Monday, July 28, 2014


why does any sane person without specific digestive issues eat margarine these days?

every margarine trumpets itself as being "buttery tasting"  and they all fall over themselves trying to be more like butter than butter.

so unless you can't digest dairy or you're a vegan, why on earth wouldn't you just eat butter? and if you're a vegan, i'd hope that you are more advanced than margarine: giant wad of transfat, artificial flavorings and dyes.

ew. if you can't have real butter, try another natural fat, like olive oil.

the only possible exception to this is if you are baking, because if you're squeamish about lard (and you SHOULD be squeamish about commercially available lard), it is superior for baking cookies, if you need flaky.

i STILL use butter for baking.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

open letter to "mrs. obama"

today i got a note from the DCCC supposedly written by mrs. obama:

I need your help.
Barack is working hard on the issues that matter to so many of us, but there's only so much he can do on his own. The truth is, in order for him to keep moving this country forward and finish what we started, he needs leaders in Congress who are willing to work alongside him.
And for that, he needs you.
Will you sign your name and commit to vote for Democrats who will fight for you?
Today, organizers all across the country are reaching out to voters to talk about the importance of this election. Together we want to reach 1 million new commitments to vote in 2014.
It's a big goal, but I know we can get there if everyone does their part.
Click here to let me know that you're committing to vote in 2014.
Just think about what we can accomplish together with a big Democratic victory.
We can promote equal pay for women. We can raise the minimum wage. We can pass immigration reform. We can ensure that women are free to make their own decisions about their bodies and their health care.
But in order for us to do all of this, we need to get organized, get mobilized, and get to work electing a Congress that will fight for us and our families.
Take the first step: Commit to Vote today.
Thanks for being a part of this.

dear "mrs. obama",

i don't notice that the president is doing all that good a job working on the things that are important to me and so many of the people i know.

for instance, i don't notice that he's done anything to close guantanamo, or to stop the torturing of prisoners in american custody. i do not notice that he's done anything to stop or even place limits on the mass surveillance of american citizens by our own government. i have not noticed a decrease in the brutality of the police or the prison system. i have not noticed any policy changes to step away meaningfully from the war on drugs, the war on young black men, or even just the war.

i have not noticed that the affordable care act has truly and unequivocally benefitted anybody but the insurance industry, and i do not notice any attempt to reign in the gross profiteering, environmental damage, and disregard for life and safety by the energy industry.

the only thing i think we can credit him for is jumping on the gay rights bandwagon once it was already rolling, and mostly declining to decrease the possibility of 52 percent of the population to have a chance at equal pay, equal healthcare, and equal rights under the law.

so, uh, good job?

bottom line: while i will absolutely commit to voting in the next election and every election, you can't really count on my support. if i HAVE to vote for your husband's people because i simply have no better alternatives, i will.

that's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

love, flask

Saturday, July 26, 2014

today i... to ring the bell at a UCI junior men's race.

...saw a mexican journalist interview a canadian rider.

...ate a brisket sandwich so good you could forget where you are.

..saw a forty-nine year old three time tour de france finisher and retired pro mountain biker ride on a day license with the pro men.

...drank a maple lemonade that was so good it could be life-changing.

...saw the US national champion win a race on her home field.

...ate two slices of wood-fired pizza. once again, spectacularly good.

some other stuff happened, and maybe i will tell you about it later. i'm tired.

Friday, July 25, 2014

jeezum crow

the vermont state bird, of course, is the hermit thrush.

today i went paddling on the lamoille river and i saw a number of handsome birds, including a bunch of kingfishers, sandpipers, a few great blue herons, and a merganser with a dozen or so chicks.

later in the day i saw a crow walking on some rocks just below the surface of the very shallow water, which gave it the appearance of walking on water.

many people joke that the state bird is actually the jeezum crow.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

to be with his friends

today i was thinking about a young man i knew some time ago.

he did not see any value in his high school education except it was time he got to spend with his friends. he did not see a point in working especially hard, nor in learning things that did not interest him.

he was polite about it, but he knew the futility of most of it, and he knew you knew the futility of it.

you all knew he wasn't going to live to graduate.

he knew who he was, he knew what he wanted, and he knew the one inescapable sucky thing. there's a lot of stuff you do in high school because people tell you that you'll need this later. sometimes this kid should have been wearing a t-shrt that said thank you for not wasting my time.

when people tell you to live as if you're going to die tomorrow, do you get all ambitious and study all the things? or do you kick your feet back and try to have a reasonably good time under the circumstances?

i think if i had a year or so to live, i would not be all in a hurry to learn calculus.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

bike at little river

hey, gang! this will surprise you: it's a post about a state park but has nothing to do with the challenge.

my friend barb and i went up there to practice our land navigation by bike, because geocaches stand in very nicely for orienteering bags.

some of the trails open to bikes are the old roads, and some were obviously cut by mountain bikers so they ride pretty.

we rode up the dalley loop and then took the connector over to cotton brook but we had full packs so we decided not to go up cotton brook, which is kind of a project.

it's enough of a project to climb back up to the top of the dalley loop, because essentially from the start of our ride there was one long brutal climb followed by a long descent and then more climbing.

here's some video of the ride back.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

surprise party

tonight i got invited to a birthday party.

in itself this is not unusual.

what is unusual about his is that the woman whose birthday it was invited me as we finished our race tonight.

it's a funny thing, the race venue, because you can be friendly with people you see every week for years and years and years and not know their names but you like them and i was running with a big ol' pack and this woman i've sort of known for some years comes running by and she's talking to someone about some food they have and i think they're just talking about food to pull them around the course so i say "ooooh, tell me more about that", which makes everyone laugh and i run faster so i can hear her talk about the roasted tofu and the watermelon and the cupcakes with the ginger buttercream frosting and the next thing i know, i'm invited to dinner.

so happy birthday, nice lady with whom i've run every tuesday for years and whose name i have only just learned.


happiness and joy and prosperity.


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