On the menu.

For dinner at Casa NN.C night before last: Mark Bittman’s espresso black-bean chili. Verdict: If you’re a chili purist, probably not for you. But an adventurous eater will find cinnamon, coffee and brown sugar worthy, interesting additions to a bean soup. Plus, it will make you fart like a machine gun, with interesting bass notes lingering in the room. But that’s the price we pay for eating natural foods.

Next time I’m making it with the chocolate variation.

The book that recipe is from — “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” — is not only the single best vegetarian cookbook I’ve ever clapped eyes on, it’s probably the only one you need. Pair it with “How to Cook Everything,” and you could take the rest of my cookbook library. I’d be pretty well-set.

That’s the gist of the comments at the link, above; I now draw you to the one made by Isaac Mizrahi, a fashion designer. Emphasis, as they say, mine:

Throw away all your old recipes and buy How to Cook Everything. Mark Bittman’s recipes are foolproof, easy, and more modern than any others.

What was I saying just last week about the five all-purpose adjectives used to describe fashion? What was one of them? Uh-huh, yeah. You listen to your auntie Nance from now on out.

Oh, I can’t wake up this morning, so I’m scanning Facebook to see what all my local friends thought of “Detroit 1-8-7.” So far the verdict is brutal. I reserve judgment. I couldn’t watch it last night, but I turned it on to stave off sleepiness and as a counter to the mortar barrage of acorns landing on the roof in the wind. I’ll catch up with the DVR over the weekend. Plus, you can’t judge any show by the pilot; if there’s one thing TV promises you, or should, it’s long-term character development over the course of 10 or 12 hours. I did hear one good line: “We fight them here so we won’t have to fight them in Ferndale,” which as network cop-show lines go, is pretty good. (Keeping in mind that “The Wire” pretty much ruined all network cop shows for me forever.) I’ll give the producers credit (literally, as a big part of this production is subsidized by the taxpayers of Michigan) for shooting here; I saw a few familiar faces in there, people I know in our little community of creatives. If the show does for Detroit actors even a fraction of what “Law & Order” did for New York’s, then I’ll tune in every week.

I’m having trouble waking up because today is pretty much the sort of day I’d order from the menu in September — overcast, rainy and warm. The southwest exhaled a big gust of hot air yesterday, and it reached 87 by day’s end, followed by rain. The rain arrived at 4:30 a.m. with wind, making me curse the skylight in my bathroom; how on earth do people sleep with these things over their beds? In even light rain, it’s like having a drummer sitting five feet over your head, improvising. Throw in the acorns for a month every year, and it’s ridiculous. I see why people fall into the Ambien embrace when they get to my age, but there’s something about being female and middle-aged that makes me avoid prescription meds of all but the most essential sorts; I get the feeling it’s just a short hop to Judy Garland’s street. Every night I read about teenagers arrested with fistfuls of pills no doubt cadged from mom and dad’s medicine chest, Vicodin and Xanax and all the rest of it. Mama isn’t that high-strung just yet. Just tired.

So, can we round up some bloggage to flesh out this undercaffeinated, phoned-in entry? Let’s seeee….

With the exception of Ta-Nehisi Coates, I generally stay away from the political bloggers at the Atlantic, but I stumbled across this Andrew Sullivan post on Sarah Palin Jr. yesterday, and it made a point I have been making with unbelievers for a while, i.e., most people have no idea how crazy religious-right voters are, what they expect, what they see as their baseline conditions for backing a candidate. I recall a conversation with your basic eastern elitist, a Jew, about the evangelical right’s support of Israel, which I told him had nothing to do with their desire for his people to have a homeland, but rather a precondition for the return of Jesus, and he told me I was the crazy one. Folks, I am not. Sullivan gets it:

O’Donnell is an important figure not because she is a flake, as Bill Kristol says. She is important because she is as yet too guileless to lie about her real views, or to conceal the reactionary worldview that animates them. She is not an outlier. She is a very powerful way to understand what the theoconservative project is really about – and what the GOP base truly believes in.

She is the modern GOP. And maybe her emergence will help more people snap out of denial.

OID: Ten men, including one MSU football player, charged in theft of laptops from Detroit Public Schools. I ask you. No, I don’t.

OK, time to hit the shower, drink more coffee and trudge off to office hours. Have a good one, all.

Posted at 9:41 am in Same ol' same ol', Television |

54 responses to “On the menu.”

  1. Julie Robinson said on September 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

    We had that storm here too, which means we don’t have to water this week and I am grateful. Our water bill last month was eye-popping; more than double the usual. It’s been so dry we even watered the big trees.

    Cinnamon and brown sugar sound like a fine addition to chili, but I still don’t like coffee or coffee flavorings. BTW, Beano works pretty well. It’s an essential start of any meal with beans around Chez Robinson. I shall draw a veil over the identity of the offender(s).

    489 chars

  2. coozledad said on September 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Even all the theocratic stuff is just whitewash for the real objective: another big property grab. With science out of the way and worldview that’s hospitable to the belief in witchcraft and malign spirits, the folks at the heart of the party will be able to further consolidate their ownership of virtually everything. You get in their way? They’ll have plenty of people willing to burn you.
    It sounds extreme, but look at Pat Robertson’s games in Liberia, and the fundamentalist right’s efforts to institute a pogrom in Uganda (ostensibly a game of Chinese whispers against homosexuals, but really just a crowbar in the door of one of the last frontiers of fossil fuel production).
    BRAINFART EDIT: Not fossil fuels, Minerals.

    They remind me of the Renaissance popes. Slaughtering heretics and Jews while the Vatican was essentially staffed by hookers. The religious component is absolute bullshit.

    905 chars

  3. Deborah said on September 22, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Julie, Beano has never worked for us.

    Weird weather here, hot and windy yesterday, then rain. Today is cooler, tomorrow will be hot again, near 90, then a much cooler weekend.

    Weirdos in Chicago: a bomb threat this morning at the Civil Courts building on Washington in the Loop area, and I just heard about another bomber idiot who was apprehended in a sting, happened in Wrigleyville. That one happened earlier, don’t know when, I only heard it today while the office was buzzing about the threat this morning.

    518 chars

  4. MichaelG said on September 22, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Unfortunately, Cooz is right. Those people are being exploited. I can’t wait for the rapture and for them all to leave.

    Over 100 lap tops for $158,000. How much did DPS pay for the computers in the first place? Maybe the person who sold them and the purchasing person are the real thieves.

    296 chars

  5. ROgirl said on September 22, 2010 at 10:58 am

    The laptop thieves will have to get in line behind the principals and others who stole money to pay for home renovations and mortgages, and the superintendent who couldn’t keep his hands out of his pants while in meetings.

    Speaking of Judy, Liza Minnelli was on Oprah yesterday (after Jon Stewart’s appearance) and performed a medley of her hits. It was kind of surreal, but she wowed the crowd.

    491 chars

  6. LAMary said on September 22, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I saw about five minutes of Olbermann last night and he showed a video of O’Donnell saying everyone misinterprets the constitution. It’s “separation of Church AND State, not separation of Church FROM State.”

    What the hell does that mean?

    On the right wing fundie who sits near me front, she is rooting for Kurt Warner to win Dancing with the Stars because he and his wife are such good Christians. I told her I want the atheist to win for the same reason. I don’t know for sure but maybe Margaret Cho is an atheist? If she is I bet she’s a good atheist and that’s important in dance.

    590 chars

  7. Sue said on September 22, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Does anyone need cheering up today? Because I can’t think of a more sure-fire way to feel better than OK Go AND doggies.

    165 chars

  8. Jeff Borden said on September 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Wasn’t the old line about Puritanism something like “it is the belief that someone, somewhere is having fun and that is wrong?” I think Andrew Sullivan’s comments echo what has been said many times about the really right-wing Christians, which is that abortion is only the start. They’d also love to see contraceptives gone, too, and maybe bring back that good, old shunning ala Hester Prynne for those who pleasure themselves or others in ways they do not approve.

    Speaking of shunning, it looks like Jesse Jackson Jr. is up to his eyeballs in a combination political and sex scandal. A federal informant is saying that J.J. Jr. knew about a plan created by members of the Chicago area Indian-American community to raise millions of bucks for Gov. Blago in exchange for his naming Jesse to Obama’s old Senate seat. The same businessman also says he twice paid for an attractive blonde restaurant hostess from D.C. –described by J.J. Jr. as a “social acquaintance”– to Chicago. The Sun-Times broke the story yesterday and now the Tribune is all over it, too.

    Perhaps if Jesse had hung around with Christine O’Donnell, this might not have ever happened. Of course, he might’ve fallen into witchcraft instead.

    1215 chars

  9. Mark P. said on September 22, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Even with the revelations (Revelations! End of times! Yes!) about O’Donnell, people who don’t know people like her don’t really know what she believes. If you told normal people they would say you’re the crazy one; no one could believe that crap. They won’t believe it even when it stares them in the face. Do you remember James Watt, secretary of the interior under Reagan? He was one of them. He thought it was perfectly OK to rape and pillage the environment for two reasons. First, God gave Man reign over all things on Earth, and second, the end of the world is coming so pretty soon we won’t need all those natural resources anyway. Wackos. Pure and simple. And almost every day they figure out which shoe to put on which foot. See? Miracles do happen.

    And they walk among us.

    785 chars

  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2010 at 11:30 am

    MichaelG, the problem with that scenario is that you only have 7 years to play after the Rapture-ready folk depart. Then it gets *really* ugly.

    Now, that’s if you’re a pre-millenial, pre-tribulational dispensationalist. YMMV.

    But Watt didn’t say that we should “loot the environment” because Jesus is coming soon, even though that story’s been repeated all over the internet as, um, gospel:


    456 chars

  11. nancy said on September 22, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Let me just step in and say that MMJeff is one of my favorite commenters here. “Pre-millenial, pre-tribulational dispensationalist” — snerk.

    141 chars

  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2010 at 11:35 am

    [Bows, leaves for staff mtg potluck.]

    37 chars

  13. ROgirl said on September 22, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Bring on the Apocalypse, baby! Next year in Jerusalem.

    54 chars

  14. Sue said on September 22, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I admit I don’t know my religious stuff, but I always thought that the rapture came about because some kid had a vision and the adults around her/him ran with it.
    Kind of like how Mary keeps popping in to talk to kids about how she loves them very much, oh and by the way here’s some secrets about the end of the world, don’t tell anyone but the Pope.
    Can we have the best of both worlds, MMJeff? Can the rapture take all those people and THEN turn out to be false? Where do I sign up for that denomination?

    513 chars

  15. Peter said on September 22, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Jeff, the triple J disclosure is just one more piece of evidence supporting my theory that the next mayor will be Oprah, Blago, or Ditka.

    Boy, this not only hurts JJJr., but his bride Sandi as well. A two-fer scandal!

    221 chars

  16. Jason T. said on September 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes.

    I worked part-time at an AM radio station on weekends, running mainly the religious programming … mostly unaffiliated Pentecostal churches and self-ordained Baptists. And I’ve also spent time — for professional reasons — watching our local UHF TV “Christian” station.

    I don’t mean to beat up on anyone’s beliefs, but man, these people are nuts. They don’t believe in mainline Protestantism, they believe in a mutated kind that’s laced with superstition and it’s violent and dark. They think the Book of Revelation is a literal depiction of what will happen (which I don’t think any mainline Protestant or Catholic church teaches).

    Worse yet, they’re trying to encourage the End of the World so they can ascend into heaven, and the “final battle” for souls can begin, thus establishing Jesus’ eternal kingdom on earth.

    This is why they’d like Israel to go to war with its enemies, and this is also why they don’t care about climate change or the long-term future of the economy — they don’t believe our present world will last beyond maybe the next generation.

    It’s also what truly scared me about our last president, because — based on the things he said publicly — I’m pretty sure he’s waiting for the end times, too.

    And yeah, Nancy, when you tell nominal, moderate Christians this, they don’t believe you. They think you’re exaggerating. If anything, I’m being too kind.

    1429 chars

  17. Julie Robinson said on September 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Sue, aren’t you in Wisconsin? Plenty of Lutherans around there, and we give little credence to all the rapture rhapsodics. We should live our daily lives as if the end of the world could come at any moment, but all that other nonsense is just nonsense. Just make sure you visit what Garrison Keillor calls the happy Lutherans, the ELCA.

    I think most audiences are just amazed that Liza is still standing, much less sentient, much less able to sorta sing. That’s probably what the standing O was for.

    506 chars

  18. Jason T. said on September 22, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    But Julie, the ELCA is being torn apart over its views on gay marriage, is it not?

    Traditional Protestantism is dying — fundamentalists, Pentecostals and unaffiliated, non-aligned churches are growing rapidly while many Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopalian churches struggle to fill the pews each Sunday.

    Most of these unaffiliated “full gospel” churches have self-taught ministers who’ve never been to any kind of college — which brings to mind the old line about “a fool for a teacher and a bigger fool for a student.”

    544 chars

  19. kayak woman said on September 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Ambien is terrifying. A couple years ago, I showed up at 8AM for a long-standing weekly coffee date with a friend. She was uncharacteristically late and I was just about to leave when she staggered in talking about how, as she was driving to our meeting spot, there were lanes of traffic coming toward her on BOTH the left and right. She was seeing double. I had never seen this woman anything but stone-cold sober and I thought she was sick or something.

    I managed to get her out to MY car, drove her home and called her doctor-husband, who determined that she was all right, just “tired”. I found out later that she had accidentally gotten confused and taken an extra dose of Ambien.

    692 chars

  20. moe99 said on September 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    As long as we’re talking about corruption, looks like ol’ Joe Arpaio has a few problems himself. Got this from a friend in AZ today:

    Other shoe drops – after fighting over access to financial records from the sheriff’s office for months, and threatening the sheriff with contempt, and finally getting a court involved, the county got the financial records from “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Joe Arpaio. They’ve been going over the documents for a while, in an attempt to audit the sheriff’s spending for a period of several year. And today’s headline:

    Joe Arpaio’s office misspent funds, analysis says

    The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office misused at least $50 million from a fund for jail operations, and county supervisors may have to use the general fund to repay the money, top county officials say.

    Findings by the county’s Office of Management and Budget show the Sheriff’s Office tapped the money to pay for functions not allowed under jail-fund rules, such as salaries for deputies who worked on public-corruption investigations into county supervisors and judges.


    $50 million. That’s a lot of misspending for a sheriff’s office, even in a very big county. But
    Separate investigations by The Republic have documented the questionable use of public funds by high-ranking sheriff’s officials, who routinely used county-issued credit cards to charge expensive meals and stays at luxury hotels.
    The Republic also found that another fund meant to improve conditions in county jails was spent by sheriff’s officialsspent by sheriff’s officials on out-of-state training, stays at luxury hotels, a staff party at a local amusement park and a $456,000 bus to transport inmates to court. That bus remains parked in a county lot because supervisors have refused to license and insure it, claiming it was illegally purchased.

    Hard to see how all of that adds up to $50 millon, and I suspect that most of the problem is going to be found in a handful of other big-spending categories that have nothing to do with the jail or the permitted use of jail fund money, including Joe’s so-called “public corruption” cases (every one of them dismissed and provoking claims against the county), and his pet “human-smuggling unit” which doesn’t want to bother with actual human smugglers, because they might be dangerous, but likes to go after illegal immigrants for “smuggling themselves” into the country:
    • For years, it used detention-fund money to pay for employees to patrol Maricopa County, among other duties.

    • County human-resources data, information from a racial-profiling lawsuit and other documents show many Sheriff’s Office employees were not working in the same job assignments recorded for them in county records. Money used to pay for staffers performing duties not allowed under the tax has to be paid back, county officials said.

    • In some instances, sheriff’s administrators are believed to have used money from the agency’s detention fund to pay for controversial public-corruption investigations and activities involving its human-smuggling unit and other units.

    3273 chars

  21. coozledad said on September 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    moe: Makes you wonder how many of the border patrol charismatics are profiting from the middlemen trucking people across the border.

    132 chars

  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    The ELCA, like some other mainline Protestant denominations, is looking to lose maybe 3% of their total membership over acceptance of gays & lesbians in committed relationships. In a period when there’s been some pretty clueless national/general leadership for years, and increasing dependence on endowments turns into an attempt to do the “pull out the tablecloth” trick when investments drop by 30% (if you’ve never tried it, the silverware and china don’t stand still but usually hit the floor, unless you’ve prepped the placesettings carefully), loss of 3% when they tend to be younger and more economically vital is a further problem, but it’s not the apocalypse.

    The drop in investment portfolios, that was an apocalypse; it was like all our trusts and funds were Raptured away, and some of us wonder if they went to Heaven, if the Caribbean tax shelter islands are your idea of Paradise. But all in all, the mainline Protestant denominations are functionally no worse off than they were twenty years ago, it’s just gotten harder to hide that it isn’t 1962 anymore — which I think is a good thing. (Mmmm, staff potluck lunch. Meatballs.)

    1153 chars

  23. Julie Robinson said on September 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    No, not torn apart. Yes, there are ELCA churches and individuals who are leaving because they refuse to acknowledge that God’s love has no exclusions. Most of them don’t fit the “young and economically vital” model. These folks think that getting rid of gay pastors is going to fill the pews when the problems run much deeper. Buh-bye, don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

    380 chars

  24. Deborah said on September 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    All these comments about Lutherans takes me back 20 years or so when I stopped going. it sounds like they’re still having the same issues. I was raised Missouri Synod, but switched to AELC as soon as I could, which later merged with the LCA and ALC to become the ELCA (I think that’s how it went). I stopped going because I got really tired of all of the arguing over things like whether gays can be pastors etc. Julie, I like your point about God’s love having no exclusions.

    477 chars

  25. Julie Robinson said on September 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Deborah, I too grew up Missouri and left as soon as possible, and it’s why I have no patience with the latest divisive crowd. But I gotta tell you, in most churches there wasn’t even a ripple after the vote to ordain practicing gays last summer. IF people were aware of it, they thought it was about time and now let’s get back to the work of the church. Our downtown church started a free Wednesday night meal last summer and now we’re feeding over 100 every week. That’s what church means to me.

    501 chars

  26. Jason T. said on September 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Jeff (tmmo) says:

    it’s just got­ten harder to hide that it isn’t 1962 any­more — which I think is a good thing.

    Maybe, but I think it’s also true that Pentecostalism and fundamentalism offer assurances that mainline Protestantism (and the Roman Catholicism of my youth) can’t and don’t offer.

    Mainline churches have ambiguity — most encourage congregants to reach their own conclusions and consider decisions and scripture in context. There are synod or diocese conventions where people have to vote on issues, and sometimes they disagree.

    Fundamentalism doesn’t offer any such ambiguity. You’re not supposed to think for yourself — you’re supposed to have faith. Pastors tell their flocks, “Don’t trust your human ‘logic,’ trust the Bible.”

    I think a lot of people like the comforts of moral absolutes.

    861 chars

  27. Julie Robinson said on September 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    As Dick Cheney and others with gay family members have found, moral absolutes and parental love run smack dab into each other when it’s a loved one concerned. There is room in God’s Kingdom for ambiguity. He gave us a brain to think for ourselves.

    249 chars

  28. brian stouder said on September 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Many (many) years ago, I had a girlfriend who was a Lutheran, who went to a breakaway church on the southeastern part of Fort Wayne (where the city ends, and the corn fields begin). The pastor there was a large silver haired man who looked a bit like Jack Klugman, and who had a very German name. The independent church was in a new prefabricated building, and comfortably housed a congregation of about 30 people, about a third of which was one family – the family who (essentially) bankrolled the breakaway (they had been main-line Missouri Synod folks from the church on Broadway). I recall that the word “schism” turned up in many of the sermons, so my vocabulary grew a bit. Also – and this will sound made up, but it’s true! – the pastor and the patriarch of the main family drove later-model Mercedes sedans, and often after church they’d sit in the parking area talking in their cars, while listening to Wagner.

    I’m pretty sure this permanently bent my view of fundamentalist religious types.

    Total non-sequitur: Pam tells me that the other day she was driving down Coldwater Road near Coliseum Blvd (a major, major retail area), and the girls began laughing uproariously when they came to the red light. There were two guys dancing around with those board-signs saying “WE BUY GOLD”; one was wearing a cowboy hat and an inflatable horse (wherein his legs were the horse’s rear legs) and the other had an extreme-‘70s super-sized afro and a bright orange suit with lots of gaudy Liberace-style jewelry on. Not exactly sure about the symbolism, but it was worth a laugh

    1607 chars

  29. Jeff Borden said on September 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Re: Arizona and Sheriff Joe. I believe one of the major contributors, or perhaps it is a trusted adviser, to loony Gov. Jan Brewer is a high-ranking executive of the for-profit prison companies running some of Arizona’s jails. Naturally, they will see a nice bump in profits if the coppers in the Hate State start tossing them illegal immigrants to house.

    Re: mainstream religion. My wife’s mother has been a very active member of her Methodist congregation in a central Florida city along the Atlantic coast. When we attend services with her, the demographics are striking. Mostly elderly whites. No kids. Maybe a handful of middle-aged folks. No minorities. It’s clearly dying on the vine.

    I agree with Jason T.’s assessment that the mainstream religions lack the certitude, the absolute conviction of holy rectitude that the pentecostal and evangelical churches dispense by the gallon. A significant number of people WANT to be told what to do and the pastors of those kinds of churches are happy to take up that mission. They serve those with a Manichean* view of the world. . .it’s either good or its bad.

    *I know nothing of this philosophy save for what I read in “A Tragic Legacy” by Glenn Greenwald, who argues the Bush Administration followed this whole “with us or against us” philosophy of good vs. evil to our ultimate detriment.

    1350 chars

  30. alex said on September 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I inadvertently insulted a childhood friend not long ago when she was in town for a visit. Hadn’t seen her in twenty-some years. Our families had been close and we both grew up in homes without any religion whatsoever. In fact, it was her father who ripped me a new one one time when I tried to play the “because God says so” card during a childhood disagreement with one of the kids in her family. “There is no God,” he thundered, putting an end to the squabble.

    As we were driving to take a look at her childhood home, she was noticing the odd variation in Indiana license plates. There are two standard non-vanity plates, one which is plain blue with white lettering and one which is hideously festooned with God and the flag. She asked why. I explained that the same crazy fundies who get honked off about store clerks who say “happy holidays” petitioned the state legislature for their own plate. “In God We Trust” it says (or in fundie Christian speak, “nyaaaa-nyaaa, assholes, freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion”).

    My friend became very offended. She told me that she had become a fundamentalist Christian. When I inquired why, as this was so atypical of her family and upbringing, not to mention what I remember of her intellect from twenty-some years ago, she explained that she cannot stand to live with any sort of uncertainty and this gives her certainty.

    She’s been through some rocky relationships, and at that time was separated from a husband she was hoping would come back to her. Her children, who came with her on that trip, were about as insolent as any I’ve ever seen, and I suspect she has been with abusive men who undermine her authority with her kids. So maybe she finds solace in this stuff. Dunno. Still can’t quite fathom the conversion, though.

    1804 chars

  31. Linda said on September 22, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Sure, go ahead with your fancy Bittman recipe books. I got I Can’t Believe It’s Storage Food, about tasty recipes for the dried milk, eggs, beans (did you know you could use them in place of butter?), and whole wheat kernels you can store for your year’s food supply. Laugh now, but when apocalypse zombie hordes come looking for your rapidly rotting supplies, and we have all the dried food AND the shotgun shells, you’ll be laughing out the other side of your face.

    469 chars

  32. Sue said on September 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Ahem, Linda? Don’t you know that being a part of the greater Nancy Nall community means that, now that we know you’re prepared for the worst, we all get to move in with you when the end comes and the apocalypse zombie hordes come to your door? It’ll be like a big church potluck actually, only with both a higher and lower level of discussion. I’ll bring the jello as a zombie-brain in-joke.
    Hmm, we’ll have to think of a password so she’ll know which ones are us.

    469 chars

  33. Linda said on September 22, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    O.K., Sue, I’ll do it. But I’ll need a much better ventilation system if all of us are eating dried beans.

    107 chars

  34. paddyo' said on September 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I am hereby converted and baptized into the Born-Once-With-Common-Sense Church of Julie R., most especially at Sermons #23, #25 and #27. Keep testifying, Sister . . .

    166 chars

  35. Mark P. said on September 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I thought about joining Flip Wilson’s Church of What’s Happening Now, but I decided to start my own church. It’s the Church of MYODB – Mind Your Own Damned Business.

    165 chars

  36. LAMary said on September 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    There’s Firesign Theatre’s Church of the Presumptuous Assumption. I’m all over that one.

    88 chars

  37. JayZ(the original) said on September 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    ” ‘The Wire’ pretty much ruined all network cop shows for me forever.”

    Amen to that. I miss that show.

    105 chars

  38. coozledad said on September 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    The Reverend Billy C. Wirtz’s Church of The Horizontal Teenage Passion.

    71 chars

  39. paddyo' said on September 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    As an ex-seminarian and recovering Catholic (“fallen away” sounds sooo, dirty), I’m also partial to Garrison Keillor’s “Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility,” the Lake Woebegon church whose name too neatly sums up two millennia of madness on the Roman side of God’s house . . .

    277 chars

  40. MichaelG said on September 22, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Don’t forget the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

    49 chars

  41. MaryRC said on September 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    alex: I just had to see the “God and the flag” Indiana license plate so I googled it and apparently it caused quite a to-do. Someone sued the Indiana BMV, not because it was un-constitutional but because it was free and he had to pay $40 for his specialty plate! Do you know how that was resolved? And yes, it is hideously festooned.

    335 chars

  42. Rana said on September 22, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I tend to associate the Indiana “God plates” with a higher-than-usual incidence of bone-headed driving. Maybe there’s something about being God’s chosen people that leads them to ignore such things as speed limits (fast or slow) and to be unable to see other people’s cars.

    274 chars

  43. Deborah said on September 22, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Alex and MaryRC I had to get a look at that plate after your descriptions and wow, it is ugly graphically. I have been really disgusted with most of the license plates that have been redesigned from the simple older styles. Where do they find the bad graphic designers to do them, that’s what I want to know? They usually have every graphic trick in the book, gradations, drop shadows, transparencies all at the same level of attention getting. What was wrong with the simple ones that had a background color and a lettering/numeral color? So clean and simple. Less is more.

    574 chars

  44. brian stouder said on September 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Well, my Indiana plate is pretty cool, ad it was also “free” (no additional charge)

    Pammy and I actually got sequential numbers, too


    233 chars

  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    If you don’t like ambiguity, you really shouldn’t read much of Jesus preaching in parables.

    Julie, I was referring to the departing larger congregations in AZ and KY that I was aware of, but as you say, it’s been mostly a non-issue for the ELCA. Which is not to say that the ELCA (or PCUSA or Episcopal or Methodist churches) is not having troubles finding a way to present their perspective to younger, and particularly unchurched potential new members. Birthrates have not been mainline church friends . . . but the interesting part of that is how birthrates tend to decline with education of women, and the mainlines strongly affirmed female education in the 19th century, setting up the dilemma of the last few decades.

    The reality is that the Southern Baptists and Mormons are seeing the same demographic non-negotiable start to show up, or not show up, in their stats. More college and grad degrees among your womenfolk, fewer babies. Add in that historically, denominational retention is around 50%: if you have eight kids, that means four families in the next generation of your denomination; if you have two, one family hands along your faith tradition; if you have only one, it’s maybe 50/50 that they’ll continue in your polity.

    1249 chars

  46. alex said on September 22, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Deborah, what’s more, law enforcement says these new plates are also illegible from any distance. I concur, and not just because I’m becoming myopic in middle age. Really, if one of God’s chosen few were to do a hit-and-run on me I’d be royally fucked.

    Had an interesting encounter today, BTW, Deborah, with a local architect. He offered to draft backdated design plans for the lean-to I’m building in case Code shows up and gives me a hassle. Not surprising. He ran for local office a few years ago and got busted for campaign finance irregularities. Big ones. I think I’ll be fine, actually. I’ll just take a screw gun and go ZIP, ZIP. Okay, it’s not attached to the house anymore. Whatcha gonna do now, fuckers?

    719 chars

  47. DEdelstein said on September 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I have the Bittmann books but I find them unsatisfying. I can’t really read recipes these days unless they’re prefaced with long nerdy lab reports a la Cook’s Illustrated in which the author takes you through all the botched variations (there are usually pictures), lucks into some novel ingredient/temperature/mixing method/timing, then phones a food scientist to understand why on a chemical level that bit of inspiration worked. (The Na molecules massaged the albumin without rupturing it, creating a sustained porosity while rebonding with stray hemoglandular atoms.) Then the piece ends with, “Voila! Now whenever the mood strikes, I can have espresso black bean chile that’s ready in under an hour and won’t drive my family run screaming from the house to escape my flatulence.” I’m spoiled.

    797 chars

  48. nancy said on September 22, 2010 at 9:53 pm


    Do you have Shirley Corriher’s “Cookwise?” She’s a chemist and a cook, and her books — there are several others — are all about that stuff, and her recipes contain all sorts of weirdness. I sprinkled ground-up vitamin C tablets into my bread dough for years before I decided to leave it to the pros.

    311 chars

  49. basset said on September 22, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Wouldn’t the heat of baking kill any benefit you might get from the C’s?

    (Meanwhile: first baking in our post-flood new oven… frozen pizza.)

    Here in Tennessee, until fairly recently you only needed to sign up a hundred people to get a custom license tag for your group. I have Indiana University tag number 0074, Mrs. B. has a non-personalized “Animal Friendly” plate.

    One like this:



    and for some reason they don’t go to the “license branch” down here, it’s just the county clerk’s office.

    632 chars

  50. nancy said on September 22, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    The vitamin isn’t for health benefits. It’s supposed to strengthen the gluten, or something. After a while, it just started to seem silly. The mark of a mature cook is knowing what you do well and what isn’t worth the trouble. On my list: Chinese food, and most yeast bread.

    274 chars

  51. Joe Kobiela said on September 22, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    You and I don,t often agree, but when I saw your Rev Billie C Wirtz all I could think of was “Roberta, Roberta, roll your big leg off of me”
    Pilot Joe

    164 chars

  52. Catherine said on September 23, 2010 at 12:08 am

    With yeast breads, my make/buy decision is easy: buy.

    And yes on the Cook’s Illustrated recipes. I think it’s the drama of it all that I love — don’t actually cook from it that much. It’s kind of the Numb3rs of food magazines.

    232 chars

  53. Connie said on September 23, 2010 at 12:56 am

    I always wondered why in the world Alton Brown’s pizza dough recipe called for a chewable vitamin c tab.

    Sorry to have missed yesterday’s wonderful word discussion while on my third and certainly not final trip to greater Detroit. All right, like 50 miles west. Where I have leased a house. And must add to the already posted sites and cites, you forgot, it is sites, cites and sights! Then there is wallah! Tell me you haven’t run into this version of voila on the web.

    The discussion about gays and churches spurs me to share the story that is the lastest of the many last straws in my long gone relationship with the Dutch Reformed Church. The President of one of the two seminaries, (the husband of one of my long ago HS teachers) was fired and defrocked after quietly going to Massachusetts to conduct a lesbian wedding ceremony. For his own daughter in a state where it is legal.

    898 chars

  54. Connie said on September 23, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Basset, neither do they go to the license branch in Michigan but rather to the Secretary of State’s office. Of which there many.

    129 chars