Sunday, November 20, 2005

Lots of Little Internet Games

Another friend recently pointed me to Lightforce Games. I have not played any of these, since I currently have a nice computer game to enjoy.

Those who have children might enjoy Orisinal more because they are so pretty, even if some are a bit simplistic.

Those looking for a specific little internet game will probably find it at Addicting Games.

Short Ads from the UK

A friend pointed out this webpage of funny ads. Enjoy!

Blitnz Wrappers

Well, my wife and I are still working on a gluten-free bread for small loaf pans. But we have made other progress! Now, besides the easy scones, pizza crusts, and apple/zucchini loaf breads, we have...

Gluten Free Blintz Wrappers

In a blender mix 4 eggs. Then add:
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsp potato starch
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
(The first three ingredients in the list can be replaced by 3/4 cup of any gluten-free flour mix. We also add some of red amaranth flour just for the neat colored speckles.)

Blend for about 30 seconds, then let the batter sit for a few minutes to thicken.

(This is a good time to put together your filling. A no-prep sweet filling is cranberry sauce and cottage cheese. For a quick and easy savory filling we currently use a little cream cheese with sauteed garlic, mushrooms, and spinach.)

Heat a small frying pan (six to eight inches diameter) on mediun heat. Use either butter or oil to coat the bottom of the pan -- half a tablespoon is usually plenty.

With a spatula, stir the batter and then pour some into the pan. For our eight-inch pan we use two tablespoons (measured as 2/3 of a quarter cup measure) but we're not experts and thinner blintz wrappers are quite possible.

Shake and swirl the batter in an attempt to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Then return the pan to the stove.

When the edges of the blintz wrapper start separating from the pan the bottom will be browned -- flip it, and fry the other side for a few seconds before adding it to the pile of cooked blintz wrappers. Each cooked blintz wrapper will need a paper towel atop it to separate it from the next one.

If you cook more blintzes than you eat, the pile of cooked blintz wrappers, paper towels and all, can be put in a gallon size bag for refridgeration.

(For those who are curious, it seems that a Swedish Pancake is not cooked after the filling is added, a blintz is fried afterward, and a crepe is baked.)

How we are like Nazareth

Today I read a nice though from one of Jonathan Cahn's sermons. I'll paraphrase:
In John 1:46, Nathanael asks Phillip, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?"

But Yeshua came from heaven -- he only came through Nazareth. Nathanael asks the wrong question.

And each of us is similarly like Nazareth. It does not matter how small or unimportant we are, or what we are capable of by our own strengths and history. Yeshua acts through us. The Spirit of God acts through us.

What is from heaven comes through us.
The December/Kislev issue of Moment magazine has an opinion piece by Dennis Prager in which he explains his answers to the question of why so many American Jews are irreligious and/or anti-religious.

After describing two historical factors (incompatability with Orthodoxy's goal of separation from society, and a distrust of organized religion stemming from historical, organized, religious anti-Semitism) and one cultural factor (high attendance rates at anti-religious universities) he says:
Fourth, the only Jewish denomination consistently offering a real values alternative to the secular/Left vision is Orthodoxy...Most Jews therefore have few religious models with which to challenge secular/Left values.
Then his article continues...

His fourth point seems significant for Messianic Judaism. Its values are more conservative than Reform or Reconstructionist Judaism. This can make it simulatenously strange and helpful to American Jews who are searching for truth.

As an example, later in the magazine is an Ask The Rabbis piece with responses from different branches of Judaism to the question "Should Jewish children sing Christmas Carols?" The common Messianic Jewish response would match those of the Orthodox, Conservative, and Lubavitch answers: it wrongs Christianity to treat the clearly religious carols as if they are not religious, it wrongs America's pluralism to participate in a commercial effort to remove religion from Christmas, and it wrongs Judaism to claim that participating in an activity that is at its root Christian evangelism is an appropriate interfaith activity. Thus in any individual case it may be okay (because people and friendships matter, and caroling is not innately dangerous to an individual person) but in general it should not be encouraged.

Messianic Judaism would add that scripture already explains how Sukkot is the approrpiate time to celebrate Yeshua's birth. Doing so on December 25th is therefore not only a religious activity (it doesn't hurt to celebrate that someone, no matter what day is chosen) but an activity innately specific to Christian culture (the historical and cultural reasons for the choice of which day). Since Messianic Judaism hesitates to adopt Christian culture that is not scripturally based, it normally avoids Christmas.

As those values that Prager calls "secular/Left" are becoming more visibly unworkable (for example, just because an individual can participate in the activities of other faiths without harm to his or her religious identity does not mean entire religious cultures can cooperate in this way) perhaps Messianic Judaism will become both more "oddball" and more attractive for maintaining a distinctively Jewish yet non-Orthodox set of alternate values.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A Petition of Goodness or Spam?

Does anyone know if this petition (urgning the U.S. to take a strong stand against Iran's nuclear ambitions) is worthwhile or simply an invitation to e-mail spam?

I doubt the petition itself will actually do much. Petitions seldom do, and at this level of diplomacy too little is actually about what normal people know. But the number of people willing to sign petitions probably has domestic political consequences, so I am happy to take a moment to sign a worthy one.

Back to Blogging

Greetings again after a while! For a couple weeks I was in a not-blogging mood, and then my computer broke.

And I think I'll start this new round of blogging with a gripe, a disappointment: Eugene "lost" the Civil War Blood Drive.

Each year, during the week when the football teams from the University of Oregon and Oregon State University play (the "Civil War game"), the entire city is a bit fanatic. The county blood bank joins into the spirit of the occasion with their amusingly named Civil War Blood Drive. For those of us do not become emotionally consumed by the football event and its frenzy, the blood drive seems more significant.

The University of Oregon always "loses" the contest: 2152 to 2720 (in 2002), 2835 to 3705 (in 2003), 3095 to 4059 (in 2004), and this year 2220 to 2673. This could have been our year!

I called the county blood bank and confirmed that their number of regular donors is increasing each year. From this I'll conjecture that the overall drop in Civil War Blood Drive participants is not meaningful. Given that an individual cannot donate at whim but must wait 56 days between donations, if this annual event is actually successful in inspiring people to become regular donors then an increasing subset of the potentially donating population will be unavailable during the event itself!