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Sunday, November 07, 2004


Definition: not to be believed. But you can believe it: The Incredibles is a great movie! Caution for kids under 8 perhaps, just because of cartoon violence, but other than that, another superb Pixar movie.

I am not your typical movie critic. I don't know all the lingo for the nuances of theatre. But in my humble opinion, this movie has what it takes on several levels of excellence.

First, the animation work is top notch -- what else would we expect from Pixar, right? Secondly, the story line is enough to keep an audience engaged, from preschooler to grandparent. But what tops it all is the message of the story. THAT is what is so refreshing about this particular film. It is all about using the gifts you have, for a higher purpose, and what happens to the hope and emotions of an individual who is not using their gifts to their full potential. Amazingly, it totally affirms marriage, longsuffering love, family ties, and upholding one another. But never in a preachy way -- it is caught, not taught. That is what we have been missing from TV and movies these days: an example to strive for. It's not stretching it too much to say that the messages in this movie could subliminally come back to a viewer when making decisions on motivation, marriage, family, even school choices. That is how important the media is that we allow in through our eyes, ears, and hearts.

So -- I applaud the makers, writers, and distributors of The Incredibles. Incredible!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Underwater Birth

Hahahaha. I'll bet I got your attention on that one! Actually, I'm speaking about my breakfast... sorry.

Pomegranate sounds downright decadent, doesn't it? When I was in fourth grade, I remember meeting friends behind the schoolhouse at lunchtime or recess and digging into an exotic treat -- a pomegranate. Now, how we got such an exotic fruit in Conrad, Montana, I'll never know. Unless you did it just right, it was a fairly messy thing to open and eat. I have since gained some experience in this skill. So this blog qualifies as a fluff piece today. Never hurts to have something that takes the mind off current events or the cares of the day, like a post regarding the optimum way of mining a pomegranate!

First off, there are some real benefits to eating a pomegranate, not the least of which it will cure your curiosity about this biblically mentioned fruit. One serving size (fruit exchange) of a pomegranate is 1/2 cup. Doesn't sound like much until you start taking one of these babies apart, and then you realize that there are a LOT of seeds in a pomegranate. Oh, did I mention that what you are eating is seeds? Covered by a watery reddish pulp. AND pomegranates are high in fiber. Ahem, we all know that fiber is good for us, do we not? The size fruit I got will last me for two servings it appears.

As for the flavor, well, it is close to an original SweeTart. And from there it is mostly crunch. In other words, not high on the flavor scale.

Pomegranate seeds are used mainly for snacking and for garnish. It really dresses up the top of a tossed or fruit salad. And once you've peeled a pomegranate, you will henceforth appreciate those seeds when they appear on your salad!

  • Fill a medium to large bowl with cold water.
  • Make shallow cuts from stem end to other end, so that you have "quartered" the pomegranate. I say shallow because if you cut too deeply you will ruin the seeds.
  • From here on out, you will be birthing the pomegranate seeds underwater (hah! get the connection now?)
  • Pull apart the fruit in quarters.
  • Carefully pry the quarters to expose the seeds.
  • With the end of your thumb or other fingers (don't use fingernails or you will pierce the seeds) "roll" the seeds into the water.
  • The light colored membrane that holds the pomegranate will float to the surface if you have separated it well from the seeds. Discard all but the seeds.
  • Strain the seeds and cover again with cold water.
  • You may store them like this, or strain what you need for your snack or garnish.

Bon Appetit! And I just had my fruit for breakfast.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The State of the Union

I find it quite amazing that this country can be almost so evenly divided. Yes, President Bush took more votes, and a higher percentage of the vote, than any other president in the past couple of decades. But 51% is narrow. It certainly does not constitute a landslide, and that is what concerns me.

What has happened to the conscience of this nation? Obviously, 49% of the population no longer has a moral compass upon which to make their decisions. President Bush is very upfront that his compass is the Word of God. It is also disconcerting that 49% of the voters no longer think that the individual should be responsible for self-governing. They would rather abdicate to government involvement in every area of life. On this matter, the populace is quite schizophrenic -- wanting total personal license, while holding an entitlement mentality. Perhaps that isn't so schizoid after all -- "it's all about me."

Have we forgotten that the "government" is to be representative, not intrusive? Originally, our government was to have jurisdiction only over our national defense, our monetary system (so that we could trade between states), and our transportation (so that we could travel between states). Somewhere along the line, we determined that the government -- as if it were a separate entity from the people it serves -- owes us ... education, healthcare, retirement, you name it. We have lost the reliance upon God as our supreme leader, and have replaced Him with a taxable notion of security. We have lost the reliance upon our creativity, our resourcefulness, and most of all upon the charity of neighbor to neighbor. The best government is the closest to self. But only those whose Lord is the one true God can truly govern themselves. The rest are doomed to be governed by an outside source. And that is what 49% of the voters have decided. That they want someone else (hey, it is you and me, folks!) to pay for their education, someone else to pay for their healthcare, someone else to pay for their retirement. There IS NO SOMEONE ELSE!

When will the entitlement people realize that the money is coming out of the pockets of their neighbors! In a self-governed state, whose constituents hold to the Scripture as their guide, needs would be cared for by neighbors, churches, and philanthropists who have filled needs in the marketplace to the degree that they are now able to fulfill the needs of those in poverty.

I heard some rhetoric after the election that said we should now work at coming together, burying our differences. Hogwash! If that were the case, then the will of the people has not spoken! We elect our officials because they represent our beliefs, not so that they can now bow to the false gods of the "deep pocket government" religion.

The Monday before the election I was part of a silent few who fasted and prayed for the outcome of the election. I do hope that George W. Bush felt the prayers of the people. He has often stated how much he counts on prayer. We will continue to pray that God will sustain him through the remainder of his presidency, that he will continue to rely on the one true source of strength, that he will stand firm in his beliefs based on Scripture, and true to the Constitution ... I could digress on that, but it will have to wait.


Until three years ago, I didn't think "conflicted" was a bonafide term. But now I are one! No, just kidding.

Boy or girl? (I expect you to eat this post after you read it, because it shouldn't be around when the next generation can put sentences together.) If you had asked Andy or Ingrid two weeks ago what gender of baby they preferred for a firstborn, they would have concurred that they wanted a boy. Ten days ago Ingrid underwent the ultrasound that was to dispell all doubt, and what do you know ... they had a modest baby! Not to be fooled, they made another appointment. One week ago today they anxiously waited as the ultrasound tech patted and rolled and otherwise looked into the inner realms of the baby's home -- you might say it became a "womb with a view!" Ah, I've always wanted to use that line!

The baby fluttered, sucked a thumb, scratched the head, and finally, finally, came around to where the tech could get a good look at ... it's Ashley Nicole! I understand that the conflicted feelings quickly disappeared as they saw this wonderful miracle. And, of course, when the Fetal Photos set the wonder to music, well, there wasn't a dry eye in the place. I can hardly wait to see that ultrasound!

I heard just this past week that Focus on the Family is doing fundraising for Crisis Pregnancy Centers. And what are they providing? Ultrasound machines! Do you know why? Because there is just no denying that there is a little person in there, kicking her legs and arms, sucking her thumb, yawning, and doing somersaults ... all getting prepared to breathe the air of our world. How exciting! Where there are ultrasounds available, the statistics go up to 90% -- the number of women who choose life over death and dismemberment. So, you can bet that if I find out where they are taking donations, I'll help out in some small way. I would like those mothers to see the same breath-taking miracle that Ingrid and Andy saw.

And when you see the little tiny hands, and the teeny tiny feet, and the kicks and punches ... no more being conflicted.