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Mack's Corner

This Week

It will all become clear

I went and helped a buddy of mine hook up his sound system and HD TV. When I got there they had stuff everywhere, wires and remotes and cables, nothing really worked. In the old days hooking up a stereo meant plugging it in and running 2 speaker wires, (left, right who cares) turn it on and you had music. Not any more … now you've got Speaker wire to 7 different speakers with correct places to plug each one in (can't get your left and right switched because you don't want the guy on the right side of the screen talking on the left speaker and you can't get your effects speakers mixed up with your surround speakers). RCA analog jacks, optical digital jacks, Coax digital jacks, HDMI jacks, Component TV jacks, Video jacks, firewire jacks, and regular old cable jacks. If you want your movies to sound right you have to use digital connections, but you have to program those to the correct input. Analog jacks will get you sound but not surround sound. Then you've got 2 different types of HDTV depending on your TV's age, and of course, you've got 4 remotes(TV, Sound system, cable box(or Firestick, Roku, DVD if you still have one). So when you first look at it, there are about 300 ways to do it wrong and 2 or 3 ways to do it right. The trick as my daddy used to say is to see "The big picture".  Here's what you need to know: Anything labeled "Output" has the same thing going out, that's easy. The hard part is the "Input". It's like talking on the phone. If you hold the phone up to your ear, you hear it, if you hold it up to your knee, you don't. If you plug your DVD player into "DVD" and hit DVD on the remote, you hear it. If you plug it into "Phono" you don't… it's not hard, you just have to pay attention. I got everything hooked and boooooooom, everything worked just like magic…  what a picture …. full surround sound.. just like being at the game. You could hear the guy selling popcorn in the 2nd deck and watch the fly buzzing around the pitcher's head, hear the ump talking to the catcher… I almost spent the night.….

God's like that: Most people are overrun by all the details, they never see the "Big Picture"… everything looks like 5000 options with no clear direction. All you have to know is that everything goes through God and
someday Booooooooom it will all become clear …. Don't give up and don't let the details drag you down, God's got the whole thing under control ….

I told my buddy that he would have to pass an IQ test if he ever wants to move….


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes:

Mediterranean Diet:
One of the great combinations ever is cheese and tomatoes. Here's a great one from Melissa Clark from the New York Times..

Tomato-Fennel Soup With Brie Toasts - Adapted from "The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook," by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins


7 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium fennel bulbs, cleaned and thinly sliced, fronds chopped and reserved(Kroger)

1 large onion, halved, peeled and thinly sliced

2 teaspoons salt

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

3 tablespoons Pernod (optional) (Busters)

2 28-ounce packages or cans chopped tomatoes packed in purée (such as Hunts)

1 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon black pepper

==Toasts: (this assumes one slice per person??.. I would make way more.. like 4 times more)

6 baguette slices

1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional) (Penzey's)

3 ounces Brie, thinly sliced (Costco, Kroger)


1. Heat 6 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add fennel, onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partly cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in garlic and chile powder; cook 1 minute. Stir in Pernod and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes.

2. Pour in tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups water, and the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook gently, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the black pepper. Purée soup in batches using a blender or immersion blender until smooth.

3. Transfer soup back to pot over medium heat; simmer until slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes more. Scrape down sides and bottom of pot occasionally. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread slices on a large baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 10 minutes.

5. (optional) Toast fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and lightly colored, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.

6. Adjust oven temperature to broil and position rack 6 inches from heat. Brush toasts with fennel-seed oil (leave seeds in the pan) or just plain olive oil and top with Brie. Return to oven and broil until bubbly and golden, 1 to 3 minutes (check every minute or so to see that they are not burning). Ladle soup into bowls and top with a cheese crouton. Garnish with fennel fronds.

YIELD 6 servings


How about saving a kid's life!!

When you give Platelets it's like giving St Jude $700 - $1000. If we don't give them, they have to buy them.

Giving Platelets is like giving blood, it just takes longer (1 1/2 hours) and you get all of your blood back (so you can do it every week if you want) . I know it's a long trip to go all the way down to St Jude, but you may be saving a kid's life . plus you get to watch a movie while you're there. Call Kim at 901.595.2024 and she'll setup an appointment and treat you like family. Just tell her you're from Hope.

Directions: From Poplar, turn north on Third Street, then right on Lauderdale/Jackson Ave (first right after you go under the expressway). Enter through the north guard gate (you'll see the Danny Thomas Pavilion. Gold top).

Tell the guard at the gate that you are here to donate blood. The guard will instruct you where to park. You will then enter the hospital by the red side door closest to the blood donor parking lot. The Blood Donor Center is in the southwest corner of the hospital on the ground floor.

Appointment times are generally available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Except on Tuesdays they start at 9:15am.

See you online this weekend. It's going to be great!!!


Posted by Mack Oates at 8:01 AM