From the Bar – some new wines and beers

beerWe’ve tried some new wines and beers recently.  One does need fortification when dealing with endless silliness in this blog’s comments. No, don’t go look.  You’ll regret it  🙂

First wine up is Covey Run Red Blend.  We both like red blends since you can get exactly what the wine maker wants rather than depending on one variety of grapes to shoulder the entire load.  It has a strong blackberry scent and taste, reminding me of my grandma’s blackberry pie.  It’s just barely sweet to our tastes.  It does have quite a soft mouth feel, more on the merlot side than a feisty cab.

The second wine is a  Mavrodaphne of Patras.   Alas, I recycled the bottle before remembering the brand name. This is a sweet Greek desert wine.   It strikes me as looking like a ruby port but tasting more like a tawny port, with the raisiny and toffee flavors.  We both like ports, though evidently my palate isn’t sensitive enough to really see a difference between a “new” port and one 20 years old.   My wallet surely does though.   This bottle ran about $13 at the local Pennsylvania state liquor store.   It’s definitely worth a try if you like ports and fortified wines.  Winter’s coming and provides a wonderful excuse to induldge in rich things.

For the beers, we recently returned to Appalachian Brewing Company here in town.  They finally returned the poutine to the menu, which is cause for celebration!  Along with their Hefeweizen, I had a snifter of their barleywine.  Not exactly a summer drink, it was very sweet, very rich with lots of toffee notes and I do want more when the weather turns colder.  I think it would be quite nice warmed.

In the interim, we got a case of Bell’s Best Brown Ale.  I do have a fondness for brown ales and this one is very good.  It has a strong caramel scent but not sweet at all.  A good dose of hops keep the caramel from being too cloying.

That’s all for now. Eat and drink well!

What the Boss Likes – More hate mail readings, this time hate mail to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation

This is absolutely hilarious, perhaps even funnier and more VILE and TrueChristian than the hate mail readings for the FFRF

It is very much NOT SAFE FOR WORK or anyone who doesn’t have cast iron ears.  Parents, you are warned!

Always good to have TrueChristians wishing “extremely painful rectal cancer” on others.   🙂  Gee, it’s a religion that I really want to rejoin…….



Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Do something about it

Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has an excellent article on “uncivil” civil rights activism:  No Pleasure Ride on a Unicorn: The case for “uncivil” civil rights activism”.

As repeat readers will know, I advocate for being the “rough men” that do their best to stand up and defend everyone’s rights.  The pertinent quote has been attributed to many, from Orwell, to Kipling to Churchill: “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”  For more on my position, you can read a old blog post here.


Addition: 08/25/13:  if you thought the hate mail that the FFRF is vile and is absolutely hilarious when read aloud to make lovely examples of TrueChristians, just take a listen to the MRFF’s hate mail read aloud:

From the Kitchen – Pineapple upside down cake, crabby peppers, etc

 pineapple cakeThis post is to catch up on what I’ve been cooking.   We did watch a movie this weekend with a meal, but it was the Brain from Planet Arous, a classically bad movie but one of the first, if not the first, that had aliens taking over human bodies.  Something that appeals to my Trekkiness is that they used the same effect of reflective eyes in this movie as they used for Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner on “Where No Man Has Gone Before”.

I was craving a pineapple upside down cake, a old classic.  There is a way to make it in various pans, including cast iron and in an electric skillet, but I used two regular 9” round cake pans, just splitting the brown sugar, butter, pineapple and batter between them.  The idea was to make two so we could eat one and freeze the other for later. Both got eaten before that happened.   The recipe is from the Betty Crocker website.  I used the Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Butter Recipe boxed cake mix. I also replaced all of the water with the pineapple juice from the can.

One danger with pineapple upside down cake is that the pineapple can tend to remain in the pan after you invert the cake.  Make sure to give it a good rap when flipping it over onto a plate.  And if the miserable things don’t come out, just lift them out with a fork and replace them on the warm cake.   I did not use maraschino cherries since I don’t much see a point for them.  And yes, it means more brown food on my blog.  The cake was wonderfully moist and tasty.

peppersFor something new for supper, I decided to experiment with peppers and crab.  There were some lovely little miniature sweet peppers in the produce section so they got grabbed up.  I also grabbed a container of crab cake mix (made with fake crab aka surimi which seems to be much better than I remember it to be) and a block of pepper jack cheese for some heat.   I split the peppers, deseeded them and stuffed the crab mixture in.  A thin slice of pepper jack went on top and everything went into a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes to cook the peppers well.  I had a package of naan, so that was used to corral any juices.  For an experiment, it was quite tasty.

chicken breastI also picked up a crab stuffed chicken breast at my new place of employment.  It wasn’t terribly great, but expecting a plain boneless, skinless chicken breast with a crab cake perched on it to be anything wonderful is a little silly.  Boneless, skinless chicken breast is *boring*. We did perk it up with a lemony hollandaise sauce.   We used the Joy of Cooking’s blender hollandaise recipe.  I just made a quick batch of white rice as a side.  More brown/beige food!  🙂

Oh and we got a new coffee pot. We had a nice Bunn drip pot (the same brand that you’ll see in most diners) but it gave up the ghost. So my coffee loving husband said he really wanted a Keurig, the machine that uses the little cups.  I will have to say that it’s a cool little machine and it’s worth getting the inserts so you can use your own coffee.

Eat well!

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The seasonal blooming of creationism, it’s school time!

tyson teachingThe school year is about to start in Pennsylvania and of course the creationists are in bloom.  How appropriate that our current wannabee theocrat is named Rep. Stephen Bloom, a state representative who wants his religion’s creation story taught as science (here’s his website, and it has an auto play ad on it thanks to a youtube embedding).   At the moment, there is no actual bill and the representative is looking for co-sponsors (aka people to give him moral support and some veneer of respectability for his theocratic attempts).

Unsurprisingly, Rep. Bloom makes the claim that he just only wants to preserve “academic freedom in Pennsylvania”.   But that of course is a lie since he has no desire at all to allow all religions to have the same “academic freedom”, only Christianity.

Rep. Bloom says that ““Efforts to squelch and stifle free critical inquiry in the classroom have too frequently arisen, often in the context of the teaching and debate of controversial scientific theories and paradigms.”  Unfortunately, the representative is trying to play pretend that creationism is a scientific theory which is it not.  Creationism is not like the competing theories of cosmology, which can be shown to be true or not depending on observation and experimentation.  Creationism is a claim that some god, in the good Rep’s case his personal version of the Christian god, created everything.  However, no one has any evidence that the supernatural exists, much less that a particular god did anything at all.   We have no more evidence that this version of one god was the ultimate creator than we have that Vishnu was the creator god or that the four creator gods (the reader may be familiar with two, Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl) of the Aztecs are the creator gods.   None can provide that their gods are the “true” ones, and thus the claims cannot be shown to be untrue like real scientific theories.

Rep. Bloom also says this “”This is not prescribing any religious teaching in the school,” he said. “There is no prescription that any religious-based theory be taught.”  Again, this may be technically true, but it is no more than another attempt at deception.  What other “teachings” are there to be taught that counter evolutionary theory?   Oh yes, there is that thing called “intelligent design”.    Which Judge Jones exposed as nothing more than Christian creationism in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover case.   There are very few that posit aliens are the “intelligent designers”, and at best this pushes the ultimate designer only back steps.

Let’s look at a few quotes from the decision.  Rep. Bloom and his potential co-sponsors should actually read this document to see just what the arguments were and how they failed so miserably. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The seasonal blooming of creationism, it’s school time!”

What the Boss Likes – Rep. Tammy Duckworth doing what legislators should do

US Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D – Illinois) does a wonderful job at taking down someone who is trying to scam the VA and US citizens.

Rep. Duckworth has lost both legs and may lose her arm from injuries serving as a real soldier.   The horrible person she is addressing, Castillo, turned his ankle in a military prep school, and now is trying to use it to get preference in gov’t contracts as a service disabled veteran.  He’s far too much like so many people I’ve encountered who want to play soldier but never actually get around to serving.


And shockingly Rep. Issa (generally quite a wannabee theocrat, and general twit) was very gracious to Rep. Duckworth.  Of course, there was no way he could say she was wrong.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – So, if I agree to a possible historical Jesus, then what?

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courtesy of

In the interminable comments on some of my blog posts, we have been hashing out the idea of a historical Jesus.  I prefer the mythicist approach (basically ‘religious telephone’ as per the cartoon, but with various guys)  but Christians are trying every so hard to get me to agree that Jesus was historical.  Why, I have no idea because they are no closer to their myths and indeed they are damaging them since it becomes even clearer that this supposedly magical being can’t even get a footnote.  They really want everyone to believe that at least there was some itinerate wannabee messiah who was killed by cruxifiction in the early part of the first millennia.

So, I grant that the idea of a historical Jesus has some points for it.  Now that we have that established, I want to get to the real question, the one that Christians must answer:  What is the evidence that Jesus Christ, Son of God, who did all of the miracles, etc, existed?   We know that Christians are not worshipping a dead man who never rose from the grave and who cannot fulfill any violent prophecies in the future.

So, Christians, it is now in your court. What is the evidence you have for your divine messiah? We know that there is no evidence for the other supernatural events in the bible, what makes this different?   Be aware, that many of your arguments are used by other religions so you need to show me that your god/son of god exist.