Saturday, 6 July 2013

Meat Loaf

I woke up this morning with an intense desire to eat meatloaf for dinner.


Here is my recipe (adapted from  the Betty Crocker cookbook)

3/4 lbs ground beef

3/4 lbs ground pork

1/2 cup bread crumbs (shop bought).

1/2 cup thick, chunky and hot salsa.

1 teaspoon hot sauce (I used  "Tabasco")

2 oz mushrooms - any kind, chopped finely.

1 raw egg.

I mixed the ingredients in a bowl with my hands (the only way to do it!); shaped it into a loaf, and baked it on a flat baking tray (rather than in a loaf pan) for 45 minutes at 360 degrees.

Early taste tests say "superb". Good!


So this evening for my supper  I will eat:

Cold meatloaf,

with a chopped tomato and spring onion mix,

and five bean salad (courtesy Sam's Club),

and roasted red peppers,

together with a couple of hard boiled eggs.

Friday, 5 July 2013

A joke

An older couple finally learned how to send and receive texts on their cell phones.

The wife, being a romantic at heart, decided one day that she'd send her husband a text while she was out of the house having coffee with a friend.

She texted:

If you are sleeping, send me your dreams.
If you are laughing, send me your smile.
If you are eating, send me a bite.
If you are drinking, send me a sip.
If you are crying, send me your tears.
I love you.

The husband, being a no-nonsense sort of guy,  texted back:
 I'm on the toilet.    Please advise.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The "mark of the beast", "Jewish jokes", shame on NPR, and other matters

I was at the Barber Shop yesterday. It's owned by a cheerful and funny guy named Patrick. Many of us choose to wait and have Patrick work on our pates even if some of the other barbers have empty chairs.

 I did some quick math/s yesterday and figured that I'd have to wait about 45 minutes for Pat, so I leap-frogged over three other customers (with their assent), to take a chair with another barber.

He is a chatty fellow who works with enormous energy, but never uses scissors - only electric clippers.

Nonetheless his work is good.

He started to tell me about his upcoming surgery for a hernia (Lord above how exciting!).  I asked him if he had registered at our local hospital, which uses palm recognition.

(The point of this system is wise, for should I be admitted to the hospital without identification, and unconscious or unable to speak, my records could be so very easy accessed).

He recoiled, saying that he would never do that because it would be the "mark of the beast" (see Revelation 13:15-18).  

He went on to try to engage me in a discussion of "the mark of the beast", asserting that the Government had plans to place a "chip" in our foreheads.

waved off the conversation with sadness. Nothing I could have said would have been profitable.

But his words reminded me that when my parents got involved with the dispensationalist "Plymouth Brethren" they abandoned their membership in the Bristol Cooperative Society.

For you see, the old Co-ops in Great Britain assigned their members a number to use when making purchases.  Thus members could receive a semi-annual dividend based on the amount of their purchases

In other words, the Co-op profits were assigned to their customers who each owned a share in the business.

Made a great deal of sense (still does) but the Brethren were convinced that such a number had something to do with ":the mark of the beast".

Little bits of the Bible can utterly skew the thinking of some people.  It is a dangerous collection of books.

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Later that morning I was at Resurrection House for the weekly prayer service which I facilitate.

Just before the service I was chatting with one of my favourite co-volunteers, Helen.

Another volunteer John barged into our conversation.  He said "I have a joke, it's a Jewish joke".  

The hairs on my neck stood up because (a) Helen is Jewish, and (b) I hate "Jewish", or "Black" or "Gay" jokes. 

 I should have said something, but I was cowardly and mute.

John told his joke.  It was old and corny. I could well have been described as a "mother-in-law" joke. It was not very funny.

On my way home I thought "since Helen was there I should have warned John that I do not like Jewish jokes".

A bit later I had a better thought.  "I should have told John of my disdain for Jewish jokes even if Helen had not been present".

Give me an "F" for moral cowardice.

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One of the annual celebrations of Independence Day is the Coney Island "Hot Dog" eating competition. In my opinion it's  a vile and disgusting way to celebrate our National Holiday. 

Did the revolutionary  patriots pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour for such frippery?

What's worse is that our National Public Radio chose to devote about three minutes of airtime for a story about this ghastly event.

Shame on NPR.

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Mid-morning today (4th July) I was at my local 7/11 store. 

One of the clerks was assailing another one by saying "you are much too independent".

In my goofy way I said "that's O.K., for this is Independence Day"

The first clerk then asked me a serious question. 

"What" she asked "do you think about dependence?"

I offered a serious answer.

"In relationships" I said, "it is not healthy if one person is entirely dependant on another"

"Nor" I continued, "will relationships work if one partner decides to be independent".

"The best way" I added, "is the way of interdependence between partners".

The first clerk said that she agreed with these words.

Hurray for a serious conversation at a 7/11.

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On this American Independence day I long for a society in which we acknowledge that we will be a better and more whole nation,  if and when we agree that the best way "is the way of interdependence between partners".


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Declaration of Independence - almost perfect, but with a fatal flaw.

As one who became an American Citizen by naturalisation (in 1984) I try to read the declaration every year. It's a noble document -  until  the part which I have highlighted below.

The designation of the original inhabitants as "savages" has had a profound and deleterious effect on our national psyche. We have, from this beginning, been deeply suspicious of "the other" - and have been utterly cruel to those who are "not like us"


U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
 www.archives.govJuly 3, 2013 
The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

National (In)security. As old as the bible.

Psalm 55 v 11 and 12 (From the Episcopal Church 1979 Prayer Book version)

11.        Day and night the watchmen make their rounds
                        upon her walls, * (national security?) 

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     but trouble and misery are in the midst of her.

12. There is corruption at her heart; *

     her streets are never free of oppression and deceit. (national insecurity?) 

Monday, 1 July 2013

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Down Memory Lane Again

My Bristol, U.K.  pal Jeff Davies sent me some more photo's from "way back when".  They were taken in the back garden of his home, on the other side of our home from  the old London, Midland and Scottish Railway line which went from Bristol to Birmingham.

You will see me in one of the pics, together with my twin sister Elizabeth, and our "cousin" Ann from Lowestoft, U.K.

Jeff joins us in the other pic.

My guess is that Elizabeth and I were aged 12 or 13.  Certainly my twin had her "growth spurt" before I.

Jeff was one year younger.

It took a bit of detective work to identify Ann, who was from Lowestoft, Suffolk.

I remembered her visit to Bristol but I could not remember her name, and how we were related. My first cousin Janet did the detective work which identified Ann.

Ann (now Ann Hunter) is the daughter of my mother's first cousin "Audrey" - (Aunt Audrey to me).

Mum had taken some of us Povey kids to Lowestoft (her birth place), when I was about eleven years old. (The 240 mile journey took 12 hours by 'bus).

There we met her Aunt Ada (her mother's sister), and some of Ada's children - including Audrey.

Soon afterwards Ann came to visit us in Bristol.  Her first impression was that "it's all so hilly". (Lowestoft is in the great eastern plain of England).

By one of those nice historical coincidences,  Jeff Davies' Mum was also from Lowestoft. So we had a lot in common. We both liked the town where our mothers had been born.

My younger brothers have lovely memories of their later holidays with Mum and Dad in Lowestoft - (pronounced low-stuff.).

Ann Hunter, Elizabeth, jmp and Jeff Davies.

Ann Hunter, Elizabeth, and jmp