Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 9/30/2010

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy.

Everybody likes practical clothing, right? Things like jackets with sleeves that zip off so that the jacket becomes a vast, or pants with legs that zip off to make shorts. Useful things. Practical things. Things with multiple uses. Things like… A bra they can be used as a gas mask. Yes, that’s right, a gas mask. Actually, two gas masks. Yes, it’s the Emergency Bra! For just $29.95 you can have a bra that, in an emergency, can be converted into two gas masks. Who knows, it might be a bestseller, or it may just be a bust…

OK, so this one’s funny. Its last Thursday morning, and I’m sitting in my office. I am taking a break from my studies and my sermon preparation and I’m reading through the wire services (I’m always looking for stuff for the Nut Cache) and I see this story on the AP from the town where I went to high school; Frenchtown, Montana. It’s a story about a woman who drove off a bear with a zucchini. Well, immediately I went to the Missoulian’s website to get the local story… They got nothing. A couple hours later it pops up on the BBC’s feed, but still nothing at the Missoulian. About an hour after the BBC had the story, it finally shows up on the Missoulian’s web page… As a reprint of the original AP wire story! The next day, the Missoulian did finally have a local story about the bear and the zucchini. It’s a strange world where a story like that shows up and London before it shows up just 20 miles away!

I guess it’s an instinct that when you’re scared you run to some place where you feel safe. Birds head for the sky, animals head for their burrows, little kids run for home, and drug dealers, it seems, head for their stash… which just may not be the best place to run to when the cops are after you. It seems that two California drug dealers led the police straight to the warehouse where some 700 pounds of marijuana was being processed by 17 other people. OK, say it with me, “That’s why they call it ‘dope’!”

And here is another dopey story. It seems that the operator of an illegal marijuana growing operation is suing the landlord of the property he was renting and where he was operating the aforementioned illegal marijuana farm. It seems that, according to the complaint, the landlord failed to provide adequate security for the premises where the pot was being grown. It seems that the building got burglarized, and $35,000 worth of marijuana was stolen. The farmer claims that he was growing the pot for medical uses, but it seems he did not have any of the necessary licenses or authorizations required to be a legal medical marijuana producer. It will be interesting to see how this case turns out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the court determined that he was just blowing smoke…

The man comes home after an evening at the pub and having consumed perhaps a pint or two too many and tells his wife that there is a pink cat in the yard. Of course, the man’s wife easily dismisses the report of a pink cat in the yard as the ravings of a man who has consumed perhaps a pint or two too many. But, alas, the pink cat was very real. At first it was assumed that the colored kitty was the victim of some sort of prank (perhaps by some deranged communist?). Veterinarians who examined the animal determined her to be quite healthy, happy, and friendly to people. They also determined that the dye job had been done quite careful and skillfully – not exactly the work you expect from some prankster. Well it turns out that the cat, whose name, we now know, is “Oi! Kitty”, is the beloved pet of 22-year-old Natasha Gregory, who just happens to be inordinately fond of the color pink. Officials have determined that there was no abuse of the animal in this case, and so “Oi! Kitty” is now happily reunited with her owner, Natasha Gregory, and everything is just in the pink

And the Nuttiness goes on and on...

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dearborn Four Found "Not Guilty"

And when they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, "We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us."

But Peter and the apostles answered and said, "We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him."
(Acts 5:27-32)

It was with great pleasure that I read the following press release from Michigan State Representative Tom McMillin:
September 24, 2010

State Representative Tom McMillin

State Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) had the following statement regarding the verdicts given in the trial of the four Christian missionaries arrested at the Dearborn Arab American Festival:

Today in Dearborn, the jury got it mostly right in finding Paul, David and Nabeel innocent of disturbing the peace. The city of Dearborn, the Dearborn Police and especially the Dearborn Mayor owe them a huge apology immediately.

However the guilty decision for Negeen Mayel's charge of failure to obey a police officer is extremely disturbing to me. I met with the ACLU here in Michigan recently to make sure we had good laws protecting citizens' right to video police officers and their activity and they said we have the model for other states. But based on today's decision, it seems that police in Michigan can get cameras turned off before doing questionable things (like making an arrest that was just found to be bogus by the jury). And how did the police have the right to tell Negeen Mayel to turn off her video camera and how can he touch her....for what reason? The video she took made it clear the police stepped way out of bounds.

Now - for all this charade, the city of Dearborn needs to be dealt with firmly....unless they plan to try to secede from the union and have their own laws. This is the United States of America and we here in the USA have something called Freedom of Speech. Dearborn - get used to it!

If you’re not familiar with this case, it involves four Christians; Nabeel Qureshi, Negeen Mayel, Paul Rezkalla, and David Wood; who were arrested at an Arab Festival in Dearborn Michigan for preaching the gospel to Muslims. Police reports indicated that the actions of the four Christians were inciting the crowd and could possibly have led to a riot. Videos taken by the four, however, showed quite clearly that they were engaged in peaceful exchanges with people who wished to speak with them. In fact, it was quite clear from the video that Nabeel Qureshi, in particular, exhibited great patience and skill in defusing hostilities and avoiding pointless arguments.

I am not at all surprised at this acquittal. Actually, I’m still dealing with a sense of unbelief that the charges were not dropped weeks ago, as soon as the videos taken by the four were made public, since the videos clearly showed that the charges being brought were false.

I join Representative McMillin in being disturbed by the conviction of Negeen Mayel for failure to obey a police officer, and I fully expect her conviction to be overturned on appeal.

I have long been, and continue to be, a strong supporter of law enforcement; however any authority can be abused. Citizens are only required to obey the lawful orders of law enforcement personnel. If, for example, a police officer ordered you to rob a bank, you would be correct to disobey such an order, since the police officer has no lawful authority to order you to disobey the law. Indeed, “I was just following orders” was not considered a valid defense for the Nazis to use for their illegal and immoral actions at the Nuremberg trials, was it?

Ever since the broadcast of the Rodney King video tapes, and the subsequent trial of the officers involved, there have been those in law enforcement who do not want their actions recorded. Yet it is clear to me that such recordings do more to protect the rights of free citizens than just about anything else, including the presence of eyewitnesses.

Since it should’ve been clear, and most likely was to the police officers involved, that their actions in arresting Nabeel Qureshi, Negeen Mayel, Paul Rezkalla, and David Wood were not lawful, it is understandable why they would not want those actions recorded. But their desire to not be recorded as they violated the Constitutional rights of American citizens makes Negeen Mayel’s refusal to obey their unlawful orders that much more heroic.

And yet, despite this acquittal by a jury, Dearborn officials continue to issue statements such as this one from Mayor O’Reilly, as reported by the Detroit Free Press:
Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly Jr. said Friday night that he respects the decision, but the missionaries were anti-Muslim bigots pulling a publicity stunt to gain attention on YouTube in order to raise money.

"It's really about a hatred of Muslims," O'Reilly said. "That is what the whole heart of this is. ... Their idea is that there is no place for Muslims in America. They fail to understand the Constitution."

Mayor Riley is certainly right about one thing, someone is failing to understand the Constitution!

I continue to follow the story, and I look forward to someday soon being able to rejoice in Negeen Mayel’s eventual and inevitable acquittal!

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Friday, September 24, 2010

The Squirrel Can Cook - Chicken Curry Wraps

The word “curry” to most of us means exotic spices from India. The word actually means “gravy” or “stew” and refers to a dish with a spicy sauce, and not to the spices themselves. In fact types of curry are popular all across South Asia, and each culture uses different spice blends.

Be that as it may, most “curry powder” that we buy in America are a distinctly Indian blend of cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, and other spices that we got by way of our British cousins. What we think of as “curry” is actually an Anglo-Indian fusion of flavors.

This is a very basic and quick curry that is great served over hot rice. We’re going to take that Anglo-Indian fusion just a little bit further by wrapping our chicken curry and rice in a warm flour tortilla.

Our ingridents are:
1 pound of chicken, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into large pieces
1 14-ounce can of low-sodium chicken broth
3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 Tablespoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of dried mustard
½ teaspoon of ground ginger
2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
(Not pictured) 3 Cups of cooked rice
(Not pictured) warm flour tortillas (burrito size)

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in you cast iron skillet and cook your chicken over medium-high heat for 4 to 6 minutes, until the pieces are cooked through and the outsides are just beginning to brown. Remove the chicken and set it aside.

Reduce heat to medium; add another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic with the ½ teaspoon of ground ginger until the onions are tender and slightly translucent.

Now add the two Tablespoons of flour and stir to combine, and then add the chicken broth, curry powder, and dry mustard. Return the cooked chicken to the skillet, bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes over low heat.

Into a warm tortilla, spoon 1 cup of cooked rice and 1 cup of the chicken curry and wrap using a “burrito wrap

Should make 6 to 8 wraps, how many you eat is entirely up to you! Enjoy!

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 9/23/2010

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy.

They say that all is fair in love and war, but, it seems, all is not fair in love and police work. Officer Jason Moore and his accomplices, two police dispatchers, were fired from the Fort Myers Police Department after it was learned that they faked a crime report so that Officer Moore could meet up with his ex-girlfriend, Officer Chelsea Berden, who, it seems, didn’t want to talk to him. (Huh? I wonder why?...) "Officer Moore apologized for his actions and stated that he was in love with Officer Berden and just wanted to talk to her." Well, now Officer Moore is out both a girlfriend and a job. OK, here is Squirrel’s advice for lovesick police officers: get a clue!

Ah, the perils and pitfalls of a pluralistic society… Have you ever heard of the “Church of Body Modification”? ("The Church of Body Modification represents a collection of members practicing ancient and modern body modification rites. We believe these rites are essential to our spirituality. Practicing body modification and engaging in body manipulation rituals strengthen the bond between mind, body, and soul. By doing so, we ensure that we live as spiritually complete and healthy individuals." I'll not link to their site. Google if you must...) I hadn’t either. Nor, it seems, had the officials of Clayton High School in rural North Carolina, when they disciplined 14-year-old Ariana for violating the school’s dress code by displaying her visible nose piercing. It seems that young Ariana and her mother belong to the aforementioned “religious” organization, and are claiming that Ariana’s First Amendment rights to freedom of religion have been violated. The American Civil Liberties Union has now contacted the school district to express their support of young Ariana’s predicament. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out in the courts, if it gets that far. (Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this one. We can discuss it in the comments if you wish...)

“We have 10 wayward gnomes here,” said Helena Police Chief Troy McGee. The gnomes were found along the trail near Helena, Montana. None of the 10 gnomes match the descriptions of gnomes known to be wanted by the police. Chief McGee encouraged anyone missing a gnome to contact the Helena Police Department. Nobody knows where these garden gnomes roamed…

So, you want to teach your parishioners that God can be found in places other than the pews of the church building. Excellent idea. A truth that needs to be communicated. So you plan to conduct a service on a nice peaceful beach along the lake… During goose season… Goose hunting season… “All of a sudden, a few of us noticed just three geese flying by and right then, bam, bam, bam. One of the geese falls in the water,” said the Rev. Timothy Schenck, who is the rector of the Episcopal church. Now, Rev. Schenck and some of his parishioners are pressing the town to ban hunting on that beach. Now, me, I would have just asked the congregation to turn to Genesis 9:3 and given thanks to God for providing recreation for the hunters and food for them and their families!

In the Pacific Northwest, the humidity is often high… In fact “cold and damp” are the most heard adjectives used to describe conditions along the coast. Because of these cold and damp conditions, people’s feet rarely leave their socks, and their sock-clad feet rarely leave their shoes. When feet do leave their shoes, a pungent aroma is often detected. When the aromatic feet in question belong to an 18 year-old-girl, a young man would be advised to make no remarks about the aforementioned odor. The girls here in the Pacific Northwest are tough – tough, but sensitive. Insult their smelly feet at your own risk.

And the Nuts just keep piling up...

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Help Send Squirrel To The 2011 Shepherds' Conference

I hesitated to blog about this, but a friend of mine told me that people can’t help when they don’t know what the needs are.

The church I serve as pastor is very small, and for most of my time as pastor I have been bi-vocational, working an outside job to help pay the bills. Unfortunately, recent economic conditions have affected things around here, as they have everywhere, and I have not had work outside the church in almost a year now. We are getting by, and all the bills are current, but most (all!) “extras” have been severely curtailed.

I have long desired to attend the Shepherds’ Conference at John MacArthur’s church, and so I am asking for your help. My church as set up a pastor’s conference fund, and I need to raise $1000 in order to attend the conference next March.

If you would like to help, please send your check to:
Superior Baptist Church
Pastor’s Conference Fund
PO Box 850
Superior, MT 59872

Thank you, and I’ll keep you updated!

Update #1

People have asked if they could donate with PayPal. There is now a PayPal button on the sidebar.

Also, several folks have asked “Why so much to go to a conference?” Good question, and here’s the breakdown:
  • Conference – $300
  • Fuel down and back – $300
  • 5 nights hotel – $400
  • 9 days food ($20/day) –$180
  • Total est. cost = $1180.00
(This assumes that I sleep in my car on the two-day drive down and the two-day drive back.)

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Friday, September 17, 2010

The Squirrel Can Cook - Grilled-Cheese Sandwich

I’m not really sure how it happened; perhaps it was because I like them so much myself, but my grilled cheese sandwiches are renowned in our family.

It is often the simple things, the easy things that get taken for granted. Have you ever asked yourself, “What is it that makes a good grilled cheese sandwich?” Is it the perfect golden brown crust? That buttery crunchy gooeyness? The cheesy flavor? It is difficult to quantify just what elements combine to take a grilled-cheese sandwich from good to great.

While it is possible to add all sorts of ingredients (pickles, jalapenos, sliced meats, onions, just to name a few) to your sandwich, today we’re going to cook your simple basic grilled-cheese sandwich.

For our ingredients we will need:
Two slices of white bread
Two slices of American cheese
Butter, or in this case Smart Balance

That’s it! That’s all the ingredients we will need.

Spread a good amount of butter on one side of each slice of bread. Go ahead and use ½ Tbsp. or so on each slice.

Then stack your bread with the butter sides together. This allows you to stack your cheese on top, while already having both pieces of bread buttered. I have seen people try to spread butter on the second slice of bread after they’ve already assembled their sandwich and put it on the grill. This is both awkward and dangerous, as it increases the chance that you might burn yourself. Just set the sllice of bread with the cheese on it, butter-side down, on the griddle, and then place the second slice of bread, butter-side up, on top.

Now we’ll place our sandwich on a griddle which we have heated to 375°. A thermostatically controlled cooking surface is very important to cooking consistently good grilled-cheese sandwiches. It is entirely too easy to let a pan on the stove get too hot for cooking up grilled-cheese. If you do not have a griddle, you should very much consider getting yourself one, as they are excellent not only for grilled-cheese sandwiches but also for pancakes and French toast.

You want to cook your sandwich, undisturbed, on the griddle for 4 minutes. You do not want to be messing with it, sliding around, or lifting up to see if it is getting brown. Just leave it alone.

When the 4 minutes have lapsed, flip the sandwich over and cook it on the other side for another 4 minutes. I have found that 4 minutes at 375°cooks your sandwich to an almost-perfect golden-brown.

After you have cooked are sandwich for 4 minutes on each side, remove it from the griddle and allow it to rest for 1 minute before slicing.


The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 9/16/2010

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy.

The Bible may say, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” but lawmakers in Romania, it seems, wanted to tax them, instead. Two of Romania’s senators sponsored a law that would have held witches and fortune tellers liable for wrong predictions. Some sort of "accuracy tax" I guess. Now, as I’ve said before, I’m not at all in favor of excessive taxation, but I’m not a real big fan of fraud and deceit, either. Let’s face it; unless a fortune teller can meet the Biblical standard of 100% accuracy 100% of the time (which none of them can!), they are just swindlers and cheaters who take advantage of people’s gullibility. I don’t think they should be taxed, I think they should be arrested for theft by fraud. Oh, that Romanian law? It didn’t pass

You may recall in the August 5, 2010 Nut Cache I told you about Sogen Kato, whose mummified corpse was found hidden in a back bedroom of his family’s home in Japan. Officials said that his family had collected upwards of $100,000 in retirement benefits since his death 30 years ago. Finding Mr. Kato’s remains and the associated fraud led Japanese officials to audit their entire pension program to see if there were other cases of fraud and the system. There were. The investigation has discovered somewhere around 230,000 people over the age of 100 years old who cannot be accounted for. In fact, it seems that more than 100 people would be over 150 years old, if they’re still alive. Doubtful, that. I wonder, how do you say “welfare fraud” in Japanese?

I remember some five years ago, teaching through the book of 1 John. It is an eye opening book, full of deep theological insights. One of the key themes of 1 John is how the disciple of Jesus Christ is to relate to the world around him. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” John tells us (1 John 2:15). This is a message that many in today’s “church” didn’t get. There are far too many “churches” that are much more concerned with “relating to” the world than they really should be. Take, for example, City Church in Anaheim California. It seems that the pastor, in a promotional move to drive up attendance, promised to get the church motto tattooed on his arm if church attendance doubled. It did and he did. Funny, I just have a real hard time imagining Timothy or Titus doing something that blatantly superficial…

I’ve known for a long time that our British cousins take their gardening very seriously. It seems that gardening is almost iconic of, and possibly even synonymous with, being British. Well now there is a man in Steeton, England who is worried that new housing being developed adjacent to his home will make it much more difficult for him to do his gardening… in the nude. It seems that Mr. Howard, age 70, took care to build a high privacy fence around his garden to protect his privacy, and, possibly, his neighbor sanity, as he pursued his passion for tending his plants in the buff. Now he is upset that new high-rise dwellings are being planned for his neighborhood; dwellings which will overlook his garden. Mr. Howard is planning on filing a complaint under Britain’s Human Rights Act. "I think it's disgusting,” Howard said. “Human rights legislation says that I should have the right to control who sees my body." My money is not on Mr. Howard winning his case… But, then again, we are talking about the English and their gardens…

And, finally, we go from a naked gardener in England to a naked car thief in Louisiana. It seems that late Saturday night, technically early Sunday morning, a Michigan woman hailed a cab in Covington Louisiana. For some unknown reason, a 29 year old woman disrobed in the back of the taxi and demanded that the driver take her home… to Michigan. When he refused, she refused to get out of his taxi, so he drove to the police station for help. When the when inside to tell the police about his problem passenger, she jumped in the front seat of the taxi and drove away. She didn’t make it far, the police found her, still naked, still in the taxi, parked about a block from the police station. Officers say she appeared to be intoxicated. I know, surprising, isn’t it? But at least she wasn’t trying to do any gardening…

And the Nuttiness goes on and on...

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Have You Forgotten?

9/11 Nine Years Later

For most of my life, the New York skyline was dominated by the twin towers of the World Trade Center rising from the south end of Manhattan. It’s hard to believe that they have been gone for most of a decade.

A lot of things have happened in the last nine years, countries have been invaded, governments of men overthrown... many things. We could discuss mistakes that have been made, possible justifications for asymmetrical warfare, the totalitarian aspects of Islamic culture, or the mindless bigotry, hatred, and intolerance that derive from some people’s worldviews. But I think that is best left to another time. Today we need to remember. Remember the attack we suffered. Remember the Americans who died nine years ago today and the families they left behind.

Some people think the war’s over. Others never saw it as a war in the first place. Many have forgotten, and many more have chosen not to remember. Have you forgotten? Here’s a reminder of what happened nine years ago today.

”Have you forgotten, when those tower fell, we had neighbors still inside, going through a living hell?”

Have you forgotten? I have not.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

The Squirrel Can Cook – Red Beans and Rice

In honor of the Saints' victory last night, we’ve got a Cajun Classic! Red Beans and Rice! (Technically, this is actually pinto beans and rice, but the recipe is the same and I did not have any red beans. As I said a couple weeks ago, I am trying to use up a pantry-full of packages of dried beans.)

I have often enjoyed the complex spicy flavors of Cajun cooking. Living in Montana, I did not discover Cajun cuisine until my aunt moved to Louisiana and began sending cookbooks and spices to my Mom. It was the eighties, and Paul Prudhomme had just published his cookbook, Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen. (This recipe is loosely based on a recipe from that book.) Well, I’m happy to say that that cookbook started my love affair with Cajun flavor, and Red Beans and Rice has long been one of my absolute favorites. Here is my version.

Our ingredients are:
3 cups dried pinto beans – cooked and drained
2 cups of diced ham
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 ½ cups of celery, finely chopped
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 32-oz pkg of beef stock
1 tablespoon of Squirrel's Low-sodium Cajun Spice Blend
6 cups of cooked white rice

Sort and clean 3 cups of dried beans, place them in a large bowl and fill bowl with water to 2 to 3 inches above the level of the beans. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight. Drain & rinse, then put beans in a stock pot & fill to 1 inch above the level of the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Drain, rinse, & set aside.

Sauté the onions, celery, and garlic until the onions and celery are tender. Put the sautéed onions, celery and garlic in your stock pot along with the beans, diced ham, beef stock, and Squirrel’s Cajun Spice. Add water if needed to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Serve over cooked rice. Serves 6 to 8. Enjoy!

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 9/9/2010

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy.

A few weeks ago, I saw this story about a restaurant in Germany advertising for donated human body parts to be cooked and eaten. At that time, I determined that this was a story that was just a little too sick and twisted to be included in the Nut Cache. However, it now turns out that this was a hoax perpetuated by the German Vegetarian Society to raise awareness of the “evils of meat-eating.” Well, I would like to raise the awareness of vegetarians everywhere to the truth of Genesis 9:3…

From ghoulish cuisine we now turn to ghoulish education. It seems that a professor at the University of Baltimore is teaching a class on zombies. No, it isn’t a comparative religion class on Haitian voodoo in the anthropology department; it is an English class, English 333 to be exact, a class on zombie literature. You see, the University of Baltimore is now offering students the chance to minor and pop culture. In English 333, the students will get to watch 16 classics on the films and read comic books about zombies. If it is done right, this could be a good class. I remember taking Literature of the American West when I was in high school, and it was one of the toughest English classes I had. But still I would’ve loved to have been able to get credit for watching horror movies when I was in college…

You may recall a few months back when I wrote a post that discussed, among other things, the importance of primary source documents in the work of the historian. Well it seems that the folks who make the rugs for the White House need to spend a little bit more time looking at primary source documents as well. During President Obama’s recent vacationed to Martha's Vineyard, the Oval Office got redecorated. Included in that redecoration was a new rug. On the rug, surrounding the presidential seal, are several quotes which President Obama selected as being some of his inspirational favorites: quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Imagine the embarrassment when it was discovered that the Martin Luther King Jr. quote was actually uttered by Theodore Parker, an abolitionist and Unitarian minister who died in 1860, right before the Civil War. Ooops…

When you set out to undertake a criminal enterprise, one of your primary concerns really should be some sort of plan to avoid being caught. It is for this reason that criminals often wear nondescript clothing, hats, sunglasses, or masks; they do not want to be recognized. Police officers are trained help witnesses remember the important details that can help identify criminal suspects. Things like height, weight, clothing, eye color, skin color, hair color, and distinguishing marks like tattoos or visible piercings. And smart criminals know that these are the very things they need to disguise. But most criminals are not smart. Committing armed robbery while wearing a red and black checkered coat and with “get money” not only tattooed on the back of your hands but shaved into your hair makes you pretty easy to recognize. Seattle police really had no trouble finding this guy… (HT Julie at Herding Grasshoppers)

The Lewis and Clark County sheriff at first thought it was a joke. And why wouldn’t he? I mean who texts the county sheriff to set up a drug buy? But it turns out that it wasn’t a joke, it was just another dumb criminal. In this case a couple of teenage boys who accidentally sent the text to the sheriff instead of their usual drug dealer. And the shores department detective, posing as the drug dealer, showed up at the appointed meeting place, made contact with the teens, and identified himself, the “boys turned white and their knees began to wobble.” One of them even passed out. After speaking with the boy’s parents, law enforcement officials decided not to issue any citations, but rather let the parents take care of the problem. Hey, this is Montana, and many folks around here haven’t forgotten what parents are for…

And the Nuttiness goes on and on...

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Friday, September 3, 2010

The Squirrel Can Cook - "Sandwich" Meatloaf

A while back, a friend gave me a couple of boxes of matzah meal, and I was kicking around ideas for using it. One thing you always use bread crumbs for is meatloaf and meatballs, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Today we’re going to cook a simple meatloaf. This meatloaf is very similar to (I mean, a meatloaf is a meatloaf, right?) the one we cooked back on April 24, 2009 with one major difference; instead of using oatmeal this meatloaf uses matzah meal. This gives our meatloaf a finer “grain” which allows for thinner slices, which are great for sandwiches.

Our ingredients are:
2 pounds of ground beef
1 cup of matzah meal
2 eggs
2/3 cup of Marinara sauce

Put all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Mix everything very well (by hand still works best.) and form into a loaf in a baking dish. (Tip: crack your eggs into a large drinking glass and scramble with a fork before adding them to the rest of the ingredients for better distribution throughout the meatloaf.)

Spoon a bit of Marinara sauce on top of the meatloaf and bake at 350° for one hour. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. (This meatloaf would work well for this sandwich…) Enjoy!

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 9/2/2010

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy.

I remember, back in the early nineties, staying up all night playing the Legend of Zelda right after I bought my first Super Nintendo. Of course I had to work the next day. I went to work, all tired and bleary eyed, and I’m pretty certain I didn’t really earn my pay that day. One learn a lesson and, while I may have stayed up too late a few more times, I was a bit more careful about getting to bed and getting some sleep when I needed it. Others, it seems, to wise up so fast. It now seems that there is a man in Hawaii claiming that addiction to a video game has ruined his life. It’s so bad, he claims, that he has filed suit against the manufacturers of the video game to which he claims addiction. Yes, it seems, he has learned quite well the lesson that Anna Russell sang of long ago, “But I am happy; now I've learned - The lesson this has taught; That everything I do that's wrong - Is someone else's fault.”

I have friends who love to go yard sale-ing. As the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Yard Salers can find a lot of good bargains and hidden antiques. But some people take yard sales much more seriously than others do, it seems. Take the case of seventy-year-old Jon Joslin and sixty-four-year-old Joseph Brown. It seems that, in a dispute over who had arrived first, and therefore had first “dibs” on the items for sale, Mr. Joslin whacked Mr. Brown over the head with a cast iron cornbread pan. Mr. Joslin went to jail, and Mr. Brown, suffering from head lacerations, refused medical treatment and continued shopping. Bargain hunting is brutal business, but, when the going gets tough…

Well, one thing is for sure, the Easton Area High School 2010 yearbook is undoubtedly going to be a collector’s item. In and around and among the photographs of students, teachers, classroom activities, football games, etc., are inspirational quotes from celebrities, leaders, authors, politicians, and other public figures. This is not unusual; I remember my yearbooks from high school being full of such quotes. However, on page 190 of this year’s Easton Area High School Rechauffe is a quote from a rather infamous political figure; namely Adolf Hitler. The quote is, “And in the last analysis, success is what matters.” Rather ominous, considering his place in history. School officials deny any knowledge of how the quote was included. And really, we all know what happened; one of the journalism students Googled quotes about “success” and started pasting them into the yearbook’s lay out. Officials say that the book was scanned for profanity and sexually explicit content, but nobody spotted the Hitler quote. The proofreading will undoubtedly be a bit more thorough for 2011…

There are times when it is amusing to be mistaken for someone else, and then there are times when it can be embarrassing. And then there are times when they can be just a little bit frightening. It seems that Shreveport, Louisiana pastor Gregory Jones was in a hurry to few days ago. In fact he was driving a bit in excess of the speed limit. No doubt he was a bit embarrassed when the police pulled him over. After all, pastors should not be caught breaking the law. But his embarrassment quickly turn to horror as he was handcuffed and placed in the back of the police car. It seems the Pastor Jones shares a name and a birthday with a man wanted in Texas for parole violations. It took 8 hours for an FBI fingerprint check to establish that Pastor Jones was not the Gregory Jones police were looking for. Now, no one blames the police for being thorough, but the moral of this story is, “breaking the speed limit doesn’t really save you any time.” The Shreveport Times did say that Pastor Jones still got that speeding ticket…

And, finally, we’ve got two stupid criminal stories to chuckle over. The first one involves a bank robber in Eden, New York who forgot to pull his mask up over his face before you walked into the bank. As he was standing in front of the teller after handing her is robbery note, his cell phone rang. After listening to the phone call for a moment, he grabbed the note from the teller and fled the bank. The police suspect that the phone call was from the robber’s accomplice informing him of his… unconcealed condition. Oh, and yes, the security cameras did get several excellent pictures of the unmasked man

In our other stupid criminal story, we have a gang of marijuana farmers who thought that the pickup truck that had pulled up and parked near their patch belonged to their distributor. They quickly began to load bales of their product into the pickup truck. The pickup truck, however, did not belong to a marijuana wholesaler, but was, in fact, the pickup truck of game wardens of the California State Department of Fish and Game. Game wardens are, as I’m sure you’re aware, sworn law enforcement officers. They knew exactly what to do with the marijuana farmers and the 172 pounds of their product. Say it with me, “that’s why they call it ‘dope’!”

That's it for this week! Keep those Nuts and letters coming!

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