Be a Good Child Day

It is early Father’s Day here. Way before there was ever a Father’s Day there was a command to honor your father and mother. This is not a command to be a good parent but to be a good child. In fact in life, one has to live with the parents one is dealt. They can be incredibly good or bad. If you have won the “lottery of life”, realize you are lucky where others have not been. But back to the point of this post. You can’t pick your parents but you can decide if you will be a good child. You can treat people with respect and kindness for the good they have done. And you can treat people with respect and kindness when they have not been so good.

How are you going to be a good child today? If your father is living, do you make the call today? If your father is no longer with you, what do you do to honor the memory?

For me I will remember all the things that my father did to make me smile. Maybe I will have a tuna fish sandwich, for he loved eating those.

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Ramadan Bombathon report 2019

Ramadan ended last week.   Here is the tally.

No casualties in America this year.   A pretty big number overall.   911 killed and 1006 wounded.   Do you recall seeing any of this in the news?   Didn’t think so.

Continue reading “Ramadan Bombathon report 2019”

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Dearborn Al-Quds Day Rally

Iranian Shiites held a rally to celebrate Al-Quds Day.

“Many people from across the community and across the Muslim world at large have been swept away by the tide of American patriotism. They are proud of America, its freedom, its democracy, free speech, freedom of religion… At the same time, they look down upon the Islamic countries from the high horse of American exceptionalism. How these countries are backwards, corrupt, unorganized, and you have heard more… For that I would like to call the attention of those individuals – however they might hear this – that the amenities and luxuries that they are enjoying in this country are attained at the expense of the rest of the world.

“American military campaigns, economic sanctions, and political arrogance are the only things that keep America where it is. it has been so since they first came to slaughter natives and enslave Africans.

“We don’t point our fingers at the current idiot in the White House, but at all of the criminals and terrorists who held his position before him.”

“And I would like to make it clear to those individuals who like to sing the national anthem and claim that America has given us so much opportunity that America has not given us anything that Allah did not intend on giving us. Just as the Pharaoh did not do Moses a favor by raising him in his corrupt palace. Because the only reason Moses was there in the first place was because of Pharaoh’s slaughtering and enslaving of Moses’ people.

“Likewise, America has not given us anything that we would not have gotten in our homelands, in the company of our own people – were our lands not invaded and colonized and were our people not slaughtered and exploited.

Just another day in America.

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Monday Meals: 2019-06-03

Roast Goat Quarter

Roast goat quarter: ingredients

Easter dinner at Fourmilab is usually the traditional Swiss repast of roast leg of goat, served over rice with vegetables. This is an easy-to-prepare, can’t fail meal which is suitable for any occasion. Goat is considered a “red meat”, but I find it most comparable to turkey dark meat in flavour and texture. The taste is unique and not at all gamey. (Of course, this depends upon what the goat was fed. Swiss goats are usually fed on grass and forage; if your goat was fed on garbage and fish heads, all bets are off.)

Roast goat quarter: ready to cookStart with a leg of goat (it’s called «cabri quartier arrière» in the shops here—I don’t want to get into disputes between anatomists and butchers [is there a difference?]—I’m just reporting) between 600 and 1000 g including bones; this will serve two adults. The cut pictured above weighed 716 g, which is about average. Rub the meat with an ample amount of garlic purée (which I buy ready to use in a tube; if you can’t find this or insist on fresh, crush several cloves of garlic) and then sprinkle all over with salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Place in a glass casserole dish large enough to hold the entire leg (you may have to use some force to bend the joint in order to fit; in case it won’t go in, dislocate the joint and cut into two pieces). Peel a medium-sized onion, cut in half, and place the two halves on the top of the meat. A sprig of rosemary (supplied with the goat meat here) placed between the onions will add flavour as you roast the meat. Cover the casserole and place in the refrigerator for several hours (overnight is fine) to allow the garlic, salt, and pepper to season the meat.

Half an hour before you’re ready to start cooking, remove the casserole from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220° C in circulating air mode if available. When the oven is at temperature, place the covered casserole in the middle of the oven. Make sure the lid fits well—otherwise the roast will dry out. (This is about the only thing that can go wrong with the recipe.) Roast goat quarter: cooked

Leave in the oven for 75 minutes. As you approach the end of the cooking time, make white rice the Fourmilab can’t fail way: take the desired quantity of just about any kind of rice (but not “wild rice”, which is actually grass seed), around ⅓ to ½ cup per person (I use “cup” to mean 250 ml), and place in a saucepan. (I prefer sticky short-grained risotto rice like Arborio or Carnaroli, as it readily soaks up the flavour of the juice from cooking.) Add twice the volume of cold water as rice and, if you like, a little salt. Stir the rice and water to sink any “floaters” then turn on the highest heat setting and wait until the water is boiling vigorously. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting (“simmer”) and cover the pan. Then do absolutely nothing for 15 minutes, at the end of which all of the water will have been absorbed and the rice will be perfect.

Roast goat: ready to serve

When everything is done, remove the casserole from the oven, place servings of rice into bowls, top with slices of goat meat and season with the liquid you’ll find at the bottom of the casserole, which will be a blend of the juice from the roast and onions. (Use a baster to transfer it from the casserole to bowls.)

When it’s time to clean up the casserole dish, soak it in warm water and dish detergent for a while, then use a stainless steel scrubber to remove any baked-on cruft, after which the dish grinder will finish the job.

Save the bones and any leftovers, place in a small sauce pan, cover with water, add a squirt of garlic purée and a tablespoon of vinegar, bring to a boil, and then turn down and simmer for around an hour. Remove the bones, place the stock in a container and refrigerate. The next day you can reheat the stock and serve as soup, as pure broth or after cooking cut-up vegetables in the stock. I usually add some starch-based sauce thickener to give the soup a little more body.

Bon appetit!

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Serenity As A Time Share

It being the Red Headed Irish Wisecracker’s birthday we headed to the Ridgefield NWR, which is only seven miles from where our new home will be.

Memorial Day weekend weather here in the Wet Northwest is soggy, with 99.9% chance of overcast except for brief gorgeous sunshine, deep blue skies and white cumulus clouds if you act without hesitation.

So we fired up the F150 and our new Canon SX70 and went in search of sunshine and wildlife.

Flashing my $10 vintage lifetime Curmudgeon pass to all Federal lands we arrived and enjoyed a serene and gorgeous afternoon.

Still getting the hang of handholding a 65 power telephoto with live subjects, even with image stabilization, so bear with me.

None of these animals watch CNN, FOX, MSNBC or read blogs. I do understand they are arguing about the ending to GOT. Apparently , some were rooting for Drogon and the winged faction was quite pleased.

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Memorial Day Plans

This Memorial Day is different. Mostly, I start my Memorial Day by letting JoALT et al sleep in while I hie myself to a breakfast spot to get a quick meal and then go into the annual Memorial Day rotation – traveling to different places in my town to remember my departed comrades.

First up is the crew of Hulk 46.  The aircraft was lost off Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, on February 3rd, 1991. Three of my friends lost their lives in the crash.  Here is a website talking about the specifics. I’ll visit with them when I go see my aircraft from the 1st Gulf War, “Nine o’ Nine II” on permanent display at Barksdale AFB.  You know you are getting old when an airplane you flew is on display at a museum.

While I am on my way back to the Global Power Museum, I’ll stop by the memorial for Raidr 21, lost off Guam in 2008. Maj Cooper and I did B-52 Qual training together in 1999 at Barksdale. JoALT met him while she was visiting one time before we married.

Then it is off to go see Mats. Col Mark Matsushima hired me onto his AOC Strategy Division team in 2003, basically giving me the position to do operations research in support of campaign analysis, a job I do today. He helped me get my foot into the door. He passed away from cancer in 2010 and is buried here in Shreveport.

Lastly, I’ll stop by a park near the Norton Museum to just sit and reflect on my USAFA classmates who are no longer with us, starting with those we lost while still in school up to present.

Not tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be a long day for everybody, as JoALT and the kids get on a 7AM flight to Singapore. They will be there by Tuesday 10:45 Central. I’ll just take a nap or something and start my rotation a little later.

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Daughter’s Band in D.C. Memorial Day Parade

I believe it was Representative Steve Daines who nominated my daughter’s school band to play in Washington, D.C. this coming Monday. The band, which ends its yearly spring concert with a hearty rendition of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” was honored to accept. Glacier High School will be wearing green uniforms, and we can follow along with the event live here.

Of course I’m happy and proud, but I’m also looking forward to having my kid back safe from D.C. next week, done with plane rides, and ready to graduate on the first of June.

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Mother’s Day Traditions

Northern Pacific 1916 Mother’s Day Poster

I remember going to church on Mother’s Day and all the Mother’s wearing orchids. (It seems the flower for Mom’s Day in Japan is carnations.) After church people would go to restaurants. I don’t know if it still is but that was the busiest day of the year for them.

What do/did you do for your mother? What fond memory do you have of her? Was there a family tradition?

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Cinco de Ramadan

Today the beginning of Ramadan falls on the fifth of May.   This may send shivers across the Intersectionality world, but I am not a part of that world.   My Intersectionality Score is zero.   But I noticed the calendar, and went looking to see what to expect for Ramadan.   Sure enough, I found a recent kid’s program from an American madrassa.   The Umma Day program was really interesting, and will just make your day for the first day of Ramadan.   Here is a little blurb about the kids’ program at the Muslim American Society Islamic Center of Philadelphia:

young children wearing Palestinian scarves sang: “Glorious steeds call us and lead us [to] the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The blood of martyrs protects us… Take us, oh ships… until we reach our shores and crush the treacherous ones… Flow, oh rivers of martyrs!” A young girl read a poem praising martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Palestine, and she asked: “Will [Jerusalem] be a hotbed for cowards?” Another young girl read: “We will defend [Palestine] with our bodies… We will chop off their heads, and we will liberate the sorrowful and exalted Al-Aqsa Mosque… We will subject them to eternal torture.”

Just a day in the multicultural life of the City of Brotherly Love.

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Golden Week is Upon Me.

From April 29th to May 5th is the usual Golden Week in Japan. This is the linking of the following holidays.

  1. April 29th  is Showa Day. (It used to be called the Emperor’s Birthday.)
  2. May 3rd is Constitution Day
  3. May 4th is Greenery Day (This is basically a made-up holiday to connect to the next day.)
  4. May 5th is Children’s Day

This year is special because the 29th is a Monday and the 5th is a Sunday so Golden Week is 10 days long.  The three extra days come from the Saturday and Sunday before the 29th and Monday the 6th as a replacement holiday for the 5th landing on a Sunday.

In my early days of living in Japan I saw GW written on many things. My mind quickly read George Washington and that didn’t make sense. Now I know the right meaning.

I won’t get into it here but there is also a Silver Week in September. As you can guess it is not quite as good as Golden Week.

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Christ the Lord is Risen

“Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” by Charles Wesley

1 Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

2 Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

3 Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

4 Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

5 Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

6 King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

 

I picked this because Christianity Today said that as near as they can tell it is the most popular Easter hymn in America.

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Bond, James Bond: A Study in Easter

Have you ever noticed how much of the Easter Story is in 007? Probably not because it is not the most pious of stories. Just think a little. The same plot elements are there. (Other plot elements I will not touch shaken or stirred.)

  1. A man is sent to an exotic place.
  2. A man has a dual identity.
  3. The man is part of a select group to save the world.
  4. There is a betrayal by a close friend.
  5. The “gun” is laid down to protect a weak person.
  6. A machine of death is involved. “Goodbye, Mr. Bond.”
  7. Death is cheated. “Not you again, Mr. Bond.”
  8. The story ends in triumph.
  9. The person leaves the exotic place.

I propose the reason we love Bond or Superman is that it basically is the Easter Story updated. They touch a deep part of us. Why? Because though many parts are fiction, they relate some eternal truth. We believe one man can save the world.

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Built on the Rock

Here is a poem for your consideration as we celebrate Holy Week in the midst of sadness over the great damage to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. This poem does not come from a post-Christian, unbelieving viewpoint, teetering on the edge of depression. I spared you my comments on those poems. Instead I have a different poem to offer. This is a manly poem, encouraging us to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and start all over again, striding out with confidence in the approaching bright Easter Day.

Built on the Rock, the church shall stand
even when steeples are falling;
Crumbled have spires in ev’ry land;
bells still are chiming and calling.
Calling the young and old to rest,
calling the souls of those distressed,
longing for life everlasting.

Not in a temple made with hands
God the Almighty is dwelling;
high in the heav’ns His temple stands,
all earthly temples excelling.
Yet He who dwells in heaven above
chooses to live with us in love,
making our bodies His temple.

We are God’s house of living stones,
built for His own habitation;
He fills our hearts, His humble thrones,
granting us life and salvation.
Yet to the place, an earthly frame,
we come with thanks to praise His name;
God grants His people true blessing.

Thro’ all the passing years, O Lord,
grant that, when church bells are ringing,
many may come to hear God’s Word
where He His promise is bringing:
“I know My own, My own know Me,
you, not the world, My face shall see;
My peace I leave with you. Amen.”

The author was Nikolai Fredrik Severin Grundtvig. It was translated from Danish by Carl Döving.

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Happy Vernal Equinox!!

Today, all through Japan it is a holiday to celebrate the Vernal Equinox.

Vernal Equinox Day (春分の日 Shunbun no Hi) is a public holiday in Japan that occurs on the date of the Northward equinox in Japan Standard Time (the vernal equinox can occur on different dates in different time-zones), usually March 20 or 21. The date of the holiday is not officially declared until February of the previous year, due to the need for recent astronomical measurements.

Yes, we celebrate V. E. day.

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