Recipe Highlights… GF microwave cake (again!)

[Ed: I was going through my Drafts folder and found this one. Sure, it’s a bit light on the photographs, but you get the idea. So here’s something to get your party-for-two started. Enjoy!]

No, I did not give up eating for more than a year. My lenten fast from baking just got out of hand.  These days, I fall back on quick eats that aren’t fun to write about. Also, my hot cereal options are pretty boring. I mean, it’s hard to screw up quinoa flakes. My alternate is buckwheat grits, and those are pretty fool proof, too.

So I decided to share my new favorite microwave cake.

First, don’t be afraid of that whole low carb thing. This is a fantastically tasty dish. Second, don’t think it’s too high falutin for you. They don’t NEED to be Meyer Lemons. I mean, it helps, but it’s not critical.  Heck, my first time with this recipe, I didn’t have no stinkin’ lemons. At all. Not even one.  And, stuck without a car, I had to search my pantry for something that would work.  Turns out, I had one lovely Ruby Red Texas Grapefruit.  These things are DELICIOUS all on their own. But I thought, “Why doesn’t anybody make grapefruit cake?”

Please Rachel, don’t kill me, but I’m going to reproduce the original recipe here, just for reference.



  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp erythritol
  • Zest of one Meyer Lemon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • Juice of one Meyer Lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream for garnish


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk almond flour, erythritol, lemon zest, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add lemon juice, melted butter and egg, and stir until well combined.
  3. Divide mixture between two microwave-safe mugs and microwave each separately for 1 minute and 20 seconds.
  4. Remove and top with whipped cream.


For this particular recipe, I start with a fresh grapefruit instead of lemons, because, why would you do anything else?

First step– I stripped the thing of it’s rind. I took all of it. Yes, I’m crazy that way. Next step, I had to find out how much juice 1 whole lemon gives you. Grapefruits and lemons are in no way equivalent– size wise any way.  So I looked it up and discovered that the average lemon exudes two tablespoons of juice. I wrote that down and continued in my quest.

Also, if the recipe lists quantity it by fruit, then obviously the amount is a bit flexible.  As for Mr. Grapefruit, he wasn’t the size of a tomello, but close. This big monster gave me 2 tbs of grapefruit zest.  Thus I dubbed the rather naked looking fruit “Mt. Baldy”.  But I also needed juice. 2 whole tablespoons, as per my research.

Next question:How do you juice a grapefruit?  It’s actually harder than you think.

Part of the reason why most store bought Grapefruit Juice sucks, is because they squeeze it like an orange. If you treat a grapefruit like an orange, you get a  massive bitterness  many grapefruit fans don’t like.  It is a part of the fruit’s piquant personality, but we don’t want too much, right?  I decided to get away from the bitter pith as much as possible.  This cake was going to be sweet indulgence.

So I… peeled the grapefruit. This can be tough to get started, as the peel is thick, and even more spongy than my nemesis, the Navel Orange. But, once you get your fingers into that teeny little air gap between the pith and the petals of juicy wonderfulness, you are home free.  The picture above shows it well. Here, it’s a bit off center.

You can find it on the end that’s pointier, underneath the bud end dead center. From the other side,  it’s just above the ends of the fruit sections.  So you are in effect, pulling out the bud end from between the section cluster.  Once you do that, can peel the skin away from the sections with impunity. Start removing the skin and pith with the convenient pull tab you created earlier.   Make sure all the pith is removed. It sometimes comes off in layers. Try not to squeeze the spongy pith too much– or at least, don’t let it drip where you will put your juice! When done, you wind up with about 12 big fleshy sections, that are pinkish and plump with juice.


Er… now what?  How do you juice a section?

Get a spoon. Get a sieve. The right shape of a wooden spoon, sort of wide and shallow curved, is ideal. Non metal would be better, because it’s easier on the sieve. Note: I did not use a non-metallic spoon, and I did not die. But it was a relatively wide and flat sort of spoon, so the curve did not cut against the curve of the mesh in the sieve. Also, bigger means you can crush more at once and don’t have to work forever squishing grapefruit fronds.

Step two in juicing a section- mush the bits of grapefruit flesh against the sieve wall, squeezing out all the juice. It’s a more gruesome version of  massage therapy.  This fruit was mighty juicy. There were a few seeds, but they were easy to dump off into a separate bowl. You want to do that because they are slippery and can jump into your juice catching bowl, while you coax out as much juice as you possibly can. Now rescue a few bits of that nice pulp, if you desire. I love everything grapefruity so I put some in. Just make sure you don’t get any pith or even section skin into the mix. That is where the bitter resides.

So I measured 2 tbs (and maybe a drip or two more) of grapefruit juice, which turned out to be about 1.5 sections on my buddha belly sized grapefruit.

From here on out, you can just follow the recipe. And lo, you have… not just one, but TWO grapefruit cakes!  They were so delicious I ate both of them without remembering to photograph the results. That happens a lot with this recipe.

Next time, I might want to make a meringue and torch it in place, to give it a “Baked Alaska” sort of look. This time, I just melted some coconut butter and made a sauce in lieu of whipped cream. If you really want dairy free whipped cream, you can freeze a can of coconut milk for a few hours to overnight, then whip the solid parts with a mixer or stick blender. That’s a bit more work and forethought than I usually do when making this recipe.

The only reason why people don’t make grapefruit cake is because they don’t know how awesome it is!

EDIT: I also made this with a regular lemon just recently. I ran out of Erythro sweetener, so I subbed in coconut sugar, the kind that looks like brown sugar.  It did not blend the best– it had freckles. Husband, who is a normal person, and likes normal cake,  thought it was delicious, if a tad under sweetened.

Because I can leave nothing alone, my latest experiment was adding one packet of Real Lemon to the lemon recipe. I am sure it would have been just fine without. My inner lemon head would not be denied.

Further note: yes, you can use coconut fat to replace the butter. If you must do that, I suggest adding at least a pinch of salt, some vanilla or butter flavor to make up the lack.  Butter adds something  fantastic that’s difficult to put your finger on.  I used Kerrygold butter in this recipe. That made a difference– even from regular butter. It added more yellow color, and  extra richness in both flavor and texture.


After long silence…


Christ “The Good Silence” – Spas Blagoe Molchanie Special thanks to original uploader Nesusvet at ru.wikipedia

Never liked the book, but the title is haunting and beautiful. The icon above is also known as “The Holy Silence”… Which is better than what I got.  :)

And, I can relate.  It has been hard to focus on anything, let alone write something every day about something. I didn’t discuss my husband’s illness and death or what came after, because that’s a different blog. I haven’t written on that one since, either.  After pouring so much hope into it, I couldn’t bear to return.

I have no excuses.. nor even good explanations.

It’s been hard to think past survival mode.

I’ve moved, I’ve lost my husband of seven years, and best friend of fourteen years, but I am not alone. I have a dear friend who is more than a friend. It’s not something I can define in public yet, but  it suffices to say that casual intimacy is not my style.

It is still surreal to think of myself as a widow.

At any rate, I hope to have some varied, Margot flavored fun posted here in the future. This blog is not over yet.

Firstly, I have a project in the works that I’ll be posting about soon. I’m using this blog as a motivation for getting it done, so here’s hoping it works. I’ll give two hints.  One: it’s about books.😉  Two: the initials RSH are involved, and it’s not a computer reference for once.

Second, Margot’s Whino Night is scheduled to return, (prayers, please!)  as well as the Sunday Shrine.  This will include pictures: even those taken by me.

I will continue to give varying reviews, and if any fiction should pass my fingertips, I’ll post that, too.

Stay tuned!

One last plea…if you happen to be on MeWe, or are looking for a reason to help FB pass into deserved isolation, I am Margot St Aubin on MeWe.  Post here to let me know you have joined.




Just because the Greeks are old,  does not mean they are without value. I have found that the birth of philosophy has more relevance to modern life than much of what counts as philosophy today.


I want to talk about nihilism. Because it is the one framework I believe to be truly evil in itself, and one must relinquish to evil in the soul to foster and follow it with anything more than a useful idiot’s 3 second attention.

It’s main attraction is that, while it is horrific, it looks true.  Because it rejects everything human and comfortable, it takes a very special someone to fully embrace it. One who is brave, but needs no other contribution or qualifier other than to stare into the darkness without flinching. Combine that with habit void of self reflection, and you have a lethal brew. I’ve seen this ideology destroy men, even drive them to to suicide.  What I’m talking is a total destruction, an unwillingness to live so extreme that suicide is too much effort.

To speak it in spiritual terms, A black hole is your God. But you must be truly Godlike to accept it. Your sense of reality will self destruct real soon now.

Seemingly unrelated, this was first Easter without my husband. When you see that much chaos and entropy up close is when Nihilism becomes the most tempting. After all, death seemed to win before my eyes, everything I’d built over a period of 7 years washed away in what was the worst week of the worst year of my life. Matt’s heart stopped, he stopped breathing. Pale, waxy and starved, he lay as an indictment to everything I believe in.  His body reminded me of nothing more than the lifeless corpus hanging up in every church I attend.

If that weren’t enough, our house and most of my belongings were torn away less than a month later. I lived for months on the charity of a few random people I met off the internet.

 [Ok, they weren’t exactly random as it was Christian charity, or just plain good neighbor charity in more than a few cases. Thank you all, by the way. ]  I have some breathing space, but that will soon be gone like the rest.

If everything is meaningless, than there is no reason not to grasp what you want. But if you think about it, why should you bother? If my situation isn’t really real, why should I even respond to it? It’s a summation of every depressive episode ever.

IF there is no real, there is no reason not to be a force for good– because  at the end of this tortured logic, the only good is to degrade and debase what most call real. In this fun-house mirror, the only real act is to destroy what you see, to shatter the “delusions” of others.  You declare the entire universe built of deluded fools, because your secret master will devour them all in the end. It is the Elder gods without a face, and every face will be smashed.  Except, wait, it’s not real. So explain to me why being deluded is a sin, again?

And this is how a man can in his heart delight in evil, yet not violate the laws of fiction. The Hebrews who wrote the old testament were old travel companions of nihilism. It is no more new than man’s first Covenant. We just had longer, more circuitous names for it, because philosophy used to be categorized on understanding if, what and why anything was real at all. The city of chaos that is philosophy has built so many flying buttresses on the air it has forgotten the foundations that support it.  It seems that it only remembers them to have something to deride. (there are exceptions, like Edward Fesser. But there are too few, and too far between. I’m not really smart enough to understand most of what he’s written, but what I do understand I happen to like.)

It is an inversion of what all Christians worship, whether we understand that or not. We have our small flawed pieties that analogically speak to The God That Is. But no conception we could contain in our minds is reflective of what must be Most Real. All that is real in that sense is what God tells us to do, which is the start of Catholic liturgical traditions, but I won’t go into that here.  Just remember that God frequently spoke in parables, and parables are fun stories that burn analogy as fuel. It may not be a perfect reflection of what is Most Real, but it points to what is in a real way.

It seems to me that too many of the philosophical moderns have attempted to discredit the real until it is irrelevant to rid themselves of analogical thinking, or perhaps for some other reason. Trouble is, once you do that, nothing is real.

Christianity is wise to keep philosophers around to keep us honest.  It is also wise to keep reality around to keep philosophers honest. And mystics close the circle of balance, because they remind both of what is beyond our rational borders is not always a sham.  When it’s real, it’s what keeps us alive.

A life without good and evil is more profoundly empty than a life without reality, or truly, a life without God. But the trifecta of Nihilism is the dark siren song of prematurely banking on the wrong side in victory. It is an endless darkness that devours all potential. The only reason it works is because most people still run on the base assumption that what they see is a real thing. Shock value is as timeless and relentless as tyranny.

And about twice as banal.

Only a belief that the Good is more important than suffering can get one through the night. Note I did not say belief in God.

For me there isn’t much difference.



Millet Poetry

my photo. my fault.

my photo. my fault.

So I’m hoping to make millet bread sometime soon. The goal is a corn bread style thing. Ironically most dishes like this, even when they feature millet, have corn in them too.  This I find extremely baffling.  Suffice to say, mine won’t.  Stay tuned. Probably I will have time around the week after New Years. (EDIT: this was written a long time ago… this article is already published.)

I know I haven’t pubbed food in a while. I suppose that being busy writing is no excuse.🙂 Documenting cooking projects takes a remarkable amount of time because I’m the world’s slowest cook. There is no way I’d be able to compete in any contest. I can always come up with something tasty, but it takes me an extra hour to get anything done.

So I may as well leave you with a slow cooker recipe.😉

Millet Congee

Let’s be blunt.  Congee is an innocuous sounding Chinese word for gruel. Unless you have very strange (what are the odds?) or very young, or very sick children,  gruel isn’t going to appeal very much. The thing is, in case you didn’t notice the many articles here about gluten free breakfast cereal–four or five on GF oats alone– I’m kind of obsessed with warm, slurry like comfort food. Congee is just an excuse to have hot cereal for dinner. I’m fine with that.

There are days when I just want food, I want it hot, and I want it tasty, and I frankly don’t care if it looks appitizing or not. I have other days when I simply won’t eat unless the food is awesome, and that’s when I have to put on my apron and do something impressive. Is it any wonder why I now keep the camera near the kitchen?  Hrm. Maybe *that’s* why I haven’t been cooking lately.  :)

The benefits of gruel are as follows. As long as you can get the people to be okay with it, (what? I thought you said pizza!) you can feed a lot of people VERY cheaply on this. Millet is currently about $2.50/3.00 per pound, and you only need half a cup of the stuff, in four cups of water.  Use the classic recipe and you have spent less than three dollars for 8 servings of food– at least. It’s very filling.  Then you add… stuff. Pretty much whatever won’t get spoiled by cooking in a slow cooker for a short run.

Well, short for a slow cooker.  This means about two hours on high or four hours on low (I recommend the first hour on high then the last three on low) you get a rich creamy gruel that blows rice congee out of the water. Yes, rice gets thicker and smoother, but I like a bit of tooth (not TOO much). In my experience, and rice cooked out that much gets… epic bland.  Millet won’t be much excitement on it’s own, I grant, but it does have flavor. This is especially true if toasted. It smells…soooo yummy. 

Also, you can just put it in the cooker and forget about it until the timer goes off. Bonus for writers on a budget. It also works well for when you are sick, or if you have a sensitive day and you absolutely need to have something innocuous. Millet is considered one of the least allergenic foods on the planet. It’s good for people who are nauseous, or sick with a touchy stomach and can’t keep down most other food.

Heck, monks in the 12th Century raised it special for situations like that. In case you think they were backward, these monks also first diagnosed syliac disease.   It’s also good for fussy kids who demand bland food. With the sweet potato melted in the pot, it adds sweetness, color and *gasp* nutrients.  The slow cooker keeps them in, because the vapors are trapped.

The classical treatment from our friends from the East. This recipe comes from China. I have heard it’s a big hit in Taiwan, up to and including lunch trucks serving the stuff on street corners. There they use it toasted, with a handful of toasted chestnuts, thinly sliced sweet potato (about a cup–so one small one or half of a medium sized sweet potato sliced thin) and you can feed a brood for a day or yourself for several.  

Toss in a stick of cinnamon, a few pods of cardamom (spices in a bag! Eating cinnamon splinters is not fun!)  before cooking. When done, serve with a dash of salt,  honey, coconut sugar, or maple syrup, and a pat of butter or virgin coconut fat.  Trust me, the fat makes it.  In some moods just the coconut fat and a bit of salt is all you need.  The recipes I have read don’t call for salt.  

I always put a bit on top when I dig in. 

There are other variations too, that revolve around using broth instead of water, adding about a half to three quarters of a cup of meat (duck breast with beef broth in my case) I still add the nuts (walnuts) and some mushrooms. This variant I serve on top of finely shredded cabbage, green onion and a shot of coconut aminos.  Sriracha or other classical condiments are not amiss either.  I have also used beans of various types as a substrate, generally mixed with sauteed kale. This way, more nutrients and protein. Good for penitential or meatless days.

Other people can put cheese in it, too. Let it cool for a bit and it’s like Chinese grits.  Which is awesome.  Dayia also works in a pinch.

My next experiment is going to use my secret slow cooker weapon– smoked turkey tails. They are like ham hocks only even better.  They are cheaper, for one, and you can find them at the meat market/grocery in the frozen chitlins isle in big bags.

All you need is one– maybe two if you are feeling luxurious. It adds a stocky element in the form of a bit of fat and collagen from the connective tissue.  You also get the meaty smoky element because there’s lots of little morsels of meat which reminds me of pig leg from Pho– only it tastes like the platonic ideal of smoked turkey bacon. It’s glorious.

That’s what I do for slow cooked “baked” beans, too.  I have nothing against pork! In this case, I like the flavor for it’s own self, and the kindness to cholesterol is an added bonus.


Margot Reviews The Prisoner, Take 2: Why ruin a perfectly good Caviezel?

Margot Reviews “ThePrisoner”, ca. 2009


So… This happened.

Really, it sounds perfect. Patrick McGoohan’s classic reformatted with Jim Caviezel in the original six episodes that Patrick really wanted? Looks so perfect and tailor made for the fans, doesn’t it?

It’s not.  Really, it’s not. In fact, I say to you that his current and soon to be over project, Person of Interest, is actually closer to what The [Original] Prisoner was about than this one.

Imagine M. Night Shyamalan trying to be David Lynch– and failing miserably. The directing was so horrible that you could come away with the idea that Caviezel can’t act.

I mean, it was nice to know that he has a vocal range past a whisper, but he still seemed stilted and generally lifeless.  Bad directors can do that to just about anybody. I even saw it happen to Vincent D’Onofrio, but that’s another show.

The music was produced by a tone deaf knock off of Aphex Twin. Or at least that’s what it sounded like.  I saw those episodes and realized… I just didn’t care about any of these people. The writers were too clever, and revealed so little of what was actually happening that you simply didn’t feel like investing in, or trusting the rest of it. I might have seen a few more episodes out of morbid curiosity (really, how do they end this mess?) but the natives (the people I was watching it with) were threatening to rebel.

Then I read the Wikipedia summary of the plot.

I’m glad they spared me. Seriously, these writers had NO CLUE what the original was about or what it was trying to say. I get the feeling they were trying to unmake the original from the inside– and it came off the same flaws as bad Shyamalan, a one trick pony that tries sooooo hard to EXPLAIN itself.  Ultimately, it has no sense of humor about itself or even what it’s trying to tear down. The driving principle was, “If you can’t blind them with your brilliance, baffle them with your BS.”

While I appreciated the side message about the best laid plans, the structure of the show did little to hold up to the original.  It comes across as more dated (at 2009 that ages fast!) and far less coherent than the original.  You knew exactly where things started with McGoohan’s opus, but even where the beginning was in the story turned out to be a moving target.

By the time that I could see what they were trying to do, they got families involved, further muddying everything up.

So…what was good about it? Anything?

Okay, it was very pretty to watch. Jim Caviesel is great eye candy. And the sets were visually interesting, too. I also liked the intro– It gave me a lot of hope. But it went downhill — and quickly– from there.

But I’d need a lot more drugs or something to keep me interested for the story itself. Especially since it was just another attempt at raping my college experience. I suppose I should be glad it wasn’t  my childhood… again.

Margot Reviews The A TEAM

The copyright belongs to @2010 Twentieth Century Fox.  FAIR USE claim. Please don't sue.  Not much blood in this stone.

The copyright belongs to @2010 Twentieth Century Fox. FAIR USE claim. Please don’t sue. Not much blood in this stone.

Margot Reviews The A TEAM


This is a movie I proudly avoided when it hit the theaters. I was convinced they’d find a way to ruin my deeply held guilty pleasure of my tweens and early teens. Okay, I never felt THAT guilty that I enjoyed this series, but when you are of a certain age, the fact that nobody ever runs out of ammo and the villains don’t hit anything while spraying firestorms of lead can get to you after a while.

I made a terrible mistake. I should have taken my fear out to the woodshed and left it a smear on the gravel. Because this movie was fracking awesome.

Imagine if the original series had a wild fling with The Unit, add a dash of Mission: Impossible, then add more explosions and update the action a tad, and holy pocky sticks you have a creation made of pure fun.

I seriously loved every minute of this movie. It was the best action film I’d seen in a very long while.  Okay, maybe it’s not Die Hard, but it was as close as an action film could get.

Yes there was fan service– in more subtler forms than I’m used to. Original actors (hint: the ones that could act, and were still alive) put in cameos in humorous places. There were jokes and even subplots that lovingly lamp-shaded the original series, but was a noogie not a slap to the face.  BA’s haircut and his weird experiment with peacenik in prison were done perfectly. And central casting was actually brilliant, though it took a while to adapt to Hannibal’s new jawline.

They get props for one of the most crazy helicopter dogfights in the history of film.  And proof positive that helio pilots are their own special brand of crazy.

So was it perfection? Did I see anything that I didn’t like?


This image was found in the Press Packet. It still belongs to @2010 Twentieth Century Fox

Actually yes.  It also took me a while to get used to the short cropped, almost choppy scenes that went by so quick you weren’t always sure what happened. I appreciate that combat can be like that, but I missed having time to know how the good guys got away in the opening sequence.  I did manage to follow the helo dogfight,  but just barely. I’m glad they slowed that shit down for the resolution of the finale. That could be just me, I was able to follow the rest of the movie.

The shell game had a nice twist, with plenty of action and explosions worthy of a Michael Bay movie, but there was character development, hilarious rescue scenes, bow-tied up with the light hearted fun you remember from the show.

The fact that the villain identity twist was a a tired and reused trope to the point I won’t reveal it. You’ll figure it out. Its not the destination but the journey that makes this movie fun.

But they remembered to count bullets, and people actually got hurt. But, nobody got preachy about it. It’s hard to think enough high praise to fill into this movie. No, Virginia, the summer blockbuster is not dead.


^^^The saddest thing about this film is that THIS IMAGE is as close as they get to an action still for the press packet.


In our next issue, we can discuss rumors about rebooting the TV series!

Margot is Back and Better than Ever!

Margot is Back and Better than Ever!

... More or less.


Okay, ladies and gents, felines and germs, I suppose I owe you all an explanation. I stopped blogging around the time my husband became seriously ill with cancer.

Then he died.

Then I had to leave my house and retrieve all my stuff and take care of everything in less than a month after the funeral.  I pulled up stakes with the help of a friend (Truthfully? Friends did most of the work)  and am currently residing on the east Coast. I suppose it doesn’t narrow it down much to say that I’m safely ensconced in NYC with a good friend and his family.

If you’d told me a year ago that this was going to happen, I would have told you you were crazy. And even then I knew something was up with my husband, just not what, nor how lethal.  Where I’d wind up, or with whom would be counted as even more evidence of terminal insanity.  It’s still all very bewildering, and somewhat frustrating because of all the lose ends that come with your beloved, and primary breadwinner returning to dust.

It’s been a period of rude awakening.

But I’m back, and living in interesting times. I’m here to say it beats the alternative with a gore encrusted stick.

The Special Hell


I found another category of “specially damned” individuals rampant in modern times. All those people who morph the faces of their friends or famous people (who can tell) on classic paintings. If that weren’t bad enough, they share them to the point it uselessly pollutes Google image search with the world’s most wretched and ugly Photoshop.

For goodness sake, what did Velasquez ever do to you?!  Just search for Velasquez if you really want your eyes to bleed.

OK, Fine. This is by far the best of the lot. It’s even funny.

So I guess sentence reduced to eating desert first and purgatorial probation.


Overheard this Sunday…


My commentary on this.

I really wish I understood more of the homily at the Spanish language mass I went to. Remember last Sunday’s set of readings? He equated the riches of this earth with lies… and the lies told about Pope Francis. He described the MSM as “having a perverted relationship with truth”. Even better in the original Spanish. He also quoted St Luke, and the Pope’s latest Encyclical. Almost shocking to hear a priest talk like that, outside the usual suspects. What a commentary of our age.

He stated at least three times, that the sacraments were the riches in heaven, giving us guideposts for living everyday life in the family. He then when into a discussion of the sacrament of confession and what that teaches us about dealing with problems in the family– and how that relates to truth as used in society. It was pretty strongly worded for someone used to English homilies.

Having heard lots of “liberation” theology, (and yes, in Spanish, too) I could tell that this was NOT it.

Based on this paltry sample of one, I wonder if this means that Pope Francis is having a positive effect on Spanish speaking parishes. It’s harder to hide from them what he’s really saying. For people repeatedly washed over with the LC crap, it’s easy to see where Francis really stands.

What does that have to do with his visit?

As the priest said, “in the light of Truth, lies will fall away like tattered last year’s high fashion.”

Earlier in the week, I overheard an executive from the music industry RAVE about Pope Francis. My only defense is, I couldn’t help overhear this conversation. He was practically shouting it from the rooftops.

It sounds worse than it is. He was actually persuaded by the guy, even though he knew he didn’t agree with him… and here’s the shocker. He didn’t believe the media lies either, and he’d be inclined to. Talk about immersed in the culture that revels in them!  He got the real message, and even developed a bit of respect for that, even if he was not Catholic,and in truth quite skeptical.

Hey. It’s a start.

It’s hell on the rest of us, but long term seeds haven’t started growing just yet.

IN short: there are all kinds of idiots who want to believe lies. All we can do is point to the truth. They will cheerfully ignore us, because lies are prettier to them than what is.  Thankfully, that will all fall away soon enough.  We are torn, because we want more time to convince the recalcitrant. Let me write a volume or two on what I know about recalcitrant. Oh…20 years worth, maybe?

Considering the great fanfare invested in my personal conversion, I hold on to hope that it’s not just me.  :)

One last thought.  I wonder if it was this bad when PJ II was Pope.
I just remember he was in the news an awful lot, and there was usually some softly worded scandal among those who flaunt the fact they do  not believe in scandals. Sadly, I was a kid at the time, so I don’t remember the details. By the time I got older, JP II was ill and the media backed off a little bit… until they stabbed him in the back for his illness.



The review you’ve all been waiting for…


The closest thing you could describe me as in high school was a Goth. I played Vampire the Masquerade, both tabletop and LARP, for 15 years. I read both Anne Rice and Barbara Hambly, and liked the latter better. Hell, I even watched My Best Friend is a Vampire, probably one of the most underrated teen films of all time. I even watched that brief flash of awfulness they called the Masquerade tv series. Hint: we called it “The World of Noon”. I watched Forever Knight, Buffy, and Dark Shadows. Hell, I was weaned on The Munsters. Morticia Addams hosted one of my favorite B movie horror shows back when I was watching a hick station from a 60’s Zenith that had technicolor and a fish eye lens. Fortunately, her show was done in black and white. Then again, it flickered back and fourth from color to black and white, so I’m not sure which it really was.

..But it was my best friend who was obsessed with vampires. Yeah, that’s what I kept telling myself.

By the time the books that True Blood was based on hit the shelves, I was a bit burned out. I read them, and enjoyed them. The TV show lost me when the actor with the best southern accent became the supervillain. Sure, I saw it coming, but it still galled me.

Oh, then there was Twilight. Sure, an enthused friend handed them to me. She did a fine job of convincing me they were awesome.

They weren’t.

I was pretty sure, by the time I put the first book down, scraping my gray matter with a paint scraper was too kind a way to get rid of that drek. I felt DIRTY because of that book, and no, not in a good way. I was pretty sure I was done with vampires. For good.

Then Declan Finn comes out with Honor at Stake. Dammit, I thought I was over this. I’m even hauling out my Rasputina and Black Tape for a Blue Girl thanks to this guy. He already knows he’s responsible for all the Cruxshadows appearing in my playlist. And, he’s not sorry at all.

That’s a good thing.

It will be all his fault if I start wearing black lipstick again, I swear.

Okay, I’m joking about that last part. No, seriously, this guy writes about… ahem, real vampires, not the sparkly fucked up Jar Jar Binks of the vampire world. They are deadly hunters, with vestiges of humanity that make them more frightening.

And yet, it is one of the most powerful love stories I’ve read in a long time. For a wonder, he’s not all angsty and whiny and whatnot. The Goth movement whine came later… thanks to Morresey and those Emo wannabes who can’t see out of their own pain. The whole point of Goth is to celebrate the darkness of life, because it is short. And, Declan gets it. He really gets pretty much everything we loved about vampires by displaying an impressive knowledge of the classic repertoire. Then he brings in his own contributions, turning it up to 11. He uses both Thomas Aquinas and advances in modern science to give a whole new dimension to the moral, ethical and medical possibilities behind the beloved predators of the horror world.

There is plenty of action and Things Going Boom, this being penned by the Mighty Finn. But this is more meditative, more emotional, and the raw feeling he wields like a master is something to exult in.

I’m sure you’ll fall in love with Amanda, and Marco is a fun character to follow. His life is a very real look into an outcast with a unique set of problems. He’s a PA. And he likes killing people.
In fact, that goes back quite a ways into his personal history.

He’s not a serial killer. Yet.

He’s a lethal weapon with a brain, and that makes him even odder than most nerds. Fortunately for him, patching people up is much harder than taking them down, so that scratches his itch for a challenge, and being up to his elbows in blood. Mostly.

Marco practices fencing, because he always needs a new challenge. That’s where he meets Amanda, who is just as good as he is. But there is something… off about her.

He knows killing people is wrong, and there are even people out there he likes, But… look out if he has to defend himself. Most of the traditional big city predators in his neighborhood have already found this out the hard way. He also has a secret that makes his problems a bit hard to deal with, or even talk about them.

Is there anyone out there who might understand?

Well, then he meets Amanda. Who has– shall we say– good reasons to understand.

They meet (not quite cute, but meet flirt?) at a late night college fencing class. The tension crackles, the steel flies, and soon they find themselves in a class of their own.

When they aren’t trying to lop each others’ heads off.

Though clearly wealthy, she has what seems to be more than a lifetime’s store of sadness in her past… and is so far passed jaded she is a smooth and graceful sculpture. Yet in battle is quick, clever, and vicious… So they get along excellently. The statue discovers she can be moved.

Why should such a splendid creature be alone? Seems to be the question each of them asks.

Until Marco finds himself bound and gagged on an unfamiliar Brooklyn roof…

And no, I’m not going to tell you how it ends.

Suffice to say, there is a lot of heat, a lot of fang and the action spirals ever upward to a innuendo/confrontation that has to be read to believed. Advisable to turn up the AC before proceeding.

Let’s just say, as excellent as they both are in the dojo– or in the street, a great deal of backup needs to be called before this train gallops toward a breathtaking finish. You will see vampire bars explode, gang on gang action, Vatican ninjas and some very heavy firepower.

Did I mention that the FBI gets involved? Merle Kraft isn’t exactly what you’d call a normal FBI agent, he specializes in the strange, and the exotic. He’s a short Asian cross between Penn Jillette and Fox Mulder, with piercing blue eyes. Like any magician, he brings a bit of baggage with him– which blends wonderfully into an already explosive mix.

He has questionable, nay diabolical relatives and a dubious past.

Can Amanda and Marco trust him?

And… even that is not enough. After all, something evil is not only creating murder and mayhem in NYC, but seems to be emanating from the UN building.

Trust me, it’s an enjoyable ride. Highly recommended.


Plus something fun I found on G+. Why is it here?   Um… no reason…😈