Tuesday, November 30, 2004

FOR YOU AMATEUR DETECTIVES-JACK THE RIPPER

Apparently, there are those who cannot tear themselves away from the arms of the "Desperate Housewives" on American television in the evenings.   The various crime-and-investigation shows throughout the years have not done badly for themselves, though, and the creepy "CSI" offerings attest to the continuing popularity of the genre.  Are you interested in the unsolved case of Victorian London's Jack The Ripper? Today, I stumbled upon a website (via Oxblog) which gives the viewer the opportunity to sift through mountains of evidence and attempt to solve the crime, themselves!

The extensive Casebook:Jack The Ripper offers the amateur detective the opportunity to play Scotland Yard and explore the notorious case. Ah, but can it be solved? Even if you are not interested in doing that kind of "work", it is a rather fascinating read, and includes message boards where sleuths share information and theories. What fun, for a gloomy, wet and cold winter's day - how perfectly English!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

MOTHER'S WEEKEND ROUNDUP

After having a safe and comfortable Thanksgiving with the ones I love, I find myself thinking about our uniformed services.   Actually, I think about them daily, and I hope that you do too.  They are not just in the mountains and deserts of the Middle East, but everywhere they need to be to keep us safe. Do not forget that they are our frontlines on the WOT...and in case you have let yourself become complacent about that, you should know that the Madrid bombing has now been linked to 9-11.  This is never just going to go away on its own.

Thank you, every one of you, who are taking care of business for us.

Fallen Marines
Texas Soldier's Funeral
Online Petition supporting Marine in Fallujah
Belmont Club looks at Fallujah,here and here.  Be sure you read the last few paragraphs of the former- but not if you have a weak stomach. We are doing the right thing, make no mistake about that.
A nice "Happy Thanksgiving" piece to look at over at Mudville...and a thought-provoking Thanksgiving message from Greyhawk himself...
Blackfive suggests Pat Tillman for Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year- should there be any question?  Go see what he has to say and go vote-often!
The Paratrooper of Love also had a link to a great Thanksgiving story about our people in Iraq going through much more than the woods to get Thanksgiving to their buddies!

All of this should make you want to do something! Do not just think of our Troops-take action!  'E-mail them , get with the USO, the VFW and anyone else who is doing something for the Troops.  Adopt one soldier or a platoon, but do it now.

Here a just a few to choose from:

Soldier's Angels,
Adopt a Platoon,
Adopt a Sniper,
Adopt Any Soldier,
Operation Gratitude
and the new Department of Defense site, America Supports You.
The Holidays are upon us, and there may be a tiny possibility things could get through before Christmas, but the need will not stop then. Do your part.

THANKFUL ON THANKSGIVING

Here it is, late on Thanksgiving evening, and now it is time to reflect...As a Christian, I must praise God, and thank Him for all of the gifts He has heaped upon me.  For, without Him, there is nothing! Thank You, God, for the breath of life; this world, for my being an American, for my wonderful parents. Thank You for my sweet and understanding husband and our darling children. Thank You for granting me such mercy, and opening my eyes to so much.

I am so thankful for the generations of people who have made the sacrifices that have brought forth this great nation of ours, especially those whom have made the ultimate sacrifice. None of us can be certain of our future, not even of the next day. America exists because of those who made the choice to step forward, to take the chances, to take on the responsibilities of seeking a new way of life.  From Christopher Columbus, on, those very courageous people have eschewed the comforts of the known for the difficulties of the pathways to hope. It is not without some expectations of their own that they have done this, but they have always carried the futures of others with them.

So, as I sit here at my keyboard, in my warm and safe home...after I have spent the evening with my loved ones, or conversed happily on the phone with them...I must now think my most serious thoughts, and pray my most serious prayers. I pray for the health of those in my family who will recover from their illnesses, and I pray for the comfort of those who will not.  I pray so strongly, too, for the safety of all of the men and women in uniform who are making the sacrifices that I may be here now. Dear God, Thank You for those people... keep them safe and give them courage. Please shower extra love upon their families, who must miss them more at times like now - and please give extra comfort to those who feel the pain of the greatest loss.

I am thankful to be an American.

SUPPORTING THE TROOPS

Go over to the Rottweiler and see what they have to say - read the comments too.  On this day, above all, we should be thankful for those who are putting it all on the line for us (as we sit back patting our bellies while considering the turkey sandwich...)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

IN THE ARTIST'S STUDIO

Today, Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit sent us over to look at a comment about the (wonderfully terrific, fun and uplifting) movie, "The Incredibles".   I cannot say I particularly agree with the author's assessment of the movie in relation to a certain other movie, but that is not what I found to be so fascinating there.  There are many real treats to be found at the Quent Cordair Fine Art website.  There, you will find the beautifully rendered work of "Romantic Realists" (if it supposed to be a painting of a beautiful woman, she is, and all of her correct number of parts are in the proper place!)

Go visit this "art gallery" on the web.  The real treat (in my estimation) is the opportunity presented to observe the different stages of progress of featured works, complete with artist's commentary!   I have not seen this before , although that does not mean it does not exist elsewhere...This access to the creative process is such a valuable gift, thank you, thank you, thank you!

MOTHER'S STUFFING FOR THE BIRD

Cooking can be a joyous and creative activity, allowing us to extend our love to others from our hearts and hearths.  Whenever we prepare food,however, we must remember safety. Work hard not to cross-contaminate work-surfaces and utensils.  Wash everything with warm soapy water before re-using, and spray flat surfaces with a bleach spray or other anti-bacterial! Do you use the same sponge or cloth for everything? Using a fresh paper towel can help prevent this, as well as discourage the growth of bacteria found on sponges and used cloth towels.  Today's strong (and yes, more expensive, but I really believe this is one product which is worth the extra cost) paper towels can be used for many cleanups and other kitchen chores (including washing the dishes and pans) before they fall apart.  Make sure that pets and children are not underfoot to get splashed, burned or scalded, and keep pothandles turned inward (so as not to catch on a sleeve and spill.)  Make sure fire safety equipment is available and that you are comfortable with the proper procedures for handling kitchen emergencies such as different kinds of fires,cuts and burns. Do not leave food out in the open for too long when it should be chilled, and commit to "err on the side of caution" when you question whether or not it is safe to consume. Check out this FDA website about food and kitchen safety and here for the Shriner's kitchen safety and burn prevention tips and the Tempe (Arizona) Fire Department had a quick-to-read page on kitchen safety (accident and fire prevention, including for grilling.) All of these precautions will help insure a safe and happy Holiday for you and yours!

For a 12-pound turkey (which would feed 6 adults and 4 children), this recipe will yield approximately 9 cups of stuffing:

-1/4 cup minced onion
-1-1/2 cups chopped celery (stalks and leaves included)
-1/2 cup butter or margarine
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1 can chicken broth
-9 cups soft (fresh) bread cubes (any flavor, including cornbread)---or--- a 14 oz. (large) bag of purchased dry bread stuffing

The dry purchased stuffing bread cubes or crumbs are usually already seasoned with spices, so add the below only if you are using your "own" or "fresh" bread.

-2 teaspoons salt
-1-1/2 teaspoons crushed dry sage
-1 teaspoon thyme
-1/2 teaspoon pepper

The chopped onion and celery may be sautee'd in the butter on top of the stove at medium heat until they are clear
OR MICROWAVE THEM
Microwave the onions and celery separately with no butter or oil in a covered casserole dish, on high power for 1-1/2 minutes at a time, until transparent. Rotate and stir them after each round to ensure even cooking. This method obviously saves on time and can provide a way to cut back on fat calories if less fat is used later in the recipe. The celery and onion can be done ahead and frozen if the meal is days away.

In a large bowl (or several, just divide the ingredients evenly) mix the bread crumbs, spices (if you are using them) and the cooked onions and celery.
At this point, you may decide to de-fatten your stuffing considerably.
You may use all of the olive oil and butter, or just add enough of each in equal amounts to flavor the stuffing...Maybe totaling 1/2 cup of fat overall, or even down to 1/4 cup?  You may even choose to use only the olive oil if cholesterol is a big concern.  (Do not skip using all of the oil or butter, but remember that this will be soaking up juices from the turkey, too!) In a large bowl or pan, mix the chicken broth and enough melted butter, olive oil or more chicken broth to equal 1-1/2 cups.
Pour the chicken broth and oil/butter mixture over the breadcrumbs, stirring well to moisten the stuffing.  If the stuffing is still not evenly moist (sticks together loosely, but not soaked), then add more chicken broth (or bullion.)

Prepare the turkey for stuffing by rinsing the inside cavities (abdominal and neck), and proceed to stuff the bird only right before it goes into the oven, because otherwise it becomes a food-poisoning opportunity (Remember, it is not just the in-laws who are sharing the meal!).  Do not pack the stuffing in hard. Again, I suggest referring to the Butterball site for "lessons" on stuffing!

If there is any leftover stuffing, (I never could get that much into the bird), you may put it in a greased casserole dish to pop it (covered) into the oven after the turkey has come out for about 1/2 hour , or MICROWAVE it on MEDIUM for 10 minutes. It could probably use some more chicken broth (since it will not be basting in turkey juices), and I like to scoop some of the turkey drippings up and pour them (mixed with some broth) over the stuffing before I cook it.

CHESTNUTS ROASTING

Chestnut dressing is a tradition in my family, and it is easy to make, as long as the chestnuts are available.  Blights have really affected the crops, and one never knows what size chestnuts wait at the grocers-if any are available at all.  I have not seen them yet, this year, but I am going to the store today. The dark brown, smooth nuts are almost heart-shaped and these days seem to range from the diameter of a quarter to that of a silver-dollar in size. The cooked meat (roasted) is somewhat sweet in taste, and soft in texture.

We have always roasted our chestnuts on a baking sheet, in the oven. To keep them from exploding, cut an "x" on the flat top with a paring knife.  (Be very careful that you do not cut an "x" on the tip of your thumb...But actually, that can be a special Thanksgiving tradition of its own!) If you wrap the blade of the knife with electrician's or duct tape, (leaving about 1/2 inch of the tip exposed), that will lessen your chances to cut yourself when preparing the nuts!

Preheat your oven to 425 F, and lay the nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-25 minutes (according to how big they are.) After the nuts have cooled use the paring knife to peel the outer shell and the inner membrane from the meat. Chop the nutmeats coarsely and mix in with the above stuffing recipe made with white bread (as opposed to corn bread.)   These nuts are often fairly expensive, but I have found that a little flavor goes a long way. A half-pound of chestnuts would be fine for the above amount of the recipe, although the more, the better!

Enjoy!

Monday, November 22, 2004

THE MARINE RIFLE PLATOON

You know, I just love our military!  I saw this over at Blackfive's, and just had to send you over to see! Be sure and take a look around while you are there, there is a lot going on that you should be thinking about.

MOTHER'S COOKING SCHOOL- THE TURKEY

As we approach this Holiday Feast of ours, in Thankfulness to our God, Creator or whatever fates one might think brought us to thrive on these shores, consider the turkey.   Such succulent delight, infused with the memories of all of the Thanksgivings before. It is this very creature, this gift of nature that the esteemed Benjaminn Franklin dubbed, "a bird of courage", which rests in such beauty in his eternal slumber upon our boards. So, remember, do not fear the Turkey...It cannot hurt you (anymore).

HOW TO BUY A TURKEY

If you have never bought a turkey before, there are a few things to consider:
-How many servings do you need?
-Where are you going to cook it, is your oven big enough?
-How soon do you need it, and where are you going to store it before cooking?  (This may make the difference between choosing a fresh or frozen bird, because it can take days to defrost a large one!)
-What can you afford? (Once you have established your needs, you may have a choice between the more expensive "name-brand" or less-expensive "store brand" turkey. A "free-range" turkey may even be an option in your area, at considerably more cost.)

Here is a link to the Butterball Turkey web site (in English or Spanish) which offers information to make it easier to figure out how much bird to get(it is a "turkey and stuffing calculator), general cooking tips, and recipes. They even have a "turkey talkline" (at 1.800.BUTTERBALL, 8 am- 8 pm Central time, 8-6 on Thanksgiving!) where you can get bilingual "live help".

Do make sure you appreciate how large your oven actually is, or is not. If you have a huge bird, that is all that will fit in your oven at one time, so organize your cooking appropriately.  If you are referring to this for Thanksgiving, know that you will need to get a frozen turkey completely thawed before you cook it!  This means, either (in a pan) in the fridge, or breast side up in constantly running cool water (maybe in the sink or a pot in the sink if it will fit.) Change the water in the pot or sink often.  DO NOT JUST LEAVE THE FROZEN TURKEY OUT TO THAW, because then, you would very much need to fear the turkey. The worst part of thawing out the turkey is getting the inside done. I have had success filling the cavity with running warm water to finish the thawing process right before cooking - but do not just leave it to soak..Raw turkey goes bad very quickly. One of the beauties of the "fresh" (never frozen) bird is skipping the whole thawing process.

Through the years, my final determinate in bird selection ,(if I have a choice of brands), has been price. This said, sometimes the "name brand" has been the one on sale. Many may disagree with me, but I have not found there to be that much discernible difference in the final product placed on the table when I choose the "off brand" turkey - and I firmly believe that it is because of the method with which I choose to cook it (in foil).

I started cooking my turkey wrapped in foil almost from the beginning, because I had made a terrible error in organizing my cooking- and was coming up short on time. Lo and behold, my trusty old red Betty Crocker's Cookbook told me that if I cooked my bird wrapped in foil, it would come out moist and juicy, in considerably less time! I have never been disappointed in a turkey I have cooked ever since, and the method has cut literally hours off the cooking time! I am providing you with the link to the Reynolds Kitchens "recipe" for cooking a turkey in foil-they provide the time/size charts too. If you do not think that is the way you want to go, go back to Butterball's comprehensive site for a "regular" roasting "recipe",and this page offers all kinds of tips useful to anyone serving up a turkey dinner, including "how to videos"!

So, do your homework, and tomorrow we will talk about the rest of the meal!

MOTHER'S COOKING SCHOOL-DO NOT FEAR THE TURKEY!

Oops, did not make it Friday - but since next week is a big-time cooking week, I must offer my "help". I enjoy cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and the smells which fill the house bring back such wonderful memories. I think that I will be offering a recipe (or two) every day, up to Wednesday. At our house, we actually celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday, because the Husband always works on Thursday. Being together is an important part of the celebration for us, so we delay the holiday so it is not just a fancy dinner after a day of work. We are all Thankful to be together, and to blessed by God to live in America!

What serves as the "traditional" Thanksgiving meal may depend on what region of the country one is in. In the South, a turkey may be deep-fried (which I have never had, but it is supposed to be delicious and super-moist!) The bread used for the "stuffing" (inside the bird) and "dressing" (same thing, cooked in a casserole dish) may be white bread or cornbread (or some other flavor), and simple herbs or sausage, oysters, chestnuts, mushrooms or fruit may flavor it. Some folks always have potatoes on that table, and rice may rule elsewhere. Ethnic dishes may share the board with the traditional "American" food, and so they become part of the "traditional American Thanksgiving meal" in this nation of immigrants!  The cornucopia of different foods we enjoy on Thanksgiving absolutely overflows!  Would you care to share any of your family's epicurial traditions?

I have been married for 20 years now, and have been cooking the "turkey meal" for about as long, give or take a year or 2. I have made some major mistakes, but overall, it has been a pretty successful venture. Cooking is an art, but a decent meal can be created by anyone who can follow directions and will pay attention. Following directions is important, because while actual ingredients may sometimes be substituted, and exact measurements are not always important--sometimes it is all very important.  Early in our marriage, I learned that while eggnog makes delicious French Toast, it makes really nasty cornbread. (Did I ever tell you what a sweet man my husband is?) A watched pot truly never seems to boil, but leave the room while your beans are starting to cook, and they will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn (and smell very bad) when the water boils off. Never assume the most rock-hard frozen meat is "safe" around the pets. Sometimes those recipes which seem too bizzare to be edible...are. (Did I ever tell you what a sweet man my husband is?)

So, do not be afraid of the bird. . You are the master of all you survey in the kitchen, and it will be good. Our menu this week will consist of foods my own family enjoys for the Thanksgiving and/or Christmas holidays. As an added bonus, any of these can be cooked almost entirely in the microwave (but not the turkey.)

Our menu consists of-
-Turkey (baked in foil-this method seriously cuts down on cooking time and gives a moist bird!)
-White herbed bread dressing, Chestnut Dressing
-Scalloped Potatoes
-Creamed Onions
-Lima Beans and Green Beans
-Sweet Potatoes (Yams)
-Homemade Yeast Rolls
-Homemade Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry-Orange Relish
-Apple Pie and homemade Whipped Cream

YUMMY!

THE SUNDAY FUNNIES-ON MONDAY?

Something ate my Sunday Funnies, so here it is again...

The funniest thing last week was the Clinton Library!

So, in honor of all of the yucks we had during that infamous President's tenure, here are a few things to help you relive those days! Enjoy!

Find an absolute rash of Clinton editorial cartoons here ,(well, maybe "rash" is a poor choice of words when talking about Billy...)

Of course, let us not forget his "old lady", (after all, we got a "two-for-one" deal, remember?) First, we need to feel Hillary's pain in those scandal days, and now, see how she has grown!

Where there was Bill, there was Al...

American Pathetic" (a new take on an "old" image)

"Welcome to Chappaqqua", home of Bill Clinton...

The "changing of the guard" after the 2000 election...stay there for a little bit and you will see...

Oh, we just cannot stay away from Hillary!

Her Authoress at a book-signing!

This has to stop somewhere, so here he is at one of the parties for the Library opening. Go, Bill, go!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

PICS OF GWB IN ACTION!

Captain America, indeed!   Go to a post by Roger Schultz at Free Republic for photos and commentary of the fracas in Chile!

MOTHER'S WEEKEND ROUNDUP-CONDOLEEZA FEST!

Despite any rumors to the contrary, Presidential cabinets do change, especially going into second terms.   Actually, President Bush has enjoyed a particular loyalty from his first term's Cabinet, (and that has really fried some beans!)   Of course, the libbies are thrilled to see John Ashcroft leave ,(that ought do delay a few suicides) since they think he is worse than anyone who tried to wipe a whole race of people off the face of the earth!   There are many conservatives who think that the exit of Rodney Paige from the Department of Education should have left a permanent void, but alas, there will be a replacement.   It was Colin Powell's soon-to-be empty seat which had everyone's minds ticking so furiously, though.   Now we know.   One of the many great benefits of GWB's re-election (and they keep pouring in!) is the delicious selection of Dr. Condaleeza Rice as Secretary of State! The libbies are whining and the "furriners" (I am a "red-stater", and do not wish to disappoint) are "dismayed", so right there, we know she is the best choice!

So, on with the Condaleeza Festival!

Start off by getting some biographical information about Dr. Rice from the Hoover Institute at Stanford ,from the White House,and run over to Minority Graduate.com for a couple of magazine articles with a little insight (you be the judge of what they have to say...)William F. Buckley shouts "Whee Time!" and then gets down to business in his Buckleyishly exuberant way
The Independent Women's Forum on some of the racist and sexist depictions of Dr. Rice --Surely they are not talking about the ever-tolerant and diverse Liberals?
Armstrong Williams on Dr. Rice and a post-Arafat Middle East
George Will considers some of the questions Dr. Rice may be asked to answer at her confirmation hearings
Linda Chavez notes the foreign policy message GWB is sending with his new nominations
Cal Thomas notes that President Bush has nominated a kindred spirit in Dr. Rice--(Note to libbies: this does not mean either of them is a puppet or a clone!)
Joel Rosenberg at NRO online suggests we read what the President and Dr. Rice are reading!

Now finish it all off with a speech by President Ronald Reagan in 1991 , to remind yourself what all of the fuss is about.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

GWB-A MAN OF ACTION

I just love a strong, resolute man.   That is one of the reasons why I adore our President.   All of the talk and whimpering of the whiny babies of the world cannot even begin to equal the most simple actions of a real man who knows what to do.

Simply put, it seems that Chilean agents tried to prevent President Bush's Secret Service bodyguards from entering the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit dinner.   Our Mr. President himself extricated his lead agent and continued on.   What a man.   The heart melts.

Read about it here (thank you, Instapundit)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

THE SUNDAY FUNNIES

Another new regular bit here at my place, a roundup of Sunday Funnies. Some of them will be comics, and others will be of the written word, but all of them tickle my funnybone and I'm sharing them with you! Whether or not you find them amusing...Well, that's up to you. Be warned, sometimes I have a very dark sense of humor...


IMAO's Frank J. and his readers have some great ideas for commemorating Arafat's demise!
Go check out the Photoshopped entries at the "I'm not Sorry" site --The answer to the "I'm Sorry" stuff put out by the truly sorry meatbags of America.
This is a true newstory which is so ridiculous that it's funny!

And in honor of our guys in Fallujah-in commemoration of all our Troops have done for us over there in Iraq - Go check out the Sadaam Hussein Photoshopped pics at Albino Blacksheep!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

MOTHER'S WEEKEND ROUNDUP--RED STATE / BLUE STATE

Amid all of the gnashing of teeth and ashes and sackcloth,are you still trying grok what happened in the elections?  What it means is that the great pendulum has finally started to swing back the other way after hitting the edges on the liberal side!   When people are feeling things have tightened up too much, it'll start heading back your way, libbies, but it's our turn now.   We who've been watching every tradition, every moral and every institution of society and civilization itself mocked and shredded by the liberal mobs- have finally taken our streets back. You'll still have your sleazy entertainers and their works to pacify and "educate" the masses, and there are more than enough people with absolutely no decent morals to pack the fiery lakes of hell with swimmers.   But for a while longer now, we Red People will have a chance to raise our children with some of their innocence intact, be able to keep some more of our earnings for our own family's use, and know that the United States will continue to exist as a sovereign nation which won't back down in fear or ill-advised conciliation.

Secede from the nation?   That's funny.   Ever see the movie, "Escape from New York?"  Do remember, you may "own" the Pacific coastline, New England and a few other places- but we've got the Gulf and southern Atlantic, and generally much better weather than you.   (Who is it that needs all the heat in the winter? )  You may have most of the famous restaurants, museums,Broadway and the entertainment industries, but we've got most of the farms (that's "food" to you), military bases, forests and guns.   You do have most of the crime, unions and Mafia--and we've got most of the military and churchgoing people...

Of course, I don't want to limit you to my ideas...So here are a few more from around the web and the blogosphere for you to check out...


"Mr. Blue Goes Deaf When He Sees Red" from Human Events Online is a good place to start.
Beware of the tragedy of creeping "Dollywood Values" - (thanks to a tip in the Rottweiler)
Red State, Blue State, Me State, You Statefor a more serious tone ( thanks to Instapundit.)
about New York's "state of mind"...(again, thank you Instapundit)
"The Moral of the Story" by David Limbaugh
About the "Values Voters" - an interview of the Publisher of the Weekly Standard
"Guns and Butter" - about the Amish vote which went for the candidate who represented their moral values, and not their pacifism!
The Center for Individual Freedom give us their "Idiot's Guide to Elections"!
From the Frontiers of Freedom come some words about "Misunderstanding America."
I could go on forever, but let's end this weekend's roundup with Jonah Goldberg's (National Review Online)"Sore Loser Party"!

Friday, November 12, 2004

MOTHER'S FRIDAY COOKING SCHOOL

Part of America's goodness comes from its yummy melting pot of delicious food!   Each Friday I'll post a fabulous recipe for you to try.   I don't believe in "diet food", because taste is the most important thing...just don't eat so much!   I use as few mixes as possible ('generally saves on the grocery bills, folks) and I use the microwave as much as possible because it saves on time and cleanup!

My inaugeral recipe is for a simple but flavorful shrimp dish (cooked on top of the stove) which will be wonderful for a quick and fancy meal tonight.   Serve it with a salad and garlic bread.

For every 4 servings:


-1 tbsp. butter , olive oil or vedgetable oil
-1/2 lb. of mushrooms, sliced
-1 tbsp. chopped fresh or bottled garlic (more or less to taste)-(even garlic powder can be used in a pinch)
-1 lb. of peeled and deveined shrimp (any size) (fresh or thawed frozen)
-1 can evaporated whole milk
-a dash of dry white wine (optional)
-salt and pepper


-saute' the mushrooms and shrimp in the butter or oil in a skillet on medium heat until shrimp is just pink.   Add the garlic just before shrimp is finished cooking -  (Note: don't burn the garlic because it will be bitter!)
-While stirring, slowly pour in can of milk.  Turn the heat up a little to bring milk to a boil and continue to stir as sauce thickens.
-Add the white wine at this point, continue stirring
-add salt and pepper to taste
-serve over pasta or white rice (brown rice would ruin the flavor)

enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

WARTIME MEMORIAL IN IRAQ

One of my wonderful computer-wise kids took me to a site to look at some photoshopped ads for JFK (it's still fun!).  While we were there we took a look. Artist Robert Tracy's site features political and philosophical commentary and highlighted beautiful artwork (including his own.)  I wish I'd seen it sooner, but it's always a delight to discover new places in the neighborhood.

One thing which really caught our eyes was a pair of photographs of a memorial statue made in Iraq.  The text stated that when the Iraqi sculptor was forced to create a statue of Saddam Hussein on a horse, he had no idea it would be melted down and used for a memorial to thank the American soldiers.   Go here to read the whole story.

FROM THE HALLS OF MONTEZUMA

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARINES!

If you're an American sitting there in freedom,safety and comfort, take pause and consider the courage and sacrifice of those who have been the United States Marine Corps. The hope of the ages has been to be able to determine one's own destiny, and America is the one place in the world created and maintained for that purpose. We bow to no king or tyrant, choose our own leaders, create our own laws, and worship or not as we choose. We are free to undertake whatever journeys through life our hearts desire, changing directions at will. Since the beginning of our great nation, Marines have helped make it possible .

The Marines were there when we first declared independence, and at this very moment they are storming Fallujah in order that we may maintain our way of life. The famous photograph of the Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima embodies the very soul, spirit and will of the Corps. We see that picture as a moment frozen in time, but it was in the 4th day of a roaring, slaughtering battle which lasted 36 days. The Japanese had sworn to fight to the death, killing 10 Americans each. The over 26,000 American casualties (with 6,835 deaths),are unimaginable to the modern mind. Most of the men in the photograph did not leave the island alive. It was not just a piece of cloth being raised at the top of Mt. Suribachi, it was the red blood of Patriots, the blinding white light of liberty and equality, and the blue of God's heaven above and true loyalty here on earth.

The United States Marines...There is not a man, woman or child in the history of our nation, who has not been protected by them. Think about them, be thankful for them, and pray for them always.

Go see what Doc Russia has to say, and go here as a jumping-off point for information about the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY

You know you're getting old when it takes a week to get over an all-nighter-but what an all-nighter that was last week! For those of you who want to savor the most important result, go here.

Oh, yes, Mr. President, you are our man!

So, what is going on with our American brethren who are totally freaking out? Get a grip, folks, it really isn't the end of the world! I have heard our President referred to as the devil and people like myself insulted in the most ridiculous ways. The adults have laid down the law, and the children are pitching fits and tantrums in the middle of the street.

There are many "explanations" of "why GWB won", and each of them are true in their own fashion , ( and more or less so in certain places.) The WOT/War in Iraq were probably the most overarching issues in this election cycle. Some people saw them as separate, but there were many (like myself) who see them as mother and child. One wonders what, if anything, the pacifist would do to defend themselves (or the rest of us.) Is the answer, "nothing"? The "just war" debate went both ways, to the objective observer. It is clear which held the majority. Of course, the weak benefit from the defenses put up by the strong in a war, so they don't truly "lose."

The big fear of the American liberal is that now America will become a Theocracy. Too much drama and not enough reality again, folks (unless your "reality" takes place in a country where the word "God" is never to be seen or heard in public!) Society does evolve, but we've been absolutely been careening since the 50's! The past decade has brought a breakneck acceleration and the brakes have now been applied. Naturally, no one wants to see their "way of life" threatened, and that goes both ways, folks. The success of the "homosexual marriage bills" bespeaks of an overriding sense in the land that things are going too far, too fast. These were passed by huge margins, and the will of the majority can't be ignored. Did those bills "bring out" the Republican vote? No doubt, that was true in some cases, but that doesn't explain the Democratic-leaning areas with the same results. This is not, by the way, "taking away" any rights. People are trying to find "new" Constitutional rights, which no one thought were there before. The "gay marriage" issue has objectors on several fronts. The religious conservatives (and these are not just the vilified Christians) may object because it goes against their faith and the natural law. Others may disagree with the continuous reinterpretation of the Constitution. Many citizens also object to the increasingly common "judicial activism" which strikes down citizen initiatives and renders the democratic process impotent. There are variations and combinations throughout, and very few of them actually come from "hate", but the question has a firm answer.

So what does the "rest of the world" think of the U.S.? Some of you "care", and the rest of us DON'T! Why should we? Nations act out of self-interest. Our friend was once our enemy. This is not the playground or the commune. People live, people die, and everyone is jockeying for power and position. Just like the "rich and powerful" are excoriated, so is America. After all, she is rich, and powerful and incredibly beautiful. She has reached out her hand to so many, and has to put up with backstabbing and doubledealing by her cousins that far outstrips that of strangers. Maybe what the pacifist needs to realize is that instead of doing a "Carrie" to everyone who ever did her wrong, the United States remains Lady Bountiful to all but the worst. Tell us, oh ye who think "America is to blame for it all", who else helps their enemies back to their feet after they've knocked them down?

The Left doesn't "get it". They are in hysterics. Puhleeeze--it's been a week. I'm not gloating, that would've been a last-week thing. I'm just watching all of this with bemused detachment. You think I'm stupid? All cranky teenagers think their parents are stupid.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

THE BLOGGERS

The Blogosphere was the place to be last night. I had Fox on the tube, and raced back and forth on the keyboard to keep up with what was going on. When did you give up and hit the sack? The whole night was no doubt frustrating to anyone who cared one way or the other. Have no fear that your heavy eyelids denied you a view of the action! Enter the Bloggers! It is all there for you to see, an "instant replay" at your fingertips, archived and waiting for you.

My favorite for regular stops last night was Vodkapundit, where Stephen Greene offered jiggers and shots of top shelf information with a cosmopolitan flare. A smart person would visit him regularly, (and always check out the links in his pieces.) For a special "Election Refreshment" from his speedwell, go here. Think of it as a hangover cure.

As usual, there were plenty of people to visit with at my regular stops in my rambles around the neighborhood. Glenn Reynolds and his guests had much to say, and sometimes I would watch other neighborhood kids toss around little green footballs. I always have a soft place in my heart for nice doggies, but do not forget that Rottweilers have very sharp teeth!

STILL UP, BUT FADING FAST

It is now 4:20 am, and I do have to function at a certain level today, so it is time to go to bed. I was hoping George Bush would speak, but maybe not.

John Thune, the Republican candidate, beat Tom Daschle in South Dakota . Ha! What about Daschle's lawsuits at the beginning? ("Mommy, he's looking at me! Mommy, he's rolling his eyes at me!") Good grief, I would not put up with that from my kids! What a joke!

All of this talk about how divided we are, and finding "common ground"...We are very divided, folks. Does that mean we hate each other? Obviously, some do, but that is the way of the world. Most of us can at least be civil with each other, but whenever there is big change (or the threat of big change), the wagons circle. The War in Iraq is one of the dividing issues, but that is one that would be hard to compromise on. The "gay marriage" issue is another biggie. The "people", (in the form of the electorate,) have spoken in very strong terms in the places where that issue has been put up for a vote. Very strongly. Both of these issues were very politicized, and that draws blood. These are not little scrapes that a bandaid will take care of, and the President is not our Mommy. We are not going to agree on everything. Deal with it.

One very good thing that I hope has come out of this election is a general distrust of what the Media tries to feed us. This could be an important step towards self-reliance. Whether people have internet access at home, or need to use a computer at the library or some other outlet, do your own research! There are few to no boundaries on the web, so go crawling around! It is so empowering, and you can choose the outlets you wish to use, rather than waiting for them to choose to serve you. Check out voting records , read up on Congressional bills, compare schools, compare governments, compare gas formulations used in different states. Find a home, an automobile, and long-lost schoolmates at any time of the day, and even in your pajamas! If you want to know what someone's opinion is, go looking for it, but take it upon yourself to make that decision- do not blindly accept opinions as fact-anymore.

NOW IT'S ALMOST TWO-THIRTY A.M.

I tried to fix the previous time stamp, but it is a small thing--it really is the wee small hours...

Oh, it is now getting ridiculous, and the Democrats have started "doing their thing"- lawyers , the ACLU ("Only watching out for the rights of certain among you")...

John Edwards just came onstage, (thumbs up after having been introduced as the "next Vice President of the United States"). Oh, here comes the "promise that every vote will count and every vote will be counted" . The Fox people say it is not exactly a "declaration of war against the results"...but Kerry has been in consultation with the Kennedy who kills, so we know that it is going to fly.

With 97% of the precincts in Ohio in, President Bush is ahead by so much that this is absolutely disgusting. Are there really 3200 lawyers (for the Democrats) in Ohio "poised" for attack? We need lawyers in our lives, and the lawyers I personally am acqauinted with tend to be a fine caliber of human being, but I can think of a another southern lawyer whom I do not care for at all. John Edwards, you may be a son of the south, but you are no Atticus Finch.Go find a mirror to primp in.

ONE IN THE MORNING-NOVEMBER 3

The rest of the family are down for the night...the breadwinner has to work early, and the kids have school tomorrow. The oldest stayed up 'til about 12:15, but no end was in sight, so up the golden stairs! I was spared the early hours in our Scout and Venture Crew meetings. The church where we meet is a polling place, so the election was not far from anyone's minds. One of the many delights of scouting is that we truly are an ethnically, religiously and even politically diverse group, so there was a definite tension.

I a m not feeling as much tension right now, having finished a small but potent pina colada (just shaken and not frozen, because the blender started smoking! Drat! It is now sitting on the back deck in the rain.) I also do not feel as much tension because I do not listen to the "big three", with Fox News being the network on my set.I lost all faith in them since Tom Brokaw looked straight at us and told Voters waiting in line in the Florida Panhandle that they could go home because Gore won. I have not purposely listened to anything that man has had to say since then. The "rest of them" have proven themselves to be equally undeserving of the time and respect they demand-especially in this election cycle.

I am, of course, hoping and praying that President Bush retains his office. I am very disturbed by the general closeness of the race, and was hoping for a landslide. What do these numbers mean about our nation? Does a Republican victory this year mean only that we have eeked by a redefinition of what the United States of America is, just putting the change off for a few more years? Will America be recognizable in ten years? Is this a bump in the road on our nation's evolutionary journey through a life of freedom, or is it a divided highway we are racing along while headed for the cliffs the whole time?

To get back to the election...I am not the first to be concerned about the longe-range effects of the Main Stream Media's duplicity. Where are the cries of Yellow Journalism? We may never hear them , because they are all guilty. William Randolph Hearst built his empire with editorials disguised as news. Behold his heir apparents! How can we ever trust them again? If "their" candidate is in office, would they report as they should? We have been given no reason to believe so, and they have therefore rendered themselves entirely untrustworthy and worthless as news reporting agencies... As at least something to watch in prelude to the other dreck on their stations, or peruse for a few laughs in the check-out line? Sure.