Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A New Kind of Atheist~0r~An Irony Observed

I found out about about this Atheist Bus Campaign presently underway in the UK while doing a little blog surfing yesterday. The following observation is from Rebekah at Femina. Wish I'd seen it first and said it first. She is spot on:

"Yes, I know this is old news. But now you can’t go two steps in Oxford without being greeted by this merry little message on the side of basically every bus that zooms past - and every time I see it I just get extensively cracked up!

I mean, seriously. “There probably is no God.” What kind of gung-ho message is that?! Honestly - they’re practically begging every resident of the UK to seriously consider Pascal’s Wager . . . which you know they never would have done in a million years otherwise.

What kind of atheism is this anyways? I think they need to get out more and read a bit more Nietzsche. Nietzsche would never have settled for a peppy little message in pink that contained the word “probably”. And that little word “probably” is no doubt unsettling numerous middle aged women across the nation who had never given it a thought up until now, and are suddenly wondering every five minutes if they’re willing to bet their soul on that very uncertain message.

They’re also selling t-shirts by the way. It’s quite hilarious that now there’s a category of atheist kitsch. It must mean that all those Christian billboards and John 3:16 shirts are working far more than I suspected they were. The atheists have finally had it up to here, and are now copying the pop evangelical methods of getting the message out there! It’s kinda fun to have it go that direction for once. It used to be that across from every music store in every mall there was the Christian answer to it - full of knock-offs and almost-as-good-as paraphernalia. But it’s quite hilarious to think of the atheists then having to put up their own little kiosk with their not-quite-as-powerful answer to the evangelicals . . . tacky little key chains with humanist slogans and “I’m pretty sure there’s no Hell” bookmarks and inspirational posters that say things like, “I don’t think that Final Judgments are very nice to think about.”

It’s quite heartening, really."

We've been tracking with Socrates this week, the boys and I, studying about the Dialogues, reading The Euthyphro, and enjoying Socrates brilliant use of irony. I just have to think that he would have a bit of fun with the authors of this campaign.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Spinach Lady Cometh

...and cometh and cometh, ever since I encouraged her, a couple of months ago, by purchasing five 1 lb bags of fresh, chopped spinach. What was a I thinking? Well, I was thinking that I appreciated having fresh, chopped spinach delivered to my kitchen door and for a better price than I could find in the market. Since she made her first sale The Spinach Lady, as she has come to be known ("Mom, The Spinach Lady is at the door."), has returned a couple of times a week, always with kind but convincing words as to why I need to buy more spinach. I've been able to refuse a couple of times but for the most part, well, lets just say we've been eating lots of spinach. That is a good thing. Besides dusting off old recipes which call for spinach and searching for new ones, I've also added spinach to a favorite recipe which previously didn't call for spinach. We've had several batches of cream of spinach soup (very good and even the kids like this), spinach/beef/cheese/potato casserole (a favorite), and spinach quiche (another favorite, thankfully).

The past several Christmases I have given Herb Cheese Bread to friends and this year I added--you guessed it!--spinach to the recipe. I checked with Dear Husband before trying this as I realized it might seem like a wacky and unwelcome addition. He approved, I added, and the result was Spinach Herb Cheese Bread, which everyone loved.

Spinach Cheese Herb Bread
(and if you don't like spinach the recipe with out it is just as grand; a true family and friend favorite)

I always triple this recipe. No sense just making 1 loaf of bread when you can just as easily make three and if you can't eat it all, freeze it or give it away. It is not too hard to find someone who will appreciate a fresh baked loaf of bread!

1 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast (I reduce this to 2 1/2 T for a triple recipe)
1 Tablespoon grated onion
2-3 teaspoons herbs (I like thyme and or dill)
1 cup grated cheese (I like strong cheddar)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
approximately 4 cups flour (I use half whole wheat and half white)
**spinach** I use 1 pound of fresh, chopped spinach steamed and drained/squeezed for a triple recipe.

Dissolve yeast in warm water (w/a pinch of sugar). Mix milk, sugar, salt, onion, herbs, cheeses, half of flour and bubbling yeast. Add spinach and the rest of the flour/enough so that the dough is the right consistency and knead until elastic. About five minutes in my Bosch, but longer by hand. Let rest for about 10-15 minutes, form into a round loaf (loaves) and let rise on a greased baking sheet for about an hour. Bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack and baste with butter if you'd like a softer crust.

And if anyone has a great recipe that uses spinach, I'd love to have it--I still have two pounds of spinach in the fridge and The Spinach Lady will be coming soon...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Philosophy~What is it good for?

"If you should ever decide to study philosophy, someone is sure to ask you, "What can you do with it" The answer is "Nothing. But it can do something with me."

Philosophy 101 by Socrates, Peter Kreeft

Saturday, January 03, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life

And it was a wonderful Christmas holiday!

We celebrated our first real family reunion, welcoming Oldest Daughter home after her first semester of college, as we celebrated TOGETHER the Advent of our Savior, Jesus.

Our traditional Christmas Eve supper of turkey and rice soup, cheeses, crackers, and all sorts of fun snack-y foods.

We also celebrated Tayta's 12th birthday with our traditional Christmas Eve morning brunch.

We slept...

Jet Lag

We played weird games with good friends

Active Son and Artist Son submitting to the commands of

We participated in a community service project with the youth...

Organizing donations for distribution to the poor

Post-project fellowship over good hummus, falafel, and mint tea at Hashem's

We enjoyed doing things we don't usually have time for...

Artist Son got started on his anticipated Christmas-break art project right after studies ended, and finished it the day before break ended.

Tiger, in colored pencil and acrylic

My fun-project wasn't quite so awe inspiring, at least not to most: I started coneflower, foxglove, and poppy seedlings.

On one beautiful sunny day we headed south to the ancient Nebatean city of Petra...

...and on another we had the joy of celebrating the baptism of three dear friends at the Jordan River, "Bethany on the other side of the Jordan".

(in case you're wondering, the water was really cold, but at least it was a sunny day.)

We enjoyed reading new books, individually:

And, together:

And the kids finally, finally got me to sit still and watch all of the Lord of the Rings trilogy--the extended version. All I can say is don't watch these on cold, dark nights--which is what we did--or the nights will seem colder and darker.

And now, the late nights and the late mornings must end as we return to 'real life' in the morning. I think I'll make some scones for breakfast, just to make the transition a little easier.