes three months later, say findings published in the journal.
I am a Type 2 diabetic and I would love to rid myself of the need to spend nearly 400 bucks a month for various meds (the 400 includes Lipitor BTW but the big hitter is Actos at almost $260 a month). The thing is, while I don't really eat that much, a 600 calorie a day diet for 8 weeks would surely be almost impossible for me to follow. I would have to be locked up. 600 calories is not very much food and my handful of peanuts for a snack and a couple of glasses of wine would slam me for a day. My occasional 'big breakfast' with hash browns or grits, bacon, eggs and toast would zap me for days. I love salads and veges as much as the next guy but 600 calories? Goddess forbid a couple of sausage biscuits.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Seven Years and Counting

Today is the "blogiversary" of The Fallenmonk. Yep, I published the first post on June 23, 2004. Many thanks to all the folks who have been loyal participants and contributors to this little corner of the "tubes". We have made some great electronic friends over the years and from all over the world. I appreciate each and every one of you.
It is only fitting that I repost the first real post on the Fallenmonk and that is the excerpt from George Fowlers's The Dance of the Fallen Monk that inspired the name and so perfectly reflects a large part of my philosophy. Of course, you also have to mix in a little Pagan, Wiccan, Buddhist and Discordian for a somewhat accurate picture of the philosophy around here.

Now I understood for the first time that all these problems are caused by a race asleep and thrashing about in its panicked nightmares. There will be wars and holocausts and genocides as long as God is portrayed and thought of as a tight-minded legislator, a feudal lord, an offended King, a hypersensitive Artisan – even if church managers condescendingly tack onto that ridiculous list the not-very-convincing footnote that He is also loving. As long as people dream that they are insecure and needy in some sort of eternal jeopardy, there will be atrocities. But as the human race grows up spiritually, and as individuals gain a personal experience of the God they have been worshipping in fear, they will recognize that much of their theology and philosophy is built on nightmares. That will be the day of peace. I suddenly found myself unwilling to sit it out in the mountains of Utah. I wanted to play an active role in the process of the world’s awakening. – George Fowler, "Dance of a Fallen Monk"

As the man says "thanks for all the fish" and Hail Eris!

Edited to fix the date ......June not July....thanks Broken Arrow....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coming Home to Roost

I mentioned a few posts back about the new Georgia immigration law (modeled after Arizona's) that was designed to drive illegal immigrants from Georgia. Well, guess what? It worked. A study conducted by the Governors office on the impact of the new law is in and it ain't pretty.

According to the survey of 230 Georgia farmers conducted by Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, farmers expect to need more than 11,000 workers at some point over the rest of the season, a number that probably underestimates the real need, since not every farmer in the state responded to the survey.

The Rethuglican Governor Nathan Deal proposed that farmers try to hire the 2,000 unemployed criminal probationers estimated to live in southwest Georgia. One farmer tried it and it was a disaster. All of the probationers quite the first day and while they did pick a few cucumbers the Latino workers in the same fields picked 5 times more during the same period.

This is just another example of what happens when you elect stupid people into government. It is what it looks like to have a stupid governor.  This is what rule by the stupid party looks like. Let me see...who could have predicted that there would be a labor shortage if you criminalized your cheap labor.

All I can do is shake my head and wonder what motivates people to vote for these people. I know the  Democrats are a disaster in their own right, but really, the GOP boys and girls are just incompetent, stupid, and evil.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Medicare For All

Did you know that there is one town in the U.S. where everyone in town get Medicare?
It's Libby, Montana.

They don't have to be 65 years old or more.
They don't have to wait until 2014 for the state exchanges.
No ten-year roll out - it's immediate.
They don't have to purchase a plan - this is not a buy-in to Medicare - it's free.
They don't have to be disabled for two years before they apply.
They don't have to go without care for three years until Medicaid expands.
They don't have to meet income tests.
They don't have to apply for a subsidy.
They don't have to pay a fine for failure to buy insurance.
They don't have to hope that the market will make a plan affordable.
They don't have to hide their pre-existing conditions.
They don't have to find a job that provides coverage.

Thanks to Max Baucus who inserted a special section into the Affordable Care Act just for Libby, Montana. You can read all about it here. What is really galling is that Max Baucus was the primary reason "Medicare for All" or single payer was taken off the table when Congress was negotiating the health care law.

Not Just The Oceans

While we are talking about the first day of summer and the fate of the world's oceans it is probably germane to mention that other parts of our environment continue to fall apart.
Surface temperatures in the Arctic since 2005 have been higher than for any five-year period since record keeping began in 1880, according to a new report from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, an international group within the Arctic Council that monitors the Arctic environment and provides advice on Arctic environmental protection…Temperatures in the Arctic permafrost have risen by up to 3.5 degrees in the past two to three decades
There’s a lot of methane in permafrost which is released as the temperature rises and methane increases the rate of climate change.

Does anyone have any good news on the environment?

Longest Day

Today, June 21, is the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, which means it's the longest day of the year in 2011.  The summer solstice occurs when the sun is the farthest north in the sky, directly above the Tropic of Cancer. The exact moment of the solstice today will occur at 17:16 GMT or 1:16 pm EDT today.

Here in the U.S. we usually consider this the first day of summer but in many other cultures it is considered midsummer and, of course, for our friends 'downunder' today marks the winter solstice or the first day of winter.
For those of you at one of the poles you will have a full 24 hours of either daylight or darkness (daylight at the north pole).

Here at chez Monk you can tell it is summer because we are eating full meals just from the garden. Last night it was roasted baby Kubocha squash, fresh sliced tomatoes and cucumbers with Greek feta and Kalamata olive oil and roasted new potatoes. Glorious!

Everyone enjoy the first day if summer and the longest day of the year (or the longest night). It's going to be a long day for me regardless since I have to work from 130pm to 1030pm.

To all my fellow pagans may your Litha be bright and blessed and to all my fellow Buddhists Namaste.

We're Toast

According to a just released report by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) The worlds oceans are in "serious decline. The report (via the BBC) is frightening. Increased CO2 absorption and the resulting increased acidity, overfishing, pollution from agricultural runoff and other factors are negatively impacting the world's oceans and at an ever increasing rate. We are looking at massive extinctions of species and huge dead zones globally. It really is an emergency and the sad thing is we aren't going to do anything about it until it is too late. We could be the last generation of humans on the planet because if the seas go we go too.

The report also notes that previous mass extinction events have been associated with trends being observed now - disturbances of the carbon cycle, and acidification and hypoxia (depletion of oxygen) of seawater.
Levels of CO2 being absorbed by the oceans are already far greater than during the great extinction of marine species 55 million years ago (during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum).
We know what has to be done but in isn't going to happen. So sad.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Taste of Summer

I just had a homemade pimento cheese(extra sharp cheddar) sandwich on soudough(homemade) with sliced homegrown tomato(picked 10 minutes before), freshly ground black pepper(Penzey's Extra Bold Tellicherry) and a sprinkle of Maldon Sea salt.  It was a mighty fine sandwich...maybe even memorable. I just thought I would share and if you want to stop by I can make you one. Off to work in the garden before it gets too, too hot.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Jackie Evancho

I happened to catch Jackie Evancho's Dream With Me concert on PBS Great Performances last night. Holy smoke! It is almost impossible to believe that voice and talent are coming out of an 11 year old girl. I can't imagine what she will be like with a few years of experience under her belt. I mean many 11 year girls can take on Nessun Dorma from Puccini's Turandot and actually get it right?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lazy Day

Finally a day off after four straight hard days. I had to go see the doctor this morning for my semiannual check and blood tests to check for all the "old man" things. No apparent problems but it will be a couple of days before the tests come back from the lab. I was almost home when the doctor's nurse called and said that I would have to come back and donate more urine to the cause since I didn't quite hit the mark. I go back in the morning and try again. I did get a shingles vaccine which the doctor recommended. Never had them but my brother had an awful attack this spring so I figured it couldn't hurt.
My best laid plans for a productive afternoon fell apart when I laid down for a minute and here it is five o'clock already. I never take a nap in the afternoon but I was obviously needing some rest. Another day off tomorrow so maybe I'll get some work done after all. We did get a "frog strangling" storm yesterday afternoon so the garden was really too wet to work in much and my "moat" did its job once again so no flooding. A few cukes, zukes, egg plant and okra harvested. Peppers are setting fruit and there are a few pink tomatoes which should be ready in a couple of days. No major infestations of pests so all is well.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Leaving Out The D

I just noticed that if you leave the "De" (Democrat)out of Federal you get feral which is real close to what we are going to experience in very short order.

Back To The Grind

I've had every other day off for the last few and it has been nice but I am starting back into a four day stretch today with an 1130a to 830p shift. Madam and I have gotten some good gardening in and are starting to get more out than we can eat. Having a bit of zucchini overload at the moment as well as eggplant. Only a couple of plum tomatoes so far but that flood isn't far off. Still brutally hot and no rain in sight other than a chance of a thunder shower today. It rumbled a bit and got a bit windy yesterday afternoon but nothing came of it. Unless we get a good drenching I am going to have to water again which is going to really slam the water bill. The city is also start adding a "strormwater utility fee" to our water bills next month which is supposed to be based on how much impervious surface you have on your property. I'll probably see another 4 bucks of charge. Oh well.

Off to make my lunch and get ready for work. Play nice.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Pluck It

Check out Google's new thing. It is very cool and you can actually record your stuff.

Update: Google has given the Les Paul guitar doodle a permanent home.

Newt Escape

It seems Newt's entire campaign staff up and walked out on him....That's too, too bad and not a real good sign but it makes me happy.

Just A Kiss Away

Here is another one of those “songs around the world” featured in the Playing for Change documentary.  I don't usually do videos but if I remember correctly I actually did a previous Playing for Change cover of Stand By Me which also blew me away.

Being a pretty big Stones fan I never considered this particular song a good candidate for a cover since Mick and the boys completley own it but this is brilliant. Different but honest to the original. I've listened to it three of four times now and see and hear something new each time. Enjoy!

H/t to Balloon Juice who got it from Brad Delong who got it from Gizmodo.

Monday, June 06, 2011


You can go here for some images for this very important anniversary but I must say that the hat must be tipped to Paul Krugman for the pun of the day

Lightning Bugs

There is something very comforting and elemental, if you will, about stepping outside on a summer evening and seeing the lightning bugs flash. It just feels right.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Lace Cap Hydrangea

You don't often see them but I have a nice lace cap hydrangea by the garden path. I just love how a few larger blooms circle the center in a random pattern. Lovely blue as well.

As usual click the image to enlarge.

2011 Garden

Here is the obligatory garden picture for the year. Just so you know I am not lying about actually gardening with all my free time. As you can see, lots of tomatoes and peppers. Behind the tomatoes in the back are okra, eggplant and sweet potatoes. And yes that is corn you see in the back. Once again I will try and beat the critters to it.

You can click the image to enlarge.

Baked In More Ways Than One

The heat finally ran me out of the garden early this afternoon. It is only the first couple of days of June and already we are breaking records for heat. Right now it is 94F and only 3pm. Probably see 96F again today. Just as a point of reference that is roughly 12 degrees hotter that the average for this time of year. If this is a preview of the coming summer we are well and truly screwed. Oh! and Al Gore is still fat.
As you can see I did manage to get the bread baked today. First homemade bread around here in a couple of months...what with ovens on the fritz and the work schedule. It takes me two days to make a proper sourdough. The first day is waking up the starter and making the dough that needs to ferment overnight in the fridge and then making loaves, proofing and baking on the second day. You just can't get proper flavor without the slow rise in the reefer. The same goes for a proper pizza dough.
Fresh zucchini salad tonight. Small zukes sliced, Vidalia onion and maybe some pinto or garbanzo beans in a quick lemon vinaigrette served over fresh roquette(arugula) from the garden . The zucchini are coming fast and I need to stay ahead. We had a zucchini pizza last night. Shredded zucchini, sharp white cheddar and light tomato sauce. Actually quite nice.
Work tomorrow and off again on Monday.
Oh and need I mention that we will have sliced bread and Irish butter with the salad tonight?

Friday, June 03, 2011


Finally a day off! Still had to get up and get out early for a haircut appointment but still a day off. I had asked my hairdresser to save me some hair and now I have a big bag of hair to spread around the garden in hopes of deterring deer. I do believe the Milorganite fertilizer has helped but I saw track this morning. It may be just an old farmer's tale about the hair but we will find out.
Speaking of the garden. We had our first okra last night for dinner. The old Southern classic fried okra and tomatoes. As I mentioned here earlier I burned the first aubergine(eggplant) but there is more to pick today and there are also zucchini and more okra so the onslaught of veges is about to begin in earnest. If I didn't insist on such things as real Irish butter(Kerry Gold), Parmigiano Reggiano, Kalamata olive oil, and drinking wine my grocery bills would drop to near zero due to the garden. Neither Madam nor I require meat and can make meal after meal with nothing but produce from the garden.
Since I have a whole two days off I am also going to have enough time to get a batch of sourdough bread done and the starter is just now coming back to life in the has been neglected for weeks and weeks and with the oven out for over two months I haven't made bread in like forever.
I am off to enjoy my day off. You guys play nice.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Not looking forward to this afternoon. Off to do the 12p to 9p shift and I am scheduled to be outside garden. Another scorcher today with the forecast of 97F. Going to be a rough one. Off to the sweat lodge.