Sacred Music Friday: The Church of Christ in Every Age

First Plymouth Church, Lincoln Nebraska, March 4, 2018.

it simply is not true

Mister RogersThere is a story going around, a story that has been going around for some time, that Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame was a Navy Seal, and that he wore long sleeves on his television show to hide his tattoos.

The problem with the story is that it simply isn’t true. The story is pervasive enough that the privately-run Navy Seals web site,, devotes a page to debunking the myth. The go-to site for urban legend accuracy checking,, offers a long entry debunking various Mr. Rogers myths, including the Navy Seals and tattoo stories. Snopes states:

quoteAlthough he was friendly with the children in his viewing audience and talked to them on their own level, he was most definitely an authority figure on a par with parents and teachers (he was Mister Rogers to them, after all, not “Fred”), and his choice of dress was intended to establish and foster that relationship.

The Wikipedia entry for Fred Rogers describes how he want straight from college to television work. (Not that Wikipedia is to be trusted in every instance, but this entry is well annotated.)

If you need any more proof, check out the movie trailer for the upcoming Fred Rogers documentary. It shows scenes of him in short sleeves playing on the street with youngsters, not to mention a brief moment picturing him underwater in the pool wearing only swim trunks. Not a single tattoo in either case.

This is, perhaps, much ado about nothing, but I am guilty of spreading this urban legend, so I wanted to set the record straight.

butter garlic herb steak foil packets

Normally the recipes from The Recipe Critic are quite reliable. This one was a mixed bag.

butter garlic herb steak packetsFor the butter mixture I used thyme, garlic, and white pepper. I couldn’t find rosemary, I omitted parsley because Terry doesn’t like it and I don’t think it adds anything anyway, and I always omit salt on general principle. For the steak I used a New York steak on sale at our local grocery store. At Terry’s suggestion I added some cooking port.

The recipe calls for grilling for fifteen minutes. It’s definitely not grilling season, so I broiled the packets in our toaster/broiler oven for a full half hour. The steak was great. Tender, tasty, and delicious with the port. The potatoes and carrots were totally undercooked, virtually raw.

So we sealed up and froze the veggies for another meal sometime. We enjoyed the steak. And in spite of the undercooked veggies, it does make for a nice picture, doesn’t it?


Sourdough book coverSourdough: A Novel
Robin Sloan
MCD, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
First Edition edition (September 5, 2017), 272 pages
Amazon hardcover $15.08, Kindle edition $13.99

I actually read a physical hardcover. Terry bought this book and I read it when she finished it.

Author Robin Sloan understands high tech culture. His novel Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore involved Silicon Valley and the Google campus. Sourdough centers around San Francisco’s Silicon Gulch (though he doesn’t use the term) and the high tech world there.

Lois is a recent college grad recruited by a fictional San Francisco robotics company. Her long work hours prompt her to order some rather tasty delivery dinners from a service owned by a pair of brothers who not-so-legally set up a commercial kitchen in their apartment. When authorities start following up on their not-so-legal immigration status the brothers leave the country, but make a gift of their sourdough starter, a heritage of their culture, to Lois.

Lois starts baking sourdough bread and it eventually becomes her full-time work. Things get out of hand, however. I’ll leave it at that, because if you enjoy either bread making or high tech culture you’ll want to read this book.

cumin-spiced shrimp with mango

cumin spiced shrimpThis recipe for cumin-spiced shrimp with mango was in Coastal Living and has been in my database for a while. It turned out to be quite good and made for a very nice Saturday dinner. Of course I omitted the cilantro, as Terry doesn’t do cilantro.

I improvised on the lime-cumin vinaigrette as I had failed to save that recipe, but I have it now in case I want to try the recipe again.

It was, I will say, a tasty dish.

Sacred Music Friday: Here I Am, Lord

A really nice arrangement.

making a change

A year ago at this time I wrote that I was happy with Frontier Communications because at the end of my two year term I got a lower rate and more channels. This year that’s not the case.

What turned out to be a two-year term was only one year. When I asked them for some kind of rate accommodation I was told nothing was possible. That was it. It was time for a change.

I had been thinking about changing to Spectrum for a while. They have the Dodgers on TV and they have the Weather Channel. Frontier has neither. This, and Frontier’s inflexibility with respect to our rate, prompted me to make the change.

We did drop to a lower tier of service without the movie channels, but on the streaming side we have Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and movie services via our Roku.

We don’t get Cooking Channel, but we have Food Network. And I have Genius Kitchen on the Roku, which comes from the Food Network folks. I don’t get Decades with its Dick Cavett reruns, but I still have PBS Create.

Our savings is $60 a month. That doesn’t take into account the rate when our Frontier $30 a month loyalty discount was to expire.

And most importantly we get the Dodgers. We get to have the Dodgers on TV. That goes for a lot. We’re going to thoroughly enjoy that.

creamy balsamic mushroom bacon chicken

creamy balsamic chickenOn a recent Friday I was on my feet all afternoon getting people checked in to install the new gate access device on their cars for our gated community. I was sore. I had planed to make the creamy balsamic mushroom bacon chicken recipe from The Recipe Critic. I asked Terry to make it instead. She did. Terry is much more careful than I am, and she more closely follows recipes than do I. She did a marvelous job and it was excellent.

Definitely one we can do again.


The Music Shop: A Novel

The Music ShopThe Music Shop: A Novel
Rachel Joyce
Random House (January 2, 2018), 320 pages
Kindle edition $13.99, Amazon hardcover $18.36

This highly regarded novel is the story of Frank, owner of a music shop on a dead-end street in London. He only sells vinyl and refuses to even consider stocking CDs. Frank has an amazing ability to understand exactly which album a person needs to turn his or her life around. It might be classical, jazz, or rock, but he finds for them exactly what they need.

Frank’s shop is surrounded by a tattoo parlor run by a grumpy woman, a religious gift shop run by a former priest, and pair of undertakers. There is a rundown pub nearby. Then there is Kit, Frank’s inept shop assistant. Much of the book involves the interaction among these folks.

More important, however, is the interaction between Frank and Ilse, a mysterious woman recently arrived from Germany. What happens between the two of them is what moves this novel forward.

The Music Shop is a quirky book, but the characters are engaging and the plot takes some interesting twists.

black beans and rice with chicken and chorizo

chicken and chorizoI have made this recipe from Cooking Light a few times. Whenever I make a chorizo recipe, however, I use soy chorizo, generally Trader Joe’s. As tasty as it is it is also really, really strong. When I made this recipe previously I made a note in my database to use only a quarter of the package instead of half, as I am wont to do.

I made the recipe recently and did just that. I divided up the other three-quarters, froze them, and sealed them up with my trusty FoodSaver. As for the present dish using only a quarter of the package was just the key. Big and bold flavor, but not overwhelming.

That works.