pumpkin pork stew

Leftover ribs from a meat worship party? Pumpkin you don’t know what to do with leftover from a fall stew?

6-10 leftover pork ribs
1/2 a small pumpkin, seeded, skinned and chopped
3-6 small red potatoes chopped
dried marjoram
dried parsley
salt and pepper
4-6 cloves garlic crushed or chopped
16 can of tomatoes including juice
1/2 package of frozen okra (optional)
1/2 cup dry rice

Put the ribs in a pot with just enough water to cover them, simmer until the meat falls off: usually 2-4 hours. The longer you simmer the less the flavor. You may need to add water but only add enough to cover the ribs.

Strain the meat over a bowl. Pick out the bones and cartilage, reserve the meat in a covered dish. Put the broth back in the pot.

Add potatoes, pumpkin, garlic, tomatoes, rice and spices to taste–probably 1/2 – 1 tsp each of the spices. Simmer until the potatoes and pumpkin are slightly cooked, probably 5 minutes. Add okra and reserved meat.

Simmer covered until the rice is done (not crunchy) if you like your vegetables al dente. Really you can simmer as long as like. Add water throughout if it’s too thick.

Southern Life

Another week in Starkville brought a renewed appreciation for breaded catfish like you can only get in the South, sweet tea that is proving a point with sugar super saturation and a short but memorable visit to small town Mississippi.

Most of the week was dominated by a busy-as-usual email migration that was behind schedule but progressing. We had issues but nothing unexpected. We managed to get the server migrated, most users were happy with only small issues remaining.

I re-visited and was underwhelmed by the Dark Horse Tavern. Not only were they out of “Never Graduate” t-shirts in black but the quality of their pizza seems to have deteriorated. It’s also possible that my first visit here was clouded by Abitas, long plane flight and full day of work that proceeded it.

Memorable about this trip was a visit to Petty’s that was better than I expected: I ordered the catfish platter with fried okra and baked beans and sweet tea. The platter came with hush puppies presumably as matter of course. It was fabulous. I waited outside for my food for less than ten minutes but my clothes smelled like barbecue for two days.

Thursday H, his family and I drove to Ackerman, MS to Pap’s: a family style Southern restaurant featuring the best Southern food buffet I have had as well the best example of Southern hospitality I’ve experienced. H introduced me as from Philadelphia, the staff immediately introduced me to “Elvis:” the cook. Elvis came out in sunglasses befitting his name for a photograph. The food of course was fantastic: of note was whole breaded catfish that after a searching the buffet for knives I figured out you’re supposed to eat with your fingers. After noticing I’d mangled my fish H demonstrated the technique then slyly remarked that I’d already made the proper technique impossible on my own fish. The fish was great though I’m not sure whole fish is any better than the filets as R maintains.

My favorite comment on Mississippi life comes from R as we were blowing off steam between preparing for the upgrade: “Real Mississippians know which counties are wet, which are dry and where to get alcohol in all of them.”

Once again I do not regret my meal choices while I was there but I find myself oddly drawn to low fat foods and unsweetened beverages since my return.

Pap’s place
125 E Main St
Ackerman, MS
(662) 285-6352

103 Highway 12 West
Starkville, MS 39759

Northern California: wrap-up

Coming home on Day 3 was a mostly highway run from San Franscisco to highway 17 in San Jose down to Santa Cruz. Northern California is fabulous for motorcycle commuting: all the highways have HOV lanes and motorcycles are allowed to use them. This includes the on-ramps as well as the highways themselves. Motorcycle commuting is very common there: you see many practical bikes such as SVs and dual sports, many with top boxes. You are allowed to “share” lanes–basically ride in between cars when they’re stopped or below a certain speed. Of note here is that the cars seldom pull in front of you and seem to never exhibit aggressive behavior toward motorcyclists. This alone makes me want to live in Northern California badly.

Route 17 is a twisty, mountains version of the Schuylkill Expressway–fast moving, crowded with no run-off. I live and ride in Philadelphia so I fit right in. Missing was only erratic lane changes by car with no regard to contents of the drivers blind spot: just like home but less deadly.

Day 4 found me stitching together some of the most beautiful and in some cases terrifying roads the Santa Cruz mountains have to offer. I paid for a subscription to pashnit.com and tied together most of his recommended roads in the area as an extended route from Santa Cruz to Palo Alto to visit B at her hotel. I won’t disclose the roads as he really deserves the small fee. He’s done his homework not just on the Santa Cruz mountains but throughout Northern California.

Day 5 was B’s introduction to packing everything you have with you into motorcycle luggage that is just slightly smaller than the contents. This included her case books: basically a summary of key cases in her first year of practice that she must present at her oral exams. She’s a trooper. We rode some Pashnit-recommended roads out of Palo Alto, took Skyline Blvd to Alice’s for lunch and then La Honda road out to Route 1. A brief and slightly-too-sandy stop at one of the many beautiful beaches along 1 and on to Santa Cruz for dinner with H & N at a family seafood restaurant on the pier.

Saturday and Sunday involved shopping, killer tacos, napping and cooking at H & N’s. And early morning run up highway 17 (B: once again a trooper) and many hours on planes and we were back in Philadelphia in time to unpack and get to bed at a decent hour.

All in all a great first vacation in 6 years.

Central and Northern California: days 2 and 3

Tuesday I rode from a cheap ($39.99!) Motel 6 to Laguna Seca and then headed to route 1 which I took down the coast past the Hearst castle, east on 46 and then up 101 to Santa Cruz to visit my friends who live here.

Laguna Seca has beautiful if rustic camp sites with the best view I’ve seen at a campground. Not much was going on but it was fun to see the facility and say that I’d been there.

Route 1 is an unbelievably beautiful road. I am not sure I’ve ever seen scenery like it. And it’s relentless. I rode about 125 miles down the coast and it was just one cliff with bright blue water washing up on the rocks after another.. It is interspersed with beautiful suspension bridges and views of the road snaking down the coast.

I stopped in Big Sur for breakfast and had some excellent if overpriced pancakes and bacon. Big Sur, as h pointed out on the phone, is populated with old hippies running little grocery stores for the tourists. It’s actually exactly what I would expect.

Nacimiento-Fergusson road was closed due to fire but I rode it anyway and have to tell you is scared me to death.. there’s no guardrail and it snakes relentlessly up into the mountains with sheer drop-offs that overlook route 1 and of course the ocean. The scenery is beautiful. I basically rode until i saw the fire and then gingerly turned the ST1300 around and headed back down.

ST1300: We have a love hate relationship. It’s unreasonably big which in itself I can live with but combined with top heavy it leaves me terrified to move it around or come to a stop quickly. Combined with the snatchiest throttle I’ve experienced on a motorcycle our relationship is somewhat tenuous. Day 3 is finding me a little more comfortable but there’s no way I’d buy one.. give me a CBR600 with soft bags any day.

Among the highlights was a visit to the Hearst Castle: the private home of William Randolph Hearst.. it’s unbelievable. He imported architectural artifacts from all over the world: statues, doors, ceilings, archways, on and on. I will post photos shortly but I can’t begin to explain the beauty of the place. The only thing that comes close is maybe the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA but for different reasons.. It’s *much* more fabulous than the Mercer Museum.

I had a chance to see zebras on the estate: leftovers from Heart’s private zoo: once the largest in the world.

Day 3 was a ride up route 9 to skyline boulevard: easily the finest motorcycle roads I’ve ridden. I continued on to route 1 over the Golden Gate bridge up to Stinson Beach.

The stretch of 1 above San Francisco is unbelievable: crazy curvy, no guardrail but very well maintained.

More tomorrow..

Central and Northern California: day 1

The plan: rent a motorcycle in silicon valley, see Northern and Central CA on two wheels, visit h and n, close friends who have just moved to Santa Cruz, meet b in Palo Alto after her board training course ends on Friday.

I flew in yesterday at 2pm, s of Bay Area Performance picked me up and turned over a clean ST1300 to me after a little paperwork and some discussion about routes. I headed down the street to drop off b’s gear at her hotel and rode 100 miles to Salinas, CA, near the northern part of my route.

I stumbled onto Alice’s Restaurant on my way out of town at the intersection of 84 and 35. The food was decent: they seem to specialize in burgers named after motorcycles. It’s definitely a burger joint and the parking lot is a bit of a challenge in the pitch dark on a new, heavy touring motorcycle.

On the advice of the waitress I took 84 to route 1 South. The Pacific Coast Highway is fast and beautiful at night on a Monday… There was very little traffic but some highway patrol. I got to Salinas and the Zumo handily found me a Motel 6 in a not-too-shady part of town.

This morning I woke up at 5am.. it’s 8am back home. More on today when it’s over: it’s light and Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd, the Hearst Castle and the Mission trail await.

Chinatown Speaks on Casinos, DiCicco Doesn’t Hear

A packed house at Holy Redeemer Church at 10th and Vine streets tottered on the edge of out of control for over three hours last night. Frank DiCicco, Mike O’Brien, Terry Gillen and Andrew Altman called a meeting with the Chinatown community to apparently introduce representatives from Foxwoods, the casino now proposed to be built at 8th and Market of all places.

Philadelphia neigbhorhoods have been fighting casino development for two years. For two years neither casino would entertain the idea of resiting. Recently Foxwoods agreed against all expectation to discuss resiting and then almost immediately announced the new location would be 8th and Market Streets.

Unfortunately the siting was once again done without public input and without regard to the wishes of the immediate neighborhood. This meeting was the first time DicCicco, O’Brien or representatives from the mayor’s office have met with the neighborhood.

Very disappointing about last night’s meeting was that representatives didn’t meet with residents before bringing the developer and representatives before them and repeatedly ignored pleas for support from neighbors. They stood on the same side of the table with developers and told residents this would be good for their neighborhood and there was nothing they could do and residents should work to mitigate.

I remind those that may not remember that when I met DiCicco two years ago he told us that there was nothing he could do and we should get the best deal possible. Here were are two years later, neither casino is built or even has building permits and Foxwoods is considering resiting. That tells me he was wrong two years ago and it means he’s likely wrong again. Either way it is his responsibility to stand up for his constituency regardless of his own feelings on the matter.

Officials got an earful from residents: neighbors young and old spoke out in English and Chinese passionately against casinos and plead for support from DiCicco. He was a strong advocate for South Philadelphia when Foxwoods was proposed for Columbus and Reed Streets, he seems unwilling to be an advocate for Chinatown: “Vote me out” was his repeated response when residents asked for his support. The question and answer session became one passionate plea for help after another. At one point an activist asked everyone in the room who was here to oppose casinos to stand. In a room of 100 plus people less than 10 remained sitting.

DICicco has pledged to enter CED (Commercial Entertainment District) zoning next week. He has told residents he believes this will revitalize their neighborhoods. His answer when asked for support is “Vote me out.” It is sad that he is not listening to his constituency and instead is standing with the developer on what could be the single largest impacting development on Chinatown and perhaps all of Center City.

Slicehost: a first impression

You are reading this post on my newly migrated slicehost xen virtual machine.

This is my first hosting experience: until now my web site was running off of a machine under my desk at home. This is obviously not ideal for bandwidth or reliability. Slicehost caters to a technical demographic that just wants a stripped down OS and little or no management tools. And it’s cheap to start.

Initially I installed mysql, apache2, php and various supporting packages. I loaded databases for WordPress and Gallery2 and rsynced my data over. With a little tweaking everything was up and running.

As you may know Gallery2 generates thumbnails on the fly as users visit the site. I cleared the thumbnails during some troubleshooting so they had to all be regenerated on my slicehost. What I found was that on the 256mb slice the system spent an inordinate amount of time in iowait and in many cases Gallery pages would timeout. It took noticeably longer than the Pentium III 350mhz I just migrated from.

After added swap files without improvement I finally upgraded to a 512mb slice. Result: it screams. Ultimately the 256mb slice is just not enough to contain the OS and an application of any significant size.

My intial thoughts were that slicehost was a disaster and I should run but really their baseline packages is just *really* lean on memory. If you’re having problems you might want to try upgrading before any further troubleshooting: they bill pro-rated and will allow you to fall back at no charge if you don’t like the updated slice.

Controlling sender domain in Postfix/Zimbra 5

A client has asked that mail through his Zimbra MTA only be allowed from or to valid domains within their organization. This is particularly applicable to Zimbra as Zimbra will only archive mail if it’s from or to a domain for which it is authoritative. The idea is to archive all mail through their Zimbra environment.. If it is not one of their domains, refuse it.

If this were my organization it would look like this:
mail from user@morganjones.org to any domain would work
mail from user@1038east.com to any domain would work
mail from any domain to user@morganjones.org would work
mail from any domain to user@1038east.com would work
of course mail from and to user@morganjones.org or 1038east.com will work
all other mail will be considered relaying.

One thing we did not do that I might want to do is force authentication. The problem with this configuration is it does open up to spamming as it only validates from or to domain.

This is really a discussion about Postfix configuration but I did the work in Zimbra so I might as well add the additional steps to configure it in Zimbra.. These instructions will be applicable to straight Postfix or Zimbra.

You’ll want to do all the work as the zimbra user:
Run the zmprov command for each of your mtas.

# su - zimbra

$ zmprov ms mta01.morganjones.org zimbraMtaMyNetworks

$ vi /opt/zimbra/postfix/conf/main.cf
smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = no
# if you want enable sending to domains for which your environment is not
#   authoritative this is also handy for testing in your dev environment
#   that is only authoritative for a dev domain
relay_domains = 1038east.com, morganjones.org

You also want to modify smtpd_recipient_restrictions but in Zimbra you must modify that with in the zimbra configuration:

$ vi /opt/zimbra/conf/postfix_recipient_restrictions.cf
# remove permit_sasl_authenticated
check_sender_access hash:/opt/zimbra/postfix/conf/access

$ vi /opt/zimbra/postfix/conf/access
1038eaast.com OK
morganjones.org OK

$ zmmtactl reload

You might want to check that /opt/zimbra/postfix/conf/main.cf now contains this:

smtpd_recipient_restrictions = reject_non_fqdn_recipient,
hash:/opt/zimbra/postfix/conf/access, permit_mynetworks,
reject_unauth_destination, reject_unlisted_recipient,
reject_invalid_hostname, reject_non_fqdn_sender, permit

You should now be set.

It’s worth mentioning: check_sender_access will only check and allow the sender domain. if you don’t set relay_domains the recipient domain is allowed because your environment is the final destination for that/those domain(s). As noted above you can set relay_domains above if you want to allow relaying to domains for which this environment is not the final destination.

Foxwoods talks about resiting, Sugarhouse?

B shook me out of half sleep this morning to Paul Boni on the radio talking about Foxwoods and the casino issue. She’s new to the issue but knows Paul because he’s a friend. I arrived at work to a “Foxwoods says it will consider a new site” on the front page of the Metro.

The media is going crazy:
Daily News “[resiting is a] responsible idea”
Channel 3 (Note is use of “not a done deal”)
Inquirer “..intractable state and local opposition”
Phillynews blogs
Al Dia (translated)

How far we’ve come. Politicians are almost unanimously talking about resiting. One operator is talking about resiting. There is no doubt now that the neighborhoods don’t want it.

Sugarhouse, the casino in the North and the most vocal of the two in its determination to stay on its site isn’t likely to meet with law makers until after Labor Day.

It’s not over by a long shot. The naysayers are just dying to point out how hard resiting could be. Discussions of an open and transparent process at the press conference apparently killed the mood.. Resiting is going to be hard.

Not resiting is going to be worse: for us and for them. The opposition is not going anywhere, we live here.

Really it’s simple: re-site now and construction will begin. Stick to the sites and neighborhood opposition will remain. Act 71, the law that brought us gaming, allows for the operators to ask for new sites. The door is now open: law makers are willing to talk about new sites. There’s no time like the present: either the operators move willingly or we keep pushing until they’re forced to move.

Back to Starkville, MS

I spent most of last week in Starkville, MS. I decided to practice sweet tea immersion while I was there: partially because ordering unsweet tea kills conversation and makes the locals suspicious..

I think I’ve figured out the sweet tea appeal: consistent high sugar content. “Yup, one and a half cups per gallon!” the kid behind the counter at Obys remarked at lunch today as I explained this to a friend who is also a local there.

That’s all there is to it: the South has collaborated and they all make it the same way: boil the water, add tea bags, While it’s still hot stir in 1 1/2 cups of sugar per gallon. Done. Try to get thousands of restaurants to do anything else consistently: the entire South banded together together and agreed on one drink.

I made it to but didn’t talk about Mugshots on my last trip: it’s considered the best burger in town and it seems to live up to its promise: the burger was huge and very good.

I also ate at Polliwogs this time. The exterior belies the general dive-bar character of the place. The food was passable but almost completely lacking in local flavor. I ordered the only thing on the menu that I couldn’t get at a dive bar in Philadelphia, the craw-fish sandwich and they were out of crawfish. I looked in vain for catfish, my second favorite MS specialty and ended up with a turkey, bacon and cheese sandwich. It was a fair sandwich, just like you would get in any other dive bar..

A final note: can someone explain to me why Delta both refuses to hold a flight and seems to be unable to get me through Atlanta on time? I booked through Delta, my (delayed) flight from Mississippi landed at 9:30, my (delayed) flight to Philadelphia left at 9:50.. Despite sprinting, catching the train as the doors where closing and arriving at the gate at 9:48 the woman at the gate almost seemed pleased that I missed my flight. Seriously? So much for Southern hospitality: you’re on Delta in the Atlanta airport. I generally fly through Dallas on American: Texas has its issues but at least the Dallas Fort Worth airport is able to get me home.

101 N. Douglas Conner Street
Starkville, MS 39759

511 Academy Road
Starkville, MS 39759