Free Kids!


I guess when you are going out of business, you get desperate…

I saw this window painting on a now closed Hollywood Video store.

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Tonight’s Dinner

Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Cream Sauce
2 5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and tenders removed (see Tip)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
2 tablespoons dry vermouth, or dry white wine
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives, or scallion greens

Season chicken with pepper and salt on both sides.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once or twice and adjusting the heat to prevent burning, until brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 12 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add shallot to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2 minutes. Pour in vermouth (or wine); simmer until almost evaporated, scraping up any browned bits, about 1 minute. Pour in broth and cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cream and chives (or scallions); return to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan, turn to coat with sauce and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce

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Portland’s Snowing

Portland had its first snow of the year tonight. Needless to say, hilarity ensued.

I took a drive around town, and in the first two hours, I saw 1 car in the ditch, and two cars struggling to get up a hill. Eventually they gave up, put their emergency lights on, and stopped.

Later in the evening, the street in front of my house, a small series of hills, had about 10 assorted cars stopped at various angles. A camry, mini cooper, mini vans, civics, etc..

You think that eventually Portlanders would realize that snow is indeed slippery, and stop trying to drive through it in cars without snow tires or chains. But even that isn’t what irks me. I’ll see a car going 5 miles an hour approaching a hill, and it slows to 2 miles, then 1 mile an hour, and the driver actually believes they’ll make it up the hill…..momentum….

It snows every single year in Portland, yet most people do not seem to understand how to drive in the snow. I really don’t get it.

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Modern “RTS” games suck

I haven’t been playing many games in the last 6 months. This weekend I got the urge to play a RTS, so I read up on reviews, and choose Company of Heroes and Dawn of War 2, Warhammer 40,000.

Both of them suck. At least, if you were expecting to play an RTS in the C&C, Age of Empires, Warcraft sense.

First off, you have zero control. Each game constantly interrupts gameplay by telling you to move to a marker, to engage the target at a second marker, to send artillery to this smoke. You have no control. Each game just tells exactly what to do.

Company of Heroes is the by far the worse. Options to build artillery, barracks, etc.. were all greyed out. You’d literally wait, the screen would shift to a building, a voice would come on and say “click this building, click this button”. Once you did that, the screen would shift again to a location maker, and a voice would say “click here to deploy that other thing I had you click”.

What is the point of playing a Real Time Strategy game, if the game decides exactly what you should do?

And lets talk about how the game chooses to direct you: by taking control of the screen every other minute. That has got to be the most annoying game play “experience” I have ever encountered. Not only are you not allowed to actually make a decision, but literally ever minute the game takes control away from your mouse and keyboard, and moves the screen. It completely breaks any remaining sense of control or immersion.

I suppose that multiplayer is the only true reason those games are popular. I would assume (hope) that a multiplayer match actually allows you to make decisions, place defenses where you want them, and doesn’t interrupt your gameplay every other minute by telling you what to do and taking control of all the keys.

/rant off

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My niece the pirate

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Do the Republicans really want to stimulate the economy?

If the Republicans really want to stimulate the economy, then why did they try so hard to reduce the items shown to be most stimulating, and increase those shown to be the least stimulating?  Is the below data just plain inaccurate?  What gives?

Should we consider the Congressional Research Service biased?
Source: page 13

Table 1. Zandi’s Estimates of the Multiplier Effect for
Various Policy Proposals
Policy Proposal  One-year change in real GDP for a given policy change per dollar

Tax Provisions
Non-refundable rebate 1.02
Refundable rebate 1.26
Payroll tax holiday 1.29
Across the board tax cut 1.03
Accelerated depreciation 0.27
Extend alternative minimum tax patch 0.48
Make income tax cuts expiring in 2010 permanent 0.29
Make expiring dividend and capital gains tax cuts permanent 0.37
Reduce corporate tax rates 0.30
Spending Provisions
Extend unemployment compensation benefits 1.64
Temporary increase in food stamps 1.73
Revenue transfers to state governments 1.36
Increase infrastructure spending 1.59
Source: Mark Zandi, Moody’s
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