Pedal Like He’s Never Coming Back

While looking for something else last night, I found the recipe for bara a Bangladeshi co-worker wrote from me more than twenty years ago. I’m overjoyed! These little ~2 oz. lentil patties are moist, crisp, delicious and totally addicting. Eat bara with your fingers or a fork. They require no dipping sauce or condiment.

Bara (lentil cake)

Lentils – 1 lb. dry
Garlic – 1 small clove
Ginger – little piece
Onion – 1 big
Coriander leaves – a few
Cumin powder – 1 tsp.
Green pepper – 1 small

(Here in the West, coriander leaves are called cilantro.)

1. Soak in water lentils, garlic and ginger for 4 to 5 hours.
2. Drain the water.
3. Blend it to make a dough – shouldn’t be too soft.
4. Chop onion, coriander and green pepper.
5. Mix all these together with the dough.
6. Add also cumin powder.
7. Scoop them to fry in deep oil. (med hi temp)

Step 8 instructed me to bring some for my co-worker because he was HILARIOUS. Haven’t seen him in years. I still miss his wife’s cooking.

Alright And It’s Coming Along

So in my quest – the kind without teenage wizards – for really healthy food that tastes really good, I’ve been fussing with a cookie recipe. After about a mess o’ experimental batches – sometimes tried out on children dressed as teenage wizards – I like this one. The best thing about it is that a few of these cookies and a glass of milk or soymilk is pretty damn close nutritionally to that good breakfast you’re not eating.

Gingerbready oatmeal reasons to live

1 1/4 c. butter (2 1/2 sticks)
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. molasses
1 egg
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3 c. quick or old fashioned oats
1 tsp + a splash vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp ground dried orange peel
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Some ridiculous combination of the following:

1/4 c-ish pignoli nuts
1/2 c.-ish raisins
3/4 c.ish craisins
3/4 c-ish dried cherries
1/2 c.-ish chocolate chips
1 tbsp finely diced crystallized ginger

Just for fun once or twice, I ground up a few tablespoons of candied Buddha hand and tossed that in. Awesome.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices; mix well. Fold in oats, fruit and nuts.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto silpat thingy. Bake 11-13 minutes. Cool a minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

Make these! I demand it!

But He Wants To Be A Paperback

I watch his TV show because Biblical archaeology is good storytelling, so I know this face well.

Simcha Jacobovici. Photo by: Nir Kafri

Simcha Jacobovici is the Naked Archaeologist. I don’t know why a person would conflate nakedy nakedness with a painstaking activity carried out in caves, tombs, deserts and dusty museums. No matter. Simcha’s not actually an archaeologist. He’s a filmmaker. He tells stories. Sometimes as I’m watching the show, I have trouble following his very athletic leaps through the texts and history. During two episodes last week, he made if-then statements that took away my breath and I’ll just tell you this: I have a pretty good breathing capacity. I breathe a lot, every day, but not so much when Simcha says museums were looted in Baghdad during the invasion and occupation and oh by the way you can buy these relics in London antique shops for a few thousand clams. Sometimes he says this people over here must be related to that people over there because both had boats or glass or this symbol or called their children Hey You until they turned 30, which can sound like evidence but isn’t always.

Yes, I do shout at a TV show about archaeology. Glad you asked. Anyway, now you understand why this story is both surprising and not at all surprising, coming from Simcha:

Are these the nails used to crucify Jesus?

Oh brudder.

The name Caiaphas is rare for the Second Temple era and in fact is totally unknown among archaeological finds. This allowed the digging detectives to say with confidence that the site is the burial cave of the family of Caiaphas, the Jerusalem high priest in Jesus’ time and one of the primary antagonists in Christian scripture.

It was this Caiaphas who gave Jesus up to the Romans. He, along with Judas Iscariot, was the symbol of Jewish treachery, a denier of the truth and the de facto basis for Christian anti-Semitism.

Aside from the ossuaries, the cave held other treasures: coins, a perfume bottle, an oil lamp in an earthenware pot, and two rusty and bent nails. These nails, Jacobovici claims, are no less than the original nails hammered into the hands of Jesus Christ as he was crucified.

He did that without a pole vaulting pit to land in. I’ll let you catch your breath there. Better? Okay, moving on:

And if Jacobovici is to be believed, these nails have the potential to cause a revolution in the way we view early Christianity, the Jewish religion from which Christianity emanated and the relationship between the two faiths. But first one must believe Jacobovici; many, primarily in the archeological world, do not, and even view him as a charlatan.

Jacobovici, an observant Jew sporting a large skullcap, has a light American accent that disappears as his outrage at the archeologists who dismiss his findings grows. He was born in Israel, but has lived in Canada for many years, garnering recognition for several documentaries he has made, including a film on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and another on the trafficking of women. He has won two Emmys for his work.

Yes yes yes, Simcha is a personable guy, has an interesting way with words and tells a hell of a story.

He gets to interview people I’d love to have a drink with, like Robert Eisenmann. He travels all over the place and has a mountainous pile of stock footage. He is about to present evidence for his claims in a new movie.

Jacobovici’s main claim is that the character of Caiaphas must be reconsidered. According to him, Caiaphas may have changed his mind about Jesus after the crucifixion, and his descendents thought it appropriate to bury the father of Christianity with the nails alongside other items meant to accompany him to the next world.

Jacobovici says that Caiaphas even became a member of the Judeo-Christians – those who maintained their Jewish identity while claiming Christ was the messiah (but not God). Jacobovici says that evidence of Caiaphas’ paradigm shift can be found in multiple places, including the mysterious symbols that were engraved upon the ossuary.

Other archeologists do not rule out the possibility that Caiaphas was buried in the cave; they say it is reasonable to assume that it was the family’s cave, although other members of the family may be buried there.

Dissenting archeologists maintain, however, that although the ossuary is elaborate in design, it is not in the style of a typical high priest burial site.

The excavation of the cave was done by two senior archaeologists, Dr. Zvi Greenhut, today a leading official at the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Dr. Ronny Reich, now the chairman of the Archeological Council, the highest archeological body in Israel.

Jacobovici has been cautiously critical of these two experts for ignoring what he perceives to be the most important finding in the cave: the nails. The other items discovered in the grave have been stored in the warehouses of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and the ossuaries can be viewed at the Israel Museum.

The nails, on the other hand, have been neglected – barely documented in the excavation’s findings and disappearing shortly after the dig. Now, they are in the hands of Simcha Jacobovici.

A few things:
1. The nails disappeared and reappeared? Ruh roh.
2. New movie = publicity stunts. Ruh roh!
3. “The father of Christianity”?

These are problems with the article’s reporting. We can’t discuss problems with Simcha’s theories until I see the movie, which I won’t do without elbow and knee pads, proper footwear and a cushioned helmet. A good story is one thing, but I’m not making any leaps without a solid place to land.

Why Not Wyoming

Man oh Manischewitz, I couldn’t wait for this work week to end. On Wednesday, I had an episode I still don’t understand in which sudden, severe neck muscle cramps caused me blinding, debilitating pain that resulted in my walking around all day with my head facing to the left. Poor Impulsives, you have not lived until you’ve descended stairs perpendicular to the direction you can see. To his credit, Pete observed this without passing coffee through his nose. Today, as I was saddling up the bicycle to ride home, undergraduates of the unnamed university flooded the avenue, squawking and racing toward their exciting, regrettable futures. It’s a big weekend in the tiny city. Traffic clogged the surrounding roads. I got out just in time.

Siobhan: Three idiots tried to make a living the old-fashioned way: by breaking into her house and kidnapping the old lady on the Columbia Sportswear commercials.
Tata: That’s going to look funny on their tax returns.
Siobhan: And their arrest records. They got as far as tying her in Boy Scout knots before the cops showed up.
Tata: So an alarm sounded, security worked and the police saved the day?
Siobhan: Yup.
Tata: Well, paint me red and call me Josephine. That never happens!

The 87-year-old [Gert] Boyle was approached at her West Linn home last November by a man offering a gift basket who pulled a gun. Boyle was able to trigger a silent alarm, bringing police.

Boyle didn’t appear at Thursday’s sentencing but released a statement through her attorney, saying the three defendants “caused me to suffer indignity, violence and indescribable fear.” She added that her life was forever changed by the incident.

Presiding Judge Robert Herndon told Caballero that the plot was “a completely lame-brained scheme.” He described Boyle as an Oregon[sic] and American icon.

“It couldn’t have been worse if you tried to kidnap Santa Claus,” Herndon said.

It’s April 15th and for some reason that escapes me the tax deadline softened from a firm Friday to mushy next Monday. So since we’re firmly entrenched in financial FantasyLand, let’s picture a kidnapper’s visit to the accountant.

Bernstein: Mr. “Smith”, what kind of work do you do?
Smith: I’m in acquisitions.
Bernstein: Unh huh. You’re self-employed?
Smith: I think of myself as workplace-flexible.
Bernstein: How much did you make last year?
Smith: $350,000 in small, non-sequential, unmarked bills, not at all dyed red.
Bernstein: Sure. Did you pay your quarterly taxes?
Smith: No, I kind of acquired that all at once.
Bernstein: I see. Any work-related expenses?
Smith: Rope, duct tape, rubber gloves, monogrammed crow bars.
Bernstein: Education? Take any work-related classes?
Smith: I’m a proud 2010 graduate of the county’s locksmithing school.
Bernstein: Really? Me, too. For the off-season. Are you going to write a check?
Smith: Have you been watching C-SPAN? Bankers are CRAZY. Here, have a stack of cash.
Bernstein: Good thing I’m wearing lifts. Sign here, here and here, Mr. “Smith.”
Smith: X, x, x.
Bernstein: Well, have a good year and recommend me to the grand jury, will you?

Tax amnesty has real potential.