Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cooking: It's All about the Cheese

Sometimes cooking isn't about unusual ingredients or the right spices; sometimes it is about using the normal ingredients to their best advantage. If you make a chili dog, you might use mozzarella or add some sour cream or cottage cheese, and you might add some black beans to the mix, sure, but a change in ingredients is not necessarily the way to go.

Why not take your chili (with pinto beans) and pan fry it, like refried beans, though mashing the beans is probably not the best idea, if you decide to try this, be sure to serve small amounts of chili with your dogs, the oil can be a little too much. Better yet, in my opinion, do what I did tonight:

While you are heating your hot dogs and chili, cut a slab off of your block of Tillamook cheddar cheese; it should be just a hair narrower than the length of the cutting surface on your vegetable peeler (potato peeler), shave enough slices from it to cover the surface of your hot dog buns. Put the cheese on the buns and broil them until slightly crispy. Now put a hot dog on each bun and then another layer of cheese. Now pop it in the oven again until crispy on top. This makes your chili dogs seem like a real meal, which is worth it, even if it does take a few extra minutes.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

O Henry, . . .

Today was the birthday of one of my all time favorite authors of fiction, O. Henry, or should I say William Sydney Porter. His stories are a must read for anyone interested in learning about plot construction. His most famous short story The Gift of the Magi is, in my opinion, not among his best, but you should decide for yourself; one of O. Henry's collections of short stories, The Four Million, is available for download as an audio file at Librivox.

You might also check out other writings, like those by Oscar Wilde, which are also on my "must read" list for hopeful authors. Wilde had the best dialog in the business, it is now dated, but any fan of The Gilmore Girls or Boston Legal ought to appreciate his works.

On the lighter side, they have copies of one of the first authors of science fiction that I ever read, Edger Rice Burroughs. A quick listen to A Princess of Mars will show that his work was written before much of the scientific knowledge that we take for granted, but it will also reveal the art of the cliffhanger. Burroughs strove to create anticipation when he wrote each chapter as a short story in a magazine. He was preoccupied with anthropology and seems to call upon the "Orientalism" of his time as a major informant.

If you've never read other great authors (like Mark Twain) you might also give them a try and see if they're there. Among the authors I'd suggest are Frank Baum, who wrote an entire Oz (as in Wizard of) series that is far trippier than the movie; I'd compare him to Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland), who is also featured. Then maybe go for some Tolstoy, Poe, or Shakespeare, and continue to the Avonlea series by Montgomery (which I have yet to read, but which Gina loved). Of course, I should probably listen to some James Joyce (since I avoided him in High School) and the braver of you should try Kafka, and the Christians among us, and those who are interested in such things, might try Brother Lawrence's Practice of the Presence of God (BTW - Lawrence authored one of my favorite prayers).

Have fun, kids . . .

Friday, September 07, 2007

That's Just Mean

Ty's been working a lot, and referring to himself in the third person a lot. In the last month, if I haven't been working or helping Gina and Steve keep the house in sale-worthy condition, I've been helping my friend Jon get rid of some computer viruses (a work still in progress) or I've been reading my book for the Science Fiction Fantasy reading group down at the Rediscovered Bookshop or I've been translating passages from Epiphanius' Panarion (also still in progress), so I've not been to bloglandia nearly enough, and I think it unlikely that I shall return to my former level of activity in the foreseeable future. I suggest that you get an rss reader, like bloglines, and subscribe to all of your favorite blogs (except Laila's, 'cause she disabled that feature) so that you don't have to keep being disappointed after going to all the work of looking up my blog. That's right, I'm suggesting that following a link is too much effort.

Now, back to our story: I just came from the kitchen where Gina had just made Tank quit eating before he was done so that he'll nurse at the right time, about which he was not happy. She was eating in front of him. Ice cream. That looks like his baby food. Niiiiiice.

Poor kid.

(to be fair, she was there because she wanted to spend time with him)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dear Mister Potter

Dear Poor Blind Mr. Potter,

I am sorry that you've lost your legs, I'm sorry that your sight is going. I'm sorry that you are lonely and bitter and angry. I am sorry that fear of helplessness consumes you, as does your greed for power.

It is no sin to be rich, Mr. Potter, but it is a sin to buy people to use against Bill Baily. It is not a sin to pay for the vacations of the Building and Loan office staff, or to pay for them to adopt children, those would be noble actions. But, letting them know where the money came from and then using the loyalty that you've bought from them to help gain you sole control of the Building and Loan IS a sin.

I fear that you have been misreading the words of Jesus, Mr. Potter: Jesus said that one should use one's possessions to help build friendships with those in the world so that, when persecutions come, they will hide and protect us. Jesus did not say that we should buy the loyalties of people so that we might persecute each other.

May God save you, and all of us, from your greed,


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