Illegal Weapons

24 May

I used to have an illegal weapon. And every once in a while I used it.  Know what it was?  It was a switchblade knife.

Now mind you my switchblade knife was old and decrepit and had a blade that was maybe two inches long.  And it opened with the speed of a snoozing turtle (sh-sh-sh-sh-clunk).   And it was d-u-l-l.  I used it when I was outside in the garage cutting up boxes for recycling (“take that box!”).   I never had any nefarious designs on anyone with my switchblade. But technically it was illegal.  And if I still had it, it would still be illegal.  Even though my victims were cardboard boxes.

I have my old Boy Scout knives which are so sharp that I can shave with them.  They seem to be far more dangerous.  But a switchblade?  Outrageous.  Illinois remains one of the few states where switchblade knives are still illegal.  As I recall one North Shore community outlaws steak knives over 2-1/2 inches.  “Eeek!  A knife!”  Maybe Illinois should tax them!   Now that’s the spirit.   

 

Lemonade from Lemons

18 May

I made dinner on Saturday. It was two filets of flounder turbot which really can’t go wrong.  Marinate in olive oil then coat with gluten-free bread crumbs.  I sprinkled this dish with ground pepper, garlic powder and turmeric (see 1/11/15).  For the first time, I opted for roasted potatoes in an Ina Garten theme.  I used South Florida white potatoes, washed and cut into 1″ chunks.  I soaked them in olive oil, salted, peppered and turmeric’d them and laid them out on a flat pan.  Baked at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes (or until tender and browned). 

It was the vegetable dish that was the challenge.  I golfed Saturday morning and all I could think about was hitting the ball straight and pureed carrots.  Don’t say it.    I bought a batch of organic carrots and peeled them.  Then peeled and cut a fresh mango.  And melted 1/2 a stick of butter.  And slivered two cloves of garlic.  What could go wrong?  So I put the mix in the blender and – long story short – the black plastic thingee that turns the blender blade broke.  The smell of heated plastic was the clue.   So there I am with half the stuff in the glass jar mooshed and half not.  The original plan was to blend the carrot/mango into a puree, put in a glass bowl — then set that bowl in a bowl of water – in a 350 oven for perhaps 25 minutes.  But I switched on the fly to an unplanned Plan B.  I poured out the glop, diced the carrots and put the whole thing in the microwave (“vegetable” setting) and let ‘er rip. 

What could have been a real culinary downer actually turned out to be a “whew” moment.  Dinner was wonderful.  A little Decoy cab to wash things down.  And the Talenti gelato (banana chocolate swirl) for dessert didn’t hurt.  What sealed the deal as usual — I did the dishes.   

400 Posts

11 May

This is post number 400. I’ve been doing this blog thing for nearly four years. 

In number 200 (April 14, 2013), I talked about the most popular posts (esp. “The Wedding Ring“).  In number 300 (April 13, 2014), I referenced some of my favorite posts.  There are lots of ’em.   Granddaughters.  :)  Personal experience.  Inspirational ones (like “Be a Themostat” 4/26/14).   Cooking is fun and challenging so recipes play a role.   I occasionally lapse into editorial comment and I don’t mean to step on toes but I guess I will if you disagre with me. 

The words are mine (unless otherwise indicated) and the subjects are based on whatever strikes me at any given moment.   I’m not sure how much longer this will go but for now, number 401 is in the works.

 

Friends

6 May

Donna and I talked about “friends” while walking around the block with Daisy. Friends. We are blessed with many.  Most of those reading this post.  We have new friends. Old friends. Best friends.  There are a few friends in whom we can confide everything.  Or just about everything.  Friends we see or talk to every ten years (and we pick up where we left off) and those we talk to every day.  Think about it.  You have such friends too.  We all want friends.  Need friends.  BFF’s and just “friends.”  Guys we golf with.  People we work with.  Guys I see walking to the train station (“Hey John, howyadoin’?”).  And of course there are spouses – and family – who are ever so special — usually a few notches above the BFF category.  

Friends are good for us according to studies.  Friends keep us healthy and happy.  Even add to longevity.  Friends make us smile, laugh and cry.  We cry especially when they leave us.  Yet many folks cry because they have no friends.  All too many people are sad, lonely or depressed.  That’s why our smiles and encouragement to all we meet can be so important.  As I’ve said before, the small things you do for others may mean nothing to you.  But it may mean everything to them. . . .   

I like the wry observation of Ralph Waldo Emerson that “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”  Donna says that I take full advantage of that saying (“Scott – would you PLEASE take the lampshade off your head. . . . “).                  

Pete Rose

26 Apr

Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. Yeah I know. I know the reason he was “banned” from baseball.  Placing bets on the skill of his team. Big deal.   

Pete Rose.  Rookie of the Year.  MVP.  Most career hits ever (4,256); most games played ever (3,562); most at bats ever (14,053); most singles ever (3,315); most winning games ever (1,972); and on. And on. And on. . . . . . And the guy doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame? For dropping a few quid on his team (and a few others)? Give me a break.

Pete Rose is the elephant in the room.  He is the epitome of professional baseball.  Best in the game.  MLB would do well to recognize what is truly important.  We forgive Bill and Hillary for lies, scandals, shady dealings and the infamous “Clinton body count” (please Google the term) on a daily basis.   We should be able to forgive Pete Rose for a few wagers.  If Hillary can run for President, Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame.  Today.     

Fort Reno

23 Apr

In August 1865, the terrible pain of the Civil War was still white hot. Thousands of Confederate soldiers remained in Union prison camps. Cities in the South still smoldered and the dead of both sides — 620,000 of them (2% of America’s population) — were still being buried.   Eight hundred miles west, Chief Red Cloud of the Cheyenne Nation began “causing trouble” along the Bozeman Trail by objecting – with violence – to the incursion of troops. 

So, in August 1865, two forts were built along the Powder River in Wyoming — Fort Connor and Fort Reno.  To staff these forts, the United States offered some Confederate prisoners the option of swearing allegiance to the United States and then going off to fight Indians in Wyoming.  Many signed on.  This contingent of newly-minted American soldiers was called “galvanized Yankees.”  They went out to Wyoming, took care of business and came home — to help rebuild the South.  Fort Reno and Fort Connor were abandoned in 1868 and disintegrated.  Fort Connor became a part of the meandering Powder River and Fort Reno was overgrown and disappeared from view. 

In 1969, while I was hoofing around Wyoming, I was in Lysite (population perhaps 20) – along the Powder River – and met with Mr. Skiles — a rancher.  He took me to the site of Old Fort Reno and pointed the way through perhaps a mile of high grass.  I waded through the brush and finally arrived at a place where nothing but a few brick foundations remained.  I pulled out my trusty metal detector and went to work . . . . . After a few hours, I had found some heavily-rusted artifacts:  some nails, a few horse bridle parts and two really neat pieces — the top of a cooking pot and — a perfect axe head formed by one piece of folded steel.  The axe head had been perhaps a foot beneath the surface — in a position where it leaned against the brick foundation.  I’ve got these pieces at home.  One on my desk.  Pretty special to think about those pieces being used by some chaps — 150 years ago.  No one remembers galvanized Yankees or Fort Reno.  But I sure do. 

So this guy. . . .

19 Apr

So this poor guy was extremely embarrassed because he had one eye made of wood. Growing up, he was teased by kids who called him “Wood Eye.” “Hey Wood Eye” they would yell.  “Wood Eye.”   So he avoided social situations and social contact.  He rarely had a date.  One day he felt especially lonely.  Even though he was painfully shy — he decided to attend a dance.

He felt like leaving but he stayed — standing on the side – watching as everyone danced happily to the music.  As he looked around, he saw a young woman sitting alone.  She had been sitting there for a while.  Her hands were folded in her lap and she too was looking around. She looked okay but she had a very severe hair lip.

The guy thought what can go wrong. So he slowly walked over to her. He looked down and had all he could do to ask “may I have this dance?”

She looked up brightly, smiled and said “would I – would I!!”

He yelled at her “Hair lip! Hair lip!” And ran out of the building . . . . .

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