The Carnival of Recipes will be here on January 9th or so.

The theme will be a Russian Christmas, in honor of my old calendar kin who celebrate on January 7th.

Probably late that night as Noah is on a TSRA Youth Hunt this weekend

30 December 2005

Venison Bulgoi: The recipe we used at our fall BBQ isn't as good for venison as it is for beef or pork, so we've been playing around with it a bunch. This is the latest attempt.

5 pounds thinly sliced venison

2 cups soy sauce

1/2 roasted sesame oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 cloves garlic minced

2 Tbsp fish sauce

3 Tbsp ginger paste

2 Tbsp chipotle powder

2 Tbsp sweet Sherry or Marsala

3 scallions sliced thin

Mix all the ingredients together and roll the meat around so it is totally covered.  Let sit overnight (actually I cheat. I use a FoodSaver™ canister and let it sit an hour. That develops the same flavor as overnight. I think the vacuum opens the meat pores.) Remove meat from marinade and grill on a very hot grill until the edges get dark. Because the meat should be cut very thin, these don't take long. I cooked the 5 pounds in about 20 minutes on an old Webber grill. Serve with grilled potatoes (take 2 large baking potatoes and cut into one inch cubes. Place in a large non-stick aluminum foil envelope with 2 cloves garlic cut into chunks, 3 sprigs of rosemary, and drizzle a 1/4 cup of olive oil over it all. Seal this up and set on the grill while it heats up. Takes about 30-40 minutes, so its done when the meat is.

One side comment: As you may notice above, the grill seems to be missing meat? Well, let's just say having a 13 year old boy cook the meat for you seems to cause a very high level of evaporation of the cooked product...

UPDATE: One of my readers says it should really be spelt bulkogi? I got the recipe from a friend and that's his spelling as well as the local Korean place but maybe its the Texan? Anyone know for sure?

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29 December 2005

Kolace: Years ago, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas sold these awesome kolace made by a lady in the parish. Well, she's 90ish now and none of her daughters make them. Now I am not talking about those sausage-filled ones you get in West, Texas or at the Kolace shop. I'm talking the Russian kind, that make a good Danish look like a poor cousin. So here's our attempt to handle the Christmas Kolace fix. We're working from her recipe in the church cookbook but she's notorious for leaving little stuff out.


 2 Tbsp dry yeast

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1 tsp sugar

2/3 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

2 cups whole milk

6 cups flour

2 tsp salt

Cheese Filling

1 pint dry cottage cheese

8 ounces cream cheese

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup sugar

grated lemon zest from one lemon

1/2 tsp lemon extract


Topping:                                                                                        1 can of Cherry Pie Filling

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour                                                                                    Another stick of butter, softened

1 tsp cinnamon

2  Tbsp butter


Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water with 1 tsp sugar. Let sit until foamy. Cream 2/3 cup butter and 2/3 cup sugar together in a mixer* and then add 2 egg yolks and 2 tsp salt. Add the yeast and 1/2 cup of flour.  Add all the milk and continue adding flour and mixing until a glossy dough is formed. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.


Cream the cottage cheese until smooth. Mix the cheese filling together in a large bowl and set aside. Mix the topping together in another bowl.


Cut off portions of the dough about the size of a large egg.  Flatten it out and put on a greased cookie sheet, then butter the surface, and make a well in the center. Put a 1 tbsp of the cheese mixture in the center. Fold the edges up and squeeze them together making  a roundish shape with the center of the cheese exposed. Let sit 30-45 minutes to rise again. Place 1 tbsp of cherry pie filling on top of the cheese, sprinkle with the topping, and bake in a 425 F oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, butter, and set on wire racks to cool. Makes 4 dozen.

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Christian Carnival for this week is up here.

28 December 2005

Must be the Electric Kool-Aid: What happened at the Chicago Tribune? Did you see this headline "Judging the Case for War?" Knowing the Tribune's positions in the past, I know what I expected, but what it says is:

After reassessing the administration's nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege.

Go read the whole thing. It's a very detailed and thoughtful that basically says Saddam started it and Bush was justified in finishing it. Wow. Maybe journalistic integrity isn't dead. (Hat tip to Instapundit who got it from Econopundit) I'm kinda still in shock that its really that good an analysis. And they didn't even release it on a Friday night. Let's see if anyone else picks it up because you can bet if it went the other way, it'd be all over the world tomorrow morning.

UPDATE: <sigh> I am getting old. Electric kool-aid was cool-aid laced with LSD served at Woodstock. Y'all get drinking cool-aid references, I trust? To quote the Professor from Narnia "What do they teach in schools these days?"

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So when did we sign this suicide pact?  As everyone has heard, the Democrats and RINO's managed to kill any drilling in ANWR again. Over the objections of the locals, who could use the jobs, because, well, you know us little people are stupid. Well, now Fox News reports (no link because I can't figure out how to link to their video stories) that environmental groups are now banning, and have banned in parts of California, the use of wood for heating because it makes carcinogens. I guess the logical conclusion is (a) these people want us dependant on Mid-Eastern oil or (b) we are in a giant national suicide pact. With all the Democratic protests about Bush spying on terrorist cells in the US, I'm betting on the latter.

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Reasonable cause to redo the Iraqi election? Well, didn't they say the same thing about Iran, Cuba, and all those dictatorships? And then we can look at all the countries in the UN like North Korea, China, etc that are so good at recognizing free elections? Anyway, this gem makes me think we should try again:

a U.N. official said that Iraq's recent parliamentary elections, which have given a strong lead to the Shiite religious bloc dominating the current government, were credible and that there was no justification in calls for a rerun...

It's like the Jimmy Carter rule which I think originates with Roger, that if Carter approves it, it will screw the US. Similarly, UN approval should be an indicator of gross corruption.

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27 December 2005

Carnivals I missed: Digital Camera Carnival and Carnival of Recipes are up.

26 December 2005

On the first day of Christmas... Ben's  Daddy gave to him a .22 hidden under the tree.  Doesn't he look happy? It's an old Remington Dad had put away for him. Took me about an hour to convince him he wasn't going to sleep with it.

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Mom, Apple Pie and Lamb: We decided to try a boned leg of lamb this year as it would be easier to carve the left-over up for sandwiches. Anyway we also decided to thaw some of the Arkansas Blacks I vacuum- packed and froze to make apple pie. Oddly both Foodsaver bags leaked air after the soft was thawed for a day or so. Stuff was fine, just some apples discolored. Here's the recipes:

Lamb Roast:

3.5 lb leg of lamb, boned

5 sun dried tomatoes, chopped fine and soaked in boiling water

1/4 cup chopped olives

1 tsp dried sage

1 tbsp hot pepper (we used chipotle)

1 tbsp black pepper

1 tbsp garlic

1/4 cup fresh rosemary

1/4 cup fresh basil

1/2 cup Italian Breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp minced garlic.

Salt to taste (I used 1 tsp sea salt)

Butterfly the leg of lamb and spread out. Mix all the spices together in a bowl and spread over the insides of the lamb. Roll and tie up with string. Take another 1 Tbsp each of minced garlic, red pepper, black pepper, and rosemary and mix it into another 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs. Roll the roast in that so the outside is covered. Cook in a pre-heated 400 F oven for about 20 minutes a pound for medium rare.

Apple Pie a la Mom:

1 package of Pillsbury Pie Crusts (2 crusts)

4 cups sliced and peeled tart apples.

1 cup sugar

1/2 stick butter, cut into thin slices.

2 Tbsp cinnamon or Sweet Spice mix

Optional: 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries.

2 Tbsp Tapioca pearls

We cheated and used the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts again. Mix all the filling ingredients in  a large bowl.  In a deep dish 11" pan spread out one crust. Dump the filling in and cover with the other crust, sealing the ends by wetting with milk and then squeezing together with a fork. Cut slices in the top for steam vents. Bake for 40 minutes (golden brown) at 400 F.

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25 December 2005

Christ is Born!  Glorify Him!

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,

has shone to the world the Light of Wisdom!

For by it, those who worshipped the stars

were taught to adore Thee, the Sun of Righteousness

to adore Thee, the Orient from on high.

Glory to Thee!


Merry Christmas, y'all!

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24 December 2005

If you had trouble with reaching us yesterday, there were some technical problems with the site... Sorry.

Lessons from the Maestro: My mother is in town and spent the day baking with the boys. She also tuned the recipes we've been typing up over the last few years.  Little things, unlike my first attempt where I called home in panic because the dough approximated gravy. We figured out her mother's cup was actually an 11 ounce coffee cup, not an 8 ounce measuring cup.  So we've already tuned the nut and poppy-seed rolls recipes and then made chergies, little crunchy strips of fried dough...

2 cups flour

2 tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. wine (or beer)

5 egg whites

2 tbsp. sour cream

powdered sugar

 Sift flour, sugar, salt together. Add butter. Break egg whites in. Add sour cream and wine (beer). Mix well until blended. Divide to 2 or 3 parts. Roll out tin and cut into 5” diamonds. Fry in very hot fat (375 F in the electric skillet) for about 2 minutes (golden brown). When cool, dust with sugar. Best eaten hot and our disappeared within minutes.

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23 December 2005

I love Sam: What a great gift giver!

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21 December 2005

Delta - the new motto: is apparently let's screw our customers who own guns. This was forwarded to me by the local NT gun list. My own call to Delta's customer service desk gave a confirmation from someone named Terri.   It apparently started when a fellow up here contacted Delta over this on Delta’s web page where the rules for carrying sporting goods equipment are given. Under "Shooting Equipment", we find the following, which my young lady told me also applies to long guns:

One pistol case containing:

An excess baggage charge will apply to cases containing more than two pistols.

So the gentleman who originally found this called Delta customer service (800-335-8241) and spoke with an agent named Chris on 13 Dec at 2:40 PM.  He asked if I understood the web page correctly, that checking a third handgun to any gun-case, even say on that could hold 8 firearms, would mean Delta charges an additional $50 for that third gun, regardless of its actual weight. Chris affirmed that this was the case, and even confirmed it with a supervisor while I was on hold.  So if you check 1 bag that weighs 30 pounds, and that bag contains a locked pistol case that contains 2 handguns - no extra charge.  But if you put a 3d handgun in that case and bag that adds 10 ounces to it, Delta will charge you $50 extra dollars.  It gets better. Chris also said:

 "We'll charge for the 3d handgun regardless of whether it's in another gun case or in a 2d piece of luggage.  No matter how you pack it, we'll charge $50 for each additional handgun over 2 in your checked luggage."

So apparently as Chris reads the policy: 4 guns is 100 extra, 5 is 150, etc. BTW Terri reads it the same way and said this applies to both ways . So taking a third pistol to the Nationals is going to cost an extra hundred on Delta and five guns would cost you an extra 300 bucks roundtrip.  He then gave a great example of Delta's attitude towards its customers:

"That's just the way it is." Delta is in the business of making money, and we have the right to charge any additional charge we want.  You've probably seen in the news that we need to make money."

To be fair, the fellow did end the conversation with:  "Hey, these are Delta's policies, not Chris's." Terri also said the gate agent might just refuse to allow you to check more than 2 guns in one piece of luggage.

Delta can be reached here if you want to tell them why as a gun-owner you are now flying American.

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 20 December 2005

Not posting much: The megrims are hitting pretty bad this year. Ah well, back to Williams and the Booker's.

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Tourtierre: Ben got tagged with bringing a French dish for his 4th Grade's Christmas around the World and despite his horror at finding out he was about 1/4 "cheese-eating surrender monkey" (I tried explaining the Quebecois was not the same thing, especially with the Algonquin blood, but no, he's insisting Mom must have found him...) Most of the Quebec style cooking we do, he doesn't think of as French. Anyway, he wanted to make escargot but his teacher refused to let him (I tell you, stifling the young minds...). Anyway, we decided on a meat pie and there have been a few knock-out recipes published in recent carnivals. All looked like too much work for someone who is reputedly on vacation, so we went with this approximation. Total time: 1.5 hours or 2 hours if you don't have a left over potato.

4 frozen pie crusts
2 lb ground venison mix (1:1 venison and pork shoulder coarsely ground.)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 Tbsp garlic paste
3 Tbsp olive oil
2  tsp allspice

1.5  tsp sage

1.5  tsp thyme
1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground black pepper

4 ounces dried morels

2 12 ounce cans of mushrooms
1 can Campbell's double strength beef stock
1 large russet potato, cooked, and cubed the day before or sliced sausage* .
1 large egg beaten with 2 Tbsp meat and 1 tsp cornstarch.

Dump the dried morels into the stock and let them sit about 30 minutes. While that soaks, heat the oil to shimmering and add the onion. Cook until it starts to get tender and the add the meat, the garlic, and the black pepper. Cook until the meat is browned, turning it and break up clumps. Add the spices and the mushrooms and cook until heated thru. Remove the meat mixture with a slotted spoon and toss the grease. Add the potato or sausage to the drained meat and mix well.

Remove the morels from the stock (save the stock) and chop the 'shrooms up. Add to the mix above. Lay a piece of pie crust into the bottom of each of 2 9" pie pans. Shape as needed and fill with the meat mixture to just above level.  Reserve about a shot glass of egg mixture and beat that into the stock. Fill the pie with stock up to just below the filling. Brush the edge of the pie crust with the reserved egg mixture. Cover each pie with another crust and using a fork, press the edges together and trim the overhang off.  Cut slits in the top to vent and then brush with egg mixture.

Cook in a pre-heated 400 F oven for 40-50 minutes. Crust on top and bottom (I use Pyrex pans) should be golden brown. A drip pan (ie cookie sheet) underneath is recommended. Let sit 10 minutes before eating.  You can actually make the whole thing ahead and cook it later. Just let it warm to room temperature before cooking.

If you look close, you might be able to see the BM we cut into it for Ben's class tomorrow. Now to get him to stop calling it "cheese-eating surrender monkey snail-pie" <sigh> We'll see how they like this. I still think 4 year old boys would prefer the snails.

Since I had some pie dough left over, I cored and peeled the last four of my beloved Arkansas Black Apples and wrapped them in the remaining crust. You kinda pack the crust around the apple like making a snowball with the top open. We then added a 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp Sweet Spice, a Tbsp butter and a Tbsp bourbon to the center and tossed those in the oven with the pies. 40 minutes at 400 F is all these really easy little tarts need to be soft enough to eat but not mushy.  No photos of those 'cause they didn't last long enough.

*When my dad made this, he'd used some garlic sausage (about a pound) that was precooked and sliced into thin rounds and skip the potato.

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17 December 2005

Beef Provencal: With Noah's injury keeping us up late, Connie told me go ahead and dig something out of the freezer. I found this shoulder roast and figured it wasn't that bad to break the fast (besides it was getting old). So anyway, I made this which also involved a 3 hour simmering in the oven, which on these cold days was a good thing.


3.5  Chuck or Shoulder roast, trimmed of fat, de-boned, and cut into 2 inch cubes

4 large potatoes, peeled, split long-wise and then the halves quartered.

1  pound baby carrots

8 ounces bacon, cut into cubes about 1/2"

8 ounces each of Porcini, Portobello, and white (grocery store) mushrooms, sliced*

4 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp butter

1 bottle of strong red wine

2 8 ounce cans of beef stock

2 Tbsp black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium onions, sliced

2 Tbsp tomato paste**

1 Tbsp Fish Sauce

2 Tbsp orange peel, dried

2 Tbsp dried thyme

1/2 cup chopped black olives

2 bay leaves

1/3 fresh parlsey chopped

4 ounces chopped tomatoes**

3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbsp water

Strips of orange zest as a garnish


Preheat the oven to 325 F.  If using dried porcini, reconstitute them with hot water. If using fresh, sauté mushrooms in 2 Tbsp butter and 1/2 cup water. Cook covered until slightly soft.


In a large Dutch oven, heat half to oil to simmering. Roll the beef in the black pepper and add half to the oil. Brown on all sides. Remove, add the rest of the oil and the remaining meat. When this is browned, remove the meat. To the pot, now add the bacon, onions, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook until onions are tenders and then slowly add the wine, scraping the pan to remove the fond (crunchy bits). Add the beef back with any drippings and the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the mushrooms, the orange peel, the thyme, the fish sauce, the olives, and the bay leaves, then transfer to the oven. Let cook in the over for 3 hours or until the meat is tender but not falling apart.  Remove from oven and add cornstarch mixture to pan and stir in until clear. Add the chopped tomatoes and heat to simmering. Serve over egg noodles, garnishes with strips of zest.


* Fresh preferred but if using dried, reconstitute and don't sauté them. In either case, add any liquid too. For the lazy, just dump the fresh 'shrooms in directly.

** Tomatoes are optional. I normally skip them.

Slow Cooker variation:  After browning the meat, mix everything together and add to a slow cooker. Cook for 5-6 hours on low then add cornstarch.  I'd normally brown and mix all the dry stuff the night before, refrigerate, and then add the liquids the next morning to the cooker.

UPDATE: No, it wasn't you. I somehow lost most of this yesterday.

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14 December 2005

What a small world: I have been worrying the idea of going to a digital SLR for a bit and submitted a post to Instapundit's Digital Photography Carnival. Glenn listed us by name rather than blog and today I got an email from another Menard in the NE whose family is from Arkansas and is also a photographer. It's getting to be smaller world all the time. Sadly for his kid brother, the fellow is even supposed to look like me...small world

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Benedict sends me email: This week's demo-screed is from Rep. Murtha claiming our troops are in such danger that we need to cut and run from Iraq now and that there is no hope for the country. Well, I know these things are planned a few days in advance and big organizations are slow responders but with this and this in the news, well, really guys...  And yes, I still think the term fits. The masks are coming off as Hanoi Jane and Cindy Sheehan are showing the true face of the left: treason is as treason does despite the line about "dissent is patriotic."

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Mexico's sounding worried because the USA is actually going to start defending its border and fencing off some of it. Apparently our ecomony can't survive without all that Mexican labor.  Their president says: "This situation we're seeing, a disgraceful and shameful moment where walls are being built, security systems are being reinforced, and human and labor rights are being violated more and more, won't protect the economy of the United States," Interesting position that if you buy the convention doctrine Mexico is our friend. Now if you were to instead suggest that Mexico is a festering pit of government corruption that only the giant safety value of illegal work in the US stops from total revolution, or possibly consider that Fox wants a reconquesta to handle the strains of a corrupt government and poor infrastructure caused by that corruption, well, maybe then it makes more sense. Build the fence, start a non-resident guest worker program, and only accept applications for it in Mexico. Then make anyone caught here illegal permanently ineligible for it.

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Hot and Sour Soup: Cook's Illustrated had a recipe for Hot and Sour Soup this month. I tried it, altered it a bit, and decide to increase the fillings to use as main course. Increasing the pork chop, using bamboo shoots and lily buds, and more mushrooms gave the below which we served with fresh bread and a mix of canned jackfruit, Longan fruit, and rambutans as a light dessert.

2  50 ounce cans of Swanson's Chicken Broth

4 boneless pork loin chops (~24 ounces), sliced into 1/4" square ribbons

16 ounces extra-hard tofu, pressed and cubed.

8 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

9 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 large eggs

1 cup bamboo shoots, sliced into 1/4 strips

8 ounces fresh Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and cut into 1/4 wide strips.

1 cup dried wood ear, cut into small pieces (a mushroom that is normally sold as a dried sheet)

1 cup dried lily buds, cut up into thirds.

1 cup canned water chestnuts, sliced.

4 ounces fresh Enoki mushrooms, whole.

10 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar

2 Tbsp chili oil

1 Tbsp white pepper

1 tsp cayenne (optional)

6 medium scallions, sliced thin


Add the lily buds and wood ear to 2 cups boiling water to cover and let sit for 15 minutes and then drain. Use drained water where water is needed below. Done the remainder into the stock.

Press the tofu between 2 plates with about 5 pounds of weight on top for 15-20 minutes. You should get a cup of liquid or more. Cut into cubes.

While the tofu is pressing, slice up the pork chops. Beat together until smooth 2 Tbsp soy sauce, sesame oil, and 2 tsp cornstarch and toss the pork in. Mix well so pork is all coated. Let sit at 10-15 minutes.

Mix the 2 eggs, 1 tsp cornstarch and 2 tsp water in a bowl until egg is well beaten and smooth.

Mix remaining cornstarch with 6 Tbsp water in a bowl until smooth.

Okay, things speed up now. Heat the broth to boiling and reduce to a simmer. Add the mushrooms (Shiitake, Enoki, and wood ear), water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots and simmer 5 minutes so 'shooms are tender. Add lily buds, tofu and pork, stirring constantly. Simmer about 2 minutes and add the wood mix up the cornstarch and water mixture and add. Cook until it clears up, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar, chili oil, pepper, remaining soy sauce, and cayenne if need for heat. Stir well and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat so surface is still. Add the egg-cornstarch mix in long thin streams.  Let sit 1 minute and stir. Return to heat and stir as soup returns to simmer. After 2 minutes, serve with sliced scallions on top as a garnish.

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Off to the ER: I think Noah broke his leg. All by himself....

UPDATE: Well, its a really bad sprain, so he's cast-ed up and on crutches. Lovely...

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13 December 2005

Time to upgrade?: Almost all the pictures on this blog come from either a Sony D-snap, because it fits in my pocket, or a Olympus Camedia that I use for work-related stuff. I'm into the Olympus OM series heavy in terms of glass, and despite my OM2 being over 30 years old, it's still the best time I've seen for classical photography.  Using something like Tmax film, I could shoot at 1600 and get some great low light shots.  I've been chatting with Jim about going with a Canon 20D, but there is all this glass I've have to sell. Unlike some of the other brands, Olympus digital SLR cameras use a different mounting system that the old OM series.

Anyway, I found this site while trying to put together a course of the Photography merit badge for my son's troop. Now, I kinda expect that the vast majority of the scouts will be using digital cameras and the current scout merit badge pamphlet is kind of weak. So I wanted to read up on the technical aspects of digital photography and tripped over this gem:

In the meantime, however, if you have a legacy of OM Zuiko lenses, an E-System digital camera and a proper lens adapter (these used to be available for free from Olympus), go outside, and start shooting, if only for the fun of matching two pieces of technology 30 years apart.

Whee-ha!!!  So with some reservations relating to the focal length of legacy lenses, I can get back in the game for the price of the Olympus E500 body alone. And except for the fisheye and macro lenses, the changes should be tolerable as I'm basically doubling the focal length. Although what I am going to do with a functionally 2400 mm lenses will not get me in trouble with the goddess is a question. However I now know what I want for Christmas!

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11 December 2005

Feast of the Forbearers of Christ

Happy Namesday Noah, Jessica and Daniel

Gauss Rifle: Noah had to do a paper for his math class on Gauss and, in researching it, got interested in why the unit of magnetic force is called the Gauss. So somehow we tripped over this site in Mother's town and build the little linear accelerator they discuss. It's a series of magnets taped to a ruler that is used to launch a ball bearing from one end. Ours was 2 feet long and knocks a cup of the table just fine. Dang cool. Now how can I make one that will throw a .17 slug at hypersonic speeds? Can you say needler?

UPDATE: He got an A. Turns out his teacher didn't realize that a "Gauss Rifle" even existed.

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9 December 2005

Lucky you: Over the last three days, phone, internet and electrical service has been intermittent at our place. So the posts from the last 2 days I thought I clearly saved to disk are apparently lost in the ether. So y'all got spared my rants about Christmas crosses, Target, Dean and the Democratic Party, and fasting food.

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Morons in the News: Anyone read the Fox News article on Pres. Bush's poll numbers. If you did, you find this gem:

Said Jonathan Schuler, an independent from Georgetown, a small city north of Austin, Texas: "If we stay in Iraq too much longer, it will be another Vietnam. If we pull out, the terrorists will look at it as a victory."

Duh. Apparently the stupidity affect of Austin is spreading. How long were we in Vietnam there, Mr. Schuler?  How many people died per week?  And while we are at it, how long were we in Bosnia, a place we have even less business than Iraq? When I was a pup, I was taught that if you didn't know anything about a topic, to keep your mouth shut. " For no one know that naught is in him, but he open his mouth too much" Sheesh. Let just continue the Democratic and Media blitz of encouraging the terrorist bastards to try and outstay us. Hell, they did it with the Vietnamese.

UPDATE:  The quote is from the Elder Edda. The sentiment is universal.

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D for December means Despair: I really hate the Christmas season. The false comradely, the atrocities by those too politically correct to use the term (but who still want the money), by the so-called believers caught up in a madness of consumerism, the attacks on all symbols of Christ by the ACLU and atheists, the evangelical insanity about "pagan traditions" and that abomination "the Christmas Cross," etc. I could go on for days. The only thing that keeps me from drinking myself to death is good booze is expensive and I've considered sucking on a 50 barrel except the local liberal newspaper would use it to give guns a bad name.  This year I've been reading what the Orthodox monastics refer to as the 6 Psalms, the series of Psalm 3, 37, 62, 87, 102, and 142. These psalms, recited each day in Orthos, have an up and down pattern that reflects life's crests and falls, and it seems to help with the urge to go out and kill the fat man and his harnessed Bambi-burgers. I still want to hang certain people (like Christmas crosses decorators and the neighborhood light freaks) from their own garlands with a holly stake in the heart and a mouth stuffed with mistletoe, but its a bit more controllable. Now, if the kids would only stop encouraging me to shoot the neighbor's fake reindeer with a rubber-tipped arrow, I might make it to January sane.

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6 December 2005

Happy St. Nicholas' Day: Growing up my grandfather always gave us presents on this day, a custom I wasn't really find of because it is also my birthday. I turn 50 today and this same week have been blogging a year. It's apparent at this point I am never going to be a higher being although I have had over 50,000 visitors and was a large mammal for 2 weeks there. Sadly due to the torn shoulder, I wasn't able to make 500 pound deadlift that was my goal but I have stuck with mandolin. All in all, a passable year...

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A Tale of Two Presses: I've had two experiences recently that really highlight the difference between small publishing houses and why customer service is important. First, Chivalry Bookshelf shipped me a book six months after its promised publication, during with no communication came from them at all. It just appeared in my mailbox. Shipping was surprisingly high for being 2 towns away and a USPS Media mail rate.  The book, Jugo de Pao, is a specialized martial arts book dealing with the stick-fighting system found in Portugal. Now, I'll get around to reviewing the information presented later but for now, if the author has English speaking friends, they need to talk to him about the editing services of his publisher. He needs to talk to his editor with a stick. The English is horrible and read like a transliteration of the Portuguese. A shame because the photos and layout is well done. In addition to this book, they decided to charge me 80 bucks for some book they claim I never paid for. If their claim is right, and I am pretty sure it isn't by the prices, they shipped me a 45 dollar book last year sometime and had problems with the card. So after a year of not calling (remember I'm local) or emailing,  they just stuck a $80 on the first  card of mine they could find. No message, no calls, no permission. Then they ignored 2 weeks of calls and email until someone made the mistake of answering the phone. I was then passed to some woman who was, IMO, the biggest bitch I've had the misfortune to deal with in years. Basically, her position was we can do what we want since we have your card. Never mind the prices don't agree, never mind we are saying we ship stuff without running the cards, never mind the reputed incorrect number was for a different card, never mind you got the book we claim it was from I wonder how much fraud they will committ when the card company calls them on it. Lordy,  I deal with people for a living, often very angry and frustrated folks, and she was ruder than 99% of them. I have a foul taste in my mouth. I suspect I'll miss buying Bob Charron's book on Fiori as these folks are the publishers. Shame. I was looking forward to it but I'll be damned if I deal with them again.

Contrast this to Conciliar Press, a small press in California. I had problems with their online store today and they called me before I could call them. That was about an hour and a half after I placed the order and about 15 minutes after they open for the day. They explained the problem, had me confirm the order, checked my credit card info, and then upgraded my shipping as an apology. Wanted bet who I'll be doing business with in the future?

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3 December 2005

Lady of the Dance: We wandered over to the campus tonight to watch our young friend Leslie, Ben's harp teacher, dance her choreography to a verse read by Rufel. It was very nicely done and one of the better pieces we saw at the recital. She used a white mime mask and it look very Kabuki-like. She even did a never perfect chamber. And yes, of course, we brought her roses. A lady's triumph should be honored with flowers.

Yes, I am a Neanderthal, thank you.

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Jerky Recipes: So what do you do when you've made jerky from half a doe? Well, how about:

1.5 cups jerky, finely chopped (I use my coffee grinder)

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese

3 eggs

a dash of milk or cream

2 Tbsp butter

salt to taste

1 tsp chipotle

1.2 tsp cumin

2 toasted tortillas in strips

Soak jerky overnight in 1 cup of water. Drain. Beat eggs with milk. Melt butter in a skillet and add jerky, tomatoes, and spices. Cook until spices release odor and then add the cheese. Mix well and add the eggs. Cook while stirring until eggs are starting to thicken and add tortilla strips. Finish eggs so they are the consistency of scramble. Serve.

Or maybe this one:

1 lb jerky, cut into 1" squares or narrow strips.

3 cups water

2 tsp butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp chunky peanut butter

salt to taste

2 tsp berbere spice mix (can use plain red pepper)

2 green scallions, sliced

Simmer jerky in water until soften and reduce water volume to about 1/2 cup. Remove from pan and set aside. Add butter, onions, and garlic and cook until onion is clear. Add back jerky and water. (To be honest, we often do this at deer camp and just add the butter, onion and garlic to the meat.) Add spices and mix well. Add peanut butter and mix well. Cook 20 minutes on simmer and then add scallions.  Serve over rice.

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1 December 2005

Carnival of Recipes is finally up over at Like News but Tasty.