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Nikola Tavelic was a 14th century Franciscan missionary from Croatia. He was born into nobility and joined the priesthood.

He and five dozen other Franciscans traveled around Bosnia converting heretics, including the hilariously named Bogomils. If you enjoy the garbage produced by that hack Dan Brown, you may want to consider Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum," which features Bogomils and other wacky sects and cults.

High on the success of bringing quasi-Christians back into the Roman fold, Nick and three of his pals -- Peter, Stephen, and Deodat -- headed for the Holy Land to mind some shrines and try to convert some Muslims. They holed up at the Mt. Zion Monastery in Jerusalem and kept a low profile for a few years while they learned the vernacular.

St. Francis had laid out two methods for trying to convert followers of Islam: 1) be a good example by not getting into fights and being nice to all God's creatures, and 2) openly preach the gospel and solicit baptism. By 1391, Nick and friends felt they had exhausted option one, so they marched into a large mosque and told the qadi (that's like a magistrate in Sharia law, and also an excellent Scrabble word) that everyone must accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Muslim judge responded, "You sure you dudes wanna go there? You should probably take that back." And Nikola said, "Nuh uh, not gonna take it back. Praise Jesus!"

It was just like when the those wingnuts visited those Unitarians in New Orleans, except that the qadi had them imprisoned, beaten, and publicly decapitated at the Jaffa Gate. We're not convinced that was really how St. Francis wanted option two to play out, but Franciscans to this day honor lots of martyrs who left this mortal coil while serving as custodians of holy sites in Jerusalem.

Anyhoo, since Nikola Tavelic was from Croatia, where that fancy Dalmatian fig jam comes from, we'll eat some figs in his honor. Figs are very expensive to buy, so we suggest foraging for them. This will be the last batch we can get this year, but remember this recipe late next summer when you see figs on the trees in your neighborhood or at your farmers market. "The Flavor Bible" (which would be a great War on Christmas gift for the foodie in your life) tells us that fresh figs go well with prosciutto and salad greens, so here we go:

St. Nikola Tavelic's Favorite Salad

Two fresh figs, foraged from a bush behind the United Daughters of the Confederacy Memorial (don't worry; they're not picking them because they don't have as much help as they used to)

Prosciutto, thinly sliced (is there any other way?)

One of those salad mixes that includes raddichio

Lightly dress the greens with a tangy vinaigrette. Raspberry would be a good choice if you're buying it from the grocer.

Quarter (not decapitate) the Confederate figs; cut a slice of prosciutto into bite-sized bits and roll them up. Place all that on a bed of the greens.

 

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Tucker Carlson has recently dressed himself in the borrowed robes of an anti-elitist crusader. He thought he'd intercepted another kindred spirit like Glenn Greenwald when he invited Dutch historian Rutger Bregman onto his Fox show. It didn't work out that way and Carlson wound up screaming obscenities at Bregman. The segment never aired ... until now. Bregman recorded the interview and shared the whole thing yesterday through NowThis News.

The video's been viewed more than 6 million times so far, and the average audience for Carlson's show is roughly half that. Smart move there, Tucker. The entire exchange is delightful. Carlson started out giggling like a school boy because Bregman stuck it to those hypocrites who fly in private jets to a global summit on climate change. He even said he'd take his hat off to Bregman if he were wearing one. He's practically flirting with the guy at this point. We're just five minutes away from a total meltdown. Is Bregman going to start describing sexual encounters with Carlson's mother? No, he just suggested that rich people in America should pay more taxes.

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Photo: Desmog Blog

The Washington Post reports the Trump administration is on the verge of forming a panel to reconsider the Pentagon and Intelligence community assessment that climate change poses a serious concern for national security. The idea that climate is a national security concern is hardly crazy -- the Pentagon has been warning about the implications of climate change for national defense since the 1990s, and by 2010, the Defense Department was urging that climate change should be considered a major force of destabilization around the world. Hungry people whose crops have dried up may get violent, you know? Or at least pick up and move elsewhere, where they may not be welcome. Similarly, the CIA in 2008 tried to assess the likely effects of climate change on security through 2030.

Of course, now that President ScienceBrain is in office, that's all in the trash, at least in the Oval Office. And this new effort to set up a "Presidential Committee on Climate Security" through an executive order has the potential to erase considerations of climate from national security planning, because the "president" doesn't believe it, and has surrounded himself with other great intellects who reject science too. And hoo boy, get a load of the guy in charge of the whole shebang: William Happer, a laser expert who worked on Reagan's Star Wars antimissile program and, not surprisingly, is not a climate scientist. Instead, he argues that we need a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere, because it's what plants crave.

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