Secular Music Friday: Eres Tu

Something different, and a favorite from the 1970s.

the new vs. the old

I wrote a while back about switching from Frontier to Spectrum for TV/phone/internet when Frontier did not keep its commitment for a two-year price guarantee. It was an easy decision since we can see the Dodgers on Spectrum and we’re saving $60 a month, at least for the first year.

There are differences between the two services.

Frontier CommunicationsFrontier was nice because DVR service was available on both TVs for no extra charge, and a program recorded on the living room TV could be watched in the bedroom. On Spectrum the TVs are independent and we have no DVR service in the bedroom.

The TV remote for Frontier had separate power buttons for TV and cable which was nice. With Spectrum you have to select TV or Cable and then hit the power button.

I think that the DVR menu for Spectrum is simpler and more straightforward than Frontier, and recorded programs startSpectrum logo right on time instead of 45 seconds or a minute early. It looks to me as if there is a much greater choice of on-demand shows on Spectrum than on Frontier.

I love that telephone caller ID shows up on the TV on Spectrum, something we didn’t get with Frontier. I also appreciate that I can watch live TV on my computer or iPad with Spectrum. Maybe Frontier had that, but I didn’t take advantage of it.

I can see incoming land line phone calls and get my landline voicemail with the Spectrum app on my iPhone.

And with Spectrum we get the Dodgers. Did I say that?

a disappearing ritual

Terry and I enjoy bottled wine on the weekend. During the week Terry drinks box wine (please don’t tell anyone), and I have my Scotch (J&B to be precise, and I don’t mind you knowing – pffft! to those single malt snobs).

wine capsOn the weekends, though, we like our bottled wine. Our local stores have a very limited wine selection, so we were pleased when Total Wines opened a half hour down the road in Temecula.

Things have changed in the win biz, however. We’re seeing a lot more wine bottles with screw tops. Say what? Yes, really.

I’ve only really noticed that in the last couple of years. But the trend is not new. NPR had a story on this in 2014.

Part of the ritual of opening a wine bottle is removing the cork. That’s something they’re taking away from us.

But alas, all things change, and the disappearing wine cork is simply one of those changing things.

grilled chicken with sriracha glaze

I deviated enough from this recipe that I’m not even sure I can say that I made it. I did make something similar.

chicken with sriracha glazeThe recipe called for leg-thigh quarters with the skin removed. I had bone-in chicken breasts on hand and thought it crazy to remove the skin. For the glaze the recipe said to use mango jam (not sure I’ve ever seen it), but I had half a jar or orange marmalade in the fridge and so used that. I skipped all the steps about indirect grilling and just cooked the chicken breasts on our copper grill mat.

I used all of the basting mixture on the grill and didn’t reserve any to drizzle on top at the end as the recipe indicated.

The result was surprisingly tasty. Terry was impressed and it made for a great Saturday dinner.

watching baseball

The Dodgers came to Los Angeles in 1958. I was four years old when the season started. I have been following baseball from that point on. I know a little bit about the game.

In those early days and for many years after that the Dodgers were on the radio on KFI (50,000 watt clear channel station, Earl C. Anthony Incorporated). Wherever you were in the West or the Southwest you could hear KFI and the Dodger games. And, of course, we had Vin Scully. Who better to teach us the game.

Today we have almost every game on TV. Joe Davis is a competent play-by-play guy and Orel Hershiser is a good color man, though he could stand to talk less. On the radio we have Charlie Steiner and Rick Monday, an enjoyable team. But the day of the single broadcaster calling the game on his own is over. Vin was the last of those.

Which is my point here. Too much chatter and too much information these days. Call the game and describe it, but skip the excess commentary. The Angels games (as well as ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and the games on Fox) outline the strike zone for you on the screen. Stop it. Please! I have been following baseball since I was four. (I said that, didn’t I?) I know the strike zone, even if it has shifted a bit over time. And as for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, they seem at times to forget that there is a game on the field that they are supposed to be describing.

But it is still baseball. And I still love watching it.

Sacred Music Friday: Morning Has Broken

It really is sacred. “Morning Has Broken” was written by Eleanor Farjeon in 1931, long before Cat Stevens was born. It is in the 1982 Episcopal hymnal and Evangelical Lutheran Worship. In fact, according to hymnary,org it is in 72 hymnals. We sang it regularly at the Unitarian church in Oklahoma City.

I like this version. It is rather Rutteresque, I think.

I can’t resist sharing this version with you as well. The organ improvisation takes up three-plus minutes and only the last forty-five seconds or so is the hymn, but I love the cathedral setting.

my thing with paper towels

Paper TowelsTerry and I first encountered paper towels perforated at half width when we were at a bed and breakfast at Shasta Lake. People in that part of the state care about such things.

It was not long after that when we started seeing them available in South Santa Clara County. Moving here to Southern California they are readily available. The package is normally marked with a label such as “select-a-size.”

Not all select-a-sizes are equal, however. When we buy Bounty I’ve noticed that their select-a-size is generally three-quarter width. Most other brands are in fact half-size.

I don’t know why this annoys me but it does. If all I need is half a width of a paper towel I don’t want to use the three-quarter size. So I try to avoid Bounty and use other brands instead that provide a proper half-size.

Silly me.

slow cooker carnitas

I have multiple slow cooker pork recipes in my database and I have tried several. I added this one after Terry and I saw Jeff Mauro demonstrate it on The Kitchen.

carnitasI made it recently. I seasoned the pork with chipotle powder and garlic as the recipe specified. I used minced onion rather than a fresh onion. I used powdered cinnamon rather than cinnamon sticks, and I used a pork tenderloin (I had half a one in the freezer) rather than pork shoulder. I used zest and juice from an orange as per the recipe, but I omitted the orange soda. (Please!)

The online recipe specified crisping the pork under the broiler, though on the TV show Jeff used a Panini press. I did neither.

The recipe specified using tortillas. I served it with deli rolls instead.

It wasn’t the best slow cooker carnitas I’ve made, but it was quite good.

from an earlier age

An Olive Street recollection.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been forty-three years since I graduated from college. As the Wallace Shawn character in the movie Princess Bride kept saying, “Inconceivable!” (“I don’t think that word means what you think it does, boss.”)

candleWhen I moved into the Olive Street apartment after graduation with my roommate George we kept expenses down and our needs were simple. Our dining room table was a pice of plywood on two saw horses. Georges’s desk was a door from the lumber yard (long before Home Depot and Lowe’s) on four orange crates. For compartmentalization and document storage he used empty Pringle’s potato chip cans.

I had a small desk that I had acquired from my patents and slept on a roll away bed from the same source.

Orange crates, by the way, weren’t what you might expect. Originally they were in fact made to hold oranges. But when Sunkist switched to cardboard boxes from those wooden crates a smart entrepreneur moved into the Sunkist warehouse by the railroad tracks and started making orange crates that never held oranges. He astutely priced them so they were affordable to college and post-college folks like myself who, almost universally, used them for furniture and shelving.

So when it came to candle holders we were equally frugal. An empty wine bottle made a great candle holder. And sometimes, as now, I simply need to go back to that place.

It’s not such a bad thing, really.

chicken and broccoli casserole

chicken casseroleI had some leftover chicken in the freezer. There was both rotisserie chicken and some leftover crock pot chicken that I had made. I was looking for a one skillet stove top recipe and I found this one for creamy chicken and broccoli casserole, even though I had it misclassified in my database.chicken casserole

I made some changes to the recipe. It called for coating the mushrooms with flour, which I didn’t do. The recipe specified using steam-in-the-bag microwave broccoli, but I used regular frozen broccoli and simply threw it in the skillet. I omitted the mayonnaise and used minced onion instead of pre-chopped. I used Romano cheese instead of Parmesan. I had the Romano on hand because the last time I had looked at Parmesan in the grocery store it was ridiculously expensive.

It was a little bit of work, but not too much. And it turned out quite well.