Made goetta today.
First time, not sure why.
I guess I was inspired or a little off track
or something.

Oatmeal and sausage, that’s it.
Boiled, simmered,cooled,sliced,fried.
Why do you cook it twice?
Do you put onion in yours?

I was thinking back to fifth grade.
I was thinking about that girl.
Do you remember?
She might have been beautiful
if she just knew how to dress.


Chainsaw Bible Verses

Last Sunday’s Old Testement lesson was Isaiah 6:1-8.  It is the first half of Chapter 6 which is subtitled in my Bible as Isaiah’s Commission. This beautiful reading, in elequent metaphorical language, describes how the great prophet Isaiah, imperfect as he was, was called to deliver God’s message to Israel.  I was quite moved by the whole reading as I read it aloud to the congregation, especially at the end in Verse 8 as Isaiah accepts and responds to the Lord’s call by saying simply, “Here am I. Send me!”

As much as I enjoy reading the lessons at church, I admit that I am wary of the Bible. To me it is a powerful tool that if used carelessly or improperly can be quite dangerous. I regard the Bible as sort of a spiritual chainsaw. This description probably applies to holy books of every faith. The wisdom and insight in these ancient texts can help clear the tangled undergrowth of our lives, assist with the clean up of damage and debris of storms and crises, and can help prepare the fuel that warms our lives and sustains us. There is no other tool like a chainsaw.

Certain verses however, interpreted improperly or taken out of context or even used maliciously can cause irreparable harm.  Verses 6 and 7 from this reading provide an example of what I’ll call “Chainsaw Verses” and should be used with extreme caution:

Then one of the seraphs (6-winged servants of the Lord in Isaiah’s dream) flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

I shuddered as I cinematically imagined a dark-robed Inquisitor in some 16th Century church touching a live hot coal to the lips of some free-thinking peasant or a folk healer for using dogmatically unacceptable methods to ease someone’s pain. The victim’s subsequent inability to speak with a horribly burned and disfigured mouth is then declared as proof of the presumed guilt.  In my mind’s movie, the rest of the villagers recoil in fear and learn that they must never challenge the Inquisitor or they too may suffer the same fate.

Any master carpenter will stress to an apprentice that they must learn to understand, respect and properly use the tools their trade. Many of Jesus’ lessons were exactly in this form.  We all must learn and be wary of holy “Chainsaw Verses.”  They are being used even today by those who wield them like weapons to rationalize and impose their own narrow interpretations of the unknowable mysteries of faith. We must deny the Inquisitors of every religion, in Wichita and throughout the world, the tools of their destruction.

Edna St. Vincent Millay & Twitter

Twitter is a fascinating medium for poetry, short poetry that is.  As you probably know, a Tweet is limited to 140 characters including punctuation and spaces. The distillation of a complete thought, emotion or expression in a compelling form in a mere 140 keystrokes is a wonderful intellectual and artistic challenge.

My novice attempts at Twitter poetry have put me on the look out for examples of great short poetry by writers who know what they’re doing. Today, I stumbled across the poem, Ebb by Edna St. Vincent Millay.  Checking in at a whopping 171 (or so) characters, this doesn’t quite fit the Twitter form but it proves the point of how powerful a few words can be.


I know what my heart is like
    Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
    Left there by the tide,
        A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the edge.

Edna St. Vincent Millay published in Sensual Love Poems, collected by Kathleen Bease, published by Ballantine Books, 2002

Abide In My Love

I am preparing for Sunday’s bible study session; the lesson for this week contains the phrase, “abide in my love.”

“Abide” is one of those words we think we know. One of those comfortable, pretty, old-fashioned, church words that we’re sure we understand when we hear it. We never question it. We let it slide in our own self-confidence. We’ve heard it before. We’re sure we understand it because we understand the context in which it’s used. No need to look it up.

Well, I looked it up. Here’s what Webster’s has to say:

Abide v.  1. To wait patiently for.  2. To persevere under.  3. To accept or submit to.  4. To put up with.

I’ll save the theology for Sunday. Right now I wonder if I have what it takes to use the word “abide” in describing the earthly relationships in which I might venture to use the “love.”  Before I say “I love you” again, I will ask myself whether I am really willing to say, “I will abide in your love.” By saying these six words, perhaps the essence of what it takes for a lasting relationship, I would be saying:

  • I will wait patiently for your love.
  • I will persevere under your love.
  • I will accept or submit to your love.
  • I will put up with your love.

Then I wonder, will I ever find someone willing to abide in my love?

John’s Inaugural Pulled Pork

There are few things that I like better than a pulled pork sandwich. It’s ok to get the flavor from a barbeque sauce but I like it best is when the flavor is in the meat with no sauce necessary. I’m think this is what’s meant by “dry-rub” style barbeque. I like the meat really tender & moist with just enough  heat in the taste to bring you to the verge of a sweat. Tell the warden that I want pulled pork served on hearty bread with a good beer and a cold, crisp apple for my last meal.

I love pulled pork and order it at just about any sandwich joint it’s offered but have never made it myself, until today. I’m not sure what possessed me but I found myself standing in front of the pork section of meat cooler at the grocery store today wondering what cut I should get. I picked up a 2 pound package of  “western cut pork shoulder.”  It wasn’t the cheapest cut of meat in the cooler but pretty close, it only cost about $4 so I knew I wouldn’t feel bad if I botched it.

When I got home I looked up a few recipes on line and realized I didn’t have the ingredients, spices mostly, to make any of them as written so I kinda’ mushed two or three of the recipes together based on what I had in the kitchen. It turned out far better than I expected, as good as I can remember eating anywhere in a long time, so I’m immortalizing this recipe as John’s Inaugural Pulled Pork.

Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim the excess fat from the meat and cut away the bone (save the bone for the bean soup you’re gonna make later this week.) Cut or separate the meat into chunks no bigger than the size of a small lime or a large redskin potato.

Prepare the rub by mixing the following spices together:
1 Tbl paprika
1 1/2 tsp cinammon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard

Put the meat and the rub mix into a plastic bad and toss it to thoroughly coat the meat with the spices. There should be enough rub to coat up to three pounds of meat.

Put the coated meat into a foil lined roasting dish and drizzle the following over the meat:
2 Tbl olive oil, and
2 Tbl worchestershire sauce

Cover the meat with the foil and roast for 2 1/2 hours. When done, the internal temperature of the largest chunk of meat should be at least 150 degrees.  Let it cool in the pan for a few minutes then remove to shred the pork. It should fall apart as you pull it with a fork. Pour the liquid from the roasting pan over the meat after it’s shredded.

Serve it warm or save it for a few days in the fridge. I’m thinking the best way to warm it up will be in the microwave or in a foil pouch (to retain the moisture) on the grill. This seems like it will be an easy thing to make ahead of time to round out that summer grilling party menu when everything else get prepared at the last minute. I bet it will freeze pretty well too.

As I said, this was my first go at pulled pork and I made it up based on a few different recipes and what I had in the cupboard. That tells me that it’s pretty hard to mess it up and it is a perfect dish for experimentation. Tell me what’s in your secret family recipe or how you might tinker with what I’ve written here. Now that I know how easy it is, I’ll be making this a lot; at least until the judge says I’ve exhausted all my appeals. What a way to go.

What do you get?

My daughter reminded me of a joke I used to tell.

What do you get when you play country music backwards?
You get your girlfriend back, you get your truck back, you get your dog back.

Never Give All the Heart for Love

Never give all the heart for love,
so goes Yeats’ song.
And so I think of you my love,
and pray that Yeats is wrong.

Never Give All the Heart

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that’s lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight,
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

William Butler Yeats
A Poet to His Beloved: The Early Love Poems of  W. B. Yeats
St. Martins Press, New York, 1985