From the kitchen – some tasty entrees and a small rant about a movie

(warning: a few movie spoilers appear at the end for Iron Man 3 and The Winter Soldier. You have been warned)

Having no good ideas for a big meal to make for the weekend (and little time to do so with a retail schedule), we decided to get the stuff to make some quick meals.   We found a couple of tasty things that you can put in your freezer for a treat.

Barber Foods Crème Brie and Apple stuffed chicken breast – This s a lightly breaded raw chicken breast (in the freezer section) stuffed with brie, mozzarella, a very mild cheddar, chopped apples and dried cranberries. Bake this and you’ll have a very tasty dinner with a slightly sweet filling. We paired this with a chicken flavored rice and pasta mix. Barber also has a wonderful Chicken Kiev, stuffed with butter…mmmmm butter…. and garlic. Once baked, you have a pool of hot melted butter in the center, excellent for spooning over a pile of cooked rice.

D’artagnan Venison and Pork sausage with cherries – The local Giant grocery store has a new display of a lot of D’artagnan fancy foods, including venison, rabbit, etc. I picked up the venison and pork sausage since I’ve been curious about them after seeing them on the D’artagnan website. Here I didn’t need to pay shipping 🙂   They cook up with a slight sweetness from the cherries, and the juices made a lovely pan sauce. There is a hint of heat to the sausage but not much at all. We served this with a beef flavored rice and pasta mix. (I like the Knorr brand best).

Both entrees run about US$6 for a pair of breasts and a quartet of sausages.  Not bad for pretending to be a gourmet 🙂  I would happily get both again.

We also watched Iron Man 3. I’m glad a friend lent us the DVD because the movie is quite crappy. I can over look a lot of things in a movie, but bringing in a child character for no reason *plus* logic holes is just insulting. I know, Winter Soldier had some logic holes too, like why the hell can you access the servers physically from outside the helicarriers? I’m writing that one off to making up this excuse: Fury knowing something was up and placed one Achilles’ heel in the design, kinda like a 12 foot wide direct pipe to the reactors that power your entire killer space station…..

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Religion and guns, and the concordant stupidity

Good to know that people in Georgia are so scared of everything, or need a replacement phallus 🙂 , that they need to have their guns on them at all times, even in church. Hmmm, if one is to believe in the Christians claim that their god protects them, then carrying a gun is nonsense (y0u know, turn the other cheek and all of that). Of course many people think that “god helps those who help themselves.” is in the bible.  It’s not. In no place does it say that you are to do stuff in case this god doesn’t get around to it.

The law also has that you can get forgiveness if you take a gun in somewhere “accidently”.  That means you are so oblivious in having something that can kill some one that you “forget” that you have it. So much for “responsible” gun owners.

To quote my husband “I have never been so afraid to need either a gun or a god.”

This is, of course, one of the benefits of living in a “first world” country. I’ve been in Atlanta which is quite nice, but perhaps the rest of Georgia isn’t?

What the Boss Likes – Captain America: The Winter Soldier and a few more beers

cap posterFirst off, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is great. I always am shy about seeing what amount to “second act” movies, where everything goes to hell to set up for the big win at the end. But this was good the whole way through, with enough little victories to keep things going. It was one of those movies that leave you exhausted from all of the action. I have no idea on how they make things look so real but the fight scenes and car chases are amazing! It also was *very* gratifying to see Black Widow come into her own as a fully realized character, and have no romantic nonsense with Cap.

Falcon was such a great addition with a perfect sensibility and personality to the character. The wing suit was well-done in the universe’s established technology.

Now, I’m champing at the bit to see more Agents of SHIELD to see the story advance.

Incidentally, I googled Captain America and atheist.  There were a few hits since Cap is established as a Christian, most likely mainstream Protestant considering his “all-American” origin.   There is also the usual Christian nonsense of trying to claim that everything is a metaphor for their religion and every hero simply must be a believer or a stand-in for Jesus (I saw this back in the 70s – 80s with Star Wars, which was rather silly).  This atheist loves Cap and has no problem with Cap being a Christian.  He’s a good guy regardless of his religion.  One wonders what such a man would make of hateful twits like the Westboro Baptist Church Christians and others like them.  They certainly are much more in the vein of Hate-Monger, one of Cap’s enemies.

Religion has figured in Marvel comics for a long time, from Spiderman offering up a prayer or three, to Kitty Pride and Magneto being Jewish (and that saving her life when Magneto was bent on the X-Men’s destruction) to where a wackjob Christian preacher decides that all mutants are evil and does his best to kill them all (God Loves, Man Kills graphic novel), to where Nightcrawler’s strong Christian faith saves him and others from Dracula and where Wolverine finds out that just making a cross with his claws doesn’t count for anything.

Now, onto the new beers.

Had a fellow from Deschutes giving samples of beer at the store this weekend. All were good, my favorite was probably the Black Butte.

Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter – very silky mouthfeel for a porter. I’d consider this almost a stout. The fellow giving the samples made sure us Pennsylvanians weren’t calling it “Black Butt” or “Black Butty”.

Deschutes Brewery Chainbreaker – Can definitely taste the Citra hops, in this hoppy Belgian-esque IPA.

Deschutes Brewery Red Chair – Lovely red color, but to me essentially an IPA with a bit more malt.

A couple of others that I picked up to fill out a six pack…

Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale –Hoppy and a little sweet. With a quite high ABV, 9.75%. Definitely a beer to get a quick buzz on, but as always, a little too sweet for me to drink more than one of.

Samuel Adams Porch Rocker – More of what I think a real shandy, beer and lemon soda, tastes like. I love Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy but it tastes more like an ale with a twist of lemon peel.

Drink well!  And watch Winter Soldier! 🙂

From the Bar – three DuClaw beers

beerThe beer reviews for this week are for a trio of chocolate flavored beers.

I’ve a taste for DuClaw Brewing Company’s beers. The three this week are:

Cocoa Fuego – This beer, being “chocolate fire”, is a bit of a disappointment. It called a stout but I find it has more the mouth feel of a porter. There is a bit of a chocolate note thank to the darker malts. The “fire” is very mild and only in the throat. I don’t detect any of the smokiness that chipotle peppers have. I’m glad to have tried it but wouldn’t bother getting it again.

Sweet Baby Jesus! – I really didn’t think I’d like this at all since I’m not too keen on peanut butter and chocolate together.   Happily for me, it doesn’t taste like a Reese’s Cup, but more like a liquid Mr. Goodbar chocolate peanut bar. Don’t ask me why but whole peanuts in chocolate are much better than peanut butter in chocolate.

Dirty Little Freak – Yes, DuClaw is notorious for their odd beer names. This is a brown ale, with its usual sweet toffee-ish taste plus coconut and just enough hops to cut the possible cloyingness. Very good and will be getting this again to satisfy my love of brown ales in the summer.

Now I do wish that they would buy rights to The Rocky Horror Picture Show for beer names.

Janet Weiss Beer

Time Warp Barleywine

Riff-Raff Rye

Magenta’s Red Ale

Hot Patootie habanero ale

Rocky Horror Blonde Ale

Sweet Transvestite Scotch ale

Etc, etc  🙂

Not So Polite Conversation – when thievery is a “right” and a Republican/Teaocrat is horrified that he’s asked to show ID

tea and hypocrisyHere in the US, we have a system where there are public lands held in trust for the American people by our government. It keeps some of our environment relatively untouched so we won’t lose everything to the greedy and ignorant, who will trash one piece of land and simply move onto another one.

Some of this land is leased out to farmers to use as pasturage for their herds, with the assumption that herds can’t do much damage to the land. The fees for this pasturage go to the government which uses them to pay for all of the things that the American people enjoy, like infrastructure, law enforcement, the military, etc.

Of course, there are some people who want something for nothing, to have the benefits of a thing and not pay for it. Now, the political right in this country usually claims that these people are those on the public dole, that they don’t deserve anything for “free”. But when their gods and guns minority insist that they can have something for nothing, they insist that this is perfectly fine. This is what has happened when a family has decided that they can use something that belongs to all Americans for free and reap a profit from its use. The Bundys, and their supporters, have decided that they are “free” to do what they want and take what they want. They have used mob mentality and the threat of violence to get their way, at least for now. They are thieves and bullies, nothing more, deciding that they can take but having a fit if anyone else dares to do the same thing. Such lovely and expected hypocrisy.

Bets on if the Bundys have applied for government assistance for their farm?  I wonder if a Freedom of Information act request could dig that out.

Speaking of bullies and hypocrites, we also have Mike Huckabee being “shocked, shocked” that anyone would ask him to prove who he is.

“My gosh, I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States. When I go to the airport, I have to get in the surrender position, people put hands all over me, and I have to provide photo ID and a couple of different forms and prove that I really am not going to terrorize the airplane – but if I want to go vote I don’t need a thing.”

Aw, poor Mike, I’ll pay for you to have a one way ticket to North Korea. You can then show us how free they are there.  Or how about Saudia Arabia, a nice theocracy?  Surely you’d like that since you want one here….?

It’s hilarious to see him whine about having to do exactly what he supported to have done in the aftermath of 9/11. It’s even better to see him whine that people don’t have to show anything to vote. So, what do you want, Mike? No security checks for upper class white men like you, but make anyone who wants to vote have to prove who they are? Isn’t it great that *those* efforts are concentrated in areas that are not predominantly white and upper class?

Why, let’s see what Mike Huckabee says about how a great “security” is:

I guess it’s okay unless poor Mike finds himself inconvenienced.

Just another day for tea and hypocrisy.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “The Bible Rules” episode 2, Sex

jesus genitalsMany apologies for not being around much for the last couple of weeks. I have a full-time job now and I have yet to get my schedule situated to allow for posting to this blog as I would like.

I’m a couple of episodes behind in watching “The Bible Rules”. The most recent one I’ve watched in the one on sex. As the show states, the bible has a lot about sex in it. That’s to be expected in a book from a culture that had high rates of infant and mother mortality as well as being a patriarchal society that was all-consumed about who mated with who. Again, perfectly reasonable for a primitive culture, not so much for a magical book written/inspired by a magical omnipotent, omniscient being. It is a bit surprising that not one chirp about homosexuality is mentioned.  This hour is all about heterosexual sex.

The show unfortunately did not mention anything from the Song of Solomon, one of the more beautiful parts of the bible, that describes love, lust and sex quite poetically. Most believers are completely unfamiliar with it since they weren’t told about it in church or Sunday school and have never read the bible on their own.   The ones that are familiar with it often try to claim that it is “really” about their god, the bridegroom being Jesus/God and the bride being the “church”. Which is pretty amusing if this church has breasts like two fawns, teeth like white sheep, a navel like a goblet, etc and this bridegroom is a “young stag” with locks of raven black hair and arms like rods of gold. It’s always great fun to watch believers pick and choose what they want to be literal and what they want to be metaphor. Incidentally, some Christians, the Mormons for one, have decided that the Song is not really supposed to be in the bible. Info about this and other trivia about the Song can be found here. Again, we see the religion as nothing more than the image of those who want to believe in it.

Let’s take a look at the episode. The experts are pretty much the same as those from the first episode. You can see references to them and their bona fides here on the review of episode one.

11 “When men fight with one another and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, 12 then you shall cut off her hand. Your eye shall have no pity.” –Deut 25: 11-12

This is the infamous verse about if a woman helps her husband in a fight and grabs the penis and testicles of his enemy, she should have her hand cut off no matter what.   This is among other odd commands in the chapter, including the idea of Levirate marriage where the wife is handed to brother-in-law after brother-in-law if her husband dies to make sure she has a suitable son for inheritance. Of course, nothing about daughters comes into it. There’s also a bit about genocide and how the memory of Amalek will be removed from under heaven, something a little hard to do if one continues to write about it.

This verse shows that men are more important and even their genitals are more important than a woman. Rev. Dr. Lewis does seem to be astonished that the genitals of a man are more important than a woman’s hand in the bible.   The show goes into the history of penis worship to explain how this was common in the ancient Mediterranean area. Dr.Allen-Hornblower from Rutgers talks about the history of this and we get to see lots and lots of images of penises, mostly of herma, images of the god Hermes with only a head and a penis and some shown here in the wiki entry on phalluses. The idea that an attack on a man’s genitals threatens the power of all men is put forward and does seem to make sense if one wants to keep a patriarchy in place.

“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord. “ – Deut 23:1 Also in this chapter, punishing the descendants of people for the actions of their forebearers; how nocturnal ejaculations make one “unclean”; again where one should have latrines because God can step in your poop; one good bit about how one shouldn’t give back an escaped slave; vows must be fulfilled no matter what, etc.

So, if you lose your penis or have your testicles damaged, you are not allowed into the “assembly of god”. Aka god hates those who are less than “complete” (also seen here in Leviticus 21 where the disabled are also not allowed into the temple or be near this omnipotent/omniscient god).  The show postulates that this is why it’s so bad for a woman to grab the genitals of an enemy because he couldn’t then be approved of by god.

This can be understood that in the bible injury, sickness, etc is because one is cursed by this god. If one is hurt in some manner, they “deserved” it. (see Genesis, 1 Cor 11, Prov. 17, etc) because they are “sinful”. Unfortunately, that depends on the belief that supernatural things cause illness and injury, and not viruses, bacteria, etc. We know now that magical spirits are not behind the plague, AIDS, getting caught in a piece of farm equipment or being torn apart by an improvises explosive device in a war.

The show does make mention of other religions making similar claims, the Rig Veda considering having a vagina to be a injury and curse, as well as mentioning the practice of making men eunuchs to be servants outside of a patriarchal system.

One of the quotes from the show makes the case clear. (alas I don’t recall who said it) “If you are missing any part, you are simply out.” The idea of the perfect being related to gods is common, but it doesn’t make much sense if this god is not interested in the physical form as some Christians claim. As usual, this is more evidence that the bible is nothing more than a book created by humans.  It also makes circumcision a problem. If one is not to have lost any of God’s own body parts, then why are people supposed to cut the foreskin off?  Is it a mistake of God’s?  🙂

““When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken. “ – Deuteronomy 24:5   This chapter is also home to rules on divorce, how to magically attempt to treat leprosy, how to make loans, how to treat the poor and this verse ““Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.” Which contradicts all of the verses where this god says that the descendants of various people will indeed be punished for the sins of their ancestors (here for examples).

In this verse, new husbands are to be left out of the army and spend time with his new wife. While seeming nice and romantic, it seems to be solely to get her pregnant quickly and as many times as possible because of maternal and child mortality. The show again goes into lots of detail on how lethal the times were, which again shows that there is no reason to believe in any gods.

Hey, we finally get into the NT! “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:28 This is the chapter of the sermon on the mount, parts of which are popular as the subject of sermons now. It does have some problems with contradictions where one is told to allow folks to know of your good works (as opposed to not), keeping *all* of the laws of the bible, not just the ones you like; divorce, turning the other cheek; and love your enemies.

This is one of the more popular parts of the bible, and one that causes a lot of problems with many Christians. The idea that thought is as important as act gets in the way of free will arguments, the words saying that the laws are all in place until the earth and heaven are gone gets into problems with what believers should follow, etc. Christians disagree on just what is meant in this chapter and just how much thought gets someone in trouble and how literal to take the words of JC when it comes to mutilating the body. Rev. Susan Sparks “I worry for the souls of the 28 million people who read the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Are they going to go burn in hell?” If one believes what the bible says, yep they will. She does seem to agree when she nods her head. Whether she thinks that they should do a little cutting is unknown.

Incidentally, there are a lot of essentially soft porn images in this show, nothing untoward for cable television. Of course, the man is much more covered than the woman.

The show does vaguely mention the other laws in the bible where if a “man sleeps with a woman who is not his wife” in the city, the woman is killed because it is assumed that the sex is consensual and doesn’t consider anything else. It also mentions that if woman is “slept with” outside the city, then she might not be killed because no one might hear her if she cries out. Of course it doesn’t mention that the man just has to pay a penalty to get out of that too. For more on rape in the bible, one can go here. Later episodes of “The Bible Rules” may mention some of these since there will be an upcoming episode about war. In addition to these mentions but not quoted verses is test of adultery in Numbers 5. A woman who is suspected of adultery, or if her husband is only jealous, is required to drink a poison, “water of bitterness”. If she survives, she’s innocent, if she writhes in pain and suffer other vague conditions, she’s guilty. Rather reminiscent of the other “tests” that the religious use on those they assume are guilty, pressing to death, drowning, fire, etc, isn’t it?

When one says a thought is equal to the action, there are bound to be problems with how this can work. Can or should one be punished for thoughts if they result in nothing? The show does have the expected excuses on why the bible didn’t really mean that thinking was the same as doing. It becomes, per the handsome Catholic priest, that it “really” means if you keep thinking about it, then you might do it and that’s what the problem is. I can see why he might have that excuse because it tries to avoid the problem of why this god does not immediately smite those who simply think of harming others, thus stopping them from actually harming anyone. Of course, this god doesn’t do that anymore either with the advent of people not blindly believing in stories and any punishment is now promised to be after everyone is dead.

In a break from sex, we get a side mention of the bible and food. Yes, we get that God hates shrimp! 10 But anything in the seas or the rivers that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you.” – Leviticus 11:10. This chapter has a lot of the dietary prohibitions in it. The argument is that the ancients noticed typhoid, from filter feeders in a sewage stream, and anaphylactic shock, plus perhaps red tides and thus the rule against shellfish. This certainly could be the case, just like making it a religious laws about making latrines. However, it is not consistent with other prohibitions. If this was only about observed disease, why no problems with critters that can have anthrax or other nasty diseases?   The more agreed upon reason by the experts seems to be that it is more about foreign foods than disease, a way to separate “us” from “them”.

“They (priests) shall not marry a prostitute or a woman who has been defiled, neither shall they marry a woman divorced from her husband, for the priest is holy to his God. “– Leviticus 21:7

Entertainingly, the show observes that one doesn’t make laws for things that don’t happen. There is some question if this means just any kind of prostitute or if it means temple sex workers. We do get the “experts”, especially good ol’ Southern Baptist guy, insisting that any religion other than their own are “cults” when it comes to discussing how other temples and other religions didn’t have the same sex laws as the Israelites.  These “cults” are just as much religions as Christianity, Judaism., Islam, etc.

You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether brought up in the family or in another home. “ – Levitucus 18:8   This chapter is a lot about whose “nakedness” one shouldn’t uncover. It also seems to indicate that “uncovering nakedness” means have sex with. This seems to confirm the idea that when Ham saw his father”s “ nakedness”, he was getting busy with Mrs. Noah.  Which makes on wonder about this god’s choice of people to repopulate the earth with.  Additionally, if one reads the chapter and all of its exhaustive detail on who can’t sleep with whom, one combination is missing: the man and his own daughter. Creepy, eh?  This goes with the creepiness that the experts seem to think that just because if one lived in an extended household, the relationships could get “blurred”? Really?

Levirate marriage is mentioned again and a very odd story about how this was done by WWII pilots is referred to. I can find no references to this other than in one book about “swingers” by Terry Gould. It seems a little far-fetched. It is also mentioned that the love that springs up between two people who have lost the same beloved person could also be considered a form of levirate marriage, an idea which, to me, seems to do nothing but devalue those relationships.

One of the liberal pastors says that one has to go between “extremes”, and search for that middle ground in the bible. In other words, it seems that anything that is uncomfortable or ridiculous should be ignored and something else made up as what this god really meant for modern humans. That’s nothing new to anyone who has read the bible and who has observed the believers.

Next up, War.