A few kitchen notes.

If any of you are looking for a good way to make green beans — and who isn’t? I ask you, who isn’t? — you can’t do much better than Mark Bittman’s spicy-sweet take on this most mundane vegetable. I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but I just made them for the third time, and was reminded again how good they are. They do depend on you being the sort of person who has almonds on hand, and dried chilies, but if you’re not, it’s worth adding both to your shopping list. They’re that good.

(And if you don’t have almonds around but you do have pine nuts, try the garlicky variation using pine nuts. I plan to, next time, now that I’ve used up the last of the almonds.)

And that is today’s installment of What Did You Have For Dinner, which I was reminded last week is perhaps a too-common topic around here. Well, hell. I can’t sparkle every day, and sometimes that’s the most interesting thing to happen in my rather sedate life. I’m writing this Sunday night to get a jump on Monday’s grind, and for now, at least, all is right with the world, which is a trite way to say I got the laundry done, Sunday dinner made/served/cleaned up after, and I more or less know what the week to come will bring. Plus, the full moon is rising in a clear sky, and I can see it from where I sit. Little things.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, I made that French pork stew BobNG suggested last weekend, and it was great. I liked the prunes, Alan didn’t, but we both agreed it was the fresh tarragon that put it over the top. Again, not something most people keep on hand, but worth a trip to the fresh herbs section of your grocery. It’s a very good recipe.

Which then reminds me that the poobahs at Cook’s Illustrated — where the French pork stew came from — were on “Fresh Air” last week, and gave a delightful interview about what it’s like to run a test kitchen. They said the biggest challenge is people who don’t follow the recipe, substituting this for that and then complaining it didn’t work. There was an anecdote about a man who whined about a chicken recipe that had required about half an hour of heat — the worst chicken he’d ever had, he said, before adding that he hadn’t had any chicken, and had substituted shrimp. Oh. Well. Cook’s is known for testing recipes dozens of times to get the very best one, and I’m indebted to them for solving my au gratin potatoes problem once and for all. Mine always turned out runny, but not anymore. The secret: Half-and-half, and start them on the stovetop before they go into the oven. Yum.

Have I bored you senseless yet? Good. Then let’s go to the bloggage:

I listened to Hank regarding “All-American Muslim,” and haven’t been watching:

Though there will be occasional arguments and mini-crises that come along whenever you put any human beings on TV and then tell them to pretend the camera crew is invisible, “All-American Muslim” is mainly an act of public relations, going out of its way to avoid becoming “The Real Housewives of Dearborn.”

What I said up there about having a rather sedate life applies to most people, and you don’t have to live here, or in any metro area where Muslims reach critical mass, very long before they start to blend into the scenery. But that wasn’t enough for the Florida Family Association, which started an email campaign to lean on its biggest advertiser, Lowe’s, which folded like a cheap tent, although now that there’s been some loud pushback, they’re doing the dither, in a Facebook statement:

“Lowe’s has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting rod for many of those views. As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.”

How special. How respectful. In my winding path through the web many days, I’m amazed at how the Islam-exists-to-destroy-us meme flourishes on right-wing sites, and there’s simply no doubt in my mind that a North Carolina-based corporation is a particularly ripe target for the various “family associations” out there stirring the pot. Too bad, as they led the way with bilingual signage, and seem to at least acknowledge a rapidly diversifying nation, although maybe they think it only exists among contractors.

Oh, and speaking of bigotry, the case of the gay-hatin’ Troy mayor seems to be finding another gear. She’s already showing signs of fatigue — she’s tired, and she doesn’t feel well — and the Chamber of Commerce, generally the squarest, dullest people in any town, does not like this woman, especially now that gay groups are calling for shopping boycotts. (Troy is home to the area’s swankiest mall, which may be too big to dent, but maybe not restaurants and smaller stores.) One of their leaders was on a local radio show this week telling listeners the voters were victims of their own apathy, and elected a tea party ignoramus because they didn’t do their homework. The one quoted in the linked story is similarly dismissive. This woman may crumple yet.

And as always, when I read stories like this, I reflect that I never thought I’d live long enough to see gay people throw weight around like this, but whaddaya know? Progress is possible after all.

Among the many things I feel no obligation to pay the first bit of attention to, I’d put pro football in the top five. However, I understand that there’s this quarterback out there named Tim Tebow, and he’s doing something newsworthy? In matters like this, I rely on the guys at LGM, and of course TBogg.

OK, time to get out of here. The week lies ahead of us. Let’s embrace it.

Posted at 9:06 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

64 responses to “A few kitchen notes.”

  1. alex said on December 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Between Lowe’s and the sportscasters licking Tebow’s butt, you’d think we were already living in the sort of theocracy envisioned by Michelle Bachmann and her ilk, always whining that they get no respect. Thanks for the heads up about Lowe’s. I shopped there this weekend, but it will be the last time.

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Y’know, I don’t even really *want* to defend Tebow, especially after he beats my Bears, but what’s funny in the comment threads is that there’s all this emphasis on how he’s really no good, he’s just been lucky — oh, and THAT will shut up all the prayer-lovin’ fans of St. Tim. You’re making his point for him.

    Hey, as one of the few Republicans (or at least out and open Republicans) on this blog, let me note that Sen. Sherrod Brown is even more impressive in person and conversationally or at the podium than he is on cable shoutfests, and if you really want to hear him at his best, have him share the platform with his wife, Connie Schultz, formerly of the Plain-Dealer. They were truly impressive as a one-two, and as for the politics, Brown is still not someone I agree with across the board, but when he talks, his signal-to-noise ratio is the lowest I’ve ever heard on either side of the ideological aisles. By which I mean the amount of stock phrases, canned tropes, and boilerplate polemic is minimal. He has points, background, and illustrations all from the heart and a fair amount of mind . . . the last point is not a slam, but he’s refreshingly non-cerebral about making complicated points. But Connie, as the Pulitzer prize winning columnist, has the most vivid illustrations, and together, they’re quite a speaking duo.

    I have not been paid or promised any political considerations for the foregoing gush, just wanted to put that out there. And I told her she really should check out this blog, but nota bene: she is hot, flaming death on anonymous commenters, and has a devastating story to back that up I can tell later if anyone’s interested. Has to do with a column she wrote not long ago in re Jackson, OH and plant closings. Gotta go do paying work, or I’d be doing another ghastly long post.

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  3. coozledad said on December 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

    What’s Tebow’s point? That God gives more of a fuck about a game for pre-adults than ongoing massacres in Darfur?
    Fetch hither the holy jock strap.

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  4. Sue said on December 12, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Here’s a classy (as usual) comment from Aaron Rodgers re Tim and Co.:
    “Well I started playing before Tim, so these are things I’ve thought about for a long time, and I think one thing that I try to look at when I was a younger player, and I mean, in high school, junior college, and Division I, I was always interested in seeing how guys talked in their interviews, talked about their faith, or didn’t talk about their faith. And then the reactions at time, I know Bob Costas at one point was critical about a player thanking Jesus Christ after a win, questioning what would happen if that player had lost, or do you really think God cares about winning and losing. That’s all to say that I feel like my stance and my desire has always been to follow a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, who said, ‘Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.’ So basically, I’m not an over-the-top, or an in-your-face kind of guy with my faith. I would rather people have questions about why I act the way I act, whether they view it as positive or not, and ask questions, and then given an opportunity at some point, then you can talk about your faith a little bit. I firmly believe, just personally, what works for me, and what I enjoy doing is letting my actions speak about the kind of character that I want to have, and following that quote from St. Francis.’’

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  5. Sue said on December 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

    As for boycotts, I’m getting pretty severe boycott fatigue. I don’t even know how many Koch Bros. companies and subsidiaries I’m supposed to be boycotting; recently heard there’s a boycott of Crystal Sugar for union busting activities (and the CEO calling union workers a cancer which must be excised); every damned company in the world tests on animals; Canadian hydroponic tomatoes ok, Mexican work-em-to-death tomatoes not, oh and there was that article about slave labor in Florida – so what do I do when my grocery store lists origin as US/Canada/Mexico; and judging from the anti-female, anti-immigrant, anti-environment, anti-voter legislation coming out of every state including my own the next vacation I’m taking will be a walk in my back yard.

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  6. Deborah said on December 12, 2011 at 10:44 am

    If I’m hearing about Tim Tebow it must be way out there. And tebowing is actually a verb (dropping to one knee and feigning prayer in the middle of something else). Weird.

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  7. Julie Robinson said on December 12, 2011 at 10:47 am

    As usual, not following football leaves me behind the curve, but I downloaded a book by Tebow and couldn’t make it through the first chapter. Holy jock strap indeed. Between the size of his ego and surety that he is fighting a holy war blessed by God, a post-football political career seems assured.

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  8. Bob (not Greene) said on December 12, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Jeff (TMMO), do tell.

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  9. Suzanne said on December 12, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Jeff (TMMO), I have been a registered Repub for years, but am changing my tune as I age and face the realities of what has been happening and where that will leave me in my old age. I watched the tail end of the GOP debate and, although I am trying to reconnect with my roots and find someone I can support, I didn’t see it there. Michelle B’s ending statement that gave credit to Herman Cain and his 999 plan because it was simple and Americans want simple veered over to the condescending and strange. Some Americans may want it simple but a leader has to understand that it isn’t. It for sure confirmed to me that she thinks most of us are really stupid, but I guess the fact that she was on that stage proves her point.

    I made that French pork stew, too. It is beyond fabulous!

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  10. Dexter said on December 12, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I first noticed the Jesus connection to sports because of the huge media splash Bill McCartney made in the late 1980s and especially the early to mid-1990s.
    McCartney was raised in Riverview, Michigan, (Downriver Detroit, opposite Grosse Ile), went to UM (1962) and later attained success as the head football coach at Colorado.
    His intense faith helped him deal with the situation in which his college daughter became pregnant by Sal Aunese, a star player who immediately contracted cancer and died at age 21.
    McCartney used this time of his family’s life to illustrate how to let Jesus Christ enter a family’s life and provide comfort…something like that.

    Michigan Stadium opened in 1927 and in all those years, the most exciting finish occurred in 1994 when Kordell Stewart threw a 64 yard touchdown pass to Michael Westbrooke and the Buffaloes won, 27-26. I was there in a very good seat, and what happened next was amazing as well. Both squads united in the center of the field..dozens of players, in a long kneel-down prayer that lasted a few minutes.
    It was on after that.
    A few years later, Kurt Warner led the Rams into the SuperBowl on Jesus’s robes. He was way-over the top on the religious issue, but hey, he had the pulpit and people listened.
    It’s been twenty years since this Jesus stuff hit the gridiron and there is nothing new under the sun. Tebow was 3 for 16 (3:16) haha….in the first half and something like 11 for 18 in the second half yesterday and his team won. Whatever it takes…it’s better than having self-titled “gangstahs zipping up them niggahs” on a Cincinnati hardwood last Saturday. Now that is what is sickening.
    Tebow ain’t hurting anybody. If you don’t like his show, turn the knob.

    The reason I know so much about McCartney is that for two years I was a member (card carrying, so to speak)of Promise Keepers. I attended the big events , twice at the Silverdome and twice at the old RCA Dome(then Hoosierdome). I heard McCartney speak, as well as almost all the top Christian leaders , Franklin Graham, Bill Hybels, Wellington Boone, dozens of others. This was all in my early days of recovery when I was encouraged to grab at some and any sort of spiritualness as well as hundreds of “those meetings”.
    Maybe it helped, but I am no longer seeking “The Word”. At least I got the Dexter Train back on the rails.

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  11. Jeff Borden said on December 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Word to Cooz. I don’t really care about the relationships athletes have with their god, but count me among those who cringe when some lunk athlete praises Jesus because they caught a touchdown pass or drove in a run or hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. The horrors that a billion or so of our fellow humans confront every day –hunger, war, sexual abuse, povery, homelessness, terminal diseases, etc.– make those statements sound so irritatingly trivial, even if the speaker is truly trying to witness for god.

    I’d say the Broncos victory over the Bears was more about Marion Barber’s bone-headed move, the ridiculous Chicago “prevent” defense that prevents only victory, and an entire coaching philosophy of playing not to win, but not to lose.

    Meanwhile, I am genuinely beginning to think Mitt Romney is blowing the GOP nomination. His performance Saturday with the $10,000 bet really made him look –even more– like a rich asshole and he now has the noxious racist and homophobe Ann Coulter incorporated into his Iowa commercials to convince the mouth-breathers he is suitably mad enough to be their man. And Newt Gingrich, while a moral pygmy and a third-rate intellect, handled himself with aplomb when the rest of the pack came after him.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Long story short: read this (http://www.creators.com/opinion/connie-schultz/-it-was-the-only-job-he-knew.html) and know that it went up, and within a day her comments on the PD site were filled with nasty comments about the man and his choices, and his daughter, the lead source in the column, was eviscerated by her own family for “letting that happen.” It took, she said, 45 minutes of frantic phone calls for her and her editor to get them wiped and the story blocked, but the damage was done, and it was huge — and all from so-called Christians making anonymous vicious critiques of a man who was broken and his daughter who made that her prayer.

    So Schultz thinks Facebook Comments are a start, but that we’ve tried the experiment, and it doesn’t work: online comments should have the same expectation we have around print letters to the editor, a knowable & verifiable name and location. There are arguments against that, but not strong ones. The reality at my paper is that the comments are less than a twentieth of what they were in volume, but the bile is almost all gone. (Exeunt, not laughing.)

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

    If Jesus doesn’t care about football, why does he signal the touchdowns in the endzone for Notre Dame?

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  14. alex said on December 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I just checked out the Lowe’s facebook page and it looks like the sick fucks are outnumbering the righteously indignant by about ten to one.

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  15. nancy said on December 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I’m growing to loathe Facebook in all its forms. Every week turns up some new stupid, intrusive or ridiculous move on their part, including aiding and abetting this sort of campaign.

    But I’m in a bad mood. Sitting next to a mentally ill man at the library, who is snorting with what sounds like a terrible cold, and reading the newspaper in a loud whisper, occasionally pausing to make hand gestures. I’m full of the milk of human kindness, but this is too distracting. Think I’ll move.

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  16. Sherri said on December 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I refuse to have a Facebook account. If Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil”, Facebook’s must be “See how much evil our user’s will tolerate before screaming, then back off slightly.”

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  17. beb said on December 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I read both the LGM and Tbogg posts about Tim Tebow and I still don’t have a clue what this story is about. I assume it has something to do with football because the baseball season has ended and basketball hasn’t started. Tebow? I refuse to google the name!

    Out of curiosity is a high signal-to-noise ratio desired or a low ration? Since the phase puts signal first I would think a high ratio means greater clarity, but maybe I have this all backwards.

    Jeff (TMMO) when it walks like a liberal, talks like a liberal and supports many liberal positions, it just might be that you’re a liberal. (:-)

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  18. Jakash said on December 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Being that loathsome creature myself (an anonymous commenter,) I’ll usually rise to the bait and defend the nameless diatribe. As I will now in response to Jeff TMMO’s remarks. I’ve certainly read a fair share of drivel and bile expressed, particularly on newspaper sites. There’s no doubt that a real identity requirement goes a long way toward eliminating it. But there are legitimate reasons why a person might not want everything she/he expresses online attached to their name and address, forever, and I would think that would be especially true if one lived in a smaller town. Yes, you can remove the obnoxious drive-by flamer, but it’s always seemed to me that you also eliminate a certain breadth of diverse opinion, as well. I suppose that in an instance like this, it may demonstrate that the loss of diversity of opinion is just the price that one is willing to pay.
    Anyway, I’ve pretty well abandoned commenting at the big newspapers that I used to because it just seems pointless in the end — a drop in the ocean. (Not that THIS comment isn’t pointless in the end, as well, mind you.) And at sites like this one, where there’s an actual person keeping tabs on things (here’s to the Proprietress!), it seems like the idea that you can be promptly deleted and banned from further participation keeps the rabble out very effectively.
    The Facebook option is more annoying to me than requiring a name and address.
    I certainly agree with Coozledad and Jeff B. regarding divine intervention in sporting events. And, as to Jeff TMMO’s Notre Dame remark, that’s exhibit A. The mural on the library hasn’t had nearly as many Irish touchdowns to acknowledge for about 23 years now as they would have requested.

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on December 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    I’m a Bears fan and an atheist, and even I think the criticism of Tebow is unfair. For one thing, contrary to what people like Cooz think, Tebow has explicitly and repeatedly stated that he does not think God cares who wins this or that game. We have the right not to listen to him when he talks about religion, but he has the right to talk about it.

    If the Muslim-haters are serious, they will encourage as many reality shows about Muslims as possible. Reality TV seems to destroy everything and everyone it touches (with the possible exception of Sarah Palin).

    Sorry about the mentally ill and probably homeless guy at the library, Nancy. That’s actually become a huge issue at libraries. They’re a magnet for people who have nowhere to go and nothing to do. They’re warm, clean, offer plenty of ways to pass the time, and you can blend in (unless you have shabby clothes and/or strong body odor). As I understand it, setting and maintaining boundaries (like ejecting the visibly drunk) is an ongoing challenge for library staffs.

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Beb, such name calling! 😉

    Most ND fans of my acquaintance never are sure of the score after the games, anyhow.

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  21. Maggie Jochild said on December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I know this is OT, but I am clear-headed and have enough energy to write y’all today and thank you for the all the fine, fine love you aimed in my direction. Bless you, Judybusy, for hooking me up here.

    I am going to live and, I think, do much better as a result of my current health crisis. Because of poverty and Tejas’s fucked social contract after Bush and Perry trashed the joint, I have not been able to get real medical care for two years. Consequently, treatable embers eventually burst into a conflagration despite my more ardent efforts to get help.

    I entered the hospital with a peach-sized abscess in my left butt cheek that, on I and D, turned out to contain MRSA which has colonized my bloodstream. In addition, my blood sugar was 600, and I am now diagnosed as a diabetic. As one doctor said, “You shoulda been in a coma.”

    The sugars are now down to today’s low of 262, all the fever/xeristomia/malaise is greatly reduced, and Infectious Disease has removed the plague warnings from my door because my butt cheek cavity is sealed with a Wound Vac. A PICC line pours vanco into me constantly, and I am learning to sleep when I can.

    More difficult than all these physical realities is that there is no social agency yet willing to pick up the cost of nursing care and necessary DME when I go home. I fall between some weird cracks. I have two excellent, radical case managers doing their best, and the hospital-based one is secretly conspiring with a malleable resident to simply keep me in the hospital for 2-3 weeks, to prevent me being dumped in a nursing home. Texas nursing homes for the indigent are death traps. No rehab or L-Tac will take me as a charity case until maybe January.

    In the meantime, I have a fantastic network of friends, especially over at Facebook where my daily dispatches are avidly awaited — I am great at finding the humour in it all. Come April, I WILL finally get Medicare and this patchwork crap will end. And despite this being the county indigent teaching hospital, I am receiving excellent care, with daily kindness and human decency.

    And now I am well enough to resume being a regular nn.c reader, a reward ass well as an indicator of recovery. Thank you all for thinking of me. The feeling is mutual.

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  22. john G. Wallace said on December 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    The newspaper group I have been writing for lately has adopted a pretty restrictive comments policy – no comments on crime stories or accidental deaths. They also clip off anything negative about their coverage and naturally their comments policy.
    That leaves enough wiggle room for the core haters to sidetrack other threads. I recently reported on a school based soap drive for Haiti. It got pretty hateful and racist – especially since the whack pack has less stories to rant about. Since then I only confirm my stuff ran and skim through the edits and avoid the website otherwise – the little sanity I have left isn’t worth the read.

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  23. mark said on December 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Good news, maggie. Thanks for the update and the inspiration. Best to you.

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  24. caliban said on December 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Tebow (in)famously made an ad to run during last year’s Super Bowl with his mom. Mrs. Tebow claims to have been on a mission to the Philippines while preggers with little Timmy, and to have had Philipino doctors recommend a therapeutic abortion because of a potentially life threatening health complication of her pregnancy. Abortion was a criminal act, for both mothers and doctors, then and now, in the Philippines, punishable by life sentence or the death penalty. Because of the Philippino legal situation back in the day, Mrs. Tebow’s story seems to stretch credibility. CBS and the NFL are well known for refusing PETA’s money to run SBSunday ads they considered to racy or controversial, as well as gay-rights advocacy ads from the United Church of Christ. So it seems fairly likely that some degree of political bias was at work here.

    The Bible is rife with evidence that Jesus found wearing religion on one’s sleeve contrary to living by His example. By Christian standards, I’d think that thanking Jesus Christ for winning a football game is literally sacrilegious.

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  25. MichaelG said on December 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    When I was a kid going to a Catholic school in a Chicago suburb the nuns made us pray for ND on football Fridays. I’ve been happy to watch them lose ever since.

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  26. Judybusy said on December 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Glad to see you back here, Maggie! For all the complaints about Facebook, being able to benefit from your fine wit and thought keep me hooked. Damn you. I mean that in the nicest way.

    Ditto to what Caliban said on your observations about that SB ad. I’d forgotten about it.

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  27. LAMary said on December 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Considering your blood sugar Maggie, the Mexican Coca Cola wishes are a metaphor for less dangerous varieties of good things. Glad you’re getting taken care of.

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  28. Jeff Borden said on December 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I’m with Bitter Scribe. While I find Mr. Tebow’s comments irritating for reasons I stated above, I cannot hate the guy simply because he is very, very religious. I do think he is one damned lucky quarterback –and as a Bears fan I know they were very, very lucky last year more than once– but I rather like the fact that he is showing up a lot of so-called football experts who deemed him unfit for the NFL. You can’t argue with a 7-1 record, football purists.

    I’d still rather have Aaron Rogers under center for my NFL team, but sheesh, Tebow is excelling, the Broncos have reenergized their fan base and it hurts no one in the process except the over-inflated egos of the football grand poobahs.

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  29. caliban said on December 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Good news, Maggie. I too am waiting it out to get to Medicare. Private-purchase insurance is a gargantuan expense I’m just not going to pay anymore. What you say about the care you have received is interesting. The days when Republicans, robber baron HMOs and insurance companies could rely on health care professionals to put a passable face on their attacks on public health care are long gone.

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  30. Kirk said on December 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I, too, am no fan of Bible-thumping athletes but I got so tired of all the “He can’t play” comments that, contrarian that I am, I have found myself pulling for Tebow. This might turn out to be the peak of his career, but, right now, he’s getting the job done.

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  31. Jolene said on December 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    A couple of follow-ups to topics we’ve talked about recently–

    I didn’t follow the “is she or isn’t she a journalist?” story re the Orego blogger in detail, but David Carr has done a lot of groundwork and seems to have concluded that whatever this woman’s work is called, it wasn’t worth defending.

    The other story, which I find very troubling, is about how an onslaught of lobbyists significantly weakened proposed regulations on for-profit colleges. Of course, the administration says that the changes between the proposed and final regs are a result of real learning about what is needed, but it’s hard to judge the validity of their claims as the article doesn’t provide much detail re what changed or where we ended up. One hopes the new regs at least provide for enough truth in advertising to encourage skepticism on the part of prospective students.

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  32. moe99 said on December 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Great news, Maggie! I hope things continue on improving for you.

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Maggie, blessings of the Winter Solstice to you. You make the case that it actually is cheaper (more conservative, even?) to have a baseline health care plan for prevention & maintenance, my hoped-for Medicare Part E(veryone). Multiply your story across the nation, and while it’s worth noting we have a national health care plan – hospitals mandated to provide direct care for presenting issues, usually thru ERs – it’s almost by definition the more costly approach across a lifetime, not to mention wasteful of human capital & lives.

    I hope you continue to heal & thrive.

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  34. coozledad said on December 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Maybe there is something to this Tebow thing. Ever since I dissed him this morning God has been punishing me with this on an endless loop:
    Alright already, God.

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  35. Joe Kobiela said on December 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I personally never heard Tim Tebow say that God helped them win. I have heard him say thank you for alowing him to have the talent to play. I think Tebow knows he is blessed and is just saying thank you to his God. God May have givin Tim Tebow the talent to play in the nfl, but Tebow is the one that had to work at developing that talent. I believe that god gives each of us a talent and its up to us individully to develop that talent.
    Pilot Joe

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  36. Jolene said on December 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks for the green bean recipes. Both sound wonderful. To return the favor, here’s one of my favorites. The browned butter* and pine nuts are a fab combination.

    *At first glance, the amount of butter prescribed here may be shocking, but note that the recipe is for 8-10 people.

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  37. caliban said on December 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Coozledad, back in the 60s, the singer John Davidson sang that song on his own variety show, a very heartfelt version in which he did not change the pronouns. Sad to say, my brothers and I thought it was hilarious, but he sure seemed to mean it.

    Maybe this will provide a cleanser for your brain pan:


    or this version:


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  38. Jenine said on December 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Yay Maggie J, good to hear from you. Keep your chin up and get better to spite the powers that be.

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  39. caliban said on December 12, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    T’all that have iPads might be interested in this:


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  40. Kaye said on December 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I agree with Joe re: Tebow. He seems like a good person and often it is others ascribing his success to his religion, not him. Even so, I’ve cringed when hearing the Tebow name ever since Florida spanked OSU in the Nat’l Championship game.

    My favorite thing about Cook’s Illustrated is that they explain the options tested and why those options were not selected for the final recipe. I also appreciate their efforts to adapt the recipes to use the least amount of time and fewer pans/dishes.
    In the car this afternoon I heard a little bit of a story re: olive oil on NPR’s Fresh Air; seemed to say the same lessons I learned from Cook’s Illustrated.

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  41. Jeff Borden said on December 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Coozledad. . .a pox on you! What’s next? “She’s Having My Baby?” “Wild Fire?” “Honey?”

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  42. Julie Robinson said on December 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Maggie, glad to know you’re on the upswing, and I join you in praise of antibiotics, without which I would not be commenting, or doing much of anything.

    I left a comment on a blog from my hometown about their story on Blago’s sentence. The story did not have a dateline indicating a personal presence in Chicago, and did not attribute any other source, so I asked for the source. The comment was in moderation for 24 hours and never appeared. BTW, I left my full name. I have queried them a couple of times before on their lack of basic journalistic standards such as correct spelling, so I guess I’m on their list.

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  43. caliban said on December 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    “The Night Chicago Died”, “Seasons in the Sun”?

    JeffB? It’s always mystified me that the guy that perpetrated “Wildfire” also wrote the magnificent “Geronimo’s Cadillac”. I like Hoyt Axton’s version, and for a long time, I thought he must have written it.


    I mean, this is like finding out Valley of the Dolls and Gatsby were written by the same person.

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  44. 4dbirds said on December 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Glad you’re better Maggie. Texas is no place to be poor and sick that is for sure. Neither is my current state, Virginia. There is no such thing as medicaid for adults here unless you’re disabled. I’m not poor and thanks to my years in the military, I get excellent socialized care from the government. I hope everyone gets access to it someday.

    Another nut to try in green beens is a toasted hazelnut. Very nice.

    I also think that Jeff (TMMO) became a liberal over time and hasn’t realized it. 🙂

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  45. MichaelG said on December 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    It’s great to hear that you’re feeling better, Maggie, and that the future is looking up.

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  46. caliban said on December 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    If that sort of music bugs you, listen to this homage from the Circle Jerks:


    Or this classic by Patti Smith, covering Debby Boone:


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  47. moe99 said on December 12, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Wasn’t there a Superbowl commercial where Tebow’s mom said she didn’t abort Tebow when she was pregnant with him and his family was in the Phillipines, despite her doctors’ recommendation? From what I recall, the Phillipines, a predominantly Catholic country, prohibited abortion at the time with severe penalties for violations.

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  48. Deborah said on December 12, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Good news Maggie. Great to hear it. I needed to hear something positive today.

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  49. Sherri said on December 12, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Tebow has not shown up a single NFL expert. The first requirement for making dramatic fourth quarter comebacks is to be behind late in the fourth quarter, and Tebow has accomplished that by being absolutely terrible for most of the game. A combination of a good Denver defense, a kicker with a strong leg, and a stretch of not particularly challenging opponents has given him a 7-1 record, but he’s still one of the worst NFL quarterbacks I’ve seen. (And here’s one of those math problems for journalists: small sample sizes! Yes, Tebow’s record can be luck!)

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  50. coozledad said on December 12, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Funny, I thought the title “Man in The Middle” referred to one of those Oval Office Sleepovers with Jimmy Jeff Gannon/Guckert, or at least a coy reference to stealing other people’s stuff.
    Looks like the rehabilitation of Babs’ forceps baby is getting off to a slow start.

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  51. David C. said on December 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I am so damned sick of the anti-Muslim crap. I used to a stupid e-mail about once a week from my father. Usually it’s railing against the “raghead church” a couple of miles away. It’s a Hindu temple, but the difference seems lost on him. I just recently told him that my best friend is Muslim so just STFU and stop sending me any e-mails. That ought to make my visit home for Christmas interesting.

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  52. basset said on December 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Well, even though becoming a NFL quarterback is pretty much the pinnacle of human achievement, let me throw this out on a totally different topic, Christmas dinner, and see if anyone’s interested.


    being half Brit I will do a roast, Yorkshire pudding, bottle of Laphroaig on the sideboard, feed to repletion and collapse on the couch. Without football.

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  53. Deborah said on December 12, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Basset, interesting reading about historical Christmas meals. We spend most Christmases in New Mexico and have started this inexplicable tradition of having pasta Bolognese for Christmas eve. It has nothing to do with where we are it just happens to be one of my favorite meals and I have a killer recipe that I learned from our favorite restaurant when we lived in St. Louis (Bar Italia). Christmas eve has always been when we open presents so Christmas day is sort of anticlimactic.

    On a completely different off topic note: I had my yearly mammogram screening today and they asked me if I wanted to go ahead and make my appointment for next year. It was the first time that I realized that I will be retired by then and the time of day will be irrelivant

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  54. Dexter said on December 12, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Make sure and watch last night’s “The Simpsons”. Season 23, episode 9,on Hulu but not available yet…”Coming Soon: 12/19
    Available on the computer to DISH subscribers “Holidays of Future Passed”.”

    Bart and Lisa as adults w/ kids, and a cameo of Dearborn, Michigan with a Muslim comment.

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  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Just finished my fourth round of antibiotics this year, which I obviously take liberally . . . I love ’em, I just want to find the one that means I don’t have to do this again (six times in eighteen months; it’s getting recolonized by bacteria that’s really wearying afterwards, not just each two week stretch of everything tasting of creosote treated canvas).

    My liberal friends all ask why I’m so conservative, and my conservative friends all ask how I defend being so liberal. All I can say is that it seems consistent from the inside.

    If we can even find an equilibrium in terms of taxes and state/federal expenses, all things being equal it’s going to settle down at something north of 40% of our gross income. It’s already between 33 & 36%. I’m conservative enough to not want it to get to 50%, and I want more decisions made on the state & local level, from curriculum to welfare cash assistance to stimulus spending to yes, ideally some regional autonomy for health care policy. National/federal policy is necessary, but on a short list of items, a list that can be debated while not necessarily being exhaustive.

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  56. Jolene said on December 12, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Speaking of national policy, I came across an article that indicate we may actually be doing some good in Afghanistan. Of course, life is still gawdawful by first-world standards, but there is genuinely heartening news re health, education, and economic development. Worth a look.

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  57. Judybusy said on December 12, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Jeff tmmo, one of the problems with more local control of welfare cash assistance is that really vulnerable people get even more victimized. By dumb luck, they end up in a state with few resources. In addition, conservatives tend not to fund programs which actually help lift people out of poverty, so it’s a double whammy–they’re poor with few services and little help to break the cycle. It’s a bit of a different scenario, but Maggie’s situation is a great example. If she lived in MN, she would have had excellent health insurance (Medicaid) beginning two years ago. She also would have been eligible for additional money to increase her services, such as physical therapy. I have no doubt she would now be mobile, would suffer less illness, and the state would save GOBS of money by avoiding having to pay for more episodes of illness. This hospitalization is costing a bundle, and it is but a small, small example of the terrible waste and suffering that goes on because of lack of foresight in terms of how we spend our money.

    I am affiliated with an AIDS service organization that provides housing/services. In one study out of Chicago we like to reference, a control group of homeless people presenting to ERs were treated with the regular plan: assessment, triage, referral to the local shelter. The study group got a case manager, and access to more permanent housing. The latter group upon follow up were more stable after a year, and again, an astounding amount of money was saved because there were far fewer ER visits, hospital days and nursing home days.

    When it comes to the safety net of providing basic needs of food, shelter and medical care, I am a strong advocate that all Americans should have access to the same care, no matter where you live. I’ve never understood why geography should damn you to an early death–yeah, I know that sounds like hyperbole, but that’s what poverty and untreated health issues do to you.

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  58. Dexter said on December 13, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Maggie, glad you are back…MRSA is a bitch. I gobble down Metformin for my Type II twice a day plus I take Januvia to settle my blood sugar levels into a safe range. The Meijer stores in Michigan have pharmacies and Metformin is free. They give it away with a doctor’s prescription. I don’t know about the stores in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois, and I know you are in Texas, but maybe some store does that there too.
    The Januvia is a pricey drug but I have insurance. I could get free pills if I turned my medical care over to the VA, but I like my doc here in town and I hate travelling long distances to see doctors.
    It sounds like you are getting good care. Best wishes for a full recovery.

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  59. Jolene said on December 13, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Judybusy, the case management approach you discuss is getting increasing attention. The (apparently) extremely busy Dr. Gawande has written about a doctor in NJ who is attempting to introduce a comprehensive approach, which he calls “hotspot ting,” in Camden, NJ. There he is working w/ chronically ill people who consume a wildly disproportionate amount of resources and finding that he can dramatically reduce ER visits and hospital stays.

    Forgive me if I’ve posted this story before, but I am somewhat nuts on this topic. If we are ever going to be able to reduce healthcare costs, it will be because we really dig into the system and make things work better rather than brute force strategies such as raising the age of Medicare eligibility. This is why I’m so mad that Congress wouldn’t confirm Don Berwick, whose leadership and expertise is desperately needed.

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  60. Dexter said on December 13, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Sherwin Sleeves has a web site called Atoms , Motion and The Void . Check out the free link to “The Christmas Skater”.

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  61. basset said on December 13, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Wish we had Meijer here in Tennessee, much better than Wal-Mart on several levels… nearest to us is around Louisville. I usually buy my (expensive but not as bad as Tennessee) out of state deer license at the Meijer in Big Rapids on the way to deer camp, and stock up on wine on the way out.

    The traditional meal links off that Christmas dinner page are interesting… Mrs. B’s Unitarian family has oyster stew on Christmas Eve, didn’t know till last night that it’s a Catholic thing in some places.

    Wonder if Yorkshire pudding would work with a venison roast? The fat is very different from beef, waxy and sticks to the roof of your mouth if you let it get cold… and there’s not much of it, deer meat is pretty dry.

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  62. Jolene said on December 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Another follow-up item, this one re honey. Seems that US honey packagers are developing a system to make it easier to identify the source of imported honey.

    Such a lot of complexity in the world. Who’d have thunk that there was so much international intrigue involved in filling up those little plastic bears?

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  63. Maggie Jochild said on December 13, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Yesterday’s good news is that Infectious Disease has requested I remain in the hospital for a full two-week run of IV vanco. This gets me excellent care for my Wound Vac, MRSA and diabetes, and buys us extra time to beg/borrow the necessary services for when I return home.

    The bad news is that PT is refusing to come assess me, much less treat me. They claim my current level of disability is baseline. Two docs and my case manager are battling them — I’m sure it’s about $, esp continuing PT once I leave — but even if I win, I worry about the care PT will then provide.

    But PT and regaining mobility is the ONLY rational road to preventing future decline and repeated such admissions in the future. Nuts.

    I am apparently wildly popular in my ward because of my cooperation, my manners, my motivation, and my progress. Plus there are a LOT of gay brothers in the caregiver field. I’ve been forthright about having a woman partner, and Margot and I skype every chance we get, which apparently “they” out on the floor find adorable and are gosipping about. Margot’s English accent has charmed them.

    People stream in and out my door several times an hour, doing or demanding a chaotic array of actions. Yesterday during lunch a short woman with long white hair but wearing street clothes and no hospital tag strode in, ignoring my obvious meal, and said “Oh, I remember you. Why are you in the hospital today?”

    It wasn’t just that I didn’t recall her, there was something about her which put me off. I said politely “I’m afraid I don’t remember you. How are you?”

    “Oh, I’m the chaplain. So tell me, what all happened to make you land in the hospital?”

    When I was admitted, I specified on the form that I wanted no visit from a chaplain, a fact I remembered later. Now, I looked her in the eye and said firmly “I don’t feel comfortable discussing my personal life with someone I don’t know who is not a caregiver.”

    She instantly pulled back and said “I’m sorry, I’ll leave.” She added “Thank you for telling me that directly” before scurrying out.

    I was livid. She never gave me her name. As a chaplain, she knows damned well how isolated and frightened folks can be in hospitals, and in this setting, the basics of introduction and consensual sharing should be more diligently observed. It has occurred to my cynical mind that she was an evangelical who could not resist the chance to preach at an out queer, or at lease dilute my toxic tolerance on this floor. Christians presume a right to intrude, to judge and prosetylize — far more aggressive than any Muslim agenda.

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  64. Dexter said on December 13, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Bravo, Maggie!! Thirty-nine years ago my first wife, just 19 at the time, had lumps on her breast that had to be surgically removed. I was alone in the waiting area as the surgery was being performed, and a big fat preacher plopped down beside me, bible in hand, and he began prying, wanting to know why I was there, who was I waiting for and “let’s pray” became “I’m hungry, let’s go to the cafeteria for lunch!”
    I was at the time a hardcore god-denying atheist and I felt really uncomfortable but didn’t want to cause a scene by screaming at this man, as much as I wanted to tell him to get out of my face. So good for you…you did it for me and I can now drop my long-time resentment.

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