Friday, May 27, 2011

Hubert Humphrey

On this day in 1911 a great statesman was born, Hubert Humphrey. He was raised in a small town in South Dakota and came to prominence as a senator from Minnesota. The "Happy Warrior" was a politician that probably wouldn't have fit in well in this congress. He was known for his ability to work both sides of the aisle and to get things accomplished. But most of all he cared about the people of America.

This is a quote from a speech he gave in 1948. Too bad we can't hear him today:

“We have forgotten that we are our brother's keeper, we have forgotten about each other. We are the victims of neglect, we've neglected cities and farms and people, the children and the elderly, and we have had as a measure of our success that those who already have too much will get some more, that's right, rather than those that have too little shall get enough. And the real test of a progressive, a liberal, and the real test, if you please, of a man of spirit, of faith is that he sees to it that those who have little get enough.”

Hubert H. Humphrey May 27, 1911 - Jan 13, 1978

Rick Perlstein in the New York Times says it better than I ever could.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Too Close to Home

Joplin, Missouri may be 350 miles from our parsonage in Central Iowa but the devastation brought by that tornado last night has hit too close to home.  In my email in-box this morning was a message from a colleague in Wichita, KS that the Slumberland store in Joplin was destroyed.  Fortunately all of our staff and their families are safe.

So then I get home and I find a report from the UM Reporter that one of our UMC churches was destroyed and another badly damaged.  Fortunately, they are also reporting that all of the UMC pastors and their families are safe.  As of this writing on Monday night, the death count is reported as “116 and rising”.  I am thankful that all of my “associates” are safe but I can’t help but feel that dull pain in my heart for what has happened in Joplin.

At least for now, all we can do is pray for those fine people.  Individuals and volunteer teams are urged not to self deploy at this time. Only professional emergency responders are being allowed to enter the damaged zone. There will be a large number of volunteer opportunities available after the area is secured.  I’m can’t speak for the Rev but I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a special offering next Sunday.  Nor would I be shocked to hear that the mission trip this summer has been rerouted to Missouri.

Our prayers are with the people of Joplin, MO tonight.  May God look over them and bring them . . .

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Harmon Killebrew died today

Harmon Killebrew died today.

A legend of my youth died today. Every kid who played baseball in my neighborhood wanted to be Harmon Killebrew. He was the greatest in our minds. Growing up in Minnesota and even later in South Dakota. Killebrew was our idol. We all wished we could hit a baseball like him.

Good bye sir, you will be missed.


Thursday, May 05, 2011

My $5 Rice Cooker

So here’s the story. Two weeks ago our church had a garage sale to raise money for the youth mission trip. Of course the Rev had to go and she dragged me along. (Well, maybe dragged isn’t fair - I went along). She bought some toys for the new grandson and a rack of bins to store them in. But I found an old rice cooker - $5.
Now I’ve never had a rice cooker before, if fact I’m not sure I even knew they existed. But what the heck, I like rice and I like the idea of a new toy. So I bought it.
It is a Zojirushi model NHS-18. Now you have to understand that I knew nothing about rice cookers when I bought this thing so this is a learning curve. Well, it didn’t have the manual or anything else so the first thing I did was go on-line and I’ll be darned if Zojirushi doesn’t have a great website and I could download the manual.
So I’m off and running making my first batch. The manual says to use 2 cups of rice and fill the pan up to the “2“ mark with water. So that is what I did for my first batch. It came out hard and under done. What the hey? Then I discovered that a “cup” for a rice cooker is actually 3/4 cup in normal measures. I also found that various sites suggested a ratio of 1 part rice to 1.5 or 2 parts water. Okay, I can do that.
So the second batch has two - 3/4 cup portions and I very carefully measured three - 3/4 cup portions of water. This time the water was up to the “2“ mark on the pan and I’m thinking I’ve got it right. Nope - the rice is better but still not done tender and fluffy.
The third night I got it closer to right. I put in two (3/4 cup) portions of rice and four portions of water. This came out pretty good. The rice was still a little sticky but very tender and a great flavor.
I have to say I really like this idea now of cooking rice in this cooker. You just put in the the rice and the water and walk away. The cooker does everything. This thing is great. You just push down on the “cook” lever and when the rice is done it pops up to the warming setting and holds the rice until you are ready to serve it. That makes it very easy to just put on the rice then go outside to grill the steaks and then serve everything when you come in.
So tonight it was time to actually do a meal in the cooker. I did get a steamer tray with the cooker and the manual said I could steam things like vegetables and shrimp. So tonight I tried shrimp. I picked up a new bag of rice and a pound of fresh shrimp at the store today and tried it out. This was so easy. I put 2 measures of rice and 4 measures of water in the bottom and put the shrimp on top in the steaming tray. Put on the lid, pushed the lever down to cook and let it do it’s thing. Thirty minutes later I had cooked rice and shrimp steamed to perfection. It was glorious. I chopped up some bok choy and sautéed that with some Kikoman teriyaki sauce added the shrimp and I had a great meal.
I am hooked on this cooker. I still don’t have the rice perfect but it is very good. I also picked up some brown rice to experiment with. All of the web sites say that is harder with this model of cooker but I’m going to play with it. I’ll let you know how it goes.
We have been getting some nice spring weather finally - Enjoy and. . .