Tag: Group Writing

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From the day the British set foot on Staten Island in July 1776 they had been unstoppable.   They surprised and badly mauled Washington’s Army at Brooklyn Heights.   Washington only saved the Army with a daring night evacuation of the Army to Manhattan.   But the British pushed him from Manhattan, capturing Fort Washington […]

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January’s group writing theme is “The Time When Life Changed.” Ricochet members, founding or first time subscribers, AND especially the reticent or keyboard shy, are strongly encouraged to join in our group writing project this month. Posts on January’s theme could be about a change for the better or for the worse. It could be […]

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[Resolve to contribute in 2022. Check out our monthly theme and Quote of the Day standing projects and act on your resolution this January!] There has been a great deal of good writing over the years, inspired by monthly theme cues. Maybe you missed some, or joined more recently. Instead of searching on tags, just […]

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So Much Light … Not Enough Night

 

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m back to doing doubles at the Deathstar. I’d say that it “seems like old times” but no times seem like old times anymore at the mothership. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

New Year’s used to be quite the event at my “day job” (a law firm that we support staff like to [half] jokingly refer to as the nexus of evil in a galaxy far, far away). Our offices loomed over 42nd and Broadway. We’d flock to the windows just before midnight to watch the team in charge of the ball drop scurry around below us on the platform and as the countdown ended, the fireworks would rise up to meet us, exploding literally before our eyes.

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This January’s theme is “The Time When Life Changed.” Thanks to @susanquinn for the suggestion. This could be a change for the better or for the worse. It could be for you, a relative, a friend, someone (in)famous, the country, the world, or even the cosmos. Ricochet members, founding or first time subscribers, AND especially […]

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Salvation Army Falls Into Darkness

 

Don't be Chikin Fill Red KettleI stopped by the Hobby Lobby shortly before Christmas to pick up a few artsy-crafty supplies. As I exited my vehicle and scanned the entryways, I noticed the Salvation Army bell ringer at one. I immediately chose the other entrance, unlike any prior year. And. I observed that almost every other customer was making the same choice. This is a sign of the much larger self-inflicted damage to a once truly noble organization. This saddens me greatly, but the deadwood, the tree gone bad, must be ruthlessly pruned if it is ever to recover and again bear good fruit.

Several Ricochet members have already written about the sad tidings from the Salvation Army. The U.S. national, and likely international, leadership has been successfully infiltrated and turned to the heresy of “anti-racism.” This heresy stands the Christian scriptural commandment against the sin of partiality on its head. Now, Salvation Army members are instructed that sin is a virtue, that we are to be partial against white skin and favor black skin as virtuous in assumed victimhood.

When called on it, the U.S. national commander of the Salvation Army hid the truth and dissembled rather than confessing his sin, repenting, and showing he was taking concrete steps to purify the Salvation Army as a church and a charitable organization.

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In the interest of stimulating more volunteering for our group writing projects, I roll out Christmas bears and Christmas disco. This December’s theme is “Winter Lights and Dark Winter Nights.” Ricochet members, founding or first time subscribers, AND especially the reticent or keyboard shy, are strongly encouraged to join in our group writing project this month. […]

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The Shortest Day of the Year

 

I feel a lot better now that I’ve given up hope.

OK, I’m just joking (I do have hope) but it does describe the melancholy way I feel.  It is a battle of cycles – if I feel bad, don’t worry it will pass; if I feel good, don’t worry it will pass, too.

Over the years, I stopped trying to figure it out.  Too much caffeine?  Sugar?  Food?  Not enough exercise?  Too much stress?  Get better sleep?  Changed all those things.  To some extent, they work, but not completely.

Christmas Eve Light Memory

 

Much of my youth was spent living in government quarters on Army posts. The quarters (houses) were all quite similar because they had all been built as part of the Works Progress Administration projects. The red brick was quite uniform. Walk down into the basement and you found exposed I-beams reading “Carnegie Steel.” Each post had several chapels. Of course, one of these would be designated “Main Post Chapel.” Main Post Chapel is the setting of a Christmas Eve memory.

Main Post Chapel at Fort Lewis Washington is an elegant red brick building overlooking the main parade field, lined with carefully pruned evergreen trees. Broad steps lead up to large solid wood doors opening into the chapel interior. There are tall stained glass window and a high peaked ceiling. The chapel is the setting for multiple services, both Catholic and Protestant. On Christmas Eve, this chapel was the setting of a long military tradition, a late evening service.

For decades, this special service was packed with military families, all dress in their finest. The officers and senior enlisted were all in their dress blue uniforms, think black tie, with a few junior sergeants and privates in their issued dress greens, the equivalent of a business suit. The service consisted mostly of Christmas hymns and carols, supported by a pipe organ and piano. The pipe organ was built in 1934, a Reuter Organ Co. Opus 452.

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We are lagging in post presents this month, folks. This December’s theme is “Winter Lights and Dark Winter Nights.” Ricochet members, founding or first time subscribers, AND especially the reticent or keyboard shy, are strongly encouraged to join in our group writing project this month. I’m sure you have something to contribute. Do your fellow […]

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This holiday season I’m doing something I’ve never done before – reading multiple Christmas books! It started quite by accident when I realized I was reading a Christmas book already pretty soon before Thanksgiving (it was actually in October, but “soon” is relative, after all). I had another book or two I wanted to read […]

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This month’s theme is “Winter Lights and Dark Winter Nights.” Ricochet members, founding or first time subscribers, AND especially the reticent or keyboard shy, are strongly encouraged to join in our group writing project this month. As customary, hereafter find a little music to set the mood or spark some creative responses. We start with […]

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This December’s theme is Winter Lights and Dark Winter Nights. We start the month in Hanukkah,the “Festival of Lights.” The Northern Hemisphere winter solstice is December 21 this year. The Nativity is a story of light and dark in this world. The month ends in a night of fireworks and brightly lit parties, or maybe […]

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Lighter Feasting for the Holidays

 

CornbreadI clipped two dessert recipes from the November 1982 issue of Chicago Magazine, “Best of Dines, Worst of Dines.” Four decades later, they are still in my recipe file. One is complex and very rich, while the other is true simplicity and light in both preparation time and calories. I further simplified the simple recipe to universal acclaim this past week. For Thanksgiving, I will prepare a cranberry relish, made from scratch, that is both flavorful and ridiculously healthy. I suspect I will also make cornbread muffins, relatively healthier than general-purpose flour breads. What tasty, tempting recipes have you enjoyed with Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts and parties?

When I first carried the two restaurant dessert recipes away from school in Chicago, I took the first occasion to wow home audiences. The first was a flourless chocolate cake, that requires a springform pan. This was gluten-free before gluten-free was a thing. The volume of the cake is created by six egg whites beaten stiff. The substance comes from finely chopped nuts. The chocolate is semisweet. For garnish, either dust with powdered sugar (perhaps with a pattern/stencil) or follow the original recipe for another level of chocolate ganache. If you like chocolate, if you really like chocolate, you will love this.

The other recipe, even in its original form, is far simpler, far quicker, and far lighter. Pears, poached, with fresh berries, reduced to a sauce over low heat, that is all. Now the details.

A Feast of Books

 

When I was growing up, I read like I breathed. I remember reading an entire book (or close to it) during church one time (before my parents stopped letting me read during church, haha). I told one of my parents’ friends about it after the service and he did not believe me, but that’s who I was. I read all the time.

Then, college and the Internet hit, and I stopped having a lot of time to read. After that, I found my attention span had been greatly affected, and so I just chose not to read much.

Cargo Container Feast and Famine

 

America (and likely China) is experiencing a cargo container feast and famine. Ryan Petersen, CEO of Flexport, deserves an “A” for effort with his influential Tweetstorm. He gets the problem, the choke point, right. Peterson is able to be a catalyst for discussion leading to real solutions because he is not in one of the positions being blamed: shipping companies, dock managers and workers, trucking companies and truckers, or government. However, Peterson shows the limits of his knowledge in his suggested means to the end of getting trucks to the cargo terminals with empty trailers. Let us consider what he wrote, how things work, and who is actually in a position to lead an integrated solution to this short- to medium-term logistics problem. Hint: politicians touring and talking “infrastructure” spending are not part of the solution.

Prelude for context

A Feast Long Avoided: Gluten-Free No-Bake Fruitcake

 

Preliminaries

As I may have mentioned a time or ten thousand here on Ricochet, I have certain auto-immune problems which include celiac disease and food allergies that preclude my eating anything with most grains. The only grain that I do not have adverse reactions to is corn (maize). But corn is definitely not wheat with its wonderful gluten properties that allow for good breads and many other baked goods.

But not all baked goods are the same. I was in a conversation here on Ricochet the other day, and the subject of fruitcakes came up. Admittedly, we started out talking about the human sorts of fruitcakes, but the holiday season is approaching. Someone threw a picture of a non-human fruitcake in that conversation, and I thought, “I bet I could make a fruitcake with corn.” If there is one thing that corn can manage just fine, it’s creating a moist, dense cake. Thus, I started on this adventure.

Group Writing: Intermittent Fasting

 

I just stepped on the scale. I weigh 295 pounds. That probably sounds like a lot to you, but it sounds like a minor victory for me. For several years, I have weighed over 300 pounds. I have had a lot of health issues over the last 30 years that have led to my being fat. The history doesn’t matter much, but another recent physical challenge had me ready to consider new measures. One measure that I have heard can sometimes “reset” the metabolism is fasting.

I had already been thinking about fasting when someone posted formulae in the PIT for calculating one’s basic metabolic rate (BMR). This is, according to the site where it was referenced, the absolute bare necessity for doing things like breathing and maintaining a heartbeat. Here are the formulae:

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This month’s theme playlist is pretty lean, more famine than feast, as my brief search turned up few songs that fit in some sense, outside of liturgical music. Jump in and fill the lacuna if songs come to mind. I look forward to the comments and your posts through this month.  This November’s theme is Feast, […]

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For Halloween, I bring back a tale told a year ago. Lights out, gather round for a tale well calculated to keep you in suspense. Pleasant dreams. It was a dark and stormy night. The snow fell heavily – except at occasional intervals, when it was driven sideways by a violent gust of wind which […]

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