Archive for April, 2009

It’s a wonderful Southern taste but you will be happiest easing into it.  Try Pot Liquor put together with ready made ingredients from your local homogenized store.  If you like that, you can ease yourself along toward Potliquor made from your own garden, local farmer’s market, and favorite smoke shop.  Your at Potlikker when you keep the pot resupplied with fresh ingredients from one day to the next.  When cared for it never gets old, only better.

The ingredients are fresh or canned greens, smoked pork hocks or ham boon or smoked bacon, and vineger for dressing.  If you don’t know whether you prefer collard, turnip, or mustard greens, buy the seasoned mixed greens in the 27 ounce can.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, Frank’s Redhot Sauce, liquid smoke, or not.

If you are easing into this taste, add your well done bacon bits and liquid smoke to the pot containing your canned greens.  Simmer maybe twenty minutes and drain well the greens as you want to save the water in your pot for the Pot Liquor.  By squeezing the liquid out of your greens you make way for the vinegar dressing.  It will still be a little soupy so best served in a small side dish.  What’s left in the pot is your to enjoy as a hot soup immediately, the next day, or frozen for another time.

When you advance to Potliquor, you use fresh greens from your garden or the farmer’s market.  Put the greens through several cold rinses to get rid of all the grit.  Dice and set aside.  If you found a nice smoked ham hock, add ham hock, seasoning, and greens to boiling water.  If you are still using smoked bacon, take the bacon out of the skillet, cool, and crumble.  Add the fresh greens to the bacon grease for three or four minutes, then scoup up and put in the pot along with the bacon.  Don’t ask how long, just don’t rush it, maybe two hours on a low simmer.

You can play around with other ingredients such as Frank’s Redhot Sauce, garlic, cilantra, or even diced leeks if you clean them carefully.  Leeks are always gritty with sand and dirt.  If you are not willing to very closely inspect the ridge flap between the light and dark green of the Leek layers, you will be better off cutting that section out.  You are at Potlikker when you refresh the pot atleast once, and you won’t settle for anything but the best smoked pork available.

If you are in Clarion County you can try Hirsch Meats in Kossuth.  Call ahead at (814) 797-5206.  My favorite smoke shop is Willie’s Smoke House just south of Harrisville PA on Route 8 in Butler County.  They are closed on Sunday and Monday.  Call ahead at (724) 735-4184.  I go there for smoked baby backribs when I do Black Eyed Peas, and smoked chops when I make Navy Bean soup.  Charles Marlin

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What am I suppose to write?  If Jayne Anne Phillips gets a bad review for Lark And Termite she should frame it.  There must be an odiferous pile of reviewers who have stumbled over themselves looking for ways to praise the book.  If you need to draw away from the unrequited obligations of life to a world of even greater tension, a tension that settles somewhere behind your heart, here is your book.

The dying will change your pulse.  The sex will change your pulse.  You will stop to think over what you’ve read and to put it in a safe place knowing you’ll need it later.  Memory, experience, love, violence, kindness cross boundries normally thought impenetrable.  North Chungchong Province, South Korea and Winfield, West Virginia share more than you knew possible.  Heads up.

If you occasionally like the feeling of having experienced something special denied to others, don’t loan your copy to anyone.  If you like the quiet thrill of an anonymous random act of kindness, leave your copy at the laundromat or the bus shelter.

So, Jayne Anne Phillips if we should meet at a bar some late night, I owe you a drink.  Charles Marlin

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There is some deep water in David F. Swensen’s Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Unconventional Approach To Institutional Investment, Fully Revised and Updated, but why buy a book like this if you expect easy wading through the whole thing.  He is the Chief Investment Officer for Yale University.  I did a good bit of floating in the deepest parts, and found scattered dry, high ground by the end of it.  This is an account of an outlier because the Yale resources and expertise are beyond all but a few privileged institutions.  Only the biggest community foundations such as Pittsburgh Foundation and Cleveland Foundation could try the investments Yale does in alternative asset classes, plus community foundations operate under a different set of rules.

Because we are not they, or they are not us, should not dampen our interest in how they get things done.  You can skip the tactics and keep the insight.  I especially liked the thoughtful presentation of contrarianism in the investment process and asset allocation.

An example cited on page 26 puts Yale, the Clarion County school districts, and Clarion County Community Foundation all facing the same intractable problem of educational inflation.  “Yale’s oldest surviving endowment fund dedicated to the support of teaching, the Timothy Dwight Professorship Fund established in 1822, entered the university’s books at an historical cost basis slightly in excess of $27,000.  Because price levels rose nearly twenty-seven fold in the intervening 185 years, a 2007 distribution from an endowment of $27,000 pales in comparison to an 1822 distribution from the same size fund.  While during the Dwight Professorship’s existence, the fund grew more than eighteen  times to nearly $500,000, the current value falls short of the inflation-adjusted target by nearly one-third.”

While we worry about investing to cover the 2.5 to 3 percent inflation in the general economy, plus provide 4 percent income for scholarships and hopefully put a little away to grow the endowment, we should be aware that the Higher Education Price Index is eating away an additional 1.4 percent of purchasing power from the endowment.  That is a total of 9 to 10 percent growth needed every year just to stay even.

The school district, regardless of how they organize or invest, can not run that kind of race.  They have education to take care of and this is a problem that drains attention and energy from education without solution.  Scholarship funds left in the care of the district will eventually lose economic value leaving only honor to bestow.

If the community foundation becomes the administrator of the district’s endowments the situation improves.  The income increases and the risk of misappropriation of the funds during a crisis is eliminated.  Public access to all the records is routine.  The problem however remains because the community foundation can not duplicate the investment success of Yale.  It can not cover national inflation, higher education inflation, administrative fees, scholarship grants, and endowment growth.  On average, decade after decade, the endowment will lose purchasing power.

A comparison of the twentieth century record of the Carnegie Institution, Harvard, and Yale illustrates the problem and solution.  Swensen writes on page 42 that, “Carnegie established the Institution in 1902 with a $10 million gift, increased the endowment by a further $2 million in 1907, and added $10 million in 1911.  Carnegie’s $22 million  endowment nearly equaled Harvard’s 1910 fund balance of $23 million and vastly exceeded Yale’s $12 million.”

But what a difference a century can make.  By 2006 Carnegie had swollen to $750 million well ahead of the $490 million to match inflation.  But what of smaller Yale and big boy Harvard?  Yale stood at $18.0 billion and Harvard at $29.2 billion.  Swensen’s conclusion and our insight is, “While differences in investment and spending policies no doubt explain some of the gap, the absence of gift  inflows constitutes the fundamental reason for Carnegie’s failure to keep pace with Yale and Harvard.”

So we can not duplicate the Yale Plan but we can create a Yale-O Plan to do for Clarion County districts what the Yale Plan has done for that institution.  We form a three member partnership of CCCF, the district, and the district’s alumni/parents organizations.  Each partner does what it does best.  The district educates.  The community foundation administers the endowment.  The alumni/parents preach the gospel of giving and bequests.  The district and the alumni/parents pick the winners.  We learn to move in step and leave no one in the district uninformed or unaffected by the Yale-O Plan.  Whatever the degree of success it will be more than would have been achieved by acting separately.

Thank you, Yale.  I always thought at some point you would come in handy.  Charles Marlin

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001Our Early Everyman, like the Antlered Underwater Panther we use for the Clarion Friends banner, is an early resident taken from among many prehistoric petroglyphs at Parkers Landing on the Allegheny River in Clarion County. When low water made fishing easy, area residents gathered at Parkers Landing for a summer chautauqua. They fished, feasted, socialized, governed, provisioned, and educated. The flat rocks were cleaned, the art outlined with red ocher, and the storyteller/carver used the Early Everyman , for example, to teach traditions, values, behavior, skills, identity, and certainly not least to entertain.

To our modern sensibilities the Early Everyman has a Charlie Chaplin quality about him. He seems to need a good neighbor, maybe a helping hand bringing food home, or someone to be friendly company. History and our own experience affirms, we all need someone at some time. It is also true that every community needs a friend now and then. To know that help is there gives strength to our claim on home. Clarion County Community Foundation locates its efforts in Clarion County as did these early artists and storytellers.

For a scholarly article on Parkers Landing rock art, see Kenneth Burkett and Edward Kaufman, “On The Rocks at Parkers Landing”, Pennsylvania Archaeologist 75(1):29-48.

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In less than three minutes, and without moving from your computer, you can get a lot done with $20.  Your $20 combined with many other donations creates an endowment fund which for eons beyond your life will continue to contribute to your community.  Even in the first year the income from your gift could be shared among these good causes . . .

$2.00 to improve 4-H exhibition space

$5.00 to support a “Kids & Computers” fair at all five public libraries

$5.00 to support food banks

$1.00 to improve access road to a historic cemetery

$2.00 to support winterization  and improved access program for veterans

$5.00 to support battered families programs

The procedure is easy.  Click on the Donations page at the top and right side of this page.  Once on the Donations page you will see a PayPal icon.  Click on the icon and record amount and update total.  Then select either credit card or bank account, or through your PayPal account and Log In.  If you prefer sending a check, make the check to Clarion County Community Foundation and write Clarion Friends on the memo line, send to CCCF, P O Box 374, Oil City PA 16301.  Whatever method you choose, we will place your donation in the Unrestricted Grants Endowment Fund.  Charles Marlin

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I am delighted that today the Clarion County Community Foundation received its first PayPal donation on Clarion Friends.  It has been a long hassle to get everything in line to have the PayPal account.  Even now PayPal has not approved the documentation we sent in response to their questions, but we can receive donations.  If anyone ever asks you how the PayPal people are to work with, I can tell you they are not casual and their system is tight.

We will send an immediate thank you for this donation and any donation in the future.  If you keep an eye on this blog, any news will be yours.  If another wants to make a donation, just click on Donations at the top of this page or to the right, then follow the yellow brick road.

What a wonderful way to end the day.  Charles Marlin

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diahill24At a news conference today Diamond said, “No one touches Hillary.” A high ranking spokeswoman at the State Department declined comment.

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