Tasty and Squishable Shelob Candy

Tasty, squishable, and very, very sticksy, yesssss Precious, sticksy like Shelob’s webs. Everyone’s always hungry for Shelob candy, yesssss. And Smeagol knows the way; good Smeagol shows Master the way to make Shelob candises. Smeagol gives you the recipe.

First, you need these foodses:

  • 4 cups marshmallows
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Next, microwave the marshmallowses and the butter until they are melted. Stir them well.

1

Add the vanilla.

2

Microwave again if the marshmallowses are too stiff, and then mix in 1 1/4 cups flaked coconutses. Should be about the stickiness of giant spider’s web, yesssss, precious:

4

Now add the tasty and crunchable pecanses.

5

Watch out for nasty tricksy hobbitses, who come to steal your juicy sweet candises:

8Keep close watch for nasty hobbitses while you lay out parchment paperses on a plate and spray it with slippery grease:

9

Use two spoons to roll the sticky juicy sweet into a ball. Once that is done, keep the preciousssss in a cold dark cave, or in a nasty refrigerator (your choice) until they are holdable and chewable:

10.

And listen to good Smeagol, don’t let nasty tricksy hobbitses take your Shelob candy. Because nasty tricksy hobbitses will steal it from you. 

13

Nasty hobbit stole our preciousssss. 

14

We must go look for the preciousssss.

gollum tree

Teatime in Narnia: How to Make a Tumnus-Style Tea

Narnia LWW 47“And it really was a wonderful tea. There was a nice brown egg, lightly boiled for each of them, and then sardines on toast, and then buttered toast, and then toast with honey, and then a sugar-topped cake.”  ~ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, page 15.

Every true-blooded Narnian likes a good tea, just like every decent hobbit likes a second breakfast. Mr. Tumnus, one of the noblest of fauns, is a delightful teatime host and a fabulous cook, if I do say so myself. And so, I have procured from the archives at Cair Paravel the recipe that tantalizes taste buds throughout all of Narnia: Mr. Tumnus’ all-around enchanting Sugar-Topped cake.

Without further ado, here is the Magic recipe to get you started on your own Narnian tea:

Actually, no. You need more ado — here are some pictures to document the glorious deliciousness of Narnia cuisine.

20150417 Aerial View RS

A Narnian tea for two, with tea (though I shouldn’t wonder if you hadn’t already guessed that), sardines, apples, sugar-crusted lemons, soft-boiled eggs, candied orange peel, toast with honey and butter, and — this is the most important — Mr. Tumnus’ enchantingly delicious Sugar-Topped Cake.

20150417 Cake und Table RS

Mr. Tumnus’ cave was not likely so well-lit, but at least the furnishings would have been fairly similar: books, a map of Narnia, apples from Calormen, and the Magic cake — the recipe for which had been handed down from faun to faun for generations, and now rests in the archives at Cair Paravel.

20150417 Pouring da tea RS

The food is positively scrumptious here in Narnia; it is completely befuddling that more tourists haven’t arrived to experience it all.

20150417 Non-Photo-bombed side view of cake RS

But, in the end, you’ve really only come here for a cake recipe. So let’s get down to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As seen in the pictures above:
Toast (and butter, and sardines)
Tea, sugar, and cream
Lightly boiled brown eggs
Lemon slices
Apples
Candied orange peels
Sugar-topped cake, Tumnus style

The recipe used for this cake came from The Narnia Cookbook (which means it really came straight from the archives at Cair Paravel). Please note that this recipe only makes one 8″ x 8″ cake layer, and if you desire more, double it.

Sugar-Topped Cake

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup raisins, chopped
1/2 cup currants
1/4 cup candied orange peel, chopped fine
1/4 cup blanched almonds
1/4 cup candied cherries (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8″ x 2″ round pan, and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper or waxed paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. With an electric mixer or by hand, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar alternately with the milk, beating just until mixed.
5. Fold in the fruit and nuts.
6. Pour the batter into the greased pan.
7. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool completely. Remove the cake from the pan, and frost with sugar cake frosting. Decorate with candied cherries if desired.

 

Icing:

1 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla.

Some Helpful Suggestions From Your Humble Servant, the Narnian (Well, again, that isn’t quite true, because I’m royalty. You get the picture.)

The icing recipe can be doubled or tripled, depending on how large of a Magic sugar coma you’d like to get yourself into — and as far as I’m concerned, the more cherries there are on top, the better it is.

Serve with some soothing Magic flute music, and don’t try the Turkish delight. It doesn’t end very well most of the time.

 

References: The Narnia Cookbook, Douglas Gresham and Pauline Baynes
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis

The Blood of Patriots and Tyrants

"President Abraham Lincoln, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the great general who led the (unknown number) of French colonies against the tyrannical empire of Canada."

“President Abraham Lincoln, signer of the Constitution on July 4th, and the great general who led the seventeen original French colonies against the tyrannical empire of Canada.”

“Time after time mankind is driven against the rocks of the horrid reality of a fallen creation. And time after time mankind must learn the hard lessons of history – the lessons that for some dangerous and awful reason we can’t seem to keep in our collective memory.” – Hilaire Belloc

Of any age group, teenagers and young adults are the least likely to know the correct answers to basic United States history questions – a disturbing trend that threatens not only national identity, but also national well-being.

More than a fifth of American teens do not know which country the thirteen colonies declared independence from in 1776 – 14% think it was France, 5% think it was Canada.

82% of interviewed Lumberton residents do not recognize the name “Millard Fillmore.”

89% could not name the first six U.S. Presidents, in order or out of order.

48% identified Abraham Lincoln as a signer of the Declaration of Independence. (Hint: he was elected President 84 years after 1776.)

26% cannot name the sides that fought in the Civil War – some said it involved Canada, others said Mexico, and some mentioned that it was between West and East.

Evangelist Ray Comfort and political activist Mark Dice are just two examples of interviewers who have asked “the man on the street” elementary questions, like “Who was Adolf Hitler?”

In the age of information, when so much of the world’s history is at our fingertips, when the knowledge and experience of the generations before us are accessible to the masses like never before, how come we don’t know the most basic details about how our nation came to be?

Thomas Jefferson said that the “tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Millions of Americans gave their lives so that we may live free from the yoke of tyrants and oppressors. Is it even in our place as Americans, living in the freest, most privileged, most prosperous nation on earth, to forget them who gave their lives so we may live ours to the fullest — in freedom and comfort?

Around the globe, hundreds of millions have perished under the very tyrants that selfless patriots have opposed. Dare we forget the millions upon millions of victims who have died as a result of human carelessness, tyranny, and depravity, some of it evils our own ancestors died fighting?

Ultimately, the one death that will matter to the end of time is Christ’s. Our nation has most of all forgotten His undying love, His ultimate sacrifice, and the blood He shed so that we may live in spiritual freedom.

The state of affairs is less than ideal when a people refuses to remember the blood of patriots and refuses to acknowledge the reign of tyrants, but how much worse it is when that people refuses to recognize the blood of Christ.

Knowing and understanding history is essential to maintaining the freedom and prosperity of the United States, and more importantly, Christianity’s unhindered presence here.

Learning the past gives us an identity, a sense of where we have been, where we should go, where we should never go, and where we are now. America has forgotten the consequences of accepting what God hates and spurning what he loves – and yes, there are most tangible consequences.

Samuel Johnson said that “the recollection of the past is only useful by way of provision for the future.”  And as Richard Weaver said, “Those who have no concern for their ancestors will, by simple application of the same rule, have none for their descendants.”

For reasons that exceed earthly bounds and go past the grave, history is important: never forget the blood of patriots and tyrants.

 

J.R.R. Tolkien and Philology

Tolkien, the philologist

Tolkien, the philologist

J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous author of The Hobbit and a prominent 20th century philologist, was an expert in language studies: he not only spoke an astonishing number of languages (Middle English, Old English, Finnish, Gothic, Greek, Italian, Old Norse, Spanish, Welsh, and Medieval Welsh) but was also familiar with many others, particularly ancient Slavonic and Germanic tongues. Tolkien’s infatuation with language surfaced in his literary works, both fictional and academic. Through his specialization in English philology and Old Norse to his work for the Oxford English Dictionary, J.R.R. Tolkien’s linguistic studies became enormously influential aspects of his fictional works and especially The Hobbit.

the hobbitInterestingly, Tolkien’s linguistic creations in The Hobbit are numerous, all of them attributable to his background in philology. A fascination with the spoken word had captured Tolkien when he was young, leading him to specialize in linguistics—English philology, particularly. After careful study of Old Norse during his time at college, Tolkien began working for the Oxford English Dictionary in 1918. At the University of Leeds, he subsequently became Reader in English Language. Courses in several different types of English as well as the history of the language dominated his teaching there, but he also taught introductory Germanic philology, Gothic, Medieval Welsh, and Old Icelandic. Elvish languages alluded to or featured in The Hobbit or its sequel, The Lord of the Rings, included Primitive Quendian, Common Eldarin, Quenya, Goldogrin, Noldorin, Telerin, Ilkorin, Doriathrin, Avarin, and Sindarin, all ten of which directly resulted from his time as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary, his language studies, and his philological teachings. To many of Tolkien’s admirers, biographers, or readers, “It becomes clear that Tolkien invested at least as much of his expertise, ingenuity, imagination, and time in constructing his languages as he did in devising his narratives” (Adams 1). Tolkien himself explained (Sale 1), “A real taste for fairy-stories was wakened by philology on the threshold of manhood, and quickened to full life by war.” Tolkien’s invented languages required an enormous amount of scholarly philological work and knowledge. He refined and improved the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation of the Elvish languages until his death, just as he never ceased the philological studies that bred and developed the remarkable languages of The Hobbit’s Middle Earth.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in the 2012 Warner Brothers movie, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in the 2012 Warner Brothers movie, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Furthermore, languages in The Hobbit are heavily influenced by real-world languages, including Old Norse, Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, and Germanic tongues, more evidence of Tolkien’s careful thought and study of language. Early forms of Elvish were influenced by his study of Spanish and Latin, and when he began examining Finnish, he incorporated elements of that language into Primitive Quendian and Common Eldarin. Various versions of the Elvish tongue featured languages that Tolkien found interesting, amusing, beautiful, or even merely practical:

His creation, or more strictly sub-creation, of Elvish might owe much to his interests in Welsh and Finnish, but it is also clear that his immense creativity and the invocation of the beautiful, mysterious and almost painfully real Middle Earth was founded on a deep appreciation and love for language. (Morris 1)

Tolkien’s extensive study of language, especially of Finnish, contributed much to the Elvish language and later directly affected not only Middle Earth but the characters in that fantastical realm.

Indeed, although Tolkien’s fictional and academic creations, including The Hobbit, are immensely popular and a widely acclaimed masterpiece in fantasy, his invented languages resulted in Middle Earth, not the other way around. A fascination with language had gripped Tolkien in his youth, before writing mythical tales ever entered his thoughts. In fact, one of Tolkien’s apparently controversial claims about languages, both a priori and a posteriori constructed languages and natural languages, was that no matter a tongue’s effectiveness or practicality, it was nothing until there were myths and a culture surrounding it. “Tolkien essentially wrote The Lord of the Rings [and The Hobbit] in order to give his languages a world in which to exist,” said Dawn Catanach (Catanach 1). It has also been noted that “In some strange way, the articulation of Elvish and the other languages of Middle Earth were the catalysis for the rest of his [Tolkien’s] mythos” (Morris 2).

Known as a lexicographer, linguist, philologist, and philosopher, J.R.R. Tolkien is known most of all as the author of The Hobbit and the creator of Middle Earth, clearly a product of his studies in philology. Tolkien’s language studies, undoubtedly without which The Hobbit could not be the same and without which Bilbo Baggins could not exist, have influenced not only his works but the writings and linguistic knowledge of philology students and authors around the world.

 

 

Works Cited

Adams, Michael. From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.

Catanach, Dawn. “The Philosopher and the Philologist J.R.R. Tolkien, Martin Heidegger, and Poetic Language.” Unm.edu.University of New Mexico, 2006. Web. 6 Feb. 2014.

Morris, Simon Conway. “Darwin’s Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of Creation.” Ed. Michael Byrne. Science and Religion in the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Russel Re Manning. 1st ed. London: SCM, 2013. 34+. Print.

Sale, Roger. Modern Heroism; Essays on D.H. Lawrence, William Empson, & J.R.R. Tolkien. Berkley: University of California, 1973. Books.google.com. Google, 2012. Web. 7 Feb. 2014.

Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The Hobbit. First ed. Boston: Mariner, 2007. Print.

 

World’s Best Swedish Meatballs

Here’s our favorite recipe for Swedish meatballs. (Yes, like the Swedish chef.)

The Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show

The Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show

Start off by chopping up one large onion and sautéing it in butter.

Meanwhile,  get one half cup of breadcrumbs (or for a gluten-free option, use gluten-free oats) and put in your Bosch Mixer with the cookie paddles attachment. Otherwise, you could put the breadcrumbs or oats in a big mixing bowl.

Next, put 2 ½ lbs of beef in Bosch Mixer or mixing bowl.

Note: do not check Facebook or email because your onions will burn.

Add ¼ cup of water, milk, or stock to mixture.

Add two eggs to the mixture. I go ahead and start mixing it with my Bosch at this point, but the other option is to use a hand-held mixer or merely knead with your hands.

Stir the sautéd onions into the meat, and then these ingredients as well:
3 Tbs chopped parsley
¼ tsp paprika
½ tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
¼ tsp red pepper
After that, shape meat into 1 ½ inch balls and cook in melted butter.

When all the meatballs are cooked I add about two cups of beef stock to the meatballs. You could thicken this and make a gravy.

You can also make it ahead of time and put the meatballs in the crockpot (after you’ve cooked them, that is).

You could serve it over cauliflower rice, rice, or squash noodles.

This recipe was inspired by the Joy of Cooking Cookbook and the Muppets

*A Bosch Mixer is a power tool for the kitchen. It is an awesome addition to any kitchen.

The Best Pancakes

This recipe is a cinch to make, takes little time, makes pretty much no mess, and on top of that is low-carb and gluten-free. They taste, by far, better than all the gluten-free pancake mixes, flours, and recipes that we have tried as of yet.

 

Ingredients:

  • Old-fashioned oats
  • Cottage cheese (low-fat or otherwise)
  • Egg whites (for fluffiness, but you can use the entire egg and it still comes out fine)
  • Baking powder
  • Sweetener
  • Vanilla
  1. Put 1 cup oats into a blender and blend until oats turn to powder.
  2. Turn off blender and add 1 cup of egg whites (or just 1 cup of entire eggs) and 1 cup cottage cheese.
  3. Add 2 tsp. baking powder, 2-3 tsp. sweetener (sugar, Stevia, Truvia), and dash      of vanilla (optional). Blend well.
  4. Heat a nonstick griddle or nonstick frying pan to medium temperature. Spray the pan or skillet with a tiny bit of oil spray, or moisten it with the slightest amount of butter.
  5. Ladle mix onto skillet or pan in desired pancake-sized shapes.
  6. Once the bottom of the pancakes are golden browned and tops have bubbles, flip them and cook until done.

 

Recipe credit: adapted from Serene Allison’s and Pearl Barrett’s Trim Healthy Mama

Recreating the Pantheon

Lumberton officials want to recreate the Pantheon, but they're so terrible at math that they've started something they cannot possibly finish (without punishing the taxpayers, that is).

Lumberton officials want to recreate the Pantheon, but they’re so terrible at math that they’ve started something they cannot possibly finish (without punishing the taxpayers, that is).

“I call it the Pantheon,” said one Lumberton middle school student, “Its function and design are close enough to the original’s looks and purpose to justify the nomenclature.”

While passers-by and students make quips about the Performing Arts Center and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Dome near Lumberton High School, city officials are faced with a puzzling problem: how to bail out the school’s pet project and extract more funds from financially hard-pressed taxpayers, who are struggling under the burden of exorbitant federal taxes, excessive state taxes, and skyrocketing local rates.

Members of the school board apparently stretched the boundaries of mathematics whenever they accepted the offer of a $3 million grant from FEMA, knowing full well that the project had insufficient funds to even get off the ground.

The Beaumont Enterprise quotes Lumberton ISD Superintendent John Valastro as saying, “When people say, ‘Why did you start something you can’t finish,’ well, I can give you three million reasons.” Taxpayers are fairly sure that none of those three million reasons include private property, future generations, or fiscal responsibility.

The school board decided to proceed without heeding common sense or crunching numbers, and Valastro reasoned that “$3 million from a grant is something we weren’t going to get again.”

While the $3 million covers around 75% (or less) of the dome, it covers only a measly 33% of the total project. Previously city officials and the school board assured citizens that funds were plentiful enough to cover the project.

Lumberton’s botched attempt at recreating the Pantheon is a prime example of first-stage thinking, a theory only thought out to the immediate future; furthermore, it is a pitiful theory relying on ideal conditions and the total absence of setbacks.

The grossly inaccurate initial estimates for the dome were either altered to ease public opinion or were entirely wrong in the first place, and perhaps a combination of both, since it should not be put past the city officials who are proud of the project (and even claim full responsibility for its existence) to downplay the costs of the dome.

If anything, the situation is ironic since it has finally been proven that not even the School Board can understand math.

 

For the Cats: Tips on the Art of Gift-Giving

If you do not think I'm credible, see how awesome I am in the picture? Yeah. That's why you should listen.

If you do not think I’m credible, see how awesome I am in the picture? Yeah. That’s why you should listen.

To all the cats out there,

I’m baaaack.

So, since you have all proved your incompetence, and since I am a fountain of endless practical knowledge, I’d like to share tips on the art of gift-giving.

  • All humans will appreciate a leaf or cardboard box. These are classic gifts that just can’t go wrong. Perfect for the human that has everything.
  • When you need to say “I’m sorry,” nothing says it better than a headless squirrel carcass. Nothing. I recommend making a dramatic entrance, running towards them, and depositing it at your human’s feet.
  • If your human looks bored, offer them a live lizard to play with. This usually motivates some sort of action on their part, and occasionally they will run around the house screaming (depending on your human). For sure this will cheer up your human, and as a plus, they may even be so happy that they’ll let you outside for an extra-long outing.
  • Sharing a tasty treat with your human is a great way to show them that you care about them. A novel way to do this is to bring them breakfast in bed. Personally, I recommend bringing them some sort of rare and colorful songbird. (The kind in cages are obviously the most prestigious.) I’ve even known humans to cry, because they are so touched by the gift.

As Supreme Emperor of the Universe, I have a great deal of experience in handling the human species. Trust my expertise.

I love me too,

Hodgkins,

Supreme Emperor of the Universe;

Chief Executive Lizard-Slayer at Lizard Warrior Service;

Recipient of the Snowbell Peace Prize;

Coolest Monarch of the Century (Irrational Geographic);

Expert Tree-Conqueror;

Your Humble Master;

And A.K.A. alpha-cat.

The Bonanza Era: Southeast Texas Sawmill Heritage

An early sawmill in Texas

A logging operation for an early east Texas sawmill

Winding through rows of grayish, unpainted clapboard houses, miles upon miles of alternately dusty and muddy streets buzz with activity: ragged, mop-headed children—coming to or from playtime on the railroad cars and mill ponds—trot in flocks to their collective destination; lanky, grim-faced loggers, who make an honest living but live a tough life, rush away from a screeching whistle signaling that work is over; and housewives watch the chaos as they attempt household chores, despite the airborne sawdust forcing itself into “every nook and cranny.” The sweetish smell of pine logs paired with the natural Texas humidity and the steamy sawmill fog made for a trademark industry odor.

Just 100 years ago, this was the face of southeast Texas.

Logging was an unbelievably large facet of both the United States economy and the southeast Texas economy.

Before the Spindletop oil boom from 1901 to the late 1920s, logging constituted the primary economic pursuit of southeast Texas. Eager entrepreneurs in search of financial success transformed the entire economic outlook for Hardin, Newton, Jasper, and even Jefferson counties.

Recognized mostly for their proximity to major local cities Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Houston, small towns including Kirbyville, Evadale, Silsbee, and even Lumberton owe their existence to the Bonanza Era of Texas sawmills—a period of unprecedented Texas dominance and involvement in the lumber industry, from 1876 to 1917.

Texas is and has been predominantly successful in raising livestock. In modern times, pumping oil and gas has also been an economic forte in the Lone Star state; but for the past 150 years, the lumber industry has also fared remarkably well.

One of the top three logging and lumber-exporting states during the Bonanza Era, Texas has remained among the top ten lumber producing states. The Piney Woods region and the Big Thicket near the eastern border of the state have contributed much to Texas’ excellent lumber statistics, more so than any other area of the state.

Many Texas sawmill towns (corporately-owned communities usually sponsored by the mill’s owners) have disappeared entirely, becoming ghost towns inhabited by surprising numbers of tourists, curious locals, and historians. However, a number of them are still existent and thriving today.

While many sawmill towns have vanished or dwindled to nothing, in some instances the centrally located mills, which once comprised town centers, have survived despite the absence of a surrounding village.

The Voth sawmill can still be seen today, on the banks of the Pine Island Bayou.

The Voth sawmill can still be seen today, on the banks of the Pine Island Bayou.

J. Frank Keith’s 1902 sawmill located in Voth, on the banks of Pine Island Bayou and mere yards within the Jefferson County border, is visible from Highway 96 going from Lumberton to Beaumont. Because of the 2,000,000 acres of dense virgin forest that once covered what is now known as southeast Texas, over six hundred sawmills were in existence simultaneously at one point during the Bonanza Era.

Hardin, Tyler, Polk, Newton, and Jasper Counties were covered in highly profitable stumpage (log measure of uncut trees or logs), to which landowners interested in farming gladly sold the logging rights to nearby sawmills. Jefferson County, however, was a far cry from its heavily-forested northern counterparts.

W.T. Block explains in his book, East Texas Mill Towns and Ghost Towns, “Jefferson County has a most unusual sawmill history, not because of any great forest which stand within its boundaries, but due to its proximity to the Neches River and its tributaries, Sabine Lake, and the Gulf of Mexico.”

The sawmill building on the banks of the Bayou was a relatively large one, a 50,000-foot operation provided with logs from Saratoga. A newspaper later reported in November 1904 that:

…The mill is logged from Stutts on the Warren, Corsicana, and Pacific Railroad in TylerCounty. The logs are hauled from Stutts to Warren, 22 miles, and thence to Voth, 32 miles distant, a total distance of 54 miles…A new dry shed with a capacity of 1,000,000 feet of lumber has just been put up. The logs at Voth are dumped into Pine Island Bayou and are used when needed… 

The Kirby Lumber Corporation, the founder of which is responsible for the construction, existence, and names of many local sawmill towns (including Kirbyville), purchased the Voth sawmill in 1924. In 1948, the mill was still operating at a 75,000 feet capacity and continued until 1952, when the Kirby Corporation consolidated much of its milling operations.

The sawmill, which many residents still drive past on a daily basis, was the last significant sawmill in Jefferson County to shut down—and with it died many of the tight-knit but easily unraveled industrial communities accompanying the era.

Detailing sawmill towns of the Bonanza years, Thad Sitton and James Conrad described in Nameless Towns, “Mill-town children grew up using their heavy-industry surroundings as a playscape. They walked the rails, visited the depot to meet passenger trains, clambered about on the elevated dollyways after quitting time, rode the big draft horses in the corral, tobogganed down sawdust piles, chased each other leaping from stack to stack of lumber air-drying in the yard, walked logs floating in the millpond, stole handcars from the shop and pumped them about on the rails, went on moonlit courting walks down the railroad tracks and across the lumberyards, and otherwise enjoyed the mill town and its environs. For children and adults alike, the millpond did double duty as a center of recreational life, which included fishing, swimming, frog-gigging, and even dancing.”

The Bonanza Era was a time in which thousands of Texans spent their childhoods in such communities; in fact, many elderly southeast Texans can remember—although not necessarily having lived in them—the sawmill towns once abundant in Hardin County. The cultural impact of sawmill towns and the highly influential lumber industry has shaped the local identity.

While the lumber industry remains an enormous force in the Texas economy, it bears little resemblance to the miniature empires established by men like John Henry Kirby. Even as recently as the early 1990s, lumber was a leading industry in Texas. The Bonanza Era is over—but the impact it made on southeast Texas life can never be forgotten.

The Question of Potato Chips

What if this had come earlier?

What if this had come earlier?

It is a question that has resounded for the past 158 years, ever since that day in late August of 1856 that the potato chip was invented: what would have happened if it had come earlier?

Many hypotheses include guesses that world peace would have prevailed for centuries at a time; that all human suffering would subside when the “crisps” (as the British know them) were plentiful; and that humans would have discovered a different solution to the cholesterol problem by now.

However, it is necessary to take a more reasonable approach. Like chocolate in South America, salt in the Middle East, and precious metals in Europe, potato chips—if they had been introduced into an ancient environment—would have become more than just a trading material, but a useful commodity and a staple food, somewhat of a combination of all three.

While chocolate was a luxury reserved for the rich, while salt was a fact of Roman life, and while precious metals had become a currency of sorts, potato chips would have become everything at once: an everyday luxury/currency.

As in most cases dealing with luxuries and necessities, the nature of the good involved can spark conflicts: growing populations would require more potato chips, and conquistadores would fight for fortunes or at least modest supplies of the crunchy fare.

Obviously the early rise of potato chips would change world history, thus it is imperative that we consider the consequences of such an early discovery.

Here is an alternative historical timeline featuring the rise of potato chips in 544 B.C.:

544 B.C.: Potato chips are invented and are soon developed into a luxury good offered to emperors, gods, and anybody rich enough to afford them.

507 B.C. – Crisps are now available to the masses, and instantly catch on. Grains are no longer the primary food source, nor do farmers continue to develop better seeds or varieties. Potatoes are now in fashion.

10 B.C. – The Roman Empire, now in existence, is conquering surrounding nations at alarming rates, with massive public support for the wars. Most of the conquests are primarily in search of land suitable for growing potatoes.

80 A.D. – Emperor Titus is assassinated because he would not give potato chips and circuses to the plebeians.

94 A.D. – A potato farmer becomes emperor of Rome, contributing to the industry and financing with the public purse a scientific search for a cure for cholesterol.

285 A.D. – The Roman Empire splits in two after experiencing a 20-year long civil war due to a discrepancy between barbecue potato chips versus sour cream and onion potato chips. The state on the west side is known as the Barbecue Empire, and side on the east is known as Saurecreanonion Republic.

410 A.D. – The Barbecue Empire is sacked by the Vegegoths, who are considered “barbarians” and oppose potatoes, considering them unhealthy.

979 A.D. – Potato chips have now been sent to or discovered in every continent.

1099 A.D. – The first Chewsade, a campaign fighting for a comeback of potato chips in the apparently hostile Middle East (inhabited by descendents of the Vegegoths), takes place.

1206 – Genghis Khan begins spreading vinegar potato chips around Eurasia.

1337 – The Hundred Years’ War begins, as England and France, respectively, fight over the issue of salt-and-pepper chips and lemon potato chips.

1347 – A serious disease begins spreading throughout Europe, mainly because of low-quality potatoes. An estimated 20-40% of the population was wiped out in the first year.

1439 – Johannes Gutenberg invents cellophane, revolutionizing potato chip transportation and storage.

1492 – Christopher Columbus reaches the New World, where he immediately begins testing the soil to see if it is suitable for growing potatoes.

1503 – Leonardo da Vinci begins painting the Mona Lisa, a portrait of a girl and a bag of potato chips.

1689 – John Locke writes a letter concerning toleration, demanding that different types of potato chips be allowed in a free market.

1773 — A protest known as the Boston Chip Party erupts due to King George’s exorbitant tax on potato chips, the industry of which was already a monopoly. The Boston Chip Party’s participants dumped over 342 cases of crisps into the Boston Harbor.

1776 – The Declaration of Independence makes its debut, featuring a mention of the King’s tyrannical policy of potato chip taxation.

1789 – The French Revolution begins, a revolution fought over clashes between proponents of French fries and potato chips.

1879 – Thomas Edison invents an automatic potato-slicer, further cheapening the necessity.

1890 – Spud National Park is established.

1903 – The Wright Brothers make the first powered flight, over a potato farm.

1919 – The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution kicks off an era known as “Prohibition,” in which potato chips are no longer permitted to be eaten with spinach dip.

1929 – The Great Depression begins and the stock market crashes, particularly blue chip stocks.

1955 – McDonald’s opens and features French fries, a major blow to potato chips, which have been around for over a thousand years.

1957 – Dr. Suess publishes Spud in the Mud.

1969 – America sends a man to the moon, mainly to check to see if there was any potential of utilizing the surface as a potato-growing facility.

1990 – The United States signs a treaty that strikes a deal with Russia, re-introducing potato chips to the nation.

2008 – The 2008 recession begins, resulting in another crucial blow to blue chip stocks.

2009 – President Barack Obama is inaugurated, and soon after he pushes through legislation allegedly making potato chips “affordable,” but essentially socializes the American chip market.

2009 — A political party called the Chip Party forms in protest of the Affordable Chip Act, but in a broad sense, it forms to oppose liberal “health nuts.”

2014 – The Affordable Spud Act results in mass pandemonium and worldwide hunger as a main staple food is restricted from consumers.

Taxpayer, Who’s Got Your Vote?

Today, 3288 children will be killed before they are born. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars fund these deaths through Washington’s cold-blooded mandates. You will pay for approximately 18000 more of these killings because of Obamacare, thanks to John Cornyn’s decision to fund this appalling fiscal and moral trainwreck.

Today, the government will spend more than ten billion dollars. No need to wonder where it went: thanks to liberal John Cornyn, the government will be spending billions more because of his decision time after time to surrender to President Obama on pork-ridden spending bills. Cornyn has even given Washington a wildcard on the debt limit nine times.

Today and for the next few decades, if you are in need of medical care, Obamacare will force you, taxpayer, to spend more money for less care—and unlike what Barack Obama and his supporter liberal John Cornyn would have you know, if you like your insurance, you can’t keep your insurance. You will spend thousands of dollars more for your healthcare, thanks to Cornyn’s decision to appease leftist Senate leadership and fund Obamacare.

Today is the day to make this decision: who will you, taxpayer, send to Washington as your Texas Senator?

The Lumberton Outpost proudly endorses Congressman Steve Stockman for Senate.

The Lumberton Outpost proudly endorses Congressman Steve Stockman for Senate.

Charlie Henson’s Story

Times have changed since the 1940s.

Times have changed since the 1940s.

The year was 1938. Times were hard, and President Franklin Roosevelt was just beginning his second term, presiding over the worst depression in U.S. history. Trouble was brewing in Europe and around the world. War was on the horizon for many countries. Hitler’s regime was gaining strength, and his shadow of tyranny was soon to stretch across the globe. As many can tell you, things weren’t looking up.

Fifteen-year-old Charles Henson and his family were struggling; he could not find a job. There simply were not any to be had. At that point, any work that could be offered would be accepted, but he stubbornly clung to his dream.

Henson explained, “I had always had a hunger to go to sea. But you had to be sixteen years of age to get a seaman’s certificate from the U.S. Coast Guard.  So, my mother swore an affidavit that I was sixteen and the kind Coast Guard commandant issued me my seaman’s certificate.”

Soon he had an official, paying job at the Magnolia Refinery. As a utility man aboard the S.S. Aurora (a tanker), Henson received $60.00 a month.

“This I sent home to mom. It saved our family.” he said.

From 1938 until 1941, the seafaring teen visited countries all over the world. He “made” every deep water port on the planet.   Africa, China, Russia, and Burma were only a few of the exotic places that Henson visited – at such a young age.

“I could hear all the noises you heard in the old Tarzan movies,” he said, “It was an experience I’ll never forget.”

Henson soon got himself a promotion to ship’s steward.

“My job was to peel potatoes and clean the officers’ state rooms and other odd jobs. It was out of the weather, rain, and cold, so I was happy,” he explained.

On December 7th, 1941, everything changed.

“Well, time went on, Pearl Harbor took place, and the first thing you know this little ol’ seaman got himself drafted into the Army along with God knows how many thousands of others. So, I was sent to Fort Sam Houston.” Henson recounted.

“In the meantime, prior to this, while I was still sailing in the Merchant Marines, the Germans were sinking our ships at a rate of 2 and 3 a day, from Corpus Christi all the way up the coast to Portland, Maine. That’s were they operated. There was one occasion where they sunk a ship in the channel of the Mississippi River. That’s how close they came.” Needless to say, the United States was hurting badly.

The Armed Forces were getting into gear, but unfortunately the Navy was lacking.

“Been there just a couple of months when a Colonel came in one day and they gathered up all the guys that had Seaman certificates, which included me, about forty-five of us if I remember right. He said “We’re taking you to CampEdwards, Massachusetts.” Where they were going to form a brand new organization, called the Engineering, Boat, and Shore Regiment. You’ve seen pictures of the invasion at Normandy of the little boats coming in? Well, those little boats, as Germans used to refer to them as, were the Higgins Boats. They carried the troops from the ship to the shore. That’s what we first got started in at CampEdwards, Massachusetts, called the Engineer, Boat, and Shore regiment. So, we trained with those little boats for four or five months. And first thing off the bat they promoted me to Sergeant because of my experience on ships and made me a coxswain.”

By this time, trouble was really brewing. Millions of men were headed off to war, thousands to never return. Germany remained defiant; it continued its mission to conquer the world.

Henson continued, “Anyway, about four or five months after we created the Engineer, Boat, and Shore regiment, they had a notice on the bulletin board one day for everybody that held a seaman certificate to report for a big meeting they were going to have. So we did. And what happened – most people aren’t aware of what I’m fixing to tell you – out in California, there was a shipbuilder by the name of Henry Kaiser. Anyways, he taught us how to build ships. The transport ships called Liberty ships. Henry Kaiser, that was his name. And Mr. Kaiser taught us like Mr. Ford taught us to build the Model T. On an assembly line. Consequently, we were turning out two or three ships a day in our shipyards from California to the East Coast. All of a sudden we had plenty of ships, but no crews for them. Where were the crews?”

They had been drafted into the Army!

“Like I say, not many people are aware of this. Immediately after Pearl Harbor, all merchant shipping – ships, crews, and officers –  were placed in direct jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard. That automatically made us members of the Coast Guard. Anyway, they called this big meeting, it gave us – everyone who held a Seaman’s certificate – a choice. We could go back to sea and man these ships, or stay in the army, whichever. They could use us in either place. So a lot of us we knew ships, so we chose to go back to sea. Now we weren’t getting out of anything because they were still sinking ships up and down the coast! So we went back to sea, and that put me in the Coast Guard. Consequently I hold two Army discharges, and one from the Coast Guard.”

Henson ended up on a refueling tanker. When battle groups operated, they contained “carriers, battleships, light cruisers, destroyers, destroyer escorts, and even submarines, that’s what you call a battle group.”

“Every time a group sailed out to combat, they always had either two to three, maybe more, tankers for fuel. If they ran low on fuel, they couldn’t turn around and go into someplace, you know, to somewhere else for their fuel. So that’s what I was doing there on the refueling tanker. I did that for a number of months all over the South Pacific,” Henson said. “Well, I got the urge to go back into the Army in 1945. I got interested in law enforcement. And I don’t remember now at this point why I decided I wanted to go into the military police, but that’s what I wanted to do. So I put in for a transfer. It was turned down. Put in again for transfer, it was turned out. So I set down and wrote a letter to Admiral Emory S. Land.”

The last letter did the trick. He was sent to the 382nd  Military Police Battalion in Bremerhaven, Germany.  He “put in” the next three years in the MP Corps in Europe, the New York First Army, and the San Antonio Fourth Army. Henson had some fascinating memories there.

“While serving in the 382nd in Germany, with… an O.D. (Officer of the Day) , I saw two sides of this man. He always carried a Thompson sub-machine gun when on O.D. duty. One night, while I was on duty and part of the emergency squad of six men, I was relaxing at the booking station.” Henson said. “We suddenly got a call of a shooting at a local carnival the people of the city were giving for the children. We had a list of wanted deserters to look for; MP on duty at the carnival spotted one of the soldiers who was wanted for desertion. When challenged, the deserter fired at the MP on duty. The MP fired back but missed – and hit a little girl who was at the carnival. Fortunately, she survived. The deserter ran into one of the bombed-out buildings and locked himself in the bathroom, lined with tiles. In Europe, buildings had very little wood – construction was different, and they used much more tile and stone. We, at the station, responded to the call. Upon arrival, the MP on duty showed us where the deserter was. This O.D., a first Lieutenant, walked up within ten or twelve feet of the door. He demanded the deserter come out. His reply: ‘You come get me!’ The Lt. never said another word. He slung that Thompson and fired the entire magazine of 32 rounds of 45 caliber bullets into the door, making an ‘x.’ Then the Lt. said, ‘Drag his ass out of there.’ Well, you can imagine what those 45 slugs did to him as they ricocheted off the tiles – and into him. This was the one side of that First Lieutenant O.D. About a month later, in the dead of winter, we responded to a call to the railroad yard. Civilians were taking coal from the fuel dump. There was snow and ice everywhere, and old women and barefooted children were trying to keep warm. I ask the Lt., ‘What do you want us to do?’ After a few minutes, he said to me, ‘Not a damn thing. Let them have it or they will freeze.’ This was the other side of the same man – compassion. What memories.”

Henson’s story is undoubtedly very powerful; it shows that those who do not remember their history are doomed to repeat it. After seeing oppression in such a forceful, personal way, Henson’s mission is to warn Americans of what could very well be there fate if they don’t take action.

Involved politically and following issues, Henson wants to awaken the slumbering citizens around him. They haven’t seen what tyranny is like yet. One way Henson gets his message across is writing down his memories of war, bigotry, regulations, big government, concentration camps, and the incredible effects that the government has on family, children, and education. Wartime Germany – or in fact, Germany at any stage of Hitler’s rise to power – was not pretty. His firsthand experiences illustrate this well.

“All of the history you can study and read about what happened to other countries can happen here. And is. We feel safe. Don’t you? ‘Here in the United States, we’re the most powerful country in the world.’ We were…In a way it’s good that young people have this feeling of protection. But don’t ever forget that the only thing that you have that’s for sure and concrete is faith. Faith in God that He meant what He said. The people of Germany didn’t realize this. One day we sailed into Hamburg, Germany. This was before the war. Hitler was just beginning a speech to his own. And he was ‘blah blah blah’ on these loudspeakers attached to telephone poles up and down the street. All you could hear was Hitler ranting and raving about ‘Deutchsland Deutchsland uber alles!’ That’s ‘Germany, Germany over all.’ Today Germany, tomorrow the world. That was his ambition. I was still just a kid, but I’d followed my fellow crew members into a sort of German bar. If I remember right, there were five of us. One of them was the boatswain, he had like a foreman’s job. I don’t drink, never have drank, and never will drink. But I enjoyed going and seeing, you know, all these things and sights. So I had a soft drink and the boatswain was leaning back in his chair, and Hitler was talking. Talk, talk, talk, talking. We saw these two guys come in who they referred to as the brownshirts, what they call storm troopers. What they were was Hitler Youth ranging from 18-25, and they were dressed in the boots and tan trousers, and the brown shirts. And the first thing Hitler did was to take over, however he did it, the children in schools. A child as you well know, when it’s born, in one sense, is a brand new computer. And whatever you program into that child’s head is going to be there, from now on. They call that brainwashing, brainwashing you into believing something that isn’t true. That’s what Hitler did to these young men. As they graduated, they became Storm Troopers. Now these guys were very vicious. They were absolutely vicious. Meanwhile, the boatswain was leaning back in his chair, and these two guys had come in and were standing at the bar looking around. They carried, besides their pistol, a nightstick, a rubber nightstick about this long, called a truncheon. Hitler was still talking over the loudspeakers. The boatswain said, uh, a profanity. ‘Won’t that *** shut his ***** mouth?’ One of the brownshirts looked up, and he started walking over to our table. One the way over to our table, he undid his truncheon and backhanded the boatswain upside the head and across the mouth. Knocked all his front teeth out, split his lips. He was on the floor and of course there was blood flying everywhere. And the brownshirt said to the rest of us, ‘Take him back to the ship.’ That’s just an example of how you control people, once you get the power to do it. Anyways, that was just one of my experiences. This was before we got in the war.”

History has a way of repeating itself. Henson’s quest is to prevent his beloved America from becoming the next victim of totalitarianism.

Old Glory: McDaniel’s Error

It is one of the most precious emblems of freedom in the world; the embodiment of our spiritual heritage; the representation of our historical sacrifices for liberty; a tribute to the men and women who gave the ultimate price for freedom: the American flag. Yet today it is cheapened—nay, mocked—as an attention-getting political device upon which Wayne McDaniel, candidate for Hardin County Judge, hangs his offensively-placed campaign signs.

Wayne McDaniel's disrespectful use of the American flag as an attention-getting apparatus to hold political signs.

Wayne McDaniel’s disrespectful use of the American flag as an attention-getting apparatus to hold political signs.

Old Glory, as it is sometimes called, is more than just a piece of cloth. It is blood, sweat, toil, and tears, justice, freedom, equality, and loyalty: no matter who is in the White House and no matter what party controls Congress, the American flag still represents these sacrifices and ideals—something that cannot be changed.

Respecting the flag sometimes seems silly, perhaps even trivial. However, flag etiquette is far from arbitrary: when the flag is displayed or handled, it is the physical representation of America and lives lost in its defense. That is something easily understood, and hopefully, easily remembered.

Occasionally our flag is disrespected or burned: a deliberate show of hatred not necessarily against America, but what the flag historically stands for. Occasionally the flag is forgotten outdoors: usually a careless misunderstanding or apathy. Occasionally the flag is misused, as it is made to represent ideals that it does not, parties that it cannot, or people that it is not meant to represent.

This is why Wayne McDaniel is wrong.

The flag code (Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1, Section 8, i) bars the use of advertisements on a flag pole or halyard that is flying the American flag, which is one reason why McDaniel is inconsiderate in his using the flag’s halyard as a mere campaigning contrivance.

Hoisting McDaniel’s cheesy red and white campaign signs to the same halyard as Old Glory is false advertising. McDaniel’s sign does not represent blood, war, and courage. It does not stand for justice and freedom. The white outlines of the letters do not stand for purity. Most of all, it does not, and cannot, stand for America. Likewise the American flag does not represent the McDaniel campaign.

McDaniel’s breach of flag etiquette may have been unintentional, but it takes only common sense to understand that using the flag for advertising purposes is improper. McDaniel, a bureaucratic administrative officer in the Sheriff’s office, should understand flag protocol, making his disregard of etiquette even more blatant and appalling.

On election day, remember: the flag represents the blood of soldiers, the courage of patriots, God’s justice, America’s blessed freedom, and a special sort of governmental purity that is hard to remember and even harder to live up to. Make sure that your vote reflects what our flag represents.

Circus Comes to City Hall

LUMBERTON – For a limited time only, a locally-based amateur circus is offering a free show at the Lumberton City Hall.

Featuring clowns, magicians, contortionists, and animals of all kinds, the circus is comprised of talented local folk. Visitors describe it as being a one-ring format, but with multiple performers and a variety of acts. Rumors have it that the show is purposefully in conjunction with Lumberton early voting.

Clowns, wearing brightly colored clothes and dramatic expressions, mingle with the crowd and even hand out trinkets, papers, and balloons.

IMG_3874

A collection of clowns waits for guests at the City Hall’s temporary circus.

“Oh, they’re hilarious conversationalists! So talkative, so nonsensical, so fantastical—all this made up stuff, as if they were talking gibberish,” said Earl Boater, who had never voted early before. “It was definitely worth it.”

The contortionists were particularly well-liked, as one spectator described.

“The clowns and the magicians just gathered ‘round those bendy folks,” Betty Clark said, “Obviously they were the most popular of the performers.”

“They were stretching the physical bounds of reality and truth with the contortionist tricks. It was absolutely dazzling the way they could stretch, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say they didn’t have a backbone!” added Liz, a faithful early voter, “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

Magicians, many attendants say, were also quite stunning as they played tricks on early voters and curious onlookers.

“Pointed questions, riddles, muddy references, and so much more,” said Buddy, who isn’t old enough to vote yet, but found out because of his job at Dairy Queen close to City Hall. “I had the time of my life trying to understand them and the tricks. One day I’d like to learn how to do that.”

Children were advised, despite the otherwise kid-friendly show, to avoid the animals, quite a few of which had not been trained and were not caged. Parental guidance was suggested for the snake exhibits and dog show.

“Yeah, the prize pigs are sometimes prone to sling mud around,” said one circus performer, “I would stay away from them if you want to keep clean.”

If you or your family would like to visit the circus, it will make a reappearance on March 4 of this year, with a possible summer review, and the another performance in November.

 

Reaping What You Sow

What one gets at harvest-time depends on what one plants.

What one gets at harvest-time depends on what one plants.

Meghan is my pal, and I’m proud of that fact. She befriended me the very first time she met me; I cherish her friendship.

She is much younger than I am, but that matters little. I’ve never given much thought to my friends’ ages, much less chosen them because of their ages. For most of my life, I’ve adopted friends older than I am (sometimes old enough to be parents or grandparents).

My pal Meghan holds the same convictions about age. Imagine my delight when she presented me with a most precious gift, a Barbie-doll coat hanger, among other things, and a plastic zebra. It brought a smile to my face because I clearly recall giving similar gifts to my older friends when I was around her age. As my toy animals were very important (big emphasis on very) to me, it gave me an idea about how much this gift meant. Probably more than most things she could give.

It occurred to me that I’m reaping what I sowed—seeing the returns on my long-time investment, so to speak. Although my harvest will not be entirely good, it does bear witness to the fact that the little things come back to you. In my case, it came back to me on earth.

“You reap what you sow” is usually a solemnly interpreted phrase, something likely mentioned when a father corrects his son for misdeeds or irreparable harm has been inflicted on a friend.

I’ve noticed that the phrase has an almost universally negative connotation. The Bible has much to say about getting what you earn (check out Galatians 6:7, Job 4:8, Luke 6:38, Mark 4:24, and Proverbs 22:8, for instance). These verses are far from negative, although for some deeds and for some words, it can be taken as a warning.

Seemingly insignificant things, like baking cookies for a friend, sending a hand-written card in the mail, making a point of talking to someone, or giving gifts for no reason will not only make someone’s day, but will one day make yours–just like Meghan made my day.

 

 

Icepocalypse Traumatizes Texans

Over three hundred Southeast Texans have ended up in the hospital due to the arctic weather that froze water on these flowers.

Over three hundred Southeast Texans have ended up in the hospital due to the arctic weather that froze water on these flowers.

 

SOUTHEAST TEXAS – A weather phenomenon so rare in Southeast Texas that it has been deemed a “once-in-a-century” occurrence, a trail of snow and ice left by a polar vortex has shut down must commerce and nearly all roads.

 

Most Texas residents have never experienced such inclement weather in their lives.

 

Long-time Lumberton resident Donna Wanto Becolde said, “It swept through here on Thursday night and Friday morning, and all the while it was basically a blizzard of snow and sleet and freezing rain. Approximately a quarter inch of frozen stuff bombarded the Lumberton area. It’s a wonder that I live to tell the tale.”

 

Texas law enforcement officers have been seeking out Southeast Texas residents to ensure that they were still alive in the 33 degree weather.

 

“Why, we was about to go swimming when all of a sudden, the temperature ducked below 72 degrees. I think my daughter might have gotten frostbite,” said a concerned Silsbee father, detailing the surprising beginning of the incident.

 

At least three casualties have been reported from the “icepocalypse” or “snowmageddon” – as inconvenienced and suffering Southeast Texas individuals have dubbed it.

 

“One man walked outside, and unbeknownst to him, the temperature was a lethal 49 degrees. His last words were ‘What is this feeling?’ as he collapsed to the sidewalk – by then strewn with cold raindrops,” said the man’s neighbor.

 

Despite the casualties, traffic disasters, and power outages associated with weather below freezing, most Southeast Texans have survived. Approximately three hundred have ended up in the hospital because of the weather. One woman suffered a heart attack after seeing a snow flurry.

 

Authorities have already assured citizens that counseling will be available to traumatized residents who have endured experiences that include the sensation of sleet falling on one’s head, being forced to turn the heater on, and other such uncalled-for cold weather problems.

 

“It’s far from over,” continued Donna Wanto Becolde, “We’ve still got a lot to deal with before the temperature returns to a reasonable average … I can’t remember having experienced a winter this cold.”

 

Life in 2113: Accurate Predictions

For hundreds of years, people have made predictions by analyzing data and attempting to trace trends. The rate of innovation, meanwhile, has astounded onlookers and shattered expectations: the founding fathers assumed it would take approximately a thousand years for civilization to reach the Pacific Ocean.

100 years from today, it's hard to predict what will be going on. But it is fairly certain that what you are reading will happen.

100 years from today, it’s hard to predict what will be going on. But it is fairly certain that what you are reading will actually happen.

 

For 2013 historians, guesses dating back to the 1930s or 1860s merely provide a good laugh (check out this 1930s video) If the best predictions are the funniest ones, it matters little how likely the situation may be or even if the situation is possible. The world of 2013 must maintain the tradition of ridiculous propositions for the future. The generations following ours need this article for reference – or at least for laughs.

 

Here are five predictions for the year 2113.

 

  1. The 19th century slapstick comedy series the “The Three Stooges” will be revered and recited just as Shakespeare is today. Entire theaters, built in period 1930s style, will be dedicated to remakes of the show; drama clubs will perform episodes as plays. Schoolchildren will be required to study the complicated and archaic language and vocabulary of the Stooges. Meanwhile, the incredible table manners of the stooges will inspire the 2113 MP – who will consider the three well-mannered and composed.

 

  1. Khan Academy, a free internet-based education resource for students, teachers, and the general public, has formulated an encouraging problems-for-points systems that is creating an online hierarchy based on the amount of points earned and subjects mastered. When the economy collapses, the KhanAcademy elite will rule the world with their points, establishing a plexus that explains the Star Trek world’s desertion of actual money.

 

  1. In 2113, the average earth family will have two or three space shuttles. If the husband and wife have jobs on different planets, probably more than two or three. Depending on how many children (and if they also have jobs) the family may even own a starship variant.

 

  1. Only the 2113 equivalents of 2013 rocket scientists and nuclear physicists will know, or even need to know, pre-algebra. Advanced mathematics will be tended to by iPhones and homeschoolers.

 

  1. Texas will have formed its own Republic, eventually taking over the entire world. By 2015, the Republic will have been established and will be ruled by President Chuck Norris and Vice-President Ted Cruz. By 2023, the Republic will conquer Europe and the remainder of the U.S. In 2025, the Republic of Texas will give China (existing until 2029)  New Jersey, California, and Greece. This will lead to the collapse of the rogue country, and Texas at that time will claim the rest of the world. Yankees that cling to their traditional noncompliance will be exiled to a large labor camp in what was once New Jersey.

Halloween’s Folly

Halloween: maybe one of the most disputed holidays of the American Nation.( except maybe Earth Day) With its origins in paganism and its prevalence today, many Christians try to avoid it. After all, it’s a holiday basically in worship of Satan, a day when demons supposedly had the run of the place before All Saints Day when they were driven out. The poor frightened peasants thought that disguises would keep the demons from recognizing them and hurting them.

Now, for small children it is a day for dressing up as either good creatures or foul. (Plus the chance to get free candy.) For older children cruel, dangerous, and even criminal activities are thought of as good fun. It is still a day of darkness and of terror — at least for cat owners. If nothing else, the holiday treats cats the same way it treats monsters, not as the cute, furry pets they are. Because this is a kid-friendly site I’m not going into any more detail.

On Halloween, it is deemed great fun to torment and hurt friendly animals like this one.

On Halloween, it is deemed great fun to torment and hurt friendly animals like this one.

Is it harmless? No way! Is it evil? I would say yes; others would disagree. But what did Paul say in Ephesians? Ephesians 5:11 deals with the works of darkness, and Paul says something very interesting. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Expose them!

You know what that means. Bring them to the light. Examine them. Show their true colors. Again, in verses 13-14:

“But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.””

So that’s the thing. Don’t take part of this celebration. Do research. Spread the truth. And Christ will shine on you.

Without The Cacophony

Working in a Congressional Office can be challenging. Fast-paced, sometimes hectic, and almost always noisy, Congressman Steve Stockman’s Washington D.C. Office holds many different opportunities for many types of people – including those who cannot hear the usual office cacophony.

 

Even though they cannot hear, deaf interns come to work with a cheerful attitude, strong work ethic, and big dreams. The interns skillfully feed information into databases, read and sort constituent mail, research legislation, run errands, and much more – their only limitation their inability to answer phone calls. However, many interns are adamant that not answering phone calls is an enormous benefit: “no angry constituents or difficult callers, and no distracting office environment.”

 

Matthew Bennett (on the left) with two other deaf interns at Congressman Stockman's office.

Matthew Bennett (on the left) with two other deaf interns at Congressman Stockman’s office.

Matthew Bennett, the data-entry team leader, is optimistic, and very motivated: “When I first started working here a month ago, I did data entry and very low level work. However, because I was very dedicated and motivated despite the repetitive work, they decided to test me by assigning me to do a complicated Access database development. After I completed the project and several others, I was promoted to data-entry team leader and now manage a team of interns.”

 

Matthew manages and works with other deaf interns – “I enjoy working here, because I get to build my managerial experience,” he said.

 

In addition to his full time internship, Matthew attends college at night, full time and will graduate this December with a perfect GPA.

 

“Before working here, I worked for the Department of Defense for several years … as a Data Management specialist. After working there, I decided that I want to spend the rest of my life working in government … I decided to get my Masters in Public Administration in order to obtain a supervisory position,” Matthew continued, “After my internship is over I would like to pursue a career here in Congress or go back to the Department of Defense in a … position with high level responsibilities.”

 

“Due to limited and substandard education for deaf children available in Tennessee when I was a young child, my mother decided to uproot her entire family and relocate to Colorado to ensure I receive an exceptional education,” He said. “If it was not for my mother’s courageous and momentous decision to relocate despite of so many unknowns, I fear I probably would be living in a trailer park and living off on welfare.”

 

Despite enormous obstacles (some from society and some from people) Matthew has pursued his ambitions and remains an inspiration for others, deaf or not, in the office.

 

Working together and communicating through sign language, the interns are dedicated to their duties. Many of them aspire to careers in Washington. Allara, who knows two languages and is currently studying at GallaudetUniversity, would like to work for the United Nations. Lily says she would like to either work full time at Congressman Stockman’s office or find a job related to information technology. Greg would like to start a business of his own, providing administration services to non-profit organizations.

 

Congressional internships not only offer valuable experience in the legislative process, they provide a chance to become familiar with typical office proceedings. Meeting leaders and learning how to become one as well, these interns are overcoming significant challenges to achieve their goals.

 

Interning with Congressman Stockman in particular offers special opportunities to deaf interns.

 

“My favorite part of working here is the friendly people and learning experiences.” Greg said.

 

“My first impression of Congressman Stockman was that he is a very approachable man, kind to everyone regardless of their position,” Matthew concluded. “This is a very important part of being a leader. Everything he has done since the first day I met him clearly demonstrates his exceptional leadership.”

George Washington’s Hoecakes

 

President Washington had a good taste in breakfast foods.

President Washington had a good taste in breakfast foods.

Here is George Washington’s breakfast of choice: hoecakes. The recipe is a tad hard to follow, but you can manage. It’s a slightly modernized adaptation.

 

  • 8 3/4 cups white cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • Warm water
  • Shortening or other cooking grease
  • Honey & Butter

 

In large container, mix together 4 cups white cornmeal, 1 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast, and enough warm water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter (probably 3-4 cups). Cover and set on the stove or counter overnight.

 

In the morning, gradually add remaining cornmeal, egg and enough warm water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter (3-4 cups). Cover and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Add cooking grease to a griddle or skillet and heat until water sprinkled onto it will bead up.

 

Pour batter, by the spoonful, onto the hot griddle. (Note: since the batter has a tendency to separate, you will need to stir it well before pouring each batch.) When the hoecake is brown on one side, turn it over and brown the other. Serve warm with butter and honey.

 

To Boldly Edit

Will the rules have changed in a couple of centuries?

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

 

Any fan of  Star Trek will recall William Shatner reading these words at the beginning of every TOS episode. However, Grammar Nazis have been recollecting something far different about the Original Series: a grammatical blunder of immense (most of us would say diminutive) proportions.

 

To go is a basic example of an infinitive, perhaps known to schoolchildren as the most easily identified verbal. However, if one learns about infinitives, one must also learn about their usage: because infinitives are counted as a single word, inserting a word into an infinitive would be obviously incorrect.

 

The phrase to boldly go is errant on the same grounds that exp boldly lore would be incorrect. Modifying adjectives can be placed in a variety of locations, but not in the middle of the word. This is why Grammar Nazis call this error a split infinitive. 

 

The duty of Grammar Nazis: to boldly edit where most people don’t want to even go.

 

All In One Dish

This is a simple recipe that doesn’t take long to make.

  • 1 medium cabbage
  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 large can of tomatoes
  • 2 cups of water
  • seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste

Put a little cooking oil or melted butter in the bottom of a pot. Place chopped cabbage, rice, tomato sauce, tomatoes, and water in the pot. Salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat. Meanwhile, brown meat and onions. Stir cooked meat mixture into cabbage. Bring to a boil and then turn to low. Cover and cook for about an hour or a little longer. Make sure your rice is done.

Garlic Green Beans

This green bean recipe is a favorite at the Outpost. We hope you enjoy it, too:

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound of green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (optional)

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt and green beans; cook for 3 minutes, until tender but still somewhat crisp. Drain.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add oil and swirl pan to coat. Add green beans and cook, stirring frequently, until spotted with brown – after that, cook for a couple minutes more. Make a well in the center of the pan and add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir continuously until fragrant (about 30 seconds) and then mix together with the green beans. Stir in the soy sauce, if you’re using it. Serve immediately.

Flakey Biscuits

Homemade biscuits are about the best-tasting thing a person can eat for breakfast. Here’s a special recipe for them:

Sift the following ingredients together in a large mixer bowl:

  • 4 cups soft whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Whip in 1 cup of chilled butter in small chunks. Mix in 1 1/2 cups milk.

In this recipe you won’t want to mix very much after adding the milk, or else you could end up with a tough biscuit that does not rise enough. Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Roll the biscuit dough into proportionate balls and flatten them to about 2 inches thick. Don’t be afraid to put them close together. Bake for 11 minutes, and serve with butter and honey.

Awesome Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe for oatmeal cookies is a favorite here at the Lumberton Outpost. It was hard not to triple-check the recipe!

In a mixing bowl place:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix the above ingredients in a heavy-duty mixer, whipping until smooth and creamy. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the above mixture until well mixed:

  • 2 1/4 cups soft whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup flaxseed meal
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder, plus one heaping pinch

Slowly add while the mixer is running:

  • 2 cups large raisins
  • 2 cups large pieces of walnuts (optional)

Bake at 375 for 8-12 minutes or until done. (We’ve found that it differs from batch to batch, depending on the ingredients. Watch it carefully.)

Reading the Bible Cover to Cover

A member of Silsbee's First Baptist Church finishes up the reading for the night.

A member of Silsbee’s First Baptist Church finishes up the reading for the night.

The people of First Baptist Silsbee are accomplishing in a week what it takes many Americans a lifetime to finish.

 

The reading started in the afternoon on September 28th and continues until Monday, October 7th.

From 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM, faithful churchgoers read the Bible aloud. It takes eight days to read it cover to cover – and it takes over twelve hours each days of nonstop reading to finish on schedule.

 

In 2009, First Baptist Silsbee’s 100th anniversary, the church completed the same project with great success.

 

The 2013 Bible Reading has yielded many positive results. Although passers-by don’t usually pop in to listen to the recitation or reading going on in the sanctuary, the scriptures read oftentimes minister to those who do, whether visiting church members or curious spectators.

 

Overstuffed schedules, the experience of most families with school-age children, rarely accomodate personal or family devotion time. Families that sign up to read together are especially blessed by the time they spend together in God’s Word.

 

Other readers observed that “I normally skip over this part” or “This chapter never seemed interesting before.” Genealogical chapters and prophesies are apt to be skimmed over in personal Bible-reading. When the audience at First Baptist hears them completely, it is likely to be the first time.

 

“It’s like a filibuster,” one reader and regularly attending member explained, “The reading of the Bible cover to cover reminds our community what we believe and why we believe it. I think it slows us down a little bit and gives us time to really consider the words that we are reading; it slows down the parts of our lives that maybe God isn’t pleased with.”

She continued, “And yes, there is a lot of talking involved.”

More than anything else, the reading is a reminder that it is not only possible to read the Bible “all the way through,” but that it is possible, with dedication, to finish it in a little over a week.

How the Government Shutdown Affects You

The government shutdown isn't much of a disaster. Obamacare, the reason for the budget struggle that caused the shutdown, is the real problem.

The government shutdown isn’t much of a disaster. Obamacare, the reason for the budget struggle that caused the shutdown, is the real problem.

With leftist howler monkeys wailing nationwide about the government shutdown, many Southeast Texans are left wondering whether this temporary budget situation is truly detrimental.

 

The IRS has warned the nation that all audits are being suspended and all taxpayer services will cease — although taxes still must be paid. Around 800,000 of 2,000,000 federal employees have been furloughed. Many Americans will be pleased to hear that the Environmental Protection Agency (a.k.a. the Economic Punishment Agency) has declared 96% of its employees non-essential.

 

The majority of Texan taxpayers have yet to see a downside to these developments. (However, non-taxpayers are complaining because their benefits may be slashed.)

 

To the average American spectator, the politics of the shutdown are revolting, to say the least. The much-publicized Honor Flight of veterans disallowed from visiting the Washington, D.C. World War II memorial sparked a public outcry, in addition to inspiring a number of Congressmen and Congresswomen to move aside the barricades. To the average public sector worker, the politics of the shutdown may be painful: federal employees are protesting, picketing, and demanding their jobs.

 

The howler monkeys’ trump card has been the unemployment aspect of the shutdown, and how the millions of bureaucrats rely on the government for life itself. The great irony of the week-long “end-of-the-world” budget situation is the fact that the dispute is not over the budget itself, but over Obamacare – one of the greatest job-killing laws of all time.

 

Millions of hardworking Americans will experience extreme financial hardships to accomodate the President’s healthcare law, including lost access to lifesaving medical care or drugs, unemployment, or demotion to part-time status. Meanwhile, the same Congressional howler monkeys that heartlessly demanded passage and implementation of Obamacare are now crying foul when federal employees are temporarily furloughed. In reality, these bureaucrats are merely sharing the experience of thousands of other Americans and small business owners — a taste of their own medicine, because hundreds of thousands of these employees are in charge of enforcing the Affordable Care Act’s regulations.

 

President Obama’s October 1st message asserts that the federal government is the nation’s largest employer, almost as if his objective was to point out how staggering the amount of bureaucrats had become.

 

The President’s message to the American people claims that “…the House of Representatives can end it [the government shutdown] as soon as it follows the Senate’s lead, and funds your work in the United States Government without trying to attach highly controversial and partisan measures in the process.”

 

Fortunately, the defunding of Obamacare is anything but highly controversial. Over 53% of Americans support a full repeal. Even in light of thousands of polls conducted on this subject, the statistics cannot express the average citizen’s contempt for the Affordable Care Act.

 

The government shutdown is not severe, and is far from a complete shutdown. Lumberton residents in particular have little to fear — unless one is a government employee or welfare recipient, life may actually be a little easier for now.

 

Although Southeast Texans may not be able to visit the Big Thicket National Preserve or be inconvenienced by the local IRS office for half a day, they can look at the bright side of things. First of all, Texas Congressman and Senators are leaders in the fight to exempt America from the Affordable Care Act, and make an enormous effort to oppose the howler monkeys’ agenda. Lastly, the National Endowment for the Arts has finally given us a cause to rejoice: they finally admitted that their employees are useless.

 

Orange Chocolate Cake

 

 

1 1/2 sticks (170 g) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing flour, only for dusting

6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet chocolate

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (220 g) sugar

Zest of one large orange

4 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks

1/2 cup (55 g) unsweetened cocoa powder

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter and flour a 10-inch (25-cm) round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then butter and flour the parchment paper.

Gently melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Stir the butter into the chocolate to melt, and stir until smooth.

Remove from the double boiler and whisk the sugar and orange zest into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and egg yolks and whisk well. Sift the cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture and whisk the batter until totally smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top has formed a good crust. The cake will puff up some, but it will settle down later and look like other brownies or brownie cakes.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving platter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and if you like, serve with candied orange peel and/or vanilla (bean) ice cream. Makes 9-10 servings.

To serve:
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting. Try some candied orange peel or other types of orange candies to top it, plus vanilla ice cream.

This was one of President Reagan’s favorite cakes, created by the White House chef.

 

February 2012 Gazette Archives

The Lumberton Gazette 2012-02-22

The Gazette was founded in February 2012, and since then has published many issues. We are delighted to bring you our LG archives.

Nancy Reagan’s Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

6 ounces butter, softened, plus extra for greasing pan

4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring pan and work area

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup lukewarm milk (110 to 115 degrees)

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 ounces melted butter

 

 

Preparation

1.Butter and flour a 1-quart or larger ring mold or tube pan and set aside. Whisk the yeast with the milk in a large bowl. Whisk in 2 of the eggs and then the sugar, salt and 4 cups of the flour, switching to a spoon when the dough gets stiff. Stir in the softened butter and knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together in a ball. Turn out onto the work area and knead until it forms an elastic ball, sprinkling with and working in up to 1 cup more flour to keep dough from getting sticky. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

 

2.Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work area. Roll dough into a log and cut into 28 equal-size pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, dip in melted butter and place in the prepared pan, staggering pieces in 2 layers. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

 

3.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Beat the remaining egg and lightly brush over the top of the bread. Bake until top is nicely browned and dough is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. (Test by turning out the loaf onto a rack; the bottom and sides should be nicely browned.) Turn upright on another rack to cool slightly before serving.