Porting over to First Things…

…and what a long, strange trip it’s been!

The very kind and generous fellow who was in charge of bringing me in to First Things (where I have been warmly introduced, although I’ve been unable to respond) has spent the last 8 hours -literally, 8 hours- trying to talk me through my small part in this techno-endeavor.

I had warned him early on that I was a pathetic techno-idiot who needed to be instructed in babyspeak as much as possible, but he insisted on treating me like an adult, so we basically got nowhere.

Then my Elder Son came home, rolled his eyes at me, sat down before my screen, read the email, followed the simple instructions that logged me in to my site, and announced that he was deeply ashamed of his mother.

I was appropriately chagrined.  But I still managed to whine, whimper and wheedle until he agreed to cook supper for us (providing I cut up the chicken, because he really hates touching uncooked chicken).

I had many, many things I wished to write about today, all of it very important, and of course all of my observations were stunning insights of heartbreaking genius; I had, in fact, outlined a modest proposal on how we might, as a nation, come to grips with the issue of torture while dispensing with the political theater- but sometimes the Lord (or technology) will slow you down and force a change of plans.

I’ll talk about torture later; right now I feel fortunate simply to be able to wave hello to those First Things readers who are probably wondering what Bottum was thinking when he invited this fresh hell into his establishment.  I’m glad to be here.   I also thank Joe for his extreme patience and forbearance, and I’d like to shout out one last “thank you” to the gang at the Inside Catholic Blog, where I have sometimes posted and <a href="http://insidecatholic.com/Joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3558&Itemid=48&limit=1&limitstart=2"contributed&; while also running this blog and making random offerings on religion, <a href="http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/obama-the-trophy-wife/""politics and whatever annoyed me at Pajamas Media.

Once I get through cutting some chicken for the <a href="http://www.firstthings.com/theanchoress/?p=9626"kitchen happy but salmonella-and-slime-phobic heir, I will hopefully give you something to read!

Because you’ve been patient, I will share his recipe (note; some difficult initially in communicating the ingredients – they are correct, now):
Garlic & Wine Chicken

  • 1 tblspn olive oil
  • 1 1/2lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 white onion sliced
  • 5-8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add olive oil and chicken to heated pan.  Brown the chicken but do not cook it all the way (or it will be dry when done) and remove from pan.  Toss onions and salt into pan and saute until tender but not yet transparent.  Add garlic and thyme and cook for another minute or two.  Add wine and scrape and stir everything; let wine bubble for a minute, it makes the house smell good.

Add the chicken pieces back into the pan with the pepper, cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While the onions had been cooking, you should have started cooking some rice, too.

Transfer the chicken to a warmed serving plate.  Stir the lemon juice into what is left in the pan, and then the butter.

Serve over rice with a side of broccoli or fresh green beans.


Comments have also proved a little problematic today. I have approved and de-spammed what needed approving and despamming, but they keep bouncing back on me.  Please bear with me.  Try to find it charming.  You will probably notice some things moving around, ads, and such, and I must find a new spot for my email and podcast buttons and for Pier Giorgio Frassati.

Jimmy at Sundries Shack is very sweet about the move.  He’s celebrating five years blogging. Go say congrats. But come back!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • saveliberty

    I like your new site! Welcome home. :)

    The story about needing help from Elder Son is hilarious.

  • http://www.justgrits.wordpress.com Obi’s Sister

    I hate it when they come home and roll their eyes!

    I just remind Mr. Superior it could be worse, he could be trying to help my mother do computer stuff. Literally, one time she called me to her house, in tears, because her new computer didn’t work, especially “that mouse thing.” I looked it over, plugged in, etc. Looked fine to me. She put it on the screen and wailed, “See, it doesn’t work.”

  • Maggie45

    Wow! Your blog is at First Things. I got the impression that you would just do an occasional column for them. I’m proud to say “I knew you when…” lol. Seriously, I’m so glad that you’re getting the proper recognition for your work. If you were one of the main influences in getting ME back into the Church after 41 years away, imagine how many other souls are back, or are considering it. Attraction NOT Promotion. I’m grateful for you.

  • http://ginacobb.typepad.com/ Gina Cobb

    Unless I’m mistaken, I think some of your code is showing. (When I do the same thing, I think of it as being like having your slip showing, but less embarrassing.) That’s OK because it only underscores your point about having had a very long, technologically challenging day. Congraulations on your new transition! Thanks for the recipe, by the way! :)

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com/ Bender B. Rodriguez

    I’ll talk about torture later

    I hope that talk will include a discussion on legal relativism and moral relativism, and the tactic of arbitrary redefinition of words like “torture” to fit whatever one’s political opponent does, so that one can summarily convict and tar and feather those opponents, rather than confining oneself to an objective definition, including that expressly defined by the statutory law.

    Of course, when one is forced to stick to such formalities, such as objective definitions and strict statutory definitions, then one invariably realizes that, although he can shoot his mouth off about “torture,” he cannot really prosecute people for such activity because he knows that he could never get a conviction, that what was actually done does not fit such objective and statutory definitions, and it cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty of anything except using wartime measures during wartime in defense of the very real lives of Americans. But then again, I suspect that this latter activity, of defending America, is the real “crime” that has them so angry and out for blood.

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  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com/ Bender B. Rodriguez

    Of course, I realize that merely expressing a legal opinion about whether certain acts fall within the statutory definition of torture may expose me to criminal prosecution, since that is all that the memo writers did, but they are going to come after all of us sooner or later anyway.

    By the way, that pesky, bothersome statutory definition requires that one act with a specific intent to inflict “severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions),” which is further defined as “prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
    “(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
    “(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
    “(C) the threat of imminent death; or
    “(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality”

    Even if we were to take the most provocative of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” at issue, waterboarding, it is abundantly clear that such does not fit within the legal definition. Pouring water over someone’s covered face for a few seconds does not (a) inflict or threaten severe physical pain or suffering; (b) involve the administration or application of mind-altering substances or otherwise disrupt the senses or the personality; (c) involve imminent death or the treat of imminent death – under the procedures involved there is no risk whatsoever of the person drowning; or (d) threats against others. Moreover, it does not result in prolonged mental harm, as is demonstrated by the total lack of any mental harm to the many members of the U.S. military who undergo waterboarding in their own training. Finally, it is additionally abundantly clear that the interrogators, knowing that there is no real risk of harm involved, did not act with the specific intention or purpose to cause severe physical or mental pain or suffering.

    Now, it may be unpleasant, but unpleasantness is not the standard. Indeed, “pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions,” such as imprisonment, including life imprisonment, is most certainly far more unpleasant and comes closer to tortuous conduct than does waterboarding, yet such infliction of “pain and suffering” is expressly deemed to NOT be torture. To be sure, if waterboarding is torture, and long-term imprisonment is factually far more unpleasant and severe, then we had better close every jail and prison in the country because we are “torturing” millions upon millions of prisoners by the very fact of their incarceration.

    Waterboarding may lead one to confess things that one might otherwise keep to oneself, but overcoming the will or causing duress is also not the standard. Police overcome the will of suspects everyday in interrogation rooms, often merely by threatening prison if they do not cooperate. If that is what makes waterboarding “torture,” then, again, we are torturing criminal suspects each and every day by obtaining confessions from them.


    No, this has NOTHING to do with “torture” and it has everything to do with convoking a Committee of Public Safety and commencing a Reign of Terror against the Enemies of the People.

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