The Veggie Garden 2015-continued

It’s beginning to look like the 2015 growing season is going to be another excellent year! It’s been a little dry in the early going which has resulted in more trips to the plot to water, but overall the plants look really strong and healthy.

So far we’ve picked about 70 asparagus stalks. We’ve let some of the stalks grow to full size to insure that the plants are strong and healthy. Can’t just keep cutting and cutting! Eventually the plants would become week and not produce as well.

Asparagusbushes

This week several of the plants in the plot have really popped. Here we see mesclun field greens on the left and healthy growing garlic on the right.

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Sweet potato vines are starting to show some growth too.  First time we’ve ever done them.  I’m told they’re easy and we love ’em so I guess we’ll see how they turn out.

SweetPotatovines

The weather has now warmed to a point where next week we will put in the tomatoes and peppers. But the ground has to be worked before you can plant. I ran my tiller through the area and then added Tomatoes Alive…an organic fertilizer I get from the company Gardens Alive.

Tomatobed

I also mixed in some horse manure that the town provides, and some leaves collected last fall. Once the ground has been worked we water it down, cover it and let it sit until next week when we plant.

Tomato bed after tilling

We’ll see you when the next batch of plants go it.

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GET THOSE VEGGIES ROLLIN’ ! – PART 2

GET THOSE VEGGIES ROLLIN’ ! – PART 2.

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GET THOSE VEGGIES ROLLIN’ ! – PART 2

Lettuce, beets, kale, mesclun greens, snow peas, cabbage and other cool weather crops should in the ground now. The tomatoes and peppers are still in the hardening stage.  They’ll be ready in about 10 days. Here are some shots of what’s doin’ in our veggie garden.

The town supplies us with wood chips, mulch and horse manure. I brought manure over to our plot.

MANURE

I stacked it and wet it down. You need to be careful. Manure that is too fresh can harm fragile plants. I like to let it sit in the sun and wet it every so often for a few weeks before I use it. And I use it sparingly until the plants are larger and robust. Once the plants are strong manure helps them grow quickly.

MESCLUNGREENS

Here’s a shot of the mesclun lettuce coming up. We did seeds and this mix is so easy to grow ANYBODY can do it and it tastes great!

ONIONGRASS

This is onion grass…a perennial herb that gives delicious mild onion flavored leaves in abundance. You just cut off some handfuls of leaves and toss it in your salad or stir fry. Yummy!

 

 

 

ASPARAGUSGROWING ASPARAGUS

We have an asparagus bed that we created 3 years ago…17 x 5 feet. Asparagus is also a nice perennial. It’s only May and we’ve already harvested over 50 spears. This is going to be a great year for asparagus! The plants send up numerous spears (which if left un-cut) will grow into leafy frilly bushes. It’s best to allow some of the spears to go to seed so the plant stays strong and healthy and you can keep picking spears all summer to eat.

GARLIC

The garlic we planted last September is doing very nicely now and getting taller every day. This was a really tough winter on Long island. We were concerned about the plants but they came through in great shape. We will pick the bulbs around July first. You let them dry out in a cool dark place or hang them in a netted bag. After a few weeks when the greens shrivel up, you cut them off and you’re left with delicious home grown garlic.

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We planted 18 heads of lettuce about 3-4 weeks ago and as you can see we are getting ready to take some this week to eat. Love that red romaine! The little dude is a common toad. We usually have 2 or 3 in our 20 x 40 plot each year. They are organic pest controllers…eating their weight in bugs! In areas where farmers use poisons to control weeds and bugs, you won’t find too many of these critters. They are not immune to poison!

Next installment will deal with planting the tomatoes and peppers.

Don’t forget to water! It’s been pretty warm here in Huntington and you don’t want your baby veggies to dry up and blow away! ;-)

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GET THOSE VEGGIES ROLLING NOW!-Garden 2015

If you are a serious vegetable gardener on Long Island you’ve probably put lettuce, beets, kale, mesclun greens, snow peas, cabbage and other cool weather crops in the ground.

 

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Red and green romaine, butter crunch lettuce, parsley and beets in the ground

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The tomatoes and peppers are still in the greenhouse or indoors as they go through the hardening stage (leave them out in the sun for a couple of hours each day and then bring them inside till they are ready to go in the ground around Mother’s Day)  Usually they will start to get much larger when given some outside time and you will have to transplant them into larger cups.  Use the the kind that melt down and become soil after a few weeks in the ground. You can find them at any garden shop or home store.

 

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And if you haven’t started outside yet BETTER GET MOVING! You’re running out of precious growing season . If you have a tiller (I use a small compact MANTIS…it works great) work the ground into a nice loose consistency.

 

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That brings in plenty of fresh air and allows the rain to soak deeply. It also makes it a lot easier for your plants to root freely. We don’t want highly compacted soil.

 

You can add some organic fertilizer before you put down your seeds or live plants. . I use VEGETABLES ALIVE from the organic catalogue GARDENS ALIVE. It’s easy to find online.

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Once you’ve got the ground ready to go you can plant seeds and or plants already started from the local nursery. We like to do both.

 

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Swiss chard, Rosemary, cabbage, curly kale and beets from the local nursery already started

 

Somethings are better from seed and some of the plants I get started do really well. We like FORT HILL NURSERY on Route 25A in Huntington. Year after year we do really well with their beets, swiss chard, curly kale, and different types of romaine and butter crunch lettuce.

 

This year we planted seeds for Dinosaur Kale…a variety we really like.  It’s actually an Italian heirloom that we got from BURPEE.

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We always try to plant in long rows whenever possible with about 10 inches between the rows so we can get in there with a tool and keep the weeds to a minimum. Once the plants get tall enough we mulch the areas with a good organic compost. This feeds the plants and also keeps weeds away. Make sure your plants are strong and healthy before you lay down a few inches of mulch.  If they are weak or not firmly rooted the mulch can kill them.

In a few weeks we’ll be planting the warm weather crops…tomatoes, peppers, basil and eggplant.  We’ll update you then.

 

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Advertisers Abandoning Limbaugh?

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Plain and simple. You can call him a bigot…a racist…a pundit…a loudmouth…a screwball…a rightwing blowhard…the defacto spritual leader of the far right Republicans etc etc etc.  As despicable as I find his “act”, Rush Limbaugh also happens to be a genius.

Limbaugh 1

That’s right…a genius! He has built a ratings empire with his hate speak and ultra right wing political rantings and has taken full advantage of our polarized society.  He has translated it into cold hard cash.

Genius.

What better way to create a gigantic audience than by making inflammatory comments?  Limbaugh has spoken at length about many sensitive subjects ranging from birth control to immigration legislation to women’s rights and minority treatment.  Plenty of heated emotions to be found there.

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Limbaugh has offended just about everyone at one point or another and that is the whole point. By aiming at the lowest common denominator he manages to grow his legion of followers. He’s done a wonderful job of creating false controversies, and then jumping into this fantasy fray with all of the appropriate solutions.

Many people believe (myself included) that Limbaugh is an outspoken promoter of a list of unsavory attitudes including racism, homophobia, and misogyny. His quotes have been well documented.  He has referred to children on government-assisted lunches as ‘wanton little waifs and surfs,‘ implies gay men are ‘pedophiles,‘ characterizes women as ‘semen receptacles,’ and calls documented immigrants a ‘lazy’, ‘invasive species’ of ‘mollusks’ and ‘spermatozoa’.

 

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Limbaugh’s demographic is fairly obvious.. His audience is 76% male. Between the ages of 35 and 60…79%…White 95%…no children…76%…and one thing the polls don’t measure…they are fairly angry white men. Angry at minorities ruining the country. Angry at women and minorities in the work force stealing their jobs. Angry at liberals who spend their money and want to take their guns away. Are any of these supposed ‘slights” real? Does it even matter? Limbaugh plays into the dissatisfaction many older white men have with their lives and the perceived state of the country. He stands on the sidelines and pokes and prods his listeners into a frenzy and then of course feeds then his own unique brand of “solutions”. And they eat it up!

Limbaugh is a genius.

Rush Limbaugh has made a fortune being a cheerleader, a bully, a crybaby, and an out and out hypocrite. Let us not forget his comments stating that (paraphrased)  drug abusers should be put in a cage and the key thrown away. Why then hasn’t he suffered this fate that he so eloquently advocated for others?   He is an ENTERTAINER to millions of listeners who can’t do without his brand of commentary.

Limbaugh is a genius.

In my opinion, and in the opinion of many of his advertisers, Limbaugh’s comments have crossed the line on several occasions. Apparently his “over the top” comments, particularly the Sandra Fluke fiasco, has led to a steady loss of ad revenue by companies that have decided Limbaugh’s hate radio is not in their best interests.

This loss of ad revenue has been supported by a massive grass roots campaign undertaken on social media to boycott products that are being promoted on Limbaugh’s show. As they say money talks.

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In a story in DAILY KOS, dated Feb. 20, 2015 by Leslie Salzillo, (a noted investigative reporter and liberal author)  The home of ‘hate radio’ including The Rush Limbaugh Show, has had a bad day, bad week, bad quarter, and bad year. Billboard Magazine reports IHeart Media (formerly Clear Channel) just posted a 2014 quarterly loss of over $119 Million” The company has carried a large debt load since its leveraged buyout six years ago, with long-term debt currently topping $20 billion, according to filings with the SEC. Meanwhile, the sponsor boycott against Limbaugh via StopRush, BoycottRush, Flush Rush and the social media coverage by news outlets large and small, is thriving. The sponsor petition hit 100k about 10 days ago and has picked up 17k more signatures since then, some being signees from the far Right Wing. Rush is so hard up for sponsors these days, he’s been caught sponsoring himself. We know Rush Limbaugh is being funded by the Tea Party, which is funded by the Koch brothers. That funding is most likely the reason Limbaugh is still on the air, and one can’t help wonder if Bob Pittman is also being funded. Why else would he continue to air The Rush Limbaugh Show on approximately 600 radio stations nationwide when Limbaugh is dragging the radio industry down? Rush has also been losing radio stations.

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 Will Limbaugh survive the downturn in advertising support? That’s anyone’s guess.  But as long as he continues to stoke his offensive fires, the swirling controversy will continue. A wise mean once said “any publicity is good publicity”.

Limbaugh is a genius.

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Can Awesome Pitching Carry Mets to the Promised Land?

Mets logoAlderson

People have been screaming about Sandy Alderson‘s relative inactivity the last couple of seasons.  It’s been blamed on the Madoff scandal…it’s been blamed on ownership’s reluctance to sign big deals after the Jason Bay fiasco…it’s been blamed on the economy…why then is this man smiling?

P I T C H I N G.  Awesome PITCHING.

Last week Mike Francesa stated on WFAN  (I’m paraphrasing here) the NY METS have an awesome pitching staff top to bottom, and it may be the best in all of baseball.  I think I agree.  I have to admit that I am one of those fans who has been begging Mr. Alderson to sign a professional bat,  or two, to bolster the Mets offensive attack.  But I will also be the first to admit he has done a wonderful job creating a situation with the team’s pitching that is rapidly becoming an embarrassment of riches.  The starting five is solid all the way around. Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom, Niese and Colon.  Wow.  Not to mention Dillion Gee, with Syndergaard and Montero in the minors just waiting to join the bandwagon.  Obviously someone is going to be traded and someone is headed to the pen as the long relief man. maybe a professional shortstop is in the offing?

Matt HarveyZach Wheeler

DeGromJon Niese

Colon

and speaking of relief, the METS are so deep on the back end they could truly be a scary playoff contender.

FamiliaMejia

Familia…Meijia…Black…

Vic Black Parnell

and a healthy Parnell returns to close.  maybe not this year,  but this could be the makings of a perennial contender.  And that makes this guy happy too

Cuddyer

Leftfielder Michael Cuddyer ha expressed his opinion that with a healthy David Wright,  Granderson in right and an improving D’Arnaud behind the plate,  these METS could be the start of something special in New York.

Yes…there just might be a Santa Claus in Flushing.

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Meet the New Boss..Same as the Old Boss?

It’s exquisite suffering being a JETS fan…they being the New York Jets Football Club…a team that represents New York and plays and trains somewhere out the swamps of New Jersey. Back in 1967 I remember watching Joe Namath dismantle their old AFL rivals The Oakland Raiders at a game at Shea Stadium. I was smitten.  About 18 months later Broadway Joe was seen running from the Orange Bowl field, wagging that famous finger signaling that these same underdog Jets were quite incredibly, the champions of the football world.

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Being young and not exactly in tune with the ways of sports, and the ways of the world in general, I assumed more wonderful things were to come and why not? We had a great QB with plenty of swagger. Our defense was quick and athletic and ranked tops in the AFL They had just made the vaunted Colts offense look silly in the Super Bowl. And we had a core of talented players like Boozer and Snell…Don Maynard…John Schmitt, Gerry Philbin, and John Elliot who had helped Namath accomplish his grand task. We even had a coach who not only talked the talk, but walked the Championship walk. They should have named the stadium The Weeb.

Weeb and Namath

 

After The Chiefs barely dethroned the Jets in January of 1970, a revolving door of both players and coaches began spinning a frustrating championship-less web of ineptitude that has lasted for 46 years. Wow.

The early 70’s were a mess what with the likes of Charley Winner and pre-Notre Dame Lou Holtz running the show. Many of the Super Bowl heroes got old, got traded, got tired and retired leaving the franchise with bad players, bad coaching, bad bad bad. But after a heavy rain there usually appears a rainbow. A flash of color and hope. The Jets hired Walt Michaels…

Michaels

a tough guy with a plan and one of my all time fave coaches. His 6 years rebuilding the JETS were some of the best in the post Weeb Eubank era. He was intent on building a defense.

Joe Klecko

Gastineau

Joe Klecko arrived shortly thereafter followed by Marty Lyons and Mark Gastineau. The offense boasted an improving Richard Todd, Freeman McNeil, Wesley Walker, Mickey Shuler and Rich Caster and suddenly the JETS were once again relevant. Unfortunately that dream died in the Miami mud of the Orange Bowl. Amid rumours of paranoia and alcoholism Michaels was dismissed.

O'Brien

When Ken O’Brien arrived, the JETS were a pretty solid contender.  They were in the playoffs  through most of the 80’s but once again they just couldn’t climb the mountain. We heard the chants of JOE MUST GO and then he did ushering in the Coslet era.

Walton

The team achieved respectable mediocrity but not much else. Pete Carroll got his shot and Marino’s fake spike was his coffin nail. You may know the name…he of the Seatlle Seahawks, in the Super Bowl 2 years running. Leon Hess was so desperate for a winner he hired Richy Kotite.

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Mr. Hess was a good man with good intentions but apparently knew little about football. And we all ke know how this hire turned out.  But before his departure Kotite did the team one huge favor. He discovered a fellow by the name of Chrebet. Thanks Richy.

Chrebet

After the disasterous 1-15 season, Mr. Hess finally came up with a smart football move and brought in Bill Parcells.

Parcells and Hess

He turned around the team in a flash and had the JETS in the 1998 AFC Championship game. Vinny from Elmont had an awesome season and played a spectacular game in the winter weather in Denver. Unfortunately the rest of the team didn’t help him and once again the Jets fell.

Testaverde

The following year, the heavily favored Jets Super Bowl train was derailed in the first quarter of the first game of the season with Testaverde’s Achilles injury. As was his modus, Parcells disappeared into the night leaving the reigns to Al Groh who after one non-playoff seson caught the last train to Virginia.  And along came Herm. He played to win the game, and Chad Pennington did his best to oblige but alas, no championship during their time in Green and White.

Herm

Chad Pennington

The JETS have the most playoff wins of any team since the merger that have not appeared in a Super Bowl. An odd stat indeed. A sort of successful losing streak…? Woody Johnson decided he needed a MAN-GENIUS to run the show and if it weren’t for Brett Favre’s bad shoulder late in the 2008 season, a Super appearance looked pretty good.

Favre

Belicheat wouldn’t shake Eric Mangini’s hand.  Too bad.  His quiet intense demeanor was  soon replaced by BULLYBALL…as a loud intense Rex Ryan blew into town with a swagger and an attitude never before seen in JETLAND. He called out Belicheat and even handed him a few nice losses. It was refreshing and I must admit he quickly became one of my favorite JET coaches.

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But after two more losses in successive AFC Championship games, followed by 3 non-descript seasons including a totally bizarre flirtation with Tim Tebow and the John Idzik disaster that destroyed the 2014 season things had to change once again. Idzik’s lack of key player signings, combined with the ineffective play of Geno Smith and Mr. Johnson was moved to act. Idzik was sent packing and Rex shuffled off to Buffalo.

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And this is where Jet fans find themselves in 2015. Will Todd bowl us over or is this just another blip on the grid iron screen? I like Todd Bowles. A tough guy with a winning resume who demands accountability from his players. Parcells gave him a strong recommendation and it’s pretty obvious that he is a man on a mission. But wasn’t Parcells also on a mission? Mangini? Herm? Rex?

MccagnanBowles

Winning a championship in any sport is a difficult and daunting task. Winning the Super Bowl is a nearly impossible mythic event in this day and age. Can the new GM, a superb talent evaluator in Mike Maccagnan,  team up with Todd Bowles and finally bring JET NATION a Super Bowl champion?  Maccagnan needs to bring in a group of talented players to add to a mix that has some young talented players, particularly on the defensive front.  The offense needs an upgrade, cornerback has been a problem, a speedy linbacker wouldn’t hurt and what does he do about Geno Smith?!??!  Good luck Mike.

We are once again reminded it’s a process. Hope you’re not going anywhere fans. This may take a while.

 

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I’m Calling It The STUPID BOWL

In the interests of beating a dead horse into a nice equestrian filet, and even though every conceivable pundit, prognosticator and sports talk expert has already flogged this topic into utter submission,  I simply can’t let it go without a few thoughts and words of my own.

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Let me say right at the start, as many of you are aware,  that I am a longtime NY JET season ticket holder. Being in the same division with The New England Patriots puts me at odds with them anyway,  but their continued dominance of said division,  and their underhanded methods only serve to heighten my negative feelings about them.

Basically I despise them.

As such I have nothing but distaste for their classless grunting lowlife of a coach, one Bill Belicheat and his band of  Merry Tricksters. He may be a great coach,  but as a human being he leaves much to be desired.

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I find them to be representative of everything that’s wrong with sports these days.  Win at all costs, regardless of questionable, sneaky tactics that in many cases violate the spirit of fair competition..  They have a coach and star quarterback who are utterly graceless in defeat. Anyone remember their troll of a coach refusing to shake hands with Eric Mangini after a loss to the Jets?  And their owner? He is a classic example of the phrase “conflict of interest” with his chummy relationship with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Goodell has had his own share of problems this year but this relationship is rather absurd and just one more blot on Goodell’s record of questionable leadership.

According to an article by Cork Gaines on the BUSINESS INSIDER, February 3, 2015, In a recent story for GQ magazine, titled “The Season from Hell: Inside Roger Goodell’s Ruthless Football Machine,” Gabriel Sherman outlines just how close Goodell and Kraft have been and how it was Kraft that backed Goodell during the uproar over how the league handled the Ray Rice domestic assault scandal.  According to the story, when the Rice case began to spin out of control, it was Kraft who arranged for Goodell to do his first on-air interview, on CBS with a woman as the interviewer. It was also Kraft who lobbied other owners to publicly support Goodell.  Goodell and Kraft were so close, at least one NFL executive refers to Kraft as “the assistant commissioner.” Kraft was also the owner who “vigorously defended” Goodell’s $44 million salary.The relationship between Kraft and Goodell was further cemented in the public eye when the two were photographed together at a party just days prior to the AFC Championship game. This led Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks to speculate that the league won’t punish the Patriots over Deflategate because of the conflict-of-interest.

But enough about the Patriots.  If millions upon millions of advertising dollars weren’t riding on THE STUPID BOWL, we wouldn’t still be waiting for a conclusion to DEFLATEGATE.  Now that the game is over,  Goodell can sweep this under the rug and say no one ever told him about it.

On the other side of the ball we have The Seattle Seahawks and their budding dynasty…NOT.   They were quite fortunate to even be in this game thanks to a series of almost impossible events in the waning moments of the NFC Championship game. Simply put the Green Bay Packers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  It was an epic and truly astounding collapse of monumental proportions. It was right up there with the 86 Boston Red Sox.

So now these two talent, powerful yet tainted winning teams come to the big game, with lots of controversy. After three and a half quarters packed with some truly great football by both sides, as the cliche goes they saved their best, last heroic moments for the end.

The unstoppable Tom Brady made the Legion of Boom look more like the boom boom line at a local burlesque joint. Brady systematically carved up the Hawks vaunted secondary culminating with Julian Edelman’s 3 yard TD catch with just 2:02 remaining.  The Patriots found themselves up 28-24 after trailing most of the second half.

So here was Seattle with the ball beginning what will be remembered as one the greatest drives in Super Bowl history, until it wasn’t.  Russell Wilson hit Marshawn Lynch for 31 yards on a swooping sideline pass play.  Then Jermain Kearse made what may have been the single most incredible catch in Super Bowl history (move over Santonio Holmes and David Tyree)  The Seahawks were sitting at the 5 yard line with about half a minute to go. They handed the ball to Lynch, in full beast mode as he carried 3 Patriot defenders to the 1 yard line.

And here my friends is where I decided this would forever be known to me as THE STUPID BOWL. I understand this game was a classic.  I understand this game was chock full of excitement and amazing plays.  I understand it was great entertainment for the millions who never watch an NFL game until the season is over. I get all that. But it ended on one of THE most absurd…ridiculous…over thought… nonsensical… STUPID play calls in the history of the sport,  and maybe of all sports.

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I like Pete Carroll.  I really do.  I had wished that Leon Hess had given him more of a chance back in the day when he was the HC of the NYJ.  It wasn’t to be. Dan Marino made rookie Aaron Glenn look silly and that was that. Having said that,  what the hell was he thinking about on that last play call?  I listened to Mike Francesa go apoplectic on his show for over an hour whilst discussing the end game sequence. And I agreed with everything he said!  Pete Carroll is most certainly not a stupid man.  But the play call was absolutely WRONG WRONG WRONG!  Coach Carroll explained after the game that the idea was  to catch the Pats defense off guard with a quick pass in the obvious running situation.  OK…then why in the world would you come out in a shotgun formation telling everyone on both sidelines, everyone in the stadium and the millions of people watching the world over that you are about to pass??!?! If they had lined up in a jumbo set and then threw a quick fade to the back of the end zone, they might have possibly fooled someone.  And if that pass fell incomplete,  the clock would have stopped and they would still have two chances to gain the winning yard with a Lynch run.

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RUN THE BALL.  RUN THE BALL.  RUN THE DAMN BALL!

No sorry.  We’ll throw it in a sitution where Marshawn Lynch could have, and should have won the Super, I mean STUPID BOWL.

So a rookie DB…who probably would have been trampled by the beast that is Marshawn Lynch,  makes a last second interception on a play that should have never happened in the first place.  A tight quick slant over the middle?!?!?! STUPID STUPID STUPID.

Getting back to my hatred of all things Belicheat,  did we really need to hand him yet another Super Bowl victory they should never have won?  Uggghhhh

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ISIS’ Latest Atrocity Turning off Potential Terrorists?

Earlier today,  Islamic militants, or more accurately, Islamic terrorists, those whom we call ISIS, outdid themselves with an incredible act of  barbaric cruelty and senseless inhumanity.  The captured Jordanian pilot, Muath al-Kaseasbeh,  was shown in a video being burned alive, trapped in a cage.  The authenticity of the video is still being investigated,  but that seems neither here nor there.  The intention of ISIS was to show the world that they did this horrific thing to a human being that doesn’t happen to fit their concept of what is right.  As ISIS crosses the line from civilization into depravity, the more difficult it is for the Islamic world to ignore the insanity. Muslims worldwide are now watching the actions of ISIS with contempt and disgust.  In Jordan vast throngs of people reacted to the news with a mixture of anger, sadness and nationalistic fervor as they chanted anti terrorist slogans.  Jordan, a bordering country to the Islamic State, has backed the international effort against ISIS since the beginning of the conflict.  Moderate Muslims in that country have denounced the almost NAZI-like behavior of ISIS.  The King of Jordan, described ISIS this way after hearing today’s news. He said, “Muath al-Kaseasbeh dies at the hands of a cowardly, terrorist and criminal organization, which has no relation to our noble religion.”

Young disenfranchised Muslims living in poverty,  in many countries,  are easy targets for terrorist recruiters.  Dissatisfied people,  living hand to mouth, struggling to get along are easily convinced that they are beset by imaginary enemies and ficticious dangers all around.  It’s one of the oldest and most effective techniques to control people.  Right now in Russia,  Mr. Putin is telling his constituents that the West and the United States in particular, are trying to keep the Russian people down..subservient to their Western Masters.  This has become a very effective way for Mr. P to whip up the fervor of his countrymen and as a result, a most convenient system to raise his poll numbers, which were in the tank a shortly while before the Ukraine crisis, and are now hovering in the 80% approval area.

By continually coming up with more outlandish and horrifying video events,  ISIS believes they are attracting more converts.  I think they have made a tactical error. They are fueling an anti-extremist movement amongst young Muslims amazed by the cruelty shown to many of their own, the Jordanian pilot just the latest victim.  Several weeks ago ISIS slaughtered an entire company of Syrian troops, presumably all or nearly all of them young men of the Muslim faith.  They were afforded no hearings, no trials, just unceremoniously executed in the desert.  They were innocent soldiers killed because their version of Islam did not match up with their captors.  Can you say Middle Ages?

Many of the policies of the Western World,  and the United States in particular,  can be directly attributed to the rise of Islamic militants around the world.  And the more we strike back, the more we seem to foster we an environment conducive to recruiting converts to these terror organizations.  We have been expert at stoking the flames of extremism in the Muslim world since Abu-Graib, Gitmo etc.  But now it may be that the very despicable actions of ISIS themselves may be turning the tide of moderate Muslims into militant anti-terrorists.  Perhaps their own terrorist propaganda is what will ultimately defeat ISIS.  Contrary to what many in the West believe, a great many influential Muslim leaders have been denouncing terrorism consistently for a long time. An article written by Hesham A. Hassaballa on beliefnet.com  quotes the following prominent Islamic leaders.

On August 11, Nabil al-Arabi, the Arab League Chief, denounced acts committed by the Islamic State in Iraq as “crimes against humanity,” demanding that they be brought to justice. According to Al Arabiya News, he said in a statement that he “strongly denounced the crimes, killings, dispossession carried out by the terrorist (ISIS) against civilians and minorities in Iraq
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonwordcommonlord/2014/08/think-muslims-havent-condemned-isis-think-again.html#Ylqll0jYFuefgEcz.99

Turkey’s highest ranking cleric, Mehmet Gormez, decried the Islamic State’s declaration of a “caliphate” and argued that the statements were damaging to the Muslim community, according to Reuters:  “Such declarations have no legitimacy whatsoever,” Mehmet Gormez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, the highest religious authority in Turkey, which, although a majority Muslim country, has been a secular state since the 1920s.

On August 19, Al Jazeera reported that Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, the country’s top religious authority, said that terrorism is anti-Islamic and said that groups like the Islamic State which practice violence are the “number one enemy of Islam”: Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonwordcommonlord/2014/08/think-muslims-havent-condemned-isis-think-again.html#Ylqll0jYFuefgEcz.99

As the Huffington Post reported, 100 Sunni and Shiite Imams from the U.K. came together to produce a video denouncing the Islamic State, releasing a statement that they wanted to “come together to emphasise the importance of unity in the UK and to decree ISIS as an illegitimate, vicious group who do not represent Islam in any way.” Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonwordcommonlord/2014/08/think-muslims-havent-condemned-isis-think-again.html#Ylqll0jYFuefgEcz.99

Time for the leaders of the civilized world to stand together and make a forceful, and quite necessary, overwhelming MILITARY response to the evil that is ISIS.   They are nothing more than a band of criminals using Islam as a way to connect a loose band of misguided patriots, outlaws and lost souls.  The time for talk is passed.  At the very least an increase in both air attacks and drone strikes is nneded to seriously degrade ISIS ability to continue to function.

How many more innocent people have to be subjected to the barbarism that is ISIS before the world bands together and stops this insanity?

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Recipe: Creamy Smoked Salmon over Penne

In keeping with my intention of talking just about anything in this blog, (*much to the chagrin of those who wish to pigeon hole me)   here’s a favorite recipe of mine.  Of course you sorta have to like smoked salmon to begin with otherwise nothing else I say is going to do you any good !  ;-)

  

I start out with some smoked salmon slices or chunks.  Most grocery stores have them. a I cut them up into pieces about an inch by inch.  I then cut up some  sundried tomatoes.  They can be the ones in olive oil already julienne sliced, or the fresh dried variety. I like them a lot so I cut up and add about 10 pieces.  I add a bit of garlic and some olive oil into a flat frying pan. Set the stove to a medium heat but not too hot.  I add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan and depending on how much pasta you’re cooking,  and how many people are eating,  I add a bit more or less.  I let it sizzle just a bit and then I add the tomatoes and salmon.  I toss it around for about a minute or two.  I then add a tablespoon of capers, 1/3 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper, 1/3 teaspoon of fresh ground sea salt (I like the pink Himalayan salt)

if I’m in the mood I also chop up and add some black olives (drain them first).  Let it all cook together for about 5 minutes.  While I’m stirring I also add a teaspoon of horse radish, a few dashes of parsley, cumin, cardamom, 1/4 cup white wine and one teaspoon of onion powder.  Stir it gently (don’t want to mash the salmon) for about another 3-5 minutes.

Just when it’s all blended and the delicious smell is filling the kitchen,  I add three or four large spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt. Blend that together with the mixture in the pan.

Turn down the heat and let it just sit for a few minutes.

While you’re making the salmon boil up the pasta.  I like it a little firmer rather than too soft ( al dente ) I like bow ties or penne the best with this dish.

Some people combine the salmon mixture and the pasta in a large bowl and then serve it. I prefer to put the drained pasta on the plate and then spoon the mixture over the pasta.

I then grate some Pecorino Romano cheese over the pasta and as they say in Italy…M A N G I A! A nice chunk of crusty Italian bread goes nicely,  and though some people say they must have a white wine with this dish, I always go for a full bodied red.

Broccoli rabe, mushrooms or string beans all work well as side dishes to this dinner.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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