Slow Cooking with a Cheap Grill

Yesterday in honor of the nice weather we decided to slow-cook a sirloin tip roast on the back deck. My only concern with this endeavor was that our 6 year-old $40 charcoal grill wasn't up to the task of maintaining a 250 degree temperature for 3+ hours. In order to restock the fire with hot coals, you'd have to light them in a chimney starter and dump them in. I'd have to either put the starter on our wooden deck by the grill (obvious fire safety issues) or light the coals on our driveway and carry them 50 feet onto the deck (obvious personal safety issues). I decided to give it a go and was amazed at how well it went. I had a good bed of expired coals left from the last time I grilled and added a full chimney of new embers on top of this. After initially burning at around 350 degrees (I use natural lump charcoal which is jet-engine hot) I was able to adjust the air vents on the grill and hold it at 250 degrees for a full 2.5 hours. It probably could have even gone longer, but at that point the meat smelled too good not to eat. I think a rack of ribs may be in the immediate future.

  

Upgrading

So I'm finally going to get around to upgrading my MacBook to 10.6. I'm going to do a clean install and start from scratch, which is quite frightening. I have my whole computer backed up on an external, and I've even burned my thesis and other important docs to a CD. Still, this is very scary.

  

There was no joy in Mudville...

Dammit all anyways! Here's the crappy news, in case you've been spelunking or something and haven't heard via TV/E-mail/text/smoke-signal/etc. I suppose Ortiz has always been suspect (especially to the haters), but I for one was hoping he'd be one of the good examples left when all the dust settles. 🙁

I just hope Papi proceeds along the high road from here: own up to it, explain yourself (like Pettitte did), and start earning your way back into good graces by upping the ante on his own unique brand of charitable efforts.

I'm so frustrated with all the doping mess in baseball that I'm thinking my general well-being would be better served by following a different sport. One where the money to love-of-the-game balance hasn't tipped over to the profiteering-at-the-expense-of-sportsmanship line. I hear that pankration is making a comeback, and it would definitely appeal to the side of me that loves reading Sophocles, so that's a bonus. 🙂

  

The Northeast Kingdom

Well, summer seems to have produced a lull in the ever-exciting soapbox blogging, so I thought I would fill in the gap with a question. Does anyone know why the northeast region in good ol' VT is called the Northeast Kingdom? The barn girls & friends had the opportunity to spend some time on beautiful Lake Willoughby and I couldn't help but ponder over "the kingdom". The only explanation I found was that a beloved VT senator exclaimed that area was so beautiful that it should be called the northeast kingdom. However, I feel like this explanation is a bit sketchy and certainly anticlimactic, so if anyone knows a better story or just wants to make up one, I'd be all ears.

You should all spend time here if you can.
Lake Willoughby: You should all spend time here if you can.
  

Gentle Reminder

I'm going to steal Michael's thunder a couple of days early (sorry, buddy!) and remind everybody to take some time out from good times and good company over this holiday weekend to reflect a little on the reason for Memorial Day. Regardless of our individual political dispositions or perspectives on armed conflict, acknowledging the sacrifices borne by our military and their families should be an essential part of our privileged duties as a citizens.

To facilitate things, allow me to direct you to some appropriate reading. Many of y'all are already familiar with McRae's "In Flanders Fields" and the subsequent association of poppies with the day. I can still recite most of this one from memory, due to a 6th grade english class assignment.

In the end, I always find myself returning to Binyon's "For the Fallen", as it strikes the perfect tone. Particularly, the verses known as the "Ode of Remembrance", which I will leave you with here:

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.