Delicate sublime taste, a cinch to prepare. Recipe is here (I didn't add any more liquid at the end).
Fine Cooking has directions for boiling or roasting your chestnuts (which are available at Trader Joe's and Hannafords supermarkets). For roasting: first soak the chestnuts in warm water for 20 minutes or so. Drain and dry off. Cut an "X" into the flat part of the shell (careful!!), cutting through the shell. Put in a baking sheet and roast at 400 deg F for about 30 minutes. While still warm, remove the shell and inner skin. Roasted chestnuts smell veddy, veddy nice, and they have a slightly nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Try it, you'll like it!
I added quail meat to my last batch of roasted chesnut soup, and it was killer.
When a man feels that theres's a woman trapped in his body (or a woman feels that she's really a man), I don't doubt those feelings exist and there's something serious going on. But I can't believe that major surgery (cutting off breasts and penises, etc.) and a lifetime of taking hormones is any sort of answer. That we even do this to children is an abomination.
As Shaidle writes:
"We don't treat alcoholism and drug addiction by encouraging drunks and junkies to use more, let alone force everyone in their work environment to 'adjust' to their 'born that way' 'lifestyle' -- or get fired for raising objections."
"Transexuals are the only amputation fetishists whose sickness we enable. ... One hundred years from now, heads will shake in wonder at how cruel we were. "
"But a stigma placed on cash-like welfare (which food stamps are) remains a positive sign of a healthy work ethic. If you came across two societies--Society A, in which food stamps were stigmatized, with families reluctant to go on the dole even if they were eligible, and Society B, in which they weren't, you would want to bet on (and live in) Society A."
Stigmas against high school gilrls getting pregnant was a good thing too, bring it back! Stigmas against divorce and adultery - bring it back! Shame is a powerful deterrent to those activities which weaken our society. Shame and guilt - forces so well known by earlier generations of Catholics and Jews - they were forces for good! Without these forces, exactly what maintains morals in a society? What keeps us civilized?
Along these lines, Roger Scruton has a terrific essay, Bring back Stigma, from City Journal (August 2000 issue). Good review of how stigma operated in the past, how it's "evaporated" in our era, and what the consequences have been. Excellent treatment of this topic!
Dr. Wafa Sultan is a feisty woman and an inspiring speaker, and she's going to be at Ahavath Torah in Stoughton, MA this Thursday, December 3, 2009. Address: Ahavath Torah Congregation,1179 Central Street, Stoughton, MA. More details:
Wafa Sultan is a Syrian-born American psychiatrist who is not afraid to speak up against Islam.
She caused a firestorm in the Arab world for a series of interviews on Al-Ja zeera TV, in which she directly and bluntly challenged the Muslim world to act against the barbarous culture of hate and intolerance that has defined Islamic thinking for centuries.
Cost is $15. For more information, contact the synagogue office at (781) 344-8733 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I like this Christian initiative, called the Manhattan Declaration. The statement was crafted by Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Evangelical religious leaders in Manhattan in late September, 2009. Go here to add your name to the statement, which has 196,490 signers.
A Call of Christian Conscience
Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.
We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:
the sanctity of human life
the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
the rights of conscience and religious liberty.
Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
I like very much the coming together of so many Christian denominations, and I especially like the three topics which they have chosen: sanctity of life, sanctity of marriage, and religious freedom. Bulwarks of our civilization, well worth defending and promoting, without apology.
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Pretty good summary of the strange case of Aafia Siddiqui, from Declan Walsh of the Guardian. Siddiqui, former student at Brandeis and MIT in the 1990's, was picked up in Afghanistan in July 2008, and she's been in U.S. custody ever since. But where was she between 2003 and 2008? Walsh interviews three people who ought to know something: Aafi'a sister Fowzia, her ex-husband Amjad Khan and her uncle Shams ul-Hassan Faruqi. According to Siddiqui's sister and British journalist/radical Muslim Yvonne Ridley, Aafia was kept at the Bagram detention center. Ridley and other Islamist organizations (Caged Prisoners) are getting lots of mileage with their utterly unsubstantiated story that Aafia was the "Grey Lady of Bagram," keeping other prisoners awake with her cries. The U.S. begs to differ with Ridley's story:
"...every major security agency of the US government – army, FBI, CIA – denies having held her. Last year the US ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson, went even further. She stated that Siddiqui was not in US custody 'at any time' prior to July 2008."
Aafia's ex-husband tells a different story:
"The truth of the matter, he (Khan) said, was that Siddiqui had never been sent to Bagram. Instead she spent the five years on the run, living clandestinely with her three children, under the watchful eye of Pakistani intelligence. He told me they shifted between Quetta in Baluchistan province, Iran and the Karachi house I had visited earlier that day."
"...Khan's explanation is bolstered by the one person who claims to have met the missing neuroscientist between 2003 and 2008 – her uncle, Shams ul-Hassan Faruqi."
I've read two versions of what happened to Aafia by her uncle Faruqi, and they don't quite match up either. This mystery doesn't seem to clear up, it only becomes murkier.
Aafia seems to have her wits about her and is in fact quite feisty these days. She is apparently not fond of Jewish people:
"During a typically stormy hearing last Thursday, Siddiqui interrupted the judge, rebuked her own lawyers and made strident appeals to the packed courthouse. 'I am boycotting this trial,' she declared. I am innocent of all the charges and I can prove it, but I will not do it in this court.' Previously she had tried to fire her lawyers due to their Jewish background (she once wrote to the court that Jews are 'cruel, ungrateful, back-stabbing' people) and demanded to speak with President Obama for the purpose of 'making peace' with the Taliban. This time, though, she was ejected from the courtroom for obstruction. 'Take me out. I'm not coming back,' she said defiantly."
Aafia Siddiqi's trial for attempted murder of a U.S. soldier in an Afghan police station is slated to start in Janaury 2010 in New York. Much remains mysterious in this case:
"And so the big questions may not be probed: whether the ISI or CIA abducted Siddiqui in 2003, what she did afterwards, and where her two missing children are now. In fact the framing of the charges raises a new question: if Siddiqui was such a dangerous terrorist five years ago, why is she not being charged as one now?"
"A friend said: 'It's horrific but hugely symbolic that Geeta's right hand was cut off. She was a Sikh and all Sikhs wear a metal bangle, the kara, on their right wrist. It is a permanent reminder to live a moral and good life and once it's on you can't get it off. So her murderer was both dishonouring her and perhaps tryingto show she had been dishonourable - which is just barbaric.' "
" 'We cannot continue to blame the white men, as Africans particularly the traditional rulers, are not blameless,' said the Civil Rights Congress. "The letter said some collaborated or actively sold off their subjects."
"...on behalf of the buyers of slaves, the ancestors of these traditional rulers 'raided communities and kidnapped people, shipping them away across the Sahara or across the Atlantic'."
The complicity of Africans in the African slave trade goes unstated in the calls for slavery reparations here in the U.S. Nor is there any mention of the extensive Arab slave system, which lasted longer than the European and American involvement in the slave trade and involved millions more AFrican slaves.
"The Army psychiatrist accused of killing 12 soldiers and a civilian at the Fort Hood Army post exchanged between 10 and 20 e-mails with a radical cleric in Yemen who calls for jihadism against the United States, senior government officials said Monday."
"In the motion, Carney argues the evidence against Mehanna comes from Internet conversations and videos he shared with others. Investigators have said Mehanna allegedly used a blog to promote jihad and watched jihadist videos with associates."
From the motion (page 11):
"The case against Dr. Mehanna rests primarily on Internet-based text conversations he had with people...The Internet-based conversations contain absolutely no indication that Dr. Mehanna planned to harm others or conspired with others to inflict harm."
Sounds familiar: don't worry, nothing to worry about here!
Haven't we learned yet that there is nothing "benign" or harmless about jihadi ideology?
"...we're scrupulously nonjudgmental about the ideology that drives a man to fly into a building or self-detonate on the subway, and thus we have a hole at the heart of our strategy. We use rhetorical conveniences like 'radical Islam' or, if that seems a wee bit Islamophobic, just plain old 'radical extremism.' But we never make any effort to delineate the line which separates 'radical Islam' from nonradical Islam. Indeed, we go to great lengths to make it even fuzzier. And somewhere in that woozy blur the pathologies of a Nidal Malik Hasan incubate."
I'm still sickened on many levels over the massacre at Ft. Hood post in Texas on November 5, 2009. Where to start?
Backstabber - Baldilocks uses the term "backstabber" for Nidal Malik Hasan,and writes: "...this incident takes us back to when another Muslim called Hasan turned on his fellow soldiers.Recalling that, I began to wonder how often U.S. military have turned their weapons on those who trusted them most."
- I'm dumbfounded by the incredible negligence of the U.S. Army that kept and promoted Major Nidal Malik Hasan, given the many warning signs over years. Read this NPR transcript, which discusses Hasan's statements at a Grand Rounds at Walter Reed hospital: "Hasan apparently gave a long lecture on the Koran and talked about how if you don't believe, you are condemned to hell. Your head is cut off. You're set on fire. Burning oil is burned down your throat." The staff was very concerned, another Muslim doctor objected to what Hasan said, and nobody does anything? Hasan is later promoted to Major?
Treason - Jerry Pournells gets it exactly correct: it doesn't matter if Hasan was "a crazy guy who happens to be Muslim." What matters is that political correctness in the military allowed this horrible massacre to happen.
" 'I just thought I can't do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought that's it,' said Abby Johnson in an interview with local news network KBTX 3."
"Johnson had been affiliated with Bryan's Planned Parenthood facility for eight years, and worked as its director for two. She said she began to feel uncomfortable with Planned Parenthood's business philosophy after the organization, suffering from the economic downturn, told her to try to bring more abortions in the door. 'The money wasn't in family planning, the money wasn't in prevention, the money was in abortion and so I had a problem with that,' said Johnson."
"But the turning point for Johnson was reportedly when she witnessed an actual ultrasound image of an abortion being performed on an unborn child."