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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Unbelievable 90 degree takeoff of the new Boeing 737 Max

Dude. I definitely do not ever want to fly on one of these (wiki).

Geronimo died on this day in 1909 - history, quotes, and why we yell his name when we jump out of planes

Once I moved about like the wind. Now I surrender to you, and that is all. 

Geronimo (wiki) (surrendering to General Crook, 25 March 1886) 

It [Arizona] is my land, my home, my father's land, to which I now ask to be allowed to return. I want to spend my last days there, and be buried among those mountains. If this could be I might die in peace, feeling that my people, placed in their native homes, would increase in numbers, rather diminish as at present, and that our name would not become extinct. 

~Geronimo (letter to President McKinley from the reservation at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 1897) 

If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect he will grow fat? If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of ground, and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented, nor will he grow and prosper. I have asked some of the great white chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he sees white men going where they please. They can not tell me.

Chief Joseph (wiki) (ca. 1840-1904)* (North American Review, April 1879) 

February 17th is the anniversary of the death in 1909 of that legendary Chiricahua Apache chieftain, Geronimo (born ca. 1829), whose actual Indian name was Goyathlay ("One Who Yawns"). The name by which Geronimo is remembered was supposedly bestowed on him by a detachment of Mexican soldiers so stunned by the ferocity of his resistance that they repeatedly invoked the name of St. Jerome against him. 

Born along the Gila River in what is now Arizona during a time when his people were fighting both U.S. and Mexican settlers for their lands, Geronimo became a raider after his own family was killed in 1858. He was captured several times and confined to a reservation, but he escaped repeatedly to continue his campaign of guerilla warfare, most notably during 1885-86, when 5,000 U.S. soldiers were arrayed against his small band. 

Finally recaptured and imprisoned, first in Florida and then in Alabama, Geronimo and his family were allowed to 1894 to settle on an Indian reservation at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he spent the rest of his life as a prosperous farmer and minor celebrity. (He appeared at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and rode in Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade a year later. In his autobiography, he remarked,

"I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds, are all listening to what we have to say.")

* N.B. Chief Joseph (Hinmatóowyalahtq’it) was the greatest latter-day chief of the Nez Perce Indians of northwestern Oregon. 

The reason that U.S. airborne troops yell "Geronimo!" when they jump out of airplanes has to do with a 1939 movie entitled Geronimo (a 1993 movie by the same title is also availablewhich was viewed by a group of early paratroopers (the Parachute Test Platoon in Fort Benning, Georgia) in 1940. The concept of jumping from planes with parachutes was nerve-racking, and in order to demonstrate his bravery one of them planned to yell:
The other soldiers gave him a hard time. They were all scared. Of course he was scared, too. He should just admit it.
"All right, dammit!” Eberhardt finally shouted. “I’ll tell you jokers what I'm gonna do! To prove to you that I'm not scared out of my wits when I jump, I'm gonna yell ‘Geronimo’ loud as hell when I go out that door tomorrow!"
The next day, he made good on his promise. Out the plane he went and everyone heard “Geronimooooooo!” The rest of the platoon wasn’t about to let Eberhardt show them up, so on subsequent jumps the rest of the soldiers took up his battle cry and a tradition was born. The next year, the Army’s first official parachute unit, the 501st Parachute Infantry Battalion, made “Geronimo” the motto on their unit insignia after their commander tracked down descendants of the real Geronimo to ask for their permission to use his name.

A short video biography:

Part of the text above is adapted from Ed's Quotation of the Day, only available via email - leave your email address in the comments if you'd like to be added to his list. Ed is the author of Hunters and Killers: Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943 and Hunters and Killers: Volume 2: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1943.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce - Adapted from The Complete Book of Pasta by Jack Denton Scott

This has been my “standard” house marinara sauce for many years and can be used as the basis for other sauces.  By the way, despite the name, which means roughly “sailor sauce,” this recipe has nothing particularly nautical about it..  

2 Tb olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 small carrots, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
Freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste
2  28-oz cans of imported peeled Italian tomatoes* (San Marzano variety, if possible)
3 Tb butter
1/2 tsp dried hot pepper, ground fine (optional)

I generally use the Cuisinart to chop the onions and carrots together but mince the garlic separately.  Then, sauté the onions, carrots, and garlic in the olive oil until the onions and carrots are soft. 

*Add the tomatoes, roughly chopping them or breaking them up with your hands, reserving the juice from the cans. Add the salt and pepper, and simmer uncovered over low heat – stirring occasionally – until most of the liquid boils off and the mixture gets somewhat thick. (Scott says 20 minutes, but I usually take at least 30.)  If you go too far and the sauce gets too thick, use the reserved tomato juice to thin it – it’s a matter of judgment and preference. 

In order to end up with a smooth sauce, push the sauce through a food mill into a separate sauce pan, where you had the butter melting with the hot pepper. (I use a Foley Mill to puree the sauce, and it should emerge somewhat “velvety.” It takes a lot of reiterated “back and forth” to completely separate out the seeds and solids, so don’t give up early.) Stirring often, cook another 15 minutes or so over low heat – more if the sauce needs further reduction to the right consistency. (Again, that’s a matter of judgment, as is the amount of garlic and hot pepper you include.) Makes about 7 cups and doubles well. It will keep at least a week if refrigerated and freezes well also.  

Buon appetito!        

Friday links

Geronimo died on February 17 in 1909 - some history, quotes, a brief biography, and why we yell his name when we jump out of planes.

Bird Feeders Are Changing the Course of Evolution

The strange tale of triplets separated at birth.

How to survive cold and flu season: advice from 1761 (the orange rind in the nostrils method).

Pushing the Limits of Extreme Breath-Holding.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and are all Valentine's Day-related: science of chocolate, St. Valentine history, vintage cards, and aphrodisiacs.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day links

A dose of cynicism for Valentine's Day.

Video: The Science of Chocolate (aka the real meaning of Valentine's Day).

Aphrodisiac Cocktails to Put You in the Mood.

An animated history of Valentine's Day, plus how the heart came to be associated with love.

Prepare to be offended (or don't click on this link) - the Holy Crap worst Valentine's Day card ever, plus runners-up.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include how wild animals self-medicate, Abraham Lincoln's birthday, advice from 1612 on preventing drunkenness, and the story behind Burt Reynolds'  nude centerfold.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday links

The Strange Beauty of Soviet Bus Stops.

The true story behind Burt Reynolds' centerfold.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include an 1861 Victorian sex manual, dubious studies on how 1. alcohol cleans toxins from your brain and 2. McDonald's fries cure baldness, and the classic 1970 exploding whale video from the early days of the internet (plus the Dave Barry column that made it famous).

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Puttanesca Sauce

Linguine alla Puttanesca  (Linguine, “Whore Style”).

4  Tbs olive oil (extra virgin)

2  large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thinly

1  large fire-roasted red pepper (available bottled), seeded and sliced into thin strips

4  Oz olive-oil packed anchovies, drained and pounded to a paste (This is one small tin; I generally use about 3/4s of it – to taste.)

1  2-pound can of imported Italian peeled tomatoes, drained (but save some of the juice in case you need to thin the sauce later.)  

1  Cup pitted black olives, not from California, which will give the wrong flavor!  (I use pitted Kalamata olives – bottled – from Greece and halve them.)  

2  Tbs small capers (but some extra won’t hurt…)  

1  pound dried pasta

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet, add the garlic and diced red peppers, and fry gently for 6 or 7 minutes until the garlic is softened. Add the pounded anchovies and cook until they dissolve, stirring until thoroughly blended.  

Cut the tomatoes coarsely and add to the pan along with the olives and capers. Cook gently, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and begins to take on a slightly brownish hue.  This generally takes about 30 minutes. It must not be watery, but not too thick either…  

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente – follow package directions – and drain in a colander. Serve in warmed pasta bowls with a generous ladle of sauce on each serving. Alternatively, you can pile all the pasta on a serving plate, spread the sauce on top, and toss it. 

The recipe doubles and triples reasonably well. 

Buon Appetito!

Historical note: Puttanesca sauce has been a Neapolitan classic for more than a century, its name deriving from an impolite Italian word for prostitute – la puttane. One finds several competing theories for the origin of the name, but no one really knows its real derivation. Here are the most popular suggestions:  

(1)  Because the ingredients are readily available, and it cooks quickly, it was easy for a woman of the night to prepare the dish as a pick-me-up between “assignments.”  

(2) Some of the ingredients - notably the olives, anchovies, and capers - are reputed to be aphrodisiacs.  

(3)  It can be made very salty, thus encouraging the puttane’s “clients” to drink more.  

How to Prevent Drunkenness, per 1612

In the old ways always the best category, some food for thought - if I were a drinker I'd need to find a more modern method of avoiding drunkenness that didn't involve goat's lungs.
"Shew me a way how a man may drinke much wine and yet not be drunke. To drinke great store of wine, and not to be drunke, you must eate of the rosted lungs of a Goat: or otherwise, eate sixe or seaven bitter Almonds fasting: or otherwise, eate raw Coleworts before you drinke, and you shall not become drunk.
How to make them which are drunk sober. You must make them eate Coleworts, and some manner of confections made of brine; or else drink great draughts of vinegar."

William Vaughan, Approved Directions for Health
Related is this advice from 1658: How to Give Up Wine (the decomposing eel method)

Other related posts and links:

1860s series of photos illustrating the '5 stages of inebriation'

Go Ahead And Drink A Bottle Of Wine A Day, Says Alcohol Scientist

Do different kinds of alcohol get you different kinds of drunk?

How to survive cold and flu season: advice from 1761 (the orange rind in the nostrils method)

Fever: To prevent catching any infectious fever, do not breathe near the face of the sick person, neither swallow your spittle while in the room. 

Cold in the Head: Pare very thin the yellow rind of an orange. Roll it up inside out and thrust a roll up each nostril. 

Cough: Drink a pint and a half of cold water lying down in bed... Or, make a hole thro' a lemon, and fill it with honey. Roast it, and catch the juice. Take a tea-spoonful of this frequently. 

The Country Gentleman, Farmer, and Housewife's Compendious Instructor