The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer pasta

CONOPS: use up some of the vegetables obsessively purchased at the Farmer's Market.
Summer squash and/or zucchini, 1 or 2, diced
Sweet corn, 2 ears, kernels cut off, cobs reserved
Tomatoes, 1/4 cup, diced
Dried porcini mushrooms, 2 TBSP, tied up in cheesecloth
Onion, diced, 2 TBSP or scallions, 3 or 4, chopped
Fresh greens (any kind), 1/2 cup, torn
Pine nuts, 2 TBSP
Butter, 1 Oz
Parmigiano or Romano, 1/4 cup, grated
Bacon, 2 slices, finely diced
Mild pork sausage, 1 cup, diced, sliced, or crumbled
Heavy cream, 1 1/2 cups
Beef bullion concentrate, 1 TSP
Garlic clove, 1/2
Dried pasta, 1/2 lb
Olive oil

Prepare the ingredients in 7 batches:
Batch 1: bacon and sausage
Batch 2: corn cobs, cut in two so as to fit in a sauce pan, and the porcini
Batch 3: cream, beef bullion concentrate, garlic
Batch 4: squash / zucchini, corn kernels, tomatoes, onion, pine nuts
Batch 5: cheese, butter
Batch 6: greens
Batch 7: pasta

Add Batch 2 to a large sauce pan. Add 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Drain, reserve 1 cup of the water, and discard solids.

Heat oil in a large saute pan. Cook Batch 1 until slightly browned - 10 to 15 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Do not clean the pan.

Combine Batch 3 in a large sauce pan. Heat gently, covered. Check frequently to avoid boiling over or boiling dry.

In a stock pot or pasta pot, boil water for the pasta.

Add Batch 4 to the saute pan (with more oil if necessary). Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for 30 minutes.

12-15 minutes before the vegetables will be done, add the reserved corn cob/porcini water to the stock pot and cook the pasta. When pasta is done, remove cream sauce from heat, discard the garlic, and stir in the cheese. Add the meat back into the saute pan for a minute or two to re-heat. Drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Add vegetables and meat. Toss. Add sauce. Toss. Add greens. Toss. Serve immediately.

As if wage disputes weren't bad enough

While fast food workers across the country agitate for higher pay and for working conditions that are not modeled on sodium chloride mining operations in Siberia, smaller groups are also demanding recognition and, unusually, better lexical treatment. Here are three stories from recent news coverage.

Spain is a major source of wine corks, and the industry provides substantial employment for agrarian workers. However, some specialists in the work force object to the dismissive manner in which management addresses them. Specifically, the teams of skilled technicians (many of whom suffer from severe speech disorders) who gather the shaped final product and bulk-package it are asking for a more dignified term for their profession. They object strongly to being listed in personnel rosters as "that bunch of dumb cork sackers."

Closer to home, US obstetric facilities are experiencing periodic spikes in demand, days when large numbers of women simultaneously go into labor (usually during full moons or nine months after widespread power outages). When this happens, normal ambulance service can be overwhelmed, and other vehicles are pressed into service, including delivery vans and even semi trucks. In order to regularize the employment status of the temporary personnel who operate this ad hoc patient transportation, a study was done and the age, sex, income, ethnic background, and other attributes of the operators were collected and analyzed. One individual, a man in New Jersey, was identified as having all the average characteristics, and there were plans to use him as a spokesman, but he refused to participate after an NIH administrator referred to him as "a mean mother trucker."

Finally, concerns over semantics are not limited to the human species. Here in Ann Arbor, a quadrupedally-advantaged person of fur is involved in a close primary race for a city council seat. After his opponent made what would, under other taxonomic circumstances, have been a derogatory reference, Mr. Hamilton "Ham" Mudd stated for the record, "Yes! I admit it! I'm a son of a bitch. So is he. And that guy over there. We're all sons of bitches! Now, can we get on with it?"

Management at Wood-Charles regrets that it finds itself unable to find better material than the above, but it promises to try.