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Archive for November, 2008

Who is born with the faintest inkling

There’s anything wrong with spontaneous tinkling?

Roy Blount Jr. quoting RBJ in Alphabet Juice, under >inkling.

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Quinoa, pronounced KEEN-wah, is a wonderful sort-of-like grain food from very ancient Incan cultivation, and most recently introduced to the American organic market by Quinoa Corporation, Gardena CA.  I tried it and was delighted.  At first I thought the cooking instructions were too much to fool with and they were.  It is easy to prepare and versatile to fit any family’s finicky preferences.

According to the New York Times, November 3, 2008, it is so good for you it should be sold by prescription only.  They report it has a protein content superior to most grains, contains all the essential amino acids such as lysine that is good for tissue growth and repair.  It’s a source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and iron.  And for our friends who live on the gluten-free side of the tracks, it contains no gluten.

It is a bit pricey.  My 12 oz. box cost $6.29, but for a change of pace I thought it was worth it.  There is a white and a red variety.  Take the red because the dish looks rich and flavorful.

The tiny seeds are naturally coated with something to ward off insects and birds, so wash really well even though the box will indicate it has been pre washed.  I soaked mine in cold water three times, pouring it through a tea sieve each time.  The sieve is important because those seeds are tiny.  When the rinse water is clear you are good to go.

1 cup red quinoa

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook as you would rice.  Bring to a boil, reduce, cover and simmer 15 minutes.  You will know it is done when the little white threads show up.  Drain and return to the pot.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  I found a good basic recipe at www.epicurious.com for Black Bean And Tomato Salad.

Zest and juice of one line

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

Cooked quinoa

1 can 14 oz. black beans, rinsed and drained

2 medium tomatoes, diced

4 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro or Italian parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix lime, butter, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper for dressing.  Add quinoa to dressing and toss, then add remaining ingredients and toss again.  Serve warm or chilled.

I set aside three serving portions of the salad to try additional ingredients.  Yellow hominy in one, garbanzo beans in another, and dry roasted English walnuts in the last one.  All three ingredients worked well.  I especially liked the yellow hominy in the salad for additional flavor, texture, and color.  Charles Marlin

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If you are interested in establishing a trust fund and you do a search to learn about field of interest funds what you find is a staggering mountain of community foundations with their agendas and appeals ready.  On many if not most web sites you could fill out a form and make your contribution without speaking to anyone.  Other web sites suggest that your wish is their command but before you get very far you will encounter gentle, persistant pressure to fill a need they have selected for high priority.  There may be very good reasons for promoting some needs over others.  In contrast with these very focused community foundations, if you click on other sites you soon realize some community foundations have let their list of funds grow as grow can.  It would be nasty to call their lists of funds an overgrown garden yet what might have been gained by conserted attention on a few fields of interest has been dissipated over too many fields and constricting details.  At those sites the clarity of purpose and flexibility of response needed in a community foundation is lost.

In your effort to educate yourself, there are important questions you need to consider.  How can you avoid being a passive or naive donor who misses an opportunity to have an impact in the community?  In the years ahead how loyal will you be to the choices you make now?  How can you give your fund the attention it needs to avoid the deadly inertia of the long list of funds the community foundation puts on the web site?

Your first concern is to learn the fields of interest the community foundation are best at serving and what fields they clearly need to develop.  You may find that good hearts have preceeded you and that you have a very rewarding list to choose from.  It would be a surprise to not find at least some established fields you are interested in.

You should ask for a history and projection of future needs in each active field the community foundation identifies as a possibility for you.  There should be dollar figures and estimates of people affected and a discussion of what needs to be done.  You want to know what the facts are because soft words often lead to low results.  So let us run an example of what you might decide to support.

Let us say that of the established and projected fields the community foundation offers you, the field of Libraries And Knowledge resonates deeply for you.  Not a bad choice at all and one that is present in every community.  Congratulations.  You put your name or the name of a loved one on the fund and stipulate that it is to be identified as part of the Corps of Funds supporting libraries, literacy, and community education.  You decline the temptation to add restrictions, and leave it unrestricted except for naming the broad field of interest.  If they don’t have a corps organized, keep your check in your pocket until the community foundation gets an organized approach to how they present their funds.

With the community foundation focused on libraries and knowledge, and you satisfied and comfortable with your field of interest, you may become a most effective advocate to friends and family for additional support in this important field.  It is not only wise investment policy that grows funds.  It is satified donors proud of what they have achieved bringing others into the foundation family.

Now consider a slightly different take on the same field of Libraries And Knowledge in which you select a narrow focus on one historic period.  The wonderful richness of recent scholarship on The Founding Fathers And The Constitution is a big part of your reading so you make it your field of interest.  You are appalled at the general ignorance of high school and university students on the subject, not to mention close friends.  You know this ignorance weakens the democratic and patriotic fiber of our national character.  Your passion is good but it most likely will come as a surprise to the community foundation.  You may need to explain to them  the importance of the field and the many ways the foundation can support the field.

Unless you are committing a sizeable contribution to make your find one that can make things happen now, you need to look ahead to the prospect of others joining this specific field as donors.  Ask the fundation to include in your fund contract a provision  that will allow for future donors to join their funds with yours in a corps dedicated to The Founding Fathers And The Constitution.  Just as the Founding Fathers found it was not so good to stand alone when you could have company, you may have opportunities to expand support for the field to other like minded people.

After you have done some thinking about the field you like best and if you live in our part of Pennsylvania, give a call to Steve Kosak at (814) 677-5085, or to Charles Marlin at (814) 797-2233.  If you live elsewhere, call your local  community foundation.  They will be so happy to hear from you that you may have to drive in and remove them from the ceiling.  If by chance you are in an area not immediately served by a community foundation, not to worry.  The closest community foundation is empowered to provide services to you and the area you live in.  You have a partner waiting to help you .  Only the connection is missing.  Charles Marlin

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Our nine national holidays plus however many personal holidays you’ve collected make a wonderful calendar of life.  Plus the religious holidays.  Measure the year by the holidays and ignore those repetitive numbers.  The holidays are for having too many things to do and rushing to relax with friends and family.  It is good to love and be loved.  It feels good to give and provide for those you love.  Well done.

This is not a time to add a new task to anyone’s schedule so I am only suggesting you add a new resolve to consider later as you have the time.  The resolve is to go over the things you have done for those not included among your friends and family.  How good have you been to your community?  No I don’t mean how friendly you are, rather have you contributed something lasting to your community.  Could you plan to do more?  Are you able to share?

Don’t count the calories.  Drive wisely.  Enjoy the holiday.  Look forward to the next holiday.  Charles Marlin

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6 lbs butternut squash                                                   

3 tbsps butter

4 slices bacon, rendered dry and chopped

2 large yellow or sweet onions chopped

64 ozs chicken broth

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (optional)

Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg

3 tbsps toasted and finely chopped pecans

1 tbsp honey

Whole leaves Italian parsley

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Halve the squash, remove seeds, and place pieces cut side down on an oiled cookie pan (with sides).  Bake until squash can be pricked easily, 45 to 60 minutes.  Cool for 20 minutes.  Scrape out pulp and reserve.  Discard skins.

2. In a soup pot over medium heat melt 2 tbsps butter.  Add onion and cook until onion is soft, about 10 minutes.  Add squash and broth and simmer until squash falls apart, about 30 minutes.  Add bacon.  Cool for 20 minutes.

3. In a blender, puree soup in batches until very smooth.  If using orange juice, add it now plus nutmeg.  For a more lively bacon flavor, add 1-2 tbsps bacon fat.  Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  If soup is too think add more broth.

4. Make compound butter by mashing together remaining 1 tbsp of butter, pecans and honey.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Roll butter in plastic wrap into a cylindrical shape 1 inch in diameter.  Store in refrigerator.

5. To serve, ladle soup into bowls.  Cut 1/4 inch slices of pecan butter and float one in center of each bowl.  Garnish further with a leaf of parsley.

Serves 8.  Nutrients per serving: calories 194, protein 7g, carbohydrates 31g, fiber 7g, fat 10g, cholesterol 10mg, sodium 714 mg.  Jane Schautz

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The Clarion News reported in their November 20th edition that there is evidence of a Cleveland stalker present in our community in the recent past.  The paper had no photographs and few details, but I will summarize the little they reported.  Unknown persons representing the Cleveland Clinic came into town with money, purchased the former R&S Metals property, and quickly left town in fancy cars.  Why would they want that property you may well ask.  Ask indeed.

I feel there are people in Clarion who know more than they are saying but those people are the kind who do not respond well to anonymous phone calls.  I am left with only speculation.  If anyone would call me to add rampant rumor we could solve this mystery.  I speculate that the Cleveland Clinic plans to use the old R&S property as a FOB (Forward Operating Base) in a planned surge into UPMC territory

Casualties and property damage will occur.  The state should offer medical surge insurance similar to mine subsidence insurance.  We will need protection if two behemoths start fighting in our neighborhoods.  Charles Marlin

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Picking up on my post of November 2, 2008, Three On A Trotline Is Not Bad, I have two more nice catfish to offer.  The first is Marcia Sharp, The Savvy CEO: Advice From Those Who Have Been There published online by the Council on Foundations at their web site www.cof.org  The publication tells the coming-of-age stories of Jennifer, Bob, Maria, Rick, Donna, Luke, and Elena, all community foundation CEO’s wounded on the job.  Eight wiser, more experienced and sagacious CEO’s show the young ones how they could have managed their boards of directors to have avoided cuts and bruises.  I think the emphasis of the writing was misdirected.  Instead of encouraging executive directors to think one of their major responsibilities is the management of directors, the wise ones should have stressed that board directors need to recognize that they have an active responsibility that goes well beyond hiring and retaining a good executive director, and seeing that the books are open and honest.  Board directors should be asking sharp questions of the executive director.  If they do not, the executive director should confront each one with a demand to know why they are silent and compliant.  When board directors don’t care enough about the executive director to challenge him, that is down and dirty disrespectful.  Board directors should read this publication as a cautionary warning to warm up to their responsibilities.

The second catfish is from WINGS, the Worldwide Initiatives For Grantmaker Support and can be printed from their web site www.wingsweb.org  It is the 2008 Community Foundation Global Status Report.  Don’t stop at the 2008 Executive Summary but go for the whole thing because it is helpful to read how political and cultural  history affects our approach to handling global community foundation issues.  It is gratifying to know that as a community foundation supporter you are part of a world wide fraternity of activists.  Charles Marlin

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