30 June 2006

Off we go: Sunday we head up to the NE for a visit to my brother-in-law and then to Mother's for her 80th birthday. Blogging maybe very light and I don't think I'll be cooking a lot during this. So all 2 of you, don't worry if we aren't here. I will try to post photos...

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25 June 2006

The Media -treasonous, morally dishonest, or just incompetent: You can get stuff like this from the Department of Defense website, but not the meida. Wonder why? Hmmmm. Maybe its because its Bush's War and we're losing? Anyway, from my Sifu comes this list:

25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2005 for the reestablished Fulbright program.
The Iraqi Navy is operational?! They have 5 - 100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a naval infantry regiment.
 Iraq's Air Force consists of three operational squadrons, which includes 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft (under Iraqi operational control) which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 Bell Jet Rangers.
Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion.
The Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers.
There are 5 Police Academies in Iraq that produce over 3500 new officers each 8 weeks.
There are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq. They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.
 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 have received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations.
 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school by mid October.
There are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%.
 Iraq has an independent media that consists of 75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations.
47 countries have reestablished their embassies in Iraq.
The Iraqi government currently employ 1.2 million Iraqi people.
 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 schools are now under construction and 38new schools have been built in Iraq.
Iraq's higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers, all currently operating.
The Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004.
2 candidates in the Iraqi presidential election had a televised debate recently.

Of course not. Its getting so no one trusts the media anymore outside of the liberal strongholds. It's not just an anti-war and pro-abortion bias either. You can check the science coverage and find out that facts as reported are wrong - oversimplified at best and distorted normally. For example, fetal stem cells haven't produced any real advances yet but other kinds have. No one mentions that Planned Parenthood pushes fetal studies because they can sell the parts. Global warming is more complicated than just human cause it. You can find heavy coverage of conservative wrong-doing but liberals can lie, cheat and steal all the time and only Fox calls them -sometimes. So which is it? Traitors, morally bankrupt, or idiots and does one have to choose? Can I pick all three?

I've gotten real tired of journalists telling me they only report the news yet after a few drinks or talking to a journalism student you find that they all want to make the world a better place. Of course, they know what a better place is as they are the elite. The programs require no real math, science, history or classics but they are somehow able to decide what is important in each of those field. Don't generalize about them like they do about us in their stories, because that's not fair. Some they are all smarter than we are, and more moral. It's a shock to tell them that the Constitution does not give journalists special rights to betray, lie and steal. It's getting so you almost hope your kid will become a crack-whore instead of a journalist - it's a more moral choice of professions.

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Doctors are sworn not to what? The Dallas Morning News, our local branch of the liberal media with a chuck of let's whore for big business tossed in, ran on their front page today an article on compassionate executions and how no doctor could possibly help by drugging a convict because they are sworn not to kill. The lie "medical ethicists determined long ago this was wrong." Excuse me? You mean the same ones favor abortion and assisted suicide? The ones the encouraged doctors to violate the Hippocratic Oath for years by committing abortions and then changed it to the Doctor's Oath, which is identical to the former except for that one clause? Really ethical there...don't like the oath so lets change it so we can kill babies without having to feel bad at all. This same profession that currently violated the do no harm part with assisted suicides and the full blessing of its ethicists? The word is bullshit. The medical profession sets no more store in ethics than any other.  The real point is that the DMN, like most of the media,  and the AMA, which is notoriusly unresponsive to it members in its attempts to be progressive, both think that no crime should be punished by death (except maybe being Republican and Christian) in America (killing in Moslem and Commie countries is okay) and is digging for any excuse to twist "cruel and unusual punishment" to include the death penalty. I still think Heinlein had it right with criminals should be killed the same way they killed their victim. Cruel and unusual does not include just.

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Ann Coulter - bitchy yes, but what about right or wrong: I I started reading Coulter's last screed, Godless, and being about half way through the book had decided, yes, it is abusive. However, I am also surprised how dead on it is. She has some real gems in all the vitriol, like the one-sidedness of absolute moral authority and the term's development by a writer who normally accepts neither as valid, the sanctity of abortion on the left, and the need of atheism for evolution to be "intellectually valid" (a point which emphasizes my own position that atheists are not made by evolution but use it to justify their moral degradation), etc. However its much easier to attack the style and the hyperbole rather than address the suggestion that your party will sell out anything to keep abortion cheap, easy and common. Or to explain why evolution as accepted by the Catholic Church isn't good enough if you can really believe in a God and evolution - one of the problems with the current ID mess is that it has allowed the atheists to start including the guided evolution I learned in a  Franciscan school as the current extremist version does not even allow anything but random forces....which then means we are nothing but animals and have no intrinsic rights -which takes us back to the ideal of liberalism these days, a dress up version of Mao's comment on the source of political power. It so much easier to make people serfs when they don't believe they have intrinsic value as people, isn't it?

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Crepes: After all the pub grub and Indian food in England last week, I got a real urge for the comfort foods of my home. This includes French pancakes as we called them. I was an adult before I realized that these were crepes. We always ate them with butter but you can fill them with almost anything as a main course. Add a couple teaspoons sugars and then fill with fruit or sweets and you have dessert. You can always flambe them too.

3 eggs

1.5 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

It's easiest to dump everything in a blender or food processor and run for a 1 minute, then scrap the sides and run for another 10 seconds or so. I'm normally too lazy to find the blender so I whish the eggs and slowly add flour, salt, milk and melted butter so I maintain a smooth lump free dough. It's easier than its sounds. Just add the flour real slowly and add milk if it get too thick. You want a real thin batter. I'll normally add a bit more milk to get it thin. Let the batter sit in the frig 10 minutes at least although 2 hours is better.

Heat a crepe or a heavy skillet hot. I lightly oil mine and heat until the oil shimmers. With butter, heat until the butter is just about to brown. A crepe pan really works best. Pour about a quarter cup of batter into the hot pan and tilt the pan so the bottom is covered. It takes about a minute to cook the first side and when you see bubbles, flip it over. Cook the second side for about another minute and then slide off onto a warm plate to hold if you are planning to fill them. (Otherwise, butter and eat.) Use wax paper to separate the crepes as you stack them up.

For dinner - crepes aux fruits de mer

2  7 oz cans crabmeat

2 cans sliced mushrooms

2 tablspoons butter

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup sour cream

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups Mornay Sauce*

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Drain the crabmeat well. Melt butter in a sauce pan, add the mushrooms and crabmeat, and mix well. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and add the sour cream. Mix until blended well. Then lay a crepe out, put 2 tablespoons of mixture on the crepe and roll up. Place in a baking pan about an inch apart and cover with Mornay sauce then cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 F and then brown for 2-5 minutes under the broiler.

* Mornay Sauce is basically a simple white (béchamel) sauce plus cheese. Melt 3 tablespoon butter over low heat and add 3 tablespoon flour. Blend well. Do not let brown at all. Remove from heat and add 2 cups milk. Return to heat and bring to a boil, then add salt and white pepper to taste (roughly 1 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon respectively.) Cool slightly and add 1/2 cup of cheese (Parmesan mostly but I'll use any white cheese) and continue heating until blended.

For seduction - crepes peches a la creme

20 ounces of peach slices

1/4 cup peach brandy

2 cups heavy cream, whipped with sugar added

1/4 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar.

sugar

1 tablespoon butter

Heat peach slices with brandy and butter over low heat until peaches soften a bit. Add sugar to taste. Put 2 tablespoons peach mixture into each crepe and roll up. Warm crepes in 300 F oven for 10 minutes. Add a large dollop of cream and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve.

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24 June 2006

"Back to the door where it began" Finally back in the states after a 2 hour delay in England and a 4 hour delay in Newark, I finally got back to Texas late last night. Barely. Anyway, some more photos follow, starting with this panoramic view of the corn fields outside Keycourt:

      

      

      

The Trip to Jerusalem is build into the hill on which sits Nottingham Castle. The caves make up the walls and roof of many of the rooms and the making of the Old Tripp beer was reputedly done in one of the caves to keep it cool. 

All in all, not a bad trip.

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     22 June 2006

"The Downs are chalk, The Midlands, corn" I'm not sure why but for some reason spending the evening of the start of summer watching Morris and Sword Dancers outside a thatch-roofed pub seems very Pratchett-like. It turns out the person who writes the code for the company I'm visiting dances the Morris Dance and our hosts invited us to come, watch and drink beer. Or to be precise, real ales...that's an important point there because I asked the first pubkeep "what beers do you have?" and he named two while standing behind a row of about 15 taps. The rest are ales, bitters, stouts, and lagers, not beers. Glynn was real insistent we try a real ale, that was manually pumped from a cask, and not from a pressurized keg. It's got a smoother texture served that way.

Pictures above show the Original Anstey Morrismen dancing a stick dance from the Cotswold area on the left. The fellow with the long hair is Phil, the head programmer at the company I visited. On the left, the Sullivan's Swords have just wove a sword knot as part of a dance which ends with Molly in the middle, a pretty girl or a child that stands there as they weave a sword knot around her neck and then undo it. In some cases, it becomes a ritual beheading. After dancing at two pubs, the dancers settle into a drinking and singing session, where many of the old folksongs I learned from the Child Ballads were sung as well as some you'll here from Banish Misfortune or Steeleye Span. They were surprised when I knew what Morris Dance was as well as that I could sing along (and my voice fit right in too - that should tell you something as I am forbidden to sing at prayers by the boys.)

I've also added St. Mary's Church below, which we pass on our way to the hotel each evening...It didn't load yesterday for some reason.

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21 June 2006

Nottingham, England, UK:  Instead of being trapped in Birmingham, an industrial non-garden spot, the company we are visiting is located in the heart of England's farming country, just a bit SW of Nottingham. It's all rolling green hills, forested lanes, and fields of hay. Its the kind of place that fits all the images of England from Kipling's Puck Stories. And if you ever wondered where Tolkien's hobbits got their mushroom fetish from, we've have mushrooms served at every meal we've had here, including breakfast.

Instead of the couple of drinks and a sleeping pill my colleagues use to reset their biological clocks, I walked thru the little town our hotel is in last night before dinner. It's very picturesque and covered with English flags as the World Cup has everyone occupied.

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18 June 2006

"The time has come" the Walrus said "to talk of many things": It's been a zoo here and I'm off to Birmingham soon so here's a few things for my whole two readers:

Ben took 2nd in his heat at Southlake's Swim Meet Saturday, 6th in Butterfly, and 11th in Freestyle. Not bad for the first meet of the year when he hasn't swam in 9 months. He spent the whole time before poing-ing around with excitement. <sigh> My son - the otter. If I could fix his dive, he'd take 4 seconds off that time too.

It's the 10th year of CCW in Texas (concealed handguns under a shall issue law) and guess what? Crime is down, no bloodbath occurred and society didn't fail. This article (hat tip to Steve) gives a fuller discussion and shows even some opponents have changed their minds. Who would have guessed that trusting the people more than the governing professionals would have worked so well? (Editor - ah, most of us?)

Biscotti! Yes. My Father's Day gift is a biscotti pan, a book of recipes, and also a late Names Day gift of a crepe pan. Recipes will be following soon..."We gonna have crepes for dinner..."

Hopefully the last post on the whole Hoshin mess until I have to keep my promise at Kaizen. The purge has begun. Not only was my name dropped from all references following my resignation from the ryu, but all photos of myself  have been pulled and deleted. In fact a lot of the old timers seem to be missing. Supposedly some other senior students have been forcibly expelled for not being pure enough. And the rank jumps have started as people who were Shodan and Nidan a few months ago have jumped ranks. A online fee structure now exists and you can even use PayPal to pay for your rank as well as to buy an explanation DVD of the techniques of the Book of Five Rings. I wonder if Glenn is rolling in his urn yet?  It appears my decision was the smart move as I've never done doctrinal purity well...

Dianna is going to have her hip replaced this summer. Add your to your prayer list. That means she'll be running marathons probably by October...

Archbishop Dmitri visited St. Barbara Orthodox Church today and gave a great sermon on the meaning of Pentecost and the idea of changing the world. I'll have to post on that. One interesting point he made was that if the Church is not producing saints, we no longer are receiving the Spirit and any church that denies saints is in a way denying the action of the Spirit in the world. An odd sermon coming a day after another member of a mission asked me if I knew of an Orthodox Church nearby where they worshipped Christ instead of the canons.

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11 June 2006

"Send me back to Austin, God - I love that town:" I took the boys with me to Austin and while I did sales calls with Harri, they hung out. Since we finised earlier than we planed, they got to see the capitol, Amy's, Yu-fen (for dinner - tea smoked duck), Book People, and Sixth Street. It was a hoot. Amy's is still the best ice cream in the world. Interesting place in terms of music but with the youngest I didn't think the music scene was a good idea. Too few mandolins in the shops thro and way too many people thinking tattoos and piercings make up for a lack of personal hygiene. Some marginally marred cutie at Book People did find it very distressing that one of them said to the other: "sometime you shoot the bear, sometime the bear eats you." She thought that was quite wrong and I don't think my Orthodox tee shirt helped calm her: "Orthodoxy: Return to the hardcore Christian Faith."

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Another bowl: Walnut, turned green and treated with PEG -8" diameter. Pith was stabilized with superglue.

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 10 June 2006

Catching up: It's been hectic. I missed my Names Day and the only one who remembered was Sharon, who was kind enough to email me with kind wishes and information on a mission in Fredericksburg. (I hope they were luckier in their priest than Denton was. She seems to think so. It will be nice to be able to go to Church during deer season.) Camp at Worth Ranch was great (the views were awesome from the cliff near our campsite -see below) and Noah after his first day's fall had a great time.

He seems to be interested in Aquatics School next summer, when he's old enough to get BSA lifeguard. He got a couple of Merit Badges put away, his merit badge, and an award for canoeing. Steffen may be right in that he has evolved gills and just isn't safe on land. My son, the amphibian. The scouts overall had a great time and did us proud as a troop, earning 12 of the 23 awards given by the camp staff for excellence in the various merit badge classes. I think we came home with 186 merit badges earned, a BSA lifeguard (Will Hayes) and a Mile Swim, the first in the troop in 9 years.

                                              

 

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Science's Great Lie: No, I haven't turned and become a creationist. I still find the idea that the evolutionary development is uncompatabilte with religion both stupid and blasphemous. However, I don't find the idea that evolution proves the non-existance of God any saner. I mean the myth, heavily fed to us in our training asscientists that science is emotionless, religiously and politically neutral, and that scientists will act rationally. It should be but isn't as I found out when the people running the Tangled Bank realized I was a non-nominal Christian and a conservative. Well, that's not a big thing, other than what it says about the value of tolerance in the left-side of the blogsphere. What is more shameful is the reception of certain work by journals where the politics (academic or national) and the financial relationships of the editors and reviewers prevent work from being published. A interesting example is two articles written by Peter Goodhew, one of which was rejected as too contrevestal. Why? Because Prof. Goodhew dares to suggest that Material Science programs are based on too limited a set of materials and don't do enough practical work. A interesting and very accurate assessment in my opinion. Many of them are metallurgy under a new name, plus a little bit of polymers and ceramics, often people from all three feilds who were not tenure-able in their original departments. Many if not most departments have a limited range of choices for study and let's not talk about cement, okay. Prof. Goodhews writes about how hype, popularity, and sex words like "nano" are what is study rather than the useful and has a solution.

In response to this excess of hype, which is threatening to swamp the unglamorously-named but rather important structural materials – concrete, alloys, wood, nylon – I suggest that we found a lobby group to counter discrimination against strong, cheap, useful (and therefore unsexy) materials.  I have not found a good name yet: Society for the Love of Unfashionable Materials and their Properties sounded promising until I looked at the acronym.  But I have started on the promotional campaign;  It is focussing initially on mud-slinging and will describe functional materials as puny, brittle, expensive and inaccurately named.  Rather unattractive, don’t you think?  Would you fund work on ruinously expensive, weak materials with very limited behaviours made from poisonous elements?  That should put paid to the gallium arsenide faction, for a start.

You can find both articles here, but the response to the idea that something might be wrong was like telling a liberal that abortion is wrong or that Che was a butcher. Emotional, irrational, and rude. Both are rather funny and the one the Material Bulletin did publish is so true I could weep. I'm a marginal scientist, working more in technical support than research, but it self destructiveness of the problem he mentions and of the more hidden one, academic science's response to challenges seems apparent to me. Academia's closed hothouse, where any time in the industrial world functionally bars you from a position and where money is dependent on government sources controlled by academic experts, needs a major cleaning. I suggest a first step would be the total abolishment of tenure.

 

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 6 June 2005

The Bionic Badger:  So Noah is up at summer camp for the week and he goes walking around the outside of the camp. Tripping on a rock, he breaks his fall with his left hand, and sprains that as well as his right ankle. His left knee was already in a brace 'cause of a bad breakfall on Saturday. <sigh> His scoutmaster is calling him Bionic. That was day 1.  I'm gonna know every ER in Texas at this rate.

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Bowls for the BBQ Auction and Sale: It's that time of year when I need to generate some stock for the summer. The first two are monkey pod and spalted elm, which is "flocced" inside. The monkey pod is about 5" in diameter and the elm about 4" at the top and 6" at the widest point. "Floccing" is a form of suede that is used to line jewelry boxes and things.

             

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4 June 2005

The Jackfruit Adventure: The boys and I like canned jackfruit but hadn't ever seen a fresh one. So Friday at the Dallas Farmer's Market, we found a lady selling these beasties. Apparently they grow in Mexico too these days beside SE Asia. She had a big cut open cut open, it was delicious, and so we got a small one -our first mistake as jackfruit don't get fully ripe until 35 pound or more and the best ones are over 50 pounds. Yep, those things are huge and can reach 80-100 pounds. Anyway, we got it home and since we thought it was kinda cute, we left it on the table with some litchi nuts. Second mistake, they ooze this latex sap. So after the goddess came home and we were told to get that thing cut up and off her table because it stunk - did you know jackfruit is apparently like asparagus in that it takes a certain set of genes to smell it? I do now. So we started cutting it open and this white latex sap got on us, the cutting board, the counter, the knives, etc...by the way, the sap we found out is so difficult to remove that its is recommended to coat everything that might come in contact with it with oil...we did not know that. The sap is so sticky that it is used to trap birds like flypaper. We did find out when Noah tried to wash enough off his hand to get the knife unattached that water makes it even more sticky. Most household cleanser, mild acids and bases, bleach, and Goo-be-gone don't make a dent. MEK did but you really can't soak a child in it overnight...

Anyway, we got about 4 pounds of the "arils" and a pound of the nuts. We tossed the rag because we didn't realize that was edible too. Now we need to make custard! I cooked the seeds for 5 minutes in boiling water and they taste like un-roasted chestnuts.

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29 May 2006

Memorial Day

For those who died in Military service of our country,

 may their memory be eternal!

no other comments needed.

 

28 May 2006

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Hall.

God grant you many, many Years!!!

My good friend, Roy, had the pleasure of seeing his son, Steve, marry this lovely young lady today at St. Barbara Orthodox Church in Fort Worth. Doesn't Fr. Basil look striking in those blue robes? He almost lost his bet with Steve about making it thru the service without breaking up. Steve and Luda are the first couple to meet at St Barbara's that become a couple and the first to marry in his new church building. He's known them since Steve was a pup. A very Ukrainian wedding party followed, with a lot of the people from the Ukrainian Dance Troupe they belong to attending. Sadly, we left early because Ben was ill  but Noah was sure eyeing the young ladies from the troupe with very un-badger like interest. He did carry the wedding bread and salt around for the newly weds, which was kind of him as it took him out of circulation for a good bit. He also cut Dad off on the ouzo for some reason, which was not so good.

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26 May 2006

Congratulations Juan and Bernadette

May God grant you two a long and blessed life together, with tons of kids.

Sorry we couldn't make it. I got back into town late and Connie never found out exactly where the wedding was to be held.

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Letter Writing Time: Do I need to remind you with the US Senate selling us citizens down the river in their whoring for future votes and for low wage workers to keep business happy that we should all be writing emails to our senators, our congressmen, the president and the GOP National Committee? Its real simple: pass this bill with its amnesty program and I am not voting Republican this fall. I am not donating money. I will not help the GOP in anyway. This is a worse betrayal than the earlier Bush's "read my lips." because this sells out our country's security. Sometimes you have to draw a line and if the GOP allows this to pass, I guess I can live with Democrats in office again.

While you are at it, why don't you also mention how much Sen. Akaka's Hawaiian Reorganization Act sucks as it sets up a special privileged class of citizens based on bloodlines, sets up the possibility of secession, and guts the rights the non-natives living in the islands? Both of this pieces of shit would be considered treasonous in a sane society.

You can reach your representative here. You might want to politely remind them they work for you not illegal aliens nor island dwelling racists.

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Hmmm -Cuban Food: While in San Jose this week, friends took me to a restaurant in Palo Alto named for the bar Hemingway hung at in Havana. The food was good, but the reason we went was the mojitos. And I don't even like rum... Anyway, here's the recipe. I gotta run down the road to Corinth and get some white rum.

1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Juice from 1 lime (2 ounces)
4-8 mint leaves with stems

1 sprig of mint as garnish
Havana Club white Rum (2 ounces)
2 ounces club soda
 

Place the mint leaves and stems into a Collins glass (tall, thin) and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it.  I'm cheating and using bottled lime juice. You'll want about two ounces of lime juice, so it may not require all of the juice from a single lime.  Add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a muddler (a long wooden device, though you can also use the back of a fork or spoon if one isn't available). I'm using the back end of a wooden spoon  Add ice (preferably crushed) then add the rum and stir, and top off with the club soda.  Garnish with a mint sprig.

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22 May 2006

It's not darkroom work, but... its kinda fun anyway. I was trying to do a duotone for a competition at My Four Thirds, a digital photography site dedicated to the Olympus E series and its 4/3 lens, and couldn't figure out how to get these as one of the accepted files. I entered the B&W but I think these are much cooler....

A shot of the shop, after breaking for dinner (black and dark orange)

Noah sighting in from an old barn on January's ram hunt (black and steel gray)

Noah still thinks these old pictures I altered are cooler. In order of decreasing cool-ness per my teenager:

     

What's really amazing is they came from very blurry, very dark pictures that were shot with a low resolution digital. Running them thru the Photoshop filters makes them look pretty good. I'm impressed and I don't even need chemicals to play around...

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20 May 2006

Endings: I blogged about ending my ties to the Hoshin Ryu now that Glenn has died. I finally got around to burn the certificates of rank that he had given me so I could send them back to be buried with him. It amazing what the results of all that time looks like in ash. All three - Sandan, Yondan, Godan. If anyone ever thinks you do this stuff for the rank, this image shows what all the rank in the world is worth. If you are doing it for rank, for money, or as your rice bowl, I pity you. It's done for own sake, or for the sake of "polishing your heart" at some point. It may start out as self-defense or sport or health, but at some point, it becomes an art and strange as it may seem, you do it for the beauty of it. These days warriors train with guns; not hands and feet and blades. I'm no warrior and I can think of better ways to earn a dollar.  Of those who teach it for a living, I know of very few who has done that and not degraded their craft into some more sport-like and more saleable. And I am not going to discuss the politics in most martial art organization: things haven't changed since Song wrote his "Eight Kinds of Students."

Now to pack the ashes, with some herbs and stuff,  and send it all off to Irena. The last goodbye is said.

UPDATE: For someone who emailed, yes, the shing yi and hoshin tee shirts (1991 emblem) are still available as are the jows.

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19 May 2006

Caja China plans: Val gave me his plans a while ago and from them, I developed a set that can also be used as a pit to roast something over and adapts to be a huge grill by putting the charcoal on the first set of runners and the grill on top. (Val's father would probably not approve of my work as I'm a real poor welder, but it cooks just fine despite being ugly as sin). A drawing of what I did is available for down load as a PDF file on the side-bar. One thing I forgot to note was the black squares on the door are gate hinges. Otherwise I think everything makes sense. I did this in Illustrator 10: I really need a CAD program...anyone know of a good but cheap one?

and Val, thank you for the plans and for the latest story about your father. I'm sitting here crying now, missing mine.

UPDATE: A larger and more detailed PDF is now available, made using DeltaCAD. If you'd rather the dwg file, holler...

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Fudging again: Seen the reports on the English language debates? Is any but me curious why the mews media translates La Raza's name as the National Council of La Raza, a partial translation? Maybe because National Council of the Race makes it too obvious what kind of group this is? I don't care what color you are, if your slogan is "for those of the race, all; for those outside the race, nothing" you are a racist just like a member of the KKK is. La Raza is a racist group just like the Klan, the Nation of Islam, or the Aryan Brotherhood. The whores in our media just don't want to admit it because - well, think how well the real translation will play in Peoria?

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None dare call it treason: The US Senate weakened the English as the official language bill using terms that imply its nice to use Englich but you don't have to, thanks to an amendment offered by the Democratic Senator from Colorado. Sen. Reid even called the idea of English as an official language as racist. They also tabled the amendment that would deny illegal aliens any claims to Social Security due to any payments made under false numbers.  I'm happy to say my senators from Texas opposed the latter. Some questions come to mind: When can we investigate why the Senate is at least 50% more loyal to Mexico than the US? When is the GOP going to explain to us in those hundreds of mailings they do why they can't do the right thing over the minority party? And at what point can we admit that the Democratic party as a whole is a nest of traitors?

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"the man who kept his word" In contrast to the above, a popular country and western song in the DFW area these days is a ballad about Sam Houston. "Is there anyone around these days from whom you can believe everything you heard? Anyplace in Texas you might wander, Sam Houston was the man who kept his word." No saint in his youth, he turned his life around, saved the Revolution at San Jacinto, kept the State free and guided it, unwillingly perhaps, into the Union, and then opposed its leaving in the Civil War. Thru all that, he was the one person in Texas who word was good. In a day when duelling was very common and a man was a coward who did not, he alone was exempt. For one, no one questioned his honor and maybe more importantly, his word was considered so good that challenging him shamed you more than accepting it would have. I can think of no higher praise that the lines of the song: I hope when I die, people can say similar about me.

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Mechanical stress failure of C-C bonds: This is so cool. Science News reports that a chemical compound with a C-C backbone and lots of bulky side-chains that self fractures the C-C bonds of the backbone. The side-chains have such strong attractions to a surface that they will pull and distort the molecule until the backbone snaps. Original reference is in Nature's March 9 issue...

While you are there, look for the article on herbal treatments. Turns out a lot of supplements don't contain the herb they claim too...

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They never listen: Last night I was watching some friends work out in a martial art and afterwards one of them came up to me with a question. "When you talk about playing in space and in time you weren't just using fuzzy descriptors? You meant something very precise?" Well, yes, I said. That's why we used those terms. After he got done banging his head against the way, I reminded him what Cheng Man-Ching had said: "there are not secrets." He wasn't be sly: the tendency to mystify and complicate everything is a sign of limited understanding. Things are often much simpler than the appear if you put the time in. If you work hard enough, it all becomes easy and talent is only 10% of it. I understand why one of my teachers said that you should never explain things to student, just make them do it over and over again. Then someday the good ones come and tell you why they are doing it that way... <sigh> No, honey, nothing I told you was fuzzy, it all has real meaning. Like Williams' "a mazy glory".

Gong-sifu once said if you know santi, you know everything. I'll be standing in the yard until I get it right I guess...

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18 May 2006

San Diego and Oceanside: Due to equipment issues, I wasn't able to update this during my last trip. I flew into San Diego on Tuesday, visited Derrick at Amylin, then had dinner with Joan (Da Goddess), Scott and his divine Caroline (the Smashes), the lovely Gracie, and this gentleman who I decided I want to be when I grow up. I also got to meet the infamous Spence, Joan's delightful young man, who spend most of dinner buried in a Game boy. Joan looked great. It was shocking to find out her birthday, which is today, was the - ha! Not telling. A gentleman never tells. We went to this cool brewery outside of San Diego, built in this lovely Japanese garden. Good food and delightful company. Scott told me about the Milblog site, which is a collection of Mil-bloggers writing together on a sub-page of the Mudville Gazette. Go by and say hi. Tell Scott I sent you.

I then drove up to Oceanside where my room was in this little inn, with views of the ocean and the docks. Very nice place for being in the corporate listing. After a pretty decent day of training Wednesday, I headed back to San Diego and crashed. American Airlines lost my plane during the night and was kind enough to call and tell me, at 2 am. So it took me all day to get home, which is annoying as Noah and I had a lunch date.

     

Tomorrow I hope to post plans of my caja china for Tom, who asked for them last week. Sorry, Tom, but I was dead in the water this trip.

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14 May 2006

I love my Foodsaver™: Not just for its ability to vacuum pack for the freezer, which is dang cool , but also for the ability to fast marinade things. Gerry suggested it and I was surprised how well it works.  I tried the other day marinating meat in a sugar-salt brine with spices for 1 hour in a vacuum canister under the Foodsaver's max vacuum and some meat in the same mixture sitting in the frig. The vacuum soaked stuff was noticeably more tender and more flavored. So here is my Dahl lamb backstrap recipe via the Foodsaver canister approach.

3 pounds of Dahl Ram backstrap (or you can use lamb steaks)

1/8 cup kosher salt

1/8 cup sugar

1 quart warm water

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup marsala wine

1 Tbsp onion flakes

1.5 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp black pepper

2 tsp chipotle or chili powder

1 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp sage

1/2 tsp dill seed

1/2 tsp mint

1/2 tsp cumin

Note: all spices are dry and ground.

Rub meat in sesame oil and layer in canister. Add salt, sugar and spices to a large measuring cup and add 1 quart of hot warm. Pour on top of meat, covering completely (we had a lot of extra water so I add another 2 pounds of venison backstrap.) Add the wine and mix well. Cover container and apply max vacuum to canister 3 times. Put in frig and let sit 1-2 hours.

Remove and cook on a very hot grill until color develops and then flip (takes about 2-3 minutes a side). Move to a medium area of the grill and finish cooking until meat is about 145 F. Let rest 10 minutes and serve with potatoes, green salad, and watermelon.

Foil Potatoes (on the right)

Non-stick aluminum foil

3 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup olive oil

4 springs of fresh rosemary

Toss potatoes cubes with garlic and put on sheet of foil. Add rosemary and drizzle with olive oil over everything. Salt and pepper to taste and seal foil with a steam -proof seam. Cook on grill over low burner for 10 minutes, flip and finish on the other side for 20 (this gives crunchy black parts to the potatoes which we like). Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes, open foil and serve.

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Green Tea Biscotti: Wunpen brought me a bag of powdered green tea from Japan and since I have my own stash of white teas for drinking, I decided to try cooking with it. So here's some green tea biscotti.

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter

1 tsp anise seed

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 cups white flour, sifted, less 2 Tbsp.

2 Tbsp powdered green tea

2 tsp baking powder (not soda...powder)

1 cup sliced un-blanched almonds

 Beat sugar and eggs together until creamy. Add melted butter, anise, and almond extract. Mix well and add flour, green tea powder, and baking powder as it mixes. Add nuts. Mix until a thick but smooth batter results. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour but batter will keep a couple of days.

 Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove dough and shape into a 1.5 inch high rectangle about 9" by 6" on a single layer un-greased baking tray. Cook about 30-35 minutes until lightly browned and internal temperature is 190 F at the center. Remove from oven and tray, then cut into 1/2 inch wide strips. Place back on tray with the cut side down and cook until browned, about 15 - 20 minutes, then flip and cook another 10 minutes.  Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.  Makes about 12 pieces.

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Ben's Piano Recital: Ben did his annual piano recital at the Denton Women's Club today. Since Noah was supposedly camping, he got off. Ben played the Dance of the Gnomes and was in about the middle in terms of difficulty. Some of the pieces played by Ann Abel's high school aged students were amazing.

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12 May 2006

And now it ends: Today I said prayers on the 40th day after Glenn's death. May Christ God have mercy on his soul and grant him rest. Lord, grant that perpetual light shine upon him and that his memory be eternal.

And I cut my ties to the Hoshin Ryu he founded. Closure brings its peace, or at least a gentler degree of despair. The pagans really were right in that man is not made for joy nor was happiness a natural state.

Rest well, my friend, and we will meet again at the Dreadful Judgment.

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A lizard on my keyboard: An excuse to play with my new Marco lens (35mm Zuiko for the Olympus) and to let Lep run around the keyboard. Now if I can save up enough for a flash...

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10 May 2006

The American Dream Bill: What the hell are we collective smoking? Sun Tzu said centuries ago that land is the foundation of the state and one well-known way to get it from a stronger country is to move in and live there. So what do the whores in our congress do? Sponsor a bill to make it possible for the children of illegal aliens, already given free educations and in-state tuitions, to get jobs when they graduate. I guess it's time to write my senators and bitch again, although with Mr. Cornyn's inability to answer anything sent to his office, one has to wonder what it will take to get their attention.

UPDATE: It's really rather frustrating. Cornyn is one of the strongest opponents of the sell-out compromise bill and he is so bad at replying to his constituents.

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7 May 2006

Yellow Rose of Texas: Noah underwent the Order of the Arrow Ordeal this weekend, and I worked a bit in the kitchen. After a week of late nights in the San Jose area, the camp-out was a tad draining. It was a blast to work in the kitchen again and to see the cactus flowers in bloom. So here are a pair of shots of the cactus rose, which is supposed where the term the yellow rose of Texas came from. Lovely enough to be applied to a Texas girl, sweet enough to attract honey bees, and with spines to bit the unwary...

 

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29 April 2006

Jason Joseph Arnold

Born on Thursday -  27 April 2006  - to Joe and Nina

6 pound, 12 ounces, 15"

God grant him many years!

Our best wishes and prayers for his and his mother's health. Joe, you have no idea just how much fun this is going to be.

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A note to Denton's merchants: You know this "Day without a Latino" thingy reputedly happening on Monday? Where you are supposed to not work, not open, not buy to show solidarity with the illegal immigrants? Let's put it this way: an illegal immigrant is a felon, just like a con-man, a thief, or a rapist. Would you do the same for them? Well, if you are closed Monday and you are one of the people I do business with, you've lost mine forever. It's your right to be closed or not turn up for work but its my right to decide who I do business with. I don't care if you are Hispanic or Slavic, Black, White, Brown or Purple, human or panda - it has nothing to do with what you are - if you are advocating breaking our laws, you've just lost my business permanently.

And I am planning to drop by JT Clothiers and buy the seersucker jacket I wanted. Just because I don't like being threatened...

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Chicken-hawk? Okay by me. I've been amused by the term used by the left for anyone in favor of the war who is not active military. (BTW the left's term for an active duty military supporter of the war is dupe or baby-killer.) Even see a chicken-hawk? It's one big mean bird. Down here, I think it's really a red-tailed hawk that has the name but anyway its big enough to kill and eat the average chicken... and mangle a human who were to attempt to grab one. The hawk form of shingyichuan's name was originally translated in English as chicken-hawk: that is the most aggressive form of the system. So now that Captain's Quarters is claiming it for the Fighting Keyboardists' emblem and I'm in. See the emblem at the bottom of the sidebar.

UPDATE: Yes. I know what else chicken hawk means. No, I doubt the Capt'n knew anymore than Russ does<g>.

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My very own troll: I finally get one and he's defective. He posts this long rant about gun rights and how us right wingers are really sellouts to the right wing fascist state (Editor: Cool. When did that happen? Are the treason trials starting yet?) under my post on gasoline. Sheeesh. All these months of waiting, and I get one that even seems intelligent, but he's illiterate. Hi comment deleted for irrelevance to anything posted in the last month. <sigh>

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27 April 2006

Gasoline is only part of the problem: It seems like everyone is talking about the price of gas these days. Some folks have paid enough attention to note that some of the increase is caused by increased demand by China and India and that will continue to grow, so oil prices are going to keep going up even with new refineries. However most of the noise is about alternative fuels. Glenn Reynolds had a good set of links to various discussions including a great discussion of alternate fuels by Popular Mechanics. However, as they point out, of the 275 gallons in 5 barrels of oil, 97 are gasoline. What's the rest?

Well, some of it is asphalt, what we use to pave our roads and drives with. A lot of  rest is petrochemicals. In fact a fast waste I learned working for Fina to estimate margins of a barrel of crude was the price of 3 barrels of crude minus the price of a barrel of gasoline plus twice the price of a barrel of benzene or

3 X $ per barrel crude -( $ per barrel gasoline + 2 X $ per barrel benzene) = refining margin

Yep, that evil benzene. One of the key building blocks of chemistry: makes our world run. The relationship is so tight that when oil is high, polymer profits drop and the reverse. Hence the fact most oil companies also make chemicals. So what do we get out of crude oil besides gasoline?

How about: asphalt, lubricating oil, propane, butane, sulfur, fertilizers, the plastics used for heart values and pacemakers, Ipods, syringes, tires, carry-out containers, clothing, sneakers, film, tape, car bodies, parachutes, DVD and DC disks, computer parts, eyeglasses, combs and brushes, tool handles, and anything else made of plastics or rubber., deodorants, crayons, ammonia, bubble gum, petroleum jelly, jet fuels, floor and other waxes, toys, house paints, telephones, optical cables, wire coatings, sporting goods, and most drugs and medicines?

All of that will increase in cost as oil goes up and, if oil were to become unavailable, then it would all stop. That's why Japan started a war to control shipping routes for oil and Germany developed the massive coal-gasification plants in WW2 to keep the war machine running. That's why Russia and China are playing politics with Iran and the Sudan. Oil is what drives our modern economy and until we develop another process to get to these things, the US has to be willing to do whatever is necessary to keep our access open. It's not just gasoline and the cost of driving to work or moving goods. It's the very basis of how our civilization works.

Look here if you want more details on refining or products from oil.

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25 April 2006

The Republicans don't just not get it - they ignore it: I got this survey in from the Republican National Committee today about my concerns for the 2006 elections. The choices were lower taxes, immigration, war on terror, protect family values, appoint conservative judges, and ending energy dependency one I found so interesting as to immediately forget. There was no mention of how any of this to be done. For all I know, the immigration reform was going to be open the border and legalize them all or cede the Southwest part to Mexico.  Still, I was pleasantly surprised to see immigration was finally listed as an issue. This is the first poll of the party members that asked about it this year. However, there was no mention of smaller goverment, reducing government inferences and cutting unnecessary spending. The idea of stopping earmarks and cutting pork wasn't mentioned. Apparently we ain't being noisy enough, despite what Sen. Lott thinks.

They had the survey on the RNC site today: one question was how likely are you to vote Republican in the fall. I answered with it depends on how likely y'all are to get off your butts, close the borders, and cut the pork. Right now, not very...

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Grilled Lamb: This may be one of the best recipes for lamb I've seen in a bit: the basic idea came from Cook's Illustrated but they live in a frozen hellhole and cook indoors. We use a grill to keep the heat outside: heck, in another 2 months, I can use the concrete. It's kinda heavy on the preparation side, but cooks quickly on a grill and gives a wonderfully tender roast. Starting with a leg of lamb (upper portion), we first need to bone the sucker by cutting thru one of the folds between the muscle. Then separate off the muscles and remove as much of the tendon (thick white strands), fat, and silvery film that covers the muscle as possible. Brine the cleaned muscle overnight in:

1 quart warm water

1/8 cup Kosher salt

1/8 cup sugar

6 cloves of garlic, minced

(any addition spices you want....I used a teaspoon of cardamom and a splash of Sherry.)

or for 2-4 hours in a vacuum canister. Then remove the meat and cut it open so it lays flat. Hammer if need. Cut a crosshatch pattern into one side of  the meat and sprinkle the meat with the spices you plan to use.  I used a Wild Game Rub from Cabela's, Lowry's Greek Seasoning, my favorite Moroccan lamb coating, and a chipotle mix* on the four pieces. Roll the meat into a roast, sprinkled side in, and tie it off. Roll the roast in the same seasoning you used inside and cook on high (or over hot coals) for 5 minutes a side, flipping it once 180 degrees. Move to a low flame and flip 90. Cook 5-10 minutes, then flip 180 and repeat. Check temperature after the flip and cook to the center gets to 135 F.  Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

* 1 Tbsp chipotle, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp sage, 1 glove minced garlic, all mashed together in a Tbsp fish sauce.

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23 April 2006PASCHA

CHRIST IS RISEN!

INDEED HE IS RISEN!

 

 "Why do you seek the living among the dead?  Why do you seek the incorrupt among corruption?"

 

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On Casting Iron:  During the hectic-ness of the weekend, a book and CD I ordered from Stewart Marshall on the building of small cupola furnaces came in. This is an excellent text for the amateur like me. Stew assumes very little and if I had to buy just one referenece on casting, this set would be it. Of course to do tin and aluminum, you don't need this type of furnace but the CD explanations of the whole casting process are worth it. Now where would I hide this beastie?

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19 April 2006

Pascha for 50?: No, they are not coming for Easter* dinner. The goddess ended up making the Pascha Cheese (syrnyk) for our church and so we made this recipe but with the volumes adjusted up for 10 pounds of cream cheese. It's sitting in the biggest flower pot we could find to drain with about 15 pounds of weight on top.  For you non-Russians, Pascha is the sweet creamy cheese dish sometimes called Russian Ice Cream. It's serves on a dryish bread called kulich.

5 pound of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, full fat version.

3 pounds of farmer's cheese (cottage cheese type), creamed.

1 1/4 pound sweet butter

5-7cups sugar

2-3 Tsp

2 cup finely chopped almonds

2 cup finely chopped candied fruit

2 cup finely chopped white raisin

1 16" OD plastic flowerpot with lots of1/8 inches drilled in the bottom

1 package of fine cheese cloth

Let the cream cheese, butter, and farmer's cheese sit at room temperature to soften. Mix together and blend with a mixer for 20 minutes. It needs to be totally smooth. Add sugar and continue to blend until smooth. Add in the fruits and nuts and mix them in well.

Dampen the cheesecloth and line the flowerpot with it. Pour (ha - shovel) the mixture and fold the cheesecloth over the top. Place a plate on top and about 10 pounds of weigh on the plate. Set the pot inside a pan,elevated on a roasting trivet. Place the whole thing in a refrigerator and remove the liquid squeezed out every day (dump the first draining after about 8 hours). Let sit 5 days to set, by then there should be no more drips.

Remove from mold and invert on a plate (see above). Smooth and shape a bit with a knife and the decorate with a "XB"  in Jordanian Almonds. Freezes well.

I'll post a picture when it come out.

UPDATE: Picture posted.

Kulich: Mother's version...what I grew up calling Pascha and most Carpathian-Russians (Rusyns, Lemkos) still do.

White outer dough:

6 cups white flour

2.5 cups milk, lukewarm

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 packets yeast

2 large eggs

1 tsp salt

  In a cup, add yeast and 1Tbsp sugar to 1/2 cup milk and let sit until foaming. Mix butter, milk, rest of  the sugar and warm until butter is melted and dissolved. Add 1 tsp salt, 2 large eggs and 6 cups flour slowly to make a dough. Add yeast mixture, turn out and knead until smooth. Adjust texture as needed with flour or milk. Make into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, covered, to rise for 2 hours. Punch down and let rise again.

Yellow inner dough:

1 cup milk

4 cups flour

1 stick butter

1/2 pound  farmers** or cottage cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup white raisins

1/2 dried cherries or wolfberries

4 egg yolks

1 packet yeast.

1 tsp turmeric and/or yellow food coloring

 Blend cottage cheese and cream cheese until smooth. Add yeast to milk and 1 tbsp sugar and let sit until foaming. Add butter, sugar, \ flour and egg yolks to cheese mixture and mix. Add milk mixture  and 1 tsp turmeric to color yellow (adjust with more turmeric or use food coloring. A bright yellow is desired) and mix until a dense dough forms adjusting flour as needed. Add dried fruits and knead until elastic. Make into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, covered, to rise for 2 hours.

3 2-pound coffee cans

oil

parchment paper

water

Powdered or confectionary sugar

 Cut each batch of dough into 3 parts. Roll white dough out until a half inch thick and a bit narrower than the coffee can is high. Roll yellow dough into a cylinder shorter the white dough. Place yellow dough on white and roll white around it, using a bit of milk to help seal the seams. Pinch white dough closed over top. This should be of a diameter so it will fit into the coffee can and fill the coffee cans to about 3" below the rim (Higher and  it overflows and makes a Cthuthlu  looking thing as above.You can protect against this a bit by having the parchment paper extended several inches higher than the top of the can.) Oil or grease coffee cans well. Line bottom with circle of the paper and then wrap the dough cylinder in it. Slide the whole thing into a coffee can and bake in a pre-heated oven at 325 for forty minutes or so. It should sound hollow when tapped and be about 190 F internal. Remove from can and set on a wire rack to cool.

 Take about 2 Tbsp water and add enough confectionary sugar to make a thick but still pour-able glaze. Pour on top of the "mushroom" part after bread has cooled. To serve, cut off the top and slice the round part, replacing the top afterward so it will shrink across Bright Week.

* we don't say Easter. Eastern Orthodoxy uses the Greek for Passover. Most romance languages do similarly... Easter comes from Eostre, the goddess of the Spring and Dawn in Celtic or Germanic (may Eos there...)

**Worked much better than cottage cheese.

Update: Dang that Pascha came out well. I gotta make a cheese mold for it. Any of you know how followers in cheese molds work for pyramidal molds?

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17 April 2006

And they wonder: Glenn has a link to this lovely example of liberal self-pity and horror that no everyone thinks like her and not everyone thinks that her self-obsessed anti-religious anti-American attitude is acceptable. Imagine that you call the ACLU on a school over a flyer offering the option and they don't seem to like you after that, and you don't get it. You gotta read it: it is a classic piece of self-centered liberal, rich New Yorker, anti-American whining and the attendant horror that not everyone shares her views. I pity her son: it's gonna be hard to grow up with balls with a mother like that. The again, Casey Sheehan turned out to a hero despite his mother so maybe there is hope.

It reminds me of an action novel writer I know in California who could not believe that I would vote for Bush and hasn't spoken to me since that dinner. I guess I just aren't smart enough to be friends with anymore. Or useful enough. (I got another one of those on religion -how can a PhD believe in Christ - but that's another story.) Liberals - tolerant as long as you toe the party line*.

* not all of them but a damned good sized majority

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15 April 2006

Buy a Gun Day is today:  I got my fifty back from Scott Mays, my favorite gunsmith and bought it another 100 rounds of ammo (which was as expensive as buying a new gun.).  How about you?

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13 April 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GODDESS!!!

I LOVE YOU!

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Interesting 9-11 link: A friend of mine, Gregg, sent this link to the transcript of Flight 93's record. We will never forget.

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11 April 2006

Dancing with my mistress: Between the bullshit that follows my friend's death and attending a meeting that should have been held in Boulder, I finding that my little theory about life is, if anything , understating the obvious. Really when you come down to it Williams was right in his poem about Palomides before his christening.  The sky darkens and all signs are but scratching. You awake from the dream and realize you are dancing with despair and the only constant is pain. Everything else is but dust and illusion, and all things contain within them the seeds of their own deaths.

All the safe and soft lies of the evangelicals, the myths of our golden age, and the falsehoods that our society are build on become apparent and you end up echoing the cry from Gilgamesh. The only alterative is in Alfred's vision from Chesterton's White Horse: "Dare you have joy without a cause or faith without a hope?" And is that enough? And if one stays for the sake of a vow, at what point does that fail too?

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9 April 2006

Morris Memorial Update: There is none yet. I'll post as soon as I hear something.

UPDATE: (4-11-06) Nothing yet but the ryu website has a nice memorial posted.

UPDATE: (4-13-06) Apparently Glenn's widow has announced his successor.

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4 April 2006

Denver again: I got into Denver today and picked up the latest draft of the paper we are working on. After having lunch with Marc and his new malamute puppy, Griz, I got to explain in painful detail to Marc my concept of martial arts as a craft and the different between being a craftsman and being an artist. Marc's contribution was the addition of artiste for the person who never finishes anything... Then dinner at Los Cabos, who still doesn't serve cuy, with my nephew Terry and the adorable Jenna. No pictures to show because I got so busy visiting I forgot to take them. Both Marc and Terry looked well but Jenna was exceptionally fetching...

I'm off of 4 mile park so I am now heading out for a walk to see if I get mugged....hopefully.

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3 April 2006

Borders and banning books:  Borders makes a big deal about supporting the free press and "banned" books. Apparently this is only true when there is no preceded risk to the store or the business. Like the liberals who only protest in the US where they won't get beaten to death by the police, or the evangelical missionaries who go preach in Catholic countries instead of an Islamic one, Borders likes the reputation of being a voice for free speech, but in reality don't believe it strongly enough to get hurt. The word for that is cowardliness and hypocrisy.  As the below shows, they don't lie about it. That's something at least:

Thank you for your expression of concern about our decision not to carry the issue of Free Inquiry magazine featuring cartoons depicting Muhammad.

Borders is committed to our customers' right to choose what to read and what to buy and to the First Amendment right of Free Inquiry to publish the cartoons. In this particular case, we decided not to stock this issue in our stores because we place a priority on the safety and security of our customers and our employees. We believe that carrying this issue presented a challenge to that priority.

We value your thoughts and sincerely appreciate that you invested your time to tell us how you feel about the issue. I can assure you that our management team gave careful deliberation to this decision and considered all sides of the issue before reaching this conclusion. As always, we are interested in customer feedback about our choices and while we know you do not agree with our position, we hope you can understand the challenge of balancing the needs of our customers, employees and our communities.

Your comments will be duly noted in our customer service records for corporate executive review. Feel free to let us know if you have any other questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Dan
Customer Resolution Specialist
www.BordersStores.com

So now I am getting the same message from both Borders as well as the Main Stream Media. If I want my rights and sensitivities respected, I just need to be considered a threat or a danger. Interesting message to be sent out to the fringes, no?

And Dan, so it's clear, your company has just sold me its last book. Bye-bye.

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 Morris Update:  I have no new information for those of you who are asking. Last I heard was from the folks in Canada that Glenn's widow was thinking of a private cremation and nothing was decided about memorials, etc. I have not spoken to Irena at all at this point although  I did leave messages. We did offer a the memorial service yesterday as Glenn had come to service with us when he crashed here and my priest remembered him.  As soon as I heard something, I'll post it...

Update: I just heard that Irena is dealing with the legal and banking aspects of the mess today. Say a prayer for the poor lady...I know when my father died it was a nightmare and Mother had planned for that. "In the midst of life, is death."

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1 April 2006

Glenn Morris

1944-2006

Ph.D., Kudan Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, Soke Hoshinroshiryu Jujutsu, Teacher, Scholar, and, most of all, friend.

Others will write fancy eulogies, worry about continuing his ryu, argue about the value of his methods and books, and other such serious things, but for me, his memory will always be the guy who played with my sons and drank beer with me after some damn bruising work-outs when the two of us hung out together in Houston. Not the soke or ninja, but the man who visited me when I was recovering from surgery almost daily, who came to my savate tests to cheer me on, and who opened his house to me when travel took me anywhere near where he lived. The guy who argued with me and agreed to disagree on so many topics. The gentleman who charmed the goddess and became her "very favorite pagan." The honorary uncle who threatened Noah that he would have spend summers with him when Noah became a teenager to really learn to do an arm bar. The martial artist whose first ryu wide gathering, Kaizen 2000, was run on the fly by three confused "Dread Cowzen Lords," and which somehow involved me being dressed like a cow with a hockey stick labeled "69." It did some good as it caused me to meet a few people who became some of my best friends. Rest in peace old friend and may God have mercy on your soul.

May Christ God grant perpetual light shine upon him and may his memory be eternal.

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