mytopleft

Saturday, December 31, 2016

My God, haven't we suffered enough?

Go away, 2016. I can't take anymore of the misery you've imposed on us. It was bad enough when you took from us Michael "Jim" Delligatti at the tender age of 98. The man gave us the Big Mac, and he's gone because of you, 2016.

As if that weren't enough, you took Henry Heimlich, who gave us the maneuver to save people who are choking on food, a maneuver made all the more necessary by the genius of Jim Delligatti. To add insult to injury, Heimlich was practically a baby compared to Delligatti, a mere 96 years young. Damn you, 2016.

But were you done? Oh, no. Peng Chang-Kuei, the noted Taiwanese chef and the inventer of General Tso's chicken, with plenty of life left in front of him at 97 -- you just couldn't stop yourself, could you, 2016? You snatched him from us like somebody picking up his take-out General Tso's, not caring about the ones left behind.

But that wasn't the worst of it, you fiend. Just a bit more than a week ago, you took Leo Hulseman, who was barely out of his teens at age 84. How, I ask you, how could you strike down the greatest of all these men, the man who made every party from the early 1970s onward possible, the man who nursed generations of college students through keg party after keg party, the man who gave us that durable, versatile and inexpensive goblet of joy, the red Solo cup?

I think maybe it is best to just honor Mr. Hulseman in song:


Toby Keith is a big boy, 2016. I hope he finds you and kicks your ass.

So, other than all those tragic deaths, why is everybody complaining about what a horrible year 2016 was?

Boom!

December 2016 is now the second-most-viewed month in the history of Eff You, and still going strong with a little under 24 hours to go. It is second only to the November 2012 Instalanche, when Eff You was linked by one of the most popular blogs in the world and got 29,000 visits in one day. Hard to top that for a low-traffic blog like this, but 12/2016 did itself proud and is now No. 2 alltime.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A boring traffic post

With just more than two days left in the month, I am only about 50 hits away from having the second-best month ever for traffic on the blog. Normally, December sucks rocks, but this year, apparently, the porn-seeking spambots have been hitting the site because I say fuck a lot, and doing so at a high rate. Fuck yeah!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A couple of '80s one-hit wonders for you

Not sure what made me think of these songs, both of which were really the only hit the bands had, respectively. Both excellent songs for their time, in my opinion, I think they hold up OK, despite the stylistic changes since then. First up, Icicle Works:



Much more widely heard, I think, because of the movie "Valley Girl," and a great song:

A post for cat owners

Seriously, you know it could happen any day. Or every day:


And it probably does.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

We've had our challenges this Christmas season

Not least among those challenges arose when Mrs. Wolves bought a small artificial tree and Mayhem decided to explore:


I mean, really explore:



This led to a serious gap in the tree, as Mayhem managed to bend the branches down at her preferred exit level:


We got it fixed with bubble gum and bandaids, but it is a cautionary tale regarding cats and Christmas trees.

Another Merry Christmas post

Hope everyone had the best Christmas possible.


We have a guy in the neighborhood who owns a pair of beautiful huskies (might be malamutes, but gorgeous snow dogs) and this is his Christmas yard display:


Livin' the dream, baby. Livin' the dream. A little Drake White for you:




I need to get one of these from my doctor

Winston Churchill clearly had a very understanding personal physician. Click the image to expand:


Probably can't find a guy like that today.

Traffic update

Poland has overtaken Sweden for the No. 9 spot on all-time country of origin for Eff You visitors. Closing in on Canada as we speak.

THAT was football, people

Steelers played the Ravens today, game just over, winner probably wins the division. (Ravens would have needed another Steelers loss, Steelers could still have won with a win and a Ravens loss next week.) What happened? Steelers trailing, score three fourth-quarter touchdowns to win 31-27 by picking off a pass on the last play of the game as the Ravens were trying to drive for the win. That is what makes football great. As former Redskins great Rick "Doc" Walker would say, it came down to a manhood issue. "Want to" wins.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas all of you:




Saturday, December 24, 2016

A no-game-food game post

Having dropped DirecTV in August, for the third time this year I was forced off-site to watch the Packers, and so have no game food to report on. I am pleased to report, however, that the Packers laid a serious ass-whipping on the Vikings, eliminating their worthless butts from playoff contention. In a side not, the Redskins also laid an ass-whipping on the Chicago Bears, whose playoff hopes died weeks ago cuz they suck, but it still is always a good thing to see the Bears get their asses whipped. If Dallas could lay an ass-whipping on the Lions tomorrow night, that would be good, but I don't really care because all we have to do to win the division is beat the Lions next week. Which we will do.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

China has a new stealth fighter plane -- or does it?

I've been collecting stories about China's new J-20 "stealth" fighter for a little while now. I haven't gone much into it, mostly because I have been really busy with work for months now. I have chosen to sacrifice sleep in favor of blogging, though, so I guess you get the benefit of that sacrifice. At least if you care about the J-20. Which you might not. After all, this isn't a military blog. Unless I say it is, of course. Dissatisfied customers will receive a full refund, and should refer to the title of the blog.

The jet made its first official appearance at the end of October, as Reuters reports (via Yahoo):
ZHUHAI, China (Reuters) - China showed its Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter in public for the first time on Tuesday, opening the country's biggest meeting of aircraft makers and buyers with a show of its military clout.
Airshow China, in the southern city of Zhuhai, offers Beijing an opportunity to demonstrate its ambitions in civil aerospace and to underline its growing capability in defense. China is set to overtake the U.S. as the world's top aviation market in the next decade.
Two J-20 jets, Zhuhai's headline act, swept over dignitaries, hundreds of spectators and industry executives gathered at the show's opening ceremony in a flypast that barely exceeded a minute, generating a deafening roar that was met with gasps and applause and set off car alarms in a parking lot.
Experts say China has been refining designs for the J-20, first glimpsed by planespotters in 2010, in the hope of narrowing a military technology gap with the United States. President Xi Jinping has pushed to toughen the armed forces as China takes a more assertive stance in Asia, particularly in the South China and East China seas.
But what did China really show off? Is the J-20 a legit fifth-generation fighter on a par with the F-22 and F-35? Sure, it looks good:


But despite stealing many design elements from the F-22, it seems unlikely that the J-20 can even begin to compare. Yes, there are many common design elements with the F-22:


Apparently, the brief display of the J-20 did not impress aviation experts:
But analysts said the brief and relatively cautious J-20 routine - the pilots did not open weapon bay doors, or perform low-speed passes - answered few questions.
"I think we learned very little. We learned it is very loud. But we can't tell what type of engine it has, or very much about the mobility," said Greg Waldron, Asia Managing Editor of FlightGlobal. "Most importantly, we didn't learn much about its radar cross-section."
A key question whether the new Chinese fighter can match the radar-evading properties of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air-to-air combat jet, or the latest strike jet in the U.S. arsenal, Lockheed's F-35. The F-22, developed for the U.S. Air Force, is the J-20's closest lookalike.
Superficial appearances, while indicating espionage, do not translate into performance. It would appear that the J-20 falls short on several fronts:
The jet’s debut generated ripples of panic across the globe in the wake of its boisterous exhaust. Can this plane best the best of Western stealth tech, the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters?

Nope. The J-20 is no F-22, and nowhere does it fall shorter than with its most critical trait: dodging detection. “At best, it’s probably stealthy only from the front,” says aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia, of the Teal Group. “Whereas all-aspect stealth like that in the F-22 and F-35 minimizes the radar signature from all directions.”
The fact is, the J-20 just isn't stealthy. The use of the canards -- the little winglets at the forward edge of the fuselage -- tell you that. Those dramatically enhance radar profile. Further, they indicate that the aircraft needs stabilization to make it airworthy. Canards can enhance maneuverability, but they also can compensate for inherent instability. It is not clear which function the J-20's canards serve, but either way, they reduce the aircraft's stealthiness.

The Wired article notes that the J-20 might not meet the standards of the F-22 or F-35:
The J-20 technically counts as a fifth-generation fighter—it’s got the same sort of tech and capability of its contemporaries—but it lacks the breadth of know-how and technological innovation you see in American jets.
On the other hand, the Chinese philosophy always has been to simply build more. If the F-22 has a 10-1 advantage over Chinese fighters, make sure that when the shooting starts, the Chinese have a 20-to-1 numerical advantage. High tech isn't really their forte -- numbers are.  Ultimately, it might not matter much of the F-22 and F-35 are better than their Chinese counterparts as long as the Chinese build enough planes. Not a comforting thought.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Doesn't really seem like 72 years ago

Really, feels like yesterday, but it was 72 years ago, on December 16, 1944, that the Germans launched the attack that gave us the Battle of the Bulge. StrategyPage is posting daily photos from the pivotal World War II conflict, including this rare color photo:


M-4 Sherman Tanks Lined up in a Snow Covered Field, near St. Vith, Belgium. Note: This photo was probably taken after the 23rd of December when skies began to clear. You will notice the blue skies in this rare color photo from the battle.

The cutline is StrategyPage's, not mine. Hat tip to Instapundit. Lots more photos at the StrategyPage link.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Yeah, you can get good Christmas deals at Amazon

Plus, you'll be supporting the blog at no cost to you. Like with this deal on Fire tablets.

Marines returning to their roots?

Stylistically, anyway. Maybe. For years, Cpl. Wolves changed uniforms with the seasons. During the winter, he wore MARPAT (Marine Pattern) woodlands camouflage, sleeves rolled down. Like so:


That's an online stock photo, not Cpl. Wolves, because I can't find any photos of him in woodlands. But I digress. During the summer (and when he was in Afghanistan), he wore desert camouflage. Like so:


The heavily armed handsome devil on the left is Cpl. Wolves, in his desert cammies.

All of that is history, now. The Marines are ditching the two-pattern seasonal thing in favor of woodlands only:
Marines will wear woodland green year-round, effective immediately, according to a new directive from the commandant of the Marine Corps.
The change was quietly announced Dec. 8 through an all-Marine Corps bulletin, signed by Commandant Gen. Robert Neller.
Previously, Marines would alternate between tan-and-brown desert camouflage in the summer and green woodland camouflage utilities in the winter on dates roughly coinciding with Daylight Savings Time changes. Now all sailors and Marines serving with Marine Corps units will use the woodland pattern throughout the year.
 It is not clear why the change came down. Historically, the Marines have worn green utilities, the phrase used to describe the standard day-to-day dress of Marines. The army tends to refer to BDUs -- battle dress uniforms -- but Marines consider all clothing to be battle dress, and so are less formal. Still, it is not known what this change means:
It's not clear how this change came about or if this is a move signaling a look forward to other combat theaters after a decade-and-a-half of fighting in the Middle East. Questions to Marine Corps officials Saturday did not receive an immediate response.
Vogue is unlikely to cover the change. Hell, it could just be a cost-saving measure. I'm sure enlisted Marines will be happy to have to purchase one fewer sets of utilities.

Monday, December 12, 2016

A little ass-whipping game food porn

Nothing new here on the game food porn front -- went with some favorites, old and new, as the Packers played the Seahawks. Because the game was at 4:30, the game food had to be dinner-friendly. We started the game with stuffed tater tots:


Always a winner. We served dinner at halftime. I fixed some macaroni and cheese:


Grilled some brats after boiling them in beer:


Tossed in some baked beans and dinner was excellent:


For dessert? A 38-10 beatdown of the Seahawks. Tasted sweet.

Yup, Amazon is still doing Christmas deals

Shop at Amazon through these links, get good deals, support the blog. Easy, right? Like Alexa for a great price.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

They do tend to lounge about in unusual ways

Here, Murder manages to find herself neck-deep in wrapping paper:


And again:


While Mischief seems to be fond of, well, I'm not sure what, but she is often sighted on her back, reaching for the sky. Kinda weird:


Not sure how Mayhem avoided inclusion in this series, but Mrs. Wolves took the pictures, so I assume Mayhem acted relatively normal when these were taken.

Sometimes, a jam is just a jam

Next time a friend of yours says they don't like country music, play this for them:


Sometimes, a jam is just a jam.

Did you expect something different?

I'm not sure why liberals think that increasing the cost of labor will not reduce the demand for labor, but, apparently, they don't. Instead, they keep pushing for increases in the federally mandated minimum wage. Naturally, since liberals tend to view things through the urban prism they live in, they fail to consider that maybe, just maybe, the minimum wage mandated for New York City should not be the same as the minimum wage in Wheeling, West Virginia. After all, the true minimum wage is zero. When it is no longer worth a business owner's while to hire an employee at the mandated rate, that would-be employee will not be hired:
As the labor union-backed Fight for $15 begins yet another nationwide strike on November 29, I have a simple message for the protest organizers and the reporters covering them: I told you so.
It brings me no joy to write these words. The push for a $15 starter wage has negatively impacted the career prospects of employees who were just getting started in the workforce while extinguishing the businesses that employed them. I wish it were not so. But it’s important to document these consequences, lest policymakers elsewhere decide that the $15 movement is worth embracing.
The article in Forbes quoted above is an op-ed by a former president CEO of McDonald's, a guy intimately familiar with the economics of the minimum wage. He isn't predicting the future, either. The things he talks about are already happening:
Let’s start with automation. In 2013, when the Fight for $15 was still in its growth stage, I and others warned that union demands for a much higher minimum wage would force businesses with small profit margins to replace full-service employees with costly investments in self-service alternatives. At the time, labor groups accused business owners of crying wolf. It turns out the wolf was real.
Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced the nationwide roll-out of touchscreen self-service kiosks. In a video the company released to showcase the new customer experience, it’s striking to see employees who once would have managed a cash register now reduced to monitoring a customer’s choices at an iPad-style kiosk.
Jobs at the entry level will go away, replaced by automation, robots and anything else that costs less over the long term than unskilled labor.

But wait! you cry. Many small businesses cannot afford to automate and so will still hire unskilled labor at the minimum wage, you might say. Um, maybe not:
Of course, not all businesses have the capital necessary to shift from full-service to self-service. And that brings me to my next correct prediction—that a $15 minimum wage would force many small businesses to lay off staff, seek less-costly locations, or close altogether.
The author goes on to cite a few examples, noting that as such wage policies go nationwide, the examples will proliferate. Read the whole thing. 

The 12 days of Christmas continue at Amazon

Buy through the link, support the blog at no cost to you. You know you want to. Also, feel free to buy through the Amazon search tool over there on the right. Works for me.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas is still coming

So don't forget, you can support the blog and get great deals by shopping Amazon through this link.

Seriously, who could resist?

Speaking as a man with someone in the family who thinks "Hocus Pocus" is the best Halloween movie ever -- and I'm not arguing -- I completely understand why this British boy has enjoyed tremendous internet success with his own rendition of Bette Midler's version of "I Put A Spell On You" from that movie. What's not to like?:

Gotta like it.

Murder, apparently, is ready for her close-up

Murder went full Joan Crawford the other day after sleeping on Mrs. Wolves. She woke up -- Murder, not Mrs. Wolves -- ready to be photographed. Naturally, Mrs. Wolves obliged:


Having done a close-up, Murder opted for some action shots, such as bathing:


And thinking about bathing:


And then bathing again:


Cat knows how to work the camera.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It's Pearl Harbor Day -- say a little prayer

There aren't many survivors left, but many of them are in Honolulu for the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor -- "a date which will live in infamy" -- that shoved the U.S. into World War II. More than 2,000 American servicemen and women died that day, including about 1,500 aboard the battleship USS Arizona, which was shattered by torpedoes and bombs early in the attack while moored at Battleship Row on Ford Island:


The Arizona is still there, with a memorial spanning its sunken hull, as a tomb for so many of the men who died aboard her:


Too many people don't pay too much attention to the anniversary, and too many more don't even know much about what happened all those years ago. Remember.

No accounting for taste

For some reason, this is the top post today. I've long since gotten my first visitor from Canada, and in fact our brethren to the north are among the blog's top visitors. But I find it interesting that this post, in which I first contemplated expanding beyond talking about the shitshow that is Temp Town, should be drawing attention. You just never know, I guess.

Can't let this one go -- punching a kangaroo

Sure, maybe most of you have already seen it, but I can't resist a video of somebody punching out a kangaroo:


Right, mate.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Some dessert food porn for you

Nice, simple dessert for you here. Doesn't take much. You'll need 1-1/4 cups of flour, 1 tsp of baking powder, 1-1/2 cups of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of butter, 1 egg, 1 tsp of vanilla, 1 cup of white chocolate chips and 1 cup of dried cranberries:


Mix together the flour and baking powder:


In a separate bowl, add the brown sugar, butter and egg:


Mix it up right:


Add the flour-baking powder mixture;


Mix it up right, and add the white chocolate chips and cranberries:

Put them in an 8 x 8 pan, lined with aluminum foil:


Preheat the oven to 350, and bake for 35-40 minutes:


Cool on a wire rack of 15 minutes, then enjoy the fuck out of these:


Really fucking good.

Lotsa good stuff at Amazon for Christmas presents

Check it out.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A little home country food porn for you

Most of my ancestors are from Ireland. Naturally, then, I have an affinity for things Irish. Guiness, an Irish alcoholic beverage, actually is one of the few things Irish I am not that fond of. Too heavy for me. However, a couple friends of mine who have visited the main Guiness brewery in Ireland clued me in to something: they serve up a great beef stew there. As it turns out, the recipe is online, so, naturally, I had to make it.

I didn't take a picture of the ingredients, because shit got complicated. Nonetheless, you will need:

   4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
   2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
   1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
   freshly ground black pepper to taste
   2 onions, coarsely chopped
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   4 cloves garlic, minced
   1 (14.9 ounce) can dark beer (such as Guinness®)
   1/4 cup tomato paste
   4 sprigs fresh thyme
   3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
   2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
   1 teaspoon white sugar
   1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
   2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or as needed to cover
   4 cups mashed potatoes (optional)

So, cut your beef up into 1-inch cubes. No need to be precise:


Toss that bacon into a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until bacon is browned and crisp. Turn off heat and transfer bacon into a large stew pot, reserving bacon fat in the skillet;


Next, season the beef chuck cubes generously with 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Turn heat to high under skillet and sear beef pieces in the hot fat on both sides until browned, about 5 minutes:


Chop up those onions:


Chop up that garlic, too:


Place the beef in the stew pot with the bacon, leaving the fat in skillet. Turn the heat down to medium; cook and stir the onions in the retained fat in the skillet until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes; season with a large pinch of salt. Cook the garlic with the onions until soft, about 1 minute:


Next up, get yourself a good dark beer. Naturally, Guinness recommends that you use a Guinness. I didn't have one, so I used a Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock. It worked. Use what you like:


Pour the beer into the skillet and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up and dissolving any browned bits of food into the liquid: 


Add everything in the skillet -- the onion, garlic and beer mixture -- into the stew pot: 


Add the sugar, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and maybe some salt:


Toss in the tomato paste:


Throw in those carrots and celery you chopped up earlier. You did chop those earlier, right? Geez, I thought you read the ingredient list:


Add enough chicken broth to cover the whole shooting match:


Once everything is in there, bring the stew to a gentle simmer, stirring to combine; reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer the stew until the beef is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Stir stew occasionally and skim fat or foam if desired.

After about 2 hours, remove the pot cover and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring the stew to a low boil and cook until the stew has slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve this in a bowl by itself or over mashed potatoes. Excellent either way. Bon appetit.

Future Wolves brings me my baby


Minnesota Wolves, my youngest, and his squeeze, Future Wolves, came for Thanksgiving. Naturally, they brought Grandbaby Wolves, my first grandchild, since I had been pestering them on Facebook for months to "Bring me that baby!" So they did.

She is every bit as adorable as I expected. And she likes green beans:


She also dresses stylishly:


Thank God she is well on her way to being a Packers fan:


And she knows how to dress for the holidays:


The only thing I could have asked for was more time.