Saturday, July 31, 2010

Time Magazine has just earned my subscription

This week's Time Magazine cover is a photo portrait of Aisha, whose nose and ears were cut off by her husband as the Taliban stood over her. I'd post the photo here but I don't have time to get permission. The link will take you to it.

I will be subscribing to Time because of this photo, and the accompanying article.

Before Sept 11 2001, the terrible treatment of women in countries such as Afghanistan was a primary focus of activists and liberal media. Before 1996, Afghan women had made much social progress, but when the Taliban took over in 1997, they shoved all women behind the veil and into abject slavery again. This included educated women: doctors, lawyers, politicians were all suddenly at risk of brutal death without trial if they left their homes without huddling behind a male relative. Girls were killed for attending school, women died in childbirth because only men were allowed to be doctors - and women weren't allowed to be seen by any man, not even a physician. The brutalization Aisha suffered is commonplace, and thousands have experienced far worse.

When the United States went into Afghanistan after September 11th 2001, at some point our Congress capitulated and passed laws that prohibited our military from practicing Christianity in Afghanistan and other totalitarian countries. The South Korean Christians bravely continued to evangelize among the Afghan people until they were finally forced permanently out of the country.

Today in Afghanistan, despite the long presence of our troops and those of other nations, there's only one religion allowed, and it is not tolerant, and it is not Christian. Christians are at extreme risk, cannot celebrate Holy Days, cannot display the Cross - they must hide as they did during the persecution of the early centuries. Mercy and compassion are outlawed. There is no hope for the women of Afghanistan in such a place.

How far we have come as a nation since the Great War, when these letters were printed as the frontspiece of Bibles given to soldiers and sailors:

Col. [Theodore] Roosevelt's Message to the Troops through the New York Bible Society:

"The teachings of the New Testament are foreshadowed in Micah's verse (Micah 6:8): 'What more does the Lord require of thee than to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.'

"Do Justice: and therefore fight valiantly against the armies of Germany and Turkey, for these nations in this crisis stand for the reign of Moloch and Beelzebub on this earth.

"Love Mercy: treat prisoners well, succor the wounded, treat every woman as if she was your sister, care for the little children, and be tender to the old and the helpless.

"Walk Humbly: you will do so as you study the life and teachings of the Saviour.

"May the God of justice and mercy have you in His keeping."

Theodore Roosevelt, June 5, 1917

and in the same bible, General [George] Pershing's Message through the New York Bible Society:

"To the American Soldier aroused against a nation raging war in violation of all Christian principles, our people are fighting in the cause of liberty. Hardships will be your lot, but trust in God will give you comfort. Temptation will befall you, but the teachings of our Savior will give you strength. Let your valor as a soldier and your conduct as a man be an inspiration to your comrades and an honor to your country."

Pershing, August 10, 1917


History may prove that the greatest foreign policy mistakes the US has ever made were in violating our founding principles by denying freedom of Christian practice and worship to members of our military during these 21st century wars.

It would be far more legitimate to follow the tenets of our faith, including the commandment to seek and save the lost. Since the Great Commission is out of fashion with Western policy makers, and in fact is a despised point of view to them, why would they be expected to comprehend rationally any other consideration of Christianity?

It may not be possible for one to comprehend Christian faith without the presence and assistance of the Holy Spirit.

It is certainly folly for governments to attempt to predict and account for the actions of God in the world. But it is hubris for governments to deny the stark differences in progress that follow different faiths. The truth exists, and cannot be denied forever.

Critics who selectively pick and choose items from among what they personally perceive as fruit or practices are even then failing - or is it refusing? - to engage the reality on its own legitimate terms.

Peter Hitchens, as profoundly Christian as his brother is Athiest, said it well in the UK's Daily Mail (here):

"Why is there such a fury against religion now? Because religion is the one reliable force that stands in the way of the power of the strong over the weak. The one reliable force that forms the foundation of the concept of the rule of law.

"The one reliable force that restrains the hand of the man of power. In an age of powerworship, the Christian religion has become the principal obstacle to the desire of earthly utopians for absolute power."

And there, in a nutshell, it is. Some wealthy denominations that still call themselves Christian despite having long ago ceased to believe or teach Jesus have also allied themselves with these secular enterprises to quash the faith that they cannot control.

Other world religions do not threaten these utopians, as they have no interest in restraining the power of the elite. It is only in Christianity and Judaism that class barriers are permanently removed.

Mr Stengel need not support these things I have said, and he has given a full account of why Time made the choice to present a certain Truth on its cover this week. Next week, they may revert to the hackneyed relativity that has taken over most of our previously admirable media.

But for now, this choice to come back, even momentarily, to reality is noteworthy, and praiseworthy.

God Bless Mr Stengel and the people at Time Magazine for pulling back the veil.


`

Thursday, July 29, 2010

In Equal Sacrifice

On this day. July 29. in 2006, Sgt. Christian Williams, Cpl. Phillip Baucus, Lance Cpl. Tony Butterfield and Lance Cpl. Jason Hansen of the 3rd LAR Marines were killed in action in an insurgent attack. They gave their lives for America, and for liberty for the Iraqi people. Part of their stories can be found here and here.

These two poems by Robert Frost are from his great work "A Boy's Will", written in 1915. They seem appropriate for today. The first "In Equal Sacrifice", of an ancient Scottish Hero, tells of honor and right. The second, "The Tuft of Flowers" leads toward faith, and perhaps healing. To those who love these men, we honor your unfathomable sacrifice as well, and pray for your recovered joy.

Because their most precious reason for service was to protect and preserve a joyful and happy life for their mothers, their brothers and sisters, their wives, their families and the friends they loved so deeply. May God bless you with healing, in their golden memory.


In Equal Sacrifice

THUS of old the Douglas did:
He left his land as he was bid
With the royal heart of Robert the Bruce
In a golden case with a golden lid,

To carry the same to the Holy Land; 5
By which we see and understand
That that was the place to carry a heart
At loyalty and love’s command,

And that was the case to carry it in.
The Douglas had not far to win 10
Before he came to the land of Spain,
Where long a holy war had been

Against the too-victorious Moor;
And there his courage could not endure
Not to strike a blow for God 15
Before he made his errand sure.

And ever it was intended so,
That a man for God should strike a blow,
No matter the heart he has in charge
For the Holy Land where hearts should go. 20

But when in battle the foe were met,
The Douglas found him sore beset,
With only strength of the fighting arm
For one more battle passage yet—

And that as vain to save the day 25
As bring his body safe away—
Only a signal deed to do
And a last sounding word to say.

The heart he wore in a golden chain
He swung and flung forth into the plain, 30
And followed it crying ‘Heart or death!’
And fighting over it perished fain.

So may another do of right,
Give a heart to the hopeless fight,
The more of right the more he loves; 35
So may another redouble might

For a few swift gleams of the angry brand,
Scorning greatly not to demand
In equal sacrifice with his
The heart he bore to the Holy Land. 40






The Tuft of Flowers

I WENT to turn the grass once after one
Who mowed it in the dew before the sun.

The dew was gone that made his blade so keen
Before I came to view the leveled scene.

I looked for him behind an isle of trees; 5
I listened for his whetstone on the breeze.

But he had gone his way, the grass all mown,
And I must be, as he had been,—alone,

‘As all must be,’ I said within my heart,
‘Whether they work together or apart.’ 10

But as I said it, swift there passed me by
On noiseless wing a ’wildered butterfly,

Seeking with memories grown dim o’er night
Some resting flower of yesterday’s delight.

And once I marked his flight go round and round, 15
As where some flower lay withering on the ground.

And then he flew as far as eye could see,
And then on tremulous wing came back to me.

I thought of questions that have no reply,
And would have turned to toss the grass to dry; 20

But he turned first, and led my eye to look
At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook,

A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared
Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared.

I left my place to know them by their name, 25
Finding them butterfly weed when I came.

The mower in the dew had loved them thus,
By leaving them to flourish, not for us,

Nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him.
But from sheer morning gladness at the brim. 30

The butterfly and I had lit upon,
Nevertheless, a message from the dawn,

That made me hear the wakening birds around,
And hear his long scythe whispering to the ground,

And feel a spirit kindred to my own; 35
So that henceforth I worked no more alone;

But glad with him, I worked as with his aid,
And weary, sought at noon with him the shade;

And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech
With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach. 40

‘Men work together,’ I told him from the heart,
‘Whether they work together or apart.'



`
Semper Fi and God Bless you, Christian, Phillip, Tony and Jason, and all the 3rd LAR.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Putting Up Peaches: Peach Chutney For A Change

It's Peach Season! Time to eat all we can and can all we can't. ;-) I love canning - it's one of those tasks where we get to enjoy the fruits of a day's work for a long time.

The jar to the far right is Peach Chutney I made last year. It turned out great! It is wonderful with roast poultry and makes a really nice alternative to cranberry sauce. We can't grow cranberries in Texas so this is a good thing for those trying to eat locally or do the "100 mile diet" bit. Aside from some of the spices, all the ingredients either were local or "could have been" homegrown.


Personally, I don't think we should count the spices when trying to eat locally, because spices were one of the early commodities traded as far back as stone age people thousands of years ago - right up to what is now called "The Spice Trade" explosion in the 15th century Age of Exploration. It's why Columbus discovered America: looking for a shorter trade route to the continents and islands of the Orient (the Orient - from the Latin root "orientem" meaning the direction of the sun rise - was the Eastern world, the Occident, from L. "occidentem", direction of the sunset, was the word for the West), where all sorts of wonderful spices originated.

I found the original version of this recipe for "Spicy Peach Chutney" on Allrecipes.com, submitted by "Shana":

Original Recipe Yield 6 - 1/2 pints

Ingredients
* 4 pounds sliced peeled peaches
* 1 cup raisins
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 5 ounces chopped preserved ginger
* 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
* 1 tablespoon mustard seed
* 1 teaspoon curry powder
* 4 cups packed brown sugar
* 4 cups apple cider vinegar
* 1/4 cup pickling spice

Directions
1. In a large heavy pot, stir together the peaches, raisins, garlic, onion, preserved ginger, chili powder, mustard seed, curry powder, brown sugar and cider vinegar. Wrap the pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag, and place in the pot.
2. Bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat uncovered until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. It will take about 1 1/2 hours to get a good thick sauce. Stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom.
3. Remove the spice bag, and ladle into hot sterilized jars. Wipe the rims with a clean moist cloth. Seal with lids and rings, and process in a barely simmering water bath for 10 minutes, or the time recommended by your local extension for your area. The water should cover the jars completely.

I used fresh peaches I had just picked off the tree, but it can as easily be made with canned, frozen or dehydrated fruit. You could even use your peach jam (I'd leave out the sugar in this recipe if I were making it with jam).

To make Peach Chutney using dried peaches, pour plain hot water over the fruit in a ratio of 1 1/2 cups water per cup of fruit and let soak for an hour. Don't add the sugar yet or it will keep the peaches from absorbing the water. Measure out 6 cups of reconsituted peaches and use in place of the fresh peaches called for in the recipe.

This recipe, like many pickles, is best after it has had time to age for at least 2 months. Made at this time of year, it was perfect by Thanksgiving, and we enjoyed it all the way through the winter.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Progressive Habit of Firing People For Rumors About Their Opinions

American liberty includes to right to speak in lawful and legitimate ways without fear that months or years later someone with public authority or an agent of government is going to unpredictably take issue and retroactively decide to punish us for whatever opinion or words we said.


Whether it is Carrie Prejean or Octavia Nasr, Franklin Graham, or Shirley Sherrod, the regressive habit Progressives have of firing people because of their political beliefs and religious expression and honest personal speech is unconscionable. It's mostly Democrats acting this way but we also see it in both parties from those who call themselves (and behave as) whatever new "brand identity" is clever this month.

It's one thing for "the boss" at a privately owned company to get mad and fire someone.

It's quite another for a manager or a company - or a government representative no matter what "House" he sits in - to even make any kind of judgment about someone, much less to fire them because of plain old ugly gossip about them, or because they, or a person or group, that has no right of authority or supervision over the employee, hates the opinions the employee expressed in a perfectly legal way.

That's not decent. That's not civility. That's not rational.

That is the action of an Autocrat. That is bullying at its ugly worst.



If it is "the American thing to do" to let accused lawbreakers maintain power and use campaign money to defend themselves while they get the privilege of "special investigations", how foreign and outrageous is it for members of our government or its agencies to sacrifice the Constitution to their own temporary PR wants? Changing the rules after the fact is wrong on every single level.

American history, law and culture support and respect nothing less than equal treatment, freedom of conscience and freedom of expression for all.

I don't know what this new system of facade management is called but American it is not.

At what point does imperiously taking someone's job - their "means of subsistence" - away because of something they said months or years ago, when the opinion may even have been shared by a majority and the unchallenged norm of the day, or even yesterday, become an onerous freezing pressure against their - and all of our - constitutional rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

As we practice sensible mercy and rational decision making every day, we must also require it of all those we elect or appoint to stand as placeholders for us in the councils and legislatures of our land.

There are lots of good reasons for firing people, and lots of times that a public company or our government may need to let people go without fault or for no reason.

But government agencies and public companies need to find rational, American ways to respond to public relations issues. Firing a person who's done nothing but legitimately speak their opinion isn't one of those ways and that needs to stop.


~

Photos from the Library of Congress, public domain. Top: April, 1942, Chicago, Ida B. Wells housing Project. Mr Daniel Bonaparte, Director of Recreation Activities, speaks at a meeting of the tenants. Photo by Jack Delano. Bottom: July, 1942 Detroit. Sailor Speaks to the audience at a Salvage Committee meeting. Photo by Arthur S. Siegel

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Helping the Gulf Coast: Ask Your Grocer For Wild American Shrimp!

This Mexican Shrimp Cocktail is my version of those served in various restaurants. Mine has a lot less ketchup and is very fresh.

My neighbor fills his yard with tomato plants each year and sells the fruit. These have tender skins so I didn't bother peeling them but if you need to, just put the whole uncut tomatoes into boiling water for 1 minute. Remove them and cut a shallow X in the skin - it will slip right off!

If you don't like seeds, cut them in half and squeeze the pulp and seeds out into a strainer over a bowl so you won't lose the juice. I don't mind tomato seeds so mine has seeds in it.

Chop two medium size tomatoes into small - half-a-bite or less - pieces, and put in a mixing bowl.


I used fresh Thyme, minced superfine, because the cilantro had already set seed and gone the way of all things. Thyme is also a great choice if you don't like cilantro. Fresh herb adds a nice touch with fresh veggies, but in a pinch, even "a pinch of oregano" would be great.

Mince, very finely, one stick of celery and 1/4 cup of sweet onion (we used Vidalias we bought as we passed through Georgia. Texas 1015s would be great) and add to bowl with tomatoes. Red onion would be very pretty in this too.


Put one large or two small cloves of garlic through the press. If you don't have a garlic press, add that to your Christmas Wish List and mince the garlic very very fine.

Add it to the bowl of chopped veggies.


Oh we love the vacuum wrapped fresh avocados - always just exactly ripe, never bruised, and, unopened, they keep a long long time. There's nothing added to them, the vaccuum packaging keeps the air away to keep them fresh. Chop 3 or 4 avocado halves into pieces about the same size as the tomatoes, and add to the bowl.



Squeeze the juice from half of a lime and pour over the veggies. These are large limes - maybe the juice of one lime if you are using small ones or key limes. You could also use fresh lemon or 3 tablespoons of bottled juice.

Add a couple of splashes of Worchestershire Sauce (about one Tablespoon), one Tablespoon of ketchup, 2 teaspoons of prepared Horseradish, salt to taste, and mix well.

Paul likes his with more liquid: if you wish, add one 16 ounce can (2 cups) of V8 juice.



The shrimp: there's more after the recipe on helping the Gulf by using only wild American shrimp. Being in Texas, I consider Gulf shrimp a "local" product, and it's in season right now.

Use your favorite size of pre-cooked, peeled, deveined, cocktail shrimp, with the tails removed. I prefer tiny shrimp, Paul likes large ones. We both decided that next time, I would cut large shrimp in half.

These in the pictures have their tails on. That is very nice for arranging around the side of the glass, but if you are going to toss them in the cocktail, remove the tails.


Chill, and serve in chilled glasses, with saltine crackers. Those that like heat can add Tabasco sauce at the table. Or finely mince a fresh jalapeno (with seeds removed before mincing) that people can sprinkle on to their own taste. A nice easy supper on a hot summer day!

Now then: what's so special about wild shrimp? Many believe that wild caught shrimp is best for the people, the customers, the shrimp themselves, and the environment. Not only is wild shrimp free of antibiotics and other - often banned - chemicals widely used in foreign shrimp farms, it is also shown to contain higher levels of nutrients than farm raised.

It is a healthier product that is easier on the environment and enables self reliance for small businesses on our Gulf coasts. Shrimping is an important part of the Gulf States' and South Atlantic economies (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South & North Carolina).

Demand for wild-caught American Gulf shrimp increases habitat preservation in the United States: wild shrimp live and grow in coastal wetlands and marshes, and their economic value to those local economies means everyone has an interest in keeping those wetlands open, protected, and wild.

When we lived on Lavaca Bay, we had a neighbor who was a shrimper. He sold us fresh shrimp right off the boat. Paul would remove their heads and pack them raw in containers, cover with water and freeze 25 pounds at a time. By adding the water, they don't get freezer burn and they keep fine till next shrimping season.

If you live near enough, you can drive down to the Gulf and buy your own fresh shrimp to freeze, but you can get it inland too. Most cities of any size these days also have markets that receive shipments of fresh shrimp flown in. And many places will even ship it to you.

If your grocer doesn't carry it, ASK for American Shrimp.

You can buy Wild American Shrimp fresh, frozen or canned. Here are some brands to look or ask for (please post if you know of other brands of American wild shrimp and I'll add to the list):
FROZEN:
Arista Brand
Caught Fresh Brand
Dominick Brand Frozen Shrimp
Emeril's Louisiana Shrimp
Premier Shrimp
Sea Pearl Frozen Shrimp
SeaPak Shrimp Co.
Tony Chachere's Shrimp
CANNED:
BumbleBee Canned Shrimp
Orleans Canned Shrimp

And to wrap up, here are some links for more information and sources of sweet American wild shrimp:
Texas Shrimp
Louisiana Shrimp & Seafood
Mississippi Shrimp
Georgia Shrimp
Wild American Shrimp

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Catching Up With Some Great Blogs I Love To Read

~

If there's a theme in the blogs I follow most, it's that their owners tend to use stream of consciousness when choosing topics. They are never bored and never boring. Here's a small sample :-)

"Through The Eyes Of A Gold Star Mom" is the amazing, hope-and-love-filled story of Amy Galvez, whose son died for Freedom in Iraq. Marine Cpl Adam Galvez served in Iraq with Ethan, and I've written of him before.

Amy's latest post says "It's My Turn to Make Adam Proud". She and 3 other Gold Star mothers have been invited by the organization FUTURE to go to Baghdad and Northern Iraq this autumn on a joint humanitarian mission with Iraqi women, preparing a structure to assure the defenseless are not abandoned and can still look forward to a joyful future when our troops are
no longer there to protect them.

~

Mom in High Heels is playing "Random Thoughts Tuesday" (ok fine, she WAS playing it two days ago when I wrote this sentence) and she cracked me up by singing "There's a hole in the bottom of the sea" (and yes we do feel guilty and sincerely apologize to all our friends along the Gulf who know it isn't funny yet, we are very sorry but we could not help ourselfs).... ~ there's a flea on the hair on the wart on the frog on the knot on the log ~

~

I was wondering the other day whether schools still use SRA, when a favorite blogger, Leslie aka Alice the Camel (she's quoted on my sidebar), who's been on hiatus for forEVER announced a new blog she's doing: "Public Education 1010". The blog is frank and wry and challenging. Prepare to think when you read there.

Anyway, the first post I read was on "Uncreative reading", showing how Reading Mastery (of which SRA is a component) is still proving wildly effective.

I LOVED SRA when I was in grade school. I would work so hard to finish early enough to get to go to the SRA station. Even for a good reader like me it was useful. The best part of it was that all the different levels were in there so everyone in class could use the same full set, we just
used different pieces of the array.

~

I've been a fan of "Dr Mabuse's" The Kraalspace blog for years now. She's a hoot, and bakes a prize-winning apple pie. Her latest post "Reciprocity", announces that for the second time in 2 years, the President and Prime Minister exchanged gifts.

Our President's naive staff finally got taken in hand by someone somewhere with sense and gave new British PM David Cameron a proper state gift of a painting by the historically important and highly respected American artist Ed Ruscha, a father of Pop Art, who pioneered iconic typographical art and produced this sixty years ago. His work sells for Million$.

The British, on the other hand, ever mindful of nuance, with a finely tuned sense of history and attention to detail, achieved true antithesis when Mr Cameron presented the Obamas with a painting by "Ben Eine, a relatively unknown south London graffiti artist who has three convictions for criminal damage..."

And she subtitles it ... well, you gotta go see. I'm still laughing.

~

And last but not least, Pat over at And so It Goes In Shreveport is bravely blogging along, keeping her chin up, despite her mom being in the hospital demanding cigarettes and Better Crossword Puzzles. Well, she did break down and drown her sorrows in butter and grits and bacon and diet Coke, but she's back with news of The Awesome Bobby Jindal, and of another, non-metaphorical, storm a'comin'.

Oh, and go to your store and plead for Gulf Shrimp - she says the shrimp haven't been affected so we can feast AND do Good For The Gulf at the same time! Remember: Friends Don't Let Friends Eat Imported Shrimp!

PS I'll post the recipe for the Mexicanish Shrimp Cocktail tomorrow. :-)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Truth in 1841



" There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion;…The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Gawd, I Love The South..."

~









"Gawd, I Love The South..."   That was Paul's comment, somewhere in the beautiful, gracious, and welcoming state of Mississippi. I have to say, I ~heart~ Waffle House, too.





.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Veldhuizen Cheese Stands Alone

Saturday we went to Stephenville, and on the way back, stopped off at the Veldhuizen Family Farm Cheese Shop outside of Dublin, Tx. Since it is less than an hour's drive from our home, that is within range for a locavore. Check out that belt buckle! And this hubcap was well-earned. Veldhuizen cheese stands with the best from anywhere.


We chatted with Connie Veldhuizen (and Paul had a great visit with her father-in-law Mr Velduizen), and bought half a pound each of their Mozarella String Cheese, Texas Gold Cheddar, and Redneck Cheddar.

We also bought a gallon of fresh, raw, whole milk (which they can only sell at the farm, not offsite). Not homogenized or pasturized. In the photo, notice where the color changes about a third of the way down from the top in the gallon? Click on it to make it larger if you need to.

Everything above that is cream. Pure, sweet, rich, cream.

Paul had never tasted raw milk, and I had not since I was a very small child. It is very good. Sweet and rich. The flavor will probably change with the seasons, as it is affected by the cows' food.

I am not opposed to Pasturization because in situations where milk from different herds is mixed, pasturization protects our health. But we also don't want anything added to out milk and cream - and that happens more often than not in commercial milk, even with "good" brands. Most have additives and thickeners in their half and half and cream: no, thank you. We've found only a couple of brands of half and half available locally that read "Ingredients: milk and cream." One of those brands is Kroger's in-house brand, that is what we buy.

So, we enjoyed a chance to have milk fresh from the farm, where we could see "the pretty cows all red and white" that gave it.

Back to the important part: the Cheese. The cheese is so lovely, so rich and flavorful. While it costs more than the generic cheddar in the store, we've found that a little of it goes a long way so not as much is needed.

For instance, I used the Texas Gold Cheddar on these breakfast tacos: a sprinkle under the eggs and another sprinkle on top before rolling them up. This is about 1/3 the amount of cheese I would normally use on Paul's tacos, but because this actually has flavor, a sprinkle was perfect. The tomatoes came from our neighbor's garden, and the eggs we buy from my coworker. Yum. Yes, I know, I should have made the tortillas from scratch. I make good ones, but....

The Redneck Cheddar has a dark boch beer added in the manufacture. It's a medium sharp cheese that we used, with Kroger's English Toasting Bread, and what Dad used to call "mantequilla bueno" (real butter) to make grilled cheese sandwiches. Phenomenal. Again, only a singe layer of thin slices was all it took, so here we probably used only half as much cheese by weight as we would of store-bought cheddar.

I can't remember the name of it, but they had another cheese that is most like a traditional English Cheddar (which i got to try on a business trip once). It's rich and creamy - Connie said it stays more moist than most cheddars as they age because they slather the outside of it with lard
during aging! As Emeril would say "Pork Fat Rules!"

Veldhuizen cheeses are carried by small markets around Texas, and they also have mail order available from their website.

When Christmas comes around, you can bet we'll be trying their gruyere for the French Onion Soup! :-D

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Kids and the Future President of the United States


Some years ago, when George W Bush was Governor of Texas, we lived in a neighborhood in Midland near Laura's family. It is an ordinary middle-class neighborhood, a few blocks from where the elder Bush's lived when George was a child. When George and Laura came to visit their family, he sometimes took walks, alone, around the quiet streets. Back then, he didn't need the Secret Service to shadow him.

Ethan came home one day very excited. He and his friends had met the Governor during one of these walks. With the gregariousness of youth, they had introduced themselves to him and asked him to wait while one ran home to get a camera. Mr. Bush agreed, and chatted with the boys. They treated him to a lively discussion about their bikes, their pets, school, sports. Nick drove past while they waited and Ethan pointed him out. Mr Bush said "Your brother has a cool car!" Eventually, the photo was taken and they waved goodbye.

It was only later that evening that the boy with the camera discovered there wasn't any film in it (yes, digital cameras are that recent). They had no photo of them with the Governor. They were disappointed as only 12 year old boys can be.

Fast forward to a year later. Fate twinkled. Once again, Mr Bush, still Governor, was walking in the neighborhood. Once again the same group of boys encountered him. Without hesitation, they hailed him down again, explained the previous lack of film and asked him to wait once more while they obtained a camera (being sure to check for film).

Mr. Bush again waited, friendly and patient, and finally the boys got their photo.

No one could have blamed the man if he had just wanted some peace and quiet on his walk. No one would have faulted him if he'd politely said he "needed to get back" and couldn't spare the time to hang out with an excited and unruly bunch of boys.

Life has taught me that how people act "when no one is looking" is the best way to judge their character. Like it or not, we all have public personas we adopt in our never-ceasing attempt to be all things to all people or further whatever agenda we have.

Most of us spend our lives trying to reconcile our real selves with our public selves. Trying to be as good and kind in reality as we would seem to be.

If we are lucky, the person we are when no one is looking is the better of the two.

When no one was looking, Mr. Bush was kind to a group of boys when it didn't matter to anyone but them.

~

2010 addition: The above was written and originally posted in 2006. Many now know that this is a significant trait in Mr Bush's character, and he not only frequently, but regularly, shows kindness where the media can't see it, where the public may never know. The presidency couldn't take that away from him because it's part of who he is. Of all the events and actions of Mr Bush's service in office, this seems to me the most important, and the most worthy of emulation.

Regular readers of my blog know that Ethan is now a Marine Drill Instructor who served two tours in Iraq. While Ethan returned home safely, several of his brothers in arms gave their lives and others gave the health of their bodies to secure liberty for the Iraqi people, and to preserve American security and liberty. Mr. Bush spoke about Cpl Adam Galvez when he addressed the American Legion in Salt Lake City shortly after Adam, along with Lance Cpl Randy Newman and Seaman Chadwick Kenyon, were killed in action in 2006. And, just as important, is that Mr Bush also visited, and later followed up with, at least one of the Marines who were injured in that same IED explosion. Such quiet, private visits are habitual for Mr Bush, and well known to the troops and their families who see these signs of the respect Mr Bush has for them.

If George Washington was the President who could not tell a lie, and Abraham Lincoln was the President who taught himself Law by candlelight, George W. Bush was the President who did the right thing even when nobody was looking.


.


Marines DI Sgt Ethan Duncan Arguello

Sunday, July 4, 2010

God Bless America



God Bless America


By Irving Berlin
(Born Temum, Siberia, Russia, May 11, 1888;
died New York, NY, United States of America, September 22, 1989.)

God bless America
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.

From the mountains,
To the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam.
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.

God bless America
My home, sweet home.



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