Tuesday, November 25, 2014

War Between the Soups

On November 5, 2014 we had a war between the soups: Houston vs. Saigon. Patsy Brautigam demonstrated a wonderful tortilla soup made from a turkey carcass. With a little bit of fire and spice, we all enjoyed this very Tex Mex delight topped with tortilla chips. Huyen made a famous Chao Ca from white fish. This healthful soup is often fed to those who are feeling under the weather. It is easy to digest and delicious to boot. We all enjoyed a nice helping of this yummy soup. In the end, the soups were so different and nutritious that we proclaimed a tie.

Vietnamese Fish Congee Recipe

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fish, Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, and Birds

On November 19, we had a wonderful joint program with Children's and LIFE. Eric Duran, biologist from the Nature Discovery Center came to a packed house and taught the preschoolers and post schoolers (grown ups) all about vertebrates: fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Eric's obvious joy in teaching had the kids in awe and adults smiling and actually learning new things. One LIFEr said that she hadn't heard some of the terms since college. Did you know that hair, fur, scales and nails are made of keratin?

Lie to Me

On November 12, we were graced by a handwriting expert, Alice Weiser. She gave away her book, Judge the Jury, as a door prize. Alice is both a jury consultant and a cruise entertainer so we got lots of fun and interesting insights into how to tell if someone is lying. Alice believes so profoundly in one's handwriting that she wouldn't date her current husband until she had his handwriting analyzed. She had three experts do it and one of them said if Alice didn't want Ralph, go ahead and send him to her. Ha!

Did you know?

  • If someone doesn't connect his o's or a's he can't keep a secret.
  • If you cross your t above the stem and it doesn't touch, you are a dreamer and you dream big. If your t's form a loop, you are vain.
  • If you are lying, you will often pull an ear, blink a lot, swallow before answering, carotid twitch, and touch your face.
  • If someone is telling the truth, eyes might shoot to the left to remember.
  • If someone is lying, eyes might shoot to the right. 
Alice asked anyone in the audience who had small handwriting to come up. She spoke to one young woman with small handwriting and said that it is a sign of low self-esteem. She said that she had lots going for her and not to put herself down. We all enjoyed the humor of the program, but also the positive way Alice ended the show: Look yourself in the mirror each day and say "Darn I'm good, (elbow and knee back) YES!"

Black Troops in World War I and the Houston Negro Hospital

Joseph Stephen Cullinan, one of the founders of Texaco, built the Houston Negro Hospital (which opened in 1927) with his own funds and dedicated it to the memory of his son, John Cullinan, who had been a white officer leading black troops during the war. Professor Thomas Kelly winningly winds up our Gulf Coast Reads book Remember Ben Clayton by Stephen Harrigan.  We were all fascinated with this interesting program containing local history and a loving philanthropist father.