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Single-serving egg nog

Single-serving egg nog published on

Perfect! Especially in a household with only one egg consumer —


I happen to have simple syrup on hand (it’s a good cheat when making old-fashioned or Sazerac cocktails), which I’ll use instead of the fine sugar, or maybe I’ll find some of that, or even a little brown sugar. The nutmeg and vanilla extract will be premium stuff (Mexican vanilla from Pensey’s I think). I suggest pre-mixing for up to a month (there really is science to show that the microbes die off in eggnog if the proof is what it should be). Yes, this means you must plan ahead.

I love the advice here about bourbon and rum etc. I am not above making a triple-barrel nog: rye or bourbon, rum and a teeny smidge of cognac. Not that you’ll be able to taste it. There is nothing wrong with straight rye or bourbon for this application.

The nice thing about making nog by the egg is that you know exactly what you’re getting — one egg, one shot (hefty or not), one tablespoon sugar etc. This is way better than having a quart pitcher of eggnog in front of you, with no idea of what’s in it — then finding the pitcher is half gone, you need a nap (have become tired and emotional) and you have no room for dinner.

In any case, it deserves a cheer either way. Assuming you use good ingredients (farm egg and milk, spirits that are not too good to share with a friend, quality sweetener, no chemicals), there is nothing so delicious and restorative in the winter dark than a good egg nog.


Looking at the OHCO at Balisage 2014

Looking at the OHCO at Balisage 2014 published on

The Balisage 2014 program is up, and I’m on it, Thursday Aug 7 at 9am. See

The LMNL project I started over a decade ago with Jeni Tennison (or the “rump version” thereof, since everyone else has moved onto other things) is still offering me intellectual rewards. It turns out a range model like LMNL’s is very useful for addressing the question of what one is describing when one marks up a document, because it forces no predisposition to one hierarchical rendition or another (or any) before the document description is mature. So the “ontology” of the markup can remain much looser, to develop iteratively.

This means that LMNL is useful not only for models of texts that have honest MCH (multiple concurrent hierarchies), such as models of poetry that present both verse and grammatical (sentence/phrase) hierarchies together, but also for examining texts that show structural anomalies — the kind of thing that makes us wonder whether and where the hierarchies and “containment” are even to be found.

Since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein shows such a structural anomaly, it makes an interesting case study. Formally, it’s a hybrid between an epistolary novel (in its framing narrative) and a more conventional first-person narrative (with a long embedded narrative in the center). But overlap between these two structures (at least in almost every printed edition) gives pause: it frustrates a clean and simple representation in a hierarchical model such as a conventionally encoded XML version, and raises questions about the coherence of its representation. Is this a feature (of a gothic horror romance), or a bug?

Interestingly, LMNL offers a way to demarcate the parts of the book without organizing them into a single hierarchy or any hierarchy at all. This turns out to be useful for asking questions about this work and hence about the idea of the OHCO in general, as applied to texts that were not already committed to hierarchical forms in their composition.

Or were they? LMNL helps us ask.

Humanism as waking up to the uncanny and unaccountable

Humanism as waking up to the uncanny and unaccountable published on

Visions of the Impossible: How ‘fantastic’ stories unlock the nature of consciousness” is a really well done piece by Jeffrey J. Kripal, raising fundamental questions, to which I too would like some answers. I think the world is thirsty right now for a “humanistic” perspective, in the wider sense. Yet there is also great hesitancy even about asking the questions. No one wants to be made fun of; and this is Trickster stuff, likely to get you in trouble.

A graduate professor of mine once asked me whether I didn’t make the assumption the psyche exists. “Consciousness is primary”, I think, was the way he put it. I admitted I did. (And I do. I think it was an insightful question.)

Reflection on blogging platforms

Reflection on blogging platforms published on

To someone who doesn’t know coding, operating a blogging platform will be akin to divination. Placate a harsh and inscrutable god. Throw the dice and see how they land. Win or lose, the oracle tells you. Good luck! And keep in mind, even when you win — you never know when it will all be taken away!

To someone who does know coding? A test of patience, an exercise in compromise. Sort of like cooking in someone else’s kitchen. The results are not inevitably bad….