Monday, October 20, 2008

To Know or Not to Know, Watch this:

Make sure the sound is on while you watch it.

After-images of God

I watched an interesting documentary this weekend about Super Black Holes. It occured to me that black holes might be an 'after image' of God from the creation of time...or simply another metaphor of how creation gives us glimpses of her creator. Let me explain.

The initial search for super black holes was in Quasars - large object between 10-15 billion lightyears away (ie dating back to close to the origins of the universe) that emit tremendous amounts of energy. The theory was that somehow the energy emited was a result of a black hole. As it turned out the quasars were too far away to be able to tell but what was 'discovered' was that all galaxies appear to have a Super Black Hole (SBH) at their center. So the question was then posed, what's the relationship of the SBH to the galaxy and to galaxy formation. So this is what they found that reminded me of God.

  • SBH are the most powerful force in the universe, in fact their power is immeasurable.
  • We've never actually seen a SBH, we've only been able to see the effects the SBH has on the stars/matter surrounding and coming under the influence of the SBH and so we believe they exist.
  • We've never even seen anything enter a SBH but we believe they have the capacity/power to suck in stars etc.
  • The only way we know the SBH is there is by how it affects it's surroundings
  • SBH's seem to be the creative force of the galaxy - that without the SBH, the galaxy wouldn't exist
  • We think of black holes as destructive but apparently SBH are actually a massive creative force in the universe
  • Even stars that are too far out at the edge of a galaxy to be directly affected by the gravitational force of the SBH are still somehow affected by it (the speed of star rotation is directly proportional to the size of the SBH in each galaxy)
  • SBH seem to be more overtly active as the galaxy is being created and then 'rests' once it has taken shape.

    Well all analogies breakdown somewhere but maybe the Creator leaves his/her mark on creation for us to find. So do we 'believe' in Super Black Holes?
  • Sunday, October 19, 2008


    How was the movie?

    I found it entertaining, but I felt myself squirming when he is asking Christians why they believe what they believe. Their pat answers seem shallow and remind me of times in my life when I was asked to defend what I believed.

    During my college years I spent a year taking some courses at Sophia University in Tokyo. The international division had classes in the evening. I remember how the cultural anthropology class really stimulated my thinking about other belief systems. One evening, in between classes, when everyone was in the hallways, one guy yells at me, asking, "How can you believe in a God who allows evil in the world?' I felt flustered and mumbled some answer (who knows what I said). It caused me so much anxiety to defend God when I simply believed what I was taught all my life. So when I heard the Christians in the movie, defending their beliefs, the answers seem ridiculous.

    Bill Maher goes over the top, but I think it's important to ask, "Why do you believe what you believe?" Maybe the answer is simply "I don't know."

    99 lentil burgers in the fridge

    Actually, we're down to the last one. Mike refuses to eat anymore, so I'm hoping today will be the end. How is it that we ended up with all of them? I thought at least a few of you said you like them...

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008


    What a great time hanging out with the Irreverent Thinkers! This weekend exploring the Page area we saw many impressive and unusual formations. My favorite formation, though, was actually at Debbie's Hideaway.

    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    Recipes from Page Weekend

    Verena has crashed, hopefully for the night, or at least until 3... So, I thought I'd take the opportunity to post the recipes from last weekend.

    Vegetarian Lentil Burgers:
    (Adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
    I must give credit to my friend Erin - see her blog for this recipe - and MANY others.
    I usually end up using 3 cups dried lentils for 4 eggs, but the recipe is pretty versatile. I have used twice as many lentils with that many eggs and you still get burgers. You just want a mixture that you can barely shape into burgers at the end.

    3 cups cooked lentils (I've even thrown in some split peas)
    4 large eggs
    ~3/4 tsp teaspoon salt
    1 tsp+ cumin
    a couple cloves of garlic and then a couple shakes of garlic powder to taste
    black pepper
    diced jalapeño seeds and ribs removed - or keep some seeds if you want some heat
    ~1/2+ cup onion, finely chopped
    1 cup toasted fine (whole-grain) bread crumbs (2 whole wheat hamburger buns)
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

    Optional toppings:
    sliced avocado
    sliced tomato
    feta cheese
    homemade ketchup

    Wash and sort your lentils. Put them in a 3 qt. saucepan and cover with about 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes.
    Drain the lentils well and let cool for a bit.

    Combine the lentils, eggs, salt, cumin, and black pepper in a food processor - or just mush with the bottom of a glass. I like the consistency better mushing than processing. Pulse until the mixture is the consistency of a runny yet textured hummus. Just pulse until it comes together nicely, don't over process. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the onion and jalapeño. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a very moist mixture that you can easily form into ~6-7 4" wide x 1 1/2-inch-thick patties. "I err on the moist side here, because it makes for a nicely textured burger. You can always add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if need be. Conversely, a bit of water or more egg can be used to moisten the batter." I didn't have to add anything.

    Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes. Flip the patties and cover, cooking the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Carefully cut each patty in half, insert your favorite fillings, and enjoy immediately. We now tend to just slice them in half and then eat them open faced, topped with goodies.

    Multi-grain Pancakes:
    Modified From Good Food Book, by Jane Brody.

    I have made several modifications to use all whole grain flour using hard white wheat and whole wheat flours. I also replaced the oil with ground flax seed, which has omega-3 fatty acids and adds fiber. Finally, I cut out the sugar. This recipe makes a lot of mix, but then it’s easy to enjoy pancakes by just adding milk and an egg. They’re pretty hearty; hardly anyone eats more than two. Mike and I eat these almost every Saturday morning! Make sure the grill is hot enough - water drops should sizzle and dance before you pour the batter.

    6 cups stoneground whole wheat flour
    3 cups hard white wheat flour (lately I've just been using all hard white wheat)
    3 cups oats (thicker are better, Bob's Red Mill are my favorite)
    1 cup plus 2 T oat bran
    3 T baking powder (aluminum-free!)
    1 1/2 T baking soad (aluminum-free!)
    1/2 cup plus 1 T ground flax seed

    To make pancakes for 2-3 people:
    1 scant cup of mix
    1 generous cup of milk
    1 egg

    2 pounds thick oats (~10 cups, Bob's Red Mill are my favorite - do NOT use instant oats)
    1 cup olive oil/honey (I usually use a little more and put a little more than half honey, but the original recipe calls for 1/2 and 1/2)
    cinnamon, Mexican vanilla, freshly ground nutmeg

    Heat oven to 325 F. Mix honey, olive oil, and spices. Heat in microwave if necessary to get honey dissolved and less viscous. Pour over oats in large mixing bowl. Stir to coat. If the oats don't look wet or are not all coated, then add more honey/oil. Pour oats in 9x13 pan and place in oven for 30 min, stirring every 10 min. You can add nuts for last 10 min of baking or with dried fruit at end. Use your imagination with nuts and fruit - our standard combos are blueberry, cranberry, and pecan and dark chocolate, cherry, and almond. We've also used flax seed for omega-3 and fiber. I never measure the fruit and nuts, so just add however much you want. It doesn't take much chocolate to get good flavor, maybe 1/4 cup.

    Sunday, October 5, 2008


    I work up the street from a "hip & trendy" coffee shop called Lux Their slogan is coffe+community+art.(What's not to love.) The coffee there is fabulous - they roast the beans on site. I will pick up a bag and bring it to Page. Hopefully this will meet the standard of "good coffee" on our supply list.

    If other people are bringing their favorite joe, maybe we could have a "coffee tasting".

    Looking forward to seeing everyone,


    Friday, October 3, 2008

    Microwave Peanut Brittle

    1 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    1 cup salted peanuts
    1 teaspoon butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1. Butter a cookie sheet. Combine sugar and corn syrup in a 2 quart glass bowl and microwave on high 4 minutes. Stir in peanuts and microwave on high 3 1/2 minutes more, then stir in butter and vanilla and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. (I would recommend microwaving for a little less time, and keep checking. Each microwave is different.)
    2. Stir in baking soda until light and foamy. Pour onto cookie sheet and spread thin. Cool completely and break into pieces and serve.

    Mundane Trip Planning Stuff

    If anyone plans to bring some food items or to make something while we're in Page, send me a quick note (or add to this blog entry). I'll keep the following list updated, so it's easy for everyone to see what's covered. My understanding is that we can pick up a limited range of basic supplies there.

    (Initials of people bringing items in parentheses)

    • Lots of granola, Multi-grain Pancakes, Good coffee (B&M)
    • Lux Coffee (J&N)
    • Pancakes, Syrup, Eggs, Fruit (J&C)
    • Bagels, Cream cheese, Smoked salmon (B&M)
    • Wraps, Sandwiches (get in Page)
    Dinner (a grill is available):
    • Noodle type casserole - Fri (G&P)
    • Ezekiel bread (J&N)
    • Veggie Burgers - Sat (B&M)
    • Hamburgers - Sat (get in Page)
    • Side dishes (get in Page)
    • Granola bars & Cliff bars, Nut clusters & mixed nuts, Chocolate, Wine & Scotch (B&M)
    • Sembei (Japanese rice crackers), More wine (G&P)
    • Hummus & pita, Dehydrated shitake mushrooms (J)
    • Settlers of Catan, Dominoes (B&M)
    • DVD Player, Princess Bride (J&N)