Weekend Recipes: Sweet & Spicy Burgers

I have found burger perfection. Compliments to my brother-in-law, the grill master, for handling the Webber.

Step 1: Season and grill the burgers (Dan used a steak rub that was primarily salt, pepper, and garlic, with a few additional spices).

Step 2: Toast onion buns over grill.

Step 3: The sauce (blend of ranch and BBQ sauce).

Step 4: The garnishments: diced pineapple (small chunks), chopped cilantro, iceberg and butter lettuce, thin sliced Walla-Walla sweet onions (preferably grilled), and crushed red pepper.

Step 5: Stack it all in whatever fashion you desire.

The only ingredient we missed last night were the onions (Bekah was so distracted by my request for cilantro that she forgot the onion). Even without the Walla-Walla sweets, the burger was sinfully delicious.

p.s. Cilantro is my new favorite herb.


Five for Friday

The GOP has been holding their Idaho Republican State Convention today. Most of the reports I've seen from the convention are about deciding what their platforms are going to be in this upcoming campaign season. In the midst of the ongoing economic crisis causing severe budget cutbacks in education and social services, important issues ranging from maintaining the State's infrastructure, to cleaning our lakes and rivers, and supporting drug/alcohol prevention and rehabilitation, I'm bewildered that the GOP has not raised any measures concerning these issues.

This morning, Governor Butch Otter told the delegation that the convention is where "magic" happens. He also rambled about the evils of big government. Here are five magical resolutions approved by the state's GOP committee.*

1) They denied "Jedi" as an official religion. Note: the US Constitution prohibits the "establishment of religion" so I'm not sure why this was even a resolution up for debate.

2) They want to repeal the 17th amendment. Keep in mind that Idaho's GOP delegation is claiming a desire for smaller government. Repealing the 17th amendment would mean the Idaho State Legislature (big government) would select US Senators (big government) instead of letting us little people vote for them.

3) They're rejecting the federal health care bill. No one should be surprised by that. However, Idaho lawmakers have taken it a step further (along with a few other states) threatening to sue the federal government over the HCR bill. The GOP dominated state legislature have forced themselves a step further away from their claim of fiscal conservatism by passing a law requiring the state of Idaho to sue, which means big state government will be using wasting tax dollars to take on the big federal government.

4) They passed a measure to support Arizona's immigration reform law. Key word: support. They did not propose passing a similar law here in Idaho (which would find support in legislators like tax-dodging Hart and lame duck Mike Jorgenson). No clear intention to pass immigration reform in Idaho, just a proposal to support Arizona. My question: how? Moral support? Financial support? I sure hope the small government/lower taxes GOP isn't planning on sending any state tax revenue to Arizona. We have schools that could use that money.

5) The passed a resolution to define marriage. And I get what they're trying to do - they're trying prohibit trans-gendered individuals from getting married. But the language they used was "naturally born." In other words, you can not get married unless you were a naturally born male or a naturally born female. Unfortunately, that would also prohibit kids born of in vitro fertilization. Sanctity of marriage? My son marrying a test tube baby would shatter that sacred image. We can't have that happening can we?

* Disclaimer, in no way shape or form should this be construed that the State Democrats are perfect because they're not as silly as the Republicans; I believe we live in an idiocracy where no single party has sole claim on stupidity. Nor should this be interpreted as a prediction that the GOP is doomed in November's elections; sadly, Idaho is a state where the voters tend to vote for the letter behind the name more than they do the name on the ballot.



There was a movie we watched at school during my elementary days. I don't remember what grade we were in, but I distinctly remember being at Pinewood at the time the movie was shown. The film was about a woman with no arms.

She lived as normal as life would allow. She went clothes shopping and grocery shopping. She cooked and handled knives (not sure if "handled" is the appropriate word). She rode a bike. She typed. All without the aid of the hands and arms that most of us have cherished. She used her feet as hands; her toes as dexterous as the average human finger.

I'm sure the school showed us this short film as an inspirational message about overcoming adversity. There was also a kid in our class that was missing half of his right arm - everything below the elbow - so they could have used the movie as a reminder to be nice to the kid with one arm.

Whatever purpose the school intended, it missed the mark with me. there is one scene that stand out in my memory that was particularly troubling: the grocery store. As she pushed her shopping cart around the store (barefoot), she would pull her purchases off the shelves with her feet. Then, balancing on one leg, she would lift the food item within the grasp of her toes and drop it in the cart. But then she went to the produce isles. She would (still balanced on one leg) she would use her feet to pick up various fruits and vegetables, and squeezed them with her toes to check for ripeness. The produce that matched her liking were placed into her cart. The produce that was not ripened to her desire (and this is the part that was most scarring to me) was dropped - from her foot - back onto the produce display.

I'm positive that I trembled for years at the sight of fresh grocery store bought produce. I kept thinking - what if someone wrapped their toes around this strawberry. And I'm supposed to stick this in my mouth? No matter how much you wash that carrot, or that pear... you can't escape the possibility that that piece of produce might have been held with the firm clutch of someone's bare foot. That was a notion that left deep wounds in my psyche. I am not 100% certain, but this state-sponsored motivational movie could be the source of my fear of feet. I hate feet.


Father's Day thoughts from Christian

During breakfast...

Grandma asks: "Christian, do you want to be a dad someday?"
Christian answers: "Yeah, but only if I have kids."

Grandma asks: "What kind of dad do you want to be?"
Christian answers: "Not the kind like daddy. He only watches us clean our rooms. I want to be the kind the helps my kids clean their rooms."


the difference between my speaking capable children

Christian is wildly imaginative. Zu is deeply empathetic. Examples?

Zu says: "You shouldn't stand on Daddy's head, because that would hurt him."
Christian says: "I'm going to put a yak in my crack."

Zu (seeing my lying on the living room floor) brushes her hand across my forehead and asks: "Daddy, are you OK? Does your head hurt? Does your back hurt?"
Christian (seeing me in the same position) announces: "Daddy, you're a river. Look - I can jump over a river!"


Five for Friday

This has not been a good week for Idaho. We've been in the news, and mostly for embarrassing reason. It's a good thing we have beautiful scenery, because the some of the people here are questionable.

Here are the five recent Idahoan headlines catching national attention that hurts my soul.

1) First one seems harmless, but it is a bit hillbilly.

2) Next up, an unlikely vandal. The Condiment Lady

3) Tax dodging Hart. First news was that Idaho State Representative had $300,000 in new tax leans from the IRS. Seems he skipped paying taxes from 1997 through 2002 (finally paying in 2004) and he didn't file his 2003 taxes until 2005. Why? He thinks income taxes are unconstitutional. He even took it to court where it was dismissed by the Supreme Court. (Story HERE, and HERE) Then it comes to light that he also owes the state of Idaho $53,000 (which he's appealing to the State Tax Commission). This probably would not be as big of an issue if it wasn't for his position in the State Legislature. He serves on the House Revenue and Taxation committee (which should be some sort of conflict of interest). He's used his executive privilege of legislative session to delay the IRS in four of the six years he's worked for the state. And he blames his job with the state for his tax troubles. This is blatant tax dodging, as Hart's claims that (constitutionally speaking) the only things that are subject to taxation is property; yet he owns no property. Both his house and his business are set up in trusts under his daughter's name. In other words - he's hiding his assets for the sole purpose of avoiding taxes. We would vote him out, but the last time his name was on the ballot, he ran unopposed. (And to add insult to injury, his girlfriend was recently elected to the position of county commissioner in Kootenai County.)

4) Remember Edgar Steele? He was the attorney that represented the Aryan Nations in the 2000 lawsuit the bankrupted the organization. He also tried to represent the McGuckin family after their 2001 police standoff in Sagle. He's a known anti-semitist and much of his writings are laced with racist bile. Last Friday he was arrested in a murder for hire plot. According to witness testimony, Mr. Steel had a list of people he wanted killed - including his wife and his mother-in-law. Naturally, he's pleading "absolutely, completely not guilty."

5) Thought we were done with Steele? Nope. A pipe bomb was discovered on Tuesday at a Quick Lube near Fred Meyer. A stretch of Highway 95 was shut down for hours while the bomb squad was called in to investigate. Owner of the vehicle? Edgar Steele. Driver of the vehicle? His wife. Sadly, his "fans" are claiming Steele is being framed by the FBI because of his non-politically correct writings and his fight to stand up for the oppressed white people. Face, meet palm.

Welcome to Idaho. Don't worry, most of us are sane.


Still too young for logic

Conversation following my oldest's recent stint in time out.

Christian: I'm angry.
Me: Why are you angry?
Christian: Because Momma made me go to time out.
Me: Why did she send you to time out?
Christian: Because I pushed my sister.
Me: You were being mean to your sister?
Christian: Uh-huh.
Me: why did you push your sister?
Christian: Because she was trying to pick up the crayons. That was my job.
Me: She was trying to help you?
Christian: But I didn't want her to.
Me: You didn't want her help? She was trying to be nice to you.
Christian: I didn't want her help.
Me: So, let me make sure i understand this right. You were being mean to your sister because she was being nice to you?
Christian: Uh-huh.
Me: Good choice or bad choice?
Christian: Bad choice.
Me: And you were in time out because you made a bad choice?
Christian: Uh-huh.
Me: So, you're mad at Momma because you made a bad choice?
Chrisitan: No! That's not why I'm angry. I'm angry because she sent me to time out.
Me: But you were in time out because you made a bad choice.
Christian: Yeah.
Me: And you would not have been in time out if you made a good choice.
Christian: Yeah.
Me: So you're mad because of your bad choices.
Chrisitan: No!


Five for Friday

It's World Cup time. If the Olympics are the only time that Bekah is excited about sports on TV, that's how I feel about the Fifa World Cup.

Problem being, my wife doesn't understand soccer. She says, "it's just a bunch of people running around kicking a ball. At least in hockey there's an occasional fight." Therefore, I have to get my soccer fix through my iPhone, the internet, and telepathy. Just kidding about that last one.

But if I had to make a psychic prediction of the next five games, here's what I'd predict.

1. South Korea vs Greece. Greece gets slaughtered.
2. Argentina vs Nigeria. Argentina wins. Easily.
3. USA vs England. We barely beat England,
4. Algeria vs Slovenia. It's a tie.
5. Serbia vs Ghana. Serbia has a soccer team? Ghana wins.

Part of me hopes that an African team wins the World Cup, but I know that's unlikely. Part of my would love to see the American team take it all, but also know they don't stand a chance. I'll be rooting for Germany to win, but my (hypothetical) money is on Brazil.


Can I be your memory? (blogiversary part 5)

And now we've reached the end. I want to say these are my favorite posts from my last year of blogging, but that would sound like I'm quitting. Far from the truth. I almost feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it. Now to refresh your recent memory, here are the best posts from year number five.

June '09: Tidbits

July '09: Moving

August '09: Naming things

September '09: Judging people

October '09: Poop

November '09: Unfriend

December '09: Zu speaks

January '10: Haiti

February '10: Intelligence War

March '10: Significance

May '10: Lies!


Light the way on the way home back (blogiversary part 4)

On to the fourth year, only one more to go.

June ’08: Arby’s

July ’08: Mysterious bugs

August ’08: Squirrels

September ’08: Boise

October '08: Creepy

November '08: Thankful

December '08: Christmas music

January '09: Four sides of Christian

February '09: Water/Drama

March '09: Pearl Jam

April '09: A day in the life

May '09: My 30th birthday


Travelling without moving (blogiversary part 3)

Third day, third year. Here are my picks from número tres años.

June ’07: Armadillo

July ’07: Bad Neighbor

August ’07: So full of awesome...
- Epic Resort Experience
- Epic Border Crossing
- Epic Perfect Timing

September ’07: Non Sequitur

October ’07: Santa

November ’07: Sesame Street

December ’07: The ER

January ’08: Spokane Radio

February ’08: Leonardo

March ’08: David

April ’08: Questions? Answers

May ’08 Graffiti


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (blogiversary part 2)

Continuing the trend I started yesterday, I'm picking out my favorite posts to celebrate five years of blogging. Next are the top 13 posts of my second year in the tubes.

June ’06: Fire

July ’06: Houseboat Mishap

August ’06: Security

September ’06: Why toddlers scare me

October ’06: Bekah on the phone

November ’06: Entertaining Christian

December ’06: Crisco

January ’07: Generation Gaps

February ’07: What If?

March ’07: Lil Jon

April ’07: Burping

May ’07: Seven Random things, plus another


And it feels like old times (blogiversary part 1)

Do you know what happened five years ago today? I posted my very first blog post. To celebrate my fifth blogiversary, take a journey with me through the depths of my archives. Five years of blogging, sixty months of writing, 525 posts. I do not wish to unearth all 525 posts, but rather compile my favorites - a greatest hits, so to speak.

The following are the 13 best posts from the first year of RR&RT.

June ’05: Pilchuck

July ’05: Office Space

August ’05: Tomfest

September ’05: Birds & Kids

October ’05: The Exorcist

November ’05: Sports

December ’05: Music Snob

January ’06: Dumb Dog

February ’06: The Good and the Bad of Fast Food Service

March ’06: Panic

April ’06: Rules

May ’06: Best Buy