Tuesday, May 16

National Ride your Bike to Work Day is May 19

Yes, having a Ride Your Bike To Work Day is silly. At this point, what don't we have a day for?

In any case, I have been converted to the gospel on bike riding. I bought my bike because gas was getting too expensive, and I haven't driven my car to work since the end of February. In the process, I figure I have saved a few bucks and lost about 10 lbs.

So, even if it is silly, leave the auto in the garage and dust off that bike on Friday. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, May 11

MAJCO Shabbaton 5766 details

The Montana Association of Jewish Communities (MAJCO) will hold its annual Shabbaton July 21 - July 23 in Billings, hosted by Congregation Beth Aaron.

The event, titled "Jewish in the Montana Wilderness -- True Undaunted Courage," will be held concurrently with the signature Lewis and Clark bicentennial event taking place in Billings over that week.

Erev Shabbat services will begin on Friday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Aaron.

On Saturday, July 22, a Torah service will begin at 10 a.m., followed by brunch at 11:30 a.m. There will be a series of adult and children's programming from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. More details on this programming will be made available closer to the date of the event.

Attendees may wish to attend the "Clark on the Yellowstone" programming for the Lewis and Clark bicentennial at 6 p.m. at Pompey's Pillar National Monument.

Following that, there is a barbeque and bonfire following havdallah, titled "Klarski on the Rochejhone" tentatively scheduled for 7:30 p.m., location TBA.

On Sunday, July 23 attendees will have breakfast at CBA with a concurrent meeting of Montana Hadassah scheduled for 8 a.m. MAJCO's annual business meeting, including the election of officers and board members for 5767, will take place at 9:30 a.m.

Participants are encouraged to stay at the C'mon Inn, off exit 446 of I-90.

The deadline for registration is July 10. Cost per adult is $35. The cost per child, age 5-12, is $15. There is no cost for children under five years of age.

If you are interested in attending, please send me a note via email to aaron AT weissman DOT com. I will send you a registration form with specific locations and details.

New Police Chief ...

Captain Corky Grove is now Chief Corky Grove!

Can't say it is a surprise. He is the right man in the right place at the right time. I wish our new police chief all the success in the world.

This was yummy


Grilled Curry Chicken
Chicken, quartered
EV Olive oil
Cider vinegar
Curry powder
Garam Masala
NACL and Pepper
Garlic, chopped

Mix together oil, powders, spices and garlic. Marinate chicken with mixture overnight.

Remove chicken from marinade prior to cooking, reserving marinade. Reduce marinade about 25%, until it becomes a thick sauce.

While reducing marinade, grill chicken on indirect coals until juices come clear, about 30 minutes.

Serve chicken with marinade as sauce on bed of basmati rice.

See a sick bird? Report it here.

In the next few weeks, migratory birds coming South from Alaska and beyond should be passing through Montana.

Anyone reading the news knows that some of these birds might be carrying Avian Flu. The State's Fish Wildlife and Parks department has a site here where anyone seeing a sick bird can report it.

More info here:

Montana Ready for Bird Flu Early Detection Effort - News - FWP

Tuesday, May 9

Chip and Dale continue to bedevil my garden

Regular readers of this space may remember the problems that I have with old chip and dale. They eat my tomatoes. They eat my roses. Those )(*&!@#$ squirrels just won't leave my garden alone.

Most recently, they have been attacking my rasberry and blueberry plants. I planted them a few weeks ago, and I think that the plants will probably have to be pulled up.

Anyway, a friend sent me this possible set of solutions to the squirrel problem. Alas, squirrel isn't kosher. However, I encourage any readers of this space to consider ...

SQUIRREL * (See Below for Slow cooked recipe)

Squirrel is one of the most tender of all wild game meats. The rosy
pink to red flesh of young squirrel is tender and has a pleasing
flavor. The flesh of older animals is darker red in color and may
require marinating or long cooking for tenderness.


After cleaning, cut up for frying, soak overnight in salt water.
Before frying (like chicken exactly) put squirrel in cooker oven with
water and "par boil" until meat is tender when stuck with fork. Don't
cook until meat falls off bones - as you want to batter it with flour
to fry (not too fast) like chicken. Season with salt and black pepper
to taste.

Rinse skinned squirrel in cold water and pat dry, dip in buttermilk
and then in seasoned flour and fry in hot fat just as you would a

If the squirrel is young, you probably will not need to steam the
meat. If there is any doubt, drain off excess fat in the skillet, add
about a cup of water or wine if you prefer, and steam covered for
about 15 minutes. Or you may wish to pressure cook the meat for an
additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Make gravy in the frying fat by adding the leftover seasoned flour
and milk or water. Serve over rice or with hot biscuits.


1 young squirrel, cut in pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Mix salt and pepper with flour. Shake pieces of squirrel in flour
mixture and brown in melted shortening in a heavy skillet. Lower the
heat after browning and cover the skillet tightly. Cook over low heat
for 1/2 to 1 hour or until well done. Remove cover during the last 10
minutes to crisp outer surfaces.


1 young squirrel, cut in pieces
3 slices bacon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sliced onion
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup beef or chicken broth

Rub pieces of squirrel with salt and pepper and roll in flour. Pan
fry with chopped bacon for 30 minutes. Add onion, lemon juice and
broth and cover tightly. Cook slowly for 2 hours. Just before
serving, remove squirrel and make gravy by adding water or milk and
flour to the pan drippings.
Variations: Add l tablespoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, l sliced
tart apple and 2 cups broth instead of bacon and lemon juice called
for in this recipe.


Use a cleaned and skinned squirrel cut in serving size pieces.

4 ribs of celery, cut diagonally
1 small bay leaf
Small whole onions
Small whole potatoes
Salt, pepper and Worcestershire to taste

Place squirrel pieces in Dutch oven or heavy skillet with a lid.
Cover with water and steam until the meat is nearly tender. Add the
vegetables and seasoning and cook until just tender.

If a thickened gravy is desired, add l tablespoon of corn starch
dissolved in one-half cup of water just before serving.

This is good served with corn bread. One squirrel will serve two or
three people.


3 squirrels, cut in serving
1 cup chopped onion pieces
4 cups or 2 No. 303 cans tomatoes
3 quarts water
1/4 cups diced bacon
2 cups diced potatoes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups lima beans
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups corn
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place squirrel pieces in a large kettle. Add water. Bring slowly to
boil; reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is
tender, skimming surface occasionally. Remove meat from bones and
return to liquid. Add bacon, cayenne, salt, pepper, onion, tomatoes,
potatoes and lima beans. Cook l hour. Add corn and continue to cook
10 minutes. Serves six to eight.
Note: This recipe is particularly suitable for older, less tender

BRUNSWICK STEW (100 year old recipe)

Boil 2 good sized chickens or 4 squirrels in water
Add to the meat a generous supply of tomatoes and potatoes. When done add ten or twelve ears of corn. Remove the meat, cut into small pieces and return to the fire. Cook until very tender and thick. Seasoning with butter salt and pepper.


1 squirrel
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fat
Lemon wedges

Clean squirrel. Rub with slat and pepper. Brush with fat and place on
a broiling rack. Broil 40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with
drippings. Squeeze lemon on squirrel before serving.
Serves two to three.



Slow Cooked Squirrel
Submitted by: Bobbie Jo
Submit a recipe photo
"This stew recipe is for those of us who are hunters and are more of
the country ilk. It is easy that you can go to work while it simmers
in your pot and when you return home, dinner is ready." Original recipe yield: 6 servings.

Prep Time:
20 Minutes
Cook Time:
8 Hours
Ready In:
8 Hours 20 Minutes
6 (change)


* 2 squirrels - skinned, gutted, and cut into pieces
* 4 large potatoes, quartered
* 1 pound carrots, chopped
* 1 green bell pepper, chopped
* 4 onions, sliced
* 2 cups water
* 1/4 medium head cabbage
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. In a slow cooker, place the squirrel meat, potatoes, carrots,
green bell pepper, onions, water, cabbage, salt and ground black pepper.
2. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours.

Now, none of these recipies are mine. I just present them to you as a possible solution we can take to our infestation problem.

And, please keep in mind, my tongue is firmly in cheek.

Wednesday, May 3

Bill Harley is Returning to Great Falls!

Renowned storyteller and performer Bill Harley is returning to Great Falls for several free performances for area kids, and fundraising performance at the Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts to support the Children's Museum of Montana.

CMOM is a great organization, and truly deserves our support. In addition, Bill Harley is hilarious; I enjoy listening to him even when the kids aren't around (of course, that may say something about the old maturity level).

CMOM's press release for the event appended.

Children’s Museum of Montana
22 Railroad Square
Great Falls MT 59401
(406) 452-6661

“Bill Harley in Concert”

Grammy nominated recording/performing artist, Bill Harley, is coming back to Great Falls! The Children’s Museum of Montana, First Interstate Bank and Mountain West Bank are proud to sponsor Bill Harley in Concert.

A nationally recognized family entertainer, Bill Harley is known for his ability to entertain children and adults alike with his unique blend of song and story. Bringing insight and humor to his observations about growing up and parenting like no other performer, Harley’s concerts feature original material about today’s world.

Familiar to many in Montana from Public Radio show “Pea Green Boat,” Bill Harley has been called “the Mark Twain of Kid’s music,” by Entertainment Weekly. Billboard magazine describes him as what would have happened “If Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes fame were to grow up he’d be Bill Harley.”

On Tuesday May 9 Mr. Harley will perform live KGPR Public Radio from 10:15-11:00 a.m. There will be two assemblies for Whittier Elementary School children at the Community Recreational Center at 12:30 and 1:30 as well.

On Wednesday May 10 Mr. Harley will give a private concert at the Children’s Museum of Montana’s Playgroup at 10:30 a.m. This concert is geared towards an audience of 0-5 year olds.

The evening of Wednesday May 10 see Bill Harley in Concert at the Mansfield Theater of the Civic Center at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Civic Center Box Office for $15.00 general admission, $13.00 for Children’s Museum of Montana Members, and $10.00 per ticket for families of 4 or more.

Bill Harley CD’s are available at the Children’s Museum. They are $15.00 each or 2 for $25.00! You can get “The Teachers Lounge,” “Grownups are Strange,” “The Battle of the Mad Scientists,” “You’re in Trouble,” “Play it Again,” “Down in the Backpack,” “Blah Blah Blah,” and “One More Time.”

For more information call Jill at 452-6661.

Fabulous Command Line Tutorial!

The command line is your friend. While GUIs are nice and all, they just don't provide powerful enough tools for much daily work. This is especially true if you need to perform a rote task on a series of files. Don't believe me? Try changing the filename of a directory of several hundred image files to meet a certain pattern with your GUI and then do it on your command line.

Anyway, this is a great tutorial on the command line and basic scripting. Go check it out.

Sharpest and Funniest Comeback Retort I have Heard in a Long Time ...

I usually don't post jokes here, but this was so funny ...

If you ever testify in court, you might wish you could have been as sharp as this policeman.

He was being cross-examined by a defense attorney during a felony trial. ?The lawyer was

trying to undermine the policeman's credibility....

Q: "Officer -- did you see my client fleeing the scene?"

A: "No sir. ?But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several blocks away."

Q: "Officer -- who provided this description?"

A: "The officer who responded to the scene."

Q: "A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. ?Do you trust your fellow officers?"

A: "Yes, sir. ?With my life."

Q: "With your life? ?Let me ask you this then officer. ?Do you have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?"

A: "Yes sir, we do!"

Q: "And do you have a locker in the room?"

A: "Yes sir, I do."

Q: "And do you have a lock on your locker?"

A: "Yes sir."

Q: "Now why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with these same officers?"

A: "You see, sir -- we share the building with the court complex, and SOMETIMES LAWYERS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO WALK THROUGH THAT ROOM!"

Election Results Convey Message

Yesterday's election carried a few messages. First, the voters voted to retain Stuart Nicholson's steady voice on our School Board. I think that this was the right choice.

However, the vote carried another message, one that has nothing to do with the administration of our school district. In an election without much controversy and even less advertising, more people filed absentee ballots than for our most recent presidential election. This should be seen as a rebuke against the shuffling of our polling places.

I voted absentee. Why? My old polling place was convenient and I liked voting there. I no longer have that option, and instead would have to go out of my way to the new location. Like a few thousand of my neighbors, I voted with my feet and sent in an absentee ballot. Worse, I applied for a permanent ballot and am not planning to vote at the polls in person for the forseeable future.

While absentee balloting is a necessary convenience, I don't think it is the right option for permanent balloting. It represents a continuation of a withdrawal from civic participation in community.

Worse, I suspect that creating an incentive for absentee balloting is the real reason for so reducing the number of our neighborhood polling places.

Jeers to the County for creating this situation and for not placing a priority on retaining neighborhood polling places.

Celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut!

Happy 58th Bithday to Israel! Today is Yom HaAtzmuot, Israeli independence day!

I often find that Dry Bones manages to capture just the right feeling for many Israeli occassions and current events. So, enjoy the cartoon.

From our vantage point in 2006, the existence of the Jewish State may seem like an established event. However, it was not very long before Israel's independence the the continued existence of the Jewish people was in real doubt.

We are taught to remember that joy and grief are never too far apart; that is part of the reason that we break a glass during a wedding ceremony. The quick succession of three holidays, Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) last week, followed by Yom HaZikiron (Israeli Memorial Day) yesterday and Yom HaAtzmaut today really put the progression of life and faith into perspective.

Mazel Tov Israel!

Monday, May 1


Swim trunks and goggles: About $30.
Day pass to Nat: $2.50

Lapping your high school coach during a 500 free warmup: Priceless

All kidding aside, I hope that I am still swimming 30 years from now. Great paddling coach!

Stuart Nicholson for School Board

There are two candidates running in the Great Falls school district election. Although it may be a surprise to many readers, election day is tomorrow.

Both candidates seem like good choices. However, I believe Stuart Nicholson is the right man for the job.

In previous school district races, candidates have said that it is "impossible" to understand the school district's budget, and they have to rely upon district staff to tell them what the numbers mean. Understanding this budget will not be a problem for this Certified Public Accountant, the former CFO of DA Davidson.

Nicholson deserves our vote.