December 25th, 2013


Silent Light

For Your Holiday Enjoyment -- Part II

As promised, here's the second of three Christmas flash stories -- you'll have to wait til Twelfth Night for the third...

                  "Silent Light"
             by Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon

     Shepherds watched the star brighten with every night.  
In the East, three kings began a pilgrimage to follow the 
new star.  At the little town of Bethlehem, the blazing 
star lit the way for a young couple trying to find a room 
for the night.
     In orbit above, the Mendarn exploration ship observed 
the collision course between the comet and the planet with 
growing alarm.
     "It is an extinction level event, Grand Commander.  
All surface life will be extinguished."
     "Nothing can be done, Sub-Lieutenant.  The Accords 
forbid interference."
     "Except for cultural or technological reprieves, sir."
     The Grand Commander looked askance at his junior officer.  
"And you find these creatures redeeming?  They do nothing 
but fight or torture each other."
     "But their works of art -- the poetry.  Those the Chief 
Artisan has translated, some are quite beautiful, especially 
those set to music."
     "You would save these creatures for a few poems and 
     "It fits the Accords, sir.  What else is there?"
     The Grand Commander countered, "They cannot fail to 
notice our interference."
     "Their astrophysics is nearly nonexistent, their religions 
are all old.  There is no indication they would change based 
on one celestial event."
     "Very well.  Save your creatures.  Divert the comet."  
Inwardly the Grand Commander was pleased.  It would be a shame 
to lose any piece of beauty in the universe.
     The Sub-Lieutenant was right.  A thousand orbits or two 
hence no one would remember the tales of one close cometary 
call, even amongst the Mendarn.
     No one.

Merry Christmas,

Dr. Phil

A Merry Little Christmas

Home For The Holidays

We had thoughts of driving to Chicago on Christmas and coming back on Boxing Day. But the snows following the ice storm really hasn't completely let up. And while I don't think I'd have problems with the driving, there's the OTHER drivers and the issue of trying to walk on ice.

I vowed in hospital not to fall down and I didn't. Since I got home two months ago, I've kept it up. Not wanting to change that now.

And parking at night at the hotel isn't easy in the summer -- and Mrs. Dr. Phil was going to have to do it in the winter. Not good.

So we stayed home and it was lovely. A modest few presents -- hell, I could've put a bow on my head and called it a special Christmas present. (grin) Netflix has a holiday fireplace with two hours with carols and one hour with just the hardwood fire cracking and popping. I believe we played the songless version eight times. Not quite the New York Yule Log, but pretty darn good.

The Traditional Breakfast

Stollen, kielbasa, butter, chocolate, oranges, bananas and Mrs. Dr. Phil's prepared ground horseradish. Yum! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Stollen is a lovely dry fruitcake and it holds up really well. This one was made at Thanksgiving a month ago -- perfect. Tried it with butter this year. Still delicious. The kielbasa is from the Allendale Meat Market. Similar in flavor to the Kaldon recipe my father used to make, except the meat is ground fine rather than cut in small chunks. Tends to fall apart. (grin)

I am told that my Grandmother Kaldon would ruin her hands to grind and make the ground horseradish for the Polish sausage. Mrs. Dr. Phil uses the food processor and it's done fast and without pain. And my does it clear up your sinuses! Terrific.

That square of very dark Ghiardelli? My father explained that you were allowed to eat chocolate before noon on Christmas Day. Also Easter. As a kid we always had tangerines in the toes of our stockings and all four of us would have to empty our stockings (and eat some chocolate) before we could get breakfast. Then presents. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

The Fabulous Feast

It worked so well at Thanksgiving with things and wings the last two years, we brined two little Cornish hens and then spatchcocked them. Yes, it's a word, look it up. Also butternut squash, mashed potatoes, peas, two kinds of cranberries, gravy and THE STUFFING. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Technically, stuffing in a pan is dressing, but we cooked the little Cornish hens on top of the bed of stuffing so the juices would drip on them. Much as you would get some drippings if you stuffed the cavity of a turkey.

Mrs. Dr. Phil and her creations, including the mincemeat pie with lattice crust. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

My slice of pie with homemade hard sauce. Make a move towards it and you'll be hauling back a stump. (grin) (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Spectacular meal, of course.

All In All A Quiet Day

As I entertained myself with editing pictures after dinner, I realized that as usual we were one picture short. Me. Particularly since I was home and all that. So I handed Mrs. Dr. Phil the D1X. While she hasn't used the Nikon DSLRs hardly at all, she takes a decent photograph and when in grad school at Illinois, I set her up with a Nikkormat FT3 35mm film, which she used exceedingly well.

But since I was trying to get softer flash, I had the SB-80DX pointed straight up in bounce mode, which was okay until she turned the camera vertical. (grin) And the lighting wasn't quite right. So I pulled out the white bounce card to reflect some light forward than just off the ceiling.

And then there was the mustache, which is pretty long right now and obscured my smile. So I went broader, speaking any word that amused me -- I think for this shot I said, "Nikkormat". ***

(Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Hope College Vespers on our PBS station tonight. Glorious music.

Merry Christmas to all. I am home, didn't miss Christmas. And it was swell.

Dr. Phil

*** -- Saying "CHEESE!" tends to give you the wrong mouth and facial shape. Plus kids are likely to ham it up. So try other words. When I shot weddings I used French, "Fromage".