Eating a Whole Cow


There is a Portuguese joke that goes like this “Could you eat a whole cow?”  “Only with a lot of bread.”

If you didn’t at least smile, it’s because you’re missing the underpinnings of the culture.  First, everyone is all about the bread.  No matter what you’re eating, there will be rolls on the table.  My grandmother used to say “Even in hell, they don’t serve soup without bread.”  (Which gave me an odd idea of hell as a very infra dig restaurant.)

Second, at least in my early childhood, the family often ended up in these all-day eating fests, a propos not very much.  Someone was back from overseas on vacation, or you had a large gathering of relatives, and the tables would be put on the patio, under the giant pergola covered in grapevines, and we’d sit there and talk and eat all day.  Sometime towards evening, women would flip the table clothes over (to the clean side) and serve dinner.  (After lunch and a whole lot of apetizer like stuff, which you eat while drinking wine or beer.)

In that kind of situation, you could eat a whole cow… with a lot of bread.  I’m not saying it would be good for you, either physically or financially (back then there is a reason we ate a lot of tiny, tastefully arranged morsels, unless it was stuff we grew ourselves.)  I’m saying you could do it.  Eat a little, drink a little, talk a little, eat a little more…

However anyone sane, or even anyone Portuguese, even of the time, if faced with a vast roasted cow and asked “can you eat that at once?” would go “Oh, dear Lord, no.”

I’ve always had trouble with this concept.  One of my first points of awe over the woman who would eventually become my sister in law was that she made these long, elaborate, HUGE crochet bedspreads.  While attending medschool.  And I kept thinking, “Good Lord, I’d get so bored.”  But the thing is, she made them in squares, while attending games, or sitting around after dinner, or whatever.  A square here, a square there, and soon enough you have a couple of bedspreads.  But if faced with the task you’d go “Dear Lord, it would take months and be impossible.”

Years later, I figured that out.  I mean, I always knew it intellectually, but I internalized it, too.  I used to have a collection of hand crocheted curtains made during writers’ meetings, and on plane trips, and long drives, and…  They were lost during the move.

About 12 years ago, the wheels came off that, mostly because I couldn’t remember a pattern long enough to execute it, which sounds stupid and is.  But that’s not how I experienced it.  I experienced it as “I am bored.” and I kept starting things and not finishing it.  The same applied to novels, and it turned out it was hypothyroidism affecting the white matter in my brain.

I used to go running forth along a thought line, and suddenly hit what felt like a hole.  Turns out it really is a hole, where connections are cut.  Your brain knows!  (This still happens sometimes, late at night, when it’s been a long day.  Yesterday I struggled in vain for the word “neurologist.”  Which you must admit is funny.)

Anyway, perhaps predictably, this threw all my habits of life and work out the window, until all I could do is finish novels by running at them full tilt and writing them in as short a time as possible (after fighting myself on writing them for sometimes months.)

It also threw other things out the window.  When the thought of getting up, showering and getting dressed seems like overwhelmingly difficult, you kind of let housekeeping things go, too.  And of course, when you try to get help everyone thinks “depression.”  And you’re doing all the things to get out of depression, but you can’t (though some of them help a little, because anything helps a little) because it’s organic and you’re very, very ill.

I’m now recovering — I have a disquieting feeling I’m still not full me, but dear Lord, it’s hard to conceptualize where I was.  It was hard to perceive it too, because when your brain is malfunctioning, your perceptions are off — and trying to establish habits and thought patterns and … well, all that again.  As well as kick my life back into order, starting with my surroundings (hence as much as you’ve heard about house keeping around here.)

Because see, whatever you think of yourself and your personality, living in confusion and chaos much less in filth, hurts you and limits what you can accomplish.

There is the illness and allergy issues, but there’s also never being able to find what you want, spending hours of your day looking for something, and just generally feeling like you’re slumming.

However most of us have jobs, and the time to accomplish “keeping the house in a semblance of clean” (I’ll never be an immaculate housekeeper.  That’s full time. I don’t have full time) is never there.

Reading people like the flylady (and her daily hints never arrived, and I’m not going to bother.  At any rate, all I wanted was the general concept) reminded me of how I used to clean the kitchens, at parties.

Okay, I probably should have realized I was an introvert, no matter how much I can “put Party Sarah on.” because when my parents had massive parties (late seventies, most of the eighties) I’d choose to be in the kitchen, dealing with the dishes before they became intractable (We didn’t own a dishwasher and mom would cut off her own feet rather than use paper for guests.)

That first moment you enter a party kitchen, still littered with pots, pans etc from the cooking (which might have taken two days) all in complete confusion (mom has a bizarre habit of not even throwing away trash, while cooking.  She makes piles of it in sink and counter, and then puts dirty dishes on top.  EW) is daunting.  You look at it and go “OMG, I never…”

Then you think “I’ll make order in this little corner”  then the next, then the next, and next thing you know, you’re standing in the middle of a completely clean kitchen, washing each dish that comes back and setting it on the rack to dry.  (And avoiding the party which was rather a thing.)

I’d forgotten that lesson.  The flylady, at first reading of her site, reminded me of that.  “Do what you can right now” and also the basic (which ties in with my readings of Peterson too) “respect yourself” (in flylady’s case “dress to shoes.”  I always dress to shoes, because that’s how I found out I could get ANY work done.  Wake up when Dan does, dress for work, etc.  BUT over the years I’d started interpreting “dress to shoes” as “cover all the relevant bits.”  I’ve been trying to work on “Dress as if you were going to work” with my hair up, and maybe jewelry and a touch of make up.  I know it sounds stupid, but it makes an actual world of difference.

So I’m not getting her full daily stuff, but I’m doing what I once did and “doing what you can where you are.”  While having breakfast and writing this blog post, for instance, I did a bunch of laundry that was cluttering the laundry room.  Just… you know, a load at a time, five minutes to fold that, return to post.

Can I sustain it?  Probably, since I really am better.  And just two weeks of this has made a marked difference.  There are a couple of foci of mess that I have to deal with, but a vast amount of it is cleared up, and the house looks like a human dwelling again.

Now, there will be stupid days.  Wednesday and Thursday last week were bad, leading to the house looking like a tornado had gone through and taking me more time to do the once a week on Friday.  BUT even that was less than in the bad old days.

Is this turning into a housekeeping blog?  Of course not, you know that.

The same applies to politics and our current cultural cold war.  We’re way behind.  The country is the equivalent of that kitchen with the sink full of disgusting, greasy pans, with food burned on, and under that all the entrails of the animals mom cooked, and butter wrappers under the pile of bowls in a corner.

And you look at it and go “Burn it all down.”  Which, to be fair, I often thought about our kitchen, as a party started.

But you know if you burn it, it will take the house with it.  So…

So you start in a little corner.  You do the little thing, in whatever time you can manage, even though it seems like it’s worth nothing.  You throw that pebble in the ocean and trust the ripples will do something.  It might be something you never see, never have anything to do with, but it also might be pivotal.

I’ve said before I owe my political conversion to whomever sent me a subscription to Reason way back in 92.  (Yeah, I as anti-communist before, but I was ‘European right’ which is to say left.) I didn’t even know anyone who would have done it at that time, and honestly, what they thought they were doing sending that to a mother of one who had never sold anything, I don’t know.

And yet, the ripples have gone rather far.

You do what you believe will make things better, one tiny, incremental microscopic thing at a time.  And you trust.  Maybe you’ll get lucky and see the results in your lifetime.  Maybe not.  It doesn’t matter.  You’re bringing order out of chaos.

You’re eating a metaphorical cow, with a lot of bread.  And maybe, yeah, nothing is sure in this world, maybe it will all be for nothing.  After all, a meteor could hit and wipe out life tonight.

BUT you can’t bank on that.  You can bank on doing what you can, as hard as you can, while you can.

And having faith it will mean something.

Because that’s all human life is: a shout against chaos and entropy.

Go shout as hard as you can.



143 thoughts on “Eating a Whole Cow

  1. * Carefully does not comment on the dining analogy/joke in use. *

    Did one little thing yesterday. Decided it was time, with liberteries under threat by the gullible, the insane, and the insidious, to join a group dedicated to the preservation of fundamental liberty. I finally did it. Joined the NRA, I did. Who knows? I might even go out and buy a gun.

    1. The anti-gunners are circulating an initiative in Oregon that would have some serious impact. (pun mostly unintentional). Apparently, if a pistol could possibly take a magazine > 10 rounds, the pistol suddenly would become illegal. I’d glanced at the proposition, but I haven’t been feeling well enough to work the brain cells on trying to get it all. OTOH, it’s best described as trainwreck-meets-dumpster-fire. At least according to Lars Larson (regional conservative talk show), it’s at best a confusing mess.

      So, it sounds like it’d make anything but revolvers and some oddball pistols illegal. Yuck.

      I’ve already reupped my NRA membership, but I’m going to be looking for lobbying outfits with activity here. The good news is that it’ll bring out the conservative vote, with everybody outside the Portland-Eugene corridor ready to bring out the pitchforks and torches. Hmm, our dear beloved [/sarc] governor is running for reelection. The R party usually rolls over and piddles on itself, but there’s a chance this year. Slim, but maybe time to spend some money.

      1. Looks like resorting to Mauser C96 or Luger P08 or some other similar clip-loading pistols. Which they’d surely find some reason or other to ban later on.

        1. Yeah because even tho my Sig P6 only has eight round mags, there were some cruddy extended 12 round mags made, so…

          and even a 1911 has cruddy extended mags available.

          1. I’m guessing they would try to go with the idea that it is *POSSIBLE* to create an extended magazine for any magazine-fed firearm (never mind that nobody has actually done it, or how impractical it would be), hoping to use it to harass legal firearms owners before a stay can be put in place (IF they can get one). Then make Oregon gun owners go through the courts to get rid of the law, all while hoping Oregon gun owners give up before the law is ultimately found to be unconstitutional.

            1. I cannot help but wonder how many whether any of them know what a magazine is. I would wager the first thought of most of them when asked about an “extended magazine” involves a centerfold.

            2. One of these days, the “give up” will be to “take matters into their own hands”. When the angry statement made to the prog politician/judge has “Tyrant!” at the end, it’s time to duck.

      2. What’s the prop #, or has it gotten that far. I’ll be sure to laugh at whomever corners me for an initiative signature. I’m in the Portland/Eugene corridor. Please Lord can we get rid our “wonderful” Governor?

        1. And don’t forget, we have learned from those covert videos that “signing a petition” is one way that Democrat vote fixers get unregistered voters’ personal info, so that they can sneak into a polling place and steal your vote. (Or do it through the mail.)

          So yeah, be careful what you sign. (Although the really sad thing is that they are mostly stealing the votes, and hence the civil rights, of their fellow Democrats and leftist independents.)

          1. Nowadays, there’s an added bonus: refuse to sign one of theirs, or show up signing someone else’s (because they will send their camera crews around just to “check for irregularities”), and they’ll use facial recognition software and call your employer, etc. If there’s a false positive, meh. Omelets, eggs, etc.

        2. It has a proposition number; as of Friday, it had received permission to collect signatures. Prop 43. The text is online, via the usual search engine tools.

          1. Actual Bill:

            Article from Fox 12 & comments, which are NOT complementary toward the bill:

            Appearance: Trying to define most guns as assault weapons, regardless of category (rifles, shotguns, handguns, etc.) and ban assault weapons. Really hoping if courts take it as it appears, then it is an invalid initiative. Oregon allows only one item per initiative.**

            OTOH. This is one of the items where passing in Portland/Eugene corridor is not assured. There are a lot of gun enthusiasts & hunters living in this area, regardless of their normal left leanings; one of the most left person I know has a hidden carry permit & their gun is on the ban list. Here’s to people actually reading the descriptions of the guns that immediately become illegal not only to buy, but own & must be gotten rid of.

            ** One item on the initiative rule is why Oregon can’t get a sales tax passed. Most Oregonians would agree going Washington State’s route, Sales Tax but no Income Tax, with Sales Tax excluded on basic necessities (food/medicines) might be acceptable. But it would take 3 initiatives. People are afraid Sales Tax will pass, but the other two would fail, leaving us with both sales tax & income tax. OTOH state government is terrified repeal of income tax succeeds & sales tax fails (more likely situation). So status quo we sit.

            FWIW live in Oregon (again/now) & have lived in Washington. Based on analysis, on the poorer side, Washington is better, as income precludes spending as much on sales tax than one would on income tax (provided you even pay income tax), otherwise they are equivalent. Analytics was done in early ’80’s, for workers where Oregon Income tax was paid based on where they lived, not where they worked, job was either side of the Columbia; also precluded purchasing new vehicles more than every 10 years, then the Oregon Income tax became less. We were on the “poorer side” at the time. Now, the RV luxury tax would get us, no matter that we’ve owned it for 10 years now. Heck my BIL got hit for sales tax on a utility trailer that he & hubby helped their dad build from scratch in the mid-60’s, 40 years later.

    2. A Taurus PT 111 comes with a rebate for a paid one year NRA membership. It’s an ergonomic little 9mm carry gun that retails under $250 or so.

    3. Right to keep also includes right *not* to keep. F=IW and all that.

      Besides, guns are like potato chips. It’s hard to stop with just one…

    4. If you want to support gun rights, the best thing you can do is to take new people shooting.

      1. There’s a course in shooting new people? Cool, but most of the ones I want to shoot I’ve known for awhile.

      2. which will quickly change their cash-flow. I’m probably at around $1000 since January (gun rentals, gun, ammo, range membership, etc…).

        On the bright side, I don’t close my eyes on _every_ bang! Down to about a quarter of them. Remarkable what keeping one’s eyes open does for accuracy 😉

  2. A whole cow? I prefer it sliced into such portions as steaks, ribs, etc.

    I s’pose if you use the bones, horns and hooves as stock …

  3. … hell as a very infra dig restaurant.

    Isn’t there a joke about Hell as a restaurant with an English cook, French waiters and German hostess?

    1. The Germanic hostess at our favorite Chinese place gets a few double takes. OTOH, she’s been there over a dozen years.

      1. A good friend of mine doesn’t care who is the hostess or waiter, but if the kitchen staff don’t match the cuisine, she’s out of there. National chains excepted.

        1. The kitchen and maybe half the wait staff are Chinese. Not a fancy place, but it’s really popular in K-Falls.

        2. The best sushi place in Denver employees mostly Mexican chefs. She would be missing a great deal if she just walked out.

  4. You can bank on doing what you can, as hard as you can, while you can.

    Rome wasn’t built in a day*. We will get out of this mess the same way we got into it: a step at a time (okay, it’s more like climbing the stairs after leaping down them, but quibbling over metaphors won’t get anything done.)

    *A day? Are you nuts? It takes far more than that just to draw up the contract specifications, to say nothing of putting it out for bids, approving vendors, arranging the under-the-table kickbacks …

    1. Every time Republicans win something nationwide (like the presidency or control of one house of Congress,) a certain part of the Right begins to demand that we Fix Everything Right Now. A lot of them just started paying attention to politics in the last few years and have no idea how long it’s taken the Left to get things to this point. Others are just tired of waiting for Someone to Fix This Mess.
      It doesn’t matter how many times I tell one of these people people that Rome wasn’t built in a day, they want it NOW! For the sin of telling them that they can’t have everything they want Right Now and that they have to eat the elephant one bite at a time I often get called a Lefty and then they invite all of their friends to my timeline to pile on.

        1. That would be because that phrase equates to “if we actually do anything
          effective we’ll be called raaaaacist / alt-right / whatever. Better dead than rude.”

          1. In no reality does “you cannot eat the cow in one sitting” mean “but they’ll call us names.”

            “That will not work” does not mean “they will call us names.”

            “The other side gets a vote” does not mean “they will call us names.”

            No matter how many times you “translate” it that way, it does not mean what you keep insisting.

      1. I keep in mind that while I was no great fan of Al D’Amato, he was a better senator than that schmuck, Schumer. No matter how much of a nut case Alan Keyes proved to be, the nation would have been much better off had he won the senate seat from Illinois in 2004.

        As Second Amendment supporters know, we do not have to “elect the right people” we merely need to ensure that the wrong people are afraid to do the wrong thing. I do not think Claire McCaskill will vote for restrictions on 2A rights no matter how dearly she might wish to, nor will Indiana’s Joe Donnelly, Montana’s Jon Tester, or North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp.

      2. I would settle for them STARTING to fix things, and not just keep making things worse at a slower pace.

      3. Yup. The big weakness of the populist wing of the GOP is that they get disheartened when they don’t win everything after one election.

        Winning is going to take three back-to-back campaigns. Get the pressure on, and keep it there.

      4. The most irritating people are those ones who first demand that everything needs to be fixed NOW, then when that doesn’t happen decide that things can’t be fixed at all and that the war has been lost, and tell everybody that they give up because it’s the only sensible thing to do.

  5. BTW – that cow atop the post? Not mine. I never even met her and anything she tells you to the contrary is a lie.

  6. One reason I “overdress” at Day Job is to make it clear to the students that I take this seriously and they should also. And to show respect for my subject, and the students. I may feel like death-on-toast, but I made the effort and I’m there, and ready to work(ish).

    And yes on “start with a little corner.” One shelf tidied. One room dusted. One pile sorted and pruned. It is something, even if it is not much.

    1. Time for “one trailer emptied”. (components for our raised bed planting mix; seedlings won’t start until May 1st, and go in the ground June 1, but I don’t want that hanging over me.)

      Can’t remember if I mentioned it; I’m going ahead with the second retina/vitrectomy. Day surgery on April 12, with a few days hotel stay afterward. This means any heavy lifting has to be done NOW, or must wait a minimum of 2 weeks after the procedure. The left eye is Good Enough to handle the job while the right eye is wonky.

      And then I get to find out what the cardiologist thinks of my AFIB. One procedure at a time, thank you.

    2. As someone who worked tech at a school, I always appreciated the teachers who dressed like teachers not students. It made it MUCH easier to tell who I needed to talk to about the work order they put in. I also noticed, that the teachers that had the most trouble were, by and large, the teachers who dressed the most like the students.

      1. I always appreciated the teachers who dressed like teachers

        At a guess, these were also the teachers least likely to “sleep” with the students.

          1. When we were packing for the El Paso move, I found a container that predated our marriage. No idea how it managed to get moved FOUR times since then.

            When I was cleaning up my folks’ house while Elf was off for training one of the many times, found something that had moved up with us from California. In the mid-90s.

            1. After my Mom passed away my Dad found a closet packed full with moving boxes. Still sealed, with tags from 1969.

              He decided whatever was in there, it was nothing they’d ever needed in the invervening decades, so he hauled the sealed boxes out to the curb for trash pickup.

              1. Isn’t that the way people sometimes throw something like valuable antiques and such into trash? There might have been something worth selling. You never know, the weirdest things have become valuable when they have become old enough – often enough those things nobody thought to keep because they were common and thought to be totally disposable, so everybody did, until they became quite rare.

                1. I wasn’t going to say anything, because it’s too far gone to do any worrying, but in my house that would’ve likely been where things like the Really Expensive Dishes were, or the Good Silver that is a pain to polish, or the bonds that needed another five years to cash.

                  1. Yep.

                    Well, maybe it was just old curtains or something. Or maybe somebody really in need of a windfall found the boxes and something in them which saved his day, or week, or whole year.

              2. My Grandmother passed away earlier this year, and going though all that we’ve found that we need to check EVERYTHING. For instance, I found one box that upon opening it, it appeared to be full of that crappy green plastic Christmas garland from the 70s (if not older), complete with Christmas lights woven in that were so old I would be more surprised if they DIDN’T start a fire. Almost threw it away, box and all. Then I noticed that there was something in the bottom of the box. That something turned out to be nearly 100 year old photographs of family members that we didn’t have any pictures of (not my “thing”, but my mother almost cried when she saw them).

                1. When going through stuff, you didn’t pack away & label, check everything – real examples:

                  1) When in-laws cleaned out her dad’s house, after his current wife died, in prep to bring him to live with them (he was 90-ish). They found money tucked away, Everywhere. MIL banked between $80,000 & $100,000, in cash. This was late ’70’s.

                  2) Not as extreme. But helping dad’s family clear out his mom’s house, found handwritten patterns unavailable anywhere else. Granted we went looking for them; late ’80’s. Found some money, but not much, & where you’d expect it, not spread over.

                  3) Helping mom clean out my grandparents house, see #1, not as much money (we’d have died from shock if it had been that much). But we did find about $2000 in cash, not to mention checks (destroyed) from family members they never cashed. Plus, not worth anything, but WWII ration stamps. Grandpa’s special wallet grandma gave him when he mobilized for active duty WWII. Uncles mid-50’s cub scout patches … Again, they were 90+.

                  Not the only examples I’ve heard, but ones I can directly attest, yep, that happened.

                  I guess, putting spare change somewhere & forgetting it is not only a get over 85 thing. Some of the money tucked away were stashes, more the survived depression & WWII reaction.

                  1. A friend of my mother was surprised to find she was the sole beneficiary of a woman she had tended bar with for a few years when she was in college. They had kept in touch ever since, a friendship that lasted 60 years, but being named in the will at all was a surprise. Included was a house. When she and her husband went to look at the house (that they had oddly never been invited to), they found that the deceased had had a shopping disorder. She would buy and buy and buy anything and everything from home shopping networks or catalogs (everything from Precious Moments figurines to sex toys to car parts), then store it all (most of it completely unopened) in her house. They spent a couple years going through stuff in the evenings after work, and had a yard sale nearly every weekend. Eventually they managed to get rid of it all. I never found out how much money they made, but they did say it was more than enough to finish paying off the mortgage on the house.

            2. My father died in 1997.

              When cleaning out the stuff in the house he was living in we found pre-printed stationary. From his work. His work in the late 1960s. This would have survived 3 moves, a divorce and ANOTHER move.

  7. I would like to take a shot at eating a whole cow, but not with bread, and I would refuse to eat head/eyeballs, organs, and trotters.

    My sister often tells her kids “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and for her efforts her bairns call her Confucius.

      1. Lots and lots of friends. Friends and I split a cow four ways. Half a cow fills a full size freezer.

      2. I’m allergic to almost everything, and it has been getting worse as I get older. I can no longer eat chocolate at all, and beef is now something I have to plan around. And Fritos. The bag says “corn, corn oil, and salt.” WTF? I’m not allergic to corn in any other form.

        That’s three of the four basic food groups. One more and I might as well dowse the impact point of the Sweet Meteor Of Doom and camp on it…

  8. I’m building a skyscraper, singlehanded. Metaphorically. Why? Because it needs to be done, no one else I know sees that it needs to be done, and no one else I know wants the job. Impossible? No…it just takes forever doing by hand what normally takes heavy machinery and several crews.

    1. And what’s the first step in building any building? When you don’t have another lot to go to, you clear off the termite riddled ruins of the current building and establish a barrier that will kill any termites trying to re infest. Then you can pull out the blueprints.

      Everyone wants to skip that step…..

  9. I grew up in real cow country, the American rural midwest. I was a townie, but most of my classmates were farm kids so I got full exposure to their family businesses. They bought calves from western ranches, grew corn, and used that to fatten up cow critters to sale weight. Right around 1,000 pounds as I recall, and of that about half was useable meat. Lived with my folks for several years after graduation and never paid rent. Instead whenever the freezer started to look empty I would buy a quarter beef, around 100-125 pounds of mixed steaks, roasts, and ground meat.
    In a similar spirit I recently did a barter with a local farmer trading my services for half of a quarter beef. Living alone did not see a reason for a full quarter.
    Never saw a whole cow cooked though I believe that’s popular in our West and certain countries in South America. Did participate in the cooking of whole hogs in the 30-40 pound class. I had a reputation for keeping my knives very sharp so got assigned the task of disassembling the pig carcass once fully cooked. Yearling pig cooked over charcoal some of the best pork I’ve ever had.

    1. The Knights of Columbus council my dad belonged to in Maryland did an annual bull roast. It was quite a deal.

    2. I know roasting a whole cow is a “thing” in some places, but I can’t think of any examples that weren’t basically just being showy– and as Wombat-socho points out, usually a bull.

      You don’t want to *do* that with really good meat, but something like a bull? If you’ve got to butcher a bull, it’s going to be mostly hamburger. Kind of like an old dairy cow.

      1. Given enough slow heat, time, and spices (especially with acid in the marinade), even a bull can be made tender and tasty. Thus, barbeque.

        1. Oh, I very much agree!

          I am just mentally shuddering at the idea of someone taking really good quality beef and doing this!

        1. In one of JL Curtis’s Grey Man books, the old man has to deal with an old bull who got out, in the pouring rain, and is refusing to get off the road and go back in the pasture so they can restring the fence.

          The old man decides he’s had about enough of that bull’s antics, and walks up and shoots the bull right in the running lights. He then calls a tow truck to come haul the bull off to the processor, and declares that the beef for the next fandango just selected itself.

          When I read that, I had to put the book down because I was laughing too hard to keep reading. I’ve met that bull. I’ve met that rancher!

          …I may have eaten my way through half a bull who was supposed to be a good prize stud, but proved himself so ornery that the farmer just wasn’t going to put up with any more of that – and he was delicious!

          1. When I read that scene, all I could think of was the scene in “Time Enough For Love” where Lazarus informs Dora that as soon as they have another rooster hatched, there will be a rooster and dumplings dinner with the current rooster as guest of honor…..

            1. +Snicker* I have a backyard chicken collection – just for the eggs, mind you. And one of the three 10-week old pullets that we bought … turned out to be a rooster. Yeah – he is my avian alarm-clock, but there are days when I consider posting the recipe for coc au vin on the side of the coop, and saying, – yeah, this could be you…

            2. Note his qualifier: “as soon as they have another rooster hatched

              Many, especially of the SJW persuasion, do not grasp the point of such patience. Of the few who do, fewer are capable of it.

              1. Because it’s so easy to create. Any old person can do it. It’s the gatekeeping function they provide that is rare and needed.

      2. Neighbor of my parents at their place in Northern SD County did a proper pig roast, one year – in a fire pit, sealed up and left to cook 24 hours. The meat was sublime. I think that the eating, drinking and yarn-spinning went on for about another 24 hours after the pig was done.

    3. I want a lechon baboy at my wedding. It will be my one nod to Philippine celebration culture.

      I might want to put out some lumpia shanghai, leche flan and ube cake, because =3

      I know some places in the Philippines does the whole roast cow thing, but I figure, you need LOOOOOTS OF GUESTS for that.

        1. Technically, no, and yet, I’m recognized as Rhys’ partner by the law, and culturally. We are registered as a de-facto couple.

          The laws defining a de facto relationship are outlined in the Family Law Act. The law requires that two people, who may be of the same or opposite sex, have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis. However, a relationship is not a de facto relationship if the couple is legally married to one another or if they are related by family.

          There are four “gateway” criteria that are used to assess whether a claim for property settlement or maintenance can be made in respect of the relationship when it comes to Family Law matters:

          That the period of the de facto relationship is at least 2 years;
          That there is a child of the de facto relationship;
          That the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory.
          That significant contributions were being made by one party and the failure to make an order would result in a serious injustice.

          For any relationship that ended after March 2009, and which meets at least one of the four “gateway” requirements for de facto relationships, parties are able to commence proceedings in the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court. The Courts will then deal with the matter in a very similar way they would with a legally married couple commencing proceedings.

          The main reason why we haven’t done a formal marriage yet is finances. Rhys wants a ‘proper wedding’, with a celebrant, etc. Even a small family wedding would be pretty expensive, as it would involve flying my immediate family+sisters in law (and any children they’ll have then) over for the event. Then there’s the cost of the wedding proper. A quick google turns up an article at ABC News, dated December just for registry weddings:

          National registry costs:

          NSW – $422
          WA – $371
          Qld – $332
          Vic – $320
          SA – $291
          NT – $250
          ACT – no registry weddings, a standard marriage certificate is $55
          Tas – no registry weddings, a standard marriage certificate is $48.05

          A good celebrant would run at least double the cost of a registry wedding, or more. That doesn’t even include cost of the venue, where we’ll have a reception, etc.

          Big bills, and things needing to be repaired, or have parts replaced, or things needing to BE replaced, on top of our usual living expenses eat away at money set aside for hopeful dreams and plans – even with my housekeeping and budgeting skills!

          In the meantime, we have all the rights and government recognition that we need, even in the case of Rhys needing me to make medical decisions on his behalf, or, God forfend, in the case of his death.

          Do we want to marry, formally? Yes. But we’re a pragmatic couple, and happy to wait. When I once said I wouldn’t mind if we just stayed de-facto (when I went and considered the financial bite) Rhys turned around, big blue eyes wide and looking like a kicked puppy, and wibbled “Don’t you want to be married to me?”

          “I do!”

          That man. I love him to distractions, but there are days when I want to nip him. (To which, his response is usually “Yay!”)

          1. Pfui. Jump a broom and call it done. Schedule the big commemorative to-do at your convenience. You sound plenty married to this wallaby’s ears.

          2. > National registry costs:


            My fiance got off work and drove to the county court house. I stopped there on my way in for second shift. We signed the register, paid our $10, and then another $10 to one of the Justices of the Peace loitering around (“solemnizing” required by state law), she went home, and I went to work.

            Granted, somewhat informal even by American standards… in our case, we explicitly did not want any relatives involved, and neither of us were keen on ceremonials.

            1. I never had thought about wedding ceremonial plans, wasn’t on my radar. Then it happened. I wanted a “simple” family only at the local church we occasionally went to; there were 2 seasons at our house: fishing, hunting, & not either of those two, which is when we actually were home on Sunday for church. That would have been about 120 or so people, not including college mates.

              Instead, MIL informs me they can’t come if we do the above. Her 90+ dad was living with them & he couldn’t travel. (Never mind, that when in-laws wanted to go somewhere, he went into temporary nursing home, but, another story.)

              So, changed plans, we had a home wedding, at in-laws home with just immediate family. Handed basic plans over to mom & younger-still-at-home siblings, & finished term at college. My part of plan – could I fit into moms wedding dress (yes) & what basic colors (blue w/ yellow accents & I don’t care if it is Christmas season). Ultimate plan. Small wedding at in-laws home with family & roommates from college (26 people total). Then big reception the next day at my folks, for everyone at the wedding, extended family, & neighbors.

              FYI. 40 years latter, I still hear from my uncles that they weren’t invited to the “wedding”. Party, yes, & they came. So, did the cops … never figured that one out, as the neighbors were all there.

              1. FYI. 40 years latter, I still hear from my uncles that they weren’t invited to the “wedding”. Party, yes, & they came. So, did the cops … never figured that one out, as the neighbors were all there.

                Entirely possible they were just noticing traffic flow problems.

                Having the cops just show up before there’s a problem can head off the dangerous sorts of problems by making the obnoxious only halfway drunk right now relations think twice, and making everybody else go “oh, yeah… I might not want to do the drink and drive thing.”

                1. “Entirely possible they were just noticing traffic flow problems.

                  Having the cops just show up before there’s a problem can head off the dangerous sorts of problems by making the obnoxious only halfway drunk right now relations think twice, and making everybody else go “oh, yeah… I might not want to do the drink and drive thing” ”

                  Street parking was pretty much co-opted, even tho 9 cars were stacked in the driveway & along the house. Room for single lane for cars to get through, but not much else; not that street is, or was, busy, even then. Neighbors were invited, but not the entire neighborhood, so yea, traffic flow problems.

                  Yes. Suspect cops showing up in the middle might have put the “oh yea” driving issue in perspective. Luckily, not a problem with (most) our guests (that we knew of), & the heavy drinkers (we did know of) either had designated drivers, or were neighbors & walked home. Plus given the size of folks home, party, even in December, was not confined to indoors. But to put party size in perspective, it wasn’t that much bigger than Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, just minus the neighbors, so …

                  1. Less “size’ than “different.” Smart cops pay attention to changes, because even if people know that Something Is Up, they probably aren’t going to call the cops on a suspicion or just personal judgement.

                    I lost a classmate because the cops* were busy playing dead-and-blind to where the 14-24 year olds were out having their parties. She was on her way home from work when one of the drunk 15 year olds, who’d been drafted by two 16-17 year old team mates who were also drunk, hit her car. Her dad was the first non-drunk on scene.

                    The cops showing up to your party can be mildly insulting– my dad’s home town, they’ll actually come in to the party and make a big joke out of telling the granny brigade at the food line “now you ladies don’t get too rowdy” or similar– but even if you’re one of the folks who is quite good about not doing anything wrong, it can be startling.

                    *Have one really good cop– classmates still in the valley call her “Robo-bitch” because she is systematic and constantly stopped problems before they became big problems. Yes, the guys who gave her the nickname “robobitch” couldn’t figure out how to avoid someone who is utterly systematic.
                    Sadly, she wasn’t on that side of the valley that day…and now I’m wondering if they were told that she wouldn’t be there…. Retires next year, IIRC.

                    1. “Less “size’ than “different.” Smart cops pay attention to changes, because even if people know that Something Is Up, they probably aren’t going to call the cops on a suspicion or just personal judgement.”

                      Suspect ^^ this ^^. Same thing happened 5 years latter when my sister got married & the main reception was at the house. Their neighborhood, back then, was fairly quiet.

                      Now, our neighborhood now, different problem. We constantly have cars parked along the streets. We are within view of the local grade school, so school function parking spills over.

            2. I think our license cost $35 bucks, which would almost cover the actual man-hours involved in dealing with the forms.

              I know that most parishes have an on-paper charge for the Priest which is not really binding; if you have it done during a normal mass, it’s also like $35 bucks, again mostly for the dang papers, and they will waive it if you really can’t. (Unlisted charge: Father’s jokes. “Are you telling her or asking her?”) Scheduling the location usually costs more, although again you can get the parish hall for a song if you really need it and aren’t picky, and clean it up yourself.

              We still haven’t had a big party for ours. It’s just not that important to us.

  10. This comes needfully–I mean, the recent ones have all been needful, but this comes when I actually can? (Cause… day job, toddler, really wanting to improve art, etc.)
    But… I’ve already cleaned up (with Daughter) an overturned bowl of popcorn today. I can make the bed and put away the clean dishes, at least, maybe organize the dirty ones so they’re easy to wash this evening. (Limited time before visiting my great aunt this afternoon)
    Thank you!

    1. “I can’t fix the whole world, but I can deal with this tiny part of it.”. And sometimes those tiny parts really add up. Sometimes they even gestalt.

      1. This morning I put all the dirty dishes in the sink into the dishwasher after sufficient scrubbing, and pulled all the leftovers that aren’t going to get eaten in time out of the fridge, labeled them, and transferred the Tupperware to the freezer. The last will be really useful when I need to take stuff to work and haven’t planned ahead!

        I also filed a pile of paperwork, and got 350 more words on the current story. Which isn’t much, but I know where it’s going at least one scene ahead (It’s not so much that I’m pantsing as it’s reached the tangle, where the carefully outlined plot meets the rebellion of the characters and the “I didn’t account for that worldbuilding that suddenly showed up as I was writing” part.) Maybe, just maybe, getting a few words every day will actually produce something readable by other people.

        And then, off to work. Where I am now. Which, no matter how frustrating it can sometimes feel, allows the bank account to go up instead of down. Yay!

  11. I’ve been trying to work on “Dress as if you were going to work” with my hair up, and maybe jewelry and a touch of make up. I know it sounds stupid, but it makes an actual world of difference.

    My mom has spent twenty-some years making her hair look right (although she’s got low-maintenance cuts) putting on perfume and her earrings every morning before going out to do farm work.

    The cows don’t care. She does.

  12. The flip side of the political metaphor is that we look at the mess the Left has made and think, “My God, how did they do all that. They must have a MONSTER organization.”

    But they didn’t. They had a creed, and a direction they wanted to go, and a set of impulses. And they all set about fouling their own nests and here we are with maggots eveywhere.

    But the job isn’t unstarted. We have a fair amount of momentum in some areas. And they have lost a bunch, too.

    Multiculturalism was hijacked from Archaeology to prevent people from comparing Socialist/Communist/Progressive cultures to closely to freer ones, because they couldn’t stand the comparison. Oh, they would hold up small aspects of such cultures that they felt looked good, but WE the unwashed weren’t ever allowed to say “Yes, such and such a culture has ‘free’ healthcare, and it’s overpriced.”. But Multiculturalism has been used now to defend Islam (because the Left loves them some revolutionary thugs), and that makes it ridiculous. I mean, when somebody with a Left sensibility says to me “We have no right to judge their culture”, I say “I see a culture that debates the rights and wrongs of Gay Marriage and a culture that debates whether Gays should be stoned, burned, or thrown from high towers, and I know which culture is superior. And if you don’t, you are a moral imbecile.”. And the person I’m speaking to looks thoughtful.

    They really do.

    It used to be assumed that the Gun Control debate was over, and that soon handguns would be widely banned and long guns would follow.

    Now 12 states have Constitutional Carry, more have ‘must issue’ laws, and only a few holdouts are still fighting a rearguard action for gun control.

    We have ALREADY clean up a lot of Lefty mess.

    Don’t stop now.

    1. /amen

      Look at the ugly bits of pre-Christian history. Remember this is the stuff they didn’t mind writing down. Remember there was stuff that freaked them out too much to write down. And that didn’t piss of anybody between us and them.

      Things have been getting better, we can do this. There isn’t a cure, but there is a treatment. 🙂

    2. But they do have organization, it’s just that ours fight each other and theirs cooperate. Also, they adopted technology to coordinate messaging early. In the days before most people had heard of e-mail I supported an email system that also had a a blast fax system. Planned Parenthood had lists of thousands of news people, taking heads, T.V.and radio stations, and their local chapters. Half an hour after any event their official statement was in the hands of the press and that statement plus talking points were in the hands of local chapters and friendly talking heads.

      1. it’s just that ours fight each other and theirs cooperate.

        Mercifully, this is becoming less true. (Well, the first part is still true, though some of the True-Conservatives are starting to see that losing with grace is still losing.) One thing that the 2016 election aftermath showed was that the left branch of the Democrat Party hates the lefter branch, and the leftest branch hates them both. Who am I to discourage such thinking?

        1. Leftist politics is always a zero sum game. Which is why you see a whole lot of Prog Topping*, Privilege Shaming** and Victim Trumping*** of other’s Virtue Signaling- because any benefits your group gets means less for mine.

          *When one Progressive trots out more impressive Prog credentials
          **When one Prog points out that the other Prog is from a historically privileged group, unlike themselves
          ***When one Prog’s group has more historic victim points than the other

          1. I’d loooooove to tell Mr. H-gg that the reason he has not been accepted into the UC– schools is in large part because he is a Pale Male, and they have strict quotas. The look on his face…

              1. Aggressively obnoxious, pushy, condemns as evil any who disagree, advocates simple* solutions to complex problems, smug and contemptuous of any challenging argument?

                Sounds like Ivy League material, or maybe Berkeley.

                *As Mencken said, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

                1. Then again, by accepting him, you would have to spend time with him, and I don’t think they really want to do that.

                  1. With his overdeveloped butthurt sensor and weaponized twitter account, he could make an administrator’s life pure hell. OTOH, I can think of several colleges that deserve him as a student.

                    1. One possibility is that he will try to play Democratic Party Kingmaker for the upcoming primaries, and will get cut off at the knees for challenging the Dem Establishment.

        1. That particular boycott is because the Hitler-Youth type got serious butthurt from Laura Ingraham. If Arby’s tells him to go sit in a corner, I’d figure out a way to eat there. “Large beef sandwich, hold the bun.”

          1. I don’t see it happening, but…

            Dear Mr. Hogg,

            Here is a coupon for our largest fountain drink – with free refills. Please drink your fill. Then go urinate up a rope (enclosed). Good day!


            The patriots at Inspire Brands

          2. Arby’s is evidently not pulling their advertising. I had a sammich (and curly fries and jalapeno bites) there today!

      2. It’s a little more complex than that. The Left has an overarching narrative that held together pretty well,for a long time. The Right kind of blew up in the early decades of the 20th century. There used to be a fairly coherant capitalist/individualist narrative – Kippling shows that – but it got tangled up in Late Victorian piety, Social Darwinism, and similar claptrap (much the same way the Left has gotten tangled up in Trans-rights, local sourcing, amd so on). Then came three hard knocks to the status quo; WWI, the failure of Prohibition, and the economic crash. Now the Left had as much to do with those as anybody, but they ducked better.

        Now it is the Left’s narrative that is tired, rabling, and obviously dereaged. Yes, there are forces on the Right (and in Libertarianism) that are doing their damndest to muddy the waters, but a focused Populist Right narrative is coming together. It won’t be right on all points – these things never are – but with luck it should give us a lot of momentum.

      3. But they do have organization, it’s just that ours fight each other and theirs cooperate.

        It’s a lot easier for the side that wants to tear down what is already there to “work together” to do so– less easy for the people who want to remodel to all work together.

        Once stuff gets torn down, suddenly they don’t work together so well.

  13. One big life lesson is to do the jobs you hate first, and get them out of the way.
    For instance, I tend to do my taxes in January, and get them submitted a few days after I receive my final 1099. Then it’s done, plus I get a couple of month’s interest on the refund over waiting for April.
    And when I was in college, I would have papers finished a week before the due date- and would even turn them in a week early, if the teacher was amenable.

    1. See, that doesn’t work for me. Trying to do the bad stuff first usually leaves me staring at my screen, wondering how all those good intentions about working on my essay turned into thirteen straight games of Spider Solitaire.

      Instead, my working system is to pick something that needs to be done–usually the most fun and least odious task–and do it. After I’ve gotten that done, I move onto the next thing. Once I get into a rhythm, I can usually do the more odious things just because of sheer momentum.

      1. Different strokes for different folks. Too many people I know do the stuff they like and never get around to doing the stuff they don’t.
        Which means that people like me… HEY!!!

  14. Installing those furniture felts on the bottom of every single kneeler in church has paid off big this year. It’s quieter, it’s easier to stay on your knees longer, and there was no big racket on Good Friday or Holy Thursday. Also, the kneelers are staying in better shape, and the dye/stain/paint on the concrete floor isn’t getting scraped up as much.

    I just wish I’d gotten around to doing it back when the kneelers were first bought.

      1. One felt per corner was enough, unless there was significant wear or one of the hard plastic “feet” had come off. Same thing for the chairs.

        If anyone else does similar, though, I suggest recruitment of others. It is a small church, but it took a while when done by myself last summer. Also, if your church has box kneelers instead of the move up and down kind… there will be spiders.

  15. My house and property currently feel like a small herd of cattle… but I did one sink full of dishes (about 5 left to go…) and a load of laundry, and now I’m trying to make progress on the ‘mess of novel files’ so I can figure out what I HAVE in my digital trunk, and what priority they should be in for clean up. Using the fact my husband is out of town (Prayers would be welcome, his uncle is dying.) to get some cleaning done instead of sitting on my duff alone when the kids are asleep.

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