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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Frost On The Corn Stalks

Tonight as the RRR left for the hour commute to the Big City, Orion was lower on the horizon and has moved to South South West. Pleiades is now North of West at about West North West, and lower also. Spring is coming. But Friday morning... Oh friends what a morning. Mrs. RRR had left early to open the indoor swimming pool and I had leaned back in the recliner with the heating pad over my liver to do my healing meditation. I awakened with the rising sun streaming in the East windows of the cabin. It has been wet and cloudy and dreary. Suddenly the day sparkled. Literally sparkled because a thick coat of frost covered everything.

I quickly dressed and taking my walking stick and dogs slid down the wheelchair ramp from the deck and head across country to the river. The surface of the muddy ground was just frozen enough to bear my weight. The sun glistened and sparkled off the frosty ground and trees dazzling me. We hiked along the creek, then across to the river. I live for tracks and they were everywhere. The deer had been up early and out foraging the last of the corn from the stalks in the fields. Raccoons and muskrats had done foraging of their own and slipped and slid down their runways back to the river. At the edge of the Eagle Sanctuary we turned and climbed up through the woods to my favorite spot on a hill facing East.

The sun, now a hand's breadth above the horizon, was churning the moisture laden air into a glowing fog. The river stretched like a snakey cloud itself toward the horizon. The fog was beginning to rise from the fields as the frost cooked out of them. We went down from the hill along the pastures to another creek, the one where I'd seen the Big Cat sign last week. Then back along it and over to another ridge of timber, then home. One hour and 10 minutes. At the very last the ground was getting gooey and slippery as the frost gave way. I stripped off my jacket and stocking cap and almost skipped up the newly thawed ramp to the cabin.

All days should start so well.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Bollywood Ranger

In the middle of the United States lies Kansas City. On the eastern side of Kansas City is an Indian restaurant called “Bollywood Indian Bistro”. Some of my American readers may need Bollywood explained. India has a thriving, enthusiastic film industry. It is centered in Bombay. Thus Bombay, India has come to be known as Bollywood.

The RRR's daughter-in-law, married to Youngest Son, works at the Bollywood Bistro. On Saturday she convinced us to go there for the luncheon buffet. Up on the wall of the restaurant is the biggest wide screen television I have ever seen. It shows unendingly five minute clips from various Indian movies. In a couple of hours I learned just enough about Indian movies to want to learn much more.

Apparently Bollywood turns out nothing but musicals. It might better be called a film version of Broadway. (BollyBroad?) And as is usual with me, I preferred the old ones. The film clips from 20 years ago or so were truly delightful. The singers and dancers wore more traditional clothing and looked like real people. By the way, the actresses were drop dead gorgeous, absolute beauties. The men... well... sort of 70's sensual and all looking as though they had just rubbed their faces with olive oil. Way too much manly simpering going on.

How can I describe the dancing in those older clips? Only that they seem to dance with every part of their bodies, not just their legs. Even the fingers seem to dance. Apparently there were censorship rules then that even forbid kissing, so the actors had to express their sensuality with ACTING... an amazing concept Hollywood seems to have forgotten. I can only wish that emphasis on acting and traditional dress and dance adapted to the modern genre had continued. The more recent films are apparently attempting to mimic MTV and doing so disastrously. The modern dress and rock music and raw sexuality as opposed to sensuality are jarring and very disappointing. While the female dancers in the old films looked like real women, the newer ones are buffed from the exercise spas and there is a lot of easily detectable plastic surgery enhancement. Sigh.

But the food... oh readers, the food. I recognized many of the ingredients, but the dishes go beyond description. I know what curry is and there were several kinds. I could recognize chicken and beef and other individual ingredients but am at a loss to explain or describe much of what I ate. It was almost all spicy and every bite of everything delicious. But I must tell you about Nan-bread. I have never eaten anything like it.

The ovens are hollow tubes perhaps 2 ½ feet tall with flame around the outside of the tube. The cook rolls out the dough and adds various spices and such and spreads the dough over an oven pad shaped like a large mushroom. Then he used the pad to slap the dough onto the inside wall of the over where it sticks and cooks. He peels it off and it's brought to the table still steaming. I ate till I was as full as a tick. I have eaten exotic food all over the world and have seen nor tasted anything to surpass it.

My daughter-in-law loves working there. With her long, thick dark hair and nose piercing, she looks very Indian herself and is often asked what province she is from. The owners are gracious and very friendly. The lady is Nepalese and the owner Indian. They presented us with a special treat, a drink made of mango juice and yogurt. I was very, very pleased with the whole experience.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Sermons are at: www.SR13.blogspot.com

As the number of sermons has grown to eat up open space on his blog, the River Rat Ranger redirected all of them from this website to www.sr13.blogspot.com Please keep checking there and keep giving me feedback on them. Also I've added some that did not get onto this site. Feel free to browse.