Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wedding Diaries: Pictures

I'll update this post with interesting pictures as I get them. As always, click to enlarge...

UPDATE: Here are a few courtesy of Rob Wagner:

This first batch is courtesy of Tim Nolan:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wedding Diaries: The Final Report

The big day has come and gone. Everything went incredibly well, far better than we had any right to expect. The weather was perfect. There weren't any glitches worth mentioning. The food was great. The cake was incredible. The guys looked sharp and the gals looked amazing. The band rocked the roof off the place. It was perfect.

Things started on Thursday with rehearsal and dinner. We picked Grazie's in Fargo, an Italian place. The food was wonderful and even my brother Andy -- who isn't high on Italian -- was impressed.

My niece Aubrey.

The meeting of the Winkis and Marshall clans. It is hoped
our union will bring an end to decades of war.


Friday was bachelor's and bachelorette's night out. Not together because that would defeat the purpose. The ladies went out for Mexican food while the boys went out for steaks. A huge sigh of relief came out of me when my ribeye at Redford's (formerly Norman's, home of the Best Steak I've Ever Had) lived up to the standard I've come to expect. Afterwards we went to a Buffalo Wild Wings near the hotel, one because it was close and, two because I wanted to see the manager. He bought us a round so, yeah, be sure to book BWW as your liquor caterer at you next event. Yes, I am a cheap whore. The ladies showed up and no one at all made any inappropriate remarks or did anything embarrassing so there's no need to talk about it anymore.

Saturday I actually coached MJ's soccer game. I know, I know. But I had no responsibilities until 1:00 and the game was at 9:00 AM. The family got to watch MJ play. She scored the first goal of the match and Team America won 3-2, so that was pretty perfect.

Donna had bride things to do, so MJ and I grabbed lunch and headed out to the venue. With pictures at 3:00 I began hoping that someone would show up soon with a six-pack but it was not to be. We had only one minor glitch: we didn't have MJ's bridesmaid dress. Luckily Donna's brother Ryan was volunteered to be her errand boy, so he fixed that issue.


Donna and I are not traditional wedding types. With that in mind, we wanted the ceremony to be short and too the point. The kids marched in, Donna came down the path, the officiant said some things, we said some things, there were rings involved, someone tolled a bell, then we got the hell out of there and started to party. It was exactly what we wanted. The guy running the music and sound told me it was by far a record for shortest ceremony at their venue. I told him that I didn't want to know if anyone ever broke it.

I have some good news and some bad news. What's that? You want the good news first? Okay. The good news is that we hired Dave at Milestones Photography to do the pictures. He's the best there is at what he does, so our pictures will be amazing when we get them.

The bad news is that Shanna, a friend of Donna's, agreed to use our little point and shoot throughout the night to get us some candids. Well, that's not the bad news. The bad news is that neither of the batteries I had for that camera would hold a charge. Of course, I found this out after the wedding, so I don't really have anything to share at the moment. I've put out a call to friends and family to send all photos, but as of right this moment, I have no visual evidence that this event ever happened.

No photographic evidence anyway. I also brought my little video camera. My friend Tim did an excellent job filming the ceremony and getting some candid shots of the aftermath:

Then, of course, there was the big surprise for Donna at the reception. A special guest vocalist came to honor her with song. We had a band made up of Microsoft employees who worked incredibly hard to put on a great show for us (which they did). The twist was that the band would allow anyone to come up and sing any song in the set list. It was basically karaoke with a live band. Imagine Donna's surprise when this happened:

All in all it was tons of fun and exactly what Donna and I wanted. Quick ceremony, great food, all our friends together, a live band playing anything except traditional wedding music, and a reception that was more party than wedding dance. One of the most fun nights I've ever had.

Monday, September 19, 2011

This Week in the Decline of the British Empire: Man Arrested on Murder Charges After Stabbing Intruder With His Own Knife

This from the London Daily Mail:
A wealthy family man was arrested on suspicion of murder yesterday after allegedly stabbing a burglar to death with his own knife has been bailed until mid-October.

Businessman Vincent Cooke, 39, was relaxing when he heard a knock at the front door of his detached home.

When he answered he was confronted by two men, at least one armed with a knife, who allegedly threatened him and tried to force their way into the £350,000 house in the Cheshire stockbroker belt.
It's entirely possible that the charge gets dropped. But the fact that he was even arrested speaks volumes about Britain's policy toward robberies and home invasions. That policy is, in a nutshell, that it pays to rob someone because if they fight back, the victims can go to jail.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dinner and Drinks: Cornbread

All southerners eat cornbread. It's codified in all southern state laws along with owning guns and listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Cornbread is great because it goes with so many things and is so easy to make.

That said, there are a millions different ways to make cornbread, and aficionados generally fall into two camps: dry or sweet. Let the proclamation ring forth this day that I am firmly in the dry camp. Cornbread should be dry and crumbly and have a texture reminicent of... well that's the thing. If you make it right, the texture is unlike anything else. If you want it sweet and cake-like, stop reading.


1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Grease a 10" baking pan with margarine. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously for thirty seconds. Pour the mixture into the pan. Bake in the oven until cooked all the way through (I use the old toothpick method), about 30-35 minutes.

As for cocktails, I made this as a side for my jambalaya (yeah, I eat a lot of that). That means a bottle (or three) of you favorite beer. You may remember that I like my jamabalaya hot.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This Week in the Decline of the British Empire: Passive Overeating?

Remember how passive smoke inhalation (second-hand smoke) kills billions each year? Me neither. But while the exact effects are in dispute, there's no denying that the theory behind the delivery system is sound: someone smoking near you exhales smoke and you inhale it.

Does the same thing work for eating? Well, obviously not. I mean, what kind of...
The journal carries four new research papers by academics in the UK, US and Australia on what is termed "the global obesity pandemic", charting its causes, implications, likely progression and the ways it could be reversed...

Swinburn's paper comes up with a clear primary culprit: a powerful global food industry "which is producing more processed, affordable, and effectively-marketed food than ever before".

He said an "increased supply of cheap, palatable, energy-dense foods", coupled with better distribution and marketing, had led to "passive overconsumption".

The nanny-statism going on in the UK right now makes the American version look like child neglect. British politicians and social scientists need to sit down, light up, and have a good long listen to The Wall.

(Guardian link via NRO)