Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday in Texas

I hope you all had a great few weeks.. clearly I haven't been paying much attention to what's going on or I'd have been complaining on here.  Which has been nice.  I hope you also had a wonderful and thoughtful celebration of faith over the last week of Easter.  For those of us who are Christians, it is the source of our hope.  That God not only exists, but created us to be in a relationship with him.  And that he was willing to commit to true sacrificial love in order to make that happen.

With a 3-year-old in the house, Frozen is in heavy rotation here.  While I have a lot of thoughts on how they could have made it a better movie, the idea of self-sacrificing love as the way to mend deeper heart issues is a chunk of truth.

• Murder, for example, shows some deeper heart issues.  Eric Williams may be redeemable to God, but he's sure got a twisted heart.  New revelations of another planned murder in the works is just sickening.

• Anyway...  It has been stormy around here.  I've been playing with time-lapse videos instead of blogging it seems.

• As a guy, I'll admit to feeling a bit out of place in the abortion debate sometimes.  So I really like it when I can just link to a great post like this... Chelsea Clinton's baby isn't worth more than any other.

• Closer to home, Kaufman's wunderkind city councilman busted with pot.

• Kaufman Pct. 2 Constable Joe Don Law is out after getting caught falsifying some certification documents.

$300,000 for road improvements is helpful.  The hard part is picking which projects to use it on.  There are a more than a few roads that need help.

Ha and Ha.

• It is time for the big Terrell Heritage Jubilee this weekend.

• And my favorite local bluegrass band The Acoustic Sound Hounds will be on stage Sunday.

• The South Korean Ferry disaster is heartbreaking.  And infuriating.

• As those families grieve, I was reminded to try to enjoy every day with this guy, who turned three last week.

Have a great week everyone.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday night madness...

It was a dark and stormy night.....

It has been nice to pick up some good rain over the last few days...  and we may get some el Niño inspired rain throughout the year.

• So it seems Ronnie Oldfield knew the jig was about to be up for his private practice as a CPA so he decided to run for County Treasurer?

Here was the exchange at the Kaufman Republican Candidate Forum on Feb. 4, when an audience member (who seemed to know that there was something going on) asked about the candidates' standing with the CPA Board.

During my time at the Tribune I met Oldfield many times and did stories on some of the good work he does there, so I definitely gave him the benefit of the doubt after that forum.  Looking at it now, he definitely downplayed the seriousness of the allegations and wasn't very forthright with voters.  I can't imagine him winning the primary if this was public before the election.

• Big Books and Bargains Sale at the Kaufman County Library April 11, 12 and 14.

• All your maps are wrong!  An interesting read for your cartography nerds out there.

• You know it is going to be a better-than-average flight when ...

Which makes me think... Free airline marketing idea (Southwest might could pull this off ... Murder mystery dinner theater in the air!  Buy a ticket, and assume the identity of a character upon boarding the plane.  If by the end of the flight if you have figured out the mystery, your next flight is free.  Or something.  Ok maybe not.

• It's hard to believe that Malaysia Airlines flight 370 is still missing a month later.

• It's also hard to believe that a company CEO got run out of his job for the simple reason that he holds (and supported) a traditional definition of marriage.  Should the government be in the marriage business at all?  Probably not really.  But for mob mentality to take over and equate support of traditional marriage to hating gay people is absurd.

• This could be a lot of fun.  And painful.

Have a great week.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wednesday Wandering and Wondering... April already?

I thoroughly understand that a vast majority of pit bulls will never hurt anybody.  But if you have one my son will never spend time at your house.

Whether or not Dorothy Hamilton was killed by the dogs remains to be determined, but it certainly wouldn't surprise anyone.  Having dangerous dogs is a risk, yet a lot of folks get offended by that truth.  Get over it.  And get a reality check.

For some folks it seems that having the dangerous dog has about the same risky/cool factor of riding motorcycles or something, and I just don't get it.  For a while there were a couple of guys in our neighborhood who would take their pit bulls down the street for a walk, clearly looking for a reaction or some sort of street cred.  It made me simultaneously laugh and check for nearby suitable weapons.

And then there are other folks for whom every furry life is sacred and "hey it's not the dog's fault" and all of that.  OK, feelings are good, but..

This is our Nina dog.
Yes, I'm beautiful, give me a treat.

And here is what I know for sure.  If Nina the lovely labrador ever seems to be any kind of threat to any person, she leaves the planet posthaste.  She is a wonderful part of the family. And she will die before the rest of us anyway.

I feel the same way about pit bulls in general.  Might as well be a tiger.  Some are great pets.  Until they kill someone.  If that risk is OK with you, that is legal at the moment.  But if your dog threatens someone else, don't defend it. Kill it.

There is some emotional distance from our pets that is healthy.  And if having a risky dog is part of your persona or identity, you may have bigger issues to resolve.

In other news..

• Seems like people in Forney are having trouble keeping their cars on the road and shiny side up. Here and Here and Here and Here.

• I think if the Ray Clark / Skeet Phillips lawsuit goes to trial, it could be an interesting exposé of local politics worth sitting in on.

• The Terrell Art Walk will be 4-8 p.m. this Friday.  Of course it might help promote the event if the Tribune would take their promo articles out from behind the paywall.  Note to advertisers... if you are buying ads and also getting promo editorial material, request that the stories be free to readers.  They can do that.

• Also this week, Hal Linden will be in Terrell Thursday night.  I didn't know who he was either, but apparently his is quite a performer, storyteller and musician.

• Why are we supposed to care what apparent whiner Tim Gunn loves or hates about Dallas?

• Nothing all that exciting about April Fools this year, so here are some great hoaxes of days past.

• For my friends in the cattle business... how would these do in the show ring?

• Kudos to DMN's Brad Loper on the image for this story.

• This is AC/DC I can live with..

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wednesday wandering and wondering

Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

Go west young man!  Or something like that.  Apparently a lot of west Texas was moving eastward this evening, creating a neat looking sunset...  fun if you are a photographer or nature watcher.
Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

Probably not so fun if you have asthma or breathing issues.

• Seagoville City Council meetings have become more exciting apparently, with council members at odds with the mayor at odds with the city attorney ... over some $70k of misspent money from the Economic Development Corporation.

I do like how the city's press release still tags "City of Opportunity" onto the end of the press release. I remember how much of a joke it was for that logo to be at the entrance to the park by the prison.  Seems oddly appropriate still.

Then there is the other press release with the city council distancing themselves from the mayor's statements.  Without knowing the inner workings, I'd say the mayor may have a point considering a chunk of money went to put carpet in the City Manager's house, yet the council is "satisfied" that there has been no misconduct there.  Maybe he didn't know where the money came from... hard to say, but certainly doesn't look good.

• In other Seagoville news ... you have to be a bit crazy to rob a bank inside Walmart, right?  But apparently it worked.  And then he runs toward my neighborhood.  Yikes.

• I have seen the signs for a while now but failed to mention it... Crandall and Kaufman have met in the middle, claiming territory from each side down US175 until they meet around Bud Stoy road.  So, who is/was Bud Stoy anyway?

That would be this Bud Stoy, buried in Terrell, and family info here. More here.

But then there is this bit of a story.. wowzers ... Indian fighter and gay cowboy?  Wait what?

• Looking for Bud Stoy I came upon Uglybridges.com ... an interesting place to check out the spans you drive over every day.  If you are interested in that sort of thing.

• Kaufman gets a Whataburger.

• Terrell gets smoke-free bowling.

• And Forney gets Soulman's BBQ and Huddle House.

• The missing Malaysia Airlines plane is just mind-numbing.  When the best-case scenario is some sudden catastrophe with loss of cabin pressure or similar, that is horrific.

My wild theory?  Iran steals the plane (far fetched, sure) then loads it up to send toward Israel.  That's scary.

• And then there is Russia and Ukraine.  With so many parallels to Germany's rhetoric before WWII, it is hard to watch without cursing the ineptitude and lack of spine among other world leaders in the face of a power player like Putin.

I'd like to think Russia is not like 1930's Germany, and Putin is not as ambitious as the Third Reich.  But if some faked military situation comes up giving Russia an excuse to invade ... well, we will all know better.

• There is a lot of floppin' in soccer.  Better to see this kind of play... take notes, kids.

• Pretty fun - Get an idea what US English may sound like to people from other countries (and lots of other languages too).

• On technology - Seems accurate...

Happy Wednesday, Folks.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Food Day - These steak roll things

So there are some fancy steak roll concoctions around (a google will give you something like this) but this is not one of them.  This is down-home low-rent taste bud joy with a bit of pizzazz.
Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

Note the large helping of salad.  Actually, that is Renee's mango bacon somethingorother salad that is probably worthy of its own blog post. (Spinach, spring mix, feta cheese, mango, bacon, toasted pecans, balsamic vinaigrette).

Back to the meat.

Early in my grilling career it occurred to me that a rolled up thin steak could contain any number of things, but a good combination would be something breadlike to keep the tasty juices around during grilling.  And so it does.... a little Stove Top Stuffing does the trick, throw in some mozzarella string cheese for good measure, wrap with bacon and in no time it is gooormay fine dinin'.

First up, prepare the stuffing ahead of time so that it cools a bit before you try to handle it.  Also soak some toothpicks in water so they don't burn up too quickly.

I used about 1/4" cut sirloin.  You don't want too much marbling in the meat because it has to hold together in the roll.  This batch did have a line of fat through the middle, so I ended up with two small strips for each serving instead of one bigger one.  This actually turned out great, as they were easier to control on the grill.  Excess steak bits cook up quickly and make great quesadillas later!

This time around I used McCormick Grill Mates steak rub, fresh ground pepper, celery salt and sea salt and let it sit for a few hours in the fridge before cook time.
Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

Assembly station complete...  Lay down a piece of bacon, add a piece of steak, stuffing (compact it with your fingers to help it stay together), and cheese.
Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

Roll up the steak first and make sure there is overlap, then wrap the bacon and put a toothpick through the steak overlap to make sure it holds.  After building a few, you figure out how much stuffing and cheese you can get away with in there.  Again, these were smallish steak strips.

Ready to go...
Don C. Johnson: 175and20 blog &emdash;

And after they were finished cooking.  These cook up really fast because they are small and thin, but you want to make sure the bacon has a bit of crisp to it.  Watch out for bacon grease fires :)  The grill was still really hot, about 350 degrees and I put these out toward the edge of the direct heat.  About 5 minutes per side was sufficient before I moved them away and let them cook a little more for another 5-6 minutes with the grill closed as the veggies cooked.

I cooked asparagus in a foil wrap, and that worked pretty well.  Without being able to see them, I cooked them a little long, but they were tasty and edible with a bit of grapeseed oil, celery salt and Penzey's Muskegee Chicken and Fish seasoning.

As a whole meal, it takes a little bit of doing, but the result is a unique combination of flavors that seems to work well together in a lowbrow home-cooking sort of way.  Which is good.

I should mention dessert as well.

No pictures so use your imagination.  Bake a yellow cake in a 9x13 pan.  Let it cool.  Punch a bunch of holes in the top.  Cook up lemon jello gelatin mix and pour it into the top of the cake.  Cool it down in the fridge, then top it with this... Homemade whipped cream (or CoolWhip if you dare)+ vanilla pudding mix.  Refrigerate.  Enjoy.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Night Madness-March10 Style

The No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum is one of my favorite things in Terrell.  The good folks there have a dinner-dance event each year – a fun time with 40's big band music and such – which was great fun Saturday night.  It is a good reminder to appreciate those who have paved the way to the world as we know it.  More Pics here.  And at the Tribune. 

It is easy to skip our local historic places and go on into Dallas.  Sounds like some good blog posts for the future....

• The Kaufman Herald has instituted online subscriptions for news.  (Their sister paper the Terrell Tribune has been behind a paywall for several years now) It is hard to keep newspapers (and news organizations in general) afloat these days, so it is hard to criticize them for charging for their work.  On the other hand, I would love to see businesses step up and pay enough for online advertising to provide the news for free.  It is a transition that hasn't gone well anywhere I'm afraid, leaving local papers understaffed and communities underserved.

• That said, I also heard complaints that those two papers required ad purchases from political candidates for inclusion in their shared Voter Guide special section.  I don't know if that affected any votes, but it is sad to see any moves in the direction of paid content on the editorial side of the newspapers, especially for broadly important things like elections.

• Seems unnecessary, but 101 reasons to live in Texas. (Thanks Chris C)

• Another great Texas thing... Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman.

• Paul Burka's brief wrap-up of election night.    Despite the liberal Austin vibe, Texas Monthly is another thing to be proud of in Texas.  They make a great magazine.

• Speaking of which... I tend to agree that the media has missed the boat in trying to create a delineation between Tea Party and "Establishment" Republicans.  It just isn't that clear and voters would be better served by accurate reporting than lumping candidates into one camp or the others.  Of course, I've done the same myself because it is just so easy.

• And an interesting bit on Trial Lawyers' attempts to spin the election in their favor by adopting conservative names.

I love this.  Small government and socially conservative values reach way beyond the current demographics of the Republican party.  It's time that people noticed that.

• Has global warming science gone outside the realm of actual scientific principles?  I'd say probably, given the absolute certainty with which so many so-called experts argue.  That's the one thing about science, so very few things are actually settled.

• An Undertaking ... A woodworker takes on the task of making his grandmother's coffin. (H/T @jdblundell)

An Undertaking from Dark Rye on Vimeo.

I hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

TEA Party supported candidates sweep Kaufman County races (pretty much)

It was certainly a jubilant atmosphere at Kaufman's "It's better than good" restaurant Tuesday night, with raucous cheers as election totals came in.  For the self-described most conservative side of Kaufman County Republicans, it was a night of clear victories. (Kaufman County results)

Stuart Spitzer pulled out a victory in both Kaufman and Henderson counties, completely reversing the results of two years ago.

Political newcomers Bobby Rich and Ronnie Oldfield won in close races, and the Precinct 1 JP race and 86th District Court races will go to runoffs.  Each runoff race features a TEA Party candidate, so it will be interesting to see if that group will be able to carry the momentum and get people to the polls in April.

In a short speech to the crowd, Spitzer likened the campaign to a battle of "the sheep against the wolves, and tonight the sheep won."  It was a Bible reference, and I like it, but I wonder if some of the money men and powers-that-be will be swayed to the side of the sheep.

If anything, the primary shows a great deal more organization and support for TEA Party candidates in the county.  Now it will be interesting to see if the momentum will result in drawing more people into the fold.

I think there are plenty of wolves in the sheep pen, but with a larger swell of small-governement conservatives across the state (and it looks like nationwide) it could be a really positive election cycle.