Friday, May 28, 2004

Lebanese Humus Recipe - "Non Impediti Ratione Cogitatonis" - House on Fire Story - Teenagers Save Lewis and Clark - Norah Jones - Dave Matthews

I'm up on an early Friday morning, wishing you a good Memorial Day weekend and lots of good memories for the good and brave, kind and loving people we think about this weekend.

I haven't written down a recipe for awhile so here goes...

This is a recipe for Original Lebanese Humus from a friend of mine who is originally from Beirut.

Combine the following in a blender -

Two cans of garbanzo beans (drain one and leave the liquid in the other)
Some lemon juice (it's up to you...I'd try 2 to 4 lemons depending on the size/juiciness of the lemon)
A lot of garlic. I used a flower of garlic last time and it was garlicky...good. Smash the garlic with the edge of a knife and then chop it so you don't get big pieces of raw garlic in the humus.
A cup or so of Tahini (use the non-roasted white kind). You can get Tahini at health food stores or some bigger grocery stores.
Olive oil (maybe a half cup or so)

This is a good workout for a blender, sometimes I can smell the motor. Anyway blend it up and eat with pita bread pieces or whatever you like for dipping. It's nice to drizzle a little olive oil on the top after you put your humus in the serving bowl.

It's good and good for you.

The guy who gave me this recipe is a good person. He has one leg. Funny, good attitude, plays soccer, rides a bike, skis. I try to think about his attitude when I start whining sometimes. I know another funny, good guy with a great attitude, who doesn't have any legs.

It's all about your perspective some times.


I heard Click and Clack, on Car Talk, use the phrase "Unencumbered by the Thought Process". I found a link where they provide the Latin - "Non Impediti Ratione Cogitatonis."

Take time to have fun, Click and Clack urge grads

Those guys are smart.

Speaking of being unencumbered by the thought process, there's an article in the May 10th issue of Time Magazine. "Secrets of the Teen Brain - Research is revolutionizing our view of the adolescent mind - and explaining it's mystifying ways."

According to the article, the brain doesn't fully mature until a person is 25. Hmmmmmm. I suppose having a mature brain doesn't always make for a mature person. I liked this quote "The last area of the brain to mature is the part capable of deciding, I'll finish my homework, take out the garbage and then I'll Instant Message my friends."

I don't mean to put down teenagers. It is helpful for me sometimes to think the reason my teenagers act the way they do is because some of their behaviour is a fact of nature rather than anything either they or I have a whole lot of control over.

I recalled an incident from my pre-teen years that made me think how differently our brains react as we mature. I think this happened when I was about 10. We were living in town at the time and a friend of mine and I were shooting baskets at a hoop in his driveway. It was across the street and a few doors down from the back door of our house (our back door was in plain view from where we were). Anyway we are playing and I noticed my mom and then my step dad kind of scurrying around in and out of the back door. I can't remember now but I think I may have noticed smoke coming out of the back of the house as well (it turned out there was smoke coming from the dryer in the utility room). I had a decision to make "should I keep playing basketball or go home?". My young brain thought, or didn't think, that I should keep playing basketball. I have to laugh thinking about talking to my step dad about it later. He said, "next time you think the house is on fire it might be a good idea to come home and check to see what's going on"...or words to that effect.

I have to keep that kind of thing in mind so I won't be too hard on my kids.


I've finally gotten around to reading a book on Lewis and Clark my sister in law gave me about seven years ago;

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West

I just finished a part of the book where some teenagers helped the expedition by guiding them over the Bitterroots.

Lewis and Clark are on their way back East in June of 1806, having spent the winter at Fort Clatsop on the mouth of the Columbia River. They have made it as far as the West side of the Bitterroot Mountains. There is still a lot of snow in the mountains and they have already made one unsucessfully attempt to cross Lolo Pass.

As they gained elevation the snow covered the trail and the grass, which was making it hard on them and their horses. They turned around and went back down to the mountain to wait for better weather, allow their horses to feed and to wait for some Indian guides to lead them over the pass.

Two teenage Nez Perce Indian boys came along and told them they were going over the mountains to visit some friends on the other side. At about the same time three more teenage Indian boys show up, having been sent by their Chief (Twisted Nose), to guide Lewis and Clark. With the help of these teenagers Lewis and Clark made it across the mountains.

Here's a quote from that part of the book,

"Just before sunset the party rode into Traveler's Rest. They had covered 156 miles in six days. The previous fall, the expedition had been slowed by Old Toby's losing the way and by the fallen timber, and it had taken eleven days to cover the distance.

On this crossing the horses had grass every day but one. To Lewis's delight, they had stood the journey suprisingly well. Most of them were in "fine order" "and only want a few days rest to restore them perfectly."

This was thanks to the skill of the guides. Their sense of distance and timing, not to mention their sense of direction and ability to follow a trail buried under ten feet of snow, was a superb feat of woodmanship. Most of the trail was in dense forest, and the guides were young men, not yet twenty years of age.

The expedition had been as lucky in its guides as Lewis had been in his fall from the horse, as Lewis knew. When he wrote that not even Drouillard could find his way in thee mountains, he was giving his guides and extraordinary compliment."

Teenagers, they help keep us young, while giving us gray hair, and make us glad we are getting old. It's a lot of work being young. Even though on the surface it may appear a young person has a lot of discretionary time they don't necessarily see it that way. It's really hard as I age to remember that. I need to lighten up sometimes with my kids...still a challenge.

There's a Hank Hill episode where his niece sees him filling the ice cube tray and says "thank God we'll have ice around here again."

It's kind of like that.


I got tickets to a Norah Jones concert at the Key Arena this September. The first time in a long time that I wanted to buy an album after I heard a song on the radio was the first time I heard her song "Come Away With Me". There's a sample of it here Norah Jones: Music.

Speaking of good concerts and a good venue; last year I went with my daughters and some of their friends to a Dave Matthews concert at the Gorge in Eastern Washington. It was great. A beautiful outdoor setting, mellow crowd and good music. I see they are playing at the Gorge over this Labor Day Weekend. They did a version of Long Black Veil that was really good. It's one of those things I think you should do at least once...go see them, or someone, at the Gorge at George once if you have a chance. If for no other reason than to see the sun setting on the Columbia River valley...very pretty.


May you have a peaceful relaxing and refreshing weekend. Take a break, you deserve good to yourself.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Beartooth Highway - Temperature Lapse Rate - Tommy Brown

If you never have you really should take a trip up the Beartooth highway sometime. Beartooth Highway - Scenic Mountain Drive

Nice drive. Exciting for flatlanders. It gets up to 10,947 feet at the top. You start in Red Lodge and then head up the mountain into Cooke City.

Another way to go is to hike up to Lake Sioux Charlie and then keep walking for 30 or 40 miles until you get to Cooke City. I did that one time in my younger days. Rode my bicycle from Columbus (about 40 miles away from the Woodbine Campground where the trailhead starts) and then walked through the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area to Cooke City.

Woodbine Campground

Saw some grizzly tracks. Lots of pretty wild flowers. Figured out that macaroni and cheese mixed with sardines doesn't taste too good even if you are really hungry....maybe that was another trip come to think of it.

You can be in Cooke City on the 4th of July and you might see some snow. It's a fun place to drive to. When it got real hot in Montana we used to head up the mountain to take advantage of the temperature lapse rate and cool off.

From what I gather the temperature decreases somewhere around 3 to 5 degrees F per 1000 feet of altitude gain. So if I started out in Columbus at 3600 feet and it was 100 degrees F, and drove to the top of the Cooke City Highway it might be 21 to 35 degrees cooler......ahhhhhh that feels good.

Lapse Rate

You can enter Yellowstone Park through Cooke City (in the summer time). You would need a snowmachine in the winter to get up that road.

Doug Brown used to run up the Cooke City Highway to get in shape for cross country running. Whoaaa dude. I found his named mentioned in an archived article from the Missoulian. The article says, "In addition to Ford, Montana's only previous men's cross country All-Americans were Doug Brown (1966), Ken Velesquez (1985) and Frank Horn (1986)."

I knew his brother Tommy Brown...he flew airplanes. He died in a crash of his Stearman bi-plane in the 60's. Funny guy, had a love for life. Road a Honda 90 from Montana to Missippi to pick up an airplane one time.

With that I think I'll call it a night. It's 2 am...last call.

You all drive careful.

Cooke City PD

Waiting for spring in Cooke City Montana....

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Cafe Jack Sketch - Oh The Stories We Can Tell

I put a sketch of a Cafe Jack below. I'm not sure where a good place to build it will be. Maybe Montana, maybe Minnesota...maybe Washington. It will be a place where people come to tell lies.

Or stories.

It's hard to tell which is which sometimes.

Things change in our retelling of the tale sometimes deliberately, sometimes not, but we can never communicate what really happened. Ludwig Wittgenstein had some stuff to say about that idea. The point I got from old Lude was "nothing important can be communicated."

It kind of made me wonder why I spent a year in that Philosophy class.

Ludwig Wittgenstein [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

Have you ever been run over by a tractor?

I know someone who was...but if you heard that story you might think it was a lie.

Have you ever been riding on a commercial flight in a 747 Jumbo Jet and had the pilot's get out of their seats so you could take a picture of the sunrise?

I did that...but if you heard that story...

Have you ever...joined the carnival?

Have you ever..

Washed an elephant?

Kissed a bear?

Floated down the Blackfoot River with someone named BadToe who took care of the dolphins in a zoo?

Ever been in a Mexican Jail? Any jail? Psych Ward? How about an insane asylum? Drug rehab?

Have you ever been in a Mexican Jail and then had the police take you back to the bar you were in when they arrested you?

Ever had someone break a beer bottle on your forehead?

Did you ever have a chance work at the Rand Think Tank RAND Corporation Provides Objective Research Services and Public Policy Analysis?

Now we're getting in the fact vs. fiction.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't getting so damn old. I wish I had the testosterone and whatever else was flowing through me when I was a younger crazier lad. Other times I'm glad to be more serene. Or is it just tired. In any event it's nature baby.

I heard Pat O Brien say that "sobriety is serenity" on the TV last night. I guess but intoxication can sure be a lot of fun....Religion - Cults: Dionysian God sometimes I think I wish I could have a drink.

I guess it depends on our definition of fun eh? Headaches and jail, fighting and crying, maybe not so fun.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Home Repairs - Fujitsu Lifebook Repair - My Gardiner Montana Retreat

Happy Friday to you my friend.

I've been away from blogging for awhile. It was a nice break for me to do some non-virtual things for a, painting, butchering wood (my version of carpentry). I hung a simple wooden screen door and I thought I was going to have to demolish and rebuild the house to get the darn thing to hang right.

Why is it that Bob Villa or whoever those guys are on TV can have such an easy time? I'd like to see a reality show...."here's our homeowner 7 hours later after 4 trips to the hardware store, sweating and cussing because the pipe he was going to remove to clear the sink drain was old and corroded and broke when he tried to undo it..."

One time I had a plugged up sewer (because the city backhoe operator cut the line in the alley it turned out). Anyway I had a rescue rooter guy at my house on Sunday. He charged me 300 bucks or something to put a camera in the sewer and tell me he couldn't figure out what was wrong. He did put a clean-out in the new inside sewer pipe we'd had put in a few months earlier.

He asked me if we had a clean-out near where the sewer left the basement. I wasn't sure so I decided to use a power saw to cut though some sheet rock to see if one was hidden. I'm not sure why I thought anyone would put such a thing inside a wall . You would have had to have been there to appreciate the humor I see in this now. The whole house was sort of in a panic mode. I forget what the event was that everyone was getting ready for but we can't use the toilets, the sinks, showers...There's sewer water backing up into the basement and I took a power-saw to the wall in front of this guy. There's dust all over the place and a bigger mess by the minute. No clean-out. Now that I'm older an wiser I probably won't start cutting into walls at random to help solve a plumbing problem. It seemed like a good idea at the time though.


I have a Fujitsu Lifebook laptop that's old now but I have grown to really like it. The power supply jack got broken from too many hard pulls on the power cord. It was an educational experience trying to fix that. I learned (a) laptops are really hard to open (b) laptops are very expensive to repair...depending on how you define expensive I guess and (c) the people at Seattle Laptops are good to work with.

The power supply jack on this laptop is soldered to the motherboard. When I called Fujitsu they told me they don't repair motherboards but would replace mine for 600 something. Seattle Laptops told me they would try to replace the jack and make it better with some special glue for under 300. Sounded good to me. I was actually just about ready to go the hacksaw, solder and duct tape route but my wife convinced me to shell out the 300.

You can remove every screw from the case of a laptop and it won't open. You can pry around the edges and see it start to separate but you get the feeling that if and when it does something is going to break or pieces are going to start to pop out and you won't have a chance of reassembling the thing.

I enjoyed talking to the guys at Seattle Laptop, and it's a nice drive down there from my house. It's near the old Chubby and Tubby's hardware store on Aurora, across I-5 from Greenlake.

While I was in there an older lady was in and was not happy about her laptop (not sure if she'd bought a used one there or had hers fixed). I think the tech was telling her that she had downloaded some version of Microsoft software (Internet Explorer?, Media Player?) that was screwing up her system. She was saying something like, "all I see now is big dots." That got me thinking how hard it would be to work in a place like that when you have to deal with the poor folks who want to use computers but don't have the time or inclination or ability to understand the oddities of PC's.


Those z's are a symbol of how boring discussions of computer problems can be.

My main philosophy of computer troubleshooting, upgrades, fixes etc. is; do it, then forget how you did it and clear your brain for something else. No one is going to be able to keep their eyes open long enough to listen or read about how you changed the registry or got some new codecs or whatever. Well I shouldn't say no one...obviously a fair number of people love that sort of discussion, just not my cup of tea. Not that I don't enjoy screwing around with machines...just not into reading or talking about it unless I have to or someone is paying me.


I have what I think are some pretty good pictures of Montana that I want to scan and put up. I was surprised at how peaceful and beautiful I found areas that in my younger days would have been boring empty space.

Montana is really dry. This is the 6 or 7th year of drought. I think seven year cycles may be somewhat common? I think sunspot activity and maybe other natural phenomena run on that sort of schedule. I sure hope they get some rain and snow in the higher elevations next year. Otherwise I might have to start thinking more about this whole global warming thing. I guess we city slickers can enjoy the sun...not sure about the people and animals that need that moisture to survive.

I saw deer, elk, moose, buffalo, a grizzly (from a distance), antelope, coyote and maybe some wolves (I couldn't tell they were too far away...might have been a pack of coyotes.

Went to the hot springs at the 45th parallel. It was cool! It was cold! It was hot. It was fun. Saw my kids and their friends at Chico. They floated the Yellowstone from Gardiner. I think they had a ball. There at an age where dad is not really needed. That's fine with me. I think my job as a parent is to raise kids to be independent. I'm just glad my kids are so much less foolish than I was at their age.

Drew some pictures, read, wrote a little...met some nice people at my hotel, the Yellowstone Village Inn (there motto is "where Elk stay free"). It's a family run operation. They had a pre-Easter egg hunt in the days before I arrived for some of the little ones. A girl about seven was helping her mom (one of the daughters I think) the day I came. I found a dyed easter egg in the ice chute of the ice machine. She told me "you can eat's okay." That was nice of her but I wasn't sure eating a hard boiled egg that was out for a few days would be good on the old stomach. I located a few more easter eggs during my stay. Had a nice conversation with the Grandma/mom about Montana and how it snows a lot of times on Easter Sunday (that's why she had the pre-Easter easter egg hunt). Unfortunately they didn't get a big Easter snow this year...they could really use the water.

Saw a little boy playing with an elk near a trailer in town. He was hitting rocks with a big plastic bat in the general direction of some elk (he was within 20 feet or so of them). The elk were just looking at him, sort of bored with the game.

I caught a nice rainbow near the slip and slide area on the Yellowstone river. Actually I had a nice rainbow on my line for enough time to see it jump a few times and get close enough to see how beautiful those wild creatures are. It was just enough.

Stopped in at the Four Winds Cafe across from the Church Universal Triumphant. I think that cafe might be associated with the Church (based on the religious stuff for sale in the gift shop). They had great soups and sandwiches. The girl running it was really nice (she reopened a little after closing when I stopped back in to get some more bee pollen candy to take home).

There's been a fair amount of controversy about that Church with the locals over the years. I think it's subsided nowadays. I say live and let live. On the other hand I would be afraid to actually drive onto the Church property because of some of the things I've read. I'm happy to leave those people alone. I don't think they are hurting anybody. I did see a little boy about 7 getting off the school bus in front of the church property and he was dressed in camo clothes. If you haven't read about that church they have some ideas about building underground shelters in preparation for something bad that may happen. I think they patrol the area to be on the lookout for something bad too. Even though I'm a peaceful fisherman I wouldn't want to test my luck by infringing on their space so I elected to not take the road through their property to get to the other side of the river.

I brought home a big bunch of grass, sagebrush, willow branches, and stuff to put in the house for a reminder. Actually I talked one of my daughters friends to carry it in the back of his vehicle...since I was pretty sure it wouldn't be allowed on the airplane.

It was a nice time of year to be there. The main roads in the park aren't open so Gardiner is still in the off-season mode. No traffic, few people and lots of sun, mountains, rivers and animals.

Just one quick note on my flight there. I had brought a journal to write in and some blue ink pens. During the flight I thought I'd jot down a few things in my journal. I'm feeling kind of cocky with my new journal, and cool bag I borrowed from my daughter. People around me are working on their laptops...and stuff and I'm thinking, "Yeah they'll see what a sophisticated gent I am..writing in journal."

Pulled out my blue ink pen and when I took the cap off I discovered a fair amount of ink had leaked out into the cap and over the pen (something to do with pressurization/depressurization of the airplane I guess). I got ink all over my hands, journal and I imagine scared the hell out of the people around me wondering what the nut finger-painting in seat 14C was up to ;-)

The good thing was I avoided smearing it on my face and clothes or I'm afraid they might have brought out the restraint kit. he he he. I still had some of that ink on my hands a week later.


Going to Montana for a wedding next month. One of my nephews is getting married. He's originally from Minnesota but he loves fishing and loves Montana. He's teaching Spanish at the U of M in Missoula nowadays. He's getting married in Bozeman at a chapel that has a view of the mountains behind the altar (I think that's the deal anyway).

He came to visit us once in Bozeman about 20 years ago with his mom, dad and sister. I think he really liked riding in the back of my brothers 63 Chevy pickup and seeing a herd of cattle with people on horses herding them on the road up to Bridger Bowl.

I think maybe what he really like though was going bowling. This is a typical kid story...

Here's the deal. You get the kids in the car and spend a couple of days on the road. You get to your destination and ask them what they would really like to do now that you are in _________.

They say something like, "I'd really like to go swimming, read a comic, fight with my sister, and watch TV." You think, but you could do that at home why did we just spend 14 hours in the car?

Anyway Andrew at age 5 or 6 thought one of the best things he could do in Montana would be to go bowling. More power to him. Actually that sounds kind of fun to me too come to think of it.

Hope you have a great Friday and an enjoyable relaxing weekend.