There is a lot of winter left



It was bound to happen as we do live in South Dakota, our first blizzard warning on December. I’m sure Mother Nature has more in store for us in the coming months.

I still remember years ago one of the best Christmas gifts LeAnn and I received was a winter survival kit. While the chocolate bar might not be in it anymore, the blanket, candle and MRE are still, should we become stranded.

I have never had to use it nor do I ever hope I need to, but it is great knowing we have it just in case. Wonder what happened to the chocolate bar? Let’s just say I may have been stranded at home or work and needed to survive.

While this first storm did not materialize in what was projected, it was a great reminder to get prepared. People were lining up at the pumps as well as the grocery store in preparation for the first winter storm.

It’s better to be prepared than sorry. For those that had to head out I hope you gave yourselves extra time, had a full tank of gas, a charged cell phone and a survival kit. If not, now is the time to get it ready, because we have a lot of winter weather left.

In talking about winter weather it is important to keep in mind road conditions and check out the latest weather conditions. In a bad storm if you do not need to go out, stay where you are.

If you do have to travel, call 511 before heading out. Something more important, remember our plow drivers. These men and women are working tireless hours to keep our roads safe to travel. Remember, “Don’t crowd the plow,” Give them the room to do their job and get back home safe.

While those big trucks may not even get a scratch compared to your car, the driver of the plow is trying to their job without an accident so everyone gets home safe and without any unforgettable memories.


Gay Colorado couple can’t have their cake and eat it too



Here’s some food for thought.

Last week, the Supreme Court heard from opposing sides in an argument about a cake maker’s right to refuse service and his ability to classify his skills as “expressions of free speech.”

Sixty-one-year-old Jack Phillips, a self-described cake artist, owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, CO. In 2012, he refused to make a cake for the wedding of Craig and David Mullins, citing religious beliefs as his reason.

Phillips did not say he would not sell a cake to the couple simply because they were gay – in fact, he said he would gladly make birthday cakes or cakes for other celebrations and even would have sold the men a ready-decorated cake off the shelf in his store. He only refused to use his artistic talents to create a wedding cake specific to their requests because he believes same-sex marriages are morally unethical and wrong.

“Sorry guys, I don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings,” Phillips had told them, according to an LA Times article.

That’s when the food fight, so to speak, started.

Phillips is not a controversial man. He has always run his business by his religious convictions. He does not make cakes for Halloween, avoids promoting alcohol and once refused to make a half-cake that was to celebrate a man’s divorce from his wife.

Had Phillips run the two men out of his shop, yelled, threatened or screamed at them simply because of their sexual orientation, I wouldn’t be able to defend him in any way, shape or cake form.

But both Phillips and I, as Christians, are called to “love the sinner but hate the sin.” We view people separately from their choices but by no means are we to participate in or endorse something that doesn’t line-up with the teachings of scripture.

“Why should you care so much about same-sex marriage when it doesn’t affect you?” some have argued to me before.

I try to explain in a respectful manner: From a Christian’s perspective, marriage is a holy thing. Christians don’t believe in marriage as simply an institution, legal agreement or written contract that can be quit whenever the couple decides, but rather as a covenant, something that cannot be broken. The marriage union was designed to reflect and illustrate the relationship that Christ has with his bride, the Church.

Same-sex marriage is seen as an attack on that. It’s like someone urinating on the side of a beautiful building. The bodily fluid probably isn’t going to hurt the structure but the act is still seen as disrespectful to someone who lives there. And left unchecked, pretty soon the structure would stink and no longer be looked at as a beautiful thing.

To force someone to go against their convictions and make a cake for something they don’t believe in is wrong.

At one point during the arguments last week, Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Phillips’ attorney: “The primary purpose of a food of any kind is to be eaten.”

So, if it’s just cake, why couldn’t these men have gone elsewhere to get it?

No, instead this couple deliberately chose to single out this man and his small business. Phillips’ business revenue has been cut by more than 40 percent and has dropped from 10 employees to four.

But more than the fate of a cake shop rest in the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision.

I fear the foundation upon which our nation was built is eroding and if Christians don’t stand up to make those needed repairs, the whole country is going to crumble.

God help us.

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” – Jesus (John 15:18)

‘Twas the ‘Nut’ before Christmas



Upon this wondrous white winter we’ve finally received, some people are eager to prop their ice shacks on Bitter Lake, some people look forward to a fun sled down the RDO hill and some people can’t wait to go Christmas caroling up and down Main Street, Day County.

Me, I’m giddily anxious to spend my winter festivity this Saturday, cosily tucked inside the Sidetrack Lounge of Florence.

If you ask any local foodie with a refined lust for wild game and questionable animal appendages, they’ll tell you, “It’s nut feed time.”

Just a few party bus “roadies” away from the southern edge of the county, the nut feed hosted by Sidetrack is a uniquely delicious tour of tastes, and an excellent excuse for friendly Midwesterners to gather from their respective counties and do what they do best: Carouse.

Awash in cold brew, patrons can find a decent table among the teeming but manageably comfortable nut feed crowd. Under the pitched perfect roof, in the kitchen behind that distinct  wooden glazed horseshoe bar I’ve grown to admire in my years of bar going, chefs slave away to cook this surprisingly palatable feast.

The main dish, of course, is called Rocky Mountain Oysters.

Ever since I first sunk my teeth into these golden flake-fried bull calf balls, I was smitten. Seriously, when the server rushes out to my table and sets down that tiny mountain of crispy testicles peaking past the paper basket, I forgivably salivate like a hot and bothered heifer.

Folks always tell me, this joint does the balls just right – not too chewy, not too charred.

What’s even more wonderful are the dishes ushered out when you get your fill of the main course. Mouths eventually find themselves delightfully introduced to cute portions of fried turkey.

Now I haven’t a clue as to how they’re prepared, but if God himself told me I could either eat Sidetrack’s decadent fried turkey delicacy or save the world, you best believe you’re kissing your loved ones goodbye.

Next, and this depends on how well whoever did on the hunt, fried black bear sometimes joins the menu.

The first time I went, I got to tear into a tender serving of bear from northern Wisconsin. Not only was it delectable, I imagined I was devouring a Green Bay Packers’ fan (ya know, cuz it’s from Wisconsin, and I bleed Purple and Gold. And yes, it would make more sense if the bear was shot near Soldier Field, so my apologies).

Anyway, nut feed lovers can also rejoice in chislic, nachos, sometimes fried walleye, chicken, sausage and the beloved Mt. Rushmore State jewel, tiger meat.

As they say, “When the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, eat the nuts, eat the nuts, eat the nuts!”


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