Not All My Recipes Work :(

I made a first attempt at a Lime Bundt Cake today and failed.  I'll give another recipe a shot  tomorrow.

If you ever think a recipe looks like it might be healthy because it lacks a significant amount of butter and/or cream, then you can also bet it will lack a significant amount of flavor.

Ripping a DVD to a single VOB on Linux

I'm documenting this for my own use and hopefully someone else can benefit from this.

Transcode has a useful utility called tccat that can read from a DVD and output a single vob file. I use it to rip the feature title to a single file for later conversion to xvid.

tccat -i <path to dvd mount point> -T <title #>,<chapter #> > output.vob

tccat -i /media/cdrom -T 1,-1 >movieName.vob

Be sure redirect the output or you'll get a bunch of crap in your terminal.

Once done you can play the vob with mplayer (or whatever) and it should include all languages, angles, and subtitles that the original movie had but none of the extra features.

Keep ’em Separated

Today I heard someone state that "the separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution. I really wanted to rebutt that, but didn't have quite enough knowledge to do so. Thanks to the Web and Wikipedia, I now have such knowledge and will be better prepared the next time I hear someone spewing this misinformation.

Here's a a short bit about the origins of "the separation of church and state" and why our forefathers thought it important enough to spell it out in the First Amendment to our Constitution. If you have doubts as to the Constitutionality of the First Amendment, keep in mind that it was authored and ratified by many of the people who wrote the Constitution and makes up 1/10th of what we now refer to as The Bill of Rights.

Here's the First Amendment in it's entirety:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." - The First Amendment to the Unites States Constitution.

Now to me, that seems pretty straight forward. The government cannot make a law that respects, (I read that as endorse or support) an establishment of religion (aka church), or prohibit the free exercise thereof...

I have heard arguments that isn't exactly what the founding fathers meant. But let's look first at what George Washington wrote to the Touro Synagogue, the country's first Jewish congregation in 1790, the year before the First Amendment was ratified.

"All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it were by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support." - George Washington

It is apparent that Washington wanted to convey the idea of a Government founded on tolerance, with no sanction to bigotry, no persecution for beliefs, only that those who live here demean themselves as good citizens. Not good Christians, not good Anglicans, not good Baptists, just good citizens.

Step forward about a decade and Thomas Jefferson writes a letter to the Danbury Baptists clarifying the reason behind the First Amendment, and specifically mentioning separation.

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State" - Thomas Jefferson

If you doubt he really meant a separation of church and state, then please go read the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that Jefferson wrote in 1779.

I could quote a number of more sources including religious leaders of the time, that obviously stood for the separation of church and state, but then you won't have any reason to read my sources and draw your own conclusion.

Go read, educate yourself, even just a little, about the origins of our freedoms and stand up and speak the truth when people start spewing misinformation.

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Great Places to Eat in New Braunfels » Blog Archive » Great Places to Eat in Knoxville

1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/state and country you’re in.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)
miss kendra (los angeles, california, u.s.a)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA! USA! USA!)
Tits McGee (New England, USA)
Joe (NE Tennessee, USA)
10K Monkeys (Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA)
Big Stupid Tommy (Athens, Tennessee, USA)
Newscoma (Weakley County, Tennessee, USA)
Russ McBee (Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)
Atomictumor Mrs Eaves (Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA)
Oh Really? LissaKay (Oak Ridge, TN, USA)
Mark Steel (Knoxville, TN, USA)
Anton Olsen (New Braunfels, TX, USA)

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

Friesenhaus - Good authentic German food and bakery. My favorites are the schnitzel and wurst, but the salmon is good too. They have a good kids menu but no american food choices so be sure your offspring like schnitzel or wurst.

Rudy's - A local chain of BBQ I like a lot. My favorite meal is brisket and creamed corn. They make the corn from scratch and the brisket can be ordered dry or wet.

Freiheit Country Store - Awesome burgers and an interesting atmosphere. They have live music out back and can be busy if you don't get there early enough. Don't expect fast food, this is a laid back, drink a beer and chat a while kinda place.

The Springs Seafood & Steakhouse - Good food, nice atmosphere, but a bit pricey, save this for a anniversary dinner. The calamari is actually octopus, but it's still good. The steaks are great and the fish tender and not over cooked.

the gruene onion grill - Another special occasion favorite. They have a good beer selection, make good margaritas and great food. Be sure to sample the fried macaroni and cheese.

I'll break the rules and add a 6th option, and probably the most popular one in our family. Drive down a street and stop at a Mexican restaurant that you haven't tried before. Most cook in the Jalisco style, but some vary and include a share of Tex-Mex or Americana. I haven't had a truely bad experience and the food has always been good. The service is variable but never horrendous.

3. Tag 5 Others

I'm tagging Mark, Ed, Scott, Brandon, Chuck, and YOU.

ACRG Alamo City Roller Girls


Went to see the Alamo City Roller Girls on Sunday evening with Mark, David, and Edmo. The undefeated Dragon Divas vs The Missyfits. I'm assuming the Divas won as they were ahead when Hannah and I left.

[update!] As Ed comments below the Missyfits made a comeback in the last period and won by 4! Now I wish we'd stayed for the end.

The next bout is July 15th: "Celebrating Our Bill of Fights" with the Prim Reapers v. Missyfits. My daughter has already put in a request to go.

Talk about a challenging environment to shoot photos. Everywhere you point there are bright somethings behind the subject. Neon, flashing lights, colored incandescent, bright yellow lights in a huge diffusing globe, and who knows what else. Fortunately I had the strobe and was able to power through most of the odd colors. I'm glad the new lens performed well. It' would be near impossible to shoot with the kit lens, and limited with the 50mm.

For those who care, most of the shots were taken with my cheap Vivitar 5200 strobe at 1/4 power around f4.5 at 1/160th and ISO 1600. Thanks to Noise Ninja for cleaning up the noise for me. I also discovered that a proper exposure at ISO 1600 has less noise than a slightly underexposed shot at ISO 800 on my camera.

Oh, the lens is a Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 EX DG if anyone cares. I've read a lot of mixed reviews about it, but this one is doing great for me. The AF is a bit noisy, but it's a lot faster than my other lenses and quite accurate. At 24mm I've got an 84 degree angle of view which is great in smaller rooms. At 70mm it's useful for moderate distances or even or for macro shots focused at 15 inches. (even less if you have enough light to shoot at f32)

Nuts and Milk $250 Contest


Nuts & Milk: Review us and win 250$ - Our first competition

"The guys over at are having a contest and are giving away 250$ as the prize money. You too can enter the contest just by blogging about them. Nuts & Milk is a blog on tech news & online tips & tricks."

Nuts and Milk dot com are giving away $250 for posting something like the text above with the correct link text and links. Since I've won one contest, I'm going to be a bit more eager about entering some more. I'm finding that the odds of winning these contests are pretty good (usually better than 1 in 100) so it's worth the time to enter.