May 24, 2008

Quinn's Graduation

We went to my nephew Quinn's high school graduation today. He graduated from St Thomas High School here in Houston. We are very proud that he did. He told us that he had to take only two finals! His grades were good enough that he only had to take his tests in English and Government. Good for him.

The keynote speaker was an old priest. (He is one of a Bazillion priests there. That is a lot of priests) His speech was based on the short fable called The Tiger Who Would Be King by James Thurber. It is a cautionary tale about picking fights for no good reason, and while you may win, it would be a Pyhrric victory. Very apt for our country at the moment.

Ree and Rex were there, along with Quinn's little girlfriend Brenda. Afterwards we went out to eat at Teala's restaurant. IT was quite delicious.

May 18, 2008

BLT on Sunday Night

This evening we made Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches, accompanied by Becky's World Famous Three Bean Salad. The bread was homemade, the bacon was locally smoked, and the tomatoes were hothouse. IT was all outstanding:

Sunday Morning Houston

Today was a beautiful day in Houston. It was crisp, in the 50s this morning when we got up to walk the dog. We took an extra long walk and then got home to our usual Sunday morning routine.

This routine revolves mainly around reading the paper and preparing for the week to come by roasting coffee and baking bread. This morning was no different. But since the weather was so nice, we sat on the front porch when we were reading the paper.

After I roasted our weekly coffee, and kneaded our weekly bread, we went back outside to enjoy the rest of the paper.

About 20 minutes after we returned outside, we heard Blaze making all sorts of noises in the bushes. Now, this I not too much of an unusual circumstance. She chases small animals and tries to divert herself. But after a lot of ruckhousing, she heard he yelp. This is definitely unusual.

I jumped up, and Doreen jumped with me. We went to the bushes and told her to come out. She reluctantly did, and when she did she had a bloody nose. This was not good.

Doreen went in and got a wet rag to wash her nose, and some antibiotics we used once before to clean up her bloody nose. We applied it and hoped for the best.

Now, you need to realize that we are in a rather urban neighborhood.

So when I came back outside and saw Blaze dancing around something in the yar, I was anticipating the worst. I thought she may have caught another baby possum. But no. This time, I was able to see the last gasp of a foot long rat.

It was wet, it was bloody, and by the time I got my shovel to administer the coup de grace, it was dead.

Rat terriers have nothing on Blaze. She doesn't like rats. She kills 'em when she sees 'em.

May 15, 2008

What do The Rich drink?

All cats are black in the dark:

The Rich Drink Better Beer, Not More - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog


We have wanted to try Feast, a new place down the street from us, since it opened about two months ago. It has gotten great reviews, (here and here) but both times we tried to get there in the past, (admittedly on Sundays for lunch) they were closed. So when I received an e-mail from them last week mentioning their tasting dinner, I called Doreen and we decided to go. She was able to convince some friends to join us, and we headed down to that old house on lower Westheimer.

We arrived shortly after 6:30, and were shown to the back room. Our friends were already there, as were three other tables with four people each. The room decorated in sort of English Pub, all wood furniture and wood floor. It got to be sort of loud when everyone in the room was talking. That didn’t bother us so much, and we set back and added to the cacophony.

It turned out they were pouring wines from a small wine importer who does not deal with retail outlets. (but since Feast does not serve hard liquor, they can sell wine retail. Liquor laws are such a mess). We had the option to pick up any of the wines we liked at a very modest markup. (We have too much wine at home, but Brad and Peggy got some)

The first wine was a pink wine from Provence – a Bieler Rose. As our amuse bouche we had a set of three crostini on homemade bread: Russian Salad (potatoes and peas in mayonnaise) topped with white anchovies; Pork Rillettes (braised pork); and steak tartare. They were all good, but perhaps not transcendent. The bread was especially nice, and the rose (a nice, dry, pinkie) complimented them nicely.

The first course was the highlight of the evening – Scallops St Jacque (Scallops on the shell with mushrooms, cream, and Brandy). I thought I had died and went to heaven. This was accompanied by a Portuguese white – Feital Alvarinho/Trafaduro “Auratus”. It had a richer, heavier body that most Spanish AlbariƱos I am use to drinking. An excellent pairing. We asked for bread to sop up the excellent sauce. I could have eaten many more of these little fellows.

An observation: Both the pours and the “little dishes” were quite generous. For $65/person this was an outstanding bargain. Nobody walked away hungry, or sober (if they chose to finish all the wine! Luckily my wife drove the short six blocks home)

Next up was a beautiful paella – shrimp, chorizo, and chicken served with a White French Burgundy from Meursault. (Fichet Bourgogne Blanc). I though the shrimp were just a tad overcooked, but the rice, chorizo, and chicken were great. I like paella, and this is why. All the flavors meld together nicely. And it is just so cool to look at.

We then graduated to the meat dishes, first Pork Cheeks, Pierogies, and Red Cabbage served with a Descendients J Palacios Roble “Petalos Del Bierzo” from Bierzo Spain. Another braised pork dish. I just cannot get enough of them. Nice, tender, tasty cheeks. The Pierogies were also great. (I think someone’s grandmother made them). Big, bold, dark wine. I have not had it before and enjoyed the new taste sensations.

Following the pork was Braised Beef with Chocolate, steel cut oats and roasted root vegetables. Served with an Altos del la Hoya Monastrell. Anything with root vegetables and chocolates can’t be bad. And the wine was even bigger than the last one! Inky black.

Finally we ended with Rhubarb Crumble with Custard and Elio Perroine Moscatoe D’Asti “Sourgal” from Piedmont Italy. A great end to an excellent meal.

May 14, 2008

Sort of horrifying

This article:

Human Nature : Human Liquid

I find rather horrifying.

But then again, I worked in a cemetery as a youth.

May 8, 2008

Oslo, May 2008

Just back from a PGS Board Meeting in Oslo. We had to approve the Q1 earning release. It was a spectacular quarter, and I am really happy to play any part with that company. We also held the Annual General Meeting, where I was reelected as a board member. That is gratifying.

These meetings are brutal because of the travel. I left Houston at 7:10 on Monday evening on a Continental flight to Amsterdam. It got in at about noon, and then I had a flight from Amsterdam to Oslo at 2:45 that got into Oslo about 4:30. I had to take the train into the city (Normally very efficient, on this trip they had signal problems and it took close to an hour) and then shower, unpack, and get to a board dinner that started at 7:00 PM and lasted until about 9:00. During this board dinner we discussed things like, “Where are oil prices going” and “Why has the Chinese stock market dropped by 50% in the past year”. It is always fun, and the wine is good. But I had been up for many, many hours. I try to be witty and nuanced. I hope I don't come off as boorish and banal.

The next day we started with the Audit Committee meeting at 8:00 AM (yipes!) and then the AGM (above). The Board Meeting itself started at noon, and lasted until after 5:00. Then I have to go out to dinner with the other American (who is stuck in Oslo for the night just as I am. She can't fly out to Chicago until the next day either).

Then my flight out is at 6:30 AM (!) so I have to get on the 4:39 train to the airport. (I hate even cutting it THAT close!). Today was bad, in that there was a donor conference being held in Oslo and all those UN diplomats were flying out (business class) on my plane. The plane was even delayed so these jokers could get there.

Then I had a flight out from Amsterdam at 10:10 AM which got me home at about 1:00. (I watched the moved I Am Legend on the flight. It isn't very long, but I like Will Smith. Plenty of unanswered questions, I guess it would help if you had read the comic book. I didn't understand the Zombie rules. Also, they played a lot of Bob Marley, so that was good. They even played Redemption Song. Doreen's favorite Bob Marley tune) I had a great time through customs and immigration and was home (to some much distressed client calls) by about 1:40. That is about 65 hours out of the house. About 22 hours in an airplane, add about 4 to cover the rest of the travel time.

But I am home tonight!

May 7, 2008

Garrison Keillor on Travel

A Prairie Home Companion from American Public Media:

Money Quote:

"We are good travelers, we middle Americans, and when Northwest opened a route to Beijing, everybody and their cousin talked about going there, and this spring the direct Minneapolis-Paris route opened, a beautiful idea to us as we scrape the ice off our windshields. We don't actually go, of course—we go to work—but we could go on any given day, could write 'Au Revoir, Ma Famille' on a paper towel and leave it on the kitchen table under a salt shaker and drive to the airport on the bank of the Minnesota River, abandon the car in a snowbank, flash the plastic, board the plane, and wake up in Paris, like Lindbergh."

(I am posting this from Oslo, Norway, at 1:30 in the morning. I am flying back to Houston tomorrow via Amsterdam on KLM)

May 1, 2008


If this:

BBC NEWS | Magazine Monitor

doesn't bring tears to your eyes and fill you with outrage, I would guess you are less than human.