Till the End of the Day

Man has it been a long week. Thank goodness the weather has cleared up. Should be a beautiful weekend around here. Enjoy yours!

You know this already, but I guess they’re the big news of the day: Shinseki outtie. Carney outtie.

Details are starting to emerge about an American who blew himself up in a suicide attack in Syria.

Good reporting on the horrible story of temp workers—many who have only been there a scant 10 years—in California’s lettuce industry.

Why Germany is still in charge.

Is it at least progress that Speaker Boehner says he’s not qualified to judge the science of climate change, instead of just denying it like the rest of his party?

I could only LOL at this sentence: “While the American upper class is largely meritocratic, the upper class in Sweden are still mostly defined by birth.”

Republican Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst says that same-sex marriage is an issue that should be decided by the states but also should be banned by the federal government.

What Is the longest disambiguation page on Wikipedia?

The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a draw.

Inside Taco Bell’s process for creating new recipes, or, how the waffle taco came to be,

Here’s a motorized suitcase that will bring you to the airport.

V+V 2014 Summer Jam Party Part Deux

Here we are back again, trying to figure out which of this year’s super summer jams can be the Official V+V 2014 Summer Jam. In this installment, we’ll bring another couple jams that most people wouldn’t listen to together.

Just a note: I heard “Fancy” on the radio at the liquor store yesterday, so either I’m really good at this or really bad at this.

Anyways, first off, here’s Lily Allen, who apparently is now back to making music. Sure, the young woman sort-of-alternative pop scene’s a little crowded, with Azealia Banks, Lorde and Lana Del Ray all making very similar snarky product. But Lily’s been in the game for far longer, and it shows on the new record, the Kanye-parodying Sheezus. Since the title track, which is newer, is only a promo single (apparently because it has the word “period” in it), here’s one from the spring, “Our Time.” It’s worth a listen:

This time, we won’t go too far afield from there. Here’s indie darlings tUnE-yArDs, from their new record Nikki Nack. The track is is “Water Fountain.” It’s really weird and really fun.

You Better Be Hungry: Polpette (Meatballs)


I’m not very good at a great many things. Despite my median height and more-than-median girth, I’m not very good at basketball (wahurd will second this enthusiastically). My chess game lacks an endgame. I never beat Contra. I’m really, really, really bad at tennis (sorry, Bret).

But, there some things at which I excel. I’m a good driver. I’m at expert level on Wii Tennis. I’m currently on level 25 of Quizup Simpsons trivia. Oh, and I can cook some good foods. So, shit, why not tell you how to cook some good foods? Thus, here’s a new V+V series.

Polpette is just an Italian word for meatballs. You know delicious, whether or not you go all Italian-American and throw them on some spaghetti (it’s totally okay if you do!). You probably don’t know how easy they are to throw together. I’m going to give some vague proportions  with the directions so you know what you should add more of or less of, but honestly, fuck recipes.

Some meat: let’s say about a pound. An good old-fashioned English, well American pound, not a British pound’s (£) worth (that would be what, one meatball?). Use whatever fucking meat you want to. Feeling fancy? Mix up some ground beef, lamb, veal, or pork. Some stores sell a “meatloaf” mix, that’s okay too. Feeling not-so-fancy? Ground beef is just fine. Have an uncooked roast lying around? Go ahead and grind that fucker up. Oh, and if you’re feeling especially randy, go ahead and add a hot italian sausage or two to the mix. For, um, seasoning (fat). We’ll get back to this.

First, grab a small onion, or a half a big one. Dice that all up finely. Drop about a tablespoon of olive oil in a big frying or whatever pan, put the fire up the medium-low, and drop the onion in. Throw about a teaspoon of salt on top of that. Cook until it’s nice and browned (but not burned!), pushing it around a bunch while it’s cooking. Your kitchen’s going to start smelling pretty good soon.

When that’s all going, take about a 1/2-3/4 cup  of bread crumbs and throw them in a big ol’ bowl. They didn’t come from a fucking blue can, right? Panko’s fine, should you have some of them in your pantry. If you have some bread, grind that up. If you have some sliced bread, I’ll tell you what: just go ahead and rip up a couple of slices.

Betty Draper: "I speak Italian"

Now, take about a 1/4 cup of milk and add it to your bread / crumbs. Mash that shit up into a paste. Guess what? You just made a panade, which is another fancy Italian word that I think just means “milk-bread paste.” Apparently it also used to mean some kind of dagger in Chaucer’s English, but that’s not important (look, you’re learning meaningless English trivia in a food post!). Anyways, now that you’ve mix that shit up, add an egg. Hell, if you want, add two if you want, but I usually just add one. Mash that up.

You have your cheese ready now, right? No? Oh, right. Well, grind yourself up some hard cheese: Parmesan or Pecorino or Romano, or Asiago would all work. (Not feeling the dairy? You don’t have to add cheese. I guess you didn’t need to add the milk earlier either. This is just how the shit is done, okay? You can ruin do it however you want.) You’ll want about a 1/4-1/2 cup of cheese. Mash that in there.

Oh, you see that onion on your stove? That should be just about cooked by now. It’s been, what, about 5-7 minutes at this point? Maybe dice up a couple of garlic cloves and add those to the pan. Oh, quick, turn off the heat! You don’t want to the garlic to burn. It’ll cook a little while it cools a little bit.

Grab some fresh herbs. I’m not going to tell you which ones, but you’ll want a bunch of parsley, and I guess some basil. Those are good ones. Go ahead and chop the shit of those, you’ll want about a 1/4 cup of them when all is said and done. Throw that right on top of your panade/egg/cheese mixture. Now’s a good time to get a good pinch of salt in there—don’t be stingy! Grind some pepper on that shit too. Got nutmeg hanging around? Grind some of that on there too.

Did you turn your oven on yet? Yeah, we’re going to start these fuckers in the oven. It’s not exactly “traditional” but whatever. It’s easier than trying to fry round things in a frying pan. Go head a crank up the heat. If it goes to 550, do that. Otherwise, as hot as it gets.

Get out your sheet pan. You want one of the big ones. Go ahead and put some aluminum foil on top. Spray some non-stick on there. Now, add your meat and the onions to the bowl. With your hands (you have latex gloves, right?), give that shit a good mixing. Once mixed, mold them into 1 1/2 inch balls (bigger than what you probably think they should be). I usually aim for about 12 balls. You can certainly make them bigger and fewer of them!

I usually let them rest a little before I put them in the oven, which is a good time to make the sauce in which we’ll simmer them. Chop up an onion and maybe six cloves of garlic. See that pan you used earlier? Just throw a couple tablespoons of olive oil in there. Put in the onion and a good amount of salt. Cook until it’s all nicely cooked and add the garlic. A couple minutes later, splash in some decent white wine. Cook that a minute, then add a 28-oz can of tomatoes (however you like them), a tablespoon of chopped thyme and five or six chopped leaves of basil, and as much red pepper flakes as is reasonable for your tastes. Go ahead and cook this down a bit.

Now, throw those meatballs in the oven and cook them until they got some brown on them. Not that weak-ass light brown that means they’re not red anymore, dark brown. When they’re all good and dark, take them out of the oven. Don’t forget to turn the oven off! Carefully—carefully!—drop the meatballs one-by-one into your amazing sauce. Give that at least 15 minutes at a simmer to marry the flavors. The longer you go, the meatier, and therefore better, your sauce will be.

Now eat those fuckers. You want pasta? I shouldn’t have to fucking tell you how to make spaghetti; you’re a fucking adult.

Morning Constitutional – Thursday, 29 May 2014

Good morning, everybody. One Direction were caught smoking something on video. Now, your morning constitutional:

Today in B.F.D.: Sources say that President Obama is set to announce strong new regulations for the coal power industry, including cutting emissions by 20 percent and forcing the industry to pay for pollution through cap-and-trade programs. The EPA-drafted plan, which would be the strongest action ever taken by the U.S. to combat climate change, is set to be announced Monday.

The Department of Veterans Affairs reported that at least 1,700 veterans were not registered on an official waiting list for care at a Phoenix medical center.

A Ukrainian military helicopter was shot down by pro-Russian separatists near Slaviansk, killing 14,

Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a treaty with his counterparts in Belarus and Kazakhstan to formally create the Eurasian Union, a trade bloc to challenge the E.U. and U.S.

Argentina finally reached a landmark agreement with the Paris Club of creditor nations over repaying its debts from its 2001/2 default, which should open up foreign financing for the country.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment dropped more than expected last week.

The Commerce Department said that a revision of its estimate of economic growth in the first quarter of 2014 shows that the economy actually contracted by an annualized one percent.

Thing you should read: Probably the best explanation out there about where the Euro-zone is post-crisis.

Exit polls suggest that former Egyptian military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will win the Egyptian election in a massive landslide. The final results won’t be announced until Monday, though.

Please, please, please let this happen.

Nope, no plane there.

Finally, Michigan zoo selling exotic animal dung.

Till the End of the Day

About time to hit a vodka happy hour and play some bar trivia, so here are some end-of-the-day links to hopefully keep y’all occupied:

Today at West Point, President Obama articulated possibly the most anti-war foreign policy doctrine since Eisenhower. More.

Here’s what’s up with the Obama administration’s new EPA rules for coal power plants and the coming political battle. Spoiler: It’s a Big Fucking Deal.

Senator Orrin Hatch is promising to propose a constitutional amendment if the Supreme Court rules against Hobby Lobby, which he says will be supported by everybody “but the nuts.”

Some really good reporting on the Brazilian World Cup protests.

The rise of the religious right: It wasn’t abortion, it was segregation. But you already knew that.

Google has gone and built a self-driving car with no steering wheel or pedals or anything.

Meanwhile, Apple is buying Beats Electronics for $3 billion.

Why aren’t more people hyped about Julia Collins? Jeopardy’s number one woman of all time, she has already won 17 games in a row, the third to have done so.

Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated are starting to sell advertising on their covers, breaking a longstanding magazine standard.

McDonald’s: We actually cook our own food, unlike you-know-who.

Here’s a safety vest for your chicken.

New York Times Columnist Line of the Day

If you’re one of the three people who reads this here premier “web log,” you may have once checked out the New York Times op-ed page. You might even recognize the names of the columnists, who every day spout the most conventionally wise of the conventional wisdom. This is a feature that is dedicated to these folks, highlighting one line that is either funny, ridiculous, strange, or actually intelligent or well-written.

Today’s is from Thomas Friedman, who in his column today, “Putin Blinked,” crafted perhaps the most Friedman sentence ever:

It pits a Chinese/Russian worldview that says we can take advantage of 21st-century globalization whenever we want to enrich ourselves, and we can behave like 19th-century powers whenever we want to take a bite out of a neighbor — versus a view that says, no, sorry, the world of the 21st century is not just interconnected but interdependent and either you play by those rules or you pay a huge price.


Watch: Maya Angelou reciting “On the Pulse of Morning” at Clinton’s first inauguration

Sadly for humanity, Maya Angelou died in her North Carolina home at 86. Above she is reciting what is likely her most famous poem. Below, a tweet from just four days ago that is beautiful in its simplicity and lyricism.

Morning Constitutional – Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Good morning, everybody. Hayden Panettiere Is pregnant. Now, your morning constitutional:

President Obama will outline a strategy to turn from Afghanistan, from which the U.S. will withdraw by 2016, to focus on emerging terrorist threats in Africa and the Middle East in the commencement speech at West Point today.

The dirtiest coal power plant in the country dragged kicking and screaming into cleaning up thanks to new environmental regulations on power plant emissions.

Rebelling against abuse, Afghan women seeing signs of change.

Why in Pakistan, do around 1,000 women still die annually from “honor killings?”

A do-nothing congress? Yup, pretty much. How a bill becomes a law in 2014. More from Jonathan Bernstein.

Officials in China’s Xinjiang region held a massive public rally at a sports arena to sentence 55 people for such crimes as “violent terrorism.”

Six elderly people in Anqing, China reportedly have killed themselves to ensure they die before June 1, when city regulations mandate that all dead be cremated instead of buried.

Ukraine struggling to restore its farming legacy.

“Take me to fucking court because I don’t care. Minorities are not going to run my city.” — La Vista, Nebraska, Mayor Douglas Kindig

An Indiana pg farm says that it has been reinfected by a deadly pig virus that already wiped out 10 percent of the U.S. hog population but was considered contained.

Comcast promised to provide inexpensive Internet service to poor Americans, surprisingly did not deliver.

Your princess is in another castle: misogyny, entitlement, and nerds.

Somebody is sad that Gareth Bale isn’t playing in the World Cup.

U.S. on the verge of a whiskey crisis.

Finally, residents of a Spanish town that translates to “Fort Jew Killer” opt to change name to “Fort Hill of the Jews.”

Till the End of the Day

First day back in the saddle after some nice time off in other states north of here. Now that we’re back, here’s some links and things to read or look at:

Today in Fuck You: States that have rejected expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are leaving around 258,600 veterans without health insurance.

Oh, and by the way, a reminder that unemployment benefits have still not been extended because of the Republican-controlled House. A bill extending them was passed by the Senate months ago.

Meanwhile, the median income for a CEO of a public company crossed over $10 million last year.

This is a really good post about all the stuff those economics people have been talking about lately.

The Supreme Court took away some of the discretion states have to determine when somebody is too intellectually incapacitate to be executed.

President Obama today announced a plan to leave almost 9,800 troops in Afghanistan in 2015, down from the current 32,000, to preserve security and train the Afghan security forces, if the Afghan government signs onto a security agreement.

People who vote for candidates from different parties on one ballot tend to know less about politics than people who vote straight party-line.

Ayn Rand’s Harry Potter and the Socerer’s Stone.

Maybe you’re wondering whatever happened to “blog rock.” Maybe you have no idea what “blog rock” is. Maybe you’re like me and realizing that the type of mid-2000s indie rock you disliked actually has a name.

You probably watched the incredible Mad Men mid-season finale Sunday night (I belatedly watched it last night because traveling). You may be too young to remember this, but I leave you this afternoon with this: