30 September 2005

What the hell is going on with the Carnival of Vanities: Someone posted it earlier this week (No, the link doesn't seem to work) and then this cat-lover decides he doesn't like it and re-posts it? Hmmm. I may need to finish that post on manner, modernity, and the internet after all. A friend of mine says its all bobo syndrone: since no one really expects violence anymore, manners have gone to hell. The latter sure is true: I've seen in my students, carnival hosts, and in most of my coworkers. Amazingly its not as common among those social classes where acting like an ass will get you killed.

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SWAT begins today: The Southwest Association of Turners starts their annual meeting today in Wichita Falls. I was a good boy and worked but tomorrow I have the goddess' permission to sneak off for the day. I called to check and there is no WiFi on site, so I can't turn-blog. The shavings would screw up this old laptop even more. Posts and pictures will probably come on Sunday...and next week, I weld up the caja china/mobile pit. Hmmmm, lamb...

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29 September 2005

Deserta Days: I spent yesterday in a small mostly-Mormon town in Southern Utah, where surprisingly I could find both a beer and a cup of coffee. Nice people. Not a piercing or tattoo in sight. If I could somehow ignore their theology, I'd be strongly tempted to convert. <sigh> In many ways, the way they organize through their church to help each other, the emphasis on a public morality and service, and the idea of self-sufficiency is or should be an embarrassment to my church and the other Christian churches. Amazingly beautiful scenery south of the Salt Lake City sprawl too.

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27 September 2005

Mailbox Update: Dang. A young man came by the house tonight and told Connie he had hit the mailbox and tree last night and offered to pay for the damages. I spoke to him and, after working out the details, said I appreciated his honesty.  He said "I felt terrible when I drove by. I thought I just hit your tree. I can't imagine not making it right." Someone sure raised him right.

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Faith Once Delivered to the Saints: I spent the trip out (DFW to Denver, then wait and Denver to Salt Lake City) reading a book I picked up Sunday by a Fr. Michael Azkoul. Now the Rev. Akzoul is an interesting character: a brilliant scholar and talented writer, belongs to an extremely small sect of Orthodoxy that is basically talking to no one, wrote a book about the "Gnostic heretic Augustine" (yep, that one - his words), and, in person, is reputed to be quite the caustic personality. (The caustic-ness without the brilliance carried over to his son, an iconographer whom I have met...see below). The book, adjusted for his viewpoint, may actually be the best thing I've seen on how the Orthodox view differs from Western Christianity. From the real presence to the ancestral curse to Tradition, he gives a good clear statement of the Orthodox position with decent comparisons to the Western arguments: as you might expect, he tends to the more rigorous ones. It's a useful read anyway, although I sure will not be using it for evangelism. The problem is, like everyone I've met from his sect (as well as the other super-rigorous versions), none of the love of Christ comes through. I've had the experience of meeting more than a few people in my travels where it does, one or two monks that actually reminded me of the other meaning of dreadful, but everyone I've met from the rigorist extreme seem to care more for the minutiae of the canons that the love of Christ.

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Rural Utah: I flew into Salt Lake City today and drove down I-15 and east to Salina. Some amazingly desolate and beautiful scenery: the farmed areas were a lush green surrounded by golden grass. The mountains enclose the valley the highway runs in from both sides and it was storming up there, with rain, lightening, and low hanging clouds.  Now to find my wandering salesman and get together to discuss what we are doing here tomorrow...

BTW the high was 76.

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Home stuff: The goddess just called and some idoit ran over our lawn last night and crushed out mailbox as well as banged up an oak trees. That explains the loud noise that had me checking windows at 3 am.  Some little light colored car was dashing up the hill then: I know why now. Noah is gone very territorial now...Speaking of the boy, he's still sick and the school has called warning of excess time out (It's about 10 days). They are testing now for parasites as the rest came up negative. Poor kid. Nothing stays in or down... His brother is jealous that Noah stays home but for some reason, Noah said he'd switch with Ben happily...

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26 September 2005

Carnival of Recipes: has changed its day to Saturday and this weeks is up at triticale - the wheat / rye guy, who does a 4 element form of cookery. Silly man. Everyone knows there are really 5 elements. Ask any Shing-yi player.

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Greek Pilaf: Reputedly that of a local kitchen legend but honestly I have no clue. It's a nice single pot dinner thro. 

1 lb ground lean lamb or goat

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup raisins

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1 stick butter

1/2 cup minced onions, yellow

2 cups white rice

2 ounces tomato paste

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Brown the meat and drain off the fat. Add the cumin and mix well. Remove and set aside then add and brown the nuts and onions in 3 tbsp butter. Add the cooked meat back into the pan and add the remaining ingredients except the parsley plus 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Add parsley and mix well. 

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25 September 2005

OneTrueGod Blog:  Hmmm. Normally I like Hugh Hewitt as I've read and enjoyed a couple of his books. However, I went to the website or blog or online magazine named and looked around. It was pretty interesting but the Orthodox voice seemed to be missing. So being shameless, I wrote and asked. Surprisingly, he answered. Apparently J. H. Reynolds is Orthodox although he makes no mention of it in his bio. Odd that as it normally not something we hide. In fact, its hard to deal with one of the Eastern Orthodox without learning about it. The fasting, the icons, the approach to scripture are all different from what else you see. Heck, in fact, we even bless ourselves backward by western standards. Interesting while Mr. Reynolds ends his one piece on demons in very Orthodox form, the text isn't. In my sinful opinion, its is very Protestant. Orthodox doesn't talk of demons being necessary for the story: we speak of demons, of the evil one because we are taught to by Holy Tradition (which includes Scripture). In fact, our translation of the Lord's Prayer says: "and deliver us from the evil one." No discussion about it. There is a devil: demons are real. It's not a belief I like or even feel I need as I can believe in Man's wickedness without them. However, the teaching is there as is the teaching of their malice.

Mr. Reynolds also lists a book he wrote in.  I searched Amazon for that book Three Views on Creationism and Evolution and found out he's a young Earth creationist, a position I've only seen in Orthodoxy held by Protestant converts who won't let go of their past. In fact, I can one think of one other one of them I've met and I visit about 30 Orthodox Churches a year. That person told me to use Johnson's work to defeat evolution as you can't argue science. I mentioned, well I could but I thought evolution was as good science as you get and that Johnson stuck me as twisting the game like patent lawyers did. I was then thrown out as I could not possibly be really Christian. So we do have our home-grown fringe of extremists, but they no more represent the mainstream of Orthodox thought than the gentleman I knew in Houston who thought women should not be allowed to vote because of St. Paul's writing or the iconographer (whose father is a well know theologian) who told me I was going to hell for not making my wife cover her head in church. Interestingly, creationism wasn't an issue in Orthodox until we got the influx of Evangelicals. Those interested should look at Archbishop Lazar's The Creation and Fall as well as the 6 Dawns (both on the site). It appears that bit in the baptism service about rejecting our old heresies as we are born again into the fullness of the Faith gets missed...

Lovely. Why the heck can't the Orthodox voice here be one that actually speaks out of Tradition and not from the follies of man?  I am going to go cry now... My poor church...St. John Damascene, pray for us.

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OPA! We went downtown in Dallas today and attended service at St. Seraphrim's. The iconography is now on the back wall too and it is an amazing experience.  If you're in Dallas, you should drop by and see what a Russian Church can look like. After that, we went up the road to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church for their annual Greek Festival. My music teacher, Thad, was playing there and the food is unbelievable. Noah may have set a new record for the amount of food one person can actually eat. We ended up coming home with this huge tray of some Greek casserole, a bunch of Greek sausage and about 2 dozen honey puffs - and of course some books, another icon, and spices. Ah well, we joke these things are to fleece the heathens...I'm at least a barbarian in the orginial sense.

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Jessica, Michelle and Ken came by today to visit as they wait to head back to Houston. Originally they were going to stay with us, but Michelle's brother has a rug-rat Jessica's age and that house is child-proof. Ours no longer is. In fact, with kids that shoot, carve, and forge the words child-proof shouldn't be even considered. Ain't she a honey?

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24 September 2005

Okay, this once: I don't really like filk-ed songs. They normally suck. This one doesn't. SondraK also has some coverage of the protests in Washington, which have been getting no play here in Texas at all. Joan Baez and Sweet Honey in the Rock? They're still alive? Wow. Bet the honey's fermented by now thro.

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Saturday shooting: We didn't get the predicted rains as Rita veered off to the East, which was bad as we could sure use the water this year.  So we headed out to the range. I shoot my first round ever of doubles at trap and, while the experience can only be said to have sucked, it seemed to really help with the singles as I hit 12 out of 25.  I think trying to get 2 of them made me start slapping the trigger. I actually broke a couple of pairs. Noah is still working on trap too and near the end of his second round, he started hitting. We looked at this lovely shotgun for sale for only 1750, but figured it wasn't worth dying for (when the goddess found out what it cost). Russ tried a round of trap too but we couldn't get Anna or Ben to. Ben I think needs another 4-5" to be comfortable with the shotgun.

We then hit the rifle range and set the boys working on the paper plate drill at hundred yards. Noah is starting to tighten up but Ben is all over the place. His form seems good but the scope looks like it may have be dropped once or twice, so I think I'll try replacing it and seeing if he does better.  There's my excuse to go back tomorrow I guess.  I shot offhand at 200 and the grouping was horrible. I obviously need more dry-firing time as my hold sucked. I was throwing a 8" group for 10 rounds and that's not acceptable for hunting in West Texas. Last year by this time they were tight.

Meanwhile, Russ, Anna and Noah was shooting at 10 yards with .45 ACP and 9mm. Noah figured out that Gold Cup only wants to shoot one brand of ammo, the Federal, and mis-feeds almost everything else. Anyone know if Federal is loaded shorter than normal?  It looks like that might be it. When it behaved, Noah was touching holes. It's about time to back him up to 20 yards. Ben isn't grouping yet: I think shooting is still too much fun for him to really concentrate. Anna was keeping them in the chest area easily with her new 9mm. Russ is trying to figure out a double tap... All in all it was a hoot... I should of taken pictures of Anna with a gun as a cutie with a gun seems to be the only way you make the Carnival of Cordite these days. Like a lot of folks, I got ignored last week so I need to get Anna and the goddess to come shoot and show some skin.

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23 September 2005

Restraining Order Issued on Gun Grab: Yes! The Federal Judge hearing the case has issued a temporary restraining order on the gun confiscations in New Orleans. Details here.

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Adriana's Spice Caravan: I got their catalog today with my order of Szechwan peppercorns. These are roasted so I still need to get some green ones from Canada (Ann? Magda? Jocelyn?) but the odor is so close to my old green ones in the freezer I think these will be fine. The catalog is awesome. Penzey's only thinks they are spice merchants in comparsion. ASC has almost everything... even Sui Char and Pickled veggies!

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Gee, I'm moderate...that's scary:

Not as cool as the LEO test but fun anyway. I don't think they got it right thro.

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22 September 2005

Christian Carnival: It's up for this week at Digitus, Finger, and Co. who did a really nice job, including his own comments on the posts. Hmmm, I think that was a compliment on Dennis Miller, but I'm not sure. Overall, he seems like a nice chap, except for the defective taste buds. I bet we could fix that thro even if he is an Augustinian.

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Hoorah! Finally!: The NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit today to stop the gun grab going on in Southern LA. From the KABA Alert I received:

 The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA) joined with individual gun owners in Louisiana Thursday morning, filing a motion in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana seeking a temporary restraining order to stop authorities in and around the City of New Orleans from seizing firearms from private citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Arbitrary gun seizures, without warrant or probable cause, have been reported during the past three weeks since the Crescent City was devastated by the hurricane. In cases reported to SAF, police refused to give citizens receipts for their seized firearms. Earlier, SAF insisted that police account for all seized firearms, disclose their whereabouts, and explain how they will be returned to their rightful owners. Authorities have not responded. Gun confiscations have been highly publicized since the New York Times quoted New Orleans Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III, who said, "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," and ABC News quoted Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley stating, "No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons."

For example, a San Francisco, CA camera crew from KTVU filmed one incident in which visiting California Highway Patrol officers tackled an elderly woman identified as Patricia Konie, to seize her pistol and forcibly remove her from her home. An ABC news crew accompanying an Oklahoma National Guard unit filmed another incident in which homeowners were handcuffed and disarmed, then released but without their firearms.

"We are delighted to work jointly with the NRA in an effort to bring these outrageous gun seizures to a halt," said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. "Our inquiries about these confiscations were cavalierly ignored, as were our demands for a public explanation from the police and city officials about why citizens were being unlawfully disarmed, leaving them defenseless against lingering bands of looters and thugs. "New Orleans officials left us with no recourse," Gottlieb observed. "It was bad enough that Big Easy residents were victims of the worst natural disaster in the nation's history. That they would be subsequently victimized by their own local government, taking their personal property without warrant, is unconscionable. These illegal gun seizures must be stopped, now."

The word I'm hearing via the grapevine is that the confiscations are pretty wide spread. Unlike the military which refused to take part in this, the police are basically using this as an excuse to totally disarm the populace. If you want to help, donations can be sent here. Hmmm. I didn't see the ACLU listed?

UPDATE: The NRA's press release on this is here.

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Maybe not this horsey:  I was talking about eating horsemeat below. I ain't gonna try with this one.

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Aikido in LA: Last night I visited Daiwa Aikido Dojo to see Toma, an old friend from an email discussion group. It's a fun and yet serious place to train. An even biggie surprise was that Justin had left the lovely Sara for an evening to come up and visit me. Wow. We were all going to make it an early night but we talked under the street light for hours. I even got my coffee from Toma: turns out his second job is at a coffee roaster's.

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21 September 2005

Mr. Ed on a bun: Getting the WSJ daily here makes me realize how much I've missed it. Today's center column (log in required) was on the horsemeat slaughterhouses in Texas. I thought the last one was in Oklahoma but it appears that I was wrong again. There is one run by Belgians in Kaufman Texas. I've had both horsemeat as Steak American and also grilled like a ribeye when I was in Belgium and it was pretty good. So I wonder if I could buy a couple of pounds of Mr. Ed for the fall BBQ?

Not surprisingly, the article reports that a whole bunch of people don't want horses killed for meat. Despite the fact there are no places to keep old horses, that older horses need medical care, that people want to get rid of them because of the expense of keeping them, and against the opinion of everyone from the American Veterinary Medicine Association to the American Quarter Horse Association support it, a few overly citified moonbats people are horrified at the thought and trying to ban it in the US. Hmmm, is Rep. Sweeney, a vocal anti-horseburger activist, willing to take and care for all the excess? Is he willing to replace the jobs lost? I didn't think so. We'll skip issues like private property rights and that for now. Of course PETA is in the mess and several horse groups have said that PETA is making no secret that this is a step toward banning beef... <sigh>

So why don't we all start calling Mssr. Kemseke and asking if we can each get 10 pounds of horse roast or so?

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Burbank Today: I saw one client this morning for a brief call and then headed back to the hotel to catch up on email, the blog, etc. So I went and read my normal rounds from the Puppy-blender to my various friends. I saw this on BA and am now ready to cry. Or kill and eat something. Anyway, it looks like a light day until I present my tutorial this afternoon and then head over to Toma's aikido school to get tossed around by some redhead again. I wonder if he'll have coffee? I wonder if I'll be able to walk tomorrow?

Hey, anybody know what these trees are? The wood any good for turning? The way they twist should give great figure...

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20 September 2005

The Bonfire of Vanities is up at FileItUnder, another DFW area blogger and punter of small animals. Nicely done with very pithy (hmmm, I am not sure what the center of a tree has to do with this but he likes the word) links. Go and read some honest bloggers, those of us who admit our posts suck.

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Varo, Mexican Law, and the Border: The WSJ has this amazing article on this legal mess in Mexico where some judge decided the Ms. Varo's lover's collection of her art wasn't really his. This decision was made despite Mr. Gruen having cancelled checks, receipts, and Ms. Varo's will. They were all declared private documents and inadmissible to the case.  Their time living together greatly exceeded common law marriage in Mexico, but that was tossed out too. Why yes, it was originally started by the Mexican government to get control of her collection. (She was a well-known surrealist and her work is very desirable if you are an art collector.) So basically the Mexican Government was screwing this fellow over. Now another heir has turned up and the government is changing its position because this niece lives in France. So the art would leave the country... Suddenly things are changing...

Okay, honestly, I don't really care other than it seems like another example of the corruption down South and some poor bastard is being robbed of the stuff his lover wanted him to have. What I do think this illustrates is how corrupt and evil the government system in Mexico is and why so many people want to get out? How can you start a business in a place where the rule of law isn't? I think it also teaches why some many illegal immigrants do not feel like there is anything wrong with breaking US laws and why they tend to hide from the system here. Would you want the Mexican Legal System to notice you?  It's a shame because Mexico is blessed with resources, a hard working and intelligent people, and lots of potential. Now, in Mexico, you blame the US for all the problems. A revolution might be a more logical response...especially if the US does the needful thing and seals its border. No wonder Fox wants to encourage people to sneak out. If they had to stay home, they might start asking for change and justice. Sadly, what they will get will probably be worst as it would be some form of socialism or communism. The problem isn't "so far from God and so near the US" - its so far from God and so corrupt.

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Shing yi, NATAS, and LA: Well, I spent most of the morning dealing with the nightmare that is LA traffic when it rains. It was absolutely amazing. Scanning the radio stations I wonder if the idea of shutting up wasn't put strongly enough. The Christian radio stations I found caused me to have a negative religious experience: by the time I got out of the car, I was ready to sacrifice people to Odin or Stribog...especially if I could have gotten my hands on some of the "Christian" DJs.

The NATAS session in honor of Dr. Gillham was awesome. It was the best session I've ever seen at NATAS and the breadth of his influence on polymer science would be hard to overestimate.

The best part of the day was attending Uncle Stu's shing yi class. He is one of my teacher's class-brothers and more into the physical effects of shing yi on conditioning the body than most. (That's how seeing his class stuck me.) He made about four corrections on me and at that point my brain fried. His students do a bunch of two man drills I don't know and a mess of different exercises to support the basic five...dang cool. Best yet, he's a woodworker with a totally different style of work. Very artisty compared to what I do.  I'll have to send him some mesquite or Texas ebony...

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19 September 2005

San Diego again: I went back to San Diego to finish the training for the small pharmaceutical company I visited last time. Despite not having the time to visit da goddess or another one else, the sunsets over the Pacific were almost worth it. It made sitting in the parking lot called I-5 if not pleasant at least non-suicidal. (Sorry, kids, no photos) I did manage to back back to NATAS (North American Thermal Analysis Society and Satan spelt backwards -yes I do think that is a sign) for the reception for Dr. Gillham, who was honored this year for his life-long work on thermosets. John is a great scientist and a true gentleman. Since Vlad was busy for dinner, I hung out there and was a continuing embarrassment to my profession. Amazing how uptight Chemists can be. The best part of the conference really happened yesterday. A dear friend of mine, John Enns, and his wife were in the bar and I went by to say hello. He was a student of Gillham and started to introduce me to the man. Dr. Gillham looked and said: "Haven't we met before? I thought so. I've followed your papers with interest and, of course, I have your book."  The last part made the week for me.

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Phase Diagrams applied to Curing Materials: John Gillham has done a lot of stuff but my favorite topic is his development of the Gillham-Enns Diagrams orthe Time-Temperature-Transition Diagrams. In metallurgy and physical chemistry, there exist phase diagrams, drawings that map the changes in a material as a function of  various conditions. The simplest look at how a material changes as a function of pressure and temperature, so one can plot the position of the tirple point, where the material can exist as a gas, a liquid and a solid. Another variation looks 2 components' ratios in the material as a function of temperature and pressure so onaae can determine what conditions are needed to affect certain state changes and to change crystal structures. For example, hardening steel depends on the mixture of iron and carbon you have, the temperature, and the pressure. Heating the material to a certain temperature gets a certain structure and then you have to cool it so rapidly it doesn't have time to change. For a smith, this means cherry red and quench in brine. For a scientist, it is more exact and hence modern steels exceed anything available in the good old days. Gillham applied this concept to the curing of thermosetting polymers, polymers that change irreversibly on heating. This has made working with thermosets immensely easier as it created a way to visibly collect and display the key transformations needed to make a decent cure. Most of my work with Bryan developed out of Gillham's approach.

If you are using an epoxy to glue a handle on a kitchen knife, well, it probably doesn't matter much. However, if you are molding a complex shape, then things like the point of minimum viscosity (where it flows the most), the gel point (where a network of cross-links is established and the material starts acting springy) and the vitrification point (where the material is now a glass and curing is slowed or stopped) are very important. Being able to map the temperature profile to the highest possible Tg (which means greatest degree of cure) becomes complex and the TTT diagram allows you to see what the kinetic equations tell you.

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18 September 2005

Evil, Beauty, and STFU: I finished Hart's The Doors of the Sea on the flight out to Burbank today. Besides suggesting something similar to Hopko and Schememann on being silent, he uses the poetry of Voltaire following the Lisbon quake and Dostoevsky's Ivan from the Brothers Karamazov  to illustrate to views that need a response. Now, I am not going to ruin the book for anyone, but his summary of these two viewpoints needs to be mentioned. The deist, Voltaire, see the horror that suffering abd death are no morally intelligible. The lapsed Christian, Ivan, sees that it would be far worse if they were. A Christian who holds the injured, dying, or dead, sees the face of the enemy, powers we war against. Yet, answering either of those voices may be unwise.

What strikes me is the idea that maybe we, Christians, need to learn to shut up. Fr. Hopko points out: "Our world is saturated with talk of Jesus Christ, the Bible, and salvation, much of which is sacrilege and nonsense. Because the record of Christian witness is so poor, Christians must again win the right to speak. A strong case may be made that evangelists in our time must primarily be silent examples..." This may be an important lesson. In my misspent youth, I had lovers who were very vocally Christian and their behavior was such I would attend Campus Crusade meeting to get laid. Sadly it worked. I knew a more than few Christian women who had abortions while in that organization. (Not that I mean to pick on them: I had a major, ahem, issue teaching Sunday School with one mother whose was shocked to find out the Orthodox Church considers abortion to be murder and has for 2000 years.I was just young and evil and they were around...) The thing that dragged me kicking and screaming back into the faith wasn't their talking about God; if anything that drove be to greater evils. The few people I have seen convert did so not because of words or preaching but because someone in their life lived in such a way that Christ could speak through them in their actions: a life based on what was honorable, right, Godly. Not a perfect life but a life that was somehow different from the run-of-a-mill churchgoer, one that involved a truly merciful heart, that loved without conditions yet hated wickedness. Isaac of Syria talks of the merciful heart, that heart the loves all creation, even those that wrong it...and cries for the suffering all living things bear.  There is an old proverb about "crying for beauty" my grandfather used to quote. I later learned the idea of beauty bringing tears was a very Orthodox idea, like the idea of the scent of holiness. Orthodoxy often seems a dour and sad form of Christianity to converts because this idea is so much part of it. Have you ever seen the "unbearable beauty that breaks the hearts of men?" A pretty girl in spring, a couple in love, a child or puppy at play, a work of art, a piece of science that is just so amazing, so cool moves you to tears? For the merciful heart, I think, the tears are tinted with the knowledge all things in this world are touched by death and sin by our own choice. And the tears comes because of the sorrow that beauty, like the cherry blossoms in Japan verse, will fade in a day and a night.

As Christians, we know that the Divine victory is assured, death is already overthrown, and that the world will be remade into something we can not imagine. How we explain that without making it sound like God is the heartless engineer of the deist is beyond me. I am being to think it's beyond words, like Lewis suggested the problem with chastity was to the non-believer. Maybe we should just be silent and work on our own salvation with prayer and fasting and let our actions be our witness. The problem with that is, of course, it is much harder than preaching the faith.

UPDATE: Trackback problem is now fixed and after logging 9 hours of car time in LA, I think the STFU message is way past due.

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17 September 2005

Wow: If you haven't seen Dr. Goodheart, you really need to. A retired physician from California is volunteering his skills in Mississippi to help with aftermath of Katrina. Posts talk about the Catholic-Buddhist divide (and guess what - it ain't just all those evil Christians. No, it turns out Judge Dee was right), the reason the NC mobile hospital is there and not in NOLA (hint: what is white in Spanish?), and other good stuff. (hat tip to Powerline).

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Dang the FDA: Anna's right. Szechwan peppercorns are not imported anymore. So I have to hoard my stock in the freezer carefully and we'll have to us this alternate recipe for red cooked pork. It's actually probably a better one than one I use as that has a lot of hot pepper in it (it's changed over the years). This is more like what you'd get at First China BBQ in Richardson, Texas if you leave the chili pepper out. (BTW, their duck is good too.)

2 pounds boneless pork (loin, butt or pork leg)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
4 tablespoons soy sauce (preferably dark soy sauce if you can find it)
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 shallot, chopped
4 teaspoons five spice
4 teaspoons grated ginger root
4 cloves garlic, crushed

In a large bowl, mix everything together except the pork. In a large bag, put pork and 1/2 of the mess, mix well so the meat is coated, burp the air out, and then marinate in refrigerator 8-12 hours. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove pork from liquid and toss liquid out.  Pat pork dry with paper toweling. Place in roasting pan and cook until pork is tender and lightly browned. Baste a copy times during cooking with reserved  Internal temperature should be about 155. Remove and slice thin. Serve over rice.

Leftovers (ha! in this house?) can be stir-fired with rice noodles as here. You don't even need the pickled veggies. Or they can be used to make fried rice.

If you have the peppercorns, you could try this variation. To the above marinade add:

1 Tbsp ginger, sliced finely

1 tsp Szechwan peppercorns*

2 tsp cinnamon

5 star anise

1 tsp chili pepper or chipotle powder

1/2 tsp dried orange peel

Do everything else as above. This stuff has a bit of a bite. And write the FDA and complain about the ban. Sheeesh!

* these are normally fried in a pan first and then crushed.

UPDATE: Hey, Anna was half right! You can get them here. Pre-roasted and a bit milder from the heat treatment but overall the taste is close to the same.. see here. I'm still danging the FDA for no untreated ones thro.

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Still here: however, digging out from Noah's ER visit and work has kept me from posting or reading much of anything. Hopefully we can at least get a recipe up tomorrow...from the NATAS Conference in LA where I'm stuck this week.

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13 September 2004

Boy Scout Stuff: Well, Noah recovered enough to allow him to attend his Scout Troop's Court of Honor, where he got his Star Scout rank as well as the merit badges earned over the summer. The troop awarded 108 merit badges last night and had another Eagle Conference the preceding week.  They must have at least four activities besides the weekly meetings for this month as well as a skiing camp-out scheduled in north New Mexico for late December.

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Blanco as the delicate flower of the South: What the hell is wrong with Louisiana? They elected some dip governor who seems to be incapable of making a decision and acts like a spoiled child. She can't decide to ask for help, she won't let anyone else control the mess, and now she reluctantly takes responsibility for paying contractors to remove the dead. Her comment: "its FEMA's job". Excuse me, Ms. Governor, but someone needs to explain to you what most of us teach our kids at pre-school ages. It's your damned state. You are responsible for what is yours. Not FEMA. Not Bush. You. If you can't, get the hell out. The people of Louisiana elected you and you screwed them over with your inability to stand up on your hind legs and do something. I know a fair number of women from Louisiana and they tend to be tough and competent people. You are an embarrassment and shame on their reputations. So much for self-sufficient women leaders from the Democratic Party (come to think of it Ann Richards was pretty worthless too.) If the GOP is smart, they'll spend the next couple of years tying Blanco performance to all women Democrats: "So who's Hillary going to beg for help?". Unfair. You bet. But its is no worse than the Democrats using the dead and homeless from Katrina as another cheap excuse to attack Bush.

That mayor of NO isn't even worth discussing.

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12 September 2004

Busy weekend: Well, let's see I spent Friday doing demos and flying home, then we had Freedom Pen Turning at the booth the Golden Triangle Woodturners put up at the Denton Car Show downtown on Saturday (No hassles from the Democrats this year unlike last time), a boy scout function, a gun show, and ended up by taking Noah to the hospital for an allergic reaction at midnight on Sunday. Everyone needs an epi-pen around just in case.

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8 September 2005

Guns for those bad days:  The question was asked of the Cordite regulars of what guns would you want for a disaster. Well, not being of the Mel Trappen worldview, I looked at what was the minimum I'd want to protect my family in 3 to 10 days of chaos FEMA says we will experience before some sort of civilization will be re-established in the case of a nightmare like Katrina. Now, I live in a small city on the outer edge of the Dallas-Fort Worth sprawl and while we see wildlife, the largest ones to worry about are coyotes and feral pigs. So most of my concern is going to be people. I am assuming that each person requires a personal weapon (pistol) as well as any long guns and that my normal emergency store of food, water, and medical supplies is adequate (see downloads on side column). I'm also assuming I want weapons in commonly available calibers and that you'd have a fair amount of ammo (translation a couple thousand rounds). So here's the minimum for a family of four:

1) Pistols: 4 matched guns in .45 ACP caliber with at least one set of spare parts, 5 magazines each,  holsters and belts. Pistols are for when you can't use anything else and are to be worn all the time. I'd also want a long colt with ammo for that as well as moonclips for the ACP rounds.

2) Long guns: All of us have .243s in either single shot New England Arms or bolt actions Ruger. A great round for disposing of pests and I'd say every family needs one as the single shot. For defensive purposes, the smaller folks have Ruger Mini-14s with scopes and the rest of us have Garand M1A. Actually we have 4 of the latter but I don't think the littlest one can handle it. If I was buying from the ground up, I'd get something  semiautomatic in .308 or .243 but we shoot the Garands enough we know them and the 30-06 is a hell of a round. Yeah, the rifle is heavy, but we are planning to stay put until the crap is over. (We don't flood here.) If we have to move, it would be by car and I want something heavy enough to make cover into concealment. I'd keep a couple thousand rounds in clips too.

3) Shotgun: Mossberg 12 guage pumps. What else but a pump? Any professional lowlife will recognize the noise it makes and with 20" barrels and buckshot, its a great defensive tool. I'd like at least 2.  A semi for the goddess and smaller kid would be nice as the recoil tends to bounce both of them.

4) Rim-fire: You need a .22 LR in pistol and rifle for killing varmints like squirrels and rats as well as for special tasks. Cooper had a few ideas for these in his books.

Other stuff:  Doors that are firmly attached to the walls, internal shutters for the windows, a small generator and fuel - well, see the lists on the side column. If it looks like society is totally collapsing, I'm heading to the lease and its a different game.

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7 September 05

The Christian Carnival

Welcome back. The Christian Carnival was last here in the Spring and was one of the first Carnivals I had the honor of hosting. This week Dory is on the road and has left me with the keys to the place, so I'm redecorating. My theme this week is iconography, the writing* of icons, those images used universally in he Christian Church up to the 800. At that time, in the Eastern Churches, the influence of Islam on certain sects lead to the great Iconoclastic heresies. This never really became in issue in the East until after the Reformation. Having dealt with this issue early on, the Eastern Church has a whole approach to iconography that ties to the theology of the Incarnation. St. John of Damascus, whose work includes both writing on Divine Images as well as the Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, ties the ability to write icons of Christ to the fact He became flesh for our sake and so had an image-able form whereas God the Father is beyond imagining.  The scroll has one of his best known quotes: "I adore the Creator of all matter who became matter for my sake." Eastern Tradition traces the icons of Christ to the icon called "Not made by Hands," an image of Jesus made during his life as well as icons painted by St. Luke under the direction of Christ's mother, step-brother, and apostles. The icon, Not Made by Hands, reputedly comes from someone who wanted to paint Jesus's picture for his king but wasn't able to. Hearing the king believed Jesus' image would be enough to cure his leporsy, Jesus wiped his face on the linen and his image appeared. On seeing it, the king was healed. Later copies of this icon painted on clothes are believed to have given rise to the Western Story of Veronica's Veil, the words meaning "true image" being misheard by a Crusader as Veronica.  I've grouped this weeks posts by icons that I felt related to them.

The Suffering Servant: The icon of Christ as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah's prophecy is normally displayed on Good Friday. It shows Our Lord in his suffering. There are two very similar icons: Extreme Humility (left) and The Bridegroom (right). Subtle differences in the writing but very difference names. One for the humility of He who created everything and let his creatures put him to death, who emptied Himself of unimaginable Glory to become man so that man might become God; the other for the bridegroom who loves the bride so much... 

Speaking of suffering, Christians in countries ruled by Moslems are little better than dogs. It's part of the Koran that Christians must feel oppressed and submit. John Pettigrew has a bit on the battle for Islam. Being of the Orthodox Faith, I think "for" should be replaced by "with". My faith knows quite well what Islam really is like but John is more hopeful.

Another viewpoint of the Christian life is "live more abundantly." Lyn of  Thought Renewal looks at Joel Osteen's book Your Best Life Now and re-discovers 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. Or do we?

Hammertime of  Team Hammer's Musings looks at unity and the Church: "We are all rightly distressed, and ashamed also, at the divisions of Christendom." but there's more to it.

Funky Dung of Ales Rarus looks at a Jesus Event and see blasphemy. Rightly so. But as he asks, what the heck is going on with some of the responses?

The High Priest: Christ is described as the High Priest, the advocate for us before God the Father, Who's offering was acceptable to the Father. Another icon of Christ shows him dressed as a High Priest, reminding us of this and reminding us that when a human priest stands before the altar, he is an icon of Christ. Some modern theologians have argued this is the basis of an all male priesthood. As Christ incarnated as male, his icons must confirm to that.

Richard at dokeo kago grapho soi krastistos theophilos writes about the Origins of the Christian Doctrine of the Atonement tracing it to the Jewish High Priest.

Gary of  The Secret Life of Gary asks the question: Is God your imaginary friend? If not, how do you tell He isn't? An interesting question about Someone we claim is the Lord of All.

Dadmanly at Gladmanly looks at when God can work with us. Scary that He chooses to act that way, at least to me.

Calling us all to prayer, Donna-Jean of Liberty and Lily begs God to Heal our Land and us to help.

Christ as Panocrator - the Divine Ruler and Judge: One of the most common icons ones sees today of Christ Jesus is Him enthroned as the Judge and Lawgiver. This icon serves as a reminder we will all stand one day before the Dreadful Judgment Seat of God and that Jesus has said he expects more than a lukewarm attempt from us. The Panocrator is also the ruler of all, reminding us all things are under God's dominion.  Often He is shown enthroned.

Scott at the Online Pilgrim reads Ezekiel 33:7-10 and wonders is he the Prophet or the man the prophet speaks to?

Even time a disaster happens, the issue of God's Judgment comes up - Tyler at Resources for Biblical Studies Blogspot looks Reflections on Hurricane Katrina and and God's Judgment.

Lee of the Captain's Personal Blog looks at the question of Judgment too. Can Katrina be a judgment on America? If so, how do you know?

Phil Threeten asks about the storms of God. No, not the line from Chesterton's the Last Hero, but why natural disasters occur in an attempt to suggest one reason that they might be allowed by God.

All this discussion of God's Judgment get Ed at Attention Span wondering if Katrina could be an instrument of God's Judgment or not. I'm going with not personally...

Ray Pritchard talks of an encounter at the Farmer's Market, where he learns what is given today may be taken away tomorrow.

Diane of Crossroads looks at where was God in Katrina's rage and gives a poetic answer.

Penitens of a Penitent Blogger writes about intimidating tasks and the Power of Christ God.

Nailman of a Firm Nail also looks at Katrina, New Orleans, and Looting and argue that in catastrophes like these many of God's ordinary restraints on wickedness (like law enforcement) are removed, and we begin to see people as they really are. Rather than making us critical of the people who loot, behavior like this ought to remind us of our own sin and bring us to turn to God for salvation and changed desires.

Bruce of the Sprucegoose looks at a line from Job in a discussion of Katrina: The Clouds turn around and around

Dick of WSCleary Viewpoint looks at the question: Does God punish the innocent? An old question indeed. I like the answer in the Brothers Karamazov...

CWV of Christianity is Jewish details her view of the Hurriance Katrina in God versus Cthulhu on Katrina. One I find I can't share but as a old Lovecraft fan, I like the title.

Catez at Allthings2all also looks at the hurricane in Katrina God's Judgment? Please Get A Life.  A good response to certain claims out there...Actually, I am being to think I need a life too.

Trudy from the Godblog also writes on the hurricane and says don't blame God for Katrina. He takes an older approach and works forward...

The Creation: Orthodoxy teaches that the very Word of God who created the world emptied Himself of Glory, so He who encloses the Universe became enclosed in the womb of a virgin. Iconography shows this two ways: in the Creation of the animals shown here on the left and in the Icon of the Sign on the right, where Christ God is shown as Panocrator yet enclosed in the Theotoksis's womb.

My own post this week is on evolution or perhaps more exactly, Science and Christian. If Christ is the truth, and Science a seeking of the truth, then the two shall meet someday. However, bad science for the sake of the Gospel isn't helping the cause. I've never met anyone who didn't believe in God because of Evolution. It's all seemed to be moral issue when you dig deep enough.

Speaking of moral issues, Mr. Satire sends this little piece on Evolution and Intelligent Design that suggests maybe we are fighting the wrong battle. (Warning: its a very satirical site and tends to be a bit off-color.)

Alex of Jordan's View hears God voice in another way and writes about it in Mysterious Ways.

Lance at Eternal Revolution continues his answer to an atheist on Original Sin and Christ's Sacrifice. I like his rejection of crime and punishment idea. In the East, the analogy was drawn to civil law and the manumission (ransoming) of a slave.

The Good Shepherd: The icons of Christ as the Shepherd who lies down His Life for His sheep show our Lord as a sheepherder. A common image that many of us may not fully understand in our non-rural cities but one that rings true never less. Similarly agrarian is the image of Christ as the true vine and we as His fruit.

Tom of Thinking Christian tells a personal journey by following the evidence to a belief in Jesus Christ in the midst of a discussion with people of varying beliefs on the evidence for Christianity. He doesn't let you stay lost, Tom, unless you want to be.

Rey of Bible Archive looks at surpassing the righteous of the Pharisees and how it is supposed to flow from who are. Good vines and trees bear good fruits by their nature.

Along a similar line, John of Blogotional asks the question: Are you a grace grinder? Wow. His talk of the balance is almost Orthodox...with the capital O.

Kim of Sharing Spirit looks at our Complete Dependence in these really hard and unimaginable times such as this is when we really need to be depending upon God's Sovereignty and Providence

Ron of Northern Burbs Blog tells of learning things past your bedtime and that sometimes the importance stuff isn't learned at school. Mine sure wasn't.

One thing my home learning did do was set what I called "spiritual firewalls". Those built by my grandfather literally saved my soul. Dadmanly looks at the similar idea of Moral Levees, those bulwarks against chaos and catastrophe, and another, not of moral construction, but of human will, as inner and outer levees.

Mark at Pseudo-Polymath address the question of giving a fish or teaching fishing in his post on the Paradox of Poverty. How do we help the poor, if what they most need is self reliance for any aid decreases that which they need? Any aid may be too far but we do run into His instructions, no?

In a book review, Violet of Promptings recommends  Bible or Ax by William Levi, a story of being a Christian in the Southern Sudan. Like much of the oppression of Christians by Islam today, that's a topic needs much more response from us. The US entered Bosnia for much less...but then again we didn't defend the Christians in Kosovo from Islam either. (Sorry, but that really makes me angry.)

Phil of Brandywine Books sends a recommendation for The Thanatos Syndrome by Walker Percy as a good read in this times. Can I counter-offer with The Doors of the Sea by Hart?

Acknowledgements: I spent Monday running around the house with my digital camera and scanner to collect these. I have no clue where many came from as we obtained them over the years and some are hand painted originals we had written. St. Issac's Skete has a huge collection of prints for sale as well as information on many of them. I know I got some of these from them. My limited digital abilities aren't really up for handling reflections from the gold leaf on the handwritten ones...

Thanks to Nick who started this, Miss Dory who let me play, the Ubercarnival for listing us and all of you for submitting. Y'all should have trackbacks by now.  Please pray for me, a sinner.

Next week we're at Thoughts on the Christian Life.  Ending on a happier note in this week with its sorrowful news, in all things let us remember that "He is Risen", as written in this Pascha** icon "The Harrowing of Hell" showing Christ trampling down the gates of Hell and rising with Him those OT Saints as the power of Death is overthrown. (The devil in chains is under the doors Christ stands on)

* Icons are referred to as written rather than painted or drawn. Since for much of Christian history literacy was limited, and they are still used as a form of illustrated scripture, this may be the reason.

** The Feast of the Resurrection. The term used in the west, Easter, comes from the Celtic goddess of Spring, Eostre. In the east, it was called the Passover of the Lord, or in Greek, Pascha.

UPDATE 9-7-05-8am: Late posts were added this morning. Holler if you find a problem. I'll fix anything tonight.

UPDATED With New Posts: Just so our once lost but now found sheep don't feel neglected, one more icon. All Creation Rejoices shows the Incarnate God seated on the Theotoksis's lap in the midst of all created beings rejoicing.

Jeremy at Parableman has book reviews on what he thinks are the most important commentaries on Ephesians. This is part of his ongoing series on reviewing Bible commentaries. Lots of interesting details on authorship and careful evaluation/comparisons of the books. It's all too complicated for me; I'm waiting for Theophylact's in an English.

John of  Pro-Life Blogs announced the first Carnival of Life - a collection of pro-life posts. Consider writing one for it next week, okay?

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Orlando Day 2: Still raining for most of the day, but we finally got some sun this afternoon. I spent most of the day at the University of Central Florida working with a bunch of metallurgists making amorphous metals and shape memory alloys.  Dang cool. Unlike most materials that get harder as you cool them, these undergo a phase transition to a softer form as the temperature is lower so they are considerably softer at -150 C than at room temperature.

Sorry, Anna, I got pictures but the dang D-Snap won't upload to this old laptop...

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6 September 2005

Orlando, Florida:  Probably the greatest annoyance in my job is flights full of vacationers. I don't really mind families and small kids, actually I kinda like children and most of the time the little ones are just excited to be on a plane. Business travelers tend to just cope with the hassles. We do it all the time and all the seats arrive at the same time. For some reason, people on vacation seem to be in major "me" mode. Very major...  Anyway, it was no worse than expected and I got asked if I was busking by some obviously tone-deaf lady who wanted to hear some old bluegrass standard. If sales don't pick up, I may have to try that for real.

Orlando is wet. We have a soft driving rain that's fun to walk or run in and the orange groves and the Spanish moss are lovely. And best of all, the rain is keeping the danged mouse out of site. The photo shows a cormorant eating a fish while the massive hotel by the convention center reflects in the water. Birds, all sorts, are everywhere here.

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5 September 2005

Go read: I don't read Bill Whittle anymore. I did for a little bit but just lost my taste for his writing. In a similar way, I lost my taste for the vulgarity used by and doctrinal purity claimed by Kim and Misha. On a whim today, I followed a link from Glenn to this post. Go read it. It reminds me of what an old man told me: "You can't ward the world. You're not God. You can however claim and ward one part of it, if you're willing to pay the price. It might be dying, but just make sure to drag the bastards to Hell with you." It's not quite the Grey Tribe motto but not all sheepdogs are originally sheep or dogs: some were wolves who got domesticated.

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Question: If a Republican had said this about Clinton, would we have a) heard about all over the evening news, b) heard calls from the media demanding their arrest, or c) seen the Secret Service arrest them for threatening the President?  BTW Senator, if you can't handle the truth, maybe you should quit now? Because its gonna get worse when the truth about this mess comes out...

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Labor Day Dinner: Normally its hot dogs, hamburgers, and venison backstrap grilled in the backyard with homemade beans and coleslaw. Coleslaw is one of the three cabbage dishes I can get the boys to eat, the other two being stuffed cabbage rolls and saurkraut. Here's our recipe:

1/2 cup mayonnaise (Homemade is best, Connie likes Hellman's, Mother uses Hellman's lite)

 2 Tbsp. lime juice

2 Tbsp. sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground ginger (we used 1 tsp of minced from a bottle and measured by eye)

1/2 pound each of sliced purple and regular cabbage (or if lazy, a 16 ounce bag of coleslaw mix)

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (we measured by eye - the goddess says 2, I think 4.)

In a large bowl, blend the first 5 ingredients. Stir in the cabbage and cilantro. Chill for about 4 hours. We normally get 8 or so servings.

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4 September 2005

Wow I am so surprised: Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and Michael Moore today exploited the levee failure in New Orleans to attack both President Bush and the US military yet again. Like the people we hear on the news crying the government should have been here sooner, reality isn't an issue. Does anyone really believe Dowd, Rich and Moore actually give a shit about anyone harmed by Katrina? If you can force yourself to read this screeds, you'll find no concern for the victims and nothing other than attacks on someone they hate. They are just as much scum as the looters, rapists, and other people exploiting the hurricane for personal gain.

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3 September 2005

Disaster Preparedness: Unless you're Mormon, the odds are you don't normally stock stuff up for bad times. Mormons used to keep a year's worth of food: I don't know if they still do. We started keeping a bit when we were out in West Texas and worried about tornados. Now we keep about 4 weeks worth of dried food, a week of MREs, and that swimming pool of water...looking things over through in the light of Katrina, I am thinking we really need to expand what we keep, besides considering moving out to Decatur.

Anyway my liberal friend from LA sent this lists he obtained over years. What do you think? (See downloads in the sidebar) He doesn't discuss guns and I'll probably post on what I think later this week. Dave has asked for posts on that for the Carnival of Cordite this week.

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So what would you stuff the lamb with?: You've heard of a turducken? Well, if I finish the caja china/portable pit we working on as my "let's learn welding" project, we plan to roast a lamb in it at the annual BBQ we have in October the week before Youth  Hunting Weekend. Basically we are taking Val's design and making it out of heavier steel so the sliding shelf brackets can also hold the fire rack and then we can rotate the lamb on a spit over the top. Another option is to cook the lamb inside and stuff it with other mammals. So what do you put in the ribcage of the lamb. I figure we can use a lamb for the outside and a cuy for the inner most piece. A pot bellied pig? Would that be a lamigy?

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Cooking: The Carnival of Recipes is up.

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1 September 2005

Donations for New Orleans and the Coast: If you can't get a line to the Red Cross (I couldn't), how about considering the International Orthodox Christian Charities? Their donation form for the Hurricane Katrina victims is here. I did both actually 'cause too many friends and kin are down that way. If the IOCC isn't your cup of tea, Glenn has a huge list of alternatives as does the The Truth Laid Bear.

UPDATE: Glenn never did give me that link. I hate lawyers (except for you, J.D. - I still like you).

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Scum out in force: Anyone reading the paper has to wonder why we aren't shooting the looters and the morons who fired on the helicopters this morning. Sadly as proof that our gene pool needs more chlorine, I got two pieces of spam this morning: one was the standard "Nigerian" scam about needing help to move money out of Louisiana and the other was an appeal for a charity who I never heard of and whose website was set up yesterday (hmmm, does it just steal that money or will my credit card get raped too?). While I was writing about this to the driver of that black limo that haunts the streets of Knoxville to the song of "Night on Bald Mountain", I got a third, this one a personal request for money as they lost everything in the hurricane (except internet access I guess.)

Scum is really not an adequate word for these people.

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This is Science? Really? I didn't comment immediately on the reports of the study showing a fetus doesn't feel pain like an adult does because I wanted to read it first. I got a few problems: first of all, its a meta-analysis, which means they look at a bunch of other people's work and draw conclusions from that, conclusions on questions that the original workers may not have even considered. Every basic stat class warns against this approach and while techniques exist that allow you to do this, they are difficult to use well. Meta-analysis is much more susceptible to investigator bias because like a cluster analysis you are mining the data for specific information. (Cluster analysis, which is used a lot to look for things like cancer or birth defects, is notorious for interpreting random variations as valid data.). Secondly, the definition for pain that they used is odd in that they exclude things like fetal response to being touched. It reminds me of the crap that was used in earlier days to claim that animals and children did not really feel pain because they weren't advanced enough. Animals were considered to be a kind of simple machine. This repeats that horror by saying that even thro the fetus baby may look like its moving away and screaming, that not what its really doing. Interestingly this study claims pain isn't really felt like it is by an adult (hmmm, shades of vivisection there) until the 28th week of development. Hmmm, pre-mature babies as young as 23 weeks have lived, the Dutch cut-offs (yes, the Dutch actually refuse to even try below a certain age) for viability are 25 weeks, "normal" preemies are 30 or so. Having a wife whose worked with preemies, even the youngest show what normal people call pain and discomfort. I guess its the air that turns those pain nerves on.

The senior author is on record with Fox (above) as saying that while brain structures involved in feeling pain begin forming much earlier, research indicates they likely do not function until the pregnancy's final stages. Likely? don't function? Well, since you claim moving away doesn't really mean anything, I guess you can believe that. Is now a good time to mention one of the authors is the director of the UCSF abortion clinic?

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New Orleans and the Coast: I still haven't heard from all my friends and kin in South Louisiana and Mississippi. We keep hoping and praying they are safe. Serendipitously, I started Hart's the Doors of the Sea on Friday, as something to read while I waited in line to collect the boys from school. It helps, but the fleeting nature of human life and security is still, despite all the wonders of tehnology, there. "Like cherry blossums in spring" Basso I think or perhaps better "As smoke vanishes before the fire" from Vespers.

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