Saturday, August 1, 2020

Editor's Corner


August 2020

“Smell brings to mind … a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes
during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town.
Smells detonate softly in our memory like
poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years.”

--Diane Ackerman, American writer
Everywhere one hears "August! Already?" And yes, it is here though few changes are expected in its wake. Some places are beginning to resume operations in their business but perhaps with different personnel. Some people had to find a way to keep making money and thus a few did endanger themselves and their families doing so. The numbers we hear recited about the affected persons is frightening but it is the near by, the people and possibly family that have tested positive with the Covid-19 that renders us helpless to cope. Nonetheless, cope is the operative solution and must be faced with determination to get through this situation. We wish the best for everyone, and look forward to the day we can hear the "All Clear" reports.

Meanwhile our authors have found ways to come up with more cheerful outlooks in their submissions. For instance, our webmaster Mark Craner ("Mark Craner Ramblings") has a light hearted piece that should stir some memories. LC Van Savage discusses "Men on Vacation," in her column "Consider This," for a few smiles. Marilyn Carnell, "Sifoddling Along," likens our self isolations to incarcerations in "Jail Tales." Mattie Lennon, in "Irish Eyes" delves into the state of being left handed with extensive info then adds the tale of the Valley of Knockanure. He includes a .wav recording that has his interview with Dan Keane plus the bonus of the chance to hear the ballad sung by a lady as well.

Advice is relevant and Judith Kroll aka Featherwind offers some in her "On Trek." Rod Cohenour ("Cooking with Rod") knows a great meal can dissolve a lot of misgivings and shares a triplicate of recipes that do just that. Thomas F. O'Neill has been busy since the lockdown was lifted in China, getting his students headed for graduation and future education choices. He shares some happy photos of his class in "Introspective." And John Blair's "View From My Back Steps" brings beauty onto our pages.  "Armchair Genealogy" by Melinda Cohenour helps to clarify the varied DNA results as shown by Ancestry.

Phillip Hennessy's poem "Riotous Assembly" is brand new.  John I. Blair's two are: "A Yogurt Ritual" and "Morning Alarm." Bruce Clifford has had time at home for more writing and sent five poems: " The Will to Glide," "This Is How I Learned To Cry," "What is Your Wish," "Frozen Moments," and "Out of Sight Out of Mind."

Bud Lemire's "Desirae" is in memory of his niece recently lost and includes a lovely photo collage of her. The poem "God Will Come Down" composed by my late aunt Linnie Jane Joslin Burks who served as a missionary in Nigeria for 32 years, is based on a Bible verse in Numbers. Your editor finds it hopeful and a blessing for meditation.

So pleased to have a piece from you, Mike, and it is a spirit lifter in addition to being a good memories reminder. Once again I must declare how grateful I am for your expertise as well as your friendship and support in this endeavor.

See you in September.

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


DNA – Changes in Ancestry And
How to Work Through the Issues

      Recently, your author was not so delighted to find a Message from Ancestry – NOT a Message from another researcher relayed to my email by Ancestry – but a Message From Ancestry and it did not contain news I wanted to hear. Since receiving that delightful little missive, my time has been split between actual research and that tedious research essential to maintaining my equilibrium!

      Ancestry is delightful. Ancestry is an absolutely incredible source of information. Ancestry is my mainstay in researching and maintaining my primary tree and all those ancillary trees we are wont to build in order to not clutter up the main thing with rabbit trails. (You know rabbit trails, don’t you? Those leads that entice your curiosity and enthrall your senses – a NEW ancestor with an exciting history! Oops. Not MY ancestor – even after a week’s worth of research and ALL those wives and children and stories … Oh. No. Another rabbit trail.)

      So, the Message From Ancestry that they are changing how they provide leads based on my DNA tests did not thrill me, entice me, or please me. Sometime in August 2020, Ancestry will no longer provide information regarding shared DNA matches where the cMs are 8 or lower. Currently, at most recent count (today) I have a total of 144,856 DNA matches, of which 138,985 are for those individuals whose DNA and mine share 6 to 20 centiMorgans on a variety of segments. If only 6 cMs are shared, the relationship that person bears to you is hard to pin down. For instance, one online DNA Painter program indicates a 64% probability that person is either your 6th cousin, your 6th cousin 1x removed, or 6th cousin 2x removed, 5th cousin (once, twice, or three generations removed), your 7th cousin (or 7th once removed), 8th cousin, a Half cousin of some relationship or could be more distantly related – OR, could be an error????

      Many of these elusive relationships I’ve diligently attempted to pin down, checking for a tree (so many people either provide no link to a public tree or keep their tree private and refuse to share info or merely took the test out of a desire to examine their projected ethnicity) and making notes where I could determine a probable shared relative. In some cases, there IS a tree – although it is not linked to the test. In that instance, a quick look at the tree Not linked to the tree may provide clues to the relationship by virtue of the surnames listed therein.

       Ancestry is quick to assure us, however, that the changes are improvements of their computer algorithms and will fine-tune the process of determining relationships. DNA segments where matched patterns occur can be short segments or long segments although the number of cMs shared will not change. The determination of segment matching should be an improvement, undoubtedly. As Ancestry’s site explains: “The length of the longest segment you and a DNA match have in common can help determine if you’re actually related. The longer the segment, the more likely you’re related. Segment length is also the easiest way to evaluate the difference between multiple matches that all show the same estimated relationship. Our updated matching algorithm can show you the length of the longest segment you share with your matches.

      Furthermore, Ancestry advises: “Our updated matching algorithm will increase the likelihood you’re actually related to very distant matches. As a result, you’ll no longer see matches or be matched to people who share 7.9 cM or less DNA with you unless you’ve messaged them and/or included them in a note, or added them to a group (including your starred group). This means you will have fewer DNA matches and ThruLines™. Based on customer feedback, we are delaying this change until late August so you have time to review and determine if you want to save any very distant matches by sending them a message and/or including them in a note or group.”

       Key in that message UNLESS you have messaged them or included them in a Note. And they are delaying the change to eliminate those matches from your list until LATE August to provide time to make sure any real gem of a find is KEPT.

      Not so easy when you have almost 139,000 matches between 6 and 20 cMs.

      Thus, your tireless (should say TIRED) author has spent a few hours (understatement) trying to find out how to salvage those real treasures with only 6 to 7.9 cMs shared. Fortunately, Ancestry has also upped their game in the filtering and sorting processes.

      First of all, for those of you new to Ancestry, it’s easy to message others. Hardly merits a tutorial on that process. But the Note adding might need a bit of explanation. Formerly, Ancestry only provided a little icon on the Shared Match that looked like a page of typing with a corner turned down. That icon indicates a NOTE. One needed only to click on that icon to pop up a dialog box and fill in whatever information was pertinent. Now Ancestry has a new row of headers on your Match list:

       Unviewed: These matches are given a little blue dot (confused me at first because I thought all these folks had been added to my Group with that color dot. A few months ago, Ancestry added the feature that permitted color coding for Shared Matches with a personalized label, for instance “Bullard” or “Bullard-Capps” or even “Bullard-Davenport-Joslin” if you chose to identify more than one common ancestral line for that group.)

      Common Ancestors: Very cool idea. Tricky, though, because this lists not only those with Shared Ancestors on their linked tree, but inferred Common Ancestors through Ancestry’s new version of what was originally their DNA Circles – Thru Lines. This feature gleans potential ancestral connections through computerized examination (all background stuff, folks) that cull through multiple DNA matches to suggest potential ancestors where you may have blanks. Takes a bit of playing around to follow the suggestions through, review the trees and documents and determine whether or not you agree this suggested person is truly YOUR ancestor and worthy of an add.

       Messaged: Simple enough, Ancestry keeps track of those Shared Matches you have previously messaged, as promised above. But, this lets you SORT your matches to include only those you have messaged. An exclusion of Messages button would be helpful here, but not as essential as one for the next category – Notes.

       Notes: Finally! You can sort matches to include only those with Notes you have previously added. However, I wish Ancestry had also added a way to exclude those with Notes since I’ve already researched those.

       Trees: This has a drop-down box for fine-tuning your selection: All, the locked Private Linked Trees, Public Linked Trees, and the dreaded Unlinked Trees. Lets you filter out all those harder to research matches that have (might I say “selfishly”?) chosen to not provide access to their tree data.

      Shared DNA: Now, this is getting sexy! This drop-down box lets you not only filter to a selected group of folks by the number of cMs shared, but even gives a count of how your current matches fit into the range. The choices? [Select the category you wish to review by clicking on the empty circle in the drop-down box.] Below are the choices you are given:

      Close Matches – 4th Cousin or Closer: (the number in parentheses shows how many matches you have in this category), and explains the number of cMs required to qualify for this relationship – in this case 20 to 3,490 shared centimorgans.

      Distant Matches: Again, the number in parentheses shows how many of your matches fall in this category, and the number of cMs is 6 to 20.

      Custom centimorgan range: This is where it gets sexy! You can enter a custom number of cMs shared, minimum of 6 and max of 3,490.

      Groups: This drop-down box provides information if you have not yet utilized the color coding Family Group feature as to New Matches (a count), Starred Matches (a count), and for those of us who have utilized the Family Group feature lists your Family Groups and gives a count of matches included in each while displaying the chosen color coded button for each as well.


      By all means, explore each of the filtering (sorting) methods offered by Ancestry as explained above. Take the time to see what fulfills your own needs in research. Get familiar with the results a combination of filters provides.

      For my current needs, I wanted to see how many of those soon-to-be-gone distant (possible) relatives that matched my DNA were worthy of keeping. So, I filtered the Common Ancestors key first and used the custom cM range provided by the Shared DNA button to get down to the less than 7.9 cMs and began exploring. My thoughts were that the Common Ancestors filter would let Ancestry’s heavy duty computers help cull through the 139,000 list (please, please, PLEASE). This pulled up the Thru Lines feature which deserves a bit of study. For every potential ancestor shown on the Thru Lines, a great deal of research is typically required to include or exclude that possibility. (Whoa!)

      Perhaps, as the deadline nears, it will be necessary to select different filter combinations to zero in on whatever Shared Matches I really want to keep in my list. It is rather daunting to have nearly 140,000 folks to research!

      And, last of all, I will probably take a look at Common Ancestors and Groups to see where I want to group those newly discovered, honest-to-goodness cousins!

      The moral to this story is to be open to change. Embrace improved technology but be willing to expect to have to adapt in order to utilize it to your own advantage. Most importantly, keep building your tree, use every resource available to you. Especially as we face the threat of a worldwide pandemic, with the United States leading in new cases and number of deaths, it is imperative that we do our part in social distancing and working on your Armchair Genealogy is a great way to enjoy that time of separation!

      May this find all my readers in good health. Those who have experienced loss, my most sincere condolences. This Coronavirus has also affected our family. We lift prayers every day and night that God will bless our world with the scientific and medical expertise to find a cure.

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

View From My Back Steps

One of the biggest plants in the mass of terracotta pots on my patio is my clump of ironweed. And this week it’s starting to bloom. 

Named for its tough stem, Ironweed has excellent upright form in the garden. The intense purple bloom color stands out in the summer landscape (July in Texas, later in cooler climates), attracting many butterflies and other pollinators. While this tall, stately plant occurs naturally in moist soils and tolerates brief flooding, it grows equally well in average garden soils. The plant height may be reduced by cutting back the stems in late spring but I like them tall – about three feet.

Ironweed can be an aggressive spreader by seed and may not be suitable for smaller gardens, but is very effective in background borders, cottage gardens, rain gardens and wildflower meadows. Self-seeding can be mitigated by removing some of the flower heads before they go to seed. However, the dark rigid stems topped with contrasting fluffy seed heads offer beautiful late season interest. I just let mine do what they do best – bloom and set seed!

Not Frostweed

The irony (pardon the pun) is that when I planted this I thought it was frostweed, which is an entirely different wildflower. The error was welcome, though, as frostweed has fairly plain white flowers, whereas ironweed’s clusters of fluffy purple flowers are unique and last a long time. And, given water from time to time in the hottest months, ironweed will stay erect and handsome, losing just a few of its lower leaves. It’s a true perennial and returns reliably every spring after winter dormancy.

May Display

I keep the pot containing this handsome fellow close to my steps so I can easily enjoy the delicate details of the flowers and admire the occasional big butterfly visitor. I’m hoping it spreads to other pots and to the general garden (and appear this year to have a second pot of them, volunteered). This is definitely the kind of flower you want in a native plants garden – sturdy and vigorous and beautiful!

Winged Visitor

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Irish Eyes


I’m not one of them and if you are you represent 10% of the population. You may have been discriminated against and subjected to cruelty in the past. Even today the other 90% don’t fully understand you even though you are probably more creative than they are.

We Irish are great for knowing feast-days etc. But how many of us know that August 13th is International Left-handers Day.

Some years ago I compiled and presented a radio programme on the subject and there was not a lot of interest in the subject on this island. Now the Left-handers of Ireland have their own club. Their email is: They feature an on-line shop where you can purchase items designed for the left-hander and their Newsletter includes much useful information:

“As left-handers, we are very adaptable and most of us cope very well with the “right-handed world”. Many left-handers do not realise the benefit they could get from using left-handed items as they have always got by with the right-handed versions of the various items such as scissors. However, having actually tried the products and found that they really do make a difference, they often write to tell us that they would not be without them now!

Left Hand Questions and Answers
We are sometimes asked a variety of questions. Here are three that we are most often asked:
Q. Are left-handers more artistic than right-handers?
A. Left-handers are often thought to have a higher spatial awareness than right-handers. There have been some very famous left-handed artists, among them Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. They were both members of the Renaissance school of artists that encouraged its members to paint with both right and left hands. There was one study of art students that reported that 21% were left-handed and 28% were mixed-handed. There have been other studies which did not agree with these findings. There have been similar studies and similar findings done with architect students. However, the fact remains that architects have frequently reported a high number of left-handers in their ranks.

Q. How old is a child when you can tell if he/she is going to be left-handed?
A. Most babies use both hands initially, and no preference is generally noted until the child is around seven to nine months. This should become consistent at about eighteen months. Even then, the preference may not be established until the child is around three years old, when a more definite pattern of preference can be seen. The degree of hand preference continues until the child is at least nine years old. Children who draw with their right hand, but throw or catch a ball for example, with their left hand have not established their dominance.

Q. If a left-handed child is forced to write with the right hand, will a stutter develop?
A. It has been reported in children who have been forced into using their right-hand. Much of the early research showed high percentages of changed non-right handers with stutters. From the ‘40's, researchers suggest the stress ******ed the speech defect, and others suggest that there was no connection between enforced change and stuttering at all. Even so, it is unwise to force a non-right hander into right handedness.”
Well Known lefthanders include:

Paul McCartney, Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkle), George Michael, Curt Cobain (Nirvana). Martin Turner (Cartoonist Irish Times), Bertie Ahern. Bill Clinton, George Bush snr. Whoopie Goldberg, Ken Barlow (Coronation St). Monica Seles (Tennis), Mike Weir (Golf). Albert Einstein, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Beethoven.

Psychologists have written many articles about handedness. Some have attempted to change lefthanders from a lovable klutz to a doomed race. Some have argued for a variety of reasons, ranging from less immunity to disease to a higher accident rate, lefties didn’t live as long as righties.

There are those that claim there is evidence that left-handedness are caused by minor brain damage at birth. As a result, lefties are clumsier if perhaps also more creative. Some medical literature report lefties have a higher accident rate, are more likely to have their fingers amputated due to power-tool accidents, suffer more write fractures, etc. They also claim lefties suffer a higher incidence of allergies, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and certain learning disabilities. Other studies show lefties with an unusually high frequency of depression, drug-abuse, bed-wetting, attempted suicide, lower-than-normal birth weight, sleeping disorders, and autoimmune diseases. Sports experts say lefthanders have a better natural curve when throwing a baseball. However, they always follow this statement by stating the lefthander may have a natural curve, but he never knows where the ball is going. In the past left handers were known as “sinistrals”. ( In Ireland the word was “cíteog”. My late father used to describe the left hand as “the hand the Devil wipes his arse with”.

According to the lefties Newsletter:)”.

“When I entered the military service, they ordered me to salute the Officers with my right hand. Why? I wanted to salute with my left hand. Who started this saluting with the right hand in the first place? Someone said it was Napoleon, but what does he know? He’s dead!”

“Greetings between two individuals usually begin by shaking hands, RIGHT HANDS. Who started this? Was it Napoleon?”

“Do you know when I purchase a baseball glove I must pay more for it then same type of right-handed glove? Because it happens to be left-handed. I asked the salesman why do they charge more for the left-handed gloves? He said they do not manufacture as many even though they use same amounts of material. That’s interesting! So, if they make a glove for a nonexistent hand, the price would be prohibitive?”

“Try buying left-handed golf clubs, now that will cost you a bundle. Oh well, I guess we should consider ourselves fortunate, so far they have not forced us to buy left-handed basketballs”.

“Do you realize all playing positions on a baseball team are not available to lefthanders? Let me walk out on the field and tell the coach I want to play third, shortstop or second-base – he will tell me I’m not qualified, I’m LEFT-HANDED. How many catchers do you know that were left-handed? So, out of nine positions we qualify for only five. Forty-four point 4 percent of the team is selected before we arrive at the ballparks. Coincidentally, all right-handers qualify for all positions. I say strike three. You’re ALL out!”

“How many left-handed guitars are available to us “Southpawlers???? Oh, do not mind that – just play the right-handed guitars, not that much difference. SURE! Of course, the same applies to other musical equipment, pianos, fiddles, etc. I think these individuals are all “OUT OF TUNE.??? Oh well, someone has to carry the gear.”

“Have you ever experienced a right-handed person teaching a left-handed person how to tie shoestrings or neckties? I recall, as a youngster, someone was teaching me to put the correct shoe on the correct foot. I took the left shoe, put it on my left foot and the individual said, “very good, you put it on the RIGHT foot.”

Incidentally, a thorough scientific study has determined ALL polar bears are left-handed, or, maybe we should say left-pawed.
An Irish leftie has proposed the following “bill of lefts”
    1) Free to salute with either hand from noon ‘til midnight.
    2) Free to place the left hand over the heart while paying respects to our flag.
    3) Free to suck your left thumb from noon to midnight.
    4) Right-handed citizens cannot call you LEFTY, SOUTHPAW, WEIRDO, FREAK, SPACE CADET, CLUMSY, ETC.
    5) Free to shake hands with the left hand from noon ‘til midnight.
    6) Scissors must be manufactured for either hand. All right-handed manufactured tools must contain a left-hand modification kit.
    7) A rule preventing players on baseball teams from wearing a glove and a rule allowing left-handed pitchers to hit at least three players during a game.
    8) Authority to change all plumbing systems. We want that darn hot water control on the RIGHT side. You would be surprised how many lefthanders have been sizzled by that left control. We want ALL controls changed. Example: To start the water flow you must rotate the control clockwise. (That should get a few of them).
    9) Authority to reconfigure the entire transportation system to satisfy left-handed requirements. Example: All highways redesigned to make the left lane the primary lane. All signs must point to the left and, certainly, no right turns would be allowed.
    10) All sport games must be designed for clockwise movement. For example: In baseball the first base will be moved to third base and third base to first base. All auto race tracks, horse-racing tracks, ice racing events, running tracks, etc must be configured for clockwise movement.

That’s what the lefties have to say; I’m not really qualified to comment, being a dextral, although it has been suggested that I’m ambidextral (equally clumsy with both hands). Right?

* * * * *

Nearly every Irish person will be familiar with the ballad “The Valley of Knockanure.” But what about the story behind it?

“I, Pádraig Ó Ceallacháin, formerly Príomh-Oide Scoile of Knockanure NS Co. Kerry hereby affirm that about 20 years ago I brought to Mr. Bryan McMahon (sic) NT Ashe St. Listowel a few verses of a traditional ballad on the murdering at Gortagleanna (sic) Co. Kerry in May 1921 of three soldiers of the Irish Republican Army - Jermiah (sic) Lyons, Patrick Dalton and Patrick Walsh. I also supplied Bryan McMahon with a copy of the sworn statement of Con Dee the survivor and requested him to rewrite the ballad and to add whatever verses were necessary so that it would be historically accurate. This Bryan McMahon did and later supplied me with printed copies of the ballad in question "The Valley of Knockanure" a copy of which is affixed herewith.

Signed: Pádraig Ó Ceallacháin? Date: 16/8/69 ?Witness: Aibhistín Ua Ceallacháin”

I came across the above on a website called and it reminded me of an interview I did nineteen years ago with Kerry songwriter Dan Keane I’m attaching link to same.

And the following account is from the Pres. school yearbook of 1992. In the days before the internet girls used to ask their parents and grandparents to tell them the stories of historical events.
The Martyrs of Gortaglanna

There was a mission on in Athea this particular week. Con Dee, Paddy Dalton and Paddy Walsh were after attending the mission on the morning of the 12th May 1921. They had Mass, Confession and Communion. They had come a couple of miles to Connors cross where they had arranged to meet Ger Lyons. As Ger arrived, the lorries which belonged to the Black & Tans surrounded them. The only thing the four men had with them was their rosary beads. They hadn’t expected to meet the Tans but it is rumoured that a woman in Athea told the Tans that she had seen them leaving a while earlier and that they were on the road. The Tans captured them, beat them up and threw them into the lorries. They took the four men about a quarter of a mile in the direction of Listowel. They took them out of the lorries and marched them into a field where there was a fort. This field is now known as the “Martyrs’ Field”. This field was owned by William McMahon of Kilmorna. The Black & Tans lined the four men up and selected a firing party from the Black & Tans. The Tans were ordered to shoot the four men, the orders were given and the shots rang out. Paddy Walsh, Paddy Dalton and Ger Lyons fell dead. Con Dee was wounded in the leg. He turned and ran down the glen as shots rang out after him. He kept going on towards the bog with his leg bleeding heavily until he came to a road. He had travelled a mile when he was spotted by a man who had a horse car and rail. He put Con into the horse car and covered him over and brought him a mile or two towards Coilbee and put him into a meadow and hid him in a dyke and contacted some of the other comrades.

Con was collected by Donal Bill O’Sullivan who helped him across about eight fields to Enrights of Ballahadigue where a doctor was called from Listowel to treat his wound. He had lost a lot of blood by this time. Later that night Con Dee was removed in a pony and trap to a farm between Ballylongford and Lisselton where he was cared for until his wound healed and he had recovered to health. Con Dee emigrated to Philadelphia in the late 1920s. He used to make regular visits to Ireland and called to the people who cared for him while he was wounded and would also call to the location where the murders had taken place. Con Dee died in Philadelphia about ten years ago.

Con Dee's tombstone in Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, Cook County, Illinois

There is a monument in memory of these men at Gortaglanna and also the well-known song “The Valley
Knockanure” is dedicated to these men.

Interview with Dan Keane.wav

See you in September.

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Cooking with Rod

It is Summer and hot, hot, hot. But this recipe may well be worth heating up the kitchen! Or, save the recipe for the first cool days of Autumn. But, don’t lose the recipe – it is definitely a keeper.

Everybody, at least everyone I know loves Asian fusion flavors. This recipe takes a little work, but the end results are astounding. In Arizona, we were privileged to have large, beautiful seedless oranges almost year-round. Any orange will do, but navel oranges have that sweet flavor that works so well in this recipe.

My mouth is watering just thinking about how good this recipe is. Treat yourself and your family in a very, very special way ... try the three complementary recipes and the sauce.

Bon appetit ~!

M’s Orange Ginger Loin with Asian Rice Pilaf and Asian Fusion Salad
(Recipe by Melinda Cohenour - May 14, 2007)
  • 5-7 lb pork loin, very lean
  • 1 bottle Ken’s Lite Asian Sesame Orange Ginger Dressing, fill “empty” bottle and do not rinse out
  • Garlic Powder
  • Sage
  • Mrs. Dash Chipotle Seasoning
  • 24 oz Water (add to pan only after juices have cooked down and loin begins to brown)
  • Orange rind ring and a few pieces orange fruit to add to liquid around loin (see salad preparation below)


Rinse loin well, rubbing with hands to remove packing liquids from surface. Place in large pan (I use my large green enamel roasting pan). Pour entire bottle of Ken’s dressing over the loin, sprinkle liberally with dry seasonings. Place in 450° oven with no lid.
After loin browns and liquids have begun to reduce, add about three (3) 8 oz. glasses cold water to pan and turn loin when top side is perfectly brown. Season newly exposed surface with dry seasonings. Return to oven. Cook per suggested cooking time per weight of meat (about 2 ½ -3 ½ hours for 5 – 10 lb loin, if not frozen. Frozen meat takes longer.)

Pour juices from loin roasting pan to medium sauce pan. Pepper liberally and bring to a boil. Add paste of flour and water (about ½ cup flour in a bowl, add ½ cup water and whisk thoroughly) to boiling pan juices and stir until thickened. Serve as sauce for meat and rice pilaf.
Asian Rice Pilaf

While loin begins to cook, prepare rice pilaf. Plan one cup minimum rice per serving, adding liquids to large pan as follows: (I prepared Instant Rice – using 8 cups liquid and 8 cups dry rice. Do not add rice to pan until liquids, bell pepper, onions, and water chestnuts have come to a boil).

  • Juice from 1 can pineapple chunks, measure (about 1 cup)
  • Water (measure as adding) from Ken’s dressing bottle, shake well to loosen remaining dressing for flavoring of rice, about 2 ¼ cups liquid.
  • More water as necessary to have all liquid needed for your rice
  • 1 bell pepper, any color(s), cut in strips and then in dices, retain one handful for salad
  • 1 bunch green onions, rinsed, retaining handful of green tops for salad
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, thoroughly drained – do not use liquid.
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or oleo, if desired

Later, when cooked:

  • Cilantro (fresh), one small handful rinsed and de-stemmed leaves
  • Small package blanched or toasted, sliced almonds (do not add until end)
  • Pineapple chunks, reserved above

1. Time rice preparation to coincide with last few minutes of loin roasting. With instant rice, you will bring liquid mixture (including listed ingredients to and including butter) to a boil, add dry rice, stir in, bring back to a boil, set off heat and let sit for about 5 minutes. It should be moist and fluffy, not sticky.

2. Just before serving, add cilantro, pineapple and almonds and stir well. Return lid to pan to retain heat.
Asian Fusion Orange-Cilantro Salad
  • 1 package prepared American Salad mix (iceberg lettuce, carrot strips, green and purple cabbage)
  • 1 handful retained bell pepper dices
  • 1 handful retained green onion tops
  • 2 large, seed-free or de-seeded oranges, remove ends to fruit, slice in ½ in. slices and remove fruit sections OVER salad (to let juices dress greens as you work).
  • Use rind of one slice in loin roast.
  • ¾ cup Cilantro leaves, rinsed and de-stemmed
3. Place bowl of salad in refrigerator to become crisp while loin and rice are being prepared.

4. When loin is fully cooked, lift meat to carving board and let stand to retain juices. Slice thinly after it stands about 10 minutes.

5. Serve with rice as a side and drizzle the sauce over both. The Asian Fusion Salad provides the perfect complement to this dish. Cool glasses of iced tea or lemonade will please the palate. Hot, crispy rolls or crusty French bread provide the perfect touch.
(Melinda Cohenour)

Orange Ginger Loin - Asian Rice Pilaf and Asian Fusion Salad

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Working as a teacher in, China, I have seen firsthand the value of acquiring higher education. I have also witnessed how education, raised the standard of living for millions of people here. There are now over 550 million in China that have a middle-class income. That is more than the entire population of America and the standard of living in China will continue to rise due to the growing educational opportunities. Unfortunately, the middle-class in America is shrinking due to a widening gap between those who have much and those who have little in terms of a good quality of life.

A half-century ago the average high school graduate in America could find a job and achieve a middle-class income. A person seeking employment today with just a high school diploma will most likely earn less than the average college graduate. Good employment opportunities will be harder to find for those lacking a degree, especially in today’s world. With high unemployment, (due to the Coronavirus) many in America are and will continue to struggle to find decent-paying jobs. The number of underemployed may continue to rise as well.

I tell my students that a College degree shows potential employers that they possess critical thinking skills and that they value their education. There are many in America and China that question whether the high cost involved in earning that degree is worth the time and effort. Those same people will argue that there are many job seekers with degrees who can’t find work in their field. But people who enter the job market passing up an opportunity to go to college are most likely shortchanging their future for the here and now. Some choose to return to school in later years but find that it is harder to earn a degree with the added responsibilities that come with raising a family.

There is a growing number of adults returning to school though to better themselves by acquiring trade skills. They understand that it is their only option for better employment. Within the past thirty years or so education not only raised the standard of living in China but also had a profound impact on China’s growing economy. The economy here is on fast forward and it's growing exponentially with no sign of slowing down, it now has the largest domestic economy in the world. This is also adding to the higher standard of living in China due to higher wages being spurred by the rising job market.

More students in China are also traveling abroad to continue their education, not because education is so much better outside of China but rather, they understand the value of experiencing other cultures. Some of my students have commented in my cultural diversity class that learning new languages is not enough to get by in our global economy. You must also understand the cultures of those countries you want to do business with through international commerce. To be successful in business you must understand the cultural preferences of the corporate buyers on the global market. That is just one of the reasons why China is so open to the cultural exchange programs of various nations.

Throughout history, many conflicts among nations have occurred due to a lack of cultural understanding. An Educated society though can help its citizenry overcome negative preconceived notions and negative stereotypes that have led to national conflicts in the past.

Many cultural exchange students who traveled abroad experienced firsthand how their negative perceptions of foreigners changed to positive experiences. This occurred when foreign students simply interacted with one another while studying abroad.

There are many cultural exchange programs sponsored by American and foreign Universities. They are helping students from all over the world come to a greater understanding of the various cultures that make up our human race. When we gain a deeper understanding of other cultures, we in turn gain a deeper understanding of our own culture. That knowledge is truly valuable because when properly applied it can forge alliances build a deeper understanding of the cultural norms and customs of people throughout the world.

The appreciation of a country’s art, food, literature, and music is also part of the cultural experience. China is influenced by western music, western artifacts, classical literature from the west, and American food. American movies are hugely popular as well and they have had a profound impact on China’s perception of America. When the Chinese come to the U.S. the first thing, they realize is America is not like what they see in the movies.

In America and China, College students are gaining a clearer understanding that by placing themselves in the service of others they gain a stronger sense of their self-worth. Volunteerism lends itself towards boundless opportunities. Utilizing the students’ skills, knowledge, and education not only enhances the community but it also opens countless doors towards enhancing the student’s wellbeing. Upon graduation, it shows potential employers that they take civic responsibility and pride in their community.

In America, just like in China, many University educated individuals may not land those high paying jobs fresh out of their University, but many will turn to non-governmental service jobs. They will gain a sense of civic responsibility and work experience that is vital for landing jobs with higher pay.

Statistics show that educated individuals are more likely to vote and get involved in the political process. College graduates fresh out of school are also more likely to work for community agencies helping the less fortunate better themselves.

A college education can also lead to a life of continued learning and an appreciation of the opportunities that come with that learning. Many adults return to school not just for higher degrees but to simply take courses for self-enrichment to learn new skills or pursue hobbies and interests. Self-enrichment cannot be financially quantified though especially when that education is achieved throughout one’s lifetime.

A child’s education is vital to America’s future and our national wellbeing. Adults must do all that can be done to encourage the youth of America to continue their learning and to put their education to good use.

When students of mine get accepted to foreign Universities they feel as if they achieved something of extraordinary value. In reality, they have, because a great education cannot be measured monetarily it can only be freely shared through one’s character of achievement.

I tell my students that the true worth of a person is not measured through one's salary or what they spent on earning their degrees. What a student learns in the classroom will not ultimately define who they are as human beings either - but how well they live in communion with others will in the end define their true character. In other words, a person’s true worth can be measured by how well they spend their lives in the service of others. I have discovered over the years that what we give to our community, we, in turn, give to ourselves. When we enhance the lives of those in need, we, in turn, enhance our own lives - because what we give to others comes back to us in greater fold.

Fools will continue to strive for the material possessions they do not have but wish to gain. The wise on the other hand will develop what they already possess within themselves.

Higher learning is the means of developing the skills, knowledge, and understanding, that is truly needed in developing one’s true potential and in gaining a fulfilling career.
    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    WeChat: Thomas_F_ONeill
    U.S. Voice mail: (410) 925-9334
    China Mobile: 011 (86) 13405757231
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill

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Sifoddling Along


Jail Tales

These days of confinement to avoid the COVID virus remind me of jail stories. McDonald County has always been a little casual about keeping alleged criminals away from normal society. The original jail was simple, a large hole dug in the earth. The cover must have been somewhat lacking in security as at least one jailbreak occurred. In 1909 a sturdy stone jail was constructed, but it was not always a deterrent to keep prisoners in place.

Tale #1: A slight young man grew tired of jail and decided to leave. A trusty learned of his plan and reported them to the sheriff. That night the prisoner carefully removed all his clothes and tossed them outside. He then covered his body with grease and worked his way through the bars.

As he dropped to the ground, he heard a gruff voice behind him saying, “Are you thinking about going somewhere, son?” Needless to say, he spent the rest of his allotted time in the pokey.

Tale #2: While in the county many years ago, a visitor was a few miles out of town calling on a relative. As they stood in the yard to say goodbyes, a beat-up old station wagon blew past. The driver honked in greeting. “Who was that? The visitor asked. The response was a little surprising.

“Well, it is a little complicated. He is a prisoner in the jail.”

“What! It seems he isn’t there at the moment.”

“Um, he committed a white-collar crime that normally would require an extended stay in the State Prison in Jefferson City, but local authorities decided since he has only one lung, it would be detrimental to his health to go there, so he is serving his sentence locally.”

“What is he doing driving in the country?”

“He gets a little anxious from the noise in town, (“How noisy can a village of 700 people be?”) so he goes for a drive to calm his nerves. It does no harm and he always returns promptly.”

Tale # 3: This one is personal. While attending classes at the University of Arkansas, I drove home one evening and parked the car in front of my house. Leaving the keys in the car, as usual, I started across the street to see my parents (small towns always have nearby relatives). Three young men came along. I didn’t know them, but greeted them anyway. “Nice evening,” I said.

“Nice evening,” one replied and we went on our separate ways.

In a few minutes, we heard a helicopter flyover. My parents had a police scanner (as most people in McDonald County seem to do.) We quickly learned that the “nice” young men had broken out of jail. I suppose that had I acted fearful, the results might have been different. Nevertheless, my dad was so upset at the thought of me being kidnapped we had to give him a Valium.

The escapees were at large for a while, but soon were returned to their new temporary home.

We can only hope that our own incarcerations end as well.

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Consider This


Men on Vacation

Here's a simple observance of mine
Don't call me sexist. It's just my opine.
And I know it's really not always true,
And I also know that you might argue.
But here's the deal, it's no affectation
You can always tell men who're on vacation.
I'll tell you why if you're really curious
Although it'll make a lot of gents furious.
But they seem to dress in horrid apparel
When they'd really do better dressed in a barrel.
These normally well-dressed men decide
To find a sweet cottage by the seaside.
Then on day one of their vacation
(They ought to be forced to deportation,)
They put on some shorts of vomitus plaid
And their shirts? The best description is "bad."
These guys who dress well on business days
Whose wildest colors are black, grey, and beige
Just lose it and suddenly they're wearing a symphony
Of baroque colors more like a timpani.
These guys seem to not feel the tiniest shame
Of walking about in shirts aflame
With Hawaiian patterns, or prints or stripes
Of mismatched splendor of ghastly types
Of every material known to man,
The clothes on these guys look like Grandma's divan.
And what's with their socks? Don't they have a clue?
Black socks and black shoes with shorts just won't do.
Especially short black socks, especially nylon
The clothes on these guys no house fly would fly on.
Some wear tank tops when they really not oughtta
Over huge bellies. They don't really gotta.
And those hats, there really should be a law
They inevitably make all viewers guffaw.
But there's one sure way you can always tell
When a man's on vacation, though he does rebel.
It's while he's shopping with his dear wife
And she's trying on clothes as if her life
Is about to end, so she'd better buy lots,
And her husband awaits her, thinking bad thoughts.
The way you can tell those poor guys on holiday?
It's clear to all, for them it's no jolly day.
They're the guys with the big sour pusses
Looking a lot like furious gooses.
They're the guys who're muttering curses.
They're the guys forced to hold their wife's purses.

©2020 LC Van Savage

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On Trek


Variety of Love

The night sky glistens stars.

Stars are positioned with purpose, painting
pictures of Constellations, works of art.

Unconditional love flows to us every night via the starry skies,
making a wish upon a star a reality.

The showcase of stars moves with precision much like a ballerina,
with every move choreographed to perfection.

The evening display fades allowing the sun to tiptoe in
bringing light and warmth to every soul on the planet.

Feel the energy of love every evening and every day.
We are blessed in so many rays and ways,

Let us continue to be grateful!!

Judith 7-28-2020
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Mike Craner Ramblings

The following is not my own words, but my compilation. Feel free to share if you enjoy it. I hope it takes your mind off of reality for a little while because lately reality has become unreal. I love you.

So between all the political attacks, something happened in China and the whole world shutting down… I’ve seen the signs, and I see a bad moon rising, I feel like we’re on the eve of destruction and I’ve had enough. I need changes in latitude, time to escape, but there is nowhere to run to.

Oh, I’ve been looking… China Grove, San Francisco, Lodi but I don’t want to get stuck there again. I started out sitting on a corner in Winslow, AZ, caught a ride with a girl in a flat bed ford until we were running on empty. I DID try to tell her about it. Next I took the last train to Clarksville with my good friend Jerimiah (oh joy) until we got to the end of the line.

There I met an L.A. woman, I loved her madly, she was just what I needed and we let the good times roll for a little while until I heard through the grapevine that she was my best friend Jesse’s girl. After that I had to get out of this place so I headed down to Creeque Alley where I met Windy, she had stormy eyes and I asked her, “Do you wanna dance?” She made me feel fine, 8 days a week… That ended yesterday, although I will always cherish her.

I decided to go up the country, but first I had to cross a desert on a horse with no name… I found myself dreamin' of California and before I knew it, I was sitting on the dock of the bay. Good times. I finally felt like I was into something good when I met Mrs. Brown’s daughter, but she didn’t love me, though she was lovely. Diana I thought was the one for me for sure, (do you believe in magic?) but she couldn’t stay by me. She broke my heart into bits and pieces, over and over again. Now I’m all out of love. Hit me with your best shot.

Finally, I decided there is nowhere to run, so perhaps I need to go to some other time. As I understand it, it’s just a step to the left and a jump to the right. I ended up in the year 2525 and realized it’s the end of the world as we know it… and I feel fine, because despite all the small things, the heart of rock and roll is in Cleveland even if Electric Ave is closed I can still go down on the corner and walk my dinosaur down to the love shack where one thing leads to another.

It’s been a cruel summer, but I heard a rumor… and I just can’t get enough. Everybody wants to rule the world, don’t ask me why. Sweet dreams!

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God Will Come Down

(Numbers 11:1-17)
The people loathed the manna.
     And looked back to Egypt's sands;
"When shall we have some flesh," they moaned,
     "Or leave this barren land?"
Continuously their whining came,"
     'Til Moses's heart did rend--
With broken words to God he prayed,
     "When will my burdens end?"

"Have I conceived this people all
     That I must on this road,
Be unto them a father wise?
     I cannot bear my load!"
He bowed--dejected--spirit crushed,
     His failure loomed so high,
But, in that hour the victory came,
     His god had heard his cry!

"Choose seventy men to come with thee,
     Your spirit with them I share,
Alone you will not have to stand,
     The burdens they can help you share.
I will come down and talk with thee."
     That voice so sweet could sorrow lift,
Sunshine of God's presence had come,
     Those clouds of deep despair to lift.

When my day is black with problems,
     Unsolved they stand, and I afraid,
Lord, may I come as Moses did--
     Humbly to Thee to cry for aid.
As bleeding, aching there I bow,
     Oh, give me hope and may I see
Thy gracious mercy as you say,
     "I will come down and talk with thee."

©circa 1970-1980 Linnie Jane Joslin Burks

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A Yogurt Ritual

Every day at noon
We perform a little rite.

I open up my yogurt cup
And make the foil lid a tent

So you can use
Your soft pink tongue

To lap the yogurt off
That’s clinging to the inner side.

Some might think
You owe a show of thanks;

I know different.
I am beholden too,

For you share as well,
Giving to me freely

Of your sweet meows,
Your furry self,

As we complete this creamy boon,
This blessed sacrament.

©2020 John I. Blair, 7/19/2020

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This Is How I Learned to Cry

I was walking down the street
Right in front of me
Memories from the long-ago past

Thinking of the things I still regret
The words I won’t forget
All these things that were meant to last

This is how I show I try
It's how I know to get by
Staying ashore
Writing a song
This is not arithmetic at all

This is how I learned to cry
It’s a path on another side
Laying low
Following the road
This is not sympathy at all

I was in a hazy dream
Fast asleep
Tired and weak, but walking around

I was searching desperately
Right in front of me
A portal to another wing

One could blame this all on science
A road full of defiance
Living as if I’m in a dream

This is how I show I try
It's how I know to get by
Staying ashore
Writing a song
This is not arithmetic at all

This is how I learned to cry
It’s a path on another side
Laying low
Following the road
This is not sympathy at all

I was walking down the street
Right in front of me
Memories from the long-ago past

©7/29/2020 Bruce Clifford

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Out of Sight Out of Mind

Out of sight
Out of mind
The ways of the world
Passing time

Sure shot glide
Manicured lawns
Passing time

All to the left
All to the right
All to the days
All to the nights

Out of sight
Out of mind
Living so rough
Staying alive

Motion phase
Sunset fears
Painted windows
Halls of tears

Look up high
Look down below
Sinking feelings
Not letting go

Out of sight
Out of mind
In this cruel world
Trying to survive

©7/27/2020 Bruce Clifford

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Riotous Assembly

All you do is Break things,
you burn, you hurt, you Take things
the chaos in your head comes out
and all you do is scream and shout

You reply with Violence
and then you cry for Recompense
when all we had is smashed and broken
hate remains, just left unspoken

We hear the noise, tho not the words
you stand there, in the rubble
and when the dust has settled,
you leave, to seek more trouble

Your Body has addictions,
your Mind don't understand
there's going to be Frictions,
things will get out of hand

There is no Help, where there is Hate
There is no Hope, it's all too Late
Love won't heal a broken mind
Let's get Real, be Good. Be Kind.

©July 27, 2020 Phillip Hennessey

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The Will to Glide

This is going on and on and on
The spaces from either side
Taking time out for a ride
This is going on and on and on

The days turn into a new day
The night moves on in subtle ways
All of the dreams we made
Wishing for a brand new day

This is going on and on and on
The limits from afar and distant song
Taking each moment in stride
In the wind of clouds and the will to glide

The will to glide
It’s all going down
The will to glide
In the vacuum of sound
The will to glide
In the morning air
The will to glide
Does anyone care

This is going on and on and on
Every space on the borderline
A place where time stands still
Going in for the kill

The days turn into what was
Each moment from up above
Taking each memory to survive
This world of troubles and lies

The will to glide
It’s all going down
The will to glide
In the vacuum of sound
The will to glide
In the morning air
The will to glide
Does anyone care

©7/6/2020 Bruce Clifford

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Morning Alarm

Once more the beep
Of the morning alarm
Wakes me at six,

Reminds me it’s time
For pills again,
Draining my bladder,

First feeding ferals
On the floodlit patio,
Filling the outside water bowl

Then the inside one
Where my indoor cats
Slake their indoor thirst,

Topping their own food,
Checking my soul for loss and pain,
Yawning wide, then back to sleep.

©2020 John I. Blair, 7/21/2020

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Frozen Moments

I offered my heart
Of who I’m to be
I traveled so far
On land and on sea

I tendered my soul
In each ray of light
The memories grow cold
They drift out of sight

Can you dream in a wish
Are you hanging on by your fingertips
Will you remember each line
These frozen moments in time

I offered my heart
You can never believe
I’ve reached for the stars
Drifted far out to sea

I gave all I could
We’ve seen days and nights
The visions grow old
They drift out of sight

Can you dream in a wish
Are you hanging on by your fingertips
Will you remember each line
These frozen moments in time

©7/8/2020 Bruce Clifford

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Why did you go away
Was it your time to go?
I'd really like to know
You were too young to leave
So many left behind to grieve
It's another sad year

I wish you were here You'll shine in the light
As always, you'll be quite a sight
Angels and family will welcome you
Some relatives you probably never knew

“God, my Great Niece is there”
“Please give her the best of care”
“She wasn't supposed to die”
“When she passed, it made people cry”

She's in good hands, this I know
Another Angel in Heaven, with a bright glow
She'll be with her Great Grandmother, and Great Uncles too
So I know they will guide her, in everything she'll do
Until we meet again, sweet Desirae
Your smile will be remembered, every day
©July 21, 2020 Bud Lemire
                       Author Note:
Desirae, thank you so much for being a part of my life.
You grew into a beautiful woman. I know your spiritual
presence will still be a part of our lives here on Earth.
Even though your physical presence would have been
much better. Those closest to you will need time to
grieve. They will miss you very much. I know in time
you will let them know, that the love you shared with
them here on Earth continues from Heaven. And they
will feel your touch and know, you are never far away.
And you'll be guiding them as they continue to journey
through their lives.

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What Is Your Wish

Would you want a child to be born into a world like this
A walk through the garden
A place like this
Not sure when this started
What’s your wish

There was once a time we could smile without faking
Could we be mistaken
In a world like this
Not sure when this started
What’s your wish

The air is still
We cry at will
When we take a path to the sea
Not sure what would be

Would you wish this world onto the innocent
A moment of reason
Days that were so relevant
Not sure how we parted
Unsure how this started
A walk through the garden

Would you want a child to be born during times like these
The ideas of the few
A place like this
Not sure when this started
What is your wish

©7/27/2020 Bruce Clifford

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