Friday, November 1, 2019

Editor's Corner


November 2019


“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket
than all the other seasons.”
— Jim Bishop.

Yes, it is here, the penultimate month to the well balanced sounding 2020. We have already seen the glimmers of what being well balanced, or matched, in this example can do: oh how evenly equal were the W S battling baseball teams from Texas and from Washington DC. For more on that see the editorial by moi, "World Series 2019 Thoughts"

Although this month is celebrated by many for the Thanksgiving always on the fourth Thursday of the month, and featuring Turkey in its various guises, only a couple of the authors addressed the fact. One therefore wishes all a Happy Thanksgiving and friends and family gathered around to cherish being together and undoubtedly some will be watching the football games all day.

Our columnists were diligent with Mattie Lennon in his "Irish Eyes," updating us on art and literary personages of his Ireland, while Judith Kroll "On Trek" focused on the memories made around the table by all who come there.

Thomas F. O'Neill, back in China, speaks on the blessings of being a teacher as building lives and displays his recently received certificate. Rod Cohenour, "Cooking with Rod") prepares a versatile recipe for us with his Hearty Beef Chili Base which means it is ready to do a variety of meals using it.

Marilyn Carnell in her "Sifoddling Along," discusses "Holiday Disasters" and proceeds to recall what was humorous about them, while being baffled at the time. "Armchair Genealogy" which is expertly compiled and presented by Melinda Cohenour, is not available for November due to her being under the weather. She says check in next month.

The opening quote was chosen after working on editing and preparing for inclusion in both (requiring different processes) the eZine pencilstubs dot com and the blog version pencilstubs dot net, how prevalent gold is in these poems. "Autumn 2019," "I Dreamt of Goldfinches," and "Golden Days," are the poems by John I. Blair, with the latter sharing a photo. Bud Lemire has six poems this issue, each illustrated except the last on this list: "Read Me," "A DVD is for Me," "Seven Years," "Orange, Yellow, & Red," "Leader of The Day," and "The Witches Song." Bruce Clifford sent "The Invisible Light." Carrie E Joslin, your editor's late maternal grandmother's two poems are lovingly presented: "Dreams of Long Ago," and "The Land of A Million Smiles."

Michael Craner, our co-founder and webmaster, and barbeque master extraordinaire, is the key to our well being, our equilibrium, our dreams. Thanks again, Mike!
See you in December!
Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

Armchair Genealogy


Apology Offered


    The undeniable excuse is unable to get to the personal computer room because of limited use of my knee plus doctor orders to stay off my feet. Hopefully this is a flare up that can be resolved this month in which case, the column and I shall be here with incredible tales of where family and extended family ancesty searches can lead you.

    Please check here in December as we give details in the search to solve the next ancestor mysteries.

    Meanwhile here is the link : Melinda Cohenour Just click my name here for a complete clickable list to my previous columns.

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Cooking with Rod

Hearty Beef Chili Base

This is so easy to make and extremely versatile. Eat as a big warming bowl of chili, or use to create New Mexico Style Flat Enchiladas, or mix with beans and rice rolled in a giant tortilla with cheese for a Hearty Beef Burrito, or spoon over an omelet (with plenty of onions, peppers, cheese, and cherry tomatoes mixed in) topped with sour cream and cilantro leaves for a twist on Huevos Rancheros.

No matter how you choose to serve this chili stew, you will receive raves!

Bon appetit!

Hearty Beef Chili Base
  • 3 lbs lean beef stew meat
  • 1 lg can tomato puree
  • 2 lg cans tomato sauce
  • 3 10 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes and chiles (Rotel or similar)
  • 4 Tbsp New Mexico Chile powder ( or to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp ground Cumin (or to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb Blend
  • 2 Tbsp Coriander
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 32 oz Beef stock (unsalted)
  • Pam or similar spray oil product, just enough to cover bottom of skillet
    1. Season beef with light touches of chile powder, cumin, garlic powder and Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb blend. Spray cold skillet or large pan with Pam before placing on heat source (Important!) Brown stew meat on all sides, in batches. (Adding too much meat slows the browning process. I usually use a pound or so at a time in my large electric skillet.)
    2. In a large Dutch oven, blend canned products and spices. To this, add browned stew meat and deglaze the skillet, using a very small amount of the beef stock, adding browned bits and liquid to the Dutch oven.
    3. Stir meat and liquids then add balance of beef stock. Stir very well.
    4. Set Dutch oven on medium heat burner and permit to warm chile gradually, stirring frequently to make sure no scorching occurs.
    5. Chile should simmer for at least one hour, preferably two, to allow the meat to become fully tenderized and the flavors to blend. Do not leave unattended for long periods. Continue to stir and regulate heat as necessary to prevent scorching.

Serve with an assortment of toppings, such as tostada chips,  (see photo below) diced or quartered chilled onions, grated cheeses, avocado slices, sour cream, cilantro leaves or warrm buttered flour tortillas or, to try something a little different, a big pan of fresh hot cornbread.

Excellent with a simple salad of greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers with salsa roja as the dressing or even just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and fresh ground peppercorns.

Either hot or cold liquids, depending on the weather, are a welcome accompaniment.

Bon appetit~!

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Sifoddling Along


Holiday Disasters

As we approach the holiday season, I get nostalgic for the times when my once-big family gathered together to celebrate. There were always feasts, but sometimes not everything turned out as intended.

When I was 12, Bill, my big brother, announced that he was bringing home a young woman to visit with us for Christmas. That was big news. Although he had “fallen in love” many times, this was the first time we actually were to meet the beloved.

My Mom was in a tizzy. She was working full time and now she had to be sure the dinner was extra special. My Dad was going the Joplin for a meeting and to save time, Mom asked him to pick up a frozen turkey at the market. The purchase was made, and the critter was stowed in the freezer until time to thaw and cook it. The large frozen lump was put in the refrigerator to thaw, but not examined closely. On Christmas morning, the turkey was brought out and unpackaged. Mom was aghast. This wasn’t a turkey, it was a goose! Mom had never cooked a goose and wasn’t sure she wanted to. However, she had no choice because in 1952 no grocery stores opened on Christmas Day.

Mom roasted the goose and served the meal as best she could. Goose was not popular. My older sister, newly pregnant, took one sniff and fled to the bathroom. The rest of us ate what we wanted, but I think the carcass was largely untouched. The rest of the day turned out well, my brother and Joyce soon were married, and a few months later, my sister had a bouncing baby boy.

The other memorable holiday was a Thanksgiving in the early 1960’s. My parents had built a new house and we were all excited about the new bells and whistles it contained. A big feature was a built in wall oven. Mom popped the turkey into the oven and went about peeling potatoes and other tasks. That same big brother, Bill, wandered in, peeked through the glass window at the turkey and casually said “What is this button for as he flipped the switch.

“Oh, my gosh” Mom said. You put it into the self-cleaning mode! Turn it off! It seems that was not possible. The switch had no reverse. Frantic conversations ensued. My sister called me for help. “You worked in the Betty Crocker Kitchens.” She said. "Do something!"

Alas my work with 7 types of flour were of no immediate use. Mom located the phone number of the salesman at Sears and we called him for help. The switch was in the back of the oven and impossible to reach without tearing into the wall.

We sat about pondering and imagining the consequences of his careless mistake.
    1.)We might buy an urn for the ashes and remember it forever.
    2.)The fire department might have to come.
    3.) We would become the laughingstock of the town for years to come.

Sister- in- law, Joyce won our eternal gratitude. She kept her head and solved the problem. It was simple: Reset the timer for five minutes and when it went off, rescue the hapless bird.

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Irish Eyes


Bits And Pieces For Halloween


Founded in 1886, Lucan Sarsfields GAA Club is the largest sporting organisation in West Dublin, and the oldest. The club was also the first in Ireland to be named after the great Irish hero Patrick Sarsfield - who was born in Lucan around 1649 and became Earl of Lucan in 1690. It began life as most GAA clubs did, with a group of local young men getting together and forming a club.

On Thursday 10th October, in conjunction with Lucan Social Initiative, they organised a wonderful historical tour of the Beara Peninsula. It included a visit to Molly Gallivan’s cottage and traditional farm located in Bonane, outside Kenmare. Molly Gallivan was widowed with seven small children. An innovate woman, she used her resourcefulness to make a fairly comfortable living . She sold part of her farm produce such as butter, eggs and honey at the local markets. Her home baking and spun woollens were famous all over Kerry and parts of Cork. However her poitin (“Molly’s Mountain Dew”) was her most profitable product.

Molly’s house, now a museum , originally a single story thatched cottage, which was extended, raised and slated in the early 1900s, was inhabited by one of Molly’s descendents until 1997. At this fine heritage and culture centre you will experience the simple lifestyle of the people of rural Ireland before the days of electricity and modern conveniences. The adjoining farm is complete with animals, fowl and traditional agricultural implements. From the ruins of a family dwelling from the era of the Great Famine to a Neolithic Stone Row it’s all there. It is described in the brochure as, “5000 years of history on a 500 metre walk.”

The Druid, a wooden sculpture, by Andy Comeford, which stands outside Molly Gallivan's cottage.

* * * * *

The committee of Lacken Community Development Association is bringing out a 2020 calendar. Keep your shirt on. It doesn’t have twelve pictures of muscular semi-clad sheep farmers. It has pictures of the most stunning views in the world taken by local photographer, Christy Crowe. Details from:

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Did I mention here before that Journalist Brenda Power suffers from taphophobia, which, as you all know, is the fear of being buried alive)? Well, she has found a solution: “. . . as far as organ donation goes, I want the doctors to take whatever they can use. . . With heart, lungs and kidneys gone, I reckon, the chances of me waking up in the coffin are pretty slim.”

* * * * *

Satirist, Oliver Callen, from Enniskeen, is 39 but he has his epitaph ready, “Why are you in a f***ing graveyard reading this? Go home, enjoy yourself. And do no harm. Now get out, you’ll be stuck here long enough.”

* * * * *

It is that time of year when it was believed that the veil between this world and the next was drawn aside, and Irish people honoured the Holy Souls. Recently my favourite journalist, Billy Keane, was telling the customers in his pub how much he missed his late parents John B. and Mary. He wrote, “I concluded my talk with, ‘I’m fairly sure my mother and father are still here.” The Irish-American lady looked at me and said, "Billy, your Mom and Dad are still here. Why would they want to leave?”

The great and good of the literary world turned up on Thursday in Dubray Books for the launch of Billy's latest book, "The Very Best of Billy Keane."

To date Billy has a number of books under his belt, "The Last of The Heroes," "Rucks Mauls and Gaelic Footballs," which he co-wrote with Moss Keane. He ghosted Billy Morgan’s autobiography "Rebel Rebel." His latest novel "The Ballad of Mo and G" was a best seller. And of course "The Best of Billy Keane" published in 2016.

This latest publication "The Very Best . . ." is not to be missed. Details from:

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The multi- talented John Sheahan is no stranger to John B. Keane’s. His collection of poems "Fiddle Dreams" was published in 2015, but I only got my hands on it recently. If you can track down a copy please do. No matter what sort of day you are having John’s compositions will give you a lift.

See you in December.

Happy Halloween.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.