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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin

Villain...

Hi Folks!

Cold, cold and more cold! Snow, rain, more snow! But the Global Warming people just won’t give up. Now they tell us the blizzards are part of Global Warming. Say we’ll have more of blizzards, but less snow. A little hard to comprehend that, given that copious amounts of snow are part and parcel of blizzards.

That said, we here in northeast Wisconsin have been getting it all - warm and cold, sunshine, rain, sleet and snow - sometimes on the same day. If there’s any Global Warming left anywhere, most of us would dearly love to have it shipped up here!

Driving to work on Tuesday morning, with lacy snow-frosted forests after the rain and snow of Monday night, was like driving through a Currier & Ives painting. The difference is, usually in those paintings the vehicle was a sleigh, which is meant to travel on snow and ice, rather than a car, which definitely is not.

DID HORSES SLIP?

Got to thinking about that, and then started to wonder... Did horses slip on icy roads and trails? Did they feel secure trotting along on iron-shod hooves? Anyone know the answer?

EASTER RIDDLES

1: What do you call 10 rabbits marching backwards?

2: What do you call the Easter Bunny after a hard day’s

work?

3: What did the rabbit say to the carrot?

4: What do ducks have for lunch?

See answers just before Cookin’ Time.

WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY

On Friday, Feb. 22, marks the 271st anniversary of the birth of George Washington, the man most responsible for allowing the United States of America to become a reality.

Washington, who led the Revolutionary armies to victory, could easily have been made king of the new nation he liberated from Great Britain, but he chose to do what was best for his country, not what was best for himself, or for offspring he might have had, but did not. Perhaps God had reason for leaving the Father of our Nation with no children of his own. Had he accepted a lifelong crown as king instead of a temporary assignment as president, there would have been no one to inherit the office, so perhaps the temptation was not as great for him as it would have been for a man with children.

Nevertheless, no matter how much America has come to abuse the Constitution, we all still owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his wisdom and restraint.

VIDEO VILLAIN

Now a French company has released a new video game that depicts “an alternate reality” - a George Washington who turned into a cruel, power mad despot that needs to be assassinated. That could have happened with a lesser man, but it did not, because George Washington was George Washington, and we today are lucky that he was.

A spokesperson for Mount Vernon, Washington’s home before and after he served his country, doesn’t seem to be upset by the game. “Unlike other historic military figures, Washington admirably stepped away from power and returned to private life,” Melissa Wood said in a statement regarding the game. “George Washington set the precedent for this democracy’s peaceful transition of power. Mount Vernon hopes that this game will give its players some perspective on this important accomplishment, which is often overlooked.”

That’s an admirable attitude, and she could be right, provided teachers and news media continue to remind kids of the truth, and they grow up knowing that the real George Washington resisted any temptation to become a reigning despot like the villain in the game.

There was no law at the time that a president could serve only two terms. Washington was so popular that he could probably have held the post forever, but he stepped down in 1797 and moved back to spend the final two years of his life at his beloved Mount Vernon. In doing so, he passed the reins of the fledgling Republic on to the next man, a former political rival, who became President John Adams.

AR-15 NOT AN ASSAULT RIFLE

Over 1,100 current or former Army Reserve, National Guard, and active duty US Army Special Forces soldiers (Green Berets), on the web site “Professional Soldiers”, have posted a letter stating their support of the United States Constitution and their opposition to many of the gun control proposals being promoted in the wake of the recent tragic school shootings.

They also point out some incorrect information being circulated by gun opponents who pretend to know what they’re talking about.

The letter states: “The Constitution of the United States is without a doubt the single greatest document in the history of mankind, codifying the fundamental principle of governmental power and authority being derived from and granted through the consent of the governed. Our Constitution established a system of governance that preserves, protects, and holds sacrosanct the individual rights and primacy of the governed as well as providing for the explicit protection of the governed from governmental tyranny and/or oppression.”

The Professional Soldiers explain, “We have witnessed the insidious and iniquitous effects of tyranny and oppression on people all over the world.... Like you, we are also loving and caring fathers and grandfathers. Like you, we have been stunned, horrified, and angered by the tragedies of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Fort Hood, and Sandy Hook; and like you, we are searching for solutions to the problem of gun-related crimes in our society.”

They add, “Many of us are educators in our second careers and have a special interest to find a solution to this problem.”

They note much of the current debate is over so-called “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines, and say the terms “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” are often confused. According to Bruce H. Kobayashi and Joseph E. Olson, writing in the Stanford Law and Policy Review, “Prior to 1989, the term ‘assault weapon’ did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of assault rifles.”

The M4A1 carbine - a U.S. military service rifle - is an assault rifle. The AR-15 is not. The “AR” in its name does not stand for “Assault Rifle,”but represents the first two letters of the manufacturer’s name ArmaLite Corporation. “The AR-15 is designed to cosmetically look like the M4A1 carbine assault rifle, but it is impossible to configure the AR-15 to be a fully automatic assault rifle. It is a single shot semi-automatic that can fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute depending on the skill of the operator. The M4A1 can fire up to 950 rounds per minute. In 1986, the federal government banned the import or manufacture of new fully automatic firearms for sale to civilians. Therefore, the sale of assault rifles are already banned or heavily restricted!” they say.

So if the existing ban doesn’t work, why push for another one?

The Professional Soldiers document says the second part of the current debate is over “high capacity magazines” capable of holding more than 10 rounds in the magazine. “As experts in military weapons of all types,” they say, “it is our considered opinion that reducing magazine capacity from 30 rounds to 10 rounds will only require an additional 6 -8 seconds to change two empty 10 round magazines with full magazines. Would an increase of 6 8 seconds make any real difference to the outcome in a mass shooting incident? In our opinion it would not. Outlawing such ‘high capacity magazines’ would, however, outlaw a class of firearms that are ‘in common use’. As such this would be in contravention to the opinion expressed by the U.S. Supreme Court recent decisions,” they say.

They also point out that when the Federal Assault Weapons Ban became law in 1994, manufacturers began retooling to produce compliant firearms and magazines. Among them was the Hi-Point 995, which was sold with 10-round magazines. Five years after the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was approved, the Columbine High School massacre occurred. One of the perpetrators, Eric Harris, was armed with a Hi-Point 995. Undeterred by the 10-round capacity of his magazines, Harris simply brought more of them: 13 magazines would be found in the massacre’s aftermath. Harris fired 96 rounds before killing himself.

The Professional Soldiers letter says more gun control laws will not prevent the violent killings in our society, but they offer a number of alternate ideas that might, including training and arming selected teachers to protect their classrooms, but only if that decision is made by the local school district for their community. For starters they would like to see the 1990 gun free school zone law repealed. They feel it offers deranged shooters a place to do their killing without fear of harm to themselves, and cite statistics proving that when gun restrictions are lifted, gun-related crimes go down.

The bad guys don’t want to get shot...they just want to shoot someone else with no fear that someone will shoot back.

Incidentally, have been told, but don’t know for a fact, that in Israel, because of the constant threat of terrorist attacks, teachers are required to be armed with some pretty serious weapons.

No one wants to see any more shootings, but we need to think a lot as a nation before we give up more of our freedoms for a solution that just might make the problem worse.

EASTER WREATH

Lent is underway, but there’s still time to make a lovely Easter wreath to grade a table, the front door, or a living room or entry wall.

One idea is to make the wreath of rose vines and thistle to represent the “Crown of Thorns” placed upon our Lord’s head by Pontius Pilate when he mockingly proclaimed Him to be “The King of the Jews.” If you can’t get thorns at this time of year, use twigs to represent the thorns. Wire in six large black nails to remind us of the six wounds inflicted on Christ. The wreath is a circle that reminds us of eternity and life everlasting, which is ours because of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection.

Put a few violet bows or decorated purple blown-out Easter egg shells to represent penance, sacrifice and prayers offered during Lent, but leave it a bit plain.

Display the somewhat plain wreath during Lent, and then, on Palm Sunday, keep the wreath but add joyful decorations to it in the form of interwoven flowers, Easter eggs, tweets, bird or bunny figurines or whatever Easter colors and decorations you may want to use to symbolize the joy of the season.

ANSWERS: 1: A receding hareline. 2: Tired. 3. A: It’s been nice gnawing at you. 4: Soup and quackers!

COOKIN’ TIME

Lent continues, and so does the need for hot and hearty sustenance. Here a few new recipes you may want to try.

MEATLESS WHITE PASTA FAGIOLI SOUP

This Italian bean soup, with some hot, fresh Italian bread, sliced tomatoes and perhaps some cheese makes an entire meatless meal.

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

3 cans chicken broth

3 cans water

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 box thin noodles or other pasta

2 cans white kidney (or great northern) beans

In a large heavy sauce or soup pan, make a white sauce with 1/4 cup butter, two tablespoons flour and one cup milk. (Stir mixture constantly until it comes to a boil.) Add three cans chicken broth with three cans water, 1/4 cup dry white wine, two cloves minced garlic, and one teaspoon each of basil and oregano. Bring to boil again. Add the two cans of beans and boil for a few minutes to blend flavors. Stir often. Then add the half box of thin noodles and cook until they’re done.

CRAB QUICHE

This is almost too easy! Very, very good for a meatless evening or noon meal, especially if you serve with a bowl of meatless vegetable soup. Inexpensive too if you use imitation crab meat instead of the real thing.

8 ounces crab meat, picked over carefully for shells (or use

imitation crab meat like I do)

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

3 each eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded

1 cup cooked rice

3 1/2 ounces French fried onions

9 inch pastry shell (pre-baked for 10 minutes)

1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put in pie crust, and bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, and lemon pepper. Stir in cheese, crab, rice and fried onion. (Save some of the onions to sprinkle on top and get crunchy if you like.) When the pie shell has baked 10 minutes, turn oven heat down to 300 degrees and take out the pie shell. Fill it with the rice/crab mixture,top with reserved French fried onions, and return it to the oven. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until set and knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Serve warm as a main course or appetizer. For a whole meal, serve with a tomato-based vegetable soup, a nice green salad, and perhaps buttered broccoli. Then, in honor of Mr. Washington this Friday, top things off with a cherry cake, cherry pie ala mode or the cherry dessert that follows.

CHERRY ANGEL DESSERT

Lovely dessert for George Washington’s Birthday. Politicians a few years ago removed the birthday of our nation’s first president from the national holiday calendar in favor of the generic President’s Day, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t honor him anyway on Friday, Feb. 22. Mark your calendar! No, he really didn’t cut down that cherry tree, but the teacher who made up the story got a lot of mileage out of it and today most of us associate cherries with the great man. It’s a bit insane that the best known “fact” about George Washington is an untrue story (lie) created to prove how honest he was.

1 angel food cake (about four cups) broken into pieces

1 large package vanilla instant pudding

1 cup sour cream

1 can cherry pie filling

1 container frozen whipped topping or real whipped cream

Place cake pieces in 9x13 inch pan. Prepare instant pudding; let set a few minutes. Add sour cream and pour over cake pieces; then on top, pour cherries. Let stand at least 5 to 6 hours. Top with whipped cream just before serving.

HOT FUDGE PUDDING CAKE

Wonderful warm treat for a frosty winter night. Good warm or cold. Cake and hot fudge sauce bake together.

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

3 to 4 tablespoons cocoa

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

2 butter, melted

1 cup finely chopped nuts (optional)

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup cocoa

1 3/4 cups hot water

Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, measure flour, sugar, 3 to 4 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder and salt. Blend in milk and melted butter. Pour into an ungreased 9x9x2-inch square baking pan. Stir together nuts, brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa; sprinkle over batter. Pour hot water over the batter. Do not stir! Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake (not the pudding) comes out clean. While the cake is still very warm from the oven, spoon cake and pudding into dessert cups or serving bowls. If desired, top with canned cherry pie filling, frozen whipped topping, or maybe whipped cream flavored with rum or vanilla ice cream. Garnish with chocolate curls if you’re feeling fancy or serve as is if you’re not.

Thought for the Week: If you’ve quit going to church, don’t be afraid to go back. It’s never too late, unless you wait until your own funeral. As Father Walter Stumpf, of St. Mary Catholic Church of Crivitz, said, paraphrasing other theologians: “Church is not a museum. It is not a place to display perfect people. Church is a hospital for sinners, a place for sick souls to go and get well.”

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-927-5034 or by e-mail at shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)

COUNTRY COUSIN


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