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Beet Risotto with Honey and Rosemary

I love my heavy cast iron pot. I have begun using it almost daily: Bolognese sauce succeeds particularly well in it, all kinds of stewing dishes and also oven risotto*.

That's why I was really pleased when people bring up the topic of "Dutch Ovens."

For those of you who don't know what a Dutch Oven is it is just a fancy name for a heavy, cast-iron pots with lids that are oven proof which you can even put in a fire with glowing coals. Wow…

*I cooked an oven risotto in my Dutch Oven this weekend. The great thing about the pot is that the stirring is actually completely eliminated. I couldn't believe it at first either – but it works flawlessly. At first it seemed like a big risk. I didn't want to end up with burnt rice that needed to be unstuck form the bottom of the pot. But…

The risotto turned out great. Actually better than any risotto we've made on the oven.

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 360g risotto rice
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 400g red beet about two medium or one large beet
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 25g butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 50g goat gouda/-fresh cheese or pecorino (we get ours at Sam's Club)

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F.

  • Finely chop the onions.
  • Peel the fresh beet and cut it into small cubes so that they will soften by the end of cooking. Pre-cooked the beet if you do not want to cut it quite as small. Fresh beets definitely add a nicer color to the finished dish.
  • Add all ingredients, except for the cheese in Dutch Oven and close the lid-

Put the pot in the oven and let the meal cook for 45 minutes you can now dedicate yourself to your other household activities: folding laundry, mowing the lawn, or drinking a small aperitif …

Hungry now?

Remove, stir, season with salt and pepper – it's time to eat. Supper is ready.
Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Kubrick A Retrospective

For Stanley Kubrick's fans it is apparent he offers us a look into surreal worlds which challenge our sense of being and morality. But his works are richly layered and offer a broader look at both the future as well as a look into the past when they were created.

Now London is home of a retrospective dedicated to Kubrick's work and rich sense of director until September.

The exhibit honors the renowned director, screenwriter and film producer, marking the 20th anniversary after his death. It shows his creative process; step by step, throughout the whole creative process and gives us a look at one of one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of the 20th century.

Many of the objects are on loan, belonging in private collections and and are now shown for the first time. His daughter Katharina Kubrick, said: "It's all our stuff, all of Dad's stuff. We had them at home, he never threw anything away. Everything was carefully cataloged and kept in boxes. When we moved, it all came with us. I don't think he'd envisage an exhibition, but there was a reason he didn't throw anything."

Awards and iconic movie objects like from films like: "2001" or "Clockwork Orange " are on display at the exhibition.

Kubrick, who was born in New York, moved to London at the beginning of the 60s which became the center of cinematographic operations for the director.

For Kubrick it only seemed logical to use it as a setting for all of his films which was also extraordinary for the time. That is why it is was really the only choice for a retrospective were made in London. He was a master when it came time to recreate these worlds audiences enter when they watch his films. It might be a hotel in the Rockies or for battlefields in ietnam, or space, were ever it was he could transport you there.

About 500 objects are included in the exhibition which lasts until the 15th of September at the Design Museum of London.

The Business Side of Networking

I have been working professionally as a consultant for the last fifteen years. Through those years I have been given out between 750-1000 business cards with my contact information on them. Honestly I can’t say how many I give out each year. I only know the upper limit since each year I order that number and I have never had to order additional cards. One year I counted how many I had left and it was around two-hundred and fifty and that seems about reasonable to assume that it holds for the other years as well. It is hard to be certain though since I recycle my old cards once the new ones arrive.

This year my mother made the statement that she would like to get some as well. At first I had to let out a small laugh. It was cute and I couldn’t understand why. After all, she is retired and never had a need in her working years to give them out.

So why would she now be interested in them?

First, let us consider why you need business cards in the first place. Who do you hand out a business card and in what situation?

Sure they are an important advertising tool.

It provides you with a way to make an impression, especially when you provide them with well-designed cards.

While many opt to design their own, e.g. with Word or another word processor, many professionals pick a high-end option that is specific to their industry. While the first option can work for some; My mother is one of those people that could forgo the extra expense, I have always left the design to a professional.

For me it is a question of how I want to present myself. I don’t need to simply drop contact information, that isn’t what they are for. You need to make an impression, it needs to stand out make an impression. It will be used as a gauge of your professional demeanor. If they don’t see that it has been professionally designed they will question your competence. This sounds harsh; It is superficial and has no baring on who you are but it is there so I need to keep it in mind and work within those confines.

Networking is an important aspect of any industry, these small pieces of paper are one aspect that that should be seen as a tool.

Like any tool, it is only useful when you have it on hand and how to use it properly. You should always have a few of your business cards with you, regardless of the situation you will be glad that you had at least one when you needed it. So no matter where you go keep a couple of them in your purse. Regardless of where you keep them it is important to ensure that thy do not buckle or get stains. As I said it has to due with appearances. So that they maintain their form I keep mine in a small case.

Make sure that you never pass on dirty or crunched cards. This seems incredibly unprofessional and could have undesired results. Just recycle the unusable cards and move on.

I have found it works well to add them to letters to my customers. For example, if you send an invoice, you can include a cover letter as well as your name card. Throughout the years I have used several ways to enclose these two additional pieces of paper in the envelope. Currently I use letterhead that has pre-punched mounts included where the address would normally go. Though I have use adhesive strips to fasten them to the cover letter. If you are uncertain if this will work for you use a paper clip to test.

No matter how much we rely on technology I don’t think that we will ever loose the need to have business cards.

When you have appointments with customers and events, you should always have your business cards at your fingertips. For appointments, hand over your business card when you are making introductions. This also has the advantage that your interlocutors do not confuse your name.

A year or two after I began working I learned a lesson that I will share now as a more than little embarrassing story. At that time things felt more overwhelming, it felt like balancing plates on sticks. Needless to say one of the aspects that was missing was organization that comes from experience. Once while at a trade show I had amassed a small collection of cards. To keep them from getting bent they were piled together with mine.

That was a mistake.

While making the rounds I accidentally gave the wrong card out. What is more embarrassing was that it was the card from one of his colleagues in the company. The contact did pay off a year later so it was not a complete failure but at the time my face was red.

The moral of the story?

If you get business cards from others, ensure that you keep them separate don’t put them together with your own – that could lead to confusion.

The way that I am now just filing them away isn’t enough. Whenever I receive one it gets filed aside with note on where I met the person and what we discussed. This prevents confusion and you can go through the stack again at the end of the day and consider who you contact first.

Going back to my mother she felt like they would be a nice way to leave here contact information with new acquaintances.

The idea is sound, the implementation on the other hand, is slightly overdone.

In college one of the students was known for giving them out for the same reason. While I am certain he has found success in his professional life, it was out of place at the time. Social setting dictates when you are safe to hand them out. Under a group of my peers it is not uncommon for them to be passed around or shown off in this setting. When I am invited to a less formal gathering where I don’t know those attending the thought does not cross my mind.

Decide where it is appropriate and when it is sensible to make a potential contact.

On Cleaning the Washing Machines Correctly

Recently, when I emptied or filled the washing machine, I noticed a foul musty smell. Call it wishful thinking if you will, but I tried to rationalize it away. First I pushed it on to the loads of wash waiting in front of the machine. However, when these were washed and cleared, the smell still lingered and I had to become suspicious that it was coming from the machine itself. As a first measure, I cleaned the filter screen, but there wasn't much in it there and as I learned today, that might not be the cause at all.

My half-knowledge about care gleaned from my childhood and the Internet reminded me that frequently washing on cold leads to deposits, which in turn cause odors, as does frequent use of liquid detergents. We like liquid detergent better since it somehow leaves the clothes softer. Still, it does not work as well, which can be seen in test after test it is probably based, among other things, on the fact that bacteria is not killed and the rest, well you can figure that out.

Since we had bought some new towels from the Ikea and we wanted to having the colors run (we suspected that they might run) we washed them with some disinfectant laundry detergent. I assumed that any smell would disappear.

After washing, I opened the washer to get a penetrating smell of the disinfectant, paired with the disgusting stale smell.

Okay, the experiment failed.

The next solution was to revisit the manufacturer's website which said that low temperatures could lead to strange odors and it was recommended to let them send out a specialist (machine cleaner). I refrained from calling one out.

I came up with the idea to look for a manufacturer-independent cleaner for washing machines in the local drugstore. I found one, bought it and threw it into the machine when I got home. During the cleaning process, a strong citrus scent developed throughout the house and if you got too close to the washing machine, you noticed an acidic lemony taste in the mouth. The whole thing was suspicious but I felt like I had accomplished something.

Convinced that everything was fine I once again opened the machine only to be hit by a strong perfume smell backed up with the already well-known stink.

After the series of failed tries I ended up calling the manufacturer of the machine, and for good measure the dealer where we bought it.

And so I now share; for the interested reader, my accumulated knowledge of washing machine cleaning.

The deposits in the machine consist of fat, detergent residues and lime. Fats, dirt and lime require different solvents. Sounds logical and fits my residual knowledge from chemistry lessons. For this reason, the machine cleaner I used could not work, because the cause of the smell is not the fat deposits. Rather in the lime deposits.

Disinfectant only makes sense in very few cases. The frequent use of disinfectants only leads to allergies. Apart from the fact that it is pointless in this case, see above, regarding the source of smell. Most bacterial/viruses etc. die at higher temps and the use of disinfectants is therefore unnecessary, only thanks to the overpowering perfume do you get the feeling of cleaner machine. And furthermore, normal household cleaners kill almost everything, so their use in most cases is senseless.

So, back to the actual subject, how do I get the stench effectively removed.

First, let the machine wash empty at the highest possible temperature. The addition of a cleaner is not strictly necessary, because there are still enough remnants of detergent in the depths of the machine. This can be seen that foam formations occur when it is absolutely idle. I have been able to observe this myself so I know that it is true. With this method one removes the greasy dirt that is stored on the lime.

In the next step, you take a washing machine de-caulker that can be applied at normal temperature, according to the expert. This then dissolves the lime layer, which is probably the main cause of odor formation. You can't take every de-caulker because it depends on the dosage and that should be right for your machine, otherwise, it won't work. Too low a dosage does not dissolve enough, a too high reacts with the aluminum in the machine, I forgot what the exact component is called but will and cause the drum to turn black inside.

Don't take any de-caulker either, I de-caulker in the second drugstore I looked at that is explicitly made for washing machines. The one that I selected instructed you to wash at the maximum temperature when using it.

In the last step, the machine is left to run empty at a high temperature, so that the grease/dirt layer under the lime layer is now removed. I was told that the detergent remains would now be out; it should not produce foam this time, which I can also confirm. The smell was also gone after this step to my relief.

A final comment, one should try to carry out the three steps in order and not squeeze a load of clothing in-between. Otherwise you will add new detergent to the mix which will need to be removed. Deposits will be formed, and if there are deposits of detergent on the lime again, this cannot be removed by picking up where you left off. To avoid this I did everything one evening and finished with the last step in the morning. But if you don't wash, you are welcome to allow yourself a day in between.

I hope I have been able to help someone with the case of the smelly washer.

142 Migrants Rescued From An Abandoned Truck In Mexico

For many Americans it is hard to imagine what it would take to force us to give up all that we have and make a journey to a foreign country, risking our possessions and lives for a chance at a little bit better future. But that is what is happening right now as I am typing, right now as you are reading. And that is why, dehydrated and crammed in the back of an abandoned truck like animals 142 Central American migrants, mainly Guatemalans were rescued by Mexican authorities yesterday.

Among them were dozens of children, some very young, who were saved thanks to an anonymous call that informed the authorities about the presence of the abandoned truck on the edge of a road in Amatlán de los Reyes, a municipality in Veracruz.

Red Cross doctors were asked to assist the migrants, who have then been placed in the hands of the migratory services which will be responsible for their deportation.

The 142 people arrived from Chiapas, crammed in a trailer which measured just forty feet by eight wide, with only a few fans to withstand the intense heat. Once they realized that they had been abandoned, they tried in vain to open the door and shouted for help.

The migratory flow to the United States was swelled at the end of 2018. The repression of the Mexican authorities is increasing, while the migrants are returned to the mafias and traffickers.

The Venice Art Biennial 2019

The Venice Art Biennial 2019 has opened its doors to the public this Saturday and what I wouldn't give to visit it. Not just this year, but generally speaking, sometime.

For those of you who may not be familiar with it:

The Venice Biennale (/ˌbiːɛˈnɑːleɪ, -li/; Italian: La Biennale di Venezia [la bi.enˈnaːle di veˈnɛttsja]; in English also called the "Venice Biennial") refers to an arts organization based in Venice and the name of the original and principal biennial exhibition the organization presents. The organization changed its name to the Biennale Foundation in 2009, while the exhibition is now called the Art Biennale to distinguish it from the organisation and other exhibitions the Foundation organizes.

The Art Biennale, a contemporary visual art exhibition and so called because it is held biennially (in odd-numbered years), is the original biennale on which others in the world have been modeled. The Biennale Foundation has a continuous existence supporting the arts.

This year the Golden Lion for the best pavilion has been for Lithuania by the "Sol y Mar" facility, an artificial beach inside the Arsenal's historic building.

The central exhibition is spread over the old Venetian shipyards and in the Giardini. One of the most shocking facilities is perhaps "Barca nostra ", a ship from Libya that sank in 2015, with more than 700 immigrants and refugees aboard. The Swiss artist Cristoph Büchel's project echoes again this drama, one of the worst shipwrecks of the 21st century.

And it really does have a haunting appeal to it.

"I think it is a good thing that the ship is here, as it should be regarded as a reminder of our present. It is not something that no longer exists, something that can be ignored but something that can happen again and unfortunately occurs almost every day in the Mediterranean," laments Carlotta Sami, regional spokesperson for UNHCR in southern Europe.

Special mention for the Mexican Teresa Margolles has re-envisioned the city's canals as a large concrete wall with concertinas to question the public about the divisions and violence that exists in the world.

The Israeli pavilion takes the appearance of an ER in which the visitor can see with despair that there are still 200 numbers ahead in the waiting room…

If you are lucky enough to be in Venice you will have the chance to visit the Venice Biennial until the 24th of November.

Cuba: The Mobilization Of The LGBT Community Challenges the Regime

A rally in Cuba resulted in at least three arrests. Nearly a hundred LGBT activists marched through the streets of Havana today at a new event.

They braved the ban from the regime to claim their rights, and protested against the cancellation of the pride walk, framed by the authorities, before the police dispersed the procession unceremoniously.

A draft amendment to the Cuban Constitution, which would pave the way for homosexual marriage, faces strong reluctance in public opinion, owing to the increasing influence of the Evangelical Church on the island.

Police Crackdown in Mexico

Hundreds of migrants have been detained in a police crackdown in Mexico, the largest registered against a migrant caravan to date. Among the detainees were many women with their children trying to escape the poverty and violence in Central America.

The federal police and the immigration agents were going up to vans to the migrants who were in the tail of the caravan; made up of about 3000 people, who were advancing under a scorching sun by way of dirt road in Chiapas.

According to the Associated Press, some 500 migrants may have been detained before further deportation.

The Meaning of Easter

This evening I am sitting here, a glass of wine in one hand and a lack of conversation on the other. DH is away on a business trip and he isn't due home until Wednesday.

My niece asked me yesterday what Easter meant and I have to say I appreciate it when children open a dialog so I tried my best to explain it in a simple and concise manner.

Easter. A Feast of Resurrection

Without resurrection, the Christian faith is pointless, yes, without resurrection (or: Without the news of it), there would be no Christianity today. It is at the very heart of our faith and it is what makes us Christians.

Not the eye for an eye mentality that seems to have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in our country.

The old testament was included as a before / after snapshot of our faith. Where we came from and where we are now. Didn't you ever ask why hotel rooms only include the new testament portion of the bible? That is because that is the bible.

So what does this mean for us?

Our faith has spread even against fierce resistance over the centuries and it has prevailed. It has prevailed in the face of violence that sought to silence the message.

What is that message?

The message reads: "Jesus was resurrected and entered into the glory of God with his transfigured body."

This is how Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, put it. Thus, according to Archbishop Müller, Christianity is combination of hope that the Lord will come again to complete what began at that time, because: "With the resurrection of Christ, a real new creation took place. It is the beginning of the new world, the new heaven and the new earth."

Luis Ladaria Ferrer succeed Müller as Prefect of the CDF in 2017 but this message still holds. But they are not universally accepted.

Three typical objections

This new one irritates people.

Then, as now, there is vehement controversy over the truthfulness of the Resurrection message. The reactions are similar. When Paul tells of the resurrection in enlightened Athens, three groups form: The sneers, the nuts, the faithful (Acts 17, 32-34). If this seems very familiar to you there is a reason why. Not from the sermon on the Agora, but from discussions in the forum. Sure: Resurrection is a matter of faith. Still, it can also be approached as a historic event and examine the plausibility of the news.

Three thoughts come to mind.


The news of the resurrection could be a lie, a small deception that took on gigantic proportions. At that time, such intentions of fraud were already speculated – among the Jewish authorities (Mt 27, 62-66). That's why the stone, that's why the guards. But why does Matthew mention this? If there was the fraud, those words could serve to shift an explanatory argument for the skepticism that occurred.

What clearly speaks against the fraud thesis, however, is the story of the original congregation, the young church.

You give up a lie at some point when the price gets too high, you admit a scam when the resistance gets too big. At least you retreat in silence. But the opposite is true: Against all odds, the news is spread. Why did they hold on to it, even though it very often cost them their lives? Why did they persevere so well in the lie, if it was one?

What is worth more than one's own life? But only one truth worth dying for. And no lie! Paul himself said that it was not worth dying for the faith if it were not for the resurrection as the true core of that faith (1 Cor 15, 17-19).


If foreign delusion goes out, though, it could still be self-delusion.

Then they might have only imagined and persuaded themselves to the resurrection. Something like this is quite conceivable.

Hallucinations are – especially since – are not rare in stressful situations.

But it's hard to imagine different people in different places suddenly suffering from the same psychosis that then lasts for decades and is apparently highly contagious. Not only did the disciples have the overwhelming sense of their Lord's palpable presence, but a whole host of other people, including those who had never followed Jesus or even persecuted him and his followers, including Paul (1 Cor 15, 3-8). And with his vocation, mass psychosis (that is, the apparitions of the resurrected Jesus) ends again – as suddenly as it began?

Possible but unconvincing.


We have only the biblical testimony of the resurrection.

That is very little.

This was certainly clear to the first Christians. Now it is the case that if you are already aware of the thin ice you are moving on, you do not necessarily jump around on it. But that is exactly what the evangelists do.

In an almost negligently naïve way, people are introduced as the main witnesses of the resurrection, who do not apply anything in ancient society: Women – times two (Mt 28, 1), times three (Mk 16, 1), sometimes a whole group (Lk 24, 10) and here Mary of Magdalen (Jn 20, 1).

This detail is particularly piquant because, according to the ancient legal view, it was entirely the testimony that mattered to prove the truth of a fact; An independent investigation into the circumstantial evidence as we know it today did not take place – the verdict led to either the confession or credible testimony.

Now women of all people are called to testify! And a man who had lied three days earlier: Peter (Lk 24, 12). The evangelists shamelessly report this, too. But why are they telling the story so implausibly? The only plausible answer is this: Because it happened just like this.

That is, it is true.

Here John, in the meeting of Mary of Magdalen, another detail emerges.

Mary seeks her Lord Jesus, whose relationship with her and the disciples was abruptly ended with death on the cross. That's what Mary thinks at least and so she seeks Him. This seems most plausible to her when she spots a man at the grave. It is only when she hears her name that she recognizes Him and the old relationship arises again: Jesus mentions her name – as he did during his lifetime. The living relationship is restored: It is not the relationship between the mortuary nurse and the dead man, but Mary's original relationship with Jesus.

Those who see the Resurrection merely as a historical fact and try to reconstruct it as such miss the dimension of infinite salvation in eternal life, which gives Christ's resurrection meaning to our existence, and also deprives faith of its deepest mystery.

For the Christian faith is not exhausted by the mere realization of facts, but also consists in the admission to what eludes our immediate view.

The news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is incredible. But true. We are allowed to celebrate it and we are to witness it so that it continues spread and all people learn what Easter is all about.

This is what I tried to explain at least, this is not how I tried to explain it.

Happy Easter!

Rosemary and Honey Tea

What makes rosemary so appealing? Sure it makes meat, fish and vegetables tasty. It als works as a balm for the skin, soothes nerves, activates liver and bile: Rosemary has a pleasant smell and taste that is hard to miss. Whether as a tea, oil or wine – rosemary is good for everything.

As a kitchen spice, rosemary is priceless, yet it wasn't until recently I started to make a tea out of it.

Not for any of the reasons those crazy medicinal nuts go on about mind you; Rosemary is just so warming and I always have it on hand.

I decided to try and make a tea out of it when I was raiding my cabinets looking for the last box of green tea that just had to be there somewhere. It wasn't there and it was time to improvise.

I had two concerns:

  • The tea would be weak and you wouldn't have much more than flavored water;
  • The tea would be too strong and taste bitter.

The first point caused me to use more rosemary than I thought I needed which gave cause for me to worry about the second point. Thus the inclusion of honey. Though to be fair it ends up in tea more often than not around here.

The result was amazing. Which is what caused the procrastinator in me to make a post today.

Actually rosemary appears in a lot of our meals in various amounts.

If you are interested let me know and I will share a couple of them.

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