Sunday, August 28, 2011

Home Made Yogurt.

I love ice cream.

Yes, I know, everybody loves ice cream, but my love for the deliciously sweet,smoothly textured dessert from Heaven can be obsessive. I could, very easily eat a quart every day. After a long, grueling day at work, I would reward myself with two large bowls every night before going to bed.

It wasn't harming me, I told myself. In spite of all the ice cream I was inhaling, I was still burning more calories than I was consuming so I wasn't gaining weight. Why shouldn't I indulge myself if I wasn't suffering any ill effects?

After my latest "health risk assessment" - when blood was drawn and tests taken - I learned that the ice cream was affecting in ways that weren't healthy. My glucose level was too high as was my triglyceride levels. The totals weren't so high that I need medication, but it was clear that I needed to make changes in my diet.

So, I agreed to eliminate ice cream completely for a month. I've still a couple of weeks to go.

I've looked around for healthy substitutes. Yogurt seemed a good choice. Not frozen yogurt but honest to goodness real yogurt. Problem is, although commercially produced yogurt may be healthier than ice cream, it still leaves much to be desired......added sugars, gelatin and who knows what else.

It would be much better, I believed, to make my own yogurt at home. Unfortunately, yogurt incubators aren't as easy to find as they may once have been. A Google search lead me to two websites ( #1 and #2) explaining how to make yogurt using a crock pot.

The instructions are essentially identical:

Turn crockpot to low setting. Add 1/2 gallon of milk and cook for 2 1/2 hours.

After the milk has cooked, unplugged the crockpot and let the milk set for 3 hours.

When the 5 1/2 hours have passed, remove 2 cups of the warm milk - put in a bowl and mix with 1/2 cup of store bought, plain active culture yogurt (after the first batch, you can save a 1/2 cup of your home made yogurt to use as a starter).

Return the milk and starter to the crockpot. Stir in.

Put the lid back on the crockpot. Keep it unplugged, and wrap a heavy bath towel all the way around the crock for insulation.

Now, let the little bacteria do their thing for 8 hours.

The yogurt will have thickened ......though not as thick as store bought yogurt. It's supposed to thicken up a bit more after the yogurt is divided into smaller containers and refrigerated.

How good is the recipe?

Well, I started my first batch this morning. It's not ready yet, so my verdict will have to come in another blog post.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Focal Dystonia.

Folks who didn't know me in my younger days have no idea that I was - if I do say so myself - a fairly decent guitar player. Most specifically, I had a talent for slide guitar, electric and acoustic styles.

Some years back, I started developing a numbness in the two smaller fingers on my left hand (ring and pinky). The problem was, more or less diagnosed as neurological though no one was willing or able to give the condition a name. One surgeon told me the problem stemmed from a nerve being pinched at my elbow.

Developing arthritis in my right hand hasn't helped, though the arthritis could be eased with pain medication - nothing seemed to help the problem with the fingers on my left hand.

I attempt to play occasionally. Instead of playing for hours at a time as I once did, I'll pick up a guitar once in a blue moon.

After years of wondering what the heck was going on with my fingers, I figured out that my problem has a name, at least. Focal dystonia.

Heading out to Walmart this afternoon, to return a pair of shoes my wife bought for me, I turned on the radio. I happened to listen to most of a 10 minute interview of guitarist Grey Reverend on NPR's All Things Considered .
From the NPR story,

"Larry "L.D." Brown, an acoustic songwriter who performs as Grey Reverend, suffers from one of the worst ailments a guitarist can have. Some years ago, he discovered he had focal dystonia, a neurological condition that causes muscles to constrict involuntarily, and which eventually caused Brown to lose the use of his left ring and pinky fingers."

Grey Reverend has managed to adapt to playing his guitar without the use of his left ring and pinky fingers. His first length CD, Of The Days is available on The CD can also be heard on Spotify.

Doing a Google search, I find that Reverend and I aren't the only musicians with this ailment. Guitarist Billy McLaughlin has it as well.

I may never be able to play as well as I once did, but listening to Grey Reverend and Billy McLaughlin gives me encouragement.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

John Zogby's weekly Obama Report Card.

From - Pollster John Zogby's weekly Obama Report Card gives the President a D.

Zogby is being far too generous, I'd say......should be an F. (because you can't give an F minus).

Monday, August 15, 2011

School Board Removes Sherlock Holmes Novel From List.

The story was surely to be of interest to newspaper writers and editors ever on the look out for the censorship of books by libraries and school boards.
The headlines: Albemarle removes Sherlock Holmes book from reading list and School board removes Sherlock Holmes novel as derogatory to Mormons.

From The Daily Progress,
"The Albemarle County School Board voted Thursday night to remove Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet” from sixth-grade reading lists. A parent of a Henley Middle School student originally challenged the book in May on the grounds that it is derogatory toward Mormons."

The book, “A Study in Scarlet” had been used to introduce Sherlock Holmes and the mystery genre in general to the 6th grade class.

The USAToday article published an excerpt from the novel, which could, they assumed, be construed as offensive to Mormons.

"(John Ferrier) had always determined, deep down in his resolute heart, that nothing would ever induce him to allow his daughter to wed a Mormon. Such marriage he regarded as no marriage at all, but as a shame and a disgrace. Whatever he might think of the Mormon doctrines, upon that one point he was inflexible. He had to seal his mouth on the subject, however, for to express an unorthodox opinion was a dangerous matter in those days in the Land of the Saints."

I've been a fan of Sherlock Holmes for many years, though mainly from TV and movie adaptations of the books. I had read some of the short stories in my youth, but I can't recall ever having read “A Study in Scarlet”. The recent BBC release, "A Study In Pink" was adapted from the book - however loosely - and there was, as I recall, no mention of the LDS in that version. From the excerpt in USAToday, I couldn't say for certain if, over all, the book was anti-Mormon. I imagined how I'd react if the quote had been ".......nothing would ever induce him to allow his daughter to wed a Roman Catholic. Such marriage he regarded as no marriage at all, but as a shame and a disgrace." Would I find that particularly offensive?

Not necessarily. I would have to take the quote in the context that it was originally written.

Going to ( where else?) Project Gutenberg, I downloaded a copy for my Kindle.

Upon coming to Part II of the story, which takes place in Utah, I had no problem at all seeing how the book would be offensive to Mormons. Conan Doyle's portrayal of Brigham Young is outrageous, to say the least.

In spite of it's anti-Mormon elements, the book is never the less a masterpiece. I agree, however with the Albemarle County school board's decision that the novel is not age-appropriate for sixth-graders.

The comments left on the Daily Progress story follow a common thread. Most view the school board's decision as political correctness run amok. I suspect most of those leaving comments haven't read the novel. Of course, jumping to conclusions isn't a new sport.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Imitation of Christ.

Several years back, I located and downloaded a copy of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis in pdf format. I can't recall exactly where I found it - though anyone looking for a pdf copy can go here. I'm not a fan of reading pdfs on a PC, so I printed the 114 page document.

The book is one that needs to be read regularly. I don't suppose one could read it too many times.
After receiving a Kindle for my birthday, I wanted to put a copy of the book in the Kindle. says the Kindle can read pdfs, but, frankly, I didn't care for the way the pdfs looked when one was downloaded onto the device.

I went looking for a copy the book formatted as mobi..; easy enough by going to Project Gutenberg. After downloading the file, I uploaded it to Kindle and I've been rereading it.

There is a minor problem with this version; this work, translated by Rev. William Benham uses archaic English. From the first book, chapter one :

"Of the imitation of Christ, and of contempt of the world and all its vanities

He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,saith the Lord. These are the words of Christ; and they teach us how far we must imitate His life and character, if we seek true illumination, and deliverance from all blindness of heart. Let it be our most earnest study, therefore, to dwell upon the life of Jesus Christ.

His teaching surpasseth all teaching of holy men, and such as have His Spirit find therein the hidden manna.But there are many who, though they frequently hear the Gospel, yet feel but little longing after it, because they have not the mind of Christ. He, therefore, that will fully and with true wisdom understand the words of Christ, let him strive to conform his whole life to that mind of Christ.

What doth it profit thee to enter into deep discussion concerning the Holy Trinity, if thou lack humility, and be thus displeasing to the Trinity? For verily it is not deep words that make a man holy and upright; it is a good life which maketh a man dear to God. I had rather feel contrition than be skilful in the definition thereof. If thou knewest the whole Bible, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what should all this profit thee without the love and grace of God? Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, save to love God, and Him only to serve. That is the highest wisdom, to cast the world behind us, and to reach forward to the heavenly kingdom.

Reading a book filled with words like "followeth", "surpasseth" and "knewest" can get a bit tedious.

My pdf copy was a different translation - by Aloysius Croft and Harold Bolton - where, thankfully, "followeth" becomes "follows" and "surpasseth" becomes "surpasses". After a Google search, I found a website ( ) that will convert pdfs to

Free is good.

I'm 25% thru with Benham's translation. I'll finish it, I suppose; no point in changing horses in mid stream. At least, I'll have another version for the Kindle next time I read the book.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chinese Stamina Pill Made from Dead Babies.

I came across this story by way of Creative Minority Report. It's the sort of story that needs to be posted on Facebook, but, unfortunately, CMR has been deemed a "spam site" by the higher-ups at FB and links to CMR cannot be posted there.
I'm not nearly as big a fish as the Archbold brothers, so my humble blog doesn't get blocked. I can write on this horror story without fear of censorship from the powers that be.

According to the CMR piece, hospitals in China are selling the bodies of aborted and stillborn babies to a drug company which dries and grinds the bodies for "stamina" pills.
Matthew Archold at CMR was sent this story that appears in a Korean newspaper called the New Daily. Matt ran the Korean text through the Google translator and gets this:

When the hospital has a deceased baby case, the staff, who are openly involved, are instructed to immediately notify the medicine company. The documentary team reveals the super secret process of how the Dead Baby Pill is made.

The medicine company stores these dead babies in a normal family’s refrigerator, so no one can find out. Then, when ready to use, they put the dead baby in a medical drying microwave, also located in someone’s house. Once dry, they grind it up and put it in the capsule.

At a very high price the documentary team got their hands on some of these pill and had them tested.

The results: 99.7% HUMAN

The story is also covered by Weird Asia News which had previous released a story reporting "that the Chinese have been eating infant babies in an attempt to improve their health and beauty".

Friday, August 5, 2011

Me Neither.

It's no small comfort for me to learn that others are suffering from "Blogger's Block". LarryD has it as well.[Acts Of The Apostasy: Still Got Nothing].

Larry's solution? He's falling "back on the tried and true concept of The Meme."

He's posting the 5th sentence on page 56 of the book he's currently reading. I went along and posted mine in his comment section....though, with Kindle it's difficult finding page numbers; I'm not at all certain that my page 56 would be the same as the page 56 in a printed version of this particular book.

Larry wrote that in the original meme, one was not to mention the name of the book - but he'd do it any way.
""For to what extent do people still belong to the Church in the first place?" (Light of the World, Pope Benedict XVI).


I'll post the sentence without naming the book ........'cause I follow the rules, Larry :)

"Confused by the emotion of the day, and feeling his being there with this Double of coarse deportment, to be like a dream, Charles Darnay was at a loss how to answer; finally, answered not at all."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An Interesting Comment.

It's been quite awhile since I've posted anything on this blog. Sorry, but I have no valid excuse.

It's been even longer since I've posted anything on my D'offus of the Big Doofus blog but, surprisingly, that blog received a comment yesterday on a post from 2009. [What Addiction.] In that post, I mock Obama's dependance on the teleprompter.
The anonymous comment:
"I'm an Obama thug and I'm coming after you and your family."

Google Analytics shows that page was visited by someone in Berkley via Google searching how a teleprompter works.

......type in that phrase in Google (images) and my blog comes up second. It would kinda nice to see that jump to first place.