Monday, December 26, 2005

New Site!

Some day in the nearing future we will have a new web site. The site will be found at Mark your favorites now. We currently have the new web address linked to the soon-to-be old web site. If you want to see pictures of my handsome son, stunning dog and beautiful wife click on the link above. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Holiday film critique

The March of the Penguins
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe


Must Love Dogs

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Beer-cheese bread and a dirty old man

We are now in Wisconsin. We traveled all day on Sunday and now we are here. We arrived to 8 inches of snow and frigid temperatures (almost like ND). This morning I had coffee at a place called Cafe Diem (that is a cheesy name for a coffee establishment but it is better than others I have heard - that is a different blog post entirely). I drank coffee and read 2 Timothy as well as a few chapters of a book on marriage. I will take just a second to let you know that my wife is amazing and I am glad we are married.

Whilst I made vegetarian chili, Kirsten and her mother looked through a few photo albums from days of yore. Below is one photo I thought to be blog-worthy.

The little tike on the left is Kirsten. The one on the right is Gretchen (Kirsten's sister). The guy in the middle is some dirty old man who has had a few too many Colt 45's. If you had any question of whether or not Ezra was really our son - look at Kirsten in the above picture. Ezra is definitely Kirsten's child. I know Kirsten to be a faithful wife, thus Ezra is also my son.

Tonight we will sup on vegetarian chili and beer-cheese bread. You are invited.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Some things are not meant for a pie!

This evening I loaded up the wife and son and headed out to the local pizza parlor (notice I said "the" parlor - because there is only one in town). Sammy's Pizza advertises "kids eat free on Tuesdays." Eat free is exactly what our boy did tonight. He ate crackers, croutons, hand-fulls of ranch dressing, and fork after fork of greasy pizza. As we waited for Dorris to return with our pizza we heard a few strange pizza topping combinations.

There are times when I write things to be humorous - this is not one of those times. The following is completely true. Directly behind my wife two middle-aged women ordered a medium pepperoni and bleu cheese pizza. I am not a big fan of meat but the pepperoni sounded delicious compared to the bleu cheese. Dirty sock foot cheese should not be on a pizza. To my left sat a family of eight. It must have been a family Christmas gathering because they had me take their picture. If a Christmas picture at a pizza joint doesn't say 'class' I don't know what does. They ordered several large pizzas, but among the orderings was a large canadian bacon and sauerkraut pie.
Maybe it is because we lived in the Pizzaland, Illinois for three years, but these topping choices sounded absolutely wretched. I kept waiting for Joe what's-his-name from Fear Factor to show up with a stop watch to time the families as they scarfed down the far from edible pizza. Maybe he didn't get the memo because he never showed up.

As my wife and I discussed the toppings of choice we were trying to figure out why anyone in their half-right mind would put something like that even close to their food-consuming oriface. The answer was waiting for us on our drive home. We drove past the Lutheran church and noticed a large sign out front that read Lutefisk and Meatball Dinner - Thursday 6 PM.

*For those weak of stomach please do not read any further.*

Lutefisk is made from air-dried whitefish (normally cod), prepared with lye, in a sequence of particular treatments. The first treatment is to soak the stockfish in cold water for five to six days (changed daily). The saturated stockfish is then soaked in an unchanged solution of cold water and lye for an additional two days. The fish will swell during this soaking, regaining a size even bigger than the original (undried) fish, but the protein content paradoxically decreases by more than 50 percent, causing its famous jelly-like consistency. When this treatment is finished, the fish is full of lye, has a pH value of 11-12 and is poisonous. To make the fish edible, a final treatment of yet another four to six days (and nights) of soaking in cold water (also changed daily) is needed. Eventually, the lutefisk is ready to be used for cooking.
WHAT!?! Are you serious? Any food that includes the words lye, unchanged solution, swell, famous jelly-like consistency and poisonous are not meant to be put in your mouth. The above description sounds like the treatments I had to go through when I had second degree burns down my legs and feet. There was no way in the world I would have stuck my legs in my mouth, yet people here eat this stuff at church over some fellowship and gossip. I think the frigid temperatures have frozen the brain cells of many-a-Scandinavian.

Maybe it is common law here that one must ingest at least one nasty substance a month. The families at Sammy's this evening knew the Lutefisk & Meatball dinner was this week so they went with the old standby - bleu cheese and sauerkraut. Oofta!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

50 Words a day!

Recently someone axed me about our son. I took this as an invitation to do something that all fathers want to do...brag on their chillun's.

Ezra Jude Black is almost 19 months young. He has one fur brother and one fur-less brother on the way. Lord willing, the new Black boy will be birthed in February. Ezra is excited and often points to Kirsten's belly and says "beebee." He is working on the pronunciation of his brother's name. He doesn't quite have the consonants down yet but he is trying. I have heard that around 18 months children are able to learn 50 new words a day. I don't think this means they are able to say 50 new words a day. I think it means that they begin to understand about 50 words a day. For instance, when I ask Ezra if he wants to look for a squirrel he instantly runs to our front window in search of the bushy-tailed varmint. He is not able to say 'squirrel' but he knows the words. Kirsten has had to cut back on the amount of cursing she throws around on a daily basis. Other than the sailing part, she curses just like a drunken sailor.

Words Ezra tries to pronounce:

1. ball - 'bow'
2. mittens - 'meece'
3. mommy - 'mommy'
4. daddy - 'dadda'
5. papa - 'baba'
6. grammy - 'meemee'
7. grandpa - 'baba'
8. grandma - 'baba'
9. Amy - 'mayme'
10. Rob - 'raa'
11. Max - 'maa'
12. Clive - 'dowg'
13. book - 'buu'
14. taco - 'dado'
15. cup - 'pu'
16. juice - 'cheez'
17. more - 'mo'
18. please - 'peesh'
19. sticker - 'deeda'
20. stinky - 'deedee'
21. bible - 'ba-bo'
22. bubbles - 'bu-bo'
23. snow - 'naow'
24. blanket - 'beebeez'
25. spoon - 'poo'
26. eat - 'ee-ee'
27. night - 'ni-ni'
28. beanbag - 'be-be'
29. mall - 'mawo'
30. hat - 'aah'
31. slippers - 'bzzz'
32. oatmeal - 'o-me'
33. snack - 'naa'
34. Elmo - 'melmo'
35. bath - 'baa'
36. milk - 'mil'
37. again - 'gen'
38. umm - 'ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm'
39. hot - 'ah ah'
40. pants - 'pass'
41. socks - 'sa'
42. boots - 'boos'
43. amen - 'ahmeen'
44. color - 'dahdo'

Ezra loves to look at books and play with balls. This has endeared him to Clive. They run around chasing balls all over the house. The ball graveyard is underneath our couch. This is where the fun stops. Yesterday we bought 20 raquet balls at Target for $5. We took them home and dumped them in the middle of the front room floor. Clive had a nervous breakdown. He wasn't sure which ball to chase first. Ezra picked up most of them and put them in a trick-or-treat jack-o-lantern basket. He walks around with the basket collecting balls. This morning when Ezra awoke he pointed to the basket from his crib and said - "bow."

Kirsten is a wonderful mother to our boy. She is very patient. She reads the same books over and over. She retrieves many balls from the couch graveyard. I am so thankful that God has allowed us to have her at home with Ezra and brother-on-the-way. We value the time that they have together.Ezra's favorite past-times are watching squirrels, chasing Clive with a cooking pan and wooden spoon, coloring, reading his bible, looking at dogs at the pet store and walks on the beach (I threw that last one in there for fun).

We are not sure why he has thin blond hair. The above picture shows how crazy his blond hair can be especially after sleeping on his head through the night.I guess when I think about it - he is our joy. He is the thing that gets us up in the morning - both physically and emotionally. He is a great little boy. Someday maybe you will meet him in person. I am sure he would love to add your name to his vocabulary.

If you would like to see more pictures of the boy
click here!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The First Face Transplant

An article was released by the Associated Press today about the first face transplant.

The 38-year-old woman, who wants to remain anonymous, had a nose, lips and chin grafted onto her face from a brain-dead donor whose family gave consent. The operation, performed Sunday, included a surgeon already famous for transplant breakthroughs, Jean-Michel Dubernard. “The patient’s general condition is excellent, and the transplant looks normal,” said a statement issued Wednesday from the hospital in the northern city of Amiens where the operation took place.The surgery drew both praise and sobering warnings over its potential risks and ethical and psychological ramifications. If successful — something that may not be known for months or even years — the procedure offers hope to people horribly disfigured by burns, accidents or other tragedies.

If I was going to get a face transplant I would look like this

-----------------------------(before)----------------------------- (after)