Wednesday, December 31, 2003


I got this today from a mailing list I'm on called Upper Room Reflections.

I think it's a good thought to end the year on.



IF WE ARE TO BE truly peacemakers, I think we must move beyond the
notion of peace as the absence of conflict . ... Peace has to do with
the fullness of things, with lion and lamb lying down together, not a
world without lions. If we are to have hearts capable of the peace of
Christ, which does indeed pass all understanding, we must have hearts
capable of embracing the joy and the sorrow, the sacredness and the
sin of the world. ...

The infant in the manger at Bethlehem comes with a message of peace,
an announcement that all sad divisions, all the irreconcilable pieces
of our public and private lives will be brought together in the
celebration of "shalom" -- God's blessing, God's peace. This will
not, I think, occur when conflict has ceased. For creative conflict
is a necessary component of growth. Rather, peace will reign when our
forgiveness of self and others is wide and deep enough to create new
possibilities and, without the use of violence, to transform our
seeming impasses into new freedoms and joys.

-- Wendy M. Wright

Navy Stories

Good afternoon to you. Hope the holidays are treating you well.

Just about wrapped up 03.

Have you ever been on a ship that was refueling at sea, while underway in the dark?

I got a chance one time when I was on the USS Belleau Wood LHA 3 in the Navy. It was cool. The oil tender came up beside us. The bosun shot a line across to the tender. They pulled a cable across and set up a pulley system to pull the fuel line across. After we got connected we steamed side by side for hours getting our tank filled up.

Two parts stick with me about that experience. It was really pretty and there was some good music. Sounds like your high school prom you say?

For my money that refueling was pretty and had some good music. There were lights on the lines between the ships that danced and glowed as the ships steamed on in the night and the bosun mates got to play the Beatles "It's a Hard Day's Night" on the PA. It was cool.

One time some Marines gave me a ride in their amphibious tank vehicle on a nice sunny day off the coast of California. I'm not sure what those vehicles are called but they have a water jet type motor like you see on ski boats that shoots a big rooster tail of water into the air. The Marines were buzzing around and trying to spray each other with their rooster tails. It was a fun ride.

The ship was pretty quiet unless we had the Marines on board. We had a crew of maybe 800 sailors but the ship could hold maybe 2000 Marines or so. When the Marines came on board things got more exciting. As sailors we were used to the conditions on the ship and knew each other as crew members. The Marines came from land based activities and were used to more open space. It worked out fine..but tensions would get a little higher when the Marines were on board. You'd see a few fights between was just a lot more crowded.

One of my various jobs as a sailor was movie projectionist. We showed movies in a big room up near the top of the ship. It was open and had folding chairs for people to sit on. Picture this.....

I'm in charge of the movie and the room is full of sailors, and Marines who aren't all that happy to be on board to begin with.

It was a projector with the big reels and it had a latch for holding those big reels in place.

Do you see where this is going?

I start the projector and a couple of minutes into the movie the reel comes off and rolls down the aisle with the film coming off in huge spirals. Whooooaaaaa baaaabbby I had some mad people on my hands. Sometimes I have sort of a natural clown tendency. I think people sort of relaxed watching me screw around and sweat trying to rewind all the film on that reel.

Besides my Jerry Lewis run's a projector act on the ship...I won the Stoker Award for something good. I know it wasn't stoking coal since the ship burned diesel.

One time I tightened a fuse holder on the bridge during night air ops. The loose holder was causing intermittent electrical power on the bridge with aircraft in the air waiting to land/takeoff. Not good. I had to work on the box hot. Luckily my natural clown stayed away.

Another time the back door of the ship was stuck down and we needed to load on amphibous ships and vehicles. That door weighed about 2000 tons and was always causing us trouble. The back end of the ship was designed to be filled with ballast and sink down so we could float small craft in and out. The problem was the seawater would mess up the switches on that door. I figured out a way to bypass the switches and get the door up. I heard later that our sister ship the USS Tarawa had done something similar and dropped the door causing some major damage.

I was a peacetime sailor...I just hope that all the real soldiers, sailors, airmen, airwomen, and marines know how much we appreciate what they do.

God Bless You All.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

New Atlas Bar - Smoked Salmon - Fishing

Heh how ya doing?

You look marvelous darling.

Can I get you a short stack?

College hoops coming up this Saturday morning. Missouri v. Memphis, UCLA v. Michigan..and the NFL's Seahawks are down to the wire. Need to beat the San Francisco 49'rs to have chance at post season play.

Picture 011

The picture above is of me working at the New Atlas Bar circa 1976 or so. A photographer stopped by and asked if he could take a few pictures. That was quite a bar at the time. It had a library, tables where old men would play pinnochle or gin, a few tables for poker, lots of stuffed animals and or their heads. Pictures of airplanes. It was an interesting place. I worked for the owner T.P. Mulvihill. T.P. had been an ace fighter pilot in WWII. He would show up at 6 am every morning to do the books and then open at 8. The regular bar tender would come in at 10 to 6 and then I'd work the 6 to 2 am shift.

Through the wonders of the internet I was able to find this token from the New Atlas bar.

Note: I lost that picture of the saloon token. I have one around somewhere maybe I'll take a picture of it if I ever find it.

These tokens were used by the gin rummy players and could be redeemed at the bar. They were worth a bit. Which is 12.5 cents. You've heard the term, "two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar?" Or maybe "shave and a haircut 6 bits?"

Here's some background I googled up regarding Origination of the Term Bits for Units of Money

"Spanish pieces-of-eight were made of soft silver. Because coins were so scarce in the young country, large dollars were often cut into pieces, called “bits”. That practice is recalled today in the chant, “Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar”, or in the song-tag, “Shave and a haircut, six bits.”

Can I get you some more coffee?

I finished smoking that salmon last night. I think it was pink salmon with maybe a blackmouth thrown in. Someone gave it to my wife awhile back and she asked me to smoke it. Did you know there are 5 varieties of Pacific salmon? Chinook, Pink, Silver, Coho and Chum. There may be a sixth variety called the Cherry that lives on the other side of the Pacific nearer to Japan. There are five varieties of Pacific Salmon we can catch in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, B.C., Vancouver Island, Alaska).

I love fishing. I think fisherman are eternal optimists. Generally whenever a friend and I were going to go fishing we would think in terms of catching our limits, how we were going to transport the big fish we caught home etc. The fact that more often than not we didn't have to worry about limits or transporting huge fish never really got to us. It's the excitement of the unknown that makes it so fun. Who know's what you might hook into. I used to do a lot of fly fishing, but I'm not adverse to using a worm, spinner, eggs, dynamite (just kidding).

One of my first jobs was selling worms for bait in front of the Kiwana's annual pancake breakfast. The Kiwana's would set up a huge tent in the city park bordering main street on the weekend that river fishing opened up. When I was six I set up a little stand in front of the tent to sell worms I had dug, for bait.

I used to tie flies. I spent a fair amount of time and money at Dan Bailey's in Livingston gathering fly tying supplies. My first try at fly fishing was shortly after I got a cheap fly rod at the local Gambles hardware store. I was just a kid and didn't have money for flies so I took a few feathers off a hat of my Mom's and tied them to some bait hooks. They looked sort of like crickets to me anyway. I was on cloud nine or ten when I actually caught some trout with my homemade flies. I was hooked.

Fishing a wet fly takes no particular skill...using a dry fly on the other hand is tricky. I grew up in some of the best trout fishing areas of Montana and loved to fish from the time I was a little boy using buttons on the end of my line because my Gram didn't want me hooking myself when I was about four.

Missouri is coming back in the basketball game so I'm going to cheer them on.

See you soon.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Cooking Breakfast Over a Fire - Yellowstone River Stories

Good morning. How are you? Can I get you a warm out of the oven cinnamon roll?

Maybe a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice?

Just a coffee?

So how was Christmas for you? I hope it was peace filled.

My wife and daughters are braving the crowds to do some shopping today. I get to stay home. Yes!

Have you ever cooked a breakfast over a camp fire? or any fire? I highly recommend you try it some time. Probably sort of tough for us city dwellers I know. You could use a bbq but an actual wood fire would be the best. When I was a boy my Gram would take my sister and me to campgrounds by the Yellowstone river or sometimes the Stillwater river, and cook us breakfast over a campfire before we all went to school. Gram was a teacher. She had a theory about how food tasted better over a fire. I'm not so sure now that I'm older what it was that made those times so special, I kind of think it was because we were outside having fun before school eating eggs and toast beside a beautiful Montana river.

I'm going to smoke some salmon today. I'll use my Johnny's Seasoning Salt and Brown Sugar brine, air dry then smoke using alder chips in a Little Chief Smoker...method. It'll be good and maybe remind me a little bit of being down by the Yellowstone with Gram smelling something good.

The Yellowstone is a big river, beautiful and unforgiving. One of Gram's brothers drowned in that river while taking some cattle across. He fell off his horse and couldn't survive the current. Gram gave me a pair of homemade spurs from one of her brothers...I don't know if it was that one or not. It's interesting to think of her family being cowboys of the type who actually rode horses and watched over cattle. One of her brothers named Con, was a fence rider which meant he spent most days on a horse riding along a rancher's fence to make sure it was intact.

A guy I used to go skiing with drown on that river too. He was a good swimmer and athlete but he got caught in some deadfall (trees stuck in the river) during a raft trip and couldn't get out.

I was on a raft trip where we came close to disaster on the Yellowstone due to not respecting the river. The river can be deceiving when you raft it in late summer. Slow and boring with some very treacherous spots for the unaware. We had about 10 adults and 6 kids, three rafts and inner tubes on that float. I'd been down the river many times. The mistake we made (I think now) is that no one was really in charge. There was a large sweeping turn in the river where the current had undercut the bank to expose tree roots. The water picked up speed and pushed towards that bank as it rounded the corner. The way to avoid the trouble was to paddle hard to the left which took you into a straight channel of the river and avoided the under cut.

We didn't make the decision in time and ended up letting the current push us into the bank, roots and near disaster. By the grace of God we all made it out of there. After the excitement of people getting out of overturned rafts and away from the crushing water the river flattened out, narrowed, and became shallow and fairly fast again. We had beer and pop in a small raft with a long rope tied to it. Somehow that rope got wrapped around my leg and I had a raft pulling me downstream faster than I could walk or run, and making it almost impossible to swim because it was pulling me feet first with the current. I thought I was going to drown before I was able to get the rope untangled from my leg.

I grew up on that river and had a great deal of respect for it.

Beer and pop floating down a river reminds me of something I saw fishing for trout in Montana. One day I was driving home on a road on the upper Gallatin River. I was driving over a bridge and saw a red and white cooler floating down the river. I knew that there was another bridge not to far down the road where I could get out and maybe intercept that cooler. I did intercept it. The cooler was filled with beer and pop. I can only imagine some unlucky rafters had overturned and lost it somewhere upstream.

Another time I was fishing on the Yellowstone north of Livingston (up near the Paradise Valley). I'm all by myself just enjoying the day when I hear some noise/laughing from a raft coming around the bend. I'm standing there and a raft full of topless woman floats in front of me. I felt kind of embarassed standing there with my pole in my hand. I didn't want to stare or act like it wasn't an everyday thing for me so I just kept fishing.

Just two more fishing boating stories for this morning.

A friend of mine used to fish for huge salmon over on the Hoh river in Northwest Washington. That's a big river and you need to know what you are doing. They were in a driftboat and had been following guides who knew the river. The problem with that river is if you take the wrong turn you will end up in a dead end where the river forces you into a deadfall (there are huge trees that fall into the river). Anyway they took a dead end and got stuck on a deadfall. The drift boat overturned they lost everything, fishing poles, cameras. My friend said he probably would have drown if hadn't had neoprene waders on that give you additional buoyancy.

Finally a funny story I guess....

Same friend was over on the Hoh fishing out of another guy's drift boat. They were in a quiet big part of the river and getting sort of bored because no fish were biting. No one was around and one of them had some M-80's (don't ask me why) I'm just telling what he told me. M-80's are big firecrackers that have a fuse that will burn in water. One of them throws an M-80 into the water just for the heck of it I guess. About this time another boat comes into sight. You have to sort of imagine this picture, a nice quiet beautiful river...with these yahoo's in a driftboat knowing in a few seconds a big bang is going to one is around except them and the other boat now. They think they are going to look like the idiots they are...

Not so quick.

Their driftboat begins to close on the M-80. Just as the fuse finishes it's job the boat and the M-80 contact each other. They ended up blowing a six inch hole in the side of their own boat. No lie. I bet those guys in the other boat were mystified.

I'm going to go in the back and peel some potatoes give a holler if there's anything I can get you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Keeping Watch


to view whatever really happened there
in the quietest hour of night,
but I was close to it ...

I knew, in the silence itself --
breathing in, breathing out, keeping watch,
keeping vigil for the Coming.

-- Wendy M. Wright

Getting Quieter Now

Good evening.

Never seen you in here before.

Getting close to closing time here at Jack's.

It's been a good year.

I'll be quiet now.

It's getting quieter.

Need to quiet down and enjoy thinking about that silent night.

The beauty of that event was that we all can be forgiven. No matter what you did or didn't do you can ask God for forgiveness and thereby gain the ability to more easily forgive yourself.

That's my story and I'm stickin to it.

Good night


God Bless You

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Gambler's Dream

Howdy! How's your night going? Can I get you a Diet Pepsi? How's the family?

I'm on the wagering/probability wagon again tonight.

Did you know a "dollar" is a 100 dollars, a "dime" is 1000 dollars and "Action Jackson" is a gambler who wagers every day - day and night in Gambling Lingo?

It's instructive to see what to expect in the world of sports wagering by looking at 10 bets that you have a .5 probability of winning. Assume you bet 110 to make 100. For those 10 bets you risk 1100. If you have just a slight edge (you can pick the results of the event with greater accuracy than using a coin toss) and like I did today, win 5 lose 4 and push on 1 you end up making 60 units.

I've been studying this for about a year now and I can say that the chances of you making money wagering are almost nil. It's the almost that keeps us going.

A 5-4-1 record would be not too bad over time. You are winning 5/9 or 55% of the time. Say you started the day with a bank roll of 1100 dollars. At the end of the day you would have made 60 bucks (500 won - 440 lost). Is this worth it for tying up 1100 dollars and your time for a day? Depends on how much your time is worth I guess. For most of us probably no.

The fun part is to start thinking about winning more money by starting with more or by winning and reinvesting your winnings.

If you started with 11,000 dollars instead of 1100 and repeated your 5-4-1 record betting 11,000 each day for 300 days of the year (with a 65 day vacation) you would be making about 180,000.

Another way to think about this is if you could invest your money at a daily compound rate of 5.5% (instead of making 5.5% a year on your principle like in your savings account you make 5.5% a day). Now we go exponential baby.

Suppose you go to Vegas with your 1100 bankroll play 100 days of the year, keep reinvesting your winnings and going 5-4-1 every day. How much do you think you would have at the end of your 100 days? Another way to think about it is suppose you put 1100 in your 5.5% passbook savings account when you were born and got it back when you were 100 years old.

The answer my friends is for those 100 days of work and your 1100 initial investment you will have $232,615. Even better is if you decided not to sluff off for 265 days but worked 200 days and took a 165 day vacation to the tropical paradise of your choice. After 200 days of work you have $49,190,882.

This is theoretically possible (it's also theoretically possible that given enough attempts you could walk through a wall due to the random nature of your own and the door's atomic structure). Aside from no proof that anyone has ever been successful in Vegas but the Casino owners, one of the obvious faults in the gambling dream is that you would have to find someone willing to take quite large bets as your career progressed. Near the end of your 200 day career you would be making 5 million dollar bets with your 10 bet a day rule and 50 mil bankroll. It's fun to think about anyway...

The Kelly Formula is interesting to read and think about a little.

Reading a little bit about the Martingale theory of wagering is fun too; theoretically you should never lose at roulette with Old Marty's System

Probability, statistics, gambling, wagering, failure analysis, insurance underwriting, actuarial tables, investing or whatever we call it permeates our lives and culture.

Soul has James Brown Godfather of Soul. Probability has Blaise Pascal Godfather of Probability. Blaise mentions betting with Pistoles in this story. I think that was a baseball team in Italy, one of his buddies or a unit of money.

He also figured out some pretty elaborate bets on if God exists or does not exist Pascal's Wager.

The point I think is that wagering, risk taking and games are as old as humankind. There is something deeply ingrained in us that makes us enjoy the thrill.

Maybe taking a risk by going up to someone who could use a hand and offering our own...would be a good risk to take today.

Anti-Ascorbic Acid - Finger Wave - Bad Job's - Soup Story

Good Tuesday morning to you. Can I get you some coffee? Maybe an omelet and some nice crunchy hash browns? Maybe biscuits and gravy and a couple of eggs over easy?

You don't look so good. How about an anti-ascorbic acid? That's a shot of whiskey and an orange juice chaser. I remember a good lookin gal named Sally was drinking those one day when I was tending bar. Her sister was Joy and lost a leg to cancer and eventually her life. Another story. Joy was a nice nice person who died much too young.

Have you ever had anyone give you a one or two finger wave? Not the road rage type of finger waving but a friendly wave? Back in Montana while driving on dirt roads in the back country a passing driver would often give you a a one or two finger wave. It was a casual wave, done without removing your hands from the steering wheel, and consists of a finger or two lifted in salute to your fellow traveler. It's kind of a cool feeling to have some stranger give you a friendly wave. Next time you are out on a back road see if you can share the friendly one finger wave.

Not much happening in the rambling Jack Cafe today. I just finished swamping the place out and emptied the spitoons. Next time you think your job sucks think about me emptying those spittoons with the juicy stringy loogified loogies in them. That's almost as bad as that job I had awhile back collecting dog urine. I was sort of a human fire hydrant. True story. I volunteered at the vets to collect some urine from my good old dog Baily. He was a short Bichon Friese so it was hard to see his pp. I had to follow him around and hold a little sample cup under his was not a pretty sight.

I think I'll eat a piece of that warm pecan pie with you. I'll just make us some fresh coffee.

Did I tell you a guy was in a while back and complained that his soup was too hot? He likes to complain but to give him the benefit of the doubt I decided he lived in a parallel universe where things maintain a constant temperature and just leaving the soup on the counter for awhile, blowing on it or adding some ice cubes would have no effect. Maybe in his world entropy is not a problem. Houses don't crumble, paint don't peel, cars don't rust...everything isn't getting cold and disorderly. They had a referendum and repealed the second law of Thermodynamics in his world. Yeah that's it...

You know what's really cool? Taking a nice deep breath. In through your nose and blow it out through your mouth. That feels good doesn't it. We should remember to breathe more I say. I hate it when I turn blue and pass out because I forgot to.

Breath. Relax. Let it all go.....

Hope we all have a peace filled day.


Friday, December 19, 2003

Christmas Season - Kinky Friedman - Beat the Wintertime Blues - Oysters On The BBQ - Hangtown Fry

Good Friday morning to you.

How's your Christmas season going? Got your Christmas shopping done?

I tend to be on both sides of the Christmas fence in that I like the consumer/commercial side and I am also very interested/moved by the religious aspects.

When I was a kid I loved to go to midnight mass and smell the incense, hear the priest singing in Latin. I liked the ceremony, the ritual. I was a good Catholic altar boy for a few years (well maybe not always so good like the time my cousin and I took beer from the Knights of Columbus beer stash in the church basement to have with our lunch during the annual 2 week summer catechism class the nuns put on....ahhhh but that's another story).

I remember one of my old old friends Jimma would be at midnight mass with a good whiskey buzz on...a religious, alcoholic, Irish-Catholic. Jimma was missing a piece of his ear from a fight. He was a good guy as far as I was concerned; my cousin and I would go visit him in his apartment and have few drinks when we were about....11 years old or so.

When I was around ten, eleven and twelve I would go to mass every morning on my bike and perform my routine with Father Kelly and later Father Tobin. Usually it was just us and a few older ladies during the week. Today it's sort of hard for me to recall what drove me to get up early and get out on the cold Montana mornings. One time Father Tobin gave me a pen that had red, green and blue ink...maybe that was it. I have always had a thing for pens and pencils.

I hope we can all enjoy the holidays no matter what they are. Hanukkah, Ramadan, Christmas, Tirupavai.....

That's the cool thing about living in the US of A we have a diverse and strong population that can live together and appreciate our differences.

I like to listen to Don Imus on the radio and a couple of funny thoughtful quotes I've heard him say recently about the holidays are -

From Jewish Cowboy Singer Comedian Kinky Friedman "The Jews say Santa Claus killed Jesus."

  • Kinky Friedman's Official Website

  • As someone said, "I celebrate whatever holiday gets me off work."

    How about a nice barbeque to offset some of those holiday shopping, running, cooking, working, etc. etc. etc. stressors. There's something about playing with a fire and smelling smoke that appeals to our primitive selves (or maybe that's our pyromaniacal selves for some of us). In any event....

    Beat The Wintertime Blues BBQ

    Get yourself a Weber barbeque. That's one that's kettle shaped and has a lid with vents so you can control the heat.

    What to cook....let's start with some oysters. One of the things I really appreciate about the great Pacific Northwest is the seafood. We have some great salman, shrimp, crab, clams, oysters...umm ummm ummm.

    Get a few dozen, or as many as you need, fresh in the shell oysters
    Light your barbeque (use a chimney, not presoaked briquets or lighter fluid unless you like that taste)
    Eat a few of the oysters raw (they have to be small and cold for this to be enjoyable)
    Put the rest of them on the grill a dozen or so at a time.
    Prepare a small pan of garlic butter
    Keep an eye on them oersters until they start to open a little or liquid bubbles out
    When they are ready pop them open with your oyster knife (or something similar) and using a fork scrape the oyster into your pan of warm garlic butter
    After you finish a batch call your friends and family outside and eat the oysters out of the pan with crusty french bread while drinking beer or sparkling soda or nothing.

    Ever wonder if sometimes we eat things like escargot or maybe oysters because it gives us an excuse to eat garlic butter?

    If you want you could make yourself a hangtown fry with some oysters. I was big on that for awhile after I read the story about that dish in a cookbook. You can pretend you are a gold miner or maybe an outlaw...

    I googled to this site and clipped the little blurb below about the hangtown fry.


  • "Supposedly created in 1849 during the California goldrush, possibly at the Cary House in Hangtown (now Placerville). Food was expensive in the mining camps and towns, and oysters and eggs were the most expensive. Either a miner with a bag full of nuggets wanted the most expensive meal he could order, or it was the last request of an outlaw about to be hanged. The Hangtown Fry is eggs, oysters and bacon cooked together as a scramble or an omelette."

    After we let those oysters settle let's cook a nice salmon on our BBQ.

    See you all soon. Remember to breathe. Nice and deep...let it all go. Buy some flowers. Be good to yourself.

    Peace to you and yours.

    Tuesday, December 09, 2003

    Personal v. Private Life - Hot Milk and Heidi's Melted Cheese on Toast For When You Can't Sleep

    Good morning to you. Couldn't sleep either eh? Can I get you a cup of warm milk? Maybe some toast with melted cheese ala Heidi in the Swiss Alps?

  • Heidi Toasted Cheese

  • I've been thinking this morning while I was wiping down the counter. One thing that I can't quite put down is famous people who have married their first cousins. Have you ever thought about that?

    Have you ever known anyone who married a cousin? First or otherwise? I can't think of anyone. Sometimes my family introduces me as Cousin Jack twice removed or something but never had any of them express an interest in marrying me or vice versa.

    What brings this up you ask? Yesterday Business Week ran an article about the recently deposed CEO of the Boeing Company. In the article it says that he had been married four times....once to his first cousin. I was trying to think who else I was aware of who had married a cousin and the only other person who came to mind was Jerry Lee Lewis who married his thirteen year old cousin.

    The Business Week article is a hatchet job but has some fairly bizarre quotes about this powerful man. Makes me think he ticked some people off and now that he's on a downhill slide they are piling on. One quote has someone saying, "we have another Bill Clinton on our hands." Which brings up another point for me.

    What about the idea that whatever your personal life foibles may be they have no bearing on your work? Whether you are president or CEO or whatever your job should be separate from your secretarial love affairs, intern cigar episodes, multiple divorces etc etc etc?

    I think not.

    You cannot separate what you do in one area of life from another. Think about it. It's not bad on it's own that you were married and divorced four times. If you were honorable and didn't cheat and decided to go your separate ways with four women you were married to....heh more power to you both. The truth is more likely something else and you are what we refer to in the vernacular as "a jerk" or sometimes "a jackass". That doesn't mean you couldn't be one heck of a successful person I guess...funny how we think of success.

    So I'll get off my little soap box and fix you that

    Cup of Hot Milk and Heidi's Melted Cheese on Toast Can't Sleep Snack

    It's funny how pieces of stories you read stick in your mind. When I was little I had a book where Heidi was visiting her grandfather (Heidi is a little Swiss girl). It's cold outside and the grandfather fixes little Heidi some melted cheese on toast that he cooks over a fire. I'll make that for you now.

    Microwave a cup of milk (or heat in sauce pan)
    Add salt and pepper
    Make some toast (over a fire if you have one)
    Put some good cheese on it (I just used some pepperjack...but some good soft cheese would be nice)

    Enjoy....think about being in the Swiss Alps with your nice old grandpa...with the wind howling outside and you are in your cozy warm little chalet sitting in front of the fire.

    Good night now.


    Saturday, December 06, 2003

    The Best Way to Know God is to Love Many Things - Insanity Why Not?

    Hello and a good Saturday to you.

    I'm coming off a bad case of the Fujian. Man that was some tough flu. Funny how things sort of come in bunches sometimes. Just in the last few months my dog died, found out my liver is dying, my mom died. I guess it isn't really that funny. Ahhh life is a vale of tears...the good thing is we have lots of crunchy snack foods to make us happy

  • Crispy Snacks

  • I added a couple of links to my blog. I really like that Buddhist/Zen/Meditation Interlude site that Tom Barrett runs. Great thoughts of the day, meditations and things. In my humble opinion a fine use of bandwidth (as opposed to this garbola).

    Today's thought over there is -

    "The best way to know God is to love many things." - Vincent Van Gogh

    I like that.

    That quote from Vinnie makes me think about something else I wanted to touch on...Have you ever thought about being insane?

    How much fun it might be? How scary? Painful? Exciting? Maybe really being alive for a change?

    I was insane once but now I'm certified sane. Isn't that an old joke? I've delved on the edges and fallen in now and's really not all that bad. On the other hand my insanity isn't your insanity. For you it might be hell. I'm sorry.

    It's very hard to describe this to someone who hasn't been there. Let me say this - some of the funniest, most alive, people I've ever met would be considered insane I suppose, (they were institutionalized). I don't know where this is going...I guess just don't worry so much if you are a little's okay. Everyone is or should be. Just be nice to other people...try to laugh.

    Back in the 70's an old friend of mine once went off the deep end and thought he was running for public office. One of his first campaign moves was a one-man march on Washington DC. This was back in Montana. The cops picked him up walking nude on the interstate about 1/4 mile out of town. He was really a nice guy and funny. Never hurt anybody. He had some chemical imbalance or something and every once in awhile he'd do something really weird and they'd put him in the loony bin and then he'd be okay again. The thing I always thought when I talked to him was that he had sort of a twinkle in his eye like "I know what I did was just friggin crazy..but I don't's sort of like really bizarre funny performance art." Cool. To me much better than being so careful.

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance about Robert Pirsig's journey into madness. It's a little more painful than my own or my old friends journey. Worth a read maybe though. I remember hearing this guy on NPR who had some mental illness. At one time he thought he was a champion horse jumper in England or something like that. The part of the interview that stuck in my mind was that he said how "alive" he felt when he was crazy...he missed it.

    So what to do today? Maybe go a little crazy. or maybe just cook a nice pot of

    Get Over the Flu Chicken Soup

    Make your mirepoix (saute some onions, carrots and celery in a soup kettle)
    Brown some chicken in that kettle too.
    I made some soup with chicken drumsticks the other day and it worked pretty good because the bones and skin and stuff add flavor (if you made a soup with a chicken breast you might want to add some boullion to flavor)
    I like to add garlic, salt and pepper.
    You might add noodles or rice.

    What else could you throw in there? Barley? Probably not peas. Corn, green beans, peppers. Sorry if this isn't detailed enough for you. If you really like eating the same thing all the time buy yourself a can of Campbell's soup. One thing about my recipes is that you never get the same thing twice. I like the Zen nature of that perfect slightly cracked teapot (soup) whatever that only lives in that moment.

    Add some stock if you are a real cook cook like in a cafe (stock is made from vegetable cuttings, chicken parts etc and left to simmer in a stock pot)....most home cooks don't have time for that.

    Add some chicken boullion and water for flavor. Eat your soup and stay warm now.

    Just one last thing...I have to tell you about something I heard on the radio yesterday (It's about soup).

    Somewhere near where I live is a soup factory of some sort. It's like Larry's Natural Soups or some odd name like that. Anyway the neighbors around where this soup factory is have been complaining to the city about the smell. I can't quite imagine what kind of soup Larry is cooking that it causes odors that are considered pollutants by his neighbors. Here's the kicker...the city bought Larry's land. They are putting in what they are calling the BrightWater sewage treatment plant. I can see some city planner saying, "You want to whine about smell? I'll give ya something to whine about..."

    Did you hear about the lady in Houston who ran over a McDonald's manager because they wouldn't put mayo on her cheeseburger? I guess she thought she was at BK. I loved the old Belushi skits about no Coke Pepsi cheeseburger cheeseburger. If that lady ever comes into Jacks after she gets out of the pen I'll give her all the mayo she wants. I can't run as fast as I used to.

    Peace to you and your's.