Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Bart Loves Jesus

So I've been told and have been led to believe that the Simpsons, apart from being clever, entertaining, and funny, is also the most Christian show on television. Well, my wife bought a DVD player with some graduation money this week, and for our first DVD, purchased the 2nd full season of the Simpsons. After watching just three episodes, I'm convinced that we no longer need Westminster, Dort, or Heidelberg. Whenever a great ecclesiastical pickle arises we ought to call a presbytery meeting and watch a season of the Simpsons.


Life Returns

My wife is home. The world is a better place. This is only the second time I've ever sent her away. The last time I told myself I'd never do it again. Well, this time I mean it. Although, for all the agony it's caused, she brought home a good deal of plunder.


Monday, May 26, 2003


So for all you bread connoisseurs or those aspiring to be such, I thought I'd give you some inside information. There I am. It's 2:15am (give or take a few hours), and I'm waiting for my dough to rise. I decide to be studious and resourceful with my time, and I pull out a fancy looking book on the art of baking fine breads. The key to good bread is timing and temperature. That's not too hard to understand at the beginning, but believe me, it's a whole lot more mysterious once you get started. Anyways, there I am reading my book and trying to get my bread to look and taste as good as the pictures and descriptions they have in the fancy book. I get to the section on temperature. This book is fancy. It has chemical equations and math I haven't seen since high school. The chemicals do magic things, and the book explains this in big words. I keep reading. Depending on the bread, a finished loaf probably ranges from around 180 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit. So far so good. The most accurate method of testing the loaf's temperature is with a probe thermometer, but as it turns out, the book explains that the internal temperature can also be accurately detected using the fail-proof thwack method. Yes, that's right. All you have to do is remove the loaf to a cooling rack and turn it on its side. Then thwack the bottom of your loaf, and if it makes a hallow sound, it's done. Who needs digital thermometers when there's the thwack method?


The Shepherd

I'm still thinking about the words to the Live song that I posted a few days ago. I've spoken to Remy about this before, and I think maybe we even talked about this very same song. It's tempting to leave it where it is, in the mouth of an angry man, and shrug our shoulders and say golly, too bad for him. But we serve a God who always turns to good what we mean for ill, whether we ever come to realize it or not. And thus we can't help do the same. So rather than a bitter cry for freedom from God, I see those words as mountains of gratitude to Him. Rather than leaving me to myself, God has been a shepherd who would not leave me alone. He's in my face with his love and mercy: The shepherd of my days. Thanks be to God.


Friday, May 23, 2003

Doubting Rene

I know nothing in deed and all in thought
says Descartes, without a tongue of sense
or a cheek of meaning.
No aspirated syllables or hands with fingers
to write or spell insanity in
Latin words--curses--faceless and disembodied
like smoke to meet the sky.

I'll not believe your matterless musing
until I put my hands through your side
and see your body part to my fingers.
I'll not believe until I know you've rid yourself
of skin and bones forever.


Wednesday, May 21, 2003

It is always stunning to meet or read someone who displays the unbelieving heart without apology. Working at the bakery this morning (early!), I listened to an old Live album, Throwing Copper. Kowalcyk, the lead singer and song writer, I understand grew up in a church, I think I recall some sort of Baptist. There is something haunting and beautiful about the words from the song "Pillar of Davidson":
The shepherd won't leave me alone
he's in my face and I
The shepherd of my days
and I want you here by my heart
and my head, I can't start till I'm dead


Tuesday, May 20, 2003

So I've been really enjoying Plutarch these days. Originally, I had scheduled two weeks on the guy, but I have so thoroughly enjoyed his story telling, I pushed it to four weeks. We're reading his Lives. Theseus, Romulous, Demosthenes, Solon, Cicero, Alexander, Caesar, Pompey, Lycurgus, Antony, Brutus, Artaxerxes are just a few of the well known biographies. The thing that's especially cool about reading Plutarch is the fact that you're getting two history lessons at once. You're getting both the story Plutarch tells and the story that Plutarch is in. Plutarch is not shy about who he likes or what he thinks. That's cool. I like that. It's annoying how 'objective' modern historians try to be. What that really means is a writing style that is as dry as chalk and a little more interesting than reading science journals. There's a very flawed understanding of 'objective' at the bottom of that mess. We're reading 1 Maccabees next week. I'm looking forward to that. I've not read the Apocrypha before.


Saturday, May 17, 2003

So I'm just about finished with my first week at the bakery. As of this week, the bakery has a name: Zume Artisan Breads and Pastries. That's pronounced zoo-may, and for all you linguists out there, it's the Greek word for yeast. Although there's a skateboard shop in the mall called Zumies. We've been getting calls asking if we make blank decks and Venture trucks. Go figure. So anyway, this ain't no slip shod country bakery. The guys who are opening the operation are doing it up right. I get the name brands I want, we got the nice equipment, and the place is really spiffy. For those of you familiar with Moscow, the bakery is on friendship square in downtown where the GTE phone store used to be.

I'm working on having five regular breads right now: Challah, Panitone, Paen Seigle, Sourdough Raisin, and Cracked-whole wheat. There will also be a few 'occasional' varieties that will make their way on to our shelves like a dark and light rye and perhaps my inadvertent pana-challah. The powers have also asked me to come up with some kind of 'health bar'. I made my first attempt at it yesterday, and I was pleased with the result. It was a whole-wheat with raisins, cranberries, almonds, walnuts, and pecans. So that's where I score my creativity points this week. In other news, my sourdough was a complete flop. There was no life in that dough at all. And then once it got in the oven it just messed all over itself. I wanted to just leave them in the oven until they were gone, but the oven vent isn't completely functional yet and I didn't want any attention drawn to it. The Paen Seigle, a light rye-sourdough, was brilliant though. I don't even know how. And check this out: turns out whatever temperature it says in the formula book, always do 25 degrees less. Yeah, well guess who nobody bothered to tell? So I've been doing pretty good baking everything 25 degrees hotter than it should be. Brilliant.

So there's my life. As a bread baker, I have a special job of feeding and caring for my sourdough starter. He's really cute. He bubbles when he's hungry. He's from a french town on the coast of the Mediterranean called Beauleau Mar Sur. Which I've been told means 'Beautiful Eyes By the Sea' by one person and 'Fungus Toes' by another. The biggest problem is that I have no name for my beloved starter. For a while I was considering some obscure saint names, then Bible names, and now maybe I'll just call him Zume and I'll claim they named the bakery after my starter. But I don't know. If you have any suggestions let me know. Lucy said I should offer some kind of reward to anyone who could help me name him. So yeah, maybe I'll do that.


I'm sorry folks. It's been too long. Aunt Lucy graciously confronted me the other day, and this is my first step in repentence.