From the Kitchen, from the Bar – pork shoulder, ales and kibitzing about music, movies, etc

???????????????????????????????The weather has finally decided to be lovely and not the sauna it was a week and a half ago.  So, it became time to cook since I could have the oven on for hours and not feel like I was committing hara-kiri by sweating.

Since it was on sale ($1.49/pound) and we love it, I got a whole pork shoulder aka “fresh ham” aka a lot of other terms.  In this cut you have no choice but to admit that meat does indeed come from animals since you’ve got the skin, bone and it’s quite recognizable as a leg.  This one ran about 8 pounds, so this isn’t one of the big hogs I grew up with on the farm where their legs were probably double or triple the weight .  All told, I got about 4 pounds of useable meat and fat from this beastie, the bones being quite large.  You also lose weight when it comes to the skin. Some of the skin on this roast did crisp up into cracklings but the majority didn’t.

How I made the pork roast:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C). Place shoulder in pan that will hold it (we used our speckled roaster with the lid).  Pour a bit of water around the meat, a cup or so.  Leaving lid off for now, place in oven, and roast at temp for about 20 minutes.  Then lower temp to 350 degress F (177 degrees C), place on lid and roast until bones are loose and skin is golden (about 4 hours total in our case).  Replace water if you’d like, that’s where the juices for the gravy comes from.

I would not suggest that you give the bones or skin to a dog since pork bones have a tendency to splinter nastily and the skin isn’t that easy to digest.  Cats, being obligate carnivores, seem to have no problem with the skin and these particular bones are too big for them to do anything with other than perhaps lick them. Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – troopies, welcome Derek, a seminarian who is braving the leopard’s den

leopard with tail in mouthBack near Easter, I had a youngish Christian wanting to try out apologetics on me.  He’s back and I’m very pleased that he did return.  It’s not a easy thing to debate religion with an atheist, and one as aggressive as I am.

You can see his post attempting to refute my post about easter here.  I figured I’d make my answer here and there so we can have a nice fresh page to debate on.

Hah, and you think your post is long! :) Hi Derek, Again, thanks for returning.  I know that it can be uncomfortable to discuss Christianity and theism with an atheist.  I am definitely one of the more aggressive ones, so be warned.   And don’t worry about length.  You’ve certainly seen where I don’t give a hoot how long a post is. I’d love to have parakeets but I think my cats would terrorize them to death.  I need a big ol’ crow that could stand its own.

My point about the second class citizens is that the Bible has much about how second-class women are and has one very little bit about how everyone is supposed to be equal.  As always, the parts of the bible to be followed depend on the person, not some idea that the words are a divine truth. There are some sects that do not treat women as such, but most consider a woman less than a man, basing their nonsense on Paul.   Of course, most of these sects ignore the parts about women not teaching, because that’s rather inconvenient in the US.  IJM does good work (though there are some questionable things they’ve done as my research has shown).  However,  the basic idea of women as second-class is about as Christian as the idea of taking care of the least of these.

I’ve always been interested in the various sects of Christianity.  My former church was Presbyterian. It split because one woman said that this god told her that the church we had needed to be torn down and replaced.  The “new church” half was recognized by the Presbytery and the other considered well, I think heretics isn’t too strong a word since they didn’t believe the woman’s claims and kept the old church. They became an independent church.  It seems that splits like this are always happening in Christianity, there’s always someone who thinks that they have the “right” version.   Open theism is certainly a strange one.  It seems like a rather curious attempt to make God over into what reality indicates, a way to have a god but excuse its incompetence.  It certainly isn’t the god of Christianity it’s describing.

I’d like to ask you, why do you “lean” more towards Wesleyan Aminian theology? What makes it better than say Calvinism or Roman Catholicism?

Now, onto the other stuff.  There is no evidence that this cruxifiction happened at all.  If it happened on a Passover, one could recalculate it since Passover is based on lunar events.  There would also have been a Roman date which we also could figure out what it was in our calendar, and Romans are anything but “atemporal” as a people.  But we have neither.  And yes, dates are forced on other ancient documents.  We know Alexander’s birthday.  That we do not know one of the most important dates in your religion makes it seem very odd to me. I ask you to tell me what reference to Jesus are contemporary and non-biblical.  I want to know which ones you are talking about before I tear into them.  Again, there is no evidence anyone was cruxifed as this man.  But, assuming the story is true, then he was crucified as a danger to Rome.  He was also supposedly famous for doing miracles, so much so that he had over a legion’s worth of men (plus women and children) just outside of Jerusalem an occupied city.  And no one noticed this, in a country that was, as you said, known for revolts.  Or remarked upon this to the soldiers.  Knowing more than a few soldiers, I find that hard to believe considering how they gossip.  Continue reading

What the Boss Likes – Random things I wish someone would have told me

random things, random image....

random things, random image….

Just a list of random things that I wish I had known sooner.

 

(incidentally, if you are a pathetic spammer who is following my blog and only have “make money blogging” crap on your website, you are a parasite. Seems like vermin are everywhere, not only shilling for “godonomic$” or “prosperity gospel”.)

Borax, yes the 20 Muleteam stuff works great in the laundry.  It gets out body oil stains and blood better than anything I’ve tried.  Everyone I’ve talked to says “Oh yes, grandma used that.”  Grandma should have told them why she used it.

A grasshopper and a stinger are both good cocktails.  The former ( half green crème de menthe and half white, aka clear, crème de cacao with a splash of cream) tastes like melted mint chocolate chip ice cream. And yes, they drink *very* quickly.  A Stinger (2.25 oz brandy, .75 oz white crème de menthe on ice)  like an excellent after dinner mint, very refreshing on a hot and humid day (like right now, when I’m about to go all crazy Tennesee Willliams on someone because of the heat).  I had my first stinger on vacation at the Sandals resort in St. Lucia.  They had it on their big list of drinks at the swim-up bar.  Evidently no one had ordered one for quite some time, since the bartender had to look at the sign to figure out what I was asking for.

Scuba diving is very very NOISY!  One gets the impression that it’s very quiet down there, all serene and peaceful, from the usual nature shows.  However, unless you have a rebreather, it is BLARBLE-BLARBLE- BLARBLE, every time you take a breath.  The tanks can also be freakin’ heavy.  Husband and I went diving thanks to the temporary diving cert you can get at a tropical resort (we went to Sandals – St. Lucia).  They had the metal tanks and it was a struggle for me to just stand up with the things on plus the weights (I float like a cork).   Also, reconsider scuba diving if you’ve *ever* had problems with your ears.  My ears are screwed up from the drums bursting from infection when I was young.  Diving to 30 feet is not good for them at all.  Blood from your ears is NOT what you want to see.  Be happier and just snorkel.

Comet bathroom cleaner does a great job on soap scum, but they don’t advertise it much.  Best stuff I’ve found for cleaning the bathroom so far.

If you buy parmesan reggiano by the chunk, make sure you don’t get the “corner” chunk that has two sides of rind.  You don’t get as much grate-able cheese.  It is worth the price, though.  Incidentally, the powdery stuff from the can will not work in making parmesan crisps. You’ll just get hot powder.

Do not plant mints in your garden without first putting them in a container and sinking that in the ground, top level or just a bit above ground level.  Mints propagate themselves through runners and they will do their level best to take over.  There are only so many mojitos a girl can drink.

Do not think that those pretty white flowers that look like morning glories and are growing wild would make a great thing to put in your garden. That stuff is bindweed, and you can’t kill it.  Mugwort is also a pain in the ass in the garden because it spreads like mint.  Supposedly it keeps “bad witches” away.  🙂

If you like the new “chocolate wines” you can make a very close facsimile of Spodee with cheap dry red wine and Crème de Cacao liqueur.

If you pay a bill online through your bank and screw up with the decimal point, call the company you paid too much. (no, of course I didn’t just do this and scare myself…ahem)  They will generally be very nice about the whole thing and will have to confirm with the bank that the bank will not rescind the funds from them.  So have your bank account number with you when you are calling because you will likely end up on a three-way call with your bank.  They will then cut you a refund check to you, which will take a week or so.  It will screw things up for a bit but hopefully not for long, and it isn’t the end of the world, though it might feel like it.  Another reason to have reserves of money as big as you can keep.

Cheap dry dishwashing detergent makes a good quick scrub for cabinets, tubs, etc.  Remember to rinse well.

That’s all for now.  Feel free to add your own things you wished someone would have told you in comments.

What the Boss Likes – Welcome new troopies!

FriendlyNeighborhoodAtheistHi,  just wanted to welcome my influx of new troopies (aka followers).  I see I’ve gained a bunch of Christians troopies.  If you’d like to debate with me or ask me, your friendly neighborhood atheist, any questions, please do.  I’ll give you my unvarnished opinion about anything.  I am willing to talk about just about anything.   And I’m sure my ‘net friends will contribute their thoughts too.   I’ll let through just about any comment as long as it has some merit and yep, I consider foul-worded posts to have merit occasionally.  It’s rather like how I find the FFRF crankmail being read to be hilarious.

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Part 2, The lie of “think of the children” Pennsylvania style

040-If-you-want-to-assert-a-truthPart 1 here.

 

A rather pathetic example of one of those Christians who want to pretend their personal beliefs should be made law is a recent op-ed “Defend marriage, for the kids’ sake” (yep, he went there) It was written by Brian McGinley of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, another one of those organizations that has to put “family” in its name since no one would notice it from their actions.  It should read the “Pennsylvania Family As We Define It Institute”.  Mr. McGinley starts off with the usual emotional appeal  “Think of the Children!” nonsense citing how much kids are hurt by single parents(women of course), fatherlessness, divorce, etc.  Funny how Mr. McGinley and his ilk are never advocating laws to stop divorces, to force parents to stay together.  Of course, they don’t; since their ignorant constituencies want their divorces.  And funny how Mr. McGinley can’t actually cite one actual study showing his claims to be true.

And what does the opening salvo have to do with gay marriage?  Well, nothing as we can see.  And what’s hilarious that gay marriage between two guys would supply that supposed need for fathers doubly!  Surely, Mr. McGinley would be for such a thing.  Oh, but they wouldn’t be “real” fathers per Mr. McGinley.  Mr. McGinley of course wants to declare that marriage is only “real” if the biological parents are the ones raising the kids and who are stuck together with no other choice.  Sorry, folks who care enough to marry another person with kids, sorry those parents who had a mate that was dangerous and worthless and are doing it on your own,  you aren’t good enough per Mr. McGinley and his “Pennsylvania Family Institute”  even if you are straight.  They want to deny your rights too.

My husband and I have been married 22 years.  That’s far longer than his many brothers and sisters who have kids and who have had multiple divorces.  We got simply lucky in that we married someone that some ignorant people deign to “approve of”.  If I add that we have no children and chose to do that, there are those who would say we aren’t “really” married either and who would take our rights away.  Just like Mr. McGinley “Makes no mistake about it: If marriage is not about children, there is no reason for it to exist at all.”  My rights are at risk too.

Mr. McGinley is a sad little man and one helluva hypocrite.  “Surely we don’t need the government to bless our private sexual relationships to give them value and meaning.”  He cries crocodile tears when he says “How sad it would be if our relationships depended on the blessing of the state?”  But that is exactly what he wants done by the state, since we depend on the state to do more than just approve our sex.  It approves our relationships, and Mr. McGinley wants to declare that no one but those he approves of can have legal rights to share our loved one’s life.

Mr. McGinley does do one thing that I’m sure he doesn’t intend “But we don’t (and shouldn’t) make public policy based on cultural trends. We make public policy based on reasons and arguments about the common good—and especially the good of the voiceless and vulnerable who are our society’s future.”  Hmmm, but we do make public policy on cultural trends that come from reason and arguments for the common good, not just the good of those selfish and ignorant, be they majority or minority, who want to deny equal rights to everyone.  That’s how the stupidity of miscegenation was destroyed.  That’s how integration came about.  We used reason and arguments about the common good, not the whining of a few religions (Christian, Islam, Jewish, etc) that want to pretend that their god agrees with them.  We are speaking up for the voiceless and vulnerable, those who Mr. McGinley would love to deny equal rights.

It’s not about the children for Mr. McGinley.  It’s only about Mr. McGinley.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Bravo for Pennsylvania AG Kane, Part 1

330-Morality-Slavery-or-Homosexuality-Guess-which-one-the-bibles-ok-with-biblical-ethics-insanity-bigotry“We are surprised that the attorney general, contrary to her constitutional duty under the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, has decided not to defend a Pennsylvania statute lawfully enacted by the General Assembly, merely because of her personal beliefs.” – James Schultz, Pennsylvania general counsel

It’s so cute when the irony escapes people like Mr. Schultz, Gov. Corbett, PA House Speaker Sam Smith, et al.  Golly, doing something in PA law  “merely because of personal beliefs”?  Oh say it isn’t so!   They of course don’t mention that the members of the PA General Assembly decided to take equal rights away from everyone because of their personal beliefs.  The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act for PA wasn’t just a bunch of people forcing others to obey their personal beliefs was it?    And that’s what AG Kane is refusing to defend.  The wannabee theocrats want to try to keep the statute which seems to be quite unconstitutional? Well, then Mr. Schultz, Gov.Corbett, Sam Smith, et al can do if they think it’s worth it.  Alas, for them they can’t hide behind someone else’s metaphorical skirts and avoid having their names attached to such nonsense.  They get to take direct responsibility for it.

Here’s the Commonwealth Attorneys Act.  Mr. Schultz says that the Act has something to do with Attorney General Kane’s “constitutional duty”.  Here’s the parts I’m guessing he means “(3) It shall be the duty of the Attorney General to uphold and defend the constitutionality of all statutes so as to prevent their suspension or abrogation in the absence of a ontrolling decision by a court of competent jurisdiction.”  And farther down “(c) Civil litigation; collection of debts.–The Attorney General shall represent the Commonwealth and all Commonwealth agencies and upon request, the Departments of Auditor General and State Treasury and the Public Utility Commission in any action brought by or against the Commonwealth or its agencies, and may intervene in any other action, including those involving charitable bequests and trusts or the constitutionality of any statute.”

As I see it, this depends if the statutes are indeed constitutional.  If one goes up a bit in the Act, you get this “The Governor may request the advice of the Attorney General concerning the constitutionality of legislation presented to him for approval in order to aid him in the exercise of his approval and veto powers and the advice, if given, shall not be binding upon the Governor. In all other cases the advice when received shall be followed and, when followed, the recipient shall not in any way be liable for doing so, upon his official bond or otherwise.”  So, we have an Act that says that the Attorney General can offer opinion on constitutionality but the Governor, et al, can ignore it, no matter if it is true or not.  At this point, AG Kane says that the statute is not constitutional and thus is not what her oath indicates she should do.  Her oath (just like everyone  in the Executive Branch)? “”I do solemnly swear (or affirm*) that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.”  So, to fulfill her oath, if she believes that the statue is unconstitutional, she must refuse to defend something some legislators and governors before her put into place. I am unaware of what the AG at the time of the acceptance said about the law but we do know that the Republicans knew it was going to be controversial back in 1996 when an effort was made to deem it unconstitutional then.

Now, we know that the Attorney General evidently can legally refuse to defend the constitutionality of a statue from the Act down in the part about the General Counsel “(6) Initiate appropriate proceedings or defend the Commonwealth or any executive agency when an action or matter has been referred to the Attorney General and the Attorney General refuses or fails to initiate appropriate proceedings or defend the Commonwealth or executive agency;”  If there were no ability to refuse action, then there would be no part of the Act that says the General Counsel can initiate proceedings. So, it seems that Mr. Schultz is incorrect about what the Act says or that he’s trying to argue himself out of a job.  I might suspect the latter since this case is not going to be any fun for him at all.

There was no mention of who gets to marry who in the US Constitution when it was first written.  But it was declared that everyone deserved the same rights, even though it took a long time to get them to people of color, women, etc.   Attempts to claim that it is constitutional to deny equal rights is going backward, forgetting any advancement of human freedom and dignity that has occurred.

Once upon a time, even straight people couldn’t marry who they wanted due to ignorant “values” of the times.  If you were of different “color” you couldn’t marry.  If you were a Catholic and your love was a Protestant, your ignorant family might make it impossible for you to marry (which happened to my aunt who then never married).  Just because some people want to pretend their personal beliefs are “eternal values” certainly doesn’t make it so.

Part 2,  The lie of “think of the children” Pennsylvania style