Beeby’s Broth

I was listening to a podcast of Science Friday the other day (yes, I am a nerd), and Michael Pollan was on talking about his new book In Defense of Food. He actually came across as a reasonable fellow in the interview — all of the other press I’d heard about the book made him sound like a very unreasonable, local-only-organic-granola freak. During the show a whacko caller mentioned something called “Bieler’s Broth“, which I vowed to try next time I was feeling under the weather. Well, today is the day.  I made a slight variation on the recipe linked above:

Beeby’s Broth

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups green beans
  • 3 cleaned stalks celery
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 handful parsley 
  • 1 tbl sp olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • a touch of hot sauce

Bring the water and salt to a boil and steam the beans for 5 minutes. Chop the celery and zucchini and add to the pot. Cook for an additional 5 minutes (or until all of the vegetables are tender). Pour into a food processor and puree. Add the parsley and olive oil. Puree the hell out of it. 

The result isn’t the best tasting recipe in the world, but it’s a lovely green color when it’s done and I get the feeling that it’ll do great things for me. The consistency isn’t what I would call “pea soup” because the parsley is still rather crunchy.  Try at your own risk.

Go Get the Ax

My grandfather had a very vivid imagination. He was a superb story-teller who was constantly making up stories about creatures in the forest around our ancestral home in northern Michigan (subsequent posts will highlight some of them).

When my brother and I were about ten years old, grandpa taught us the following song:

Peeping through the knothole in father’s wooden leg
who’ll wind the clock when I am gone?
Go get the meat ax, there’s a fly on baby’s bean
a boy’s best friend is his mother.

This is another set of lyrics for the same verse, which grandpa called “The Harvard Version”:

Peering through the aperture in father’s artificial appendage
who’ll tighten the chronometer when I cross the bar?
go procure the viand dissector, there’s an insect on baby’s cerebellum
one of the greatest sociological factors of the development of the male of the species Homo sapiens is his immediate maternal ancestor.

Anderson (in Cognitive Psychology and Its Implications the textbook for my current TC course) would call this song a semantically “anomolous” specimen, but it was always fun to sing a cappella with grandpa.

Update: Hal Beeby’s song is a variation of “Go Get the Ax” by Lesley Nelson-Burns (which according to dates to the early 1900’s). That site had a midi file, which is an approximation of the tune that he taught us (Go Get the Ax – midi).

IBM ThinkPad Transnote Sans “Note”

There wasn’t much I could do with Audrey in my network “closet”, so I retired the old girl this weekend. I figure that I’ve gotten my seventy dollar’s worth in the four years I’ve owned it, so it doesn’t hurt too bad.

In its place, I installed a 2001 vintage IBM ThinkPad Transnote. The last time I tried to start this ill-fated piece of technology was over a year ago and it wouldn’t boot. It seems that a deep battery run-down solved its OS problems; this time Windows 2000 started without a hitch.

I knew I’d never be able to wall-mount this goose-necked, touch-screen marvel unless I were able to take off the portfolio cover and paper pad assembly. There are a number of screw covers and tiny screws around the periphery of the case, which I removed. The faux-leather binder and paper pad came off easily. After disconnecting the notepad cable, I connected the battery, plugged it in, and crossed my fingers. The stand-alone tablet booted without a hitch. I was able to use Audrey’s mounting hardware (a $1.29 set of “heavy duty” mirror mounting brackets) to attach the ThinkPad to the wall.

The battery life isn’t great, but I can take it down anytime I need a wireless Windows machine (to test a Web site in IE6 or whatever). Additionally, I loaded it up with free software (Gimp, iTunes, OpenOffice, Arachnophelia, etc), so it’s actually a pretty competent little bugger. And jeer all you want, but at just over 3/4″, this thing is as thin as a Macbook Air.


Congratulations and be prosperous! We went to the Chinese New Year celebration and parade in Chinatown this weekend. The weather was blustery and we missed the Verizon float (damn!), but everyone was in good spirits and the confetti was flying. More pics here.

How Can Brown Screw You?

I had to ship some boots back to New Hampshire this evening. I visited the local UPS Store in Park Slope and the gentlemen there helped me out. However, they charge a whopping $1.25 to tape closed a 6″ box. For the average 100m roll of 3M packing tape, that’s about $750. C’mon, Brown, give the tape away!

Two Technology Birds: Dead

I got a 2GB pqi memory stick to replace that awful cruzer. Not only is it clean and reliable, it works when plugged into my aluminum Apple keyboard. You can see from the adjacent photo that the USB drive is very small. I had to fashion an appropriate storage case from the plastic packaging (the supplied case is four times the size of the drive). Regardless, this pqi drive solves two recent technology problems nicely!

Sandisk Cruder

Do not buy a Sandisk Cruzer. First of all, I use a Mac, so the U3 “technology” was useless to me and even gummed up my system a bit. I was able to remove that firmware and get the USB drive working properly. That said, it was never terribly stable (it would disconnect intermittently when the computer woke up) and the power consumption of the bright blue internal LED made it unusable in some keyboard low-power hubs (like the mac alum keyboard, see rant below). The final straw came recently when it failed to be recognized on most of my computers. This drive has been so unreliable that I’m going back to my trusty old Kingston 256MB key. I’ll carry less around, but I know it’ll be there when I need it.

DIY Lunchmeat

This may be a dumb post for anyone who’s ever cooked before, but it’s amazing how simple, cheap, healthy, and tasty homemade lunchmeat is! M got a turkey breast at the co-op on Tuesday, which I roasted today with a bouquet of thyme and a slab of butter. After two hours baking and an hour resting, I sliced half of it for sandwiches (pictured here). It’s an easy week’s-worth of sandwich fixings for about 1/3 of the cost of those watery, nitrate-packed deli counter meats.

Applewood at Home

I invited David Shea, owner and chef of Applewood, to come in to our home and conduct a cooking lesson with M for her birthday. It was a great two-hour lesson. David was very laid back and taught M a lot of good tricks. We had striped bass on creamy polenta with orange/grapefruit supremes salad and jalepeno/onion relish. The ribeye was served with cruchy kale and onions with a beurre fondue. More photos.