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February 05, 2010



Clarice: until NEXT week when we all get together in Sarasota.

From Sunday, Feb. 14, through Thursday, Feb 18, wife and I will be just next door in Siesta Key visiting her Dad and friend.

If that is within your schedule, and this is offered refusably because GrandKid duties take precedence, if you want a break and it fits into schedules, we'd buy you a cup of coffee or tea someplace. I could show my wife that you are not a figment of my imagination.


Clarice - have you been out? Did you get a foot and a half.

I woke up thinking this was the anniversary of the blizzard of '78.

I was working my first real job and living in a fabulous house in Newton with 3 guys. We were snowed in for over a week. In fact it was 8 days before they plowed our street. One of my roomate's girlfriend was waitressing at Hojo's and they came to pick her up in a front-end loader because they needed her to go in and serve all the stranded people.

It was really really really fun. But it also shows how far snow removal equipment has come.


no snow here in nassau county, long island as of 8:50 am


Jane and Clarice: I wish we would get some snow, alas it is only rain (which we really do need, however).

For Ann when she shows up today, in honor of her comments last night, Newsbird has done a whole blog about Michelle's Kiss.

Soylent Red

About three more inches of accumulation here in central VA. Going to eat my hearty late breakfast and go back to work on the snow fort. We'll see how much fun it is sober.

On a completely unrelated note, if you'd like to get the most comprehensive idea of what the Left really thinks of the American public, check http://www.slate.com/id/2243797/#add-comment out, over at Slate.

Soylent Red

Damn I wish I had all my old Firefox add-ons back. Stupid URL would have been "this".

Oh well.


From one snowed in Virginian to another...LUN Soylent's link


Frau: I checked out the Apple Dumpling recipe at your Pioneer Woman link. They look yummy and I am going to make some when I babysit Sunday. I think the short people will like 'em.

Melinda Romanoff

Dumplings? Did somebody say Apple Dumplings?


Yep, Mel and the recipe is a real hoot! But very yummy looking.

Apple Dumplings (thanks to Frau for the link).

Melinda Romanoff

Too late, ccal.


(Mountain Dew? Is there nothing it can't do?)


Looking at those pictures of Barry being kissed by Michelle makes me feel, for the first and absolutely only time, sympathetic for our President.


sbw, they won't be with us the whole time. I'll email you.

We have what looks like about 15" of accumulation so far. My husband's outside trying to remove some from our hedges and the lower branches of the cherry tree out front. We may get as much as another 15". As long as we have power we'll be fine but as the snow builds up on the big trees around here, that may be iffy. I have not seen nor heard of any vehicle on the streets around here since about 4 or 5 p.m. yesterday and I'm just about 2 blocks from a major thoroughfare.
Visibility is getting very low as the snow picks up.


Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 26% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove which Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -15.

That should warm some hearts.


I wonder if all my gutters will hold up. The lasst storm did some damage to them and i didn't even bother trying to get that fixed as I didn't think the repairmen came out to do that sort of stuff in such weather.

Melinda Romanoff


Old pantyhose legs filled with sodium chlorate tossed up (or young healthy males on a ladder can lay them in the gutters) will help a bunch, and slow the icedam issues. Do it only in problem areas, where icedams normally form.


And where would I find sodium chlorate ir young healthy males on ladders in the middle of a blizzard,Mel?

But I'll remember that for future use.


sodium chlorate

I wouldn't use this, as it is an herbicide and somewhat toxic to humans. If you simply are after a decent freezing point depression, I'd use calcium or sodium chloride. Whatever you use for your water softener, if you have one, would work. Still not great for plants (remember Carthage!) but a whole lot better.


What happens if we substitute 5-minute oats for the 1-minute oats in the cookie recipe?


Clarice is right that you won't get the same texture with 5-minute oats (the cookies would be stiffer and more crumbly than you want).

BUT if you have a food processor or blender, you can create a substitute by pulsing the same quantity of 5-minute oats a few times until the pieces are roughly 1/2-1/3 their original size. The close-up photos of the cookies in Ann's link will show you about the size they need to be. Be sure to pulse and not grind or you'll get dust.

I've done this a couple of times and it seems to work in a pinch. Good luck! Those cookies (and the oatmeal pie and the apple dumplings) all look fabulous.


I just looked up sodium chlorate myself and you're right, DrJ.

The gutters in trouble at reachable through windows on the second floor and when the storm passes we'll do what we did the last time--take a broom handle and try to break up the overhanging snow and ice.


FWIW, streets usually are salted with calcium chloride (CaCl2). Your putative water softener uses sodium chloride (NaCl). That is also table salt, but that's an expensive way to go.

Manuel Transmission

Jane, the year before the big bliz of 78 I was testing trains along the Conn. Shoreline (near Mystic). It was so damn cold, we saw the ocean freeze near the river where the salinity was low. The next year our new home in Cowlumbus had snow drifts to the eaves. That was when the chicken littles were sure we were heading for a ice age.
Isn't it amazing when personal perceptions drive policy (in this case bogus science) no matter how small/narrow the data sample.

JM Hanes


"Every word out of Gibbs' mouth is a lie. Even the spaces between the words are lies."

Rasmussen's -15 isn't the only encouraging news today:

During his January 27 State-of-the-Union address, the president spoke about a deficit of trust between the American people and political leaders. Polling on the president’s speech found just how deep that trust deficit has become. A majority of voters did not believe Obama was telling the truth about three of the biggest assertions in the speech - that his administration has cut taxes for 95% of Americans, that “after two years of recession, the economy is growing again” and that steps taken by his team are responsible for putting two million people to work “who would otherwise be unemployed.”

The muddle doesn't seem so muddled on that score, although only 35% of them know that half of all government spending goes to to national defense, Social Security and Medicare.


Our Ace Hardware store has KMI® 14lb Roof Melt Tablets (RM65S) that are calcium chloride that are, I believe, hockey puck-sized that one can wing up into the gutter or roof where excess snow and ice gather.

JM Hanes

I reworked this 2007 budget pie from Wikipedia for my daughter last year. I posted the full size version at Flickr, where you can actually read the text labels.

2007 Budget Pie

When you add up entitlements, interest on debt and defense spending, real discretionary spending only amounts to 21% of the budget. And this was 3 years ago.

JM Hanes

If you add in the GWOT, you'd be down to a discretionary 16.25%.

Manuel Transmission

Further the 77-78 winters, we just recalled that every enterprising young man with a pickup went out and bought a snowplow. When the snow storms hit, they would all dash out and spend the night clearing parking lots. Within a few years the plows ended up under tarps in backyards. Remember this was at the peak of the Carter malaise.


Soylent, that Slate article was awesome. "Blame the childish, ignorant American public" - I do! Look who they voted into office!


real discretionary spending only amounts to 21% of the budget

I know what "discretionary" means in this context, because I looked it up. Given that it means something very different in every other context, shouldn't there be a different word in its place here?


Money we don't HAVE to spend?


We don't have to spend money in most of the other categories either, it's just that they require changes in existing laws. For some reason there is no problem changing those laws to increase spending, but when it comes to considering changes to reduce spending suddenly the programs become untouchable.

We've (twice, I believe) extended unemployment benefits. We've created and expanded SCHIP.

In any case, I'd be happy to eliminate half of that "discretionary" spending, especially as it was artificially inflated by Bozo this past year.

Rick Ballard


If you can reach the ice dams with a broom handle then a vacuum cleaner used as a blower (or a blower if you have one) should do the trick without as much effort.


A fairly large part of Keynes' prescription had to do with the psychological impact of whatever measures were taken. Team BOzo is focused almost wholly on psychological impact in everything attempted. The positive political outcome is supposed to flow from the positive psychological outcome (excepting the straight payoff portion). I would note that Team BOzo's manipulation of the stock market via the prop desks of the Big Five Family of Wall Street banksters is also wholly psychological, as is the manipulation of oil prices. The wholly political moves by Team BOzo (Kill Granny and Air Taxes) reveal the deeply schizophrenic nature of the entire farcical endeavor. Those two items alone have induced a level of economic uncertainty which is absolutely throttling the economy beyond what might have been expected without their having been proposed. Toss in the abrogation of long established property rights in order to favor the UAW and I would say that Team BOzo has created an economic situation which will endure until they have disappeared from the national scene. It's a definite B+ effort.

I'm completely on AL's side wrt allowing the creative destruction to flush incompetence from the economy. The only positive note on the effects of the efforts by Team BOzo have been in the area of productivity. Businesses are definitely learning how to effectively produce a bit more with fewer employees. Perhaps Team BOzo and the Democratic Party should adopt "we've made the economy much more efficient" as their battle cry going into the 2010 elections? I'm sure that the 18-20 million under and unemployed would be heartened to hear it.


Thanks for that tip, Rick. We do have a rather powerful blower we could use.

Cecil Turner

It's a definite B+ effort.


Rick Ballard


You might try a few pitchers of hot water first. I'd go with a shop vac if that didn't work - the nice warm inside air will work faster than the outside air used by a blower.

JM Hanes


Yes, I think we need a more useful term than "discretionary." Defense spending should really be assigned a category of its own. The only reason it's included in the annual (discretionary) budget, is because of the Constitutional prohibition on standing armies. Anti-war groups, and the rest of the crowd inveighing against militarism as the overriding American priority, conveniently confine themselves to discretionary spending when they devise their pie charts:

Discretionary Pie

If you include "Human Welfare" entitlements, the pie chart suddenly looks like this:

Safety Net Pie


I don't think the gutters I'm worried about will be sufficiently reachable for the hot water treatment. And I don't have a shop vac. If I can get to them before the snow turns to ice, the force of the air thru the blower might help bust up the overhanging stuff so that passersby aren't endangered.

JM Hanes

I should have noted that the colors don't represent the same categories in both charts -- e.g., the purple in the bottom chart does not represent Science & Space spending!


Further the 77-78 winters, we just recalled that every enterprising young man with a pickup went out and bought a snowplow. When the snow storms hit, they would all dash out and spend the night clearing parking lots.

Man Tran,

They still do that around here. It's nice to see you - you aren't around nearly enough - and say hi to Mrs. Man Tran for me.


Obama was raised in the Honolulu penthouse apartment of a senior vice president (escrow department) of Hawaii's largest commercial bank, his Gramma. She sent him to one of the most elite and expensive prep schools in the nation.

Other than Obama's own self-serving claim to have been a scholarship student a that school there is no reason to believe it.

The "modest" background is all Axelrod fabricated bull****.


clarice -- were you in DC during the great snowstorm in Dec 1973? We went to bed Saturday night to predictions of "clear and cold" and woke up to 7-8 inches of, well, ok, it was cold. This was at the height of the OPEC "embargo" which would have not been nearly so effective if it were not for various government stupidities.

One of the stupidities was that if you had a license plate ending in an even number you were allowed to buy gas on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while an odd number meant Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. And the gas stations were closed on Sunday. So... We had something like 7-8 inches of snow on the ground, completely unexpected, and no way to gas up the snowplows until Monday morning.


I was but I'd forgotten all about that. Mercifully.


"and no way to gas up the snowplows until Monday morning."

Remember this example of government stupidity when someone suggests you turn your 401K money over to the government to manage, or that the federal government is capable of managing your healthcare better than your doctor is.


Oh, yeah, the other thing -- in DC it rarely gets really cold, and so when it snows it's often at right around freezing. Which means repeated thaw-freeze cycles which turn fluffy snow into hard, uneven, ice pretty quickly. That's what happened back in 73, and after 24 hours of not plowing there was no point in taking the plows out.

After moving to Chicago in 1975 I was trying to figure out why 2 feet of snow there is not as nasty as 4 inches in DC. Sure, the presence of so many idiots who can't drive in snow/ice is one factor, but to be fair, when it snows and never goes above 20 degrees it's a lot easier to deal with.


That's true, too. Plus DC is much hillier than most Midwestern cities. Still, the drivers make it worse than it needs to be.


I think it was during that storm, or maybe a different one, that some kids were sledding on the pure ice on 20th St from Kalorama down to Belmont, a pretty steep hill. I watched a kid go flying through the intersection, barely inches in front of a truck that was coming down Belmont. The truck driver got out and screamed at the kid for 5 minutes straight. It scares me just thinking about it!

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