the power of internal conflict

internal conflict is one of the most difficult conflicts to resolve.  the conflict involves no one else but yourself.  it is a conflict of principles you both uphold in your mind and believe in.

when these two principles are headed on a collision course, you are torn inside to make a hard choice.  what you choose either gives you pleasure or shame.  depending on how consequential (historically) you are and the choice you make is, it has the power to make you either famous or infamous.  but for ordinary people, it may just be a matter of receiving approval or being dismayed.

the greatest historical figure — jesus christ — had his moment of internal conflict.  it is recorded in the gospels.  it happened in the garden of gethsemane as jesus contemplated his death.  “Father, all things are possible to you, take this cup from me, yet not what i will, but what you will,” mark 14.36.  jesus had both the right to live and a choice to die. this was the internal conflict he wrestled with.  he chose to die, not because death was a pleasant choice, but because it was his father’s will.  it was his ultimate pleasure to do his father’s will, though it meant giving up his own life.

hours after the above event, a moment of internal conflict — a crucial decision will bring infamy to another man.  pontius pilate’s mind was screwed by his internal conflict — to free jesus who was innocent thus satisfying his noble sense of roman justice, or crucify him to appease the clamor of the jewish mob, satisfying his ignoble political desires.  he chose the latter.  pilate ordered jesus to be crucified.  “wanting to satisfy the crowd… he had jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified,” mark 15.15.  pontius pilate goes down in history as the all-infamous magistrate.

with great power comes great responsibility.

the psalms of the old testament are full of expressions of the internal conflict that the godly man experiences.  a couple of psalms that immediately come to mind are psalm 73 and 42.  there are many other psalms.

in psalm 73 the writer expresses his internal conflict in this manner: why do the wicked (who forget God) prosper and are enriched while those (himself) who fear and serve God suffer and are chastised all day long — is God indeed good to those who fear him?  i envied the arrogant, when i saw the prosperity of the wicked… in vain i have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. all day long i have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments,” psalm 73.3, 13, 14.

the internal conflict of the writer in psalm 42 bears some relation to that of psalm 73.  both of them ask why things do not appear to be happening according to what they believe about God or who they believe God to be — a good and faithful God the those who fear and trust him, and an avenger to those who forget him.  but in psalm 42 the psalmist’s complaint does not stem from the apparent prosperity enjoyed by the wicked, but on God’s apparent inaction to save him, thereby giving his enemies fuel to mock him and his religion (faith in God).  “i say to God my rock, “why have you forgotten me? why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” my bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “where is your God?”” psalm 42.9, 10.

one other passage (not in the psalms) is in habakkuk, where the prophet says, “thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil and canst not look on iniquity; wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously?” habakkuk 1.13.  habakkuk’s mind was wrecked by a different kind of internal conflict.  his internal conflict was provoked by seeing events not directly happening to him, but to nations at large.  nonetheless, it was equally difficult to resolve.

in all three instances, the internal conflict is resolved by faith — steadfast, unwavering faith.  faith that believes what God revealed about himself — he is holy, just, faithful, and kind — in spite of appearances toward the contrary.

“i have set the LORD always before me, because he is at my right hand, i shall never be moved,” psalm 16.8.

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college days comfort food

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back in my college days, whenever i was home and got hungry in the middle of the night, i would look for leftovers in the fridge and mix everything i find all up in fried rice.  i would also fry a couple of eggs sunny-side-up and open a can of hunt’s pork and beans.  i would arrange it all in a plate for a sumptuous midnight snack.  my mother gets awestruck whenever she sees me doing this.

it might sound unusual but hunt’s pork and beans and fried eggs are comfort food to me.

i remember how my mother would prepare my sunny-side-up eggs with rice.  she’d cut up the eggs in the rice (like a bibimbap, but way, way before it became popular here) then mix it all up with sugar.  yes, sugar.  it becomes a sweet, salty, and creamy meal i enjoyed.  i grew up loving it until i forgot everything about it when i became a teenager.  then fairly recently, about 5 years ago, it all came rushing back.  i tried it again (after more than 40 years) with 3 eggs and a cup of rice, plus 2 tablespoons sugar.  wow!  that was good!  been doing it since.

i miss the old version of hunt’s pork and beans.  the joke going around why it’s called PORK (singular) and beans is because there is literally only one piece of pork fat you’ll find swimming somewhere above the mass of beans and sauce after you pour it on a bowl.  but taking in that melt-in-your-mouth piece of fat is the most satisfying thing about eating hunt’s pork and beans.  the new version is disgusting.  the company replaced the single piece of pork fat with multiple pieces of what-they-made-to-appear-as-meat-but-in-fact-looks-like-mouse-droppings-or-pigeon-pellets in an effort to have ‘more meat’ in the can.  epic fail!  so, hunt’s pork and beans has become less enjoyable as a result, but still nonetheless, my “go to” comfort food.

i cook for my family.  recently i went crazy over steak, always dreaming about cooking steak.  i used to be crazy over pork belly, crispy pata, and pata tim.  and pizza!  but once in a blue moon, i feel too lazy to cook.  today is one such day.

time for some college days comfort food.

 

father’s day porterhouse

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sira na naman ang diet.  pero di bale, babawi na lang.  eh pano ba naman natuto akong magluto ng steak.

dati-rati di ako marunong… eh natuto.  di rin naman kasi ako mahilig kumain ng baka.

di ako mahilig kumain ng laman ng baka.  mahilig ako sa litid at taba, kaya ang pinakamadalas na binibili kong parte ng baka, tuhod o bulalo (na walang laman), dahil bukod sa marami itong litid (may utak pa), ito rin ay mas murang tabas ng baka.

bistek (beef steak) na sirloin na ang pinaka-steak na naluto ko, pero kahit dito pumapalya pa rin sa pagpapanatiling malambot ng karne sa paraan ng pagluto.

eh, nasanay ako sa matigas at makunat na laman ng baka nung mga bata pa kami ng mga kapatid ko.  masarap ang lasa ng pritong baka.  pero dahil di naman inaral ni ‘inday’ (tawag namin sa katulong namin na galing mindanao) pano lutuin ang baka na di titigas, eh ayun… bakang lumalaban sa kagat na parang gulong!

pero itong bagong tuklas kong porterhouse, kakaiba at (sa ngayon) bukod-tangi.  pangalawang beses ko na magluto ng porterhouse steak — tagumpay pareho!  yung una, one week ago.  yung ikalawa ginawa ko nitong nakaraang father’s day, june 18.

porterhouse

unang subok ng porterhouse steak

gustong-gusto ng mga anak ko at mga kaibigan nila… at lalo na ni jane.  eh si jane pa naman ayaw ng makunat na karne.  subalit hindi sya nabigo sa porterhouse steak, dahil sa lambot at linamnam ng karne.  ako man, di bigo, alalaong baga’y tuwang-tuwa at di makatulog sa bagong-aning tagumpay.

ginawan ko pa ng gravy kaya lalong natuwa ang mga nagsikain.  mas marami kasi silang nakaing kanin!  nung unang subok ko ng porterhouse steak, di ako nakagawa ng gravy.  di sila masyadong nakakain ng kanin, mashed potato lang daw.  subalit nitong nakaraan, dahil may gravy, eh… unli rice!  buti na lang nasa bahay kami, dahil may mambabatas na walang-utak na ipinagbawal ang unli rice sa mga kainan.

eh, bukod dito sa porterhouse, may isang damakmak na lamang-dagat (seafoods) pa.  nagdala si dea ng mga sipit ng alimango, hipon, at tahong.  kaya’t puno ang plato!

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hipon, mashed potato, sliced porterhouse, coleslaw, at sipit ng alimango

sa susunod na pagkakataon, itataas ko ang antas ng pagluluto ng steak.  susubukan ko naman ang tomahawk!

my science project: stove-top porterhouse steak

this is the first time for me to cook a steak.  well, not really the first time if i count ‘bistek’ (filipino beef steak) as steak.  but a steak that is a porterhouse — it is my first time.

porterhouse

i did some research… ended up with the porterhouse.

there were only three cuts of steak available at our local meat shop, Fresh Options: eye round, t-bone, and porterhouse.  i’ve read that the eye round was the most lean and less tasty of the three.  although it was cheaper in comparison to the two, ‘most lean and less tasty’ won’t cut it (pun not intended).  porterhouse, according to what i’ve read was the better choice against t-bone, because of more tenderloin.

i’ve tried (eaten, not cooked) a tomahawk ribeye before.  my first time to eat real steak.  (never been a fan of steak… until now!)  but my science project is a far cry from it.

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i followed the recommendation of the recipe not to set my flame to high but only to medium-high, since i only had a 3/4-inch slab.  not thick enough for a high flame (according to experts) because the steak might dry up inside.  but setting my flame on medium-high for the recommended 2 minutes did not brown the steak well enough to a good crust.  noted: next time i will ask for a 2-inch thick cut.

but anyway, the meat was tender to the bite!  this was a major concern because i have never bought steak before, never yet at Fresh Options, and jane (my wife) doesn’t enjoy tough meat.  i deliberately asked the sales dude if their beef was tender.  he assured me that it was tender because (he said) they sell australian beef.  ratchet up Fresh Options!

i was focused.  i took great care to follow instructions (except for inserting a meat thermometer to check the internal temp of the meat, since i had no meat thermometer; for this, it was a matter of intuition.)  salt the meat an hour before cooking.  pat the meat dry before throwing it into the pan.  do not touch the meat for 2 minutes to develop a good crust.  (start timer.)  add the butter and garlic after the second side has cooked and you’ve turned over the steak.  baste the top of the steak with the butter-garlic oil.  turn the steak over every minute.  (check timer.)  then let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking, before slicing and serving.  all that to the letter.

“don’t talk to me.”  i was down the rabbit hole.

the verdict: tender and succulent porterhouse steak that is perfect to the bite!

THE RECIPE: (for interested parties.)
for 2 slices, 3/4-inch thick porterhouse steak cut (500 gms)
procedure per slice:
1) heat a thick-bottomed flat frying pan (until water droplets bounce on it)
2) for 3/4 inch cut, use medium-high flame
3) pour olive oil to cover pan bottom and heat for 1 minute
4) place the porterhouse (salted and patted dry) flat on the hot oil and leave for 2 minutes
5) turn porterhouse over and repeat procedure 4) for the other side
6) turn porterhouse over and reduce heat to low
7) add 2 tbsp butter and 2 cloves crushed garlic
8) cook for 1 minute, basting top side of porterhouse with the butter-garlic oil
9) turn porterhouse over and repeat procedure 8) for the other side
10) repeat procedure 8) and 9) one more time
11) remove porterhouse from pan and place on chopping board
12) leave for 5-10 minutes to simmer in its own heat
13) slice and serve
14) top with the butter-garlic oil from the pan

😋😋😋

servant or son?

in luke 15.11-32, jesus tells the parable of two lost sons.  below is a broad look at the general theme the parable deals with, viz, repentance.  the parable takes us to consider repentance in quite a different light…

how do you see yourself — a servant or a son?

the older son sees himself as a servant — “these many years i have served you,” (literally, slaved [gk. douleuow] for you) was what the older son said to his father, (v.29.)

but the younger son, the prodigal, did similarly — “let me be as one of your hired servants,” [gk. misthiown — hired servant] was what the prodigal son intended to say to his father, (v.19.)

in this regard, they stood on the same platform with respect to their father — the older son saw himself as a slave in his father’s property, the younger son would return as an employee, a hired servant who earned his keep (for food, v.17) and who lived outside the father’s property.

but the father saw both sons as sons, and acted in a similar way, appropriately, to each of his sons, ie, stooping down to both, in acts of humiliation.

when the older son would not come inside the house, because he was angry, it was such a disgrace.  but the father went outside to ask him to come inside, (v28.)  it was such a shame.  but instead of showing displeasure and indignation, the father’s love brought him to act in humiliation.

when the younger son took all his possessions and wasted them in prodigal living, (vv.12, 13,) he brought shame to his father.  and when he returned home, his father instead of showing displeasure and indignation against the prodigal’s misdeeds hiding his face from him, he went outside and ran to meet him — hugged and kissed him, (v.20.)  this (a nobleman running) was regarded in those days as an act of humiliation.  an act of humiliation, brought about by a father’s indescribable love.

thus, in each case, the father’s indescribable love brought him to stoop down in an act of (public) humiliation.

the obvious change in the prodigal’s words, i.e., the difference between his intended speech (v.19) and actual (v.21,) is the strongest argument for a change of heart — repentance.  when the prodigal deleted the clause ‘make me as one of your hired servants’ from his speech, it was clearly in response to the out-poured love of his father that he had just witnessed — his father running out to meet him, hugging and kissing him — love demonstrated in humiliation, (v.20.)  the prodigal son accepted the father’s offer of grace, of sonship renewed.

the parable ends with the father pleading with the older son — ‘son, thou art ever with me, and all that i have is thine,’ was the father’s unqualified offer, (v.31.)  this prompts the careful reader to ask, ‘will the older son (also) accept the father’s offer of grace, of sonship?’

how do you see yourself — a servant who slaves away, or a son who accepts grace (love demonstrated in humiliation) as the basis of sonship and its blessings?

 

Could Self-Programmed Robots — AI — have produced the iPhone 8?

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According to a recent Press Release, proponents of the Evolutionary Binary Processes (EBP) group have claimed that the latest iPhone, the iPhone 8, was a product of Evolutionary Binary Processes.  EBP adherents believe that Artificial Intelligence (AI,) namely, self-programmed robots were responsible for the re-design and manufacture of the latest iPhone model.

Spokesperson for EBP, Professor Eve O. Lucian, has (in fact) gone so far as to state that, not only the iPhone 8, but all other iPhones in the series, evolved and were manufactured by these self-programmed robots without direct interface from human hands.

“We have good reason to believe that AI manufactured these iPhones without direct interface with human hands,” Professor Eve O. Lucian asserted.  She did not elaborate further on her pure conjecture.

But, evidence has resurfaced supporting the claim of Creationists, that all iPhones were directly made by human hands; and did not undergo advanced ‘inflation’ from a single cell, namely, the original iPhone prototype.  (Creationists are obviously those who believe that human hands — directly or through interface with machines — made all iPhones.)

In his end note speech at the annual AI Summit held at Silicon Valley, Bill Doors III, co-founder of Microhard Corp., repudiated the notion that AI or self-programmed robots already have the capability to manufacture smartphones apart from human interface or without direct human intervention.

“We are not there yet,” Doors closed.

Doors also presented a compelling discovery — a Trojan Horse (a concealed microscopic copyright symbol only the maker can identify, that ensures any attempted claim made against the original manufacturer can be disputed) — at the Summit, bolstering claims that the iPhone series was created by human hands, and not products of advanced Evolutionary Binary Processes, AIs.  The written evidence is incontrovertible.

Close examination of samples of the iPhone series, on high-powered pneumatic microscopes, revealed they had a Trojan Horse stamped on each component.  Written in Chinese characters were symbols that read…

MADE BY THE CHINESE.

death-salt & death-pepper

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death, or dying, is how a friend (a university professor) described the experience of wasabi in his mouth.  the aftermath… life from the dead!  a resurrection… of sorts.

what i hear often describing the experience of wasabi in the mouth is that it is “hot” — like chili-pepper-hot.  we have a word for it in tagalog — maanghang.

i don’t describe it as maanghang.  instead, i describe the experience of wasabi in the mouth as an allergic reaction — a strong involuntary repulsion to a potent chemical.

when the wasabi paste touches my upper palate, it sends electrical signals into the nasal cavities, singes up and around my skull, causing my entire head to shiver and quiver for a few seconds.  it takes my breath away — literally!  the aftermath is a teary-eyed sigh of relief from the terrible onslaught.

but, the entire experience is altogether a pleasurable one, albeit, the initial onslaught feels terribly powerful.  this is the reason, i think, my friend (the professor) describes his experience as a death, or as dying… but to live again afterwards.  this is also the reason why i love to repeat the experience over and over again, a few times.

now, the wasabi i am talking about, is not the real deal wasabi that the japanese gourmets use — according to some expert.  it is just an imitation.  so what!  it’s the death-experience that makes even the ‘alternative’ wasabi worth dipping your favourite sushi or sashimi on.

now, this death-salt & death-pepper (photo above) is wasabi-salt & wasabi-pepper — pulverized salt with pulverized wasabi and pulverized pepper with pulverized wasabi, in salt & pepper shakers.  it was given by a friend who just arrived from japan.  i may not be able to read the label, but i know the taste of salt and pepper, even wasabi laced salt & pepper.

i know a little japanese… he owns a ramen noodle house.