Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from Prison Camp

Given the Wonderful World of Clutter has been in form of self-imposed exile for a period of time, I decided to pull out the most appropriate holiday card from my collection that I could find.

The tattered image bellow is of the water tower at the War Relocation Authority's Camp Granada, affectionately known as Amache. As mentioned numerous time on this blog, Amache was the home of close to ten-thousand Japanese Americans illegally detained during World War II. Here they spent a number of harsh winter, Christmases and New Years, birthdays and other landmarks of their lives.

My father was born here.

The card itself comes from my Grandparents' collection of ephemera from the camp--loose items and stray contraband photographs of their life in exile.

As much as I bitch about the state of things these days, I always have to reflect to my family's time during this era. Amache was a time of struggle. The same can be said for those who lived at any of the other camps dotted across of America. And yet, they tried to maintain some sense of normalcy. A holiday card showing the tallest landmark of the region, for hundreds of miles around, was the best Christmas symbol they could present.


Merry Christmas everybody…
It doesn't necessarily get better. It just get's different.
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Museums of Montana: The World Mining Museum

In Butte, Montana, mining was once king. The city was once known as the "Richest Hill In the World," and the Berkely Pit was the source of the majority of the nation's copper ore. The World Mining Museum is an homage to this history. But aside from the typical ore cars and pictures of blasting tunnels, it holds an amazing doll house collection.

These images are of a replica of 221B Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes London abode. 



The musuem also hosts a collection of abandoned buildings brought over from the original mining camp. You can walk through an anacronistic replica of what this Butte would have looked like a century ago.


There are other walk-though museums in Montana. Nevada City, just south of Virginia City is a dot of the map of similar abandoned buildings arranged to look like an old Boom Town of the gold rush. 

One must wonder though if we will have similar museusm like this honoring Williston, ND, or other Oil Boom Towns now dotting the Plains States. Imagine a future museum where you wak only through row after row of single wide trailers, parked RVs, and toothless tweakers trying to score work…Could be awesome. 

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Monday, August 13, 2012

This Could Be Interesting Recipe Night: Braised Pork Belly with Mustard Wine Sauce…or…The Five Hour Sandwich

Hi Everybody, I proudly celebrate the return of the Wonderful World of Clutter with a new semi-not-so-regular feature of personally recipes that will be called This Could Be Interesting Recipe Night.  The premise is simple. I try making something without a cookbook and I then post my recipe to you the readers. 

I never really use measurements when I cook, so some of these are guesses. But here we go..

The first post in this is my Braised Pork Belly with Mustard Wine Sauce.

  • 2 pounds fatty pork belly
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 5 large sprigs of rosemary (or at whole bunch bought from the grocery store)
  • Olive Oil
  • 3 large tablespoons of whole peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of coarse salt
  • 2 heads of fennel with tops
  • 12 shallots
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 bottle of white wine that you don't mind using for cooking
  • Stone ground Dijon mustard
  • 1 stick of butter
Preparing the herb rub:
1. Crush the peppercorns to they are roughly ground. I don't use a grinder for this. In fact I use a large rock. This rock, was something I found at the river and looks like a rock that might have once been used for actually grinding up nuts and other goodies. Or it could have been used for an anchor…Or it was just an oddly formed rock. But a mallet works just as well. Basically, you want the pepper to be very coarse and chunky for this, essentially just cracked.
2. Remove the rosemary from the main sprig and chop up until relatively fine. Place into a bowl with the pepper.
3. Mince the entire head of garlic combine and combine with other ingredients.
4. Add salt and 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil until you make a paste. Don't make it too runny. Mix well and set aside for a little while.

Preparing the Pork Belly:
The belly should come from your butcher in a giant slab, kind of like a giant uncooked piece of bacon. And, well, that is what pork belly is, uncured bacon, uncooked bacon. The first thing to do is to cut the slab into 2.5 inch long chunks. You should end up with 4, 1/2 lb. strips of belly. Take a sharp knife and score the fatty side of the belly about a 1/4-1/2 inch into in a checker board pattern. This will allow the rub to get into the fat.

Take the rub and mix it up again and smear it onto all sides of the the pork belly slabs. Let the belly rest for a bit in the rub. Just because, well, you know…This of it like going to the spa and getting a fancy salt scrub or something. It just feels good. 

In a large dutch oven, heat up some olive oil to coat the pan on medium heat. Once the pan is hot place the pork belly fat side down on the in in the pan and brown. Do this for all sides of the pork. The rub is going to fall off at this point, but that's cool. It will brown up and add flavor. You can add a couple of slabs of belly in at at a time but don't let the dutch oven cool down too much.

Once all the sides are browned up, add the shallots which have been cut in half, and the green tops of the fennel to the pot. Cover the the meet and vegetables with white wine, about 3/4 of the bottle. Cover the pot and place into an oven at 225F. Cook fat side up in the oven.Then go do something for the next four hours.

So what do you do during this time? Lots of thing…You can study for board exams, maybe drink the rest of that bottle of wine, call a loved one, go for  a walk, who knows. Basically, you want to let that belly cook slow and low until it is fork tender. If needed add some extra liquid to the pot.

Once it is tender and cooked through, take out of the oven. The fennel greens get tossed. Take the bellies and shallots out and place onto a cooking sheet. Place the dutch oven onto a large burner on medium-high heat.

Return the pork, fat side up, to the oven under the broiler and watch carefully. At this point we want the  fat to brown and crisp up but not burn. It should get nice and bubbly, and turn a golden brown. Leave the door open to the oven and broiler to make sure you don't burn your meat at this point--broilers are tricky machines to navigate. 

Once the braising liquid starts to boil, add 3 large heaping tablespoons of coarse ground Dijon mustard to the liquid and begin stirring to mix throughout. Then add one stick of butter to the liquid and continue to stir, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer. It will slowly begin to thicken. Add salt to taste.

Basically you're done at this point. I typically make a sandwich out of the pork using a nice crusty bread. I slice up fennel and use a lot of cilantro as my greens for the mix. I then pour the mustard wine sauce over the meat and greens. 

So yeah, it took five hours to make a sandwich but damn, it was a mighty fine sandwich…a mighty, mighty fine sandwich.

Let me know if you try this or any future recipes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Delays in Updating...

Dear Readers:

My sincerest apologies for not updating the Wonderful World of Clutter sooner than this time, but I have been exceptionally busy. Busy with what, you might ask? Well, I am about to finish my BSRN and make progress toward being the most awesome nurse with a mustache ever…actually probably second in line to the  ER nurse who looked like Kurt Vonnegut at St. Patrick's Hospital in Missoula, but we can strive.

So basically, in seven days, I add one more degree to my academic belt…Start prepping for boards, and then return home.

That is all.

Wonderful World of Clutter

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Trojan President

Many presidents have drawn off of Greek thought for the basis of our country. Jefferson's designs for the architecture of our nations capital was heavily influenced by the columns found in temple of the Mediterranean Sea and the very basis of democracy has origins in Greek history.

So it shouldn't be surprising that our nation's presidents, even used Greek mythology for our battle tactics. Teddy Roosevelt was perhaps the one to use this to most effective means during the Spanish-American War. President James Buchanan once tried using the fabled "Greek Fire" when a brief war began between the US and Britain after a pig was shot in the Oregon Territory on San Juan Island in Washington State. 

During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt had a number of craftsman create a wooden model of himself riding a horse. The decoy was to be used to lure the Spanish Army into a sense of calm as they were to accept this as a gift from the American Soldiers. The irony of the unfortunate Greek Fire incident in the Straights of Juan De Fuca on the Island of San Juan was not lost on Roosevelt as the only time this device was deployed was at the Battle of San Juan Hill.

It was this cunning display and use of the Trojan Teddy that helped win the battle. Stories of this success filled the New York papers and eventually he became Governor. The rest is what you read in the history books.

The Trojan Teddy was never forgotten though…When the future president went off on his big game safari's in Africa, he would bring this wooden decoy along with him to lure out lions and other carnivorous beasts. A compartment in the hind quarter of the wooden horse's leg was typically filled carrion to draw in additional scavengers so the Rough Rider could select his trophies with more skill. 

There were a few other presidents who tried with mix success to use similar use Greek Lore in their campaigns. Nixon and Reagan had secret plans in place that involved a golden fleece, falafel recipes, and gorgon blood. But the lack of success has been lost to history.

The Trojan Teddy is the last remaining relic of this era of Greco-Inspired combat era. 
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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mail Order Prayer...

A page later, in the same magazine, you can also mail away for a catalog for lingerie...

Now that is what I call the true power of prayer...

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Friday, May 18, 2012

One Year Later…This Much Closer to Being a Nurse with a Mustache

It has been one year since I moved to Montana and experienced the woes of Bozemanic Depression, but the good news is that I am approximately three months away from completing my program and becoming and official nurse with a mustache. I figure'd that these old ads would be an appropriate post to put up in honor of this odd little milestone in the progression in the Wonderful World of Clutter.

Unfortunately, we don't get to wear capes and starched caps anymore. Apparently the white caps of the nursing fetish set were bacteria factories. Go fig. Personally, I know I would have looked stunning wearing one.

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Today in Offensive Advertising…Old School Style

While combing through a stack of old magazines I picked up at a recent estate sale, I came across this old ad for Frederick's of Hollywood.

People often complain about the nature of today's advertising campaigns, but I don't think anything can be quite as tasteless as this.

Try as I might to make a joke about this, I really can't.

Suicide and lack of clothes…scratch that…Suicide and lack of high-end lingerie--now we see the true price of vanity.
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Sunday, May 13, 2012


After a year's absence they are finally back. Today I found two more. Hopefully, I can gather a more during these next few weeks east of the Rockies.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Odd Book Title of the Week: Baseball Dope Book

This just struck me as odd. Given that steroids, growth hormones, and other synthetic performance enhancing drugs weren't refered to as "dope" in 1965, the title just seems, well quaint.

I am certain some roid-head is trying to mainline this piece of literature right now to get some edge in his game. Go fig...

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Open Letter to Mr. Grant Morrison

Dear Grant Morrison,

Thank you for being my favorite comic writer of the past decade. I have been a fan of your work on so many DC Comics titles, from Final Crisis, Batman, All Star Superman, and Doom Patrol. I can't truly express how innovative I think your work truly is in this medium.

While I am certain that many individuals at conventions might approach you with critiques and commentaries about your work, asking why you did this or seeking explanations for your creative decisions, I am actually writing because I have a very modest proposal for you to approach with the DC Comics character of Superman, and I believe that you are perhaps the only individual with the creative wit to handle such a task.

Before I get to the meat of the proposal, I want to return to a brief character you created with little back-story who appeared in your run on Animal Man.  In one of the alternate versions of Earth that Animal Man encounters during the Crisis 2 storyline, we see Dream Syndicate of America, we meet an African American Superman, the Sunshine Superman. This character only appears briefly in other comics, once in In Infinite Crisis and once more in Final Crisis. However, I would love to see a story with him as the titular character. Of course he needs a villain, and who could he face? No mere Lex Luthor would be appropriate, nor would a Doomsday, Brainiac, Titano, or even a Prankster. He needs something more fitting to the name. Thus I propose drawing on the Donovinian roots and introducing, The Hurdy Gurdy Man.

The story could actually write itself, using the Donovan song, "Sunshine Superman."

Sunshine came softly through my a-window today
Could've tripped out easy a-but I've a-changed my ways
It'll take time, I know it but in a while
You're gonna be mine, I know it, we'll do it in style
'Cause I made my mind up you're going to be mine

I'll tell you right now
Any trick in the book now, baby, all that I can find
Everybody's hustlin' just to have a little scene
When I say we'll be cool I think that you know what I mean
We stood on a beach at sunset, do you remember when?
I know a beach where, baby, a-it never ends
When you've made your mind up forever to be mine

Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm
I'll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind
'Cause I made my mind up you're going to be mine
I'll tell you right now
Any trick in the book now, baby, all that I can find

Superman or Green Lantern ain't got a-nothin' on me
I can make like a turtle and dive for your pearls in the sea, yeah!
A you-you-you can just sit there a-thinking on your velvet throne
'bout all the rainbows a-you can a-have for your own
When you've made your mind up forever to be mine
I'll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind
When you've made your mind up forever to be mine

I'll pick up your hand
I'll pick up your hand

Donovan's lyrics read like the internal monologue of a maniacal villain…albeit a slightly inept one of the Silver Age of comics.

So here is the plot suggestion, of which you can cull, deviate, or completely use in whole as told using the lyrics.

The Hurdy Gurdy Man is in rundown Apartment looking outside onto the sunny streets below at group of young college students. They are dressed in hip clothes, he is old and outdated. But he has kidnapping on his mind because of love rejected.  You see his schemes in flashbacks. Even civilized proposals to win the affections of one of the students we zoom in on that Hurdy is watching.

In classic Silver Age style, Hurdy reaches has come across some arcane information about a pearl that has mind control power. The pearl is in possession of Aquaman and Hurdy must steal it from the Sea King which he does successfully. Hurdy then attaches the pearl to his mind controlling hurdy gurdy that he then uses to make mind control slaves out of the college students.

He proudly declares that he can beat the Justice League when Sunshine Superman shows up with Green Lantern in Tow…And from there a battle ensues. The students are freed and Hurdy learns a lesson in humility.

As you see, Donovan's words create comic cameos from many classic characters. The Rainbow Raider could appear.

Of course, Donovan would need to be given credit for this story since we would be using him as inspiration for this fictional work. But it would be the best comic adaptation of a piece of lyrical work ever!

Mr. Morrison, I implore you to consider this story proposal. I think it would do wonders for both the fictional reality of Superman and for preserving the musical legacy of Donovan. I am certain your creative integrity could do wonders with this concept.


The Wonderful World of Clutter.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

How to Name Your Metal Band…Easy to Use Instructions…

I can imagine everyone who reads this blog has had fantasies of wanting to be in a rock and roll type band. Why, because being in an adult contemporary band is just a bad idea and it will get you beat the hell up in my neighborhood. For reals.

So I figured, I would make some of the work of starting a band easy for all of you amateur air guitar dreamers out there. We all know that every good rock band doesn't actually start wtih music, it starts with a kick ass band name. And the hardest part of starting a band is always getting the name right.

Think of all the lame band names that are out there:
  • Savage Garden
  • Phish
  • Nickleback
  • Hoobastank
  • Tony Orlando and Dawn
And then think of all the awesome band names that exist:
  • Death
  • Gay Marriage
  • Master Musicians of Bukkake
  • Jackie-O-Motherfucker
  • Styx
  • The Archies
Of course, this always begs the question, what makes a good band name versus a bad band name?

I have often found myself in this predicament, scratching my head as I tried to come up with the right name for various aborted musical projects.

The Burnt Selena Project, the monicker under which this blog falls, was originally a noise project, and it was a name that stuck. Then there was the Anomia Orchestra, a fifteen piece one off performance piece I put together before leaving Ashland;  Ich Bin Ein Cobrrra, the failed German Techno outfit with lyrics about butterflies and Liberace; The Public Decency League, the all keyboard pop group; et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Try and Step on Her was the most successful of bands in which I was involved and that was a name clipped from a line from a Yukio Mishima novel, something completely out of context--We could have been Loco if we had kept thumbing through the dictionary.

These were names cut on the fly. Of other projects I was involved, one was called "Bully Culture." This was a name I hated from the get go. Why? Because it was dumb. Luckily my amp and keyboard blew up simultaneously and I never had to play with the people ever again.

Now to return to the most practical advice I can give to people…

Naming a metal band is perhaps the most easy thing to do. I have even set up a little diagram to show you how to successfully do it:

For successful naming, one requires equal portions of a15-year-old boy's inability to understand a concept and the simultaneous ability to make his mother cringe. The same can work for punk bands. Day-glo Abortions is a fine example of such a naming convention working to full effect.

In fact, if you look at the above list of successful band names, all of them confound the minds of teenage boys but still run shivers down the spines of their doting mothers.

That is why I have only one name that would choose if I were to form a metal band.

Cold Speculum ©

The mere mention of the word makes women, mothers, sisters, nuns, grandmas, even labor and delivery nurses cringe in fear. And 15-year old boys simply think, "Wow, that sounds soooooo cool." 

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Don't Forget the Feast of the Chocolate Bunny...

In my exploration of Montana, I think one of my favorite finds was coming across the Museum/Gallery of Mr. Bill Ohrmann, "retired rancher, artist, and…spokesman of the earth."

In his 70s, he creates amazing outsider art that would put to shame any artist featured in Juxtapose magazine. I don't believe there is a sense of irony or anything else in his work. It just is…

So let's celebrate The Feast of the Chocolate Bunny, "Easter" to those more devout types, with this painting of eggs being chased into the ocean by a rampaging hell tractor of brimstone. 

And to learn more about Bill Ohrmann and his work visit his website. The man is truly awesome, humble and a great artists. And if you get a chance to visit his museum, there is a giant metal Wooly Mammoth. How cool is that!

Tapioca Triumphs

Why is tapioca so damned awesome?

Well, tapioca is the only food that has ever caused a ship to sink. And I would call that triumphant. So basically, it happened like this. A giant cargo ship carrying tons of tapioca caught fire in a harbor. Of course you don't want a ship on fire, so the harbor fire crew started dousing the flames. Everything was cool…right? Well, hot water and tapioca…that makes pudding (for the record, I don't like pronouncing the "g" in pudding so from here on I shall be typing puddin').

Yes, tons and tons of non-flavored puddin' erupted from the hull of the ship. The tapioca swelled enough to rupture the steel hull and it overflowed into the sea. Now isn't that awesome! has the whole story just to prove I didn't make this up.

So for this Easter, the official feast of the Chocolate Bunny, Zombie Religious Figures, and Destruction of Peeps in Microwaves, I have decided to buy a bulk pallet of tapioca from Costco and fill up my bath tub with it. 

With a tub full of tapioca, I simply sit in it. 

And while sitting in my tub of tapioca, I will dream of being on a Venusian landscape. 

It will be like those old films where they show women dancing in bubble rooms. But the bubbles won't pop. And the tapioca will be real. Because puddin' lasts forever in my world. My Venusian world of tapioca filled delights. No sunken ships, no ruptured hulls, just tiny bubbles that last forever. 
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Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Stood Before Giants...

But now...

I am a little taller than I was in these pictures...

We need more places like The Trees of Mystery.
And that is all...

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

When Beasts Roamed Portland…For the Lottery

Sometime in the early 80s, King Kong attacked the Portland Building. Sort of…

If you look at cartoon postcards and comic maps of Portland circa 1985-1987, you may come across an odd site of giant gorilla in the city's architecture. As with many of Portland's quirks, the story behind this has been lost to the majority of the city.

The giant 84-foot tall inflatable gorilla was a promotional gimmick for the Oregon State Lottery. In fact, it was mascot for the very first lottery in the state's history. The "Go Ape!" tag line for the lottery was dotted around the state as people for the first time could purchase lottery tickets and gamble legally in the state.

The giant gorilla was one of those odd moments of Portland history in which some derided the gimmick and the state lottery system as a whole. Now with video gambling practically in every bar, it seems kind of comical that this was a brave and bold start to something so ubiquitous. 

King Kong would ultimately go away, and another giant figure would soon replace it on the Portland Building. 

While the people of Portland may have forgot about going ape over the lottery, we at least have a one of the world's largest copper statues, half naked, holding a trident, perpetually throwing dice at pedestrians and busses below. 

For further information about the start of the lottery, here is an interesting old article about the giant ape and the rally that got it all going.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Journals with Unfortunate Names...

In the realm of academics and trade literature, one comes across many odd titled pieces of literature. This perhaps is the more unfortunately named publications of the those publications.

For those wondering, yes, there is a journal titled Lubrication. It is about petroleum products. And that is all.

But wait, I am reminded of a story…well short story.

Back when I worked as a research assistant, we used to a test called the Client Oriented Scale of Improvement, the COSI for short. This well tested and researched measure was produced by scientists at the National Acoustics Laboratory in Australia. When our team reproduced the form for our studies purposes, someone failed to inform a staff member that the organization was not known as the Australian National Acoustic Laboratory. Apparently someone also failed to inform people individuals that the title this long form of the name was not supposed to be turned into an acronym.

For for a brief period of time we had forms proudly stating the initials for the which were submitted to study participants: The Australian National Acoustic Laboratory: Client Oriented Scale of Improvement… The ANAL COSI. 

This post is not an endorsement for Santorum for President. 

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