After posting the link to Ruhlman on food below I went and caught up on the miles of quite wonderful comments.

I like “fussy” pro Mike Pardus’s comment among many others (good for “writer” as well.)

“Hi, y’all…….It’s nice to see that things settled down a bit since Michael posted my comments on initial post.For those of you who are still pissed off at me, I owe an explanation.

“Being a cook is my identity, probably more so, even, than being a parent. If you ask “what do you do?” or “what ARE you?” I answer “I’m a cook” or, maybe, “I teach cooking”.

“I also drive a pick-up to work – that does not make me a “trucker”

“I have a garden, but I’m not a “farmer”

“I’ve published articles and co-authored books – and gotten PAID for it, but I’m not a “writer”

“I cook…at home, at work, when I’m on vacation or visiting friends. It’s what I do when I’m sad or lonely or happy and full of energy, and if I cook for you in my home or yours, it’s the best way I can express friendship and love.

“If I ask you “what do you do?”….what’s you’re first response?……if it’s “I’m a cook”, then you probably are.”

For the record, I LIKE knowing what the real technique is even if I sometimes, even often, take a shortcut. That way you know what you are doing (and ,maybe what you are missing.) That doesn’t make me a pro chef but I think I’m a cook.

The post has also made me update my wish list. If anyone buys me one of these I will cook for them if they ever visit Casa Q– but then I would anyway.

I’d even cook for this guy, seen here with Libby. Probably game….

(Actually, I am cooking a recipe from him tonight.)

Things to come..

(To keep my nose to the grindstone…)

Book reviews. EXCELLENT new book on why the Mega- Predators are ecologically vital. Science, new and rediscovered (hint: Leopold’s Kaibab redux.) “Whale killers.” Science as well as emotion, written not typed, and re- wilding too!

More reviews: Evolution vs ID, Matthiessen’s Florida (still unfinished), Chinese wolf novel ditto. Oldish heavy book that seems to prove Central Asia hand Owen Lattimore’s innocence of Soviet spying. Tim Mackintosh- Smith on Ibn “Battutah” as he spells it. Old Afghanistan (what the HELL happened anyway??) I can always read…


According to this story in the Telegraph the most aggressive breed of dog is the dachshund. Lily would not be surprised– she is almost suicidally brave defending herself.

Interestingly, Sir Terence Clark tells me that, while he was attending the Saluki Congress in Finland last week, a report was given that Germany has passed new “temperament” laws for dogs above a certain size, ones so restrictive that most primitive breeds (Laika, huskies), Oriental sighthounds (saluki, tazi) and herding breeds will not be able to pass and will be neutered. Be VERY afraid of the “Safety Society”. (And no, there are not enough numbers in obscure breeds to fight this.) If I find a link I will add it later.

Science/ art: My favorite incomprehensible Japanese Paleo- Art blog has some cool new pix up of my favorite Pleistocene mega- predator, Arctodus simus yukonensis. (Good article on the bear here.) I haven’t the slightest idea what the text says– Isaac?

New blogs. One, scientific, may be on the most specific topic I have yet seen, and of interest mainly to hard – core bio- nerds (I love it); BdellaNea is all about LEECHES.

The other is the new blog for Overland Journal, which at the moment is featuring Jonathan and Roseann Hanson’s real- time adventure in the Maasai country.

Food: what kind of recipes are “deal breakers” for you? I’m inclined to agree with Carol Blythe, who said ” I was actually more offended by many of the commenters on the article on the NYT site. Chopping parsley or whisking an egg are dealbreakers? What the fuck is wrong with people?”

More food: Rod Dreher interviews Michael Pollan, at The American Conservative no less. I like cross fertilization. Let me once again plug Pollan’s The Omnivoire’s Dilemma, my favorite, and also The Botany of Desire, that covers among other things the apples of Kazakhstan.

“Dr Buzzo” at Depleted Cranium examines bad public- land solar schemes and why they are bad. I agree entirely. He is not against sane spending either– hit “home” and check out his defense of (and plea for) Arecibo.

LabRat in particular has been on a roll lately and you should really just check Atomic Nerds daily. But this smackdown of AR terrorists is as good as it gets ( I also like the term “cocknozzle”– one of the many delights of reading the nerds is that they are intellectually and morally rigorous while being VERY funny.)

Sheer idiocy (shading inexorably into “Doom” of course.) Some people in Wales call in the MOON as a UFO.

“I just need to inform you that across the mountain there’s a bright stationary object.”

“Control: “Right.”

“Caller: “If you’ve got a couple of minutes perhaps you could find out what it is? It’s been there at least half an hour and it’s still there.” “

Of course there is always a proper bureaucratic response.

” “A police spokeswoman said: “This was a recent example of an inappropriate 999 call to South Wales Police.” ”

Meanwhile, in England, a man who detains a burglar who assaulted him is charged with assault (the burglar went free.)

Finally, this left my head spinning. That 21 % of atheists believe in God is strange enough, but that is only part of it….


I seem to be doing this too much; that is, apologizing for lack of content. I think this (often) is an uneasily split- personality blog. Sometimes I am a link aggregator, sometimes a photo blogger; and sometimes I expose my own personality a bit.

Trouble is, when I most “need” to do that is when I least like to– when I am down.

I know good things are happening– the baby falcon for instance. And the constants– Libby, dogs New Mexico, garden– are fine as ever. But depression knows no easy rules and it is sitting on my head like Phillip Larkin’s toad (well, OK, that was “work”, which is related…)

Work is stuck. I have a partly- completed book out from my agent– she says because of publisher- editor vacations not to expect a reply until “at least” August.

The lawsuit over last book is still up in the air (and I have to trust to an out- of- state unpaid volunteer lawyer if it comes to a head.)

No magazine work on tap.

Several checks due.

Agent doesn’t want to see fiction (may not want me working on it–?– unclear.)

Add to this screaming arthritic everything, aggravated endless sinus infection, and general sleeplessness. Our good doc left for Austin 9 months ago, and we have so far had two tries at new ones that say either “live with it’ or (literally) “I don’t know, what do YOU think?” Add near house arrest because the 20 year old truck is not only expensive to run but getting so balky that we don’t dare drive it to Albuquerque (we borrow) and it gets a bit old.

So I wait, and once in a while complain. At least I am old enough to realize that this, like everything else, will pass.

I promise no more about this until at least fall. And will follow up with good links and a promise for some good book reports if I get a bit of energy…

NYT on NM Cockfighting

I am sorry, but I think this article on NM’s anti- cockfight crusade can be quoted to make its own argument against the ban.

“After two weeks of preparation, 150 officers, backed up by a helicopter, slipped into this sleepy desert town. Their focus was not illegal immigration or drug smuggling, but a less pressing crime: cockfighting.”


“Some police officers in this state say the pressure for stepped-up enforcement from the animal rights lobby has become so intense that resources are being diverted from more serious crimes, like drunken driving and amphetamine abuse.

“For years the state’s governor, Bill Richardson, a Democrat, avoided the issue. In 2006, Jay Leno ridiculed him on the “Tonight Show,” for saying there were strong arguments on both sides of the issue…. But in March 2007, Mr. Richardson signed the measure outlawing the sport. He was widely criticized as only getting behind the legislation because he was then running for president.

“You can’t go on the national stage and have people find out you have no problem with a bloody sport,” said Sheriff Darren White of Bernalillo County, where officers issued citations for two cockfighting misdemeanors in a raid on June 21.”

[Ed. note: White is a known AR advocate who is against hunting and for mandatory spay neuter among other things.]

““New Mexico is on the verge of having a modern culture,” said Heather Ferguson, the legislative director for Animal Protection of New Mexico, an animal-rights lobbying group. Ms. Ferguson said a newly established animal cruelty hot line was receiving about 90 calls every two weeks.”

“As public support rises, so do costs. The Chaparral raid cost the four counties involved more than $25,000, officials said. And several high-ranking police officers, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to talk to reporters, said that while they oppose cockfighting they are frustrated at how politicians are disproportionately emphasizing the crime.”

“We don’t even investigate misdemeanors on other crimes,” one officer said. “We laugh at these investigations.” Of one cockfighting raid he said: “We wasted $10,000 on a recent misdemeanor. I’d rather use that for a D.U.I. checkpoint and take 20 people off the road in the three hours and save lives over chickens. I feel good when we save chickens, but whoop-de-do, a misdemeanor?”


“For 16 years, Richard and Louisa Lopez operated a 310-seat cockfighting arena at their farm in Luis Lopez, N.M. The $30,000 they earned annually from the operation helped subsidize their farm expenses, and send their children to college. Last month, they used the arena for their family reunion and a baby shower.

” “We don’t have money to buy diesel sometimes,” Mr. Lopez said. “And this is the place that kept my farm going.”

“In January, the courts dismissed a suit by the New Mexico Gamefowl Association claiming economic devastation. Ms. Gojkovich, the animal control investigator, was hardly sympathetic.

“You need to go find a job at Wal-Mart,” she said.”

Or maybe sell out to developers? THAT’d be Green…

I believe Ms. Gojkovitch is a recent immigrant BTW.

Also BTW: all “seized” roosters are immediately killed. And not eaten. I’m sure they enjoy that more than fighting.

For the record, I do not keep chickens, nor do I support dogfighting. HT Annie H.

In related developments, Peculiar links to an article with an interesting quote:

“”Now that Plum Creek is getting out of the timber business, we’re kind of missing the loggers,” said Ray Rasker, executive director of Headwaters Economics, a nonprofit that studies land management in the West. “A clear-cut will grow back, but a subdivision of trophy homes, that’s going to be that way forever.””

Oh well- as Moro says in a comment, “Trophy homes don’t last forever either, heh heh heh.” Nature bats last.

Independence Day

From the Mullenix homestead on the Georgia side of the Chattahoochee River, about half way up the state’s western border, Happy Independence Day to all. We’ve got four generations milling about today, all eating hotdogs, hogging the pool and chasing the borzoi around to make him drop the sunscreen.

I hope everyone is spending the day with family and friends, enjoying all the good home places that are left.

Cheers to All
and Happy Fourth!

More Links

Is this chameleon the shortest- lived vertebrate? Chameleons rarely live long in captivity– perhaps this is less because of bad treatment than genes! HT Lauren.

A wolf shows up in northern New Mexico. I know some will find it suspicious that it arrived on Turner land, but there is no biological reason why not. For what its worth there are rumors of near- black wolves down here too, though it is not a color associated with the Mexican subspecies.

A page on birds from an interesting new site on taxonomy and cladistics. I followed it from Chas.

An excellent update and overview of “Out of Africa” theory from Smithsonian.

LabRat at Atomic Nerds hits another one out of the park. This one is on how you have to learn the basics, like history’s “Kings and dates and Battles”, before you can understand subtle arguments, in this case over evolution.

“Biologists get very, very frustrated with attacks on evolution, because they’re in a position where they long ago absorbed so many dull facts about biology that the overarching pattern of evolution becomes obvious…It requires a deep knowledge of anatomy, of phylogeny, and a bunch of other biological minutiae that aren’t learned except by students who’ve decided to make biology a serious priority. It’s very easy to forget that a biologist has the ability to see these patterns all over every aspect of biology- it isn’t just in context, it IS the context- but for most people, the concept of evolution is just another “fact”- and even worse, one described as a “theory”, which in common parlance means “a guess” and in science means, roughly “the context to a larger body of facts”. The “theory of gravity” isn’t a guess about gravity, it’s a term meaning “all that is currently understood about gravity”.”

NPR interviews our old friend Patrick Hemingway on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. Some characteristic rue and humor from a grand old man, but I wish they could have asked more intelligent questions. The family furniture line? Does he read his father’s books on planes?! I’d have been ashamed to be so banal, especially as Pat is one of the great raconteurs of all time. HT Peculiar, who knew him when he was a child in Bozeman.

(Patrick was trained as a wildlife biologist, not merely a “safari guide”as the interviewer says. Speaking of the idea that all reality is constructed, or that science is entirely subjective and culture- bound– see evo above– Pat would say in irritation “so these people think that if they jumped out the window they might fall up? He also once observed that Islamic fundamentalists flew on airplanes, not on flying carpets.)

Sorry for light posting– I shall return!