Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ribbons and Medals Galore and plenty More

In his column this morning, Garrison Keillor, lists the gifts of grace: "faith, hope, love and a sense of humor." Then he goes on to say: "The harder you strive for a gift, the more it eludes you..." It seems to me that he is telling us to just be patient and considerate. Don't rush! Don't be pushy! It doesn't matter where you are in line, grace will seek you out.

"There is grace afoot in this world and it will find you!"

I’ve been reading some blogs for you. Let me summarize a few and provide the links in case you want to read more.

I’m a regular reader of Dick Cavett’s blog, Talk Show. He has that subtle and dry sense of humor that really breaks me up. However, in his latest blog he wasn’t being funny when he closed with this explanation of why the four-star general (Petraeus) and the ambassador to Iraq (Crocker), who testified before Congress this week, were so befuddling in their explanations.

“Could it be he is being overtaken by the thought that an honorable career has been besmirched by his obediently doing the dirty work of the tinpot Genghis Khan of Crawford, Texas? The one whose foolish military misadventure seems to increasingly resemble that of Gen. George “Armstrong Custer at Little Bighorn? 
“Not an apt comparison, I admit.
“Custer sent only 258 soldiers to their deaths.”

Cavett, like most of us, is now reaching the end of his patience for this stupid war.

During the hearings, I was struck by a comment of a Republican, Senator George Voinovich of Ohio:

“The truth of the matter is that we haven’t sacrificed one darn bit in this war, not one. Never been asked to pay for a dime, except for the people that we lost.”

That’s the truth of the matter. Of course, he’s talking about the American taxpayer. On the other hand, although we haven’t been asked, we’re paying plenty when you look at the 3 trillion dollar price tag on this war.

I think I know how to end this war. Just enact and pass a bill to reestablish the draft. With that law in place, the war will end very, very quickly.

Blake Hounshell writes the following on Andrew Sullivan’s blog:

“Few Americans would support spending $12 billion a month in Iraq if they understood that they were buying, at best, another Nigeria, and at worst, Somalia with oil.” [click here to read it all]

Barack Obama appears to have had a slip of the tongue and he’s trying to dig his way out of it. Is it a candidacy breaker? I’ve not found any opinion writer or first-class blogger who has built a good case for it. We’ll just have to see how much leg this gaffe has got. Here’s the NY Times story about Obama’s attempt to patch up the hole he made in his campaign. Here’s a bunch of reaction from voters and pundits.

This is a juicy one from Chris Suellentrop at the
Opinionator Blog

WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATION AHEAD? [April 10, 2008] Reacting to an ABC News report that “Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft… discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency,” The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder says, “it remains one of those hidden secrets in Washington that a Democratic Justice Department is going to be very interested in figuring out whether there’s a case to be made that senior Bush Administration officials were guilty of war crimes.”

Have you noticed the way Colin Powell seems to be reemerging on this war issue and speaking softly about the insanity and irrationality of it?

Let's change the flavor of this blog and mix in something lighter.

Great blogs if you love to cook…
Have you found the cooking videos of Mark Bittman at the NY Times. I’m doing most of the cooking around our place and I’m trying to get better and more creative. Mark Bittman has given me a huge shot of energy and hope. I love his videos and follow them often. If you like to cook and you haven’t watched “the Minimalist” in action,
go to his videos and start with the one showing how to do stir fried shrimp and fermented black beans. Fabulous!

Then, of course, there is
The nice thing about this web site is that they not only give you recipes, but they also give you careful preparation and serving instructions. Terrific place to go for recipes!

Shepherds Pie
I did a shepherd’s pie last week that was an absolute knock out. I’ve never seen my wife eat so enthusiastically. It was
a recipe by Gordon Ramsay, a British Chef of great acclaim. He's supposed to be quite a jerk personally, but the man can cook.

You horse people out there might want to watch this video of Patches. It reminds me a lot of our friend, Dick Ledstrom, and his horse, Ooofda, who could do many of the things Patches does in this video. []. Dick Ledstrom is not doing well and his friends out here sure miss seeing him and that massive smile and the mysterious twinkle in his eyes.

Local Restaurant Review: We dined with some friends last evening at Pittsburgh Blue, a new restaurant here in the Twin Cities. It’s one of those places that basically serves monstrously large pieces of steak with side dishes that serve the entire table. My feeling is that it’s okay to eat in one of them about once every year or two, just to keep reminding one’s self that they’re around. The whole approach is really no different than Morton’s, or Ruth Chris, or Manny’s. I had the porterhouse steak special, which was a 24 ounce hunk of nicely aged meat cooked precisely as I asked for it. We brought nearly half of it home for munching on later today – perhaps while we watch the Masters golf tournament on TV. The joint, I will say, made a great martini. A friend, with whom we were dining, opined that a martini is a martini and anyone can make them. How come, then, I get so many really bad martinis? The place was very crowded, but not as noisy as a lot of the new restaurants that are being designed today. That was a relief. We were actually able to have a conversation. I thought the restaurant’s biggest weakness was that it was way out in the suburbs, stuck in one of those gigantic, spread out, drive-up to each store, shopping malls. It’s a lousy setting. There’s nothing like walking along an interesting downtown street to get to your restaurant (that may be the old man in me). The place was jam-packed, however, so a lot of people don’t agree with me. I’ll add one word of significant praise. We had a 7:30 reservation. When we walked in the door, and saw the crowd, we were sure we’d have a long wait in spite of the advance notice. Wrong! We were comfortably seated at 7:29.

If you’ve got the guts, you might want to take a look Jesus’ General, a blogger who hates liberals but is very deft with satire and makes me laugh. This blog might be a little too hard core for the timid and it may be pretty offensive.

Time to get serious with the Sunday newspapers, so I’ll close this out right here.

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