I’ve Seen The Future and It Will Be

So news reports across the land today are saying that President Trump has been saying that the infamous “Access Hollywood” video may have been faked. And everyone is clutching their pearls and are all like Wow! The Trump is nuts! He’s lost his mind! He is bereft of reality!

Lucky for us it is likely that President Trump does not ever listen to public radio.

Because, in fact, faking such a video is now officially not beyond the realm of possibility. I recommend taking some time to listen to the following podcast from RadioLab:

Breaking News from RadioLab

Here’s the video regarding Adobe VoCo.

The RadioLab piece actually discusses the “Access Hollywood” video. And it raises some of the questions that such developments ultimately must lead to: How can a democracy survive a world where anything in media can be utterly accurately faked?

Knowing VoCo exists is to understand that, indeed, the “Access Hollywood” video could have been faked. Indeed. Easily.

Get ready. The next few decades are going to be interesting.

Do It ’til You’re Satisifed

I sat in the back of the lunch room, gnawing on a par-baked, then microwaved turkey pot pie, and even par-baking the thing cannot improve its condition from a microwave. I was eating it anyway but vowing to never put another frozen pot pie on my grocery list again.

I saw my co-worker enter.

I am certain this man was born crusty, balding, and old, rather than growing into it like the rest of us.

I watched him stare at the television set that is suspended in the ceiling’s corner and that is always on for some reason.

That is one aspect of the culture that is not often observed, the television sets that are always on. At the bar where I lunch, at the restaurant where I dine, at the workplace, at my bank, at my car mechanic, where I pump my gas, there is the TV that is always on. I walked into a favorite restaurant last weekend and noticed somewhat brightly that they did not have a TV that is always on, and it made me appreciate their delicious hummus plate even more.

My co-worker stood underneath the TV that is always on in the lunch break room where I work, one of two TV sets that are always on in that large orange room, and he had one hand on one hip and stared at the TV that is always on, kind of quizzically. We were the only two people in the room, and I don’t think he had even noticed I was present from my little hideout.

I had finished with my pot pie by this time and was just killing time until I got to return to work to MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE

so I started cheering him on

go on

do it

change the channel

Well. I must be a magical being. Because my colleague took his fist off of his side and drew up a chair, and placed the chair underneath the television, then bravely stood up on the chair. He began to adjust the channels.

I decided to see if I could affect his choice even further with my newly discovered mind power suggestion voodoo.

FOX NEWS. I said. Put it on FOX NEWS.

I begin my Jedi training tomorrow.

Al Franken Not Resigning Is The Correct Move

This was snapped in 2003 at a work function. I can verify for you that Mr. Franken was a perfect gentleman.

My go-to joke about this photo is to say “I’m the one on the left.”

But there aren’t many jokes these days regarding this guy, are there? Dude’s been caught up in this MeToo net with all the rest of the throwbacks. It’s a shame. I don’t know enough to talk to you about his record, but I think these Twin Cities journos have done a pretty tight job of it. (I would highlight, for this context, pieces he contributed to the Violence Against Women Act of 2003.)

So, it’s a shame. But here’s the thing: It is not salient whether you believe Leann Tweeden and/or you DON’T find that the picture she released of Franken with his hands on her boobies like they’re radio dials to reek of SOMETHING’S REALLY FISHY HERE; or if you believe Lindsay Menz or the other two anonymous claimants here. Nor is it salient if you are a partisan Democratic hack (such as I) who might be tempted to defend Mr. Franken for worse than this, even, despite our most strident stances as feminists for women-broads for America.

None of this alters the fact that Al Franken not resigning from the Senate is the correct move here.


Because. In 2014, Franken defeated Republican Mike McFadden 53.2% to 42.9%, soundly defending the seat he narrowly won in 2008.

That, folks, is a positive referendum offered by the voters of Minnesota regarding the job Sen. Al Franken had done during his first six-year term. Were he to simply step down because he was caught up in this tsunami due to a few random stories and a really weird photograph, it would be a detriment to the voters who returned him to office.

No, what Sen. Franken has indicated will be done is the proper salve here: A Senate-based ethics investigation into his behavior. We tend to forget in this maddening political environment that government does not take action by tweet or by some maniac’s bark. Government requires a proper process. We have a senator here who has some accusers during a time when accusations are pouring torrentially. This senator should get a fair hearing, and the correct vehicle for that hearing in this case is a Senate ethics investigation, which was, by the way, suggested first by Sen. Al Franken.

How does this compare to the case of Rep. Joe Barton of Tejas, who recently had a photo surface of him presenting his wares via digital shutter-cluck?

Goodness, if I have to explain to you that, by definition, sending a woman a picture of your ball peen hammer IS sexual assault, then let’s you and me spend that same conversation discussing shit and shinola.

No woman wants a picture of your junk. Not one of them. Not one. Okay, maybe except for that one, the one who plans to use it to blackmail you later. Generally, however, sending a woman a picture of your grumpy muffin there is an unwelcome violation. I can’t believe I have to explain this. Let’s next talk about why little people are prickly about dwarf-tossing.

I mean jeez, send a nice bucket of tulips instead, maybe?

As for Sen. Franken, who today again offered a contrite statement and a resolution to do better, his case is more nebulous and requires investigation. And that was his idea. It is the proper process and should proceed. His immediate resignation would be a picador’s work to the fleshy bits of democracy.

Try The Reuben

The bar stool upon which I sat today at lunch was crooked, and it wobbled. Either that or I kept encountering a divot in the floor. I am not certain which was the case. Regardless, my seat had a wobble.

This is not the kind of thing one experiences at the newest latest pub. I did not have a wobbly bar stool when I had lunch at Bar Louie Saturday because I took my car in because the front tires were regularly losing up to 10PSI, and when the mechanics perched her up on the rack, they discovered my brakes were nearly gone and offered to replace them, so I ended up having a meal at Bar Louie next-door, and I can assure you that my bar stool did not wobble there.

No, that wobbly bar stool is a well-earned scar at a joint called J.B. Quimby’s Public House, which is an old-shitters’ joint and one of the finest pubs in western New York and certainly in all the land. Quimby’s has dings and pock marks, and it has earned them and wears them with swagger. And today I had the pleasure of lunch there with my Dad and my brother, and it was really good. I had the reuben melt, and it was delicious. Dad had the Cuban with these cheesy potatoes that must be experienced because they were delicious. My brother had a quesadilla.

During this excursion, we took in a football game on the television. We watched the Buffalo Bills play the New Orleans Saints right here in Buffalo.

The team from the Big Easy ended up besting the Bills 47-10. As quoted in the Democrat and Chronicle today, linebacker Preston Brown said “We weren’t good.”

Having discussed my really nice Sunday today, I share this. For reasons. From the book Illusions, by Richard Bach:

Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river.

The current of the river swept silently over them all—young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.

But one creature said at last, “I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.”

The other creatures laughed and said, “Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!”

But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.

And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, “See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!”

And the one carried in the current said, “I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.”

But they cried the more, “Savior!” all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Savior.

A Secret Magic Trick, re: Sous Vide Circulator

So I shall start by indicating first how lovely it is to be wrong regarding the fate of my Democrats in elections on yesterday. We did well. It gives me new heart. Perhaps Democrats are as energized as they think they are. That would be nice.

Locally, here in Henrietta, N.Y., the vote went pretty well. We fired the town supervisor, a Republican, who had been accused of making controversial comments; that is all I need to say about that. We fired the Republican sheriff for some reason. I voted for the incumbent, a Republican. Yes, I voted for a Republican. Get over it. Mainly because I do not recall any major controversy or horror coming out of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and I do not think of it as a political office. But congratulations to Todd Baxter. There’s a new sheriff in town. Rochester re-elected Lovely Warren as mayor. I didn’t see that one coming. Just kidding.

So in this new installment of the occasional advice column known as “Hints from Abelard,” I want to give another perspective of the art of cooking sous vide. This is when you cook food low and slow in a strictly controlled temperature water bath with slow circulation to promote convection. I some time ago purchased an Anova soux vides circulator and was convinced for a week or so that it was the next great hope of cooking techniques.

I imagined that cooking sous vide would be a boon for a bachelor; that one could simply season some meat, vacuum seal it, freeze it, then drop it into the bath upon arriving home, allowing it to cook for an hour or several, then sitting down to gnaw on a perfectly cooked steak or salmon or chicken thigh.

The problem with this notion is that, in fact, cooking sous vide requires a great deal mise en place. First one must season the food, then one must vacuum seal the food. Then, one must draw the water and assemble the pot with the circulator. Then, one must immerse the food and may need to insulate the pot with some foil and a towel to avoid a loss of thermal energy. Then, when the food is cooked, one must open the pouch, allow the food to rest, and then throw it in a scalding pan or zap it with a torch to get that nice maillard action going on.

The fact, my friends, is that cooking sous vide is only sensible if you are preparing a feast for more then two human beings.

Because if you’re just preparing a single steak, or maybe two, you can easily prepare it to perfection if you are willing to use a cast iron skillet and to open a lot of windows and turn on a lot of fans. 500-degree oven. Cast iron skillet. Meat. Kosher salt and Rochester Pepper (Yes, Dad, Rochester Pepper is quite a dandy spicy yummy thing, thank you) (or at least fresh-ground pepper). Two minutes a side. That is a perfect steak. Please watch episode one of season one of Good Eats because it is the best one. Watch it once per year at least. This should be mandatory for every American person. Because I think it’s fair to say that John Wayne ate steak.

Now if you’re cooking for more than two, say you have a hungry crowd of eight, sous vide makes sense. Because if you’re just pan-frying that many steaks? You’re going to mess at least one of them up on a pan. Probably overcook it or burn it severely. That’s just too much meat to babysit on a scorching pan. With sous vide, you cook all of those steaks to even and consistent quality. You sear it on a scorching pan for like 45 seconds. You rest the meat and carve. And you serve.

But for a single guy bachelor type who just wants to serve himself up a nice steak or a pork chop? Honestly, I can get better results with the scorching hot cast iron skillet.

Still. The sous vide circulator does one thing better than anything else, whether you are cooking for one or a million. The sous vide circulator thaws frozen meat. Quickly. Safely. And more naturally and better than any tool you can ever apply to the job. Just put cold water from your faucet into the pan and align and anchor your circulator. Set it to 70 degrees and start it spinning. And throw in your frozen meat in its original wrapping.

You will have thawed meat in 15-20 minutes, without the danger of prematurely cooking it (like, say, thawing it in the microwave), without the danger of it going into the red zone because you left it out too long, and without running gallons of water over it in the sink because it actually circulates the water. This is the best reason to buy a sous vide circulator, period: It is the superior method for thawing frozen food. It will do it safely and faster than any other method.

You can also mess around with you know, using it to cook stuff. But, I’m telling you. This thing is most useful as a frozen food magic food thawer thingie, and that is reason enough for a person to go buy one all on its own.

That is today’s Hint from Abelard.


So today I heard an old guy have to explain to a young guy that Get Smart was a TV show before it was a movie. I would have felt bad for the older guy except that he began this thread of conversation by taking off his shoe and holding it up to his face and saying “You remember the TV show? Get Smart? Remember?” The dude was standing at his work place holding his own shoe to his face like it was a telephone. I was just glad there are no dogs near where he lives.


Weird Week

I am sitting at my front office listening to Chris Matthews on the MSNBC and waiting for electoral results, mostly locally but certainly nationally and especially from my former home state of Virginia. I have direly predicted that Republican Ned Gillespie (yes, I did that on purpose) will be victorious. This is not because of anything I know, except that I know that Democrats are in a bit of a slump. Factoring in to my maudlin prediction was indeed the weird and screechy revelations from the upchucking I mean upcoming book by Donna Brazile, whose name should really be pronounced “BRAH-ZYLE” and who is currently really pissing me off. I would like to have seen her upend the ticket single-handedly based on a stumble caused by heat exhaustion and pneumonia and her own pique at being denied the autonomy at work you believe you are due. Welcome to work, Donna Brah-zyle. Work does not often offer the autonomy we believe we are due. It usually doesn’t. It always doesn’t. What a nice time to regrudgeitate 2016 yet again, you moron. Lookit that. I just made up a word.

My own work life is weirdly uncertain, and I am weirdly okay with that. I am on temp-type job currently that will probably not go on forever. I have turned down two other jobs since the previous job went away, something I have never done before but probably should have. My original plan was to eat the layoff and have a really nice holiday season, and then to do some of that “finding one’s self” stuff that I’m not sure I ever got to do. Instead, I’ll be back in the headset for now. For now. At least this work won’t involve entirely abstract concepts about machines I literally can’t touch.

And we’re down a dog, as you might have noticed. Might be down two shortly, as dog #2 can no longer blink his eyes nor control his mouth nor move his cute floppy ears.

Despite all the weirdness and sick and dying dog-friends, I feel hopeful. It is my favorite time of year. I look forward to holidays and am already brewing up my offerings for Zappadan, which is here in like 26 days.

Gosh I love Zappadan.

Charlie Elizabeth Gretchen Sue

I recently read that when a dog leans up against you, they’re hugging you.

I’m probably oversimplifying it. But that’s what I like to think I read. Because Charlie always leaned on me.

He was a foot-sitter, too. He liked to sit on my feet. And I’m personalizing this. I understand that he sat on other peoples’ feet, too. And that he leaned on other people, too. But I liked to think it was just me. Because I’m selfish like that.

This is an early picture of him with his partner in crime, Dasher Dancer Prancer Pryor. Their mum said they just got in the wheelbarrow like this. I call it “The Usual Suspects” because they look like they’re in a lineup.

Charlie and Dasher

Charlie was a goof.

But there was also something remarkable about him: Charlie developed a sense of mortality.

He never got freaked out by the hunters who patrol my family’s property until, one year, they hung one of the deer carcasses in the garage. My own speculation has always been that Charlie just assumed that deer are bigger dogs. And when he experienced the rather macabre site of one of them gutted and strung up, I think something in his dog brain clicked. When some of the humans show up dressed like that, and when there are loud noises in the woods, those other dogs end up dead.

After that, nothing made him more nervous and agitated then when there was hunting going on. Charlie came to associate the hunters with the deaths of beast he considered to be contemporaries at the least. I think in his own way, he understood mortality as few dogs ever do.

Bear in mind. He never discussed this with me. It’s just a guess.

I often say that some of the best people I know are dogs. When I say it, I’m always talking about this fella.

Charlie died last week. Cancer. Dude seemed weird the weekend before, but we assumed it was because the hunters were around. Maybe it was that, too. But I think we’re pretty clear he wasn’t feeling good.

I got to go over that night and sit with him in the car backseat, from where he refused to move. I rubbed his tummy and sang the stupid song I always sing to him, which goes: “Charlie Elizabeth Gretchen Sue / He’s a good dog, and who are you?” I said his name to him a lot. Dogs like that.

I have since been back to the Farm and the welcome one usually received from this goober dog was lacking. How amazing it is that a single mongrel can create such an ambience.


So for awhile I was trying something new. I was trying to move my blog here to a zippier domain name, 8wk.me.

Here’s the whole entire story.

First of all. The name. “Adventures Into the Well-Known.” When I would stay with my Dad as a youngster, we would take trips. I once referred to one of our ventures as an “adventure into the well-known,” and my Dad laughed. It became a running joke because it always made my Dad laugh. So when I was living in Washington, D.C. and was trying to name my blog, I ended up going back to my basic material. Adventures Into the Well-Known it would be.

It was funny to me on another level, too, in that usually when you’re trying to create a web presence, your URL is supposed to be snappy. “adventuresintothewellknown.com” is no such thing. It’s a friggin’ mouthful of buffalo balls in Internet language. This appealed to the mosh-pit mentality in me. It left me tickled because it’s so long and stupid. It was perfect.

Years later, however, I felt stymied by the long, mush-mouthed domain I had chosen. I wished I could find a more succinct domain. How could I do that and yet keep the spirit of the original identity? This combined with my on-again off-again interest in being an Internet broadcaster via platforms such as Live365 radio. Adventures Into The Well Known Radio is kind of a mouthful.

So one night when I was sitting at work and should have been working (sorry), I was pondering a new identity for what has become something I consider to be my personal brand. How can I abbreviate this?

Sometimes, ideas hit you like thunder.

A for Adventures
I for Into
T for The

AIT = 8

W for Well

K for Known


I know to you that to me this was a bolt of lightning is weird. But it was. I can have a less mealy-mouthed domain that still reflects the original idea. It was brilliant. 8WK. It’s still Adventures Into the Well Known. But different. You know. Like KFC.

Plus the new domain options.

I’ve never been a dot-com. I’m not trying to sell things. Frankly, the larger reason I keep a blog is to learn things. I keep it so I can learn about WordPress and SQL and other fun things. When I got the domain, you had the choices of dot-com, dot-org, or dot-net. Those were your choices. No soup for you.

But I like that we can now choose dot-me domains. Or even dot-blog domains. That you can specify the purpose of your site via your domain is a great advancement for the Web.

So I bought 8wk.me.

And I wanted to try it out. I did in various ways. Mostly I had it re-direct here. Then for a while I decided to have it be the main domain in Spain with the rain.

Anyway so I wanted to try to make 8wk.me my main domain. I don’t think it worked.

My Mom calls it 8-week something something. For example. She doesn’t understand what I’m doing. If my own Mama doesn’t get it, then how is the average surfer going to?

Plus I have all the years of traffic. All two of you.

Screw it. I don’t know what will become of 8wk.me. But I’m staying here.