Thursday, March 16, 2017

In the arena

We've all read this, right? All been stirred by the soaring rhetoric?

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

We know this guy, we know his story. Born a sickly child, Teddy Roosevelt determined to make himself physically fit by embracing a vigorously physical lifestyle, and to make himself mentally fit by embracing a vigorously curious and learning lifestyle. This dude went places. He was a cowboy and a boxer and a big game hunter. He wrote books and became the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, then joined the Rough Riders and charged up Kettle Hill. He fell short of becoming Mayor of New York City, but did become Governor of the Empire State. He became Vice President of the United States, then President at age 42 following the assassination of President McKinley in 1901.

Surely a man in full.


I stopped by our local food store yesterday at about noon. I'd just finished tagging a calf and wanted to make a couple of quick purchases for to make a recipe I'd been thinking about.

Now noon is the wrong time to go to our food store if you want to get in and get out. A lot of folks eat lunch there, and even more have the same idea I had, only they're slaves to a time clock and are on their lunch hour. Me? I arrived at noon entirely by coincidence.

Be that as it may, there was no one in the checkout line when I approached. Hooray!

But wait a minute. There was a young woman approaching checkout, pushing a cart filled with groceries, a young boy, and an infant. Firetruck!

All I had to do was take a few quick steps. I could beat the woman easily. Besides, I had five items and was in a hurry to go do important stuff. It wouldn't hurt her to spend an extra minute or two behind me in line. It's not like she wasn't gonna be there for a while anyway, right?

It wouldn't have been a crime or really even rude.

But I waved her ahead. Sigh. Sucker.

"You've got your hands full," I remarked with a smile.

On closer examination I wasn't exactly thrilled by the woman's appearance. She was dressed sloppily and had metal studs sticking out of her face. She was also clutching a couple of checks (presumably to cash) and an EBT card.

Shit. One of those.

As it turned out, she did want to cash a couple of checks. Which takes extra time. And her EBT card had a balance of only $1.75. Which I couldn't help but overhear. To add injury to insult, she had selected the wrong milk, and wanted to dash back to make the switch. Firetruck!

Well, I was committed. I'd had my chance to beat her to the finish line.

As she went for the milk I took a closer look at the kids. Clean and well dressed. The cart was filled with groceries. No cigarettes. No lottery tickets. No booze or pop or "you don't really need that" items.

The little boy was munching on what looked like a rice krispy treat. A homemade one if I'm any judge of such things. And I am. The infant had bright eyes and a fat face and was examining the world with obvious curiosity.

The little boy caught my eye and said something I didn't quite catch. I smiled through my impatience and asked, "What's that?"

"Thank you for letting us go first," he said.

Yeah. That's what he said.

As I drove away I thought of TR and his charge up Kettle Hill. And I thought about the young woman with clean, well fed and well behaved kids, with $1.75 on her EBT card, and with checks to cash.

She had bolts in her face and was dressed like a hobo.

I'm old and fat, with shit on my boots and amniotic fluid on my hands and I'm dressed like a hobo.

So who's the man in the arena here?


What's that? The recipe? YGTBSM!

On the other hand...

I was reading Jackspeak the other evening. It's a guide to Brit Naval slang and other delightful things, written by a fellow named Rick Jolly. He's a cat worth reading and reading about, imo.

Anyway, he had a couple of entries that piqued my gustatory curiosity. One was for "grenades" and the other was for "jockanese cackleberries."

Both of which, in The Andrew, or the Grey Funnel Line, mean Scotch eggs. Apparently Scotch eggs are a staple food in the RN.

To the best of my recollection I've only ever had Scotch eggs one time. They were prepared by my very German-Russian grandma. As I recall, they were delicious. So I thought, what the hell, it's almost St. Patrick's Day, might as well give Scotch eggs a try.

A quick perusal of online recipes confirmed my suspicion that they're easy to make. So I did so.

You will need:

10 eggs
1.25 pounds of bulk breakfast sausage
4 cups of bread crumbs
Oil for deep frying

Hard boil and peel six eggs, then chill

Whisk four eggs in a bowl, and place bread crumbs in another bowl. This is for coating.

When chilled, lightly dust the eggs in flour (optional)
Wrap each egg in one-sixth of the sausage

Roll the sausage covered egg in bread crumbs, dip in egg to cover, then re-roll in bread crumbs

Refrigerate to firm them up for frying

Heat oil to 375 degrees 
Deep fry the eggs two at a time for 10 minutes

Drain on paper towels

When ready to serve, warm the Scotch eggs in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes
Serve with fresh chips and mustard



  1. TR is one of my favorite people.

    As to judging folks by their appearance? Oh Dear Lord I have often been guilty of that. Sometimes I'm right but often I'm wrong, things and people aren't always what they appear to be.

    And here's me, not knowing what a Scotch egg is. Now I'm hungry.

    Nice post Shaun.

    1. Thanks Sarge. Scotch eggs are good. In moderation!

  2. When making things of that nature, I always fry up the leftover egg batter as a form of scrambled egg. Next payday, I shall buy a Kindle version of Jackspeak.

    The eggs look tasty. I would substitute ketchup, as I do not relish the flavor of mustard.

    1. I think you'll enjoy Jackspeak.

      Not a thing wrong with relish or ketchup. :)

  3. I have a copy of the 1945 US NAVY COOKBOOK. The recipes are for 100 servings, and sound wonderful, a cookbook from the Carnivore days of the USN. But some of them really make you wonder:

    1. Mmmmm...

      Ham Banana Rolls!

      In my experience these things only taste right when made in quantity. They lose something special when made in smaller batches.

    2. I'm intrigued. Not intrigued enough to try it but this brave soul did.

    3. @JayNola That's cool! Thanks for sharing😁

  4. WOW! You and Chris ( AKA: OldAFSarge ), just keep producing one outstanding post after another. I am totally in awe of both ( well, all, mustn't forget juvat and Tuna ) of you. My days are much improved by reading your posts. The question I asked Chris applies to you as well.

    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Thanks Paul. Sometimes it flow, sometimes it doesn't...