Thursday, August 11, 2005

What Lies Beneath... Or Not

Oregon's quarter came out this year, and I've finally had a chance to look at it, even spend it. I'm still disappointed.

Like most Oregonians surveyed, I wanted this design to be chosen:
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But Governor Kulongoski went with this one:

He said this about the process of choosing a quarter design: "This is a unique opportunity for Oregon," said Edwards. "Our quarter will communicate to the nation and the world our values and Oregon´s natural beauty."

I think this one falls short.

I have to admit, in it's final minted form it's a rather pretty design:
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But despite my love for Crater Lake, it really doesn't convey the significance of the Oregon Trail design. The Oregon Trail was the single most defining event in the history of this state, and indeed, one of the most important events in the history of the NATION. It's that significant.

The rationale behind Kulongoski's decision was at least in part a desire to avoid upsetting Native American groups. And while I understand that the colonization and settling of this continent by Europeans is a sore issue for First Peoples, pretending it didn't happen isn't going to make things any better for anyone. There's more to this state than pretty scenery. There's history here, there are stories to be told.

In a way, the image on the quarter itself suffers from the same lack of depth in portraying Crater Lake as it does in portraying the depth of this state. You see a shiny, flat surface to the lake. What it doesn't -- indeed what it CAN'T portray, is the fact that Crater Lake, at over 1,400 feet, is the deepest fresh water in North America. It's also some of the cleanest, clearest, bluest water anywhere in the world.

So come visit this state. When you do, go see Crater Lake -- it's worth the trip, and the quarter doesn't do it justice. The sight will take your breath away.

And while you're at it, see the rest of the state too. Take in all the beauty about which I've blogged. Visit Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark spent their Pacific winter. Visit the Oregon Trail museums (we have 2), and the Brownsville Pioneer Museum. learn about our culture, our history, as well as our scenery. The quarter doesn't do them justice either.

Better Late Than Never

A while back, when I blogged on my Steelhead recipe, I made a suggestion regarding a salad to serve with it. I've refined that recipe a bit since then.

I developed a vinaigrette recipe for a cooking competition I was too late to enter, but thought I'd share the recipe with you anyway.

The ingredients are, again, focused on Oregon flavors. As I've mentioned, we produce almost the entire US crop of filberts (hazelnuts), and are the top berry producing state in the nation -- included in our crop are Blackberries, Marionberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Huckleberries *gasp* and cranberries. In addition, an Oregon cheesemaker, Rogue Creamery, is considered one of the best blue cheese makers in the world. Personally, I don't like blue cheese, but TFR loves it and it goes well with this recipe.

Blackberry Vinaigrette

1/4 Cup blackberry wine*
1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
1/3 Cup oil**
1 Tsp. sugar
1 Tsp. minced garlic
Pinch salt
Pinch white pepper (more or less to taste)
1 Tbsp. chopped celery

*You can heat this to cook off the alcohol if you want, but I don’t bother. If you do, let it cool before continuing.
** I use hazelnut oil, which can be hard to find and expensive. Other options include almond oil, sesame oil, or, of course, extra virgin olive oil.

Filbert & Blue Cheese Salad

Dry Ingredients:
6 Cups raw fresh spinach leaves
1/4 Cup chopped filberts
1/4 Cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup blue cheese

Toss all dry ingredients. Drizzle lightly with blackberry vinaigrette, transfer to individual salad bowls. Makes 6 servings.

Sgt. Rusty Taught The Moron to Blog

It was one year ago today that I posted my very first Blog entry.

A lot has changed since then.

The Rathergate scandal (Which resulted in my busiest readership month yet). The candidate I backed won the presidency (not that I'm taking any credit for that). Numerous news events, including the Kelo decision, Terri Schiavo, and of course, daily events in Iraq.

And I've changed. I became a father during this past year. Amazing how it changes your perspective. Even being a PROSPECTIVE father does nothing to prepare you for the sudden and dizzying shift your paradigm makes when you hold a tiny life you helped to create and for whose sustenance and protection and nurturing you are jointly responsible.

I'd like to thank all the people who have helped make Blogging so enjoyable. Starting with the Blogfather who gave me the final nudge, [Update to the Blogmother who gave me such good advice in those early days, to the newsmakers and my family who provided my material, to the other Bloggers (especially Maximum Leader at Naked Villainy) who linked to me, and especially to my readers, the casual perusers and the people who, amazingly enough, make me a regular part of your reading schedule. It still blows my mind that on occasion I manage to write something people think is worth paying attention to. Thatnk you all, and here's to more to come.