The Daily 750

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1001 Ways -- Okay, 1 Way With Livermush

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Brick
The Neese's Sausage Company is located at 1452 Alamance Church Road, Greensboro, North Carolina, just up the road from the Neese family farm George Neese bought when he came down from Pennsylvania in his wagon, in 1769. It distributes its small line of sausage products only to parts of three states -- most of North Carolina except for the upper eastern corner and the far western edge, and a small part of central South Carolina and central Virgina adjacent to the border with North Carolina. (Areas which also happen to be major speed traps.)

This photo essay is about why, after 225 years, that distribution area has not grown.

Neither my family nor any of the kids I smacked down thousands of pounds of livermush with has ever called Liver Pudding anything but livermush, and until I researched this piece I didn't know that Neese's even makes a Liver Mush, which it sells mostly in western North Carolina -- or, "up in the mountains," as the Piemontese, from which I hail, and who prefer the subtler flavorings and smoother texture of the Pudding, say.

J.T. Neese's wife, Annie Smith, hit on the Liver Pudding recipe in the 1920s, after her husband J.T. ("Mr. Thede" -- ol' George's great-great-great-something) had been delivering sausage for a few years. "She ground pork livers and other choice pork cuts and seasoned them with herbs and spices. She added just enough corn meal to hold it together."

The ingredients are: pork broth, pork livers, cereal (corn and wheat meal), pork, salt, spices, caramel coloring. The brick is fully cooked. You could eat it right out of the package with your caramel latte while you shop.

Brick Texture
Firmer than Jimmy Dean's sausage, softer than cheddar cheese, each two-ounce serving, which would provide 8 quarter-inch slices per brick, has 80 calories, 30 from fat. Also: 17% of your daily cholestoral, 12% of sodium, 8% of fiber, 20% of iron and a whopping 35% of vitamin A. Who knew pork had Vitamin A?

"Believe it or not, a favorite of kids who love it on a sandwich or warmed in the pan for breakfast. By the way, it doesn't taste like pudding and it doesn't look like liver."

These are the same kids who prefer Raviolios to homemade lasagna from Mama Corleone, and Fruit Roll-Ups to strawberries. And certainly Sunbeam white bread, or Wonder Bread if you're rich. But Neese is right: it doesn't taste like pudding and it doesn't look like liver. Okay, well, maybe it looks like liver just a little. It tastes like a smooth, mild sausage. No textural bits of fat or gristle.

Southern SecretNothing goes better on a livermush sandwich than a healthy slathering of "smooth & creamy" Duke's Mayonnaise, "The Secret of Great Southern Cooks." Mrs. Eugenia Duke of Greenville, South Carolina, began the Duke empire by preparing and selling sandwiches to Civil War soldiers stationed at the nearby Fort Sevier, and the rest is southern history.

The secret is: it has a back-taste of cheap, flat vegetable oil.

Now in the upside-down plastic squeeze bottle designed not for your convenience but so you'll buy it more often. The jars you can scrape out with your spatula down to the last dollop, and then you can take off the label, wash the jar, and store your buttons or your nails. This contraption you have to throw in the garbage when there's still enough left for a family reunion of livermush sandwiches or potato salad.

On the other hand, the squeeze bottle allows for much more creative placement of the mayo. Kids will love this, too!

Yum! The healthy oat nut bread competes with the livermush. A sticky white bread is a must for full flavor. Also, a plate would be nice. Otherwise: Yum!

For variety, why not try sauteeing your next slice of livermush and adding a dollop of French's Mustard!

It's been reported that even the Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, who was arrested at the Charlotte airport trying to flee the country, much enjoyed the standard jail breakfast: fried livermush and grits.


Quotes are from the Neese's website. No actual livermush was consumed in this demonstration. You must be 10 or under and a resident of a defined territorial boundary comprising certain areas of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, or the Shree Baghwan Rajneesh, or a criminal -- or any combination of the above -- to enjoy the offer of a livermush sandwich.

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I love the weather and . . .

Friday, December 09, 2005

. . . I don't even care that everything and everyone in my house is a high-wire transmission line of static electricity. The cats, usually so snuggly, have taken to turning in the other direction when they see me coming --- zzzzzt!

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LNG: Follow The Money?

The original post has been deleted.

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Pro-LNG Slogan Contest -- with Prizes!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Scott Reuter at his best. My favorite so far may be: LNG: A national security state with every shipment. Add yours for a chance to win neat-o prizes!

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Good News For Readers

Nancy Rommelman is republishing her Leaving LA series.

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Dr. Park and the Park Whose Name We Dare Not Speak

Who is this man and why is he smiling?

Park Medical CenterIt's Dr. Sunny Park, and he's smiling because he's bringing 50 family-wage, professional, skilled, long-term jobs to the Upper Left Edge in an addition to his five-year-old Park Medical Center. (The addition is the four-story building -- one floor is underground, for parking -- on the right-side of the rendering.)

The well-designed, professional office building, built of red brick with soaring entrances reminiscent of shoji screens, is the only building to add anything new to the architectural character of the town since, oh, 1925.

Imagine: providing professional jobs for local residents and increasing the tax base without dividing a community, ruining a town's character, its property values, its river, or its views.

The mayor was at the groundbreaking this afternoon.

"Why don't you come out against LNG?"

"I'm not against LNG."

"I know, but why don't you come out against it?"

"I'm all for it. I was just driving over the bridge today, looking over the bay and saying, 'We need some big white tanks over there.'"

I like the Mayor. I'm asking him to reconsider. The last big white things he favored were giant wedges of concrete that cost $80,000, filled in half a block down by the trolley and that someone thought made for a lovely park. The architect took a look at the finished product and died. Really. The mayor wanted to dig his own hole and fall in, too, after the public ridicule. I don't fault the Mayor for the park; the city needed artistic guidance and apparently didn't have or ask for any. I'm on the steering committee for a big public arts project and I absolutely need guidance from Those Who Know Better.

Now, about a year after it inspired death in its creator, the concrete wedges form The Park Whose Name We Dare Not Speak. Just when the _____ Park had become the setting for some interesting guerrilla art, a committee's been formed to change it into a Chinese commemoration park. I wish them more luck than the committee that was formed to move The Indian, resulting in a modern-day reenactment of The Battle of Little Big Horn: the committee has disbanded and The Indian stands firm.

But anyway, back to the good and enterprising Doctor: Hurrah! Dr. Park -- and his boss and wife and nurse, Mary, and their two great kids, Eugene and Ashley. Huzzahs!

The Park Family

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LNG: Daily Astorian Poll

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Click here and scroll to the bottom. (Tips to Patrick McGee.)

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LNG: What Isn't Discussed

Monday, December 05, 2005

Kitty O'Keefe is one of several special people who chose to move to the Upper Left Edge in the past five years or so. In Southern California she was a financial advisor to individuals who made their living in the entertainment industry, taught graduate economics at UCLA, and occasionally spent a summer teaching remedial math at an inner city high school. Among other things. She retired at an age at which many people are still wondering what to do with their lives and, while keeping her hand and immense brainpower in the financial world, has turned her talents to art, creating authentic and awesome vodou works and assisting galleries in ways both operational and artistic.

To my knowledge, Kitty was the first to research Calpine's financial records and tell the story of their sorry state. Her latest essay was submitted to the Daily Astorian for publication last week but did not appear.::::::::
Liquefied Natural Gas--What Isn't Discussed

Apparently, our Port Commission is indifferent to two economic realities of going into business with Calpine.

First, that of the unquestionably dire financial condition of the company on which the county will rely for payroll and county taxes. Let’s take a look at our potential partner in building this facility.
Assets (what they own)...$27 billion
Debt (what they owe)......$23 billion
Generally speaking, a desirable ratio of assets to debt is 33%. Calpine’s ratio is 85%. As we all know, huge debt is a very bad thing.

Let’s look at how Calpine will pay this crushing debt load.

Earnings.....-$1.85 (note the minus sign) for every share of stock over the last twelve months (Forbes). There are 538,016,014 shares of common stock (ValueLine). That’s a negative $995.3 million in earnings over the last year.

Not only is Calpine losing money, but the losses are increasing very significantly over last year.

Why? One reason is the higher costs of building new plants. Yes, Calpine is building new plants, when they are using less than half the capacity of their current plants. Another reason is the increasing interest rates on their huge debt. So, what was their plan?

Calpine’s plan was to sell natural gas producing properties to get some cash. As promised, Calpine did sell $395 million worth of oil and gas fields this year. What are they trying to do with the money? Pay down their huge debt? No. They want to use the money from the sale of oil and gas fields to buy natural gas to run their power plants.

On November 22, the courts ruled that Calpine must use this money to pay their debts. The Courts gave Calpine and its lenders until November 30 to propose a settlement.

Meanwhile, Calpine’s stock price is down 56% this year, and speculation has been raised that it might be forced to seek bankruptcy protection.

Perhaps you agree that we need employment opportunities in our area. Perhaps you agree that the county coffers will be improved with a large employer being added to our community. These are valid points, and are worthy of consideration. But, do we want to form a partnership with a company whose financial condition is in such dire straits that the courts are forcing the company to pay its debt?

Some, including Don McDaniel and Peter Gearin, both Port Commissioners, and Calpine spokesperson John Compere, concede that Calpine may not have the financial ability to actually complete the LNG project in Warrenton. It is, in their publicly stated opinion, worth beginning the project, however. Then, the assumption is that another company, one with appropriate financial and LNG capabilities, would complete the project.

That takes us to economic reality number two.

What company has both LNG capabilities and the financial resources to purchase Calpine? My research resulted in one company that meets both criteria: AES.

In the event that this research is correct, we can make a few assumptions based on historical data regarding assets purchased in bankruptcy.

First, such assets are purchased for pennies on the dollar. It stands to reason that, if one is the only bidder, the purchase price will be low. It also stands to reason that the tax benefits afforded that bidder would be generous, as any tax payment is preferable to none at all.

Secondly, purchasers generally consolidate employees, with theirs replacing the purchased company in the vast majority of cases.

Further, since Calpine has no experience running an LNG facility, AES employees will have more experience, and will likely replace Calpine (or locally hired Astoria) employees.

Conclusion? We’ll get pennies on the dollar for the county tax coffers, and replacement employees for those locally hired.

Aren't these economic realities worth a response from both Calpine and its supporters?

Kitty O'Keefe, November 27, 2005

UPDATE, Dec 1: Calpine's Board fired the CEO and CFO, the stock dropped below $1 a share. After the close of trading on Tuesday, Calpine, a San Jose, Calif.-based energy provider, had a market capitalization of about $307 million, ranking 500th in the index. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index replaced Calpine with a more, uh, viable company -- Genworth. Genworth closed down 4 cents at $34 on November 30, while Calpine shares plummeted 71 cents, or 57%, to close at 54 cents. On the November 30 deadline for paying its debtors, Calpine asserted that paying the debt as agreed will force it to consider bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11.

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LNG: Dr. Foss Unbiased?

Over at Burning Corn, Scott Reuter has dug up some interesting information on Dr. Michelle Foss, who was in town last week to give an "unbiased" presentation on LNG. The center Dr. Foss directs includes in its mission statement:
We educate stakeholders on energy economics and commercial frameworks using comparative research to facilitate energy development.
And the hits just keep on comin'.

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Home Again Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I haven't wrapped my head around much except a pillow since arriving Home Sweet Home late yesterday afternoon.

Josh has a lead OpEd in the Los Angeles Times today, on Tookie Williams. Josh's title was "Karma Comes Around For Tookie," much better than the editor's choice for a number of reasons, including most particularly that it relates to the specific reasons why this specific murderer deserves to be executed by the state. The Times headline makes it sound as if all murderers should be executed and not, as Josh strongly believes and advocates, only the worst of the worst.

The one man that four separate juries, including three for which Josh presided as prosecutor, have determined merits the death penalty has gotten his latest case to the Supreme Court. The issue is whether alibi testimony that was not presented during any of the four trials could have been presented in the fourth sentencing phase (which, in Oregon, is like a separate trial only to determine the sentence, after guilt has already been decided). The Supremes will hear the case on Tuesday, with Josh in the exalted courtroom, hopefully seated directly behind the State's table.

Meanwhile, the Oregonian is publishing a five-part series on Guzek's cold-blooded murder of Terrebonne, Oregon residents Rod and Lois Hauser, in 1987. Steve Duin's first installment begins today. The Bend Bulletin also carries a story today, by Cindy Powers.