Mack's Corner

This Week

Bad decision

I was watching a basketball game one time, the red team was ahead by 25 points when I started watching, it looked like it was over and it was only the first half. In the 2nd half the blue team changed their defense and one guy got real hot shooting 3 pointers. With 3 seconds to go in the game the blue team was winning by one point and the red team had the ball out of bounds, they still had a chance to win. One of the refs was running across the court to get in position when all of a sudden he turned around and called a technical foul on one of the guys on the red team. I guess he was frustrated that his team had blown a 25 point lead, anyway he said something (bad decision #1), not to anyone, and the ref heard it and called tech. The ref moved both teams very quickly across half court and had one of the blue team guys shoot the 2 technical foul shots, the shooter on one side of half court, everyone else on the other.

The guy that got the tech didn't understand what was going on and had just realized that the tech was on him. So he started walking toward the ref to ask what he had done to cause the tech (bad decision #2). The rule is that you can't cross half court when someone is shooting a technical. If you do, you get a technical. As soon as he stepped past half court, the ref gave him another tech. If you get 2 techs you're out of the game. So the ref threw him out of the game, 3 seconds still on the clock.

Then the guy decided to stand his ground face to face with the ref (bad decision #3). That got him suspended for 3 games and 2 more techs. Then 2 more, then 2 more. 20 technical fouls later, still 3 seconds to go in the game, his coach decided it would be a good idea to get him out of the gym. By the time the blue team finished shooting techs, they were up by 15 points and the game was over. I'm sure neither  the player nor the ref saw it coming.

I was thinking about Hope Christmas Eve stories. One year  it was raining so hard that if you were outside you were wet. The wind was blowing the rain sideways, it was really bad. The ConeHeads had quit helping people park and had started helping people get into the building without getting soaked. One woman had a newborn baby. Her husband had pulled up to drop them off at the door. When the ConeHeads, 10 of them, saw the baby, they all huddled around the mom, umbrellas up, protecting them from the rain, the father standing outside the huddle watching. The mom in her routine way got the baby out of the car, locked the door and pushed it closed with her hip… motor running, radio on, keys in the ignition, dad with his hands over his face. He hadn't really wanted to come, he was wet, and now his keys were locked inside his car and a bunch of strangers were huddled around his new baby. I pulled him under the umbrellas and told him to go get his family inside and that I would have his keys when he got back. They all moved very slowly, taking little baby steps, toward the door of the church trying not to break the huddle, trying not to get the baby wet. The ConeHeads had water pouring off of them, not a drop on the baby.  I raced back to my office to get my "Breakin" tools. The car was a Honda, so all I needed was a wedge and a "Z" tool … wedge in, Z in, turn, up, open… 10 seconds, I timed it … he came running back out and I was standing there with his keys, rain still pouring off me. He looked at me stunned and said "What the _____ kind of church is this?"… I said "Welcome to Hope!"

God's like that. He protects us, gives us shelter, even takes small steps with us so we can keep up. And he does it even after we make bad decision #1, #2, #3, #4,#5,#6,#7……..  We can't mess up our lives bad enough to run God off. Even when it's pouring off his back, he'll still keep trying to keep us dry and safe and warm.

Maybe I'll go practice breaking into cars, I bet I could get somebody to spray water in my face, just to get real life conditions, nothing better than real life.


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

OK, this is a fun thing to make with the kids. Plus it's a great for Thanksgiving. Plus it's just good..

Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, 1 stick cubed

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup coarsely shredded Gruyère cheese (3 ounces).. or some kind of melty cheese .. Cheddar works

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

This is Soda bread. So the rising comes from the reaction between the baking powder/ baking soda and the acid in the buttermilk. (SO if I were doing this I would make it Times 4… 1 qt = 2pints in a qt, 2 cups in a pint = 4 cups in a qt… you need to use up a qt of buttermilk..i.e. 4 cups…)

Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter a 9-by-4 1/2-inch metal loaf pan.

In a large skillet, melt the 1/2 stick of uncubed butter; pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into a small bowl and reserve. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it is softened, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the poppy seeds and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the onion mixture onto a plate and refrigerate for 5 minutes, until cooled slightly. Stir in the Gruyère.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Add the buttermilk and pulse 5 or 6 times, just until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Pat or roll the dough into a 2-by-24-inch rectangle. Spread the onion mixture on top.

Cut the dough crosswise into 10 pieces. Stack 9 pieces onion side up, then top with the final piece, onion-side down. This is how you make the bread "Pull apart".. it's like precutting it…After you stack it up, carefully lay the stack down sideways in the prepared loaf pan and brush with the reserved butter.

Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until it is golden and risen. Let the bread cool for at least 15 minutes before unmolding and serving.

MAKE AHEAD The unmolded loaf can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. Rewarm before serving.

Easy pesy .. feel free to add any kind of seasoning to this … curry powder, hot sauce, herbs, chives, red pepper flakes… anything.. whatever you like.. add it to the onion/cheese mixture after you add the cheese to the onions.


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 this weekend. Bring a friend. It's going to be great!!!


Posted by Mack Oates at 9:28 AM