Begging The Question
Friday, May 06, 2005
If the NBA Finals were between the Magic and Bullets, then you might be on to something with this conspiracy theory!
Mr. Longtime Reader writes in to opine on the latest goings-on with the NBA. Says LR:
I almost never pay attention to the NBA. I haven't followed it with any real interest since Bird and Magic retired. In the past ten years, I've probably seen the equivalent of a full game on television. I've never attended an NBA game in person, and have even passed up free tickets to a game when offered them once. Professional basketball is just incredibly uninteresting to me. However, the sport's participants never seem to tire of drama -- they could make a soap opera out of the NBA. One dramatic turn that caught my eye this week was the latest conspiracy theory.
1. What is a food you have tried but will never eat again, and what don't you like about it?
Foie gras. I don't like the taste, I don't like the texture, I don't like the smell, and I don't like the cruel way it is produced. Besides, why do people consider a goose's body's waste filter a delicacy?
2. What are your five favorite possessions?
My North Face Mountain jacket.
My grandfather's badge.
My grandfather's shotgun.
A twenty-year old photo of my brothers and me.
A t-shirt from Joe Allen's BBQ in Abilene, Texas.
3. How do you deal with confrontation? Do you seek it out or do you avoid it? Are you more apt to be the confronter or the confronted?
I wouldn't say that I seek out confrontation. Generally, I am an easy-going person. However, even I have my limits. If I am involved in a confrontation, it is because I am confronting someone else. As Dalton once said, "Be nice until it's time to not be nice." Words to live by.
4. What will Michael Jackson be doing five years from now?
Bloated and insane, hiding in a remote jungle temple in Southeast Asia, he will still be fighting extradition. The horror, the horror.
5. What is the worst movie sequel ever made, what is the best sequel ever, and what movie should have had a sequel but didn't?
The worst sequel ever made? Tie between Rocky VI and Caddyshack II. Both are in the running for worst movie ever made. Runners up include the Star Trek sequel with the whales, the Jaws sequels, Men in Black II, Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, Weekend at Bernie's II, Problem Child II, Home Alone 3, Rambo III, the StarWars prequels, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, and every iteration of the Look Who's Talking or Police Academy sequels.
The best sequel ever made? Easy. The Godfather: Part II. Runners up include The Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, T2, Aliens, Army of Darkness, and Toy Story 2.
A movie that needs a sequel? I would like to see a sequel to Ronin, with Robert De Niro and Jean Reno reprising their roles.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Look, I know they're not authentic Mexican bebidas, but margaritas are darn tasty and Cinco de Mayo is as good a reason as any to down a few. To aid you in celebrating the Mexican victory at Puebla, here are some delicious margarita recipes. Enjoy responsibly. And when I say that, I'm looking at you and you and you.
From Maria's New Mexican Kitchen in Santa Fe, New Mexico (as detailed in The Foods of Santa Fe) here is my absolute favorite margarita:
1 lime wedge
1 1/4 ounces Jose Cuervo Silver tequila
3/4 ounce Bols triple sec
1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
Rub the rim of the glass with the lime wedge, Dip the glass into a saucer of kosher salt to coat the edge. Pour the tequila, triple sec, and lime juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for about 5 seconds. Pour into the glass and consume immediately. Serves 1 (or so says the book). I usually triple the recipe.
If you are into margaritas made with premium tequila, this is a nice variation:
1 lime wedge
1 1/4 ounces El Tesoro 100 percent Blue Agave Plata tequila
3/4 ounce Cointreau
1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice.
Same directions as above. Just a more expensive version. Frankly, when I have something as nice as El Tesoro 100 percent Blue Agave Plata I prefer it straight.
For folks who like a frozen margarita, Chevy's makes a pretty good one:
1 lime wedge
1 1/2 cups of crushed ice
4 ounces sweet-and-sour mix (1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lime juice, 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 2/3 cup of sugar. Put the ingredients in a blender and blend until the sugar dissolves.)
1 1/4 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce triple sec
1 thin lime slice for garnish
Salt the rim of a mug. Combine the ice, sweet-and-sour mix, tequila, and triple sec in a blender. Blend until slushy and well mixed. Pour into the mug and garnish with the thin slice of lime.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Last week I was talking to a friend on the phone and this friend happened to mention that she was munching on a tri-tip sandwich. Her innocent little comment inspired me to pick up a pair of tri-tip roasts this past weekend. I was actually home at a decent hour last night (7 p.m.) and had enough time and daylight to fire up the grill. I am glad I did. A tri-tip sandwich is hard to beat.
The tri-tip roast is a cut of meat from the bottom sirloin. It is triangular in shape, hence the name. There is one tri-tip roast per side of beef. They run between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds and the meat has a very beefy taste and texture. You should be able to find tri-tip in your local market, but if not, you can substitute a thick-cut top sirloin.
The Santa Maria-style tri-tip is considered northern California barbeque. The main difference being that tri-tip is cooked over direct medium-high heat and for only about 30-40 minutes, while true barbeque is cooked for a long time at a low temperature over indirect heat. The tri-tip is so good that I won't quibble with the Californians over the proper use of the word "barbeque."
I won't get into the whole history of Santa Maria-style tri tip, but for more details you can go to the California BBQ Association's website or just go straight to the source: the Santa Maria Valley Visitor Information website which has a whole section devoted to Santa Maria-style barbeque. I did not have access to the internet last night, so I used a recipe from Weber's Big Book of Grilling (for another, fancier take on tri-tip, you can try this recipe from Weber's website).
Preparing this dish is simple. Rinse the tri-tip under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Then, mix together a rub consisting of:
2 parts granulated garlic (not garlic powder or garlic salt)
1 part kosher salt
1 part freshly ground black pepper
1/2 part celery seed
1/4 part cayenne (use less if you don't like your food spicy)
Work the rub into the meat with your fingers, coating the entire surface of the meat. Cover the roast and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, start your fire. If you are using charcoal, the meat can go on the grill as soon as the fire is ready. Once your coals are nice and hot, arrange them so that one side of the grill is medium or medium hot and the other side is cooler. Sear the roast over the direct heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes (turning once halfway after 5 minutes). Watch for flare ups. You want a nice crust on the meat, but you don't want it charred. After searing the meat, move it to the cooler side of the grill, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, check the internal temperature of the meat. At the thickest part of the roast the internal temperature should register about 135 degrees F. I would recommend pulling the meat off of the grill at this point. Let the meat rest on your cutting board for about 10 minutes, tented loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. The internal temperature will rise another 8 to 10 degrees while the meat is resting. This will produce a lovely piece of meat with a bright pink center, well-done edges, and a delicious (and spicy) crust. If you cannot deal with a pink center, you can cook the meat another 10 minutes or so, until the thermometer registers around 140-145 degrees F, but the meat will not be as juicy or tender this way.
To serve the tri-tip, slice the meat on a bias and across the grain in 1/4-inch strips. Traditional Santa Maria tri-tip is served with a tossed salad, piquinto beans and salsa (recipe available from the Santa Maria Valley website), macaroni & cheese, and toasted french bread and sweet butter. When I'm making a tri-tip sandwich, I serve it with baguettes (buttered and toasted over the coals while the meat rests), sliced avocados, grilled red onions, and fresh salsa. The traditional meal is more complicated than what I want on a Tuesday night. Besides, I'm not a Californian, so strict adherence to the official menu is not that important to me.
So, that's my (abbreviated) take on grilled tri-tip sandwiches. The great thing about tri-tip is that it's simple to prepare, it takes very little time to cook, and it's delicious. To whet your appetite, here are some pictures from last night (click to enlarge):
I am still working on the post explaining the difference between Mexican and Tex-Mex. I had hoped to have it completed in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but I don't think that's going to happen. Instead, I'll post some margarita recipes tomorrow and try to get the Mex-Mex/Tex-Mex post up by the weekend. Work and other obligations have conspired to severely restrict the time I can devote to blogging.
[A weekly post produced by the authors of the Coalition for Darfur blog]
The United States has played a leading role in attempts to deal with the crisis in Darfur by donating hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid, providing logistical and financial support to the AU mission, and pushing for various resolutions and sanctions in the UN Security Council. In September, the Bush administration even took the unprecedented step of labeling the situation "genocide."
But now it appears as if the Bush administration is intentionally lessening its pressure on Sudan.
On a recent visit to Sudan, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick backed away from the earlier genocide designation and offered an oddly low estimate of the death toll in Darfur. Shortly thereafter, the State Department released a fact sheet claiming that an estimated "63-146,000 'excess' deaths can be attributed to violence, disease, and malnutrition because of the conflict;" a figure that is less than half the commonly accepted estimate. Noted Sudan expert Eric Reeves wrote of the State Department's estimate "This is not epidemiology: this is propaganda" and claimed that it called into question "not only the motives of those who have compiled it, but the moral and intellectual integrity of those ... who would cite it."
And last week, Mark Leon Goldberg reported that the administration was working to kill the Darfur Accountability Act.
On the same day, the Los Angeles Times reported that Sudan had become an key source of intelligence information for the CIA and that Sudan's intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Salah Abdallah Gosh, a man widely thought to be responsible for directing military attacks against civilians in Darfur, had been brought to Washington for a meeting with intelligence officials aboard a CIA jet.
The LA Times report revealed that Sudan had provided valuable information regarding al Qaeda's operations, captured and handed over Islamic extremists operating in Sudan, and even detained militants moving through Sudan on their way to join forces with Iraqi insurgents.
There is no doubt that Sudan feels it deserves to be rewarded for this assistance and it remains to be seen what, if anything, the Bush administration intends to offer in return.
These new revelations raise complex questions about our priorities as a nation and serious questions about the future of Darfur. But what must not be ignored in this debate over realpolitik is that millions of people are still in desperate need of humanitarian aid. Thus, we ask you to join the Coalition for Darfur as we seek to raise money for organizations providing life saving assistance to the people of Darfur.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
A "longtime reader" of BTQ was moved to song recently by a post from Prof. Berman in which the good professor riffs Booker-style on the Talking Heads' Once in a Lifetime. Let me preface this by saying that the brilliant verse which follows is (1) about the vagaries of appealing a conviction in the post-Booker world and (2) from the hand of another. I think it's gold, but I had nothing to do with writing it. Set to the tune of The Eagles' classic, here is Desperado (Milbarge style):
Robert McNamara (no, not that one, this one) passed along a meme, set out thusly:
Behold, the Caesar's Bath meme! List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can't really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), "Nice. Nice. Not thrilling . . . but nice."My five?
1. Major League Baseball - with steroids or without. It just doesn't do it for me. It's just so much fluff.
2. Sushi and sashimi. Seriously? I don't see how you can like it. In fact, I'm not yet convinced that anyone actually does like the stuff. I suspect that many people think they are supposed to like it, or that they are somehow more enlightened that the rest of us because they appreciate the smell, taste and texture of raw fish. Well, bully for you.
3. Closer. Get real. People talk like that? On stage, maybe. In real life, no way. Despicable characters, contrived plots. In a city of 10 million people these four can't find someone else to be with? Ugh. Its one saving grace was the Damien Rice soundtrack.
4. South Park. It's funny enough, I suppose. I've never really felt compelled to watch it, and except for the Chewbacca defense I've never really felt like I missed anything.
5. The law. I would rather watch Closer while eating a big plate of sushi than talk about the law in my free time. It's a fine topic for work, of course, but I just cannot muster the energy to sit down at the bar, loosen my tie, order a beer and delve into a discussion about the filibuster rule, the Supreme Court or the latest screwball opinion from the Ninth Circuit. Nothing ruins my away-from-work time like talking about the law.
Monday, May 02, 2005
So, another Monday. Another week begins. Another week where my email inbox is filled to capacity with gems like this one from a "long time reader" of BTQ. What part of sabbatical does he not understand?
Worst Title Pun Ever: Bride of the Prankees
Sugar, Mr. Poon?
Stay of Execution
S.W. Va. Law Blog
Begging to Differ
Prettier Than Napoleon
The Yin Blog
Crime & Federalism
Is That Legal?
Frolics & Detours
Naked Drinking Coffee
WSJ Law Blog
Don't Let's Start
Stuart Buck Legal Fiction
Election Law Blog
Legal Theory Blog
Legal Ethics Forum
Ernie the Attorney
Bag & Baggage
Crim Prof Blog
White Collar Crime Tax Prof Blog
Grits for Breakfast
All Deliberate Speed
Adventures of Chester
College Basketball Blog
College Football News
Indiana Law Blog
Field of Schemes
Toothpaste for Dinner
Pathetic Geek Stories
Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas
The views presented here are personal and in no way reflect the view of my employer. In addition, while legal issues are discussed here from time to time, what you read at BTQ is not legal advice. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. If you need legal advice, then go see another lawyer.
Furthermore, I reserve (and exercise) the right to edit or delete comments without provocation or warning. And just so we're clear, the third-party comments on this blog do not represent my views, nor does the existence of a comments section imply that said comments are endorsed by me.