Not So Polite Dinner Conversation- and here were are, 2020

here we are in the eve before starting 2020.  When I was growing up, and we had all of that end times nonsense in the 70s, (oooh the Late Great Planet Earth by that twit Hal Lindsey) I was sure I was going to be the anti-christ in the year 2000 since I was sure that I was screwed up since my prayers weren’t answered and I had questions about the whole of Presbyterian Christianity.  When your religion tries the nonsense of a “chosen” people, then anyone who isn’t selfish wonders what is up with that.

Of course, that nonsense in 1999 was just as silly and the mother-in-law of my brother, a looney pastor,(the MIL, not my brother) was sure the end of the world was coming.  I wonder if she still has bass (the fish) in her swimming pool for the “tribulation”.  I was watching a show on the Y2K bug and it was just silly but we were indeed nervous about what could happen. I did show that my spouse was a great IT guy since he figured out how to fix it for his employer.  Whodathunk an English Lit major would be able to make computers obey? 🙂

Thanks to all of my internet friends, my followers and everyone else who has made this last year fun.  I’ve had a great time doing art, tending more cats than I intended and cooking interesting things.

I wish all of you the best of things.   Not that my wishes mean much.  Mostly, I hope that humanity gets its act together and tosses out ever piece of vermin like Trump and his fellow hatemongers.

oh and you need to watch Iron Sky: The Coming Race, if only to see Hitler on a Tyrannosaurus Rex getting squished.  The first movie and this, the sequel are great as classic B-Movies.


From the Bar – a few Belgian ales and a movie

beerI have now been on this planet for 50 years.   I really wish I had been on some other planet during this time but alas technology has not cooperated.

For my birthday, we went to have really good cheap french fries (cooked in beef fat) and expensive Belgian beers. This was an extra treat since we’ve also been on the South Beach Diet for the last 4 weeks and haven’t had much in the way of carbohydrates (I’m happy, I’ve lost 10 pounds).

I had two beers. One was a Rochefort 8. This is a trappist ale, not quite as sweet and complex as the Rochefort 10 (or as alcoholic 9.5% as opposed to 11.3%) but very much the dark beer that tastes of caramel, dried fruits and rich yeasts. My second was Bink Bloesem, another rich beer, not quite so dark or strong (7.1%) but wonderful with the tastes of fall fruit and spice. It has pear syrup in it.  I love that our local Belgian café, Café Bruges, uses all of the fancy glasses for the beers. I have a bit of a thing for fancy things to drink out of. My mom had a cordial set that she never used and kept at the top of a tall cabinet. My younger self risked life and limb climbing up to get a little glass to drink from when she wasn’t around.

My husband had Echt Kriekenbier and a Boon Kriek. The Echt was excellent, 6.8% alcohol, a touch sour with a strong cherry aroma. It is based on an ale, not a lambic   The Boon was wonderful, like cherry pie and it has cherries in it, and is a lambic.   It is a low alcohol beer, only 4%, eminently sessionable. The only kriek we’ve had that we like better is what we’ve had up at the Selin’s Grove Brewing.

We watched Jupiter Ascending this weekend. I really liked it. It was fun, fast and was pure space opera. I really have no idea what people are looking for in a movie like this. Movies don’t need deep plots, or world-moving emotional displays. I’m more than happy to have a strong female character who likes science, who doesn’t freak out more than necessary, and who can take care of herself along with her friends. The movie is just beautiful, btw. Watch this and John Carter to see the good guys win and the bad guys lose. That seems to happen so little anymore.

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…..

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! 🙂

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – A review of the Noah movie trailer. Oh my, the silliness and this is only a few minutes of an hours long movie.

look, a scary snake!
look, a scary snake!

Haven’t seen the movie yet probably won’t, because I have no desire to add to the box office hits for this stinker. But I thought I’d take a look at the trailer and the movie website.  I do enjoy showing how ridiculous the flood myth is, and have done so multiple times on this blog. Just use the search box and type in “flood” to find those old posts. (following images are screen captures from the trailer here)

Open on Noah looking at a mountain, and stepping in what appears to be blood. Then we get a rapid sequence of images from the story of Adam and Eve, including mutant evil snake almost as good as the effects on a SyFy movie!  :p   Noah has just had a vision that tells him his god will destroy the world. noah wasteland


The world has evidently been deforested. Which presents a problem in where Noah gets the huge timber for his magical boat. Yes, I know, it’s silly to require internal logic in such a story.  🙂



World’s silliest boat. This is made from raw tree trunks. I grew up on a farm where the barn was made from hand cut timbers. Most of the tools for this were still around, adzes, drills for peg holes, etc. These are not complicated tools and we do get glimpses of a few on the website. Noah evidently did not use them at all. We get Noah, making what looks like a box with lashed tree trunks, and painted with what I will assume is bitumen, a thick hydrocarbon that comes from the ground in various sites in the Middle East.   There have been Christians who claim that this movie is not “historically accurate”. Considering that they vary in how they think the ark was shaped, perhaps this is one of the “historically inaccurate” parts.  We also have Ron Wyatt, he of “I have evidence but can’t show you it” fame, who is sure that a huge geological formation is the ark.


Alas the bible doesn’t give much description at all and there is no reason to think that this ludicrous structure is any more wrong then the usual boat with tapered hull and keel illustration that many Christians are familiar with and use in their claims of finding the ark. It would indeed take magic to make such a mess float, survive the explosive water spouts, waves, etc. And what a fire trap. animals and arkThen the loading sequence. There are quite a few birds in that circling swarm above the ark, plus we have the herd of every other animal approaching it.

ark doorAs they enter, we see that the boat can perhaps have one extra deck other than the top of the box and the bottom. Looks like we have an okapi, quite few brown bears or grizzlies, maybe a water buffalo, etc. This is confirmed the bit of the website called “The Ark Experience”, where there is an avian deck, a reptile deck and a mammal deck.  Oh and don’t forget to check out the “furnace”, an invention that keeps Noah and the animals warm. This is one of the problem with trying to make a reasonable explanation for a myth, why not just have magic do that too rather than having a fire on board a boat made from logs, and tar.


Then we get snakes and frogs, and the birds are still flying around and loading up. I love this one “problem” with the movie that a TrueChristian mentioned “In some cases, it looks like two of every species are packing into the ark rather than two of every biblical “kind.” That would make a very tight fit.” – Jerry Johnson, NRB. No kidding. This shows that Christians have to make up nonsense like “kinds” (some type of animal that all other similar animals can magically come from) to excuse their myth.

Finally we get the lovely all explody water from the “springs of the earth”, and the desperate people who want to get on the ark. Unsurprisingly, no kids seem to be around at all. The only kids on all of the earth seems to be Noah’s. It does help that believers don’t show this god drowning children and kittens, koalas, and pandas. It’d be a little hard on their god’s PR. Now, again, I have not watched the entire movie so I could be wrong in that it does not show children. If anyone has seen it and can show me differently, I’d much appreciate it. This depiction of how the water arrives again may be one of the parts that some believers say is “historically inaccurate” because it depends on who you believe for what caused the flooding of the world to the top all of the mountains on it. We have many silly hypotheses from believers, the hydroplate hypothesis, the canopy hypothesis, runway subduction, comets, or those who just want plain ol’ magic. One can also see more details on how other claims about the ark itself fail here in an analysis of “magic flood is real” claimant Woodmorappe’s book. (Woodmorappe does try to refute this analysis: link found on the analysis page. Like many TrueChristians, it seems that he thinks that the more fonts and colors he uses, the more true his claims must appear.)

There’s been a lot of excuses that this isn’t the “literal” story from the bible so one should not accept it as the “truth”, per the National Religious Broadcasters association. The problem is that the literal story *is* the bare bones that this movie is built on. Those bones are still as ridiculous as ever and still without a shred of evidence. The claims of the “springs of the earth” exploding with water, the huge boat that can hold all of the animals of the world, etc. It all depends on magic nonsense. I do think that this movie does have a purpose, to show just how ludicrous the idea of a monster boat and a global flood is and how horrible the idea of genocidal drowning is. I do wonder how “outraged” these believers would be if they did indeed show children drowning to be “historically accurate”.  One of the more offensive excuses for god killing children and animals is that they would have died anyway and it’s fine since they would have been distressed to see their parents die.  (evidence for this: here, here, and just google “did god drown children” to see even more)

Another thing that could be “historically inaccurate” to some believers is that they back off the biblical claims of a world-wide flood and say that it could have been only regional. So, we need only a flood that maybe was from a good hard rain or at most from a wall of debris coming apart and allowing a lake or sea to escape its basin. Which does make one wonder why one magical event can be reduced to the mundane and not all of them? If believers can’t agree on what “really” happened, why believe anything like this happened at all?

I will have to say that I give props to the movie’s producers in that they have a section of the movie website dedicated to artwork about the flood. Some are less than flattering of the event and the god who supposedly did it, especially this one:

For a more thorough review of how silly the flood story is and why, Talk Origins has a good compilation of all the problems with it and all of the retrofitting that believers have had to try to make it sound plausible. You can also see a great video on how geology shows that the flood didn’t occur thanks to Potholer54.

What the Boss Likes – Mob City, and a few movies

In the last month or so, I’ve had a chance to watch a few things that I have found worth the time.

The sequel to the first Thor movie, Thor: The Dark World was a lot of fun.  The plot was simple but it gave a lot of chance for interpersonal interactions.  Tom Hiddleston as Loki, the man was born to play the part.  I’ve read Marvel comics from the mid 70s until the mid 90s and was first introduced to them by a comic, Spider-man and Nightcrawler vs. Jigsaw, that my aunts got my brother (who never read it) and then the Marvel compilations in my school library.  I picked up the “Art of” book for the movie since I do love the Asgardian costuming in it.

A man with his own code, a woman dangerous and in danger, plus those willing to prey and profit on every weakness of mankind.   Yep, it’s noir and TNT’s new limited series “Mob City” (website launches video of first episode, and sound automatically, annoying but it does play an awesome torch song) delivers the goods.  Set in 1947 Los Angeles, this is a lovely period piece full of details. There are gorgeous suits, hats, dresses and cars. We get to see two clubs, the Clover Club for the upper crust and Bunny’s Jungle Club for everyone else, including our protagonist, Joe Teague.  Teague is a cop, a good cop, but one who’s halo has more than a few dents, not to mention the tarnish.  Bugsy Siegel is the high-level gangster du jour and Mickey Cohen is the gangster that runs LA.   Simon Pegg (yes, the fellow from Shaun of the Dead and Paul) plays an amazingly well done American comedian.

Please do watch it if you like dieselpunk and a good story of a black and white man in a gray world.

Another movie with noir in its DNA is Dark City, a very stylish and odd movie.  It did “this world isn’t real” before the Matrix did in 1999, beating it by a year.  It has Rufus Sewell as the hero, and he also made a great villain in one of my very favorite movies, A Knight’s Tale with Heath Ledger.

Last movie to be reviewed is Rango, an animated movie with Johnny Depp as a chameleon who becomes a western hero.  I have no idea what the audience for this movie is other than….my husband and I.  You have to know a lot about westerns, some about Hunter S. Thompson, and enjoy wonderful animation to really get this movie.  It’s really great and really strange.

That’s all.  Back soon!

From the Kitchen and bar plus a movie – Schnitzel with panko is like jaegers with kaiju… trust me on this one

cat no cure for case of stupidThe movie for this week is Sharknado!  No, no, I can’t even joke about that.  What a purely stupid movie (yes, we watched about 15 minutes of it).  Ah, if someone would have told my teen-age self that there will be a channel called the Science Fiction Channel and that I would hate it with a passion, I would never have believed them.  The Syphy Channel is just that, a diseased thing, a graveyard of washed up 80’s pop stars who have not aged gracefully.

Okay, after this there will be spoilers. So consider yourself warned!

What we saw was “Pacific Rim”(IMDB about it) and it was AWESOME!  Kaiju, giant mechs (they’re called jaegers but I grew up with calling all giant robots “mechs”), what else could a smart savvy nerdy girl want?  And a strong female character who wasn’t a love interest.  Hurrah for Mako!  I have to say, it takes a moron to give a movie like this a single star just because it wasn’t Shakespeare or some gawdawful “meaningful” chick flick.  It’s a freakin’ monster movie that has appealing characters, no slow spots and delivers *exactly* what it is supposed to. So, screw the supposed “reviewers”.  Go see it, it’s FUN!  I spent many a Sunday morning watching kaiju movies on the local TV station.  It was always a lot of whining when I wanted to stay and watch Godzilla or Gamera and my parents thought I should go to church. (hmmm, Word recognizes Godzilla but not Gamera   🙂   )   Added:  Incidentally, this movie is LOUD.  I’m a bit deaf in both ears from old ear infections and I still stuffed tissue in my ears to reduce the noise to bearable levels.

Ron Perlman has a great bit part and I sniffled through the very well done and still manly 🙂   goodbye scenes.  They did a fabulous job at making the jaegers and kaiju seem huge and heavy.  I did love how they did not make them fly but had to have heavy lift copters lift and fly them to the battle.  The movie even treated scientists well.  The fish flopping scene at the end is one of those good “wait for it….wait for it” scenes. Continue reading “From the Kitchen and bar plus a movie – Schnitzel with panko is like jaegers with kaiju… trust me on this one”

From the Kitchen – the World’s Best Lasagna

pan-of-lasagna-webThis weekend’s meal and a movie is the World’s Best Lasagnatm  and the movie is one we’ve watched before and love, John Carter (A Princess of Mars).  If you enjoy pulp, then watch it.  It’s a good movie and the reviewers, as usual, are to be ignored.  I’ve recommended the movie before here, so we’ll focus on the food.  If you need another dose of my arguments against common Christian apologetics, you can visit this blog where I have addressed such things. The author has been kind enough to allow my posts.  The claims are very, very typical, so if you’ve been following this blog, you’ll have already seen much the same here. 

Lasagna was a good dish for this weekend since we were also madly gardening.  Much terraforming was done by my husband and things look pretty good. They should, I hurt enough.  One odd thing that folks from other places might not know is that since we live near a cocoa processing plant, we can get the cocoa seed hulls for mulch. The result is a garden that smells like brownies. 

Now you may wonder what makes this lasagna the world’s best, at least in my opinion.  Well, it’s because of something my husband did to the lasagna.  The usual ingredients are all there, but it’s how they are combined that makes the difference.  It’s also more goodies than pasta, which can make some lasagnas seem like bricks.  This recipe is what fits in our 9”x13” glass baking dish, so it’s not hugely thick. 

7 lasagna noodles (whatever dried type of pasta you like)

1 large jar of Prego flavored with meat (this is the only sauce we like, size is around 2 pounds, or around a kilogram)

1 medium onion

1 green/red sweet pepper

2/3 pound of hot Italian sausage Continue reading “From the Kitchen – the World’s Best Lasagna”

From the Kitchen – Chicken Fajitas and a bad movie to go

When I was growing up, rather than listening to the rock and roll of the 80s, I was listening to soundtracks.  For whatever reason, the rock that I love now just wasn’t interesting then.  My brother listened to it, and his dear sister had to allay his fears that listening to rock wasn’t “Satanic”.  He and my mom were all a-twitter about the Latin on one of White Snake’s albums.  “< sigh >. Serpens Alba means “white snake”. It’s nothing “satanic”.”  🙂

Ming and Aura.Aura's dress. I want.
Ming and Aura.
Aura’s dress. I want.

One of the soundtracks I got was the soundtrack to Flash Gordon. I bought it without seeing the movie because of ads in various SF magazines and reading the old comics in a compliation from the library. I hadn’t much knowledge of this group called “Queen”. (and it took another few years to realize why they were called “Queen”. Yes, I was ridiculously naïve in some ways).  But I loved it, merrily singing “Flash! Ah-aaaaaah, savior of the Universe!”  I also got the novelization. It was quite a few years later until I actually saw the movie.    

It’s pure pulp; immensely cheesy but wonderful cheese and more bugle beads in one place than has ever been seen since. The actors seemed to have a great time chewing the scenery and Brian Blessed is at his bombastic best as Vultan (he would have made such a good Volstagg). I think my favorite character is Klytus, the head of Ming’s secret police.  Even behind a gold mask, he’s still silky and dangerous.  The movie was produced by Dino De Laurentiis and I’m sure that his daughter, Raffaella, has a lot to do with it getting made, considering her filmography, which includes Dune, Kull the Conqueror, etc. She’s also Giada De Laurentiis’ “Aunt Raffy” who occasionally shows up on her cooking shows.  

What a convenient segue to the dinner portion….. 

veggiesAn age ago, circa 1992, before I totally succumbed to an addiction for cookbooks and was only just starting as a good cook, I only had about three.  One was “365 Easy One Dish Meals” by Haughton.  It’s out of print, but it does have some worthwhile recipes.  My husband and I both love the “Stir-fry Chicken Fajitas”.  They are not the same as you’d get on a sizzling planchet in a Tex-Mex restaurant but I like them much better. I’m sure the recipe could be modified for that if you’d prefer. You may cut down the cayenne if you don’t like things fairly hot.  Continue reading “From the Kitchen – Chicken Fajitas and a bad movie to go”

What the Boss Likes – All the Queen’s Men

Getting up early-ish on a Saturday sometimes has its rewards.  I caught the movie All the Queen’s Men, a comedy about World War 2. Those are always rather dicey to watch, but often are very good, e.g. To Be or Not To Be either with Jack Benny or Mel Brooks, combining enough deadly serious reality, sadness and bitter irony with the humor. 

First off, don’t pay attentions to movie ratings.  This is good, who cares what some self-dubbed “film critic” says. It’s not Hamlet, (my favorite version and yes I like the tenth Doctor and the ninth and fourth aren’t so bad either) but there’s only so many times I want to watch lunatic familes killing each other. 

There are spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned. Continue reading “What the Boss Likes – All the Queen’s Men”