34 Years in An Instant…

I remember 1980 was an unusually warm year. Even the month of December seemed sort of balmy.  It was a Sunday afternoon like any other.  I was packing up my briefcase to head off to work at Oceans New York, the tropical fish import company I owned at the time. Big shipments were due in from overseas that evening and since it was about a 45 minute drive from Port Washington to the warehouse, I liked to get rolling around 130 in the afternoon..  I had paperwork to do for US Fish & Wildlife Service and US Customs.  I always checked in with my partner and my key people to make sure everything was in order. Everything was on time and the whole import process was going smoothly.  I kissed my wife and my young son goodbye,  and said I’d see her the next day.  I knew I wasn’t getting home until 6 or 7 Monday night.  This was the toughest stretch during the week…a 30+ hour marathon of saltwater and shriveled hands.  A test of mental and physical acuity to which I had become accustomed.  I remember thinking that it was lucky that such a large amount of valuable live fish were arriving at a moment when the weather was not as frigid as it could be.


I began my drive on the Southern State Parkway heading towards JFK Airport. I was feeling tired.  The week before myself and the crew had put in well over 70 hours of hard work.  The schedule we kept was grueling  but I was young and strong and used to the grind. And anyway I loved my work and I was making a lot of money.


At 430am the next morning, after a night of relentless work, I crashed at my desk, sleeping in soaked sneakers and stained T-shirt.  At exactly 6am the clients would be lined up at the back door waiting to gain entry to the warehouse to scoop us what goodies they could find from what had just arrived from overseas.  I awoke at 530, stumbled into the shower and let the hot water bring me to my senses.  The clients began streaming in and by 12 noon the Monday Morning Crush, as we used to call it was over.


I remember eating lunch and reading the New York Post.  The Jets were completing a miserable season…John & Yoko had released a new album, his first in 5 years…Ronald Reagan was preparing to be the next President and there was a story about Ted Turner’s new venture CNN.


That night I remember arriving home exhausted from the day and being so mentally fried  that even the cries of my colicky son couldn’t keep me awake.  I watched the news and then fell off to sleep.


6am December 9th. The phone rings and wakes me from a dead sleep. It’s my sister in-law calling from her home in Stone Harbor way down south on the Jersey Shore. In my half wake state I’m confused as to why she’d be calling so early. She asks me if I had heard about what happened in New York the night before.  I say no thinking maybe there was some holiday festivity that I had missed.  She says someone shot John Lennon.


I sat in stunned silence for a moment and then I blurted out IS HE OK!?!?!?!?!  Quietly…in hushed tones she replies that he died from gunshot wounds. I remember my first reaction was overwhelming ANGER.  I yelled at her and said WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU SAYING?!?!  She repeated the awful news once again and I could hear the terrible sadness in her voice. I was so crushed I wasn’t exactly sure what to say or think. I said NO WAY. HE CAN’T BE DEAD! ARE YOU SURE!??! WHO WOULD WANT TO KILL JOHN LENNON!?!?!  I put on the TV news and there right before my eyes this horrifying, senseless story was being recounted over and over.  I drove to the local deli and bought the newspapers as if hoping that the story was somehow a terrible mistake,  that it couldn’t possibly be true.


Life went on as usual that day and the days following. My insane work schedule did not relent.  I found myself crying on and off in front of (and with many of) my employees.  In front of my clients.  In front of my vendors.  The pain of the loss was so excruciating and so deep it was as if my mother or my dearest friend had passed on.

As the days passed I continued to buy newspapers and magazines telling the grim and painful story over and over again.  Each time I read through the articles I was searching, hoping that the story wasn’t true. I felt the pain for his wife,  his young child,  his friends. I felt the pain for ME. The more I listened to DOUBLE FANTASY the more bizarre and unreal the entire course of events seemed.


Eventually, like the whole world,  I had to simply accept the mind numbing sadness.


34 years have passed in what seems like an instant but the pain of the loss remains. Oh to think what might have been…what could have been.


English: John Lennon and Yoko Ono

English: John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Dysfunctional Jets Need a QB Again


Just when it couldn’t get any more ridiculous,  the NY JETS have found a plethora of ways to infuriate the fans, mystify the media and completely amaze and confound onlookers from around the league.


Where do I even begin with this morass of craziness?




First we took a developing QB who was on his way and treated him to a lack of offensive weapons.  Then we brought in another marquee QB to “back him up”  when all along it was obvious the intent was to compete with him and hopefully “push” him along. I’m not talking about Geno Smith and Michael Vick.  I’m talking about Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. So Sanchez is unceremoniously sent packing and through the typical NFL injury scenario he becomes the starter in Philly for the Eagles.  He plays just well enough to keep the Birds in contention.  I for one, am rooting for him.  Tebow is out of the league and doing color commentary on football telecasts.


Fast forward to this year’s continuing Geno Smith experiment.In the game against the Dolphins just played, Smith starts ostensibly to find out if he can be the leader of the future. I think we were all assuming he gets a 5 game “audition” if you will to see if he can actually do his thing in the NFL.  So what do the JETS do?  They run the ball 49 times,  and though the numbers are impressive, they lose once again.  Since the run game was so impressive wouldn’t it be a no-brainer that they mix in some play action and a few screens. Nope. So what exactly was the point?  They could have had Matt Simms handoff just as well as Geno Smith. Ahhh the absurdity of the NY Jets.




At this point I am convinced it’s a failure and the JETS need to seriously address the situation and decide where they are going. Smith might be an OK backup and who knows…some team might even want to continue to make him a starter in this league, but I just don’t see it.  I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again but that’s how I see it in December 2014. I am focused on the QB of the future and I think his name is Marcus Mariota.  Who?  The 6-4 219 pound Oregon signal caller seems to have all the physical and mental traits to succeed in the very tough NFL. His stats are so gaudy they seem fake. In three seasons totalling 38 game,  he has thrown 99 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for for nearly 10,000 yards and a 67% completion percentage. During this same time he has rushed for over 2100 yards!  Oregon Football at goducks.com described him thusly, The most prolific quarterback in school history has led Oregon to more wins (33) than any of his contemporaries in less than three seasons while holding no fewer than seven of the program’s season and career passing pinnacles, and eclipsing conference standards . . . Has accounted for a minimum of three touchdowns in 10 of 11 games and four scores eight times”


This guy can play and I believe that the JETS are a competent QB away from returning to the playoffs.  They have a few holes that need to be addressed.  Their defensive backfield is a mess and the offensive line needs quality depth.


Unfortunately the NFL is not a very forgiving environment.  Rex Ryan and his staff will most likely be gone after this disaster of a season but whomever takes over will have NO CHANCE of success unless they have the right QB to groom.  As far as I’m concerned that QB is Mariota.


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CROZ, a Masterful Musical Effort, 19 years in the Making

David Crosby is American music icon.  Born in Los Angeles on August 14, 1941, Crosby has led a varied oft times controversial life. He was a founding member of two widely known classic pop-rock bands: The Byrds and Crosby Stills and Nash.


It has been nearly two decades since the last Crosby solo album.  On January 28th, 2014 Crosby released his latest collection entitled, “CROZ”.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 8.41.55 PM

The lyric content displays a varied set of themes that David had to express in his own personal way. He takes a few steps into politics, a few steps into nostalgia and one big leap into defining the human condition as he sees it. The album combines  funky light jazz with Crosby’s roots-y folk feel to create a wonderfully unique sonic pallet from which the stories are told.

In November 2013, he spoke with Rolling Stone, about the album. He said, “I wanted to challenge myself. Most guys my age would have done a covers record or duets on old material. This won’t be a huge hit.  It’ll probably sell nineteen copies. I don’t think kids are gonna dig it, but I’m not making it for them. I’m making it for me. I have this stuff that I need to get off my chest.”

The album opens with the song WHAT’S BROKEN written by pianist and Crosby’s son James Raymond.  It is a soaring high point in many ways. The lyrics lay out a bleak American landscape full of “frozen language”, the isolation of modern living, the desperation of forces beyond the control of the individual and the startling realizations that truth is not always true. The music is a restrained yet percolating underlay of light jazz piano performed by Raymond and tightly knit drumming by Steve DiStanilao. Mark Knopfler‘s stylistic electric guitar takes the track to higher place with his inspired and tasty fills. I can feel the hair on the back of neck bristling as he takes flight in his distinctive and soaring way.

On the next rack TIME I HAVE, written by Crosby,  he talks about what he needs to do with the limited time he has, (that we all have) in this life. It’s a haunting lyric that makes a great many points about life inthes United States and though he doesn’t name names,  it’s pretty obvious what he’s thinking about many issues.

HOLDING ON TO NOTHING seems to a David Crosby daydream set to music in the way a Monet splashes color on a canvas. It’s a look inside his mind on a day like anyother. Winton Marsalis adds flashes of jazz unfused light and the fretless bass of kevin McCormick feels like the perfect accompaniment.

RADIO is a call to action.  A call to all the citizens of America,  and in a greater sense the entire world.  Time to get to work to save our brothers and sisters from the rising tides of ignorance, intolerance and indifference. The lyric is gentle but the message quite powerful.  “And your hands are slippery, the wind is strong, the boat is rocking, the world is storm, your hands are slippery, you feel like turning away to run free, your hands are slippery but you can pull someone out of the sea.”

SET THAT BAGGAGE DOWN is friendly piece of advice for a generation lost in time.  It’s a cautionary tale presented to the Baby Boomers.  “Let that baggage down..every girl that left you…every friend that ran…everything that broke you…bury it in the sand!”

Crosby and son James Raymond collaborate on another high point of the collection entitled,”DANGEROUS NIGHT”.  Once again Crosby lays himself bare for all to see as he searches for the answers in this lifetime. His indictments not only point out the confusion of the world around us,  but the feelings he has that perhaps we are powerless to affect real changes in a world of isolation.  He searches for that “someone who won’t give up in the frozen rain, who’ll walk right next to me through the orchards and the grain”.  Few of us find those life companions as we travel the earthly journey.

The collection ends with the song FIND A HEART.  Crosby asks us to dig deeply into a place where we can  find our own voice…our own peace and our own language. It’s a peace to “make you whole”, a passage to “illumination”. He suggests we make our deepest heart  “open” so we can reach in and touch it. He wants us to be in touch with that part of ourselves that is so deep and open that we can find a true course to peace.  The music track swirls around the lyric, caressing and lifting the words into a spiritual realm. By finding our own deepest voice can we then reach out and touch those around us in a more meaningful and complete way.

This collection music is a wonderful experience.  I’d highly recommend you find a copy and listen to this music.  A couple of times. Maybe several times!




Posted in Music, Pop culture, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Freefalling Jets Look to the Future…Again

New York Jets logo

New York Jets logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re a long time JET fan like myself,  you’re probably used to the scenario by now.  Promising collection of players being lead by a newbie QB who can’t seem to get it together fat enough to placate the fans, the media, et al.  It begins to get pretty darn old.







Rex Ryan‘s first 2 seasons were filled with crazy scenarios and unlikely success.  They were also filled with hope that a long awaited championship was on the horizon.  His brash pronouncements and uber confidence were a refreshing and welcome change to a team culture that had a long list of lamentable losses.  Even the high and mighty Bill Parcells couldn’t finish the job he started, though I thank him for changing the team culture at a time when losing was expected.




An inside view of MetLife Stadium during the f...

An inside view of MetLife Stadium during the first-ever preseason matchup between the Giants and Jets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: An image of Rex Ryan during his tenur...

English: An image of Rex Ryan during his tenure as Baltimore Ravens coach, head and shoulders only for the infobox, cropped from the original using Paint.NET v3.5.5 by Jeff G. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But with some success,  even in limited doses, comes change.  Change in perception, change in results change in attitudes.  Losing is no longer accepted as it once was.  And with that change in attitude comes a stress level amongst the fan base that gets ever intense with each failing. Did anyone expect the Jets to win a championship this year.  I think not.  Did the fans think the Jets could win 9 or 10 games if the offense gave a respectable showing? I think so.  Did anyone see a disastrous 1-6 free fall season on the horizon?  Probably not.




So where do they go from here? Not many options at this point for sure. It has become an “evaluate the QB” season.  Win what games that you can but put Geno Smith under the microscope and find out if he can be the man going forward. If he doesn’t show significant improvement over the next 9 games go out and either draft or sign another QB who can be proficient in the NFL passing game.



The next Idzik draft will make or break his GM career in New York.  This year’s draft class was a huge underwhelming disappointment.  He needs to do better if he expects to start the Jets next ascension.  The fans and the media won’t be too thrilled if he fails.



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Jets Season Crashes as Geno Burns

What looked like it might be a promising season on the rise for the New York Jets has come crashing back to earth only a few short weeks into the season. An 18 point lead at Lambeau Field is a distant memory.

New York Jets logo

New York Jets logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


After a game one victory, Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson made a mockery of the Jet secondary as the Packers came back to beat the Jets. The Bears followed with a sloppy effort that should have been Jet win number 2, but again too many mistakes and not enough offensive juice lead to another lowly loss.   The Jet defense may be rated at the top of the league but not enough big plays,  not enough impact plays, not enough takeaways to get the team over the top.

That brings us to week 4 in which an up and down Lions team took care of the up and down Jets team, putting the Green and White into a very precarious playoff position. Less than 15% of the teams that begin a season 1-3 make the playoffs.  Considering they are looking at the Chargers, The Broncos and the Patriots, the Jets could easily be 1-6 by Halloween…a very spooky thought.  Even worse,  with Rex Ryan basically coaching for his job,  it’s possible that his reign with the Jets could be in serious jeopardy.  The fans love him,  but they love winning a whole lot more.  Should the season turn out to be the disaster it’s beginning to look like,  GM John Idzik will most likely be forced to cut ties and start all over again. A most disappointing option considering the emotional re-hiring of Rex after the last game last season by Woody Johnson.


Worse still…has Idzik seen enough of Geno Smith?  He showed signs of maturation in the off season.  Throughout the pre-season he seemed in command. Even through the first 2 games it looked as though the young man was growing up before our eyes.  He has taken a rather large step backward in the last 2 games.  Strange decisions…poor high throws to wide open receivers…running when he shouldn’t,  and not running when he should.  More costly interceptions that really didn’t have to happen.

NFL teams that succeed are lead by quality signal callers. Brady in New England, Manning in Denver, Dalton in Cinncy, Brees in New Orleans, Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, Manning in New York, Wilson in Seattle. Kapernick in San Fran. Teams with quality quarterbacks are perennial playoff teams,  and more often than not multiple championship winners. There’s no getting around it.  Teams with great supporting casts and mediocre QB play go nowhere year after year and it’s starting to look like the Jets are in that category.  They have had a consistently good defense but the offense has been questionable since Sanchez and it seems like it’s going that way with Smith.  Smith didn’t do himself any favors by getting into a cursing match with the fans as he left the field after Sunday’s loss.

He’s since apologized but losing his cool in this environment wasn’t a good sign. According to ESPN online, “

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Embattled quarterback Geno Smith lost his cool after the New York Jets‘ third straight loss, shouting an obscenity at a heckler as he walked off the field Sunday at MetLife Stadium. “F— you!” Smith yelled at the fan moments after the Jets’ 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions. Footage of the incident, caught on camera by WCBS 2 New York, shows Smith — with his helmet off — glaring into a crowd before spewing the profane response. The heckler isn’t seen on camera, and there is no audio of the fan yelling at Smith.Smith opened his postgame news conference by apologizing for the outburst. He declined to specify what the fan said to set him off, saying only that it came from “one guy,” and it wasn’t a Michael Vick-related comment.”

It takes immense mental toughness to deal with the massive pressures put on the QB position in New York.  Add to that the growing pains a young player experiences and the added burden of “win now” fans,  and it seems nearly impossible to rise above in this town.  Eli Manning did it.  It’s a huge testament to his ability and his toughness.  Does Geno Smith have those same qualities? At this early stage perhaps it’s impossible to tell. But that’s why John Idzik gets paid the big bucks as the GM and I’m just a season ticket holding fan.  Idzik has to decide if it’s time for both Rex and Smith to go and start over.  That is one decision that I would not want to have to make.

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Here we Go Again…the NFL 2014 is About to Get Rockin’!

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Just as the METS sail out of contention, just when the NBA season still seems long off, just when Indian Summer comes sweltering up the coastline, the NFL comes rumbling back into town for another season of full tilt testosterone smack down! I have to admit it…I AM READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!

If you’re a JET fan there’s plenty of reason for optimism.  The offensive and defensive lines should be really solid.  In the case of the defense, the entire front seven appears ready to take a huge step forward.  They could be the single biggest reason the JETS make the playoffs in 2014,  if they do.  Right now I’m leaning towards a playoff run but it definitely won’t be easy.  The patriots still tower over the division.  The Dolphins look improved and even the Bills will field a capable team that should have more success than last year’s version.


Some keys to a successful season for the Green & White are pretty obvious.



1-Geno Smith must continue his growth and ascension as an NFL QB. He must above all else protect the football.  Make the right throws with accuracy when the moment presents itself and use his feet when the opportunity arises.



2-The aforementioned defensive front seven must play to their capabilities.  The “Sons of Anarchy”, Wilkerson, Richardson and Harrison need to play like the wild disruptive forces they can be. Throw in large doses of David Harris, Calvin Pace, Jason Babin and especially Quinton Coples, and suddenly you have the makings of a pretty good defense.



3-The defensive backfield needs to be competent. Not necessary they play lights out nut they need to limit the many long playes that plagues them last year.  The safety positions are manned by the emerging Calvin Pryor and a steady group of vets.  I don’t think they will be as bad as the media is making them out to be.


4-IN GAME COACHING!  The JETS staff needs to improve their halftime adjustments.  Last year they were improving and hopefully that will continue in 2015.



5-RUN THE ROCK! The JETS have a running game that could very possibly land them in the top 5 of the league. Chris Johnson, Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory…a formidable three headed monster that can combine for over 2000 yards.  The JETS have a young QB…facing some of the game’s greats early in the season…they’re going to need to control clock and run the rock!




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NY METS not far from contention…if they make the right moves!

Harvey…Wheeler…deGrom…Niese…Gee…Syndergard…Colon…Montero…this MONSTER rotation or some version of it, could conceiveably have the NY METS in championship contention the next 10 years.




Mets Logo

Mets Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



The Relief pitching can also be on a higher level with a healthy  Parnell, a rapidly improving Edgin, Mejia and Familia. But as is usually the case with this team, they face critical decisions that need to be made in the next 6 months if they truly expect to contend and be a force in the National League going forward.  These are the times when GM’s make their names. Sandy Alderson has the chance to build a serious contender if he can make the right moves.




Sandy Alderson

Sandy Alderson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


But to get, you must also give.  It’s been a foregone conclusion that Colon would be traded for a bat.  But like many such conclusions, specially when it comes to the METS, it is usually a resounding who knows?  The deadline came and went and he’s still here.  Maybe insurance if Harvey isn’t completely healed from his surgery next season?  But with all of their strengths in the pitching area,  to get the bats they desperately need The METS are going to have to part with some of these guys.  Hopefully Sandy Alderson can get some great value without giving away the entire farm.


The METS need a shortstop who can field and hopefully hit a bit.  They METS need a big bopper in leftfield who will strike fear in opposing pitchers,  A 310 hitter who will smack a whole bunch of doubles in spacious CitiField and hit at least 30 home runs. I know that’s asking a lot.  They can also use a guy that can play a credible third base, or even first to back up Wright and Duda and give these guys a rest from time to time? With the very strong pitchingresiding in their minor league system,  the METS should have no problem landing the bats they need…but of course these are the METS after all and anything is possible.


I would imagine with the great depth of young players in the METS minor league system, Daniel Murphy,  as much as I like his grit and toughness,  will probably be somewhere else next year.


Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



It’s a shame that a guy who works that hard and keeps his nose clean; a guy who made his first performance as an All-Star this year,  won’t find a long term home in Flushing.


Next year’s free agent class will be heavy with starting pitching so it may be in the Mets best interests to trade for,  rather than chase, the bats they need.







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Kale…Easy to Grow and Good for You!

I’ve been growing kale for several years.  This vegetable is really easy to grow, the bugs seem to ignore it and the harvest is usually quite abundant.  We do two different types.  These shots were taken in our plot late July. The usual kind you see in the grocery store is the curly leaf kale.



The other type we grow is the red winter or Russian kale, which has large flat leaves with jagged edges.  It grows a lot larger than the curly leaf type, up to 3 feet high. We don’t do anything particularly exotic to grow the kale.  We use an organic fertilizer, we mulch with horse manure and whatever else the town provides at the organic gardens and we water several times a week.  Occasionally I see small white flying insects on the leaves but they don’t seem to be injuring the plants in any way. I was them off with the hose.


WIKIPEDIA describes KALE thusly…

Kale or borecole (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group) is a vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered[by whom?] to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms of vegetables.

The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide variety of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically.

We plant the seeds early in the spring as the KALE likes the cool weather. We’ve used seeds from several sources including Burpee.com, Home Depot and the local hardware store. We sow directly in the ground.  There’s no need to start them indoors.  It takes a few weeks for the plants to get rolling but once the leaves appear they grow with a regularity that we can never keep up with. We cut the leaves from the bottom of the plants which allows the top leaves more room to grow and reach the sun.

We add the kale to asian inspired stir frys, stews, soups and as a side dish with a simple garlic and oil recipe.  We freeze quite a bit of the leaves and we have it all winter.

WIKIPEDIA describes these culinary uses for KALE.

Kale freezes well and tastes sweeter and more flavourful after being exposed to a frost. Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, particularly when combined with other such strongly flavoured ingredients as dry-roasted peanuts, soy sauce-roasted almonds, red capsicum flakes, or a sesame-based dressing. When combined with oils or lemon juice, kale’s flavor is noticeably reduced.[3] When baked or dehydrated, kale takes on a consistency similar to that of a potato chip. Curly kale varieties are usually preferred for chips. The chips can be seasoned with salt or other spices.

I paint kale with canola oil, onion powder, garlic powder, spicy hot sauces, soy sauce and nutrtional yeast, and then bake for a couple of hours at 200-250 degrees to make tasty kale chips.  In addition we always add fresh kale leaves to our smoothies.

The World’s Healthiest Foods web site (whfoods.com) talks about the great health benefits of eating Kale.

  • Kale can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.
  • Kale’s risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.
  • Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
  • Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale’s flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.

Give a kale a try.  It’s tastes good…and it’s good for you!

Posted in Gardening, Growing Vegetables, Health, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on NY Jet Great…Joe Klecko

I am a lifelong New York Jet fan so I must admit that my feelings towards Joe Klecko are colored by my allegiance and fan-dom.  That said, #73 was undoubtedly one of the greatest, if not the greatest defensive lineman of his era.


New York Jets logo

New York Jets logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Wayne Hardin and Joe Klecko at Temple

All of the hyperbole fits Joe Klecko.  Tough. Physical. Fearless. Smart. Courageous. Here are  quotes from Joe’s contemporaries.  Hall of Fame center Dwight Stephenson, in describing Klecko as a “great defensive lineman”, considered him one of the two best interior linemen he had ever faced. Hall of Fame tackle Anthony Munoz said about Klecko, “In my 13 seasons, Joe is right there at the top of the defensive ends I had to block, up there with Fred Dean, Lee Roy Selmon and Bruce Smith. Joe was the strongest guy I ever faced. He had perfect technique — hands in tight, great leverage. My second year, 1981, we went to Shea and beat the Jets, 31-30, but he was such an intense, smart player, I knew I was in a battle. He was the leader, the guy who kept that unit together.”  Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure added that “You can’t think of his ten year period without him. I had to block Joe Greene and Merlin Olsen when I was playing and, believe me, Joe Klecko was equal to those two guys. If Joe Klecko had played one position for ten years, he’d have been considered one of the top two or three players at that position, whichever one it was. There’s not another player who went to the Pro Bowl at three different positions. You take a defensive end and put him at nose tackle and he’s just as good there, that’s a great player. We need to get Joe Klecko in the Hall of Fame.”[7]

Joe Kleck was THAT good.  I have been a season ticket holder since Klecko’s second year with the JETS and I watched his play from the stands for many years.  I was always amazed at the tenacity and fierce aggression he showed at all times. This is the ONLY man to make the Pro Bowl at three different DEFENSIVE positions. (Frank Gifford is the only other person to make the Pro Bowl from three positions) That is a pretty incredible accomplishment.  He basically created the nose tackle position and had an astounding 7.5 sacks in his first year manning that spot.


2008 Pro Bowl

2008 Pro Bowl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were instances when he was injured and yet he managed to make play after play to lead the Jet defense. I remember a game in the old GIANTS Stadium when Klecko cut his hand on the helmet of one of the defensive players…I think it was safety Darroll Ray. There was blood all over the carpet and all over Klecko’s uniform.  He ran off the field and into the locker room and moments later Klecko reappeared with his hand in a wrap and continued to play and play very well.  We later found out that the cut was pretty bad and that Klecko had multiple stitches before returning to the game.

Let’s look at the stats.

24 sacks ( this stat was not an official statistic in the beginning of Joe’s career) He had numerous seasons with many sacks and many game changing plays. He had 9 fumble recoveries. He was the NEA NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1981.  That year as a member of the “SACK EXCHANGE”, he lead the league in sacks with 20.5. He was the PFWA Defensive Player of the Year in 1981. He was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1981. Joe was elected to the Pro Bowl in 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1985.  He was named All Pro in 1981 and 1985.  The JETS retired his number 73 and placed his name in the RING OF HONOR at the Stadium.

Joe Klecko was a warrior and a leader. In my opinion he belongs in the Football Hall of Fame.


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