Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Morgan Griffith on Bureaucratic Accountability

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

Bureaucratic Accountability

When will Washington bureaucrats who do wrong be held accountable? We all know of the investigation into Lois Lerner, the former Director of the Internal Revenue Services’ (IRS) Exempt Organizations Division who was at the center of the IRS targeting scandal where she appeared to have been involved in targeting political groups for ideological reasons, delaying or denying tax-exempt status they would otherwise have been entitled to. This investigation was closed with no charges.

Additionally, no one has been held accountable for the Solyndra solar corporation whose loans were subordinated illegally in my opinion. This was the process by which private financiers/investors were placed ahead of the taxpayers for repayment should Solyndra go bankrupt, which it did. This scheme cost the taxpayers $170 million (see my press release of March 8, 2012).

More recently, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials have not been held accountable for their failures relating to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan that exposed the city’s 95,000 citizens to lead, which is particularly harmful to young children and their developing brains and nervous systems. Accordingly, the nearly 9,000 children below 6 years old exposed in Flint are at risk of permanent disabilities, behavioral issues, and various diseases.

Miguel Del Toral, a water scientist with the EPA, who first confirmed water problems in Flint last spring after Flint resident Lee Anne Walters called the EPA regarding high lead levels in her tap water. Walters also warned officials that one of her children had been diagnosed with lead poisoning.

However, after Del Toral noted the lack of corrosion controls and high lead levels in an interim report, he indicated that he was being punished. In an email dated July 8, 2015, Del Toral wrote, “It almost sounds like I’m to be stuck in a corner holding up a potted plant because of Flint. One mis-step in 27+ years here and people lose their minds.”

Susan Hedman is the former head of the agency’s Midwest region. She resigned shortly after the crisis in Flint was revealed to the public. Last week, she testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about this situation.

At the hearing, Hedman refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing by EPA in this situation, though she did say that officials “could have done more.”

Further, in another hearing, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy refused to say whether she would have removed Hedman had she not resigned.

Also testifying with Hedman was Dr. Marc Edwards, whose work with a group of 25 Virginia Tech researchers was vital in exposing this crisis. As summarized in the Washington Post, Edwards called Heldman’s remarks “completely unacceptable and criminal” and said Hedman “…was guilty of ‘willful blindness,’ was ‘unremorseful’ and was ‘completely unrepentant and unable to learn from [her] mistakes.’”

“I guess being a government agency means you never have to say you’re sorry,” he said.


In Congress, I have been working to hold agencies accountable when they do something harmful or are way off base. This fight will continue. Administration bureaucrats must be held accountable.

California Fried Robin

Supporters of the Ivanpah solar plant promised it would provide high-tech clean energy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that despite the more than 2,000 birds that died at the facility between March and August of 2015 likely when flying through intense heat surrounding its towers, the “…federally backed, $2.2 billion solar project in the California desert isn’t producing the electricity it is contractually required to deliver to PG&E Corp., which says the solar plant may be forced to shut down if it doesn’t receive a break Thursday from state regulators.”

The California Public Utilities Commission last week did approve forbearance agreements allowing up to a year for Ivanpah to meet expectations of electric output. Also, an undisclosed sum was paid to the electric utility PG&E so it would not declare its power purchase agreement with the plant owners is in default.

I discussed this plant and its bird issue in a 2014 special report. As I listed then, this plant had killed birds that were federally protected.

Not only is it roasting birds, but Ivanpah is failing to produce the electricity it promised. While we are looking for cleaner energy alternatives including clean coal technologies, we ought not abandon energy sources that keep their promises and provide us with electricity until the new energies are no longer all hat and no cattle.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

March 22 Link Log

(This one went live without Blogjob tags. I was ticked off at the end of the day; the sponsor imagined that just exposing me to solid food would tempt me to break the hunger strike. It didn't. What happened, with the hunger strike, was that after realizing my alleged friends and relatives would rather let me starve so they could fight over my home, I've made it the primary purpose of my life to ensure that none of them gets a chance to inherit anything. When that's secured, I'll go back to Plan A: next meal after I have ten $100 bills in hand. Yes, I'm serious. Mitch Snyder starved himself at least to the point of permanent injury, for a good cause; I was downstairs in the kitchen on some of the days when he was doing it. I've always flattered myself that I inherited a higher I.Q. and better resistance to weather-generated mood swings than poor old Mitch Snyder, but he was the real thing...and anything he did, any of my parents' children can do better.)

As promised, I've been offline, off solid food, waiting for funding to do the Frugal Gracious Living Challenge. Some of the necessary funding has come across in real life. Not enough. Meanwhile, I need some hardware and a sponsor called this morning to say, "I'll meet you at the computer center and we can go to the store." So here I am at the computer center, five screens of Yahoo e-mail to read through (after sorting out all the bacon), and as for blog feeds, Blogjob, LJ, Google +...come to that, I am at the computer center and can do Google +. Here are some good links and a graphic from Google +, more from the other sites as time may allow...
This dog story sounds likely to appeal to several readers...
Do youall know who Wendy Welch is?
Food (Yum)
Almost any of these versions of split pea soup would be pretty good.
I've been into Hunt's Garlic & Herb pasta sauce because it's sweetened with carrots and cooked onions instead of corn syrup, but yes, it is easy to control what goes into your own tomato sauce. More herbs or fewer, meat or none, sweetening or salt or not...
Fun Stuff
Jigsaw puzzles...y'know putting them together actually works as therapy for some people recovering from strokes and brain traumas?
Last night and this morning, I was thinking about Time and Age. "Isn't Jane a lot older than you?" someone asked recently. Jane is almost ten years younger but she shuffles, limps, squints, and wails about her infirmities and misfortunes. Someone else: "I never thought you were all that close to Mary at school, but she's certainly looking good." Mary won a few beauty pageants when we were teenagers but this person was actually looking at Mary's mother. Painful disabilities can happen to people at any age, yet, for most middle-aged people, what we used to misunderstand as "aging" are actually the results of choices.
Phenology Links
Crocus...I have the purple ones at the Cat Sanctuary, too, as shown here:
And when reality is so delectable that people might forget that they're not already in Paradise, y'know, the spawn of Satan have to remind us that they still infest this world. I've always thought dog ticks did a good enough job of that, but...
From the Allen West Republic:
For those who think the graphic above is too "real" to be funny:
Travel (Armchair Style)
I'm not sure how this blog got to be a source of traffic to this blog, but Chearsley does sound like an appealing English village here...
Women Doing the Right Thing
Cheers for young Aisha, here...facing the rapist and going directly for the big vulnerable vein would have been better style, but sometimes a half-grown girl has to do what she has to do.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Book Review: The Resilient Power of Purpose

(Blogjob tags: books that raise readers’ blood pressureencouragement for entrepreneursinspiration for business peoplemotivational booksales psychology.)

A Fair Trade Book
Title: The Resilient Power of Purpose 
Author: Larry DiAngi
Date: 1998
Publisher: Larry DiAngi Productions
ISBN: none
Length: 105 pages with a few blank pages for readers' notes
Quote: "You were not born to live on a lower level, but to move continuously to higher levels."
Yes, this is another motivational book for business-oriented readers. How well do the ideas presented here work? Well, they seem still to be working for Larry DiAngi; his business site's still up and running.
How well do they work for other people? Well...I've been living with a solid sense of purpose for more than fifty years now. I am who I am, and I enjoy almost every minute of it. Here I stand to testify that a life of integrity, dedicated to the Higher Good of All, is the only kind of life that's worth living. And, frankly, books like this one tick me off.
Because, does a life of integrity and dedication to the Higher Good mean business success and prosperity? Hah. One of my few regrets in life is that my life took place in different places, so most people have no idea how much success and how much failure it does mean. I was, Gentle Readers, a little hillbilly kid, the offspring of two lifelong "poor relations," who went to Washington, D.C., and became a Bright Young Thing. And developed a mysterious, disabling illness (from a mandatory, contaminated vaccination for a disease I'd already had), wasn't able to do a full-time job, so I just started my own little business on a $50 budget. (That wasn't completely illegal yet in the 1980's.) And the said business prospered for several years. I was a (successful) foster mother to a "problem child." Then I was a (successful) wife to a bankrupt cancer survivor. Only when he became ill again did I realize that, after ten years of fabulous frugal life, he'd quietly recovered what most people would call enough money to retire well on. And only because I respected his wish to leave our house and business to me, and the money to a distant relative of his that he'd legally adopted as a son, was I cheated out of all of it--even the business, which was mine--by his ex-wife, who was one of those nurses whose patients always die shortly after leaving assets to the nurse in a will, and her last two patients were young. And I've not been able to scrape up enough money to invest in anything with any hope of generating enough money to live on, since. So help me God. All I've been living on, the whole time I've been blogging, has been integrity of purpose.
What purpose is that? God knows, I don't. I've held the same moral and ethical standard high. Making a mockery of it, encouraging people to say "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich? If you're so moral, why aren't you blessed?" So, I got tired of reading letters from rich people, asking me for money, while I was in fact starving. So, I started asking people for money. So, now you know I'm not rich and I've not been blessed with prosperity, so you've probably lost interest in me. So the only way this web site can possibly go from here, unless it receives funding NOW, is down. Fund it or lose it.
If this fundraising appeal doesn't work...I'm tired of scraping, tired of scrounging, tired of eating a meal or two and then going through the hunger-pangs business before I eat another one. I'm not young; my body is wearing out fast, and the word "resilient" as applied to human beings makes me queasy. You be resilient if you want to be resilient. I'd rather be with the people I've loved than be with anyone who blathers about people being resilient. I'm not the violent type, but nothing in the Bible or the Constitution says I have to eat. So, this week I ate; after this week, I'll eat again just as soon as I'm holding ten hundred-dollar bills in my hand. And then I'll resume blogging about what I'm doing with that money. And so on.
For obvious reasons, I have very mixed reactions to the whole "motivational" genre. Regular readers knew that. What can I tell you that's new, that's about this book as distinct from the works of Tony Robbins or Napoleon Hill? Well, for one thing, it's shorter than most of theirs. It contains fresh anecdotes from the life of Larry DiAngi. It contains relevant quotes from the Bible but does not confuse religious faith with business career motivation in the extremely annoying way that peaked in the 1980's; I give it many plus points for that.
It does contain some whoppers. Page 14 asserts that "if you give...some of your abundance away...more will be given to you." Hah. Apart from always shopping at charity stores, my husband and I gave away outright more than any American I know would believe was possible, in view of our incomes and expenses. Now, most of the time nobody even "gives" me the words "Thank you" when I hand them money. (In a small town, when the word gets around that you don't have money, the sort of Trash who spend much time in cashier or receptionist jobs feel free to expose their fundamental nastiness to you.)
So...The Resilient Power of Purpose is not a new book, not an antique book, and not an expensively produced book, and it's not recommended to anyone whose blood pressure is already high enough, but some people who've bought it do rate it high, according to Amazon. I physically own one copy, which I'll pass on, online, at the usual Fair Trade Book price of $5 for the book + $5 per package for shipping, including $1 to DiAngi or a charity of his choice. After that, prices can't be guaranteed.

Friday, March 4, 2016

March 4 Link Log

Felled by the infantry...Wednesday evening, I spent some time around preschoolers. The one who goes to "preschool" had of course picked up a virus. The others were fighting the virus, and cranky. So, yesterday morning, I woke up with that dizzy, cranky, fluzly feeling. Not too ill to meet a car pool and come to work, as planned, but close enough to ill that when car pool buddy called to say she wasn't going to take her little flu sufferer into town, I decided I didn't need to walk two miles in a cold rain either. After all I had to fight off the virus in order to sit with little flu sufferer tonight. Then I can be ill all weekend, or shake it off, whichever. After two years of being unable to eat a healthy diet, my resistance is obviously down, almost down to where it was when I used to eat wheat.

Vaccines don't keep children from having constant colds when they go to "preschool," Gentle Readers. The cold is the cure; the stress of being around other children is the disease.

Anyway I got a lift into town for the afternoon, so have enough online time to check the e-mail and do a short Link Log. Categories: Obligatory Fundraising Link, Animals, Books, Food, Fun Stuff, Politics, Things to Do, Travel.

Obligatory Fundraising Link

If you like this site, fund it now. "A day left"? It was supposed to run through March 6, but I suppose they're not counting Sundays. In theory Indiegogo will continue to accept contributions after March 6. I will not continue to maintain these web sites unless I see evidence that they're being read by people who are able to show appreciation of them in a meaningful way. I'm not talking about warm fuzzy words from those of you who claim that you're living on less than US$1000 a month, which for all I know may be true. And I actually prefer cash to Paypal and Paypal to Indiegogo; the fewer middlemen you pay to handle money, the better. But until I see some serious funding...well, who wants to read about the life of a person who's not well enough paid to eat? Until I can start blogging about how well you Christians, True Greens, fiscal conservatives, and other supporters are paying me, I don't see that I'm doing anyone any good by supporting your causes. So it will have to end. If you appreciate what I do, don't speak, don't type, just shell out the Benjamins already.



"Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind..." Some say the liger is the kind of thing Leviticus 19:19 had in mind. The Bible commends Jacob for figuring out ways to breed animals for different traits within the genetic range for their species, and animals can't engender offspring with a radically different kind of animal...or did Moses foresee gene splicing? Anyway, lions and tigers don't normally live in the same habitat and won't usually try to hybridize...but they can. Here's a photo of the result.



Can music really have all these effects? Sometimes it can. Music does entrain the brain.


A virtual visit to Scotland:


This image, shared by the +Allen West Republic , is more inspiring...no indication of denominations here, but just: Real Men Say Their Prayers.

Food (Yum)

Vegan recipes from India...the ones that aren't familiar to U.S. readers may be hard to approximate here. Jaggery is like raw brown sugar, Ghee is clarified butter, but the veg...Oh well, we can do something similar with what we have.


Vegan treat from the U.S....Warning: if you cook this in your kitchen, the ghost of cabbage will haunt you. So cook it outdoors, on the grill!


Vegan dessert (yes, it could be tweaked into gluten-freedom):


Vegetarian, if you want it to be, and gluten-free, usually sugar-free...but not vegan:


Fun Stuff

What's a dark party?



When I went to vote on Tuesday, I felt weird asking for a Republican ballot--I've always identified myself as Independent. But...did Democratic Party members actually pass up the chance to vote for their own candidate, in order to vote for the spoiler? Well...how else could he have won?


Without Trump's help, yes it would be possible for Hillary Rodham "They're Not Rich--They're Useless" Clinton to lose this election. After seeing this whopper, I can believe she really is brain-damaged. (Note that the Republican site on which the video appears is Black-hosted.)


Bill Clinton...as an asset to Hillary? In his mi-i-ind, in his mind...


How government works:


Things to Do 

My computer is super-organized. My papers, on the other hand...I do organize the ones that I might need to take to court some day. About the others, you don't want to know. If your papers are in a state similar to mine, here's an inspiring story:



Video only...wasted on me, without the text, but some of you might watch it.


The Identity Christian Movement of the 1970s: Reviving?

(Blogjob tags: Anglo-Israelite theoryChristian attitudes toward Jews and MuslimsCold War Era 1950’s-1980’shate groupsHerbert W. Armstronginterpretations of Bible prophecyLord’s Covenant Churchlost Khazar tribemedieval history and legendSheldon Emrywhole-Bible ChristiansWorldwide Church of God.)

(This is a long post and, although I've pre-scheduled one for Sunday, it may be chronologically the last post.)
Y'know, I'm ready to let the twentieth century be history, but...old-school socialism is back, full force, just as if the Soviet Union were still a viable experiment rather than an Epic Fail. Some people keep trying to revive other things that, as far as I'm concerned, belonged to the Cold War years.
This unsympathetic commentary was the first I'd heard of this "Sabeel" business. I remember an "Anglo-Israelite Identity" movement in American Protestantism. The movement traced itself tenuously back through history--those who took it literally relied on interpretations of history that were incapable of being proved or disproved. As it existed in the 1970s it seemed to have been a reaction to fear of the Soviet Union and disappointment with "conservatives" who didn't go far enough. That seems almost the polar opposite to what the "Sabeel" people seem to be preaching. Still, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that, as Old Soviet ideals resurface, old fears of the threat to the Anglo-Christian world are likewise resurfacing.
Even for Identity Christians, a sticking point has always been that nobody can be certain who his remote ancestors were--even in the female line. Nevertheless, the study (and confusion) of history and genealogy were popular pastimes in medieval Europe. British (and other) aristocrats traced their history back through legend to Troy and, before that, to the "lost" northern tribes of Israel, all the way back to "Adam, which was the son of God." Some Identity Christians used to take this literally and seriously. More, I think, did not. The important thing for the larger Identity groups was that all Christians are adoptive heirs of Abraham, according to Galatians 3:29.
It annoyed me even as a child, and it annoys me still, when people equate Identity Christians with haters. When I read back through some of the things my parents' pen friends wrote, I do see how this misinterpretation was possible. People like Sheldon Emry and Herbert Armstrong belonged to a more judgmental generation and used harsher terms than people of good will do now. They expected readers to understand that when they were bashing "the Jews" in certain organizations, they were talking about a specific set of Christian-phobic people, mostly men, mostly not religious, mostly "Communists" or at least very liberal toward the Communists--as distinct from religious Jews, or even an "honest Jewish scholar" like (non-religious) Arthur Koestler, whose book The Thirteenth Tribe summarized the evidence that the "lost" Eurasian Khazar tribe converted to (a form of) Judaism. They hated Christian-phobia and Communism. Those of them who spoke about foreign policy were not supportive of the Israeli government. They did not, however, hate entire groups of people, or endorse hate or violence.
Herbert Armstrong intended the name of his "Worldwide Church of God" to be understood literally, and baptized and ordained "adoptive Israelites" in every country he was able to visit. Sheldon Emry had a narrower vision, and said some harsh things about "alien races." My biracial father and brother and I were not the only "non-Aryan" types in that group. Sheldon Emry personally baptized a Black couple. I doubt that Pastor Emry would have been comfortable with a Black-White marriage--most people wouldn't, back then--but he mentored and ordained junior ministers who didn't have a "Nordic" or "Aryan" look. I suspect that, if most of the "Identity" people had met a serious whole-Bible Christian whose ancestors were Russian Jews, they would have accepted that person as an Israelite too.
What the "Identity movement" was really about was whole-Bible Christianity. As heirs (by birth or adoption) of Abraham, Christians were not "saved by" adherence to the Old Testament law, but were entitled to claim "blessings" through adherence to that law.
This I was taught, believed as a child, and believe still. When the Bible writers said "Thus saith the Lord," they were leading into one of five kinds of instruction:
  1. Personal advice to an individual: "Rejoice." "Arise and go unto..."
  2. Moral precepts for all of humankind: "Thou shalt not kill."
  3. Health, diet, and sanitary laws for ancient Israelites, reflecting the circumstances in which they lived: "He shall be unclean until evening."
  4. The civil law for the nation of Israel: "Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; ye shall hear the small as well as the great."
  5. The rules for the ritual sacrifices in the Tabernacle and Temple. These are the "old laws" that were "contrary to us" (Colossians 2:14).
Only the last category was affected by the sacrifice of Christ. Even the first and third categories are worth study. The second category, the laws individuals can observe regardless of their circumstances, are binding on us. The fourth category, the laws that need to be enforced by a society as a whole, are a good example for us. "Christian nations" have tried changing the laws Moses laid down to ancient Israel; the results of these efforts have not been an improvement.
Identity Christians are best summarized as people who think that, individually and collectively, we would do best to adhere to biblical law. This definitely does shape our politics--I say "we," not because I've stayed in touch with any of the "Identity" churches since the Reagan years, but because I'm still a whole-Bible Christian. The biblical "law and prophets" commend elective democracy over monarchy, uphold the rights to private property and inheritance, demand personal responsibility, are not nearly as sexist or ageist or otherwise oppressive as some later interpretations suggest, and support a very "Middle Eastern" or "Semitic" idea of gaining status through generosity and hospitality rather than hoarding valuable objects.
How this view of the Bible shaped individual views on foreign policy varied considerably. Some Identity preachers accepted enough historical legends to identify modern nations with ancient nations and interpret Bible prophecies as dictating foreign policy. That was where the "anti-Israeli" notion came in--if it did. If you believed literally that Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, that most Israelis (immigrants from Soviet countries, at that time) are descendants of Esau, and that nearly all the descendants of Jacob Israel could be found in western Europe before they reached the Promised Lands of North America and Australia, then you probably felt that the U.S. and Canada should not feel obligated to support Israel at the expense of the possibly more profitable loyalty of the Arab countries. (I recently reread a newsletter in which Pastor Emry affirmed that the Arabs had "done us no harm." He meant, of course, as of 1979. I don't know what he would have said about the Arabs by now.)
My views on foreign policy are familiar to regular readers. I don't have any. Not all Identity Christians had any views on foreign policy, either, other than fear of the then-looming Soviet threat and distaste for a "Thermonuclear World War III."
What the Identity movement really taught about groups of people who weren't Christians, weren't even adoptive "Israelites"--whether they called themselves "Israelis" or anything else--was that, if Christians would practice whole-Bible Christianity and claim the blessings that were our birthright, then God would heal and bless our land. Then "all the nations of the Earth" that had never seen Abraham's vision of God would see our prosperity, learn our ways, become Christians, and be equally blessed and healed.
Sheldon Emry was the most radical, literal-thinking "Identity" preacher my parents knew. He was also the one whose published newsletters explained that Israelites were not and wouldn't be "better" than the other nations, but had been chosen to be first because Abraham was the first prophet of the One God Who "will have mercy and not sacrifice."
My parents and I heard less from the "Identity" people in the 1980s, as the alarm and despondency of the 1970s abated. Pastors Emry and Armstrong died, leaving their churches to younger men. The Worldwide Church of God still exists; the Lord's Covenant Church apparently does not; I don't know what became of some other Identity churches.
I can easily imagine a church, beset by the alarm and despondency of our times, digging up old tracts and restoring the mid-twentieth century emphasis on the Identity message. I can even imagine people confused enough to try to meld some version of the Identity theory together with the old Communist moral ideals that substituted altruism for honesty and self-destruction for generosity.
To them I'll say this much, as the Bible Maven who has read the Bible from cover to cover several times. There is room for plenty of honest disagreement among whole-Bible Christians, but for some things there is no room. There is no biblical support for socialism. There is no biblical support for hate.

Book Review: The Gourmet in the Low Calorie Kitchen

(Blogjob tags: 1960’scookbookcooking with monosodium glutamatecooking with saccharincooking without added fatlow-calorie cookbookrecipes from foreign embassies.)

Title: The Gourmet in the Low-Calorie Kitchen 
Author: Helen Belinkie
Date: 1961
Publisher: Avon
ISBN: none
Length: 239 pages including calorie charts and index
Quote: "If you have gourmet tastes...and think this carries with it the burden of high calorie intake, forget your problem as of now...[T]he recipes that follow...are decalorized versions of gourmet dishes."
And, in some cases, it shows. This book represents a phase in American cuisine that some feel might be best forgotten--whipped-up skim milk as "cream," saccharin and sucaryl as "dessert," and monosodium glutamate as a seasoning to be added either in the kitchen or on the table.
In other cases, the way Mrs. Belinkie "decalorized" homemade foods set the new standard for the way we now expect foods to be made. Her waffle recipe calls for one whole egg plus two more egg whites, flour, salt, baking powder, and buttermilk. Radical? Of course not. Waffles are supposed to be dry, aren't they? You melt butter over them at the table, if you like butter, don't you? Well, yes, but in early twentieth century cookbooks buttery batters were considered "rich." A hundred years ago, poor people were still skinny people, and home economists', teachers', authors', dietitians, sometimes even doctors' concern was to help people make sure they got enough calories. Often they recommended too many.
So, in this book, modern readers will find several recipes that may now seem "classic" or "traditional." The stewed chicken starts with just one tablespoon of oil to soften the onions and peppers, rather than a glob of butter. The broiled chicken is basted with wine and allowed to cook in its own juices. The fish is baked or poached in water, wine, and/or lemon juice in which its own oil forms the "sauce."
"'Must I have a poached egg on toast every morning?' queried my dieting husband..." Mrs. Belinkie was glad to report that he didn't. The egg could be baked in a prebaked tomato, cooked as an omelet with lean meat or a souffle with cottage cheese, whipped into the batter of pancakes or waffles, or replaced with meat or fish.
The best thing I can say about the dessert recipes in this book is that a lot of them involve fresh fruit, and fresh fruit in season is likely to be much better than any of the things this book recommends doing with it. You already knew that.
So, who needs this book? Frankly I prefer the McDougall cookbook for dieters, but this one does contain a lot of simple recipes, and some elaborate ones, that don't call for a lot of added fat. Some ingredients on which Mrs. Belinkie relied are no longer on the market, for good and sufficient reasons. If you don't mind ignoring those and sticking to the recipes that focus on natural ingredients, you'll still be getting $5 worth.
Neither Helen nor Milton Belinkie has any use for the $1 they'd get if this were a Fair Trade Book, out of the total online price of $10 or $11 ($5 per book, $5 per package for shipping, $1 per online payment--if you send a real postal money order, you send me only $10 and pay the surcharge directly to the post office). However, the paperback edition is small enough to fit into the package with at least two Fair Trade Books, possibly more, all for $5.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Book Review: Anne of Avonlea

(Recaptured from Blogspot: Anne of Green Gables seriesCanada in fictionchildren’s bookfamily-friendly fictiongirls’ novelLucy Maud Montgomerynovels about orphansPrince Edward Island in fictionRomanticist worldview in comic fictionstudent teachers in fiction.)

Title: Anne of Avonlea 
Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, Book 2)Author: Lucy Maud Montgomery
Date: 1909 (Page), 1992 (Bantam--as shown)
Publisher: Page (1909), Grosset & Dunlap, Bantam
ISBN: 0553213148 (Bantam)
Length: 276 pages
Quote: "Anne had certain rosetinted ideals of what a teacher might accomplish if she only went the right way about it; and she was in the midst of a delightful scene, forty years hence, with a famous personage...Anne thought it would be rather nice to have him a college president or a Canadian premier...assuring her that...his success in life was due to the lessons she had instilled so long ago in Avonlea school."
Anne of Avonlea is the second volume in the chronicles of the most famous character in Canadian fiction. In this volume, sixteen-year-old Anne Shirley is teaching school, as all the best teen heroines of nineteenth century novels did; Anne is close enough to the twentieth century to think wistfully about earning a college degree. She also gets to practice mothering on two younger orphans, Dora and Davy.
What this novel has in the way of a plot is a romance, but it's not Anne's--we already know Anne's going to be stuck with Gilbert Blythe for life, she's too young to marry him in this book, and Montgomery does readers like me the favor of keeping Gilbert mostly out of the way. (Maybe it's because Anne of Green Gables promoted the idea that children "really like" their official school enemies, which I never did...I never liked Gilbert.) Anne's worldview is Romanticist enough to allow Anne to project her idealistic fantasies onto other people's lives and relationships. She considers meddling in the personal life of one of the older people she knows; Montgomery saves her, and him, from the consequences, and lets her know it. As a reward for her non-meddling, Montgomery lets Anne have some part, conscientiously not meddling, in the reconciliation of two more older friends, so in the last chapter Anne gets to be a bridesmaid.
However, one reads the Anne of Green Gables books for the sweet oldfashioned comedy, so it's worth not skipping to find out who tells Anne "I'd rather look like you than be pretty" and what becomes of the cow. In the end all of Anne's adventures prove that a wholesome, family-filtered story can be fun.
How many volumes were there? Since the series entered the public domain and returned to bestseller status, this depends on which publisher you consult. Some call volumes one through three a trilogy, some count twelve of Montgomery's books as basically "chronicles of Avonlea" (that's also the title of one of the books), and Bantam listed eight novels about Anne and her family, three about Emily of New Moon, sixteen more books of fiction, and a biography of Montgomery as being sufficiently "akin to Anne" (another title) that Bantam expected "YOU WILL ENJOY" the whole stack. You probably will, too, although naturally some volumes contain more Edwardian moments of painful cognitive dissonance than others.
Bantam chose that name for a reason. Bantam chickens are deliberately bred to look like smaller versions of various full-sized breeds, and Bantam Books are designed to look like various full-sized books while fitting into a coat pocket (if not a hip pocket). So, although Montgomery can't use a dollar, none of her books is a Fair Trade Book, and I still have to charge $5 per book + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, I can offer a total of $45 (or $46) for eight or $65 (or $66) for twelve of these books.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Book Review: Menfreya in the Morning

(Reclaimed from Blogjob. Tags: Cornwall in novelsEleanor Hibbert as Victoria HoltEnglish popular fictionGothic romance novelromance novels with mobility-impaired heroinessocial class in British novelsVictorian melodrama.)

Title: Menfreya in the Morning 
[Click on the pretty picture to buy an early hardcover large print edition. Other editions are available cheaper; if you order this title from me you'll get one of them, possibly in better condition than this edition for which Amazon had a good clear picture.]
Author: Eleanor Hibbert as "Victoria Holt"
Date: 1966
Publishers: Book Club, Doubleday, Fawcett
ISBN: 038506098X
Length: 253 pages
Quote: "To see Menfreya at its best was to see it in the morning."
Eleanor Hibbert was an extremely successful writer of popular novels for women. The historical novels she wrote as "Jean Plaidy" even reflected enough research to be overtly read by "serious, scholarly" adults. The early novels she wrote as "Victoria Holt," beginning with Mistress of Mellynseemed bizarrely, exotically, implausibly out of date to U.S. audiences from the day they were written, and Hibbert seems to have dashed them off strictly as potboilers...but they kept the pot boiling because, for people who liked that sort of thing, "Victoria Holt" wrote the sort of thing they liked.
The one my high school library had was Menfreya in the Morning. I read it in high school. I don't remember thinking it was great. I do remember thinking it was worth reading again, as an adult, when I found a copy on the ten-cent rack at a book sale for a good cause. So I bought and re-read it. It didn't dazzle me with brilliance or overwhelm me with nostalgia; knowing that "Holt" and "Plaidy" were the same writer inspired me to compare Menfreya unfavorably with Victoria Victorious. It was a good, frivolous, one-time read.
As a daughter of the English upper-middle class, Harriet seems likely to be cheated out of Papa's money and any prospects of a life her few friends won't consider tragic and pathetic unless she can marry a real aristocrat. Her best girl friend and only boy friend happen to be minor aristocrats yet, due to a trivial physical "affliction" (she walks with a limp) and Papa's unpopular choice of a second wife, people have led her to believe that either her boy friend won't marry her or, when he does propose, he won't really like her. And, when she marries him anyway and moves into the great house called Menfreya, strange and nasty things begin to happen. Does her husband, or do members of his family, hate her enough to want to kill her? Is she going to inherit money--to leave behind--after all? Should she love her husband, or leave him?
Since Harriet is the one telling the story we know she's not going to be murdered. She is going to solve a mystery. I can't say how easy it is to guess who's up to what, since I'd read the story before.
Eleanor Hibbert no longer has any use for a dollar, so this is not a Fair Trade Book, and my minimum price is still $5 per copy + $5 per package + $1 per online payment. However, paperback editions are small and will fit comfortably into a package with one or more Fair Trade Books.