Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Supersize Me, Edwardian-Style

Catering the 25 seat LCF Board Dinner went off smashingly and without a hitch. Last year's was somewhat more hectic as the recipes were more complicated, and there was the additional stress of me leaving for the Appalachian Trail in a few days. It gave everything a Last Meal sort of quality.

This year, the opening night's barbecue had a nice molded Greek salad and sides of hummus and harissa. As always, harissa is a big hit, though it is nothing more than a puree of roasted red bell peppers, eggplant, olive oil, salt, and cayenne. We followed with lemon bars (it is the South, you know) and baklava.

The board dinner's menu included cheese, olives, chopped salad with pine nuts, ciabatta,  ratatouille, various pastas, roast chicken, and sliced whole roast tenderloin with a marsala-garlic-basil cream sauce. This sauce had to be improvised since apparently no grocery store in the state carries Knorr bearnaise anymore, or even dried tarragon. Wal-mart does manage to find room to stock no fewer than seventeen different types of sausage gravy.

Tiramisu chased all this food down our gullet, although it would have been much better had I made the tiramisu one more day in advance. It was a bit runny the day of serving, but thirty hours later it had really come together.

All in all, I thought it was a decent meal, a seven or eight on my personal scale. It's a good thing all those leftovers are in a different house. All in all, though, when I groan thinking of the richness of this food, I just think about this article:


Compared to the Edwardian diet, the board dinner was practically a dietetic.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Perfect Storm

A very nice dissection of what happened at JetBlue in February. To summarize:
  1. Management strangely fascinated by idea of planes stuck to tarmac by ice.
  2. Sabre systems and Navitaire systems don't sit next to each other easily, claim other has cooties.
  3. Attack of the SAP Consultants!
  4. JetBlue ignoring the limitations set down by Navitaire system (who, it should be said, should have laid down the law a little more emphatically)
  5. More Navitaire system limitations: passengers can't rebook without learning SQL and purchasing secret Navitaire passwords from Russian mob.
  6. Serious system limitation in tracking baggage. No system, actually.
Good read.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thalatta, thalatta

Abandoned by a cynical and disinterested political elite, surrounded by hostile peoples and strange gods, a Western army battles across the badlands of Asia Minor. It might sound familiar, but not for the reasons you are thinking of. It's the story of Anabasis, related by Xenophon in the fifth century BCE.

In a republican form of government, the executive might be the lead singer but it is the legislative branch that owns the instruments. It is conceivable that the executive branch might engage in a waiting game, allowing logistic chains to disintegrate, so that the failure of military units may be seen as the fault of the legislative branch.

This would be an audacious gamble. If the executive misjudges the resolve of the legislative opposition, if it underestimates force reserves, if it misses a critical strategic asset in the ever-multiplying ranks of the enemy, ground units may find themselves trapped in their fortifications, with ever-dwindling air cover and a suddenly finite supply of fuel and ammunition. Air resupply is a tremendous fuel drain, and the ground logistics routes from Kuwait depend entirely on close air support so as not to be destroyed by a hostile populace.

It is not reassuring that audacity has been a hallmark of the executive during the past six years.

If the worst does come to pass, and the heroes of the United States ground forces are compelled to fight their way across the badlands of Asia Minor, we can only hope that they commend themselves to legend, and that the men and women who serve us so selflessly might at last come to sanctuary, as the Ten Thousand Greeks, finally sighting the sea.

The alternative, of course, is genocide. Victory through the extermination of an entire populace is one of the few proven counter-insurgency tactics.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Feeling evil today. I have resolved to sketch more during breaks..