In Case You Care

Blitzkrieg literally means “lightning war”. It became the Nazi method of surprise attack with overwhelming force. In American terms, think “shock and awe”.

It seems to me, that the assault on public employee unions is much the same. It seems to have been a plot hatched deep in the bowels of Republican bunkers, unleashed after a favorable 2010 election cycle. Strike while the iron is hot as they say.

Republicans in state after state are facing bills introduced by lock-step following drones of the Party hierarchy, all designed to destroy the union movement in America, and thus attempt to weaken if not utterly destroy the Democratic Party who gets most of its votes.

This is all being done against the wishes of the electorate. Poll after poll, even the deeply flawed and uber right leaning arm of the GOP, the Rasmussen, says that the public is overwhelming in its support of the rights of public workers to unionize. The people are not buying the rhetoric of the right plain and simple.

They are not buying the attempts of Fox and other wacko pundits to paint the union workers as grossly overpaid, and not sharing in the pain of “everyone else.” This from the mouths of jackasses who make millions a year. They are not buying the claims that the demonstrators are largely “paid socialists and commies”. In fact Stephen Colbert caught Fox in another of its deliberate lies. It claimed with appropriate footage that demonstrators were from other states, and were “agitators”. Trouble was the agitators were wearing t-shirts and there were palm trees in the background as they marched. Not exactly Madison I’m thinking.

Nothing is too much to achieve their business currying ends. In Ohio, Republican Senate leadership, removed a fellow GOP committee member and replaced him with another GOPer. Why? Because the sitting Republican was not going to vote for their union killing bill. So they just replaced him with one who would. Yeah, that is the lengths these evil people are prepared to go. No democracy for them. No. Just blatant blitzkrieg, good old shock and awe.

***

Okay, so I try to keep my word, so here is the awesome enchilada recipe I concocted. Well, the new and revised version since I really, really don’t like Velveeta®. It’s not the taste so much, it’s the viscosity that leaves a gluey like lip smackin’ sensation. Not good.

What this recipe is designed to do is to eliminate the issue I have with traditionally baked enchiladas, namely the soggy, disintegration of the tortillas during the baking process. The sauce, just melts them away.

This is how I fixed that problem.

Sherry’s Basically Great Enchiladas

Poach a good-sized bone in chicken breast with the usual onion, celery, salt and pepper, bay leaf, until done. Or buy a roasted chicken and shred, or use some left over chicken you already have.  Set aside, cool, and debone and cube. I’d say around 3-4 cups. (Any other meat or seafood is also acceptable)

Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, place 4 oz of creamed cheese, 1 tsp each garlic and onion granules or powder, a pinch of salt, 1/3 tsp pepper, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 2 tables fresh cilantro chopped, 1 chopped jalapeno. Microwave just long enough to make the cream cheese stir-able. 

Add chicken and loosen with a bit of milk if it’s too thick to stir easily.

Take your tortillas, flour or corn as you desire. Heat a burner (I have an electric stove, use a griddle pan if you have gas), lay each tortilla on it until it just begins to smoke, turn over and do the other side. Repeat with remaining tortillas (about 6). This leaves nice burnt bits here and there on the tortillas.

Fill the tortillas with about 2 Tbsp of the chicken. Place in a foil lined and oiled baking pan. When finished cover the pan with foil and set aside. I do this in the morning and leave them until ready to warm up for dinner. Otherwise place in oven at 275° for 30 minutes or long enough to warm through.

Meanwhile, make a roux of 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp flour in a pan. when melted and mixed, add 1 C warm milk. Bring to boil until thickened. Add 1 C shredded cheddar, Monterey jack, or other cheese of choice. Add 1 jalapeno diced, 1/3 c of green pepper.  Loosen the mixture with a bit of milk again. You want this to be ladle-able.

Place the enchiladas and cheese sauce on the table, along with sour cream and salsa (home-made if you like –my recipe is on this blog under I think condiments or Tex-Mex) and green onions and ripe olives sliced for garnish, along with thinly sliced shredded cabbage. I know this sounds weird but the crunch is wonderful. (add it to the top of the enchiladas before the cheese sauce.)

That’s it! 

It’s the Caffeination, Stupid!

cafeination“Boy, you sure made the coffee strong this morning, dear.” This as I yawn and peer through lidded eyes at GMA. “I don’t know that it’s any different that usual,” the great one replies.

“Well it was falling out of the grinder when I lifted off the top, so I knew it was gonna be strong,” smiling weakly. I saw a look of “oops” fall across his face. “Ummm, perhaps that was mine.” Mine being the caffeinated stuff, which I have long since abandoned as making me too wired, and upsetting my delicate digestive mechanism.

An hour later, I have completed my walk in record time, and am deeply ensconced in Genesis, trying to see the myriad differences between creation story one and creation story two. My mind is flying, reeling really among the possibilities, and now, I’m really not sure at all what “made in the image of” means.

I have the urge to write, yet know, I’m not nearly ready to tackle THAT topic. I start in the Google reader, skimming the stories, vaguely aware that I am looking for a few in particular, stories I want to consider. I make the mistake to visit Randal’s L’ennui melodieux. Not knowing French, I still have no idea what that means, though the word l-ennui is vaguely familiar. In any case, I don’t recommend that site when in a full-blown caffeine mania. I actually understood his post “Naked in front of the Computer.”

You see, I almost never understand Randal’s posts, which takes nothing away from the fact that mostly they are brilliant. He is writing as art personified. Like Justice Black, I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.

With that post, I realized that my mind, going off in several directions at the same time, could not focus on one issue long enough to write a post about. Thus you get the hodgepodge of trivial and snappy snapshots of reality. At least my reality. The human brain is exceptional in it’s ability to hold, simultaneously, several thoughts at once, some of them in direct and obvious logical opposition (witness the fundamentalist mind –if you can call it that–which is required to do that 24/7–but no we are NOT going there again. I’m looking for a treatment for THAT addiction as well.)

stevekingjpgMoving right along, switching gears, about facing, and other metaphors that come to mind. I always obsess happily about our utterly infamous and undoubted resident wing nut Stephen King, R-IA, (may God forgive us our sins). He is always good for a profoundly stupid remark. Yesterday he was quoted as saying that the best vote he ever made in the House was his nearly singular opposition to Katrina aid. Imagine that. Today he is quoted as saying that gays marriage is a “purely socialist concept.” No even, I with my high-speed brain cells this morning, don’t care to get into the ugly morass of a mind that could concoct such bull-crap. Be my guest. Read more here.

***

cabbage-apple-sausageMeanwhile, spinning on a dime, and managing quite well, thank you, not to fall. . . over, I present a recipe. This time of year one’s thoughts turn to slow cookers and comfort food, and this is definitely that.

One can imagine doing all sorts of outdoorsy things, like planting fall mums, raking leaves, (yeah right) and coming inside for cocoa (yeah right) and taking in the wafts of yummy meaty goodness slowly melding together in the crock pot.

If such thoughts are yours too, and no doubt they are, then let your fingers do the walking over to Baking Delights and pick up the recipe for Slow Cooker Red Cabbage and Sausage.

***

gay-marriage-cake-male1With all due and I do mean due, respect to our tinfoily friends on the extreeeemmmme right, one of their oft cited, but never explained objections to gay marriage is that it will “destroy the sanctity of marriage.”

Well, yes, but, exactly what do that mean Mable? Nothing much it seems, but dang it sounds good. Words can, it seems, be put together in nice sounding ways that appear to point to deep thought, when in fact they bespeak no sense at all.

In other words, ya can’t destroy what don’t exist! And according to recent statistics,Die vorce is alive and well and on the climb and not, repeat NOT in the states that allow same sexers to marry.

Of deeper concern, since I live here, is a recent poll, (saw it I swear but have dumped the site already) in Iowa, that showed that something like 92% of Iowans don’t feel,  so far, threatened in their marriage because of Iowa’s new marriage decree that allows same sex wedding bliss. I can testify as well, that so far, I’ve not been hounded by lesbians wanted to “hook up” nor has the Contrarian been solicited by hoards of men wanting to cuddle behind the tractor. Nope, hasn’t happened. Course this will do nothing to stem the gasps and horror among the “bible told me so” folk.

***

mamasandpapaspapasandmamas6sdAnd the winner in the category “gag me with a spoon” is. . . . Mackenzie Phillips and her revelations that “Dad and me were lovers!”

Now, it’s hard to know who to blame for all this. I’m inclined to blame the druggin’, which I understand was beyond the pale, over and above, topped out, even the Stones can’t come close to these folks in over indulgence.

The Contrarian recalls reading where Cass showed up in the Caribbean somewhere with a quart jar of acid one vacation time. These are seriously f**ked up people.

One could of course simply blame dad for all this, but really, Mack admits she was nineteen, yes you heard that right, at the time of the first incestuous meeting, and AND it continued for a record ELEVEN years. I’d say she is somewhat complicit? This doesn’t make any of it other than sordid, wrong, abusive, and a host of other things, but lordly, it sure taints any desire to hear “California Dreamin’ ” any time soon don’t it?

***

Yeah, I know, you wish I would go on and never stop, but hey, I can’t feed your addiction all day long ya know. I hear one of the big pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer perhaps is working on a drug to wean ya off me. If I can get a cut of the that action, I’ll gladly add my opposition to the Democratic health care reform movement. Greed does trump the common good. I can be bought! But you knew that already. Blessings, and well, I’m off to rain caffeine craziness upon the rest of my household.

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Short Takes on the Day, 07/19/09

oddsandendsI’m layin’ back and enjoying the day, as best as I can, given it’s barely breaking 70 today. Not skipping church, if you were thinking that. I went yesterday, a first time for me. I was obligated to set up for our library book sale, so it obviously made no sense not to go to Saturday evening services. It was different. Not my cup o’ tea as they say. But as our priest said, “now you’ve been to one!”

So, I’m foot loose and fancy free as they say, or don’t as you prefer your metaphor.  I’m not sure what foot loose means, nor fancy free for that matter. Another of those things we take for granted and have no clue where they came from. Probably had something to do with the plague or something. You know that “ring around the rosy” got it’s start there don’t cha?  Yep.

***

Moving right along, I just wanted to announce that I’m a bona fide professional book reviewer. I’m sure you can tell the difference, when I passed through that portal into the rarefied confines of New York publishing heaven. Yes indeed, and the view is quite fine looking down upon the rest of you wannabes.

The proof of my new found status is that I received in the mail, U N S O L I C I T E D, my first book from a publisher. Now I was curious, and somewhat confused to be sure at first. I dutifully looked through my LibraryThing (located to the left down the sidebar), assuming it was one that I had checked off as wanting to review. No such find. I noted that it came from the Hachette  Book Group, which distributes for Little Brown & Co. I noted that the review I just did for “The Evolution of God” came from LB&C. So my interest was piqued.

I finally wrote an email to the distributor, and received a reply rather quickly. Indeed, they had thought I might enjoy the book sent, and would be most pleased should I review it. A cheesy smile encompasses my face, as I am back in the throes of “professional” something or other, albeit, no word of $$$ seemed to cross a lip either way. I’m not sure if money is required to seal the deal, but I’m choosing to revel in my new found glory. I assume of course that you are all suitably impressed and will announce this fact around your neighborhood, family, and professional associations as well.

***

Moving on to the short takes as it were. I was alerted via email by Shannon of a blog I should look at, a post in particular and found myself at “Caught a glimpse of Jesus down by the railroad tracks…”  This in reference to my mini rant of two days about  “What is the Message?”  Said blogger is in discernment for the diaconate in TEC, and runs a homeless shelter. Interesting and compelling reading, so take a look.

***

I ran across this piece and found it highly amusing and well, heck far be it from me to stop beating a dead horse. I say turn it into horseburger! Sarah, well known, for being the most incurious politician in America, unless the curiosity has to do with herself, is almost unintelligible as you well know. Her inability to capture a single thought and expound on it in any rational way are legend. This post from John Lundberg at HuffPo, shows just how easy it is to find the poet in Sarah’s words, if not any sense. Since poetry need not contain sense, well it all makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Enjoy. Few laughs are as cheap as this one.

***

A couple of atheists took me to task for my post last week about atheists and that I found them intellectually wanting. Seems at least one person agrees with me, lumping their “certainty” of no God as about as obnoxious as the “certainty” of fundamentalists. Now I hadn’t thought of that. Just a short piece by worth a gander. As I continued compiling this post, more was generated in comments to the above and so another post ensued. It makes for good reading if you are so inclined in the atheist-vs-agnostic-vs-believer saga.

***

nachosAnd just cuz it’s been forever since I posted a recipe, I thought I’d do one that makes my mouth water, nachos! Good homemade nachos are priceless in the Tex-Mex inventory, and this one just says, yowie, that’s a spicy nacho! As with all nachos you can add or subtract ingredients here and there as your taste dictates. Let’s hear it for Spicy Chicken Nachos!

I think that next week, we shall be trying some of these! No need to thank me for helping you with menu planning! lol.

***

Okay, go out and enjoy what’s left of Sunday. And bring back the sun and some heat. I’m sick of fall weather in July.

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Bring on the Food!

Oh it was a good Sunday past for me. Hope it was for you as well. A couple of things made it special for me. First of all, I was a chalice bearer for the first time. I had a fifteen minute training in all the issues that come up with serving the cup. I had no idea so many things could go wrong, but thankfully nothing did on my first time around.

I had a veteran server kind of lead me around. I sure made a few mistakes, but on the whole, it went well. I think I was not prepared for how emotional it would make me, and I nearly choked on the first, “The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.” It is a solemn and awesome experience and I look forward to serving my parish in this way.

The one thing I learned, was to pick up the cossack going up the stairs to the altar. I stepped on it the first time, and remembered always to hike it up. I already knew to pull it up off my heels when kneeling.

Okay, enough of that, which was interesting to three people in the world who read this and have done chalice serving! The second great part of the day, was that we had our church picnic after services.

That was just a nice time. We women bet against the men in accumulating funds that would be going to various missions, I think half  went to our sister parish in Swaziland. One of our younger members was having to get his hair cut for a play I believe, and so his haircut was auctioned. We left before the deed, but I think they had raised a fair amount. I think the Contrarian enjoyed himself and he met a couple we are going to visit on Friday at a gallery where they are having drinks and hors d’oeuvres to celebrate an anniversary.  We had a very nice time. But then, it’s quite easy since my parish is just filled with wonderful people!

Anyway, I decided, that since this is my blog, I’d go off on a tangent today and give you another of my recipes. Since no one has sent a threatening e-mail telling me to knock it off, I hope that you enjoy them here and there and even try one or two on occasion.

Since I love Mexican food, this is another. This is my creation, but I am positive I’ve seen recipes like this, and to some extent I’m recalling some parts from various ones. It’s called: (trumpets and flourishes please)> > > >

Quesadillas la Torre al la Sherry

1 lb. ground round
1 jalapeno pepper finally diced

   Add your favorite Mexican spices and fry it up. I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin. I’d use about 1/2 tsp of each.

Prepare the following fillings in sufficient amounts for about 4 traditional quesadillas:
chopped tomatoes (I used Romas because they have few seeds, about 3)
chopped green onions, white and green, about 5 
shredded monterey jack cheese, about a lb.
1 pkg of flour tortillas, corn if you prefer
I used a spring form pan that the 8 inch tortillas fit in. I lined the pan with foil so that I could fold it over the tower and keep things tight.
I have an electric stove, so I heated the large burner and dropped a tortilla on and left for about 6 sec. As it starts to smoke, turn over with tongs, and do the other side. This makes a nice charred flavor. Place in the foiled pan.
Add some meat, tomatoes, onions and cheese. Top with another charred tortilla. Continue building until you run out of meat. I used, I believe, eight tortillas in all, ending with a tortilla on top. Cover with foil. (NOTE: I didn’t use a lot of filling between each tortilla, probably at best a cup total of all the ingredients.)
Bake in the over  at 350 for a minimum of 30 min. 45 might be better. If 30, be sure to preheat the oven. You basically just want to melt the cheese and get everything nice and warm.
Cut into wedges, and serve with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa, on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce. You can find my salsa recipe under “Condiments” in recipes on the sidebar. (It’s the first entry) Oh and serve with some lime quarters too.

Quesadillatower

You of course can vary this recipe according to your particular likes and dislikes. Chicken would be fine, as would shredded pork or roast beef. Corn might be a fun addition. Cheddar cheese or some of the Mexican cheeses would work as well. Be creative. If you use corn tortillas I think I might bake them to the crunchy stage, but that will change the texture of the entire tower quite a bit. You don’t need to do that of course. There are lots of alternatives. I used the iceburg lettuce as a crunchy cold foil to the hot spicy effect of the quesadillas. Depending on how much jalepeno or other pepper you decide to use, you could eliminate this. I thought it did look nice though as well on the plating.

Here’s to Yummy!


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Bet You Can Cook!

parsleyI don’t want to be presumptuous or anything, but do you have trouble finding a way to save your fresh parsley and cilantro? For that matter, any fresh herb? I used to, but I found a sure proof way of saving it, keeping it fresh, and ALWAYS having some on hand.

This of course is much less of a problem in the summer time when those of us with outdoor space of any kind can grow our own, and always have it ready to pick. But even then, plants don’t always grow enough, and at the right time.

Although with most recipes you can eliminate the herbs like parsley, they do add a definite sparkle to a dish, as well as impart flavor. And no, dried don’t always work as well. Rosemary most definitely is great dried, but things like basil just suck dried, and parsley and cilantro aren’t a lot better.

While I’ve only used this method on parsley and cilantro, I think it would work fine on any herb. So here we go:

You come home with a banded bouquet of parsley. Leave on the band or not as you desire. Depending on the size of the bundle you may want to work in a couple of smaller bundles. The stems of parsley can be fibrous, so you don’t want to be chopping the lower parts of the stems into the mix. Hold in the hand by the stems like you would a bouquet, and “shave” off the leaves, pointing the bundle downward as you do. Turn as needed until it’s clean. Some stem is okay, but you will get most of the leaves this way and quickly.

You can of course do it piece by piece, stripping the leaves but this will take a long time, and none of us usually has time.

Once you have  nice pile on the cutting board, use a big chef’s knife and chop the mess. Periodically pile the outside to the center as the parsley chops up into nice bits. Use a rocking motion, guiding with the free hand on top of the blade at the end of the knife. You’ve seen this on TV no doubt.

If you are not a good hand chopper, throw it into a food processor and pulse it until the desired size. Be careful here, you don’t want puree, so just a second at a time.

Once it has reached the right chop size, place in a bowl. Now drizzle olive oil over it. You don’t need to submerge it, just enough to coat all of it. Pour a little, then stir and when it starts to really cling together, you have added enough.

Now take a pan of some sort, I small loaf pan, a 8 x 8 or something like that. Line with wax paper, and spoon your parsley into it. Spread it a bit and then add a layer of plastic wrap and then you can gently pat it out into a rectangle. Keep it somewhere around 1/4 inch thick.

Pop it into the freezer and leave until it’s frozen. Now the oil won’t freeze, but it will stiffen, and the water in the parsley will also harden it. Take out and score with a knife into what approximates 1 tablespoon. You can actually cut into cubes if you wish, but I leave it on the wax paper, and then pop it into a plastic bag.

When I need some fresh parsley, I just take a knife and cut through the size I need and return the rest to the freezer.

For Cilantro, do the same, but the stems here are much more tender and harder to shave, so don’t worry about removing so much stem.

This will work on basil and frankly, all fresh herbs that I can think of. Make sure that you label the freezer bag since there is a big difference between parsley and cilantro in taste, and once chopped and stored you won’t be able to tell the difference by looking!

Here’s my favorite homemade salsa recipe just cuz I love ya!

  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes (fresh of course is fine)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced (use a micro plane if you have it, and get one if you don’t, they are priceless for doing this fast!)
  • 1/3 c of minced onion (more or less, diced fine or not as you like)
  • 1 jalepeno pepper diced fine (I freeze these whole and just defrost and remove the seeds which turn brown anyway. Use more or less heat or other peppers as you like)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsps fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • juice of one lime (optional–it brightens everything, but you can get away without it. you can freeze lime juice in cubes too so it can be another item always on hand.)

Mix and let set for a couple of hours in the fridge before serving on your favorite Mexican dish.

We’re having a frittata today. That’s just eggs with whatever in it. We are having a pork sausage, onion, potato, asparagus, smoked Gruyere, parsley frittata. Cook everything separately, layer all starting with potatoes on the bottom, ending with the cheese. Whisk eggs (4-6) add 1 to 1 1/2 c  milk and/or cream, salt, pepper, fresh parsley, pour on top, cook until set, then under the broiler to cook the top lightly. Add a salad and your set!

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Plugging the Holes

"First Kiss," by Ron Draine, Art.com

"First Kiss," by Ron Draine, Art.com

I have a bad habit of thinking, and so periodically, I have to post a lot of drivel, just to clear out the debris to make room. I tried using corks to plug up the oozing tidbits of extraneous info, but that both gave me a headache and increased my hat size a bit too much. People were starting to stare, if you get my drift.  So in no particular order:

Animals just continue to freak me out. It’s not just the variety and so many shapes and sizes, so many attributes and such. It’s the personality that, as I get older, gets more and more complex. I realize indeed that we human have just upped the ante a small bit, we are no great leap.

Take our dogs. No, no not literally. First we have Bear, the “A” dog.

bearBear is a singular example of the dog in charge. He is willful and stubborn, yet level headed, basically quite kind, and he watches over the girly girl Brandy as any big brother ought to.

He is a stern task master, and during Brandy’s youth, she was tumbled and shaken a good many times until she properly learned the ways of a “B” dog.

Bear will behave, unless he doesn’t wish to. Then you get the blue eye, and well, it’s best to just back off and let it be. Brandy learned that freshly caught game was off limits, sometimes for days. Just because he wasn’t hovering over it didn’t mean she could take a close whiff.

Yet, dear Bear is monumentally afraid of thunder. Has been since day one. It must be embarrassing for him, yet he succumbs to the first rumbles and gets into the house fast, and lays close to any human. Brandy, heck you have to order her in the house. She could care less.

On  the other hand, Brandy has her own oddity.

brandy3When the Girly is asleep, everyone treads carefully and away from her. If she is even breathed upon, she erupts a snarling fang bearing behemoth, ready to kill.

All the cats, all the humans, and even the King, Bear, know this and respect it. Bear will even whimper to have help getting around her, should she fall asleep in some way that boxes him in.

In every other respect, Brandy is pure love. The tail never stops wagging, and she has yet to figure out that anyone has ever been mad at her. You can yell your fool head off, and she wags away. She pretends to not know the meaning of any word that would limit what she wants to do, but has an amazing vocabulary of words that symbolize things she likes.

Both are adept at going out alone, barking up a storm, thus enticing the other to come out, then coming in and grabbing the best seat in the house, their couch! Don’t tell me they aren’t smart.

***

I’m given to understand that the religious right is having some name pangs. Seems they can’t settle on how they would like to be addressed. For reasons that escape me, they don’t like being called fundamentalists, though that describes their religious theology quite well I believe. They don’t like  religious right either, again I’m not sure why. They do seem to like Christian Right. Not sure how that’s really different from religious right. They don’t like American Taliban and things like that. I can understand. I guess they have come to realize that the term “moral majority” is a bit presumptuous. They seem to have abandoned that one.  They don’t like extreme right, and well I guess I can see that.

I call them idiots. It seems descriptive to me. Sometimes I call them the wacko right, sometimes the wingnut right. But that is as much political as religious I guess. I guess I’d settle on Extreme Radical Religious Right. I’m sure they won’t like that either. But heck, I don’t find them sensible anyway so why should I care?

***

I’m puzzled as all get out at what has been happening here on this blog. One day I opened up the stats to discover that nearly 400 people had visited. That would be double the usual flow. I checked the forum here to see if there was a bug or glitch. No one else was reporting bizarre numbers, and seldom is a problem singular to A blog. I added another counter, and it is keeping pace as best I can tell.

I’m confused. The second day, it fell off a tad, but was still around 350. Yesterday it fell back to 175, respectable, but still a significant drop. I don’t know if I had some tag that just got picked up or what. I find the “key words” thingie most unuseful in figuring things out. Most of the terms used are artists for some reason, or weird bastardizations of phrases that make no apparent sense.

It’s one of those shrug the shoulders kind of things. Perhaps just more evidence of my universe shopping.

***

It’s cold here in Iowa again. Much too cold for me. I’m through with this chit and ready for spring. I don’t want to see a snow flake again. It would suit me if I never saw one again. That is unlikely as long as we live in Iowa of course.  Less than two weeks until spring by my calculations. March can’t come too soon, and I mean that in every respect. Of course it will come exactly on time no matter what I want or need.

***

It’s meatloaf today. I made up a big batch and will freeze one. I decided to cook both though. Figured it wasn’t a good idea to refreeze raw meat. It will come in handy one day when I don’t feel/have time to cook. The Contrarian loves meatloaf, more for the cold sandwiches afterward, but meatloaf means mashed taters and gravy, and well, if you read yesterday, you know about gravy.  Just a tip on the meatloaf: I don’t use filler in mine, but if you put about 1/2 a packet of unflavored gelatin in your raw mix, it will be nice and solid. I cook mine free standing, having molded it in a bowl or pound cake pan. It slices nicely and holds together well.

Well, the brain feels a bit more comfortable now, room to stretch out a bit. Unburden your heavy brain here if you need to. There seems an endless ream of paper on this Internet. You can write forever and never run out!

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Short Takes on the Day 11/13/08

It’s simply shockingly sad. Bush is doing his level best to help out his business friends at the tail end of his disastrous presidency by trashing the environment. All the plans, regulation loosenings and so far are designed to help industry make money, and reduce the protection of lands and animals now in place. It will take much time and effort by the Obama people to undo this. It was said that Clinton was only able to undo about 13% of what Daddy Bush did at the end of his presidency. True, Clinton did the same and Dubya could only undo 3% of the Clinton environmental protections. Why this evil man is intent on destroying the earth is beyond me. He has his, why can’t he let us at least exist? AlterNet has the story.

I recently read a book called “Deep Economy” about how we might revision our economic mantra of “growth is good.” It dealt largely with environmental issues, but did make the point that studies show that Americans are deeply unhappy overall as compared to much of Europe and many other countries as well. Money and buying stuff does not make us happy it turns out. A World Health Organization now places the US first in those countries whose citizenry is depressed and otherwise mentally ill. Read more, and discover that if you are stressed with not enough time, not enough leisure, you are very much not alone.

While much against the theology of Augustine can be argued with, there is something very right about a guy who asked God to cure him of his sexual needs, but “not quite yet.” He became a very human being for that statement in his Confessions. That being said, his birthday is today, and I think we should all pause and remember this great Father of the Church. If you would like to read more about this incomparable man, link to Gill’s Ancient History Blog.

You might enjoy this aside: Being a blogger, we all get used to our private and overused phrases. Much as John McCain drove us insane with “my friends” we all have our peccadilloes when it comes to language. Britannica Blog gives us “the 10 most overused and useless expressions in English.” Did you find one you use? Numbers 4 and 5 were ones I think I use a bit too frequently.

Uncovering women’s history is always fascinating. Every heard of a woman by the name of Cynisca? Probably not, but she was the first woman to compete and win an Olympic event, and we are talking about 396 and 392 BCE. Read this fascinating tale with tons of historical background at Rogueclassicism today. G,wan, get a little knowledge, your brain will thank you for it.

Speaking of birthdays, yesterday’s was Grace Kelly. That wonderful biographer Elizabeth Kerri Mahon at Scandalous Women does her usual top notch job and presents you with a lovely reflection on this American Princess.

If you are a history buff, you might find this new blog fun. It’s called Histatic! The history blog for all your inquisitive needs. Give it a look see and bookmark if it suits your fancy. I’ll be picking up the feed and checking it for good posts that you might enjoy.

I had a co-worker when I was a lawyer, who used to go to magazines like Bon Appetit and others of that type and make their entire holiday menu. I have never done such a thing, and frankly won’t because we have found the perfect Thanksgiving menu on earth, all from different sources. But if you want to do something different, Baking Delights has a full menu for you with all the recipes. You might not choose to make it all, but you might find a recipe that you do like. I think I should try to post the incredible stuffing recipe we used last year. First time we ate every drop of stuffing I tell you, and I will never do another turkey that isn’t brined either. Enjoy!

Simply Recipes gifts us with a great Tex-Mex dish. It’s similar to enchiladas, but she says without the trouble. It’s often used as a breakfast food. Give it a look if you love Mexican food. This looks like one I’ll add to my repertoire. Full directions are given for Chilaquiles.

And just to close out the recipes, here’s one you should not miss. Easy as anything to make, elegant for the holidays, and it is Chocolate! Now that combination is not to be missed. Called Chocolate Purses, you can wow your guests and also adapt easily to your own particular tastes. What could be better? Our thanks to Uncommon Artistic Endeavors.

This next story has been on the news in the mainstream media for a few days. Partly it makes me just laugh and partly it makes me sick to my stomach. The NRA has done an excellent job in making up a scare story that Obama is gonna take away guns, and gun sales have skyrocketed. That’s the funny part, the scary part, is the gun sales have skyrocketed. What kind of world are people living in that they have to run out and buy $1000+ assault rifles before they are banned? What kind of nut wants one? The winners are of course the NRA and its beloved gun manufacturing industry. Once again the idiot poor does the bidding of the rich. Crooks & Liars has the story.

Oh Goodie Goodie, DistributorCapDC has a quiz for couch potatoes and prizes too! Hurry on over and take it, win win win, I never win a thing. Maybe this time!

And to close out, just a personal observation. Sarah, our dear Sarah is being called the gift that keeps on giving for Democrats. She is making more of an ass of herself, now that she is out from restrictions and can do things her way. Although she claimed many of her woes were the result of the left wing media, she is courting that media for all it’s worth these days. She is granting “exclusive” interviews nearly every day. True to form, she says nothing, and says that nothing in such circular fashion that one can but weep with joy that the girl hasn’t lost her stupid touch. You might have thought she would bone up a bit, but word is that her latest foray on Larry King resulted in answers about the federal economic bailout that were “stunning” in their lack of any knowledge of what it entailed.

Miss Palin continues to adhere to the idea that politics is a piece of cake and requires no real knowledge of anything. Since she is apparently interested in virtually nothing, this works well for her so far. Her press conference at the Governor’s meeting consisted of 3 questions and then was closed down. The other governors felt a bit left out as you can guess. She was not wanted there in the first place so we are told. Sarah is that annoying fly that you cannot swat and cannot evade. It will soon be time to bring out the assault spray and overkill the land in order to make sure she gets her fatal dose.

I know this sounds weird, but a bunch of political bloggers and others have set up a food network site. You can find it here, called the “Internet Food Association.” Some of our favorites, such as Simply Recipes are on board. Who knows who might be next. Bookmark it and check it out if you love food and new recipes.

Have a greater day than ever before!

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