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Talking Turkey


picture of a turkey

I'll start this blog post off with a Thanksgiving weather forecast.

Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190° F. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder.

During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. Please pass the gravy.

A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will diminish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34° F in the refrigerator.

Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone.

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Many Americans prefer the traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. It's gotten a bit harder with the passage of time, though, since turkeys have started to figure out ways to elude gracing the table at the family gathering. Here are several ways they've done so:

picture of a turkey gone missing

picture of smart turkeys

For the turkeys who haven't managed to escape the Thanksgiving feasting, I'm sharing the recipe my wife Becka uses for our Thanksgiving turkey. Very simple, and absolutely delicious!

Herbed Turkey Breast (from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook)

(If you use this recipe for a whole turkey, you'll need more of each ingredient, and you'll need to lengthen the baking time - details given below for each)

¼ cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
6 fresh large sage leaves
1 (5- to 5½-pound bone-in turkey breast)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the olive oil and garlic. Loosen the skin from the turkey without totally detaching skin; brush about one-third of olive oil mixture under the skin. Space evenly the rosemary and sage leaves under the skin. Replace skin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; place in a lightly greased baking dish. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

For turkey breast, bake at 325° F for one hour. Uncover and bake one hour more or until a meat thermometer registers 170° F, basting the skin with the remaining oil mixture every 15 minutes.

For a whole turkey, bake at 325° F for 3 to 3½ hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in meaty part of thigh registers 180° F.

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I keep telling Becka that she needs to start her own blog - kind of a "Hints from Heloise" type of blog, but so far she has resisted. If you'd like to storm the castle to try to convince her to have her own blog, please say so in the comments.

Speaking of people's starting their own blogs, I'm going to talk a bit of turkey here. Knowing some of you as I do or at least seeing the caliber of your comments to my blog, some of you really need to make a New Year's resolution to start blogging yourself. I plan to do a post next week with advice on how to start your own blog. Those of you who are currently bloggers, please send me your suggestions through my contact form - things to be sure to do, things to avoid, etc. as I prepare that post. I can credit you for your advice, complete with a link to your blog, or you can remain anonymous.

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I'll end this post with a link to a fun (read: humiliating) quiz on turkey knowledge. I got only 8 right out of 20 on this one! I'm sure some of you can beat that score! :-) Take the quiz yourself by clicking here. Becka (a.k.a. Heloise) got 15 right out of 20!

What's on the menu at your house this Thanksgiving? We're having turkey breast, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn pudding, luscious cranberry jello, a green veggie (yet to be determined), and pecan pie.

I'm taking a Thanksgiving break from posting, so I won't be back at you until next Monday evening. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! Try to come up with more to thank God for than just the stuff He's blessed you with. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Praise service on campus today with the total focus on Christ. Absolutely awesome!

quotation...

"Do what you do to display who Christ is." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

You know you've had too much to eat on Thanksgiving if they have to call in the paramedics with the Jaws of Life to pry you out of the recliner.

Punditry


Aren't pundits interesting people? Well, they don't always interest this person! I have heard some really whacky analysis from some pundits in my lifetime. First off, what is a pundit? According to dictionary.com... Pundit: 1. a learned person, expert, or authority. 2. a person who makes comments or judgments, esp. in an authoritative manner; critic or commentator. (I can't tell from the two definitions if they are they are mutually exclusive or complementary - is a pundit an expert, or does he only make comments?) The word pundit comes from a Hindi (Sanskrit) word pandita: a man esteemed for his wisdom or learning; a title of respect.

I like the word pundit itself because it contains the word pun. Again I appeal to dictionary.com... Pun: 1. the humorous use of a word or phrase so as to emphasize or suggest its different meanings or applications, or the use of words that are alike or nearly alike in sound but different in meaning; a play on words. 2. the word or phrase used in this way.

As much as I like puns, though, I don't always like what pundits say. They can draw some of the wildest conclusions from a set of facts or events, suggesting a different meaning, much like a punster does, only it doesn't always bring laughter. Their conclusions sometimes leave me scratching my head or talking back to the radio or TV. (Just ask my wife....)

Here in the upstate of South Carolina we've broken some records this week for cold temperatures and are experiencing a bit of "Indian Winter" - a term I use based on the term "Indian Summer" to describe having a bit of winter in the middle of the fall, rather than a bit of summer in the middle of the fall. This has to drive the global warming crowd as crazy as having to postpone a global warming conference because of snow this past spring - read the story here.

I ran across a map recently from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a federal agency. It shows temperature trends from January through October of this year in the continental USA. Below is that map:

map of temperature trends

As I looked at it, I thought of the map I'd seen of the county by county election results in the 2008 presidential election. Below is that map:

map of 2008 presidential results

Would I be going out on a limb as an amateur pundit to say that it appears that Obama voters may be causing global warming? I appeal to the collective wisdom of my readers to make their own comments about either or both of the maps. What conclusions do some of you pundits draw from what you see? Feel free to be as whacked out as professional pundits would be. Have you heard some punditry lately that you think is whacked out?

quotation...

"Claiming to be wise, they became fools." Romans 1:22

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

OK, who put a "stop payment" on my reality check?

Kids’ Thanksgiving Menus


I love children and the wonderful things they say! At the end of this past week, our grandson Drew has come up with his special name for his grandpa - Papi (pronounced like the flower - poppy). His two grandmothers remain nameless, but I suspect that their special names will be revealed shortly. :-)

Today's instant vacation starts off with some four year olds' ideas for Thanksgiving dinner. Some of you struggling with what to have for Thanksgiving next week may want to consider some of their ideas. That list is followed by some junior highers' ideas concerning the Seven Wonders of the World.

Kids' Thanksgiving menus

This comes from the teacher of a 4 year old kindergarten class. Their assignment was to tell about their family's Thanksgiving meal.

Ashley - We eat pizza. Put it in a really hot oven. My mommy knows when it's done. It has white cheese and pepperoni on it.

Jessica - For Thanksgiving we eat chicken. Put it in a pan and cook it. Check on it and when it's all black it's done. For dessert have chocolate chip cookies.

Emily - Put the chicken bones in and get them hotter. Serve it with cranberries, and carrots. For dessert have chocolate candy.

Christina - We eat corn and cereal. Put sugar on the cereal and eat it. Have cookies for a treat.

Mario - We eat popcorn. Put it in a microwave for 2 times. Put butter and salt on it.

Stanley - We eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Put jelly on the bread. Then put the peanut butter on. Have milk with it.

Shedric - We eat turkey. Put the turkey in the oven. Put bones inside of it. Have pie for dessert.

Brett - We eat cereal. Put it in a bowl. Add milk. Use a spoon. It tastes good.

Sara - Cut up the turkey with a knife. Have mashed potatoes. Eat pumpkin cake for dessert.

Briana - Put the turkey in the oven. It has to stay in the oven until night time. Stuff it with stuffing. Serve it with peas and mashed potatoes. For dessert have nothing.

Larry - We eat raisin cereal. Put it in a bowl. Put milk in it. Serve it with chips.

Amanda T. - We eat turkey. Put it in the oven for a really long time. Stukk it with ham. It's black when it's done. Eat it with white potatoes and corn. For dessert have chocolate pudding.

Joseph - We eat pork chops. Put ketchup on them. Put them in the oven at a whole bunch of degrees. Serve it with french fries.

Courtney - We eat macaroni. Put the macaroni in a bowl and cook it up. Serve cheese with it. Have salad with ketchup on top.

Cara - Cook the turkey on the stove. Stuff the turkey with chicken. Cook it for 16 minutes. Have yogurt for dessert.

Cassondra - We have chicken. Clean the chicken. Put butter on it with a knife. Then it's ready to eat. Have butter potatoes. For dessert have strawberry yogurt.

Amber - We eat peanut butter. Put the peanut butter on bread. Put the jelly on the peanut butter.

Pangtala - We eat bananas and milk.

Nicholas - First you cut the turkey witha knife. Then you cook it in the oven for 12 minutes at 4 degrees. The alarm goes off when it's done. Eat it with a fork.

Kelly - Put seeds on the turkey and put it in the oven. Put it on the table with spaghetti-O's, toast, and pork chops.

Anthony - Put the turkey in the oven. It has to be very hot. When it beeps, it has to come out. Serve it with carrots. For dessert have chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

Thomas - We eat pizza. Pat it and spread it. Put mushrooms on it. Cook it in the oven for 3 months. Eat it with corn.

Devin - We eat macaroni. We eat mashed potatoes. You make it in the kettle. Cook it 2 minutes, and you sit down. Then you go in your room. We drink water.

Gabriel - We eat pancakes. They are hard. My mommy makes them.

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A junior high Geography class was studying the Seven Wonders of the World. At the end of that section, the students were asked to list what they thought could be considered the current Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes:

1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
2. India's Taj Mahal
3. The Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China's Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student, a quiet girl, hadn't turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she were having trouble with her list. The quiet girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many." The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have and maybe we can help." The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are

1. to touch
2. to taste
3. to see
4. to hear

She hesitated again and then added

5. to feel
6. to laugh
7. and to love

The silence in the room was almost deafening. It is so easy for us to look at exploits of man or at spectacular things and refer to them as "wonders" while we overlook some of the seemingly little things God has given us, regarding them as merely "ordinary."

May we all be reminded today of God's ordinary blessings that are truly wonders. In connection with the Thanksgiving season, I try to imagine the reaction of a group of women at a bridal shower if the bride opened her gifts without comment, then at the end said, "I sure am thankful for all this!" without thanking any individual gift-giver or commenting on any gift along the way. Don't you think we're sometimes like that at Thanksgiving? "We have so much to be thankful for!" we cheerfully exclaim. As we are "thankful" at this time of year, let's be sure to remember to say thanks to the One from whom all blessings flow, and not just be thankful that we're blessed, forgetting the Giver.

quotation...

"When God is good to you, it's not because everything is okay. It's because He is good." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Thanksgiving is not just a holiday - it's an attitude.

Home Invasion!


picture of crime scene stuff

Now that the elections are past, we're hearing reports on the news about the increase in gun sales. With rising economic problems we're also hearing about more and more home invasions. The newscasters collectively scratch their heads and wonder why either of these is happening. I have some ideas about why ... do you?

I've had a piece in my files for quite a while that seemed like a good thing to share at this time. It's the story of a more subtle home invasion by a stranger and the impact on the family.

The Stranger

A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger? He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies. If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to her room and read her books. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home ... not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our long-time visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.

My dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in the home, not even for cooking. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... and NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first.

Still, if you were to walk into my parents' den today you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name?

We just call him "TV" for short.

A close companion of his has moved in with us. We call her "Computer."

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How does your family handle TV and computer usage, especially those of you with children in the home? Our nest is empty, but we have always tried to be very careful what was allowed to be seen and heard on our TV.

quotation...

"If all the people who name Christ were living as they ought to, our country would be going in a different direction." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn't have in your home. --David Frost

Medical Faux Pas


Well, I think I've given blood for the second and final time in my life. A week ago this past Saturday I decided to try giving blood again when the Blood Connection had its bloodmobile at our church for a blood drive. I had given blood several years back and just made it through my unit when I started to have a vasovagal episode. It didn't come as a huge surprise since I had had problems when visiting people in the hospital who were receiving fluids or transfusions. After that incident I decided that maybe I shouldn't give blood again. This latest time, though, I thought maybe the same problem would not recur. However it did. I was able to finish giving my unit of blood and didn't pass out completely, but I felt terrible for the last third of the unit as and for a while afterwards.

The next day, though, I noticed that I had a rash and hives all around the site where they had drawn the blood. The following day it was creeping towards my wrist and my underarm, and the same thing was appearing on my other forearm. Below is a picture of my left arm.

picture of my hives

I took Benadryl before going to bed that night to see if that would calm my allergic reaction. It did basically nothing but make me half-loopy all day Tuesday. I went to see my doctor Wednesday, and we figured out that I was having a reaction to the chlorhexidine gluconate they had used to clean the site where the needle would go in. The nurse had chlorhexidine gluconate on her gloves and touched all over on my left arm during the whole process. There were apparently traces of the substance on the other arm of the chair from previous donors - hence the rash on my right forearm where it had touched the arm of the chair. I'm on Prednisone for one week (nasty stuff!) The rash is finally going away and bothering me much less.

picture of a t-shirt

What's kind of funny is that in two of my French classes in recent weeks we've been talking about various sports in French, one of which was rugby. I told my students that I had seen a t-shirt in France that said, "donnez du sang - jouez au rugby" (that is, give blood - play rugby). We all chuckled about it since rugby is such a rough game. I'm thankful that some are able to give blood with no ill effects, but after my experiences recently, I think the next time I decide to try giving blood, I'll go out for rugby instead!

Yesterday we had some guests for lunch. One is our niece, a nurse in a local ER, and another is a senior nursing major at BJU, currently doing her clinicals. They were talking about how surprised they are at how unfeelingly sometimes medical personnel talk among themselves about their work. It made me think of something in my files that I could post, wanting very much to have something to laugh about concerning medical things.

Things you don't want to hear during surgery

Wait a minute, if this is his spleen, then what's that?

Someone call the janitor--we're going to need a mop.

Bo! Bo! Come back with that! Bad dog!

Hand me that...uh...that uh...thingie.

Oh no! I *know* I had my wristwatch on when I came in here!

Oops! Hey, has anyone ever survived 500 ml of this stuff before?

Everybody stand back! I lost my contact lens!

Could you stop that thing from beating; it's throwing my concentration off.

What's this doing here?

I hate it when they're missing stuff in here.

Better save that. We might need it for an autopsy.

That's cool! Now can you make his leg twitch?

I wish I hadn't forgotten my glasses.

You did WHAT to our car?!

Well folks, this will be an experiment for all of us.

Sterile, schmerile. The floor's clean, right?

Anyone see where I left that scalpel?

OK, now take a picture from this angle. This is truly a freak of nature.

It's gonna blow! Everyone take cover!

Nurse, did this patient sign the organ donation card?

Don't worry. I think it is sharp enough.

Rats! Page 47 of the manual is missing!

FIRE! FIRE! Everyone get out!

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I'd love to hear about the experiences, both good and bad, of those who've given blood or received blood.

quotation...

"Many brave men have died for countries that don't exist any more." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

When the doctor got a bad cut, the nurse said, "Suture self."