Sneaking Suspicions
Archives-- February 25-March 10, 2007

This page includes posts from February 25-March 10, 2007 in the usual reverse order.

Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these archive pages.

March 4, 2007
Two words

Blogging's been light this past week, a sign that life outside of blogging has been busier than normal.

Recently, for example, I've been spending the last several Thursday nights as part of a team competition.

Not in athletics, of course, but a contest in which I can actually contribute--trivia.

A good friend of mine asked me to join him, his son, and another friend and his sons for the Team Trivia game held at the Dewey Beach Club restaurant.

We won the first three times we played, and a couple more times since then.

We've added older daughter and her boyfriend to the team, and their contributions have been invaluable.

For example, I knew older daughter was extremely good at music questions, but I had no idea she could easily name all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I was so proud.

The boyfriend is adept at literature, befitting his graduate school education, but he also possesses a deep, abiding knowledge of the movies that celebrate  slacker culture.

Should I be concerned?

The combination of our two generations has been remarkably helpful, but occasionally the answer slips between us.

On one night, we were asked to name the huge hit song performed by Kiss that was named after a girl.

None of us had a clue, so I wrote a name on the slip of paper and had older daughter take it up to the DJ, John Mixon.

Once all the entries were in, he read them all out as usual.

When he reached our entry, Mixon called out, "Anita Mann."

As the crowd began laughing, Mixon said, "You were hoping I'd read that out loud, weren't you?

We agreed, heartily.

Mixon then said, "Two words--I'm thinking two words right now."

We said, "You're welcome."

Mixon said, "Not those two words."

The crowd kept laughing.

March 4, 2007
Shameless Promotion

This afternoon I posted my newest golf book review at Hole By Hole.

Golf Tales from The Chestnut Hills Country Club is a thoughtful collection of six short stories, woven among several recurring characters.

In addition, here's a link to the newest golf column:

Shaping up for the new golf season
March 2, 2007

The official opening of the Cape Region golf season is a month away. Now is a good time to start shaping up for it. More..

I hope you like these.

February 26, 2007
Mustard Cider Chicken

This weekend my wife boiled up a batch of small potatoes, and had a bunch left over that she didn't need for the potato salad she made.

I used five or six of them for this concoction, which both older daughter and my wife enjoyed very much.


1/2 cup white wine (pinot grigio)
1 1/2 cups Zeigler's spiced apple cider

2 tbs. stone ground mustard (I used Edmond Fallot’s Seed Style Mustard)

4 tbs. canola oil
3 tbs. flour
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 lb.)
5-6 small boiled potatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces


Combine the wine, cider, and mustard in a sauce pan, and reduce over medium heat to about a cup in volume. Remove from heat.

Cook the onion in the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat for a few minutes until softened. Add the flour and cook until the flour begins to turn a very light brown. Season the cut chicken with the salt and pepper, and add to the sauté pan. Cook for five minutes or so, until the chicken is whitened, and then add the boiled potatoes and reduced wine/cider mixture.

Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens.

Serves three.

February 25, 2007
Oscar Picks

Here are my picks for tonight's Oscars, limited to the nominated movies that I've seen.

This approach is in stark contrast to some folks, who apparently don't mind trying to speak intelligently about books they never actually read, but only skim. (I could do so many more book reviews if I did that--but I can't help but think I'd miss out on a lot by doing so.)

I've also listed next to each pick the other nominated movies I saw in each category, if any.

Leading Actor--Will Smith, Pursuit of Happyness
Supporting Actor--Mark Wahlberg, The Departed (Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine)
Leading Actress--Helen Mirren, The Queen (Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada)
Supporting Actress--Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Art Direction--The Prestige (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest)
Cinematography--The Prestige
Costume Design--The Devil Wears Prada (The Queen)
Directing--United 93 (The Departed, The Queen)
Film Editing--United 93 (The Departed)
Best Picture--The Queen (The Departed, Little Miss Sunshine)
Short Film, Live Action--Éramos Pocos
Sound Editing--Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Sound Mixing--Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Visual Effects--Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Screenplay, Adapted--The Departed (Borat)
Screenplay, Original--The Queen (Little Miss Sunshine)

Some of the remaining categories include movies I saw, but which don't deserve the Oscar from my perspective.

That includes An Inconvenient Truth, whose title is only the beginning of that movie's misleading elements.

UPDATE: So I picked a few winners:

Leading Actress--Helen Mirren, The Queen
Visual Effects--Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Screenplay, Adapted--The Departed

February 25, 2007
Miller Time

I like Larry Miller's comedy work a lot, so I was already pre-disposed to enjoy his columns for The Weekly Standard when he began writing for the opinion magazine a few years ago.

What's interesting about his situation is that some people are so strongly identified by their primary work history that folks have trouble thinking of them working in some other capacity. He's one of those people who might have been pigeonholed in this way.

Fortunately, the grace and fundamental decency that runs through so many of Miller's comedic routines also runs through his political commentary. That common thread has perhaps eased the path for acceptance of his intentionally serious, if not to say unfunny, essays.

I especially liked his most recent Standard piece, based on a single Hebrew word--"hineni," often understood as meaning "here I am."

As Miller explains, this word can have special meaning and significance:

"Here I am" is a powerful and layered statement, but there's another meaning to hineni, even deeper and more resonant: Here I stand.

Here I stand. It's not a meek thought; it's a bottom line. "Here I stand. Here I will make my stand. I know what will most likely happen, but it does not matter, since I will not be moving. This is where I am going to make my stand. Hineni."

Christians and Jews have said one or another form of this many times in our histories; the Alamo and the Warsaw Ghetto are just two. It is, in many ways, the liturgical opposite of what is going on in Washington these days.

Miller's discussion about hineni is tied to his heightened sense of scorn for the recent Congressional ineptitude concerning the non-binding resolutions about the Iraq surge. It leads to this conclusion, which I share:

So here's my stand, such as it is. I don't care about 2008 or 2012. I don't care who's the frontrunner of either party, or who declares he's running, or who gets this money or that money, or who starts a committee....

I will only care about one thing: the next three months; the next three weeks, days, hours. This new guy, Petraeus, seems to at least have some idea of what needs to be done (as opposed to his predecessors whose savvy leadership has gotten them the giant promotions they so . . . richly deserve), so I'll support him and pray for him. For no other reason than the possibility of fixing this and "winning" is clearly our obligation and, not incidentally, the right thing to do. (At this point I'm even thinking, "Hell, the guy's name sounds Roman. Maybe that'll help.)

So there it is. It's not much, but it's mine. Stand with the new guy and hope for the best. Next week, next month, till something happens, one way or the other. Nothing else matters.


I also recently finished reading Miller's new book, Spoiled Rotten America: Outrages of Everyday Life. It's a very good blend of his comedic material and the pieces written in a far more serious vein.

Go buy it.

*Why yes, that was a cheap and easy headline for this post. Thanks for noticing.


Contact Information:

Fritz Schranck
P.O. Box 88
Nassau, DE  19969

Home Page
Table of Essays
Table of Essays 2006
Table of Essays 2005
Table of Essays 2004
Table of Essays 2003
Table of Essays 2002
Links to the Weekly Archives

Official small print disclaimer: This is, after all, a personal web site. Any opinions or comments I express here are my own, and don't necessarily reflect the official position of my work as a government attorney or any of my clients.

That fact may become obvious later on, but it needs to be said here anyway.

© Frederick H. Schranck 2002-2007