College Football 2014, Week Eight!

October 19, 2014

127The Michigan State Spartans were on the road for a second straight week and visited the Hoosiers of Indiana University. The Spartans won easily to remain unbeaten in the Big Ten.  The Big Ten continues to have three teams ranked in the AP top-25 poll: Michigan State (#8), Ohio State (#13) and Nebraska (#19).  Next up for the Spartans, at home to take on their cross-state rivals, the Michigan Wolverines.  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Baylor (#4) losing to unranked West Virginia
Oklahoma (#11) losing to Kansas State (#14) by only one (1) point.

The close calls this week (games that were won by a touchdown or less) included:
Florida State (#2) defeating Notre Dame (#5) by only four (4) points.
Utah (#20) defeating unranked Oregon State by only six (6) points in double overtime.
Clemson (#24) defeating unranked Boston College by only four (4) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Notre Dame (#5) losing to Florida State (#2).
Oklahoma State (#15) losing to TCU (#12).
Texas A&M (#21) losing to Alabama (#7).
Stanford (#23) losing to Arizona State (#17).

Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Eleven!

October 18, 2014

How would you classify garlic (Allium sativum)?  Herb?  Spice?  Vegetable?  What we would call garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium.  In addition to its ability to repel vampires (and mosquitoes) and cure the plague, garlic has been lauded for its antibiotic and antioxidant properties for centuries and is widely know to be beneficial for a variety of ailments.  Did you know that . . .

    • Garlic is believed to ward off heart disease, cancer, colds, and flu. The consumption of garlic lowers blood cholesterol levels. and reduces the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
    • It was even once used to treat acne, warts, and toothaches.
    • The psychological term for fear of garlic is alliumphobia.
    • The origin of National Garlic Day is unknown and it is not recorded in congressional or presidential proclamations.
    • Garlic is said to fight off evil spirits and keep vampires away.
    • If your garlic has sprouted, it is still usable although it has lost some of its flavor and health benefits.
    • The smell of garlic can be removed by running your hands under cold water while rubbing a stainless steel object.
    • Garlic is a member of the onion family which also includes leeks and shallots.
    • Its pungent flavor is due to a chemical reaction that occurs when the garlic cells are broken. The flavor is most intense just after mincing.
    • The majority of garlic (90%) grown in the United States comes from California (Gilroy, California is the “Garlic Capital of the World”).
    • If your rose garden is being attacked by aphids, an excellent home remedy to get rid of them is to spritz the leaves and blooms with a mixture of crushed garlic and water.
    • When picking out garlic at the grocery store, choose firm, tight, heavy dry bulbs.
    • Garlic has been used to infuse vodka and as an ingredient to make cocktails.
    • At ancient Greek and Roman marriages the brides carried bouquets of garlic and other herbs instead of flowers.

Here’s a link to some more garlic superstitions, folklore, and facts.



October 17, 2014

And since it is Friday, allow me to indulge in a bit of humor.  For those of you who know me well, you are aware that I do not own a television, and that I haven’t had a television for over twenty years.  So when I was browsing through my copy of The Cynic’s Dictionary, I came across an entry that struck me as amusing (as do most of the entries in this dictionary).  Here are some of the cynical definitions of “television.”  Enjoy!

“An invention that permits you to be entertained in your living-room by people you wouldn’t have in your home.”  (David Frost)

“A device that permits people who haven’t anything to do watch people who can’t do anything.”  (Fred Allen)

“A medium — because it is neither rare nor well done.”  (Ernie Kovacs)

“A form of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time and yet remain lonesome.”  (T.S. Eliot)

“Where old movies go when they die.”  (Bob Hope)

“Natures way of telling us we should have gone out and done something enjoyable.”  (Gene Perret)

Don’t Spoil Your Appetite!

October 16, 2014

This Goop poem warns of the hazards of nibbling on too many snacks prior to dinner.  Hmm, how many times had you heard the same admonishment: “. . . no more snacks or you’ll spoil your appetite for dinner!”?

Nell the Nibbler
She ate some chocolate drops at 1,
At 2, she thought she’d take
A little jelly and a bun;
At 3, some frosted cake.
At 4, she nibbled at a roll;
At 5 a doughnut spied,
And ate it (all except the hole),
And then some cookies tried.
At 6, she didn’t feel quite right,
And didn’t care fo rdinner.
She said she’d had no appetite,
With so much Goop-food in her!

Source: More Goops and How Not to Be Them: a Manual of Manners for Impolite Infants Depicting the Characteristics of Many Naughty and Thoughtless Children by Gelett Burgess.

Cheesecake of the Month – October 2014!

October 15, 2014

Here is a wonderful cheesecake recipe that is reminiscent of the traditional Greek baklava and is sure to please . . . from the flaky phyllo crust, to the nuts, to the honey . . . ecstasy!

Honey-Nut Cheesecake

1/2 cup ground walnuts or hazelnuts (aka filberts)
2 Tablespoons of sugar
12 sheets of frozen phyllo dough (14 x 9-inch rectangles), thawed
1/2 cup of butter, melted
2 packages (8-ounces each) of cream cheese, softened
1 carton (8-ounce) of Mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup of honey
2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons of finely shredded lemon peel

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan.  In a small bowl, combine the ground nuts and sugar and set aside.

2.  Unfold the phyllo dough; remove one sheet at a time (while you are working, keep the remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out).  Brush the phyllo sheet with  some of the melted butter.  Place another sheet on top, rotating it slightly  to stagger the corners  Brush with a little more butter (hmm, I’m liking this a lot already).  Repeat with the remaining phyllo and butter.

3.  Ease the phyllo stack into the prepared pan, pleating it as necessary and being careful not to tear the sheets.  Let the excess phyllo hang over the side of the pan.  Sprinkle the nut mixture over the phyllo dough.

4.  In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, honey, and flour.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth.  Beat in the milk.  Stir in the eggs and the lemon peel and pour the batter into the phyllo-lined pan.  Place in a shallow baking dish.

5.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the center appears nearly set when gently shaken.  Coll on a wire rack for 1 hour.  Loosen the phyllo crust from the side and remove the sides of the pan.  Cool the cheesecake for 1 hour more.  Cover and chill for 6 to 24 hours.


Remember This!

October 14, 2014

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the outlook for the change in the percentage of Americans 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease from 2014 through 2025 varies greatly from state to state.  While eleven states exceed the 50% mark, only six states are below the 20% mark.  Considering the remaining 2/3 of the states, Oklahoma doesn’t look too bad at only 27%.

Highest percentage of projected change:
1. Alaska (80%)
2. Nevada (73%)
3. Arizona (67%)
4. New Mexico (56%)
5. Vermont (55%)
6. Wyoming (53%)
7. South Carolina (52%)
8. Montana (50%)
8. Idaho (50%)
8. Utah (50%)

Lowest percentage of projected change:
1.  Washington, DC (-2%)
2. North Dakota (14%)
3. Iowa (18%)
3. Missouri (18%)
5. Ohio (19%)
5. Pennsylvania (19%)

Source: AARP Bulletin, October 2014.


October 13, 2014

Having a bit of a musical background, I am able to appreciation a variety of music styles.  Whenever I encounter a particularly canorous tune, it really makes my day and picks up my spirits.  And when the melody is further enhanced through harmony . . . it can be quite heavenly.


\kuh-NOR-us; KAN-or-uhs\, adjective;

Richly melodious; pleasant sounding; musical.

College Football 2014, Week Seven!

October 12, 2014

127The Michigan State Spartans were on the road this week to take on the Purdue Boilermakers.  And, while the Spartans seemed to control the first three quarters rather easily, another fourth quarter “let down” made the game much closer than it should have been.  The Spartans still prevailed with a victory, but this loyal Spartan fan had some nail-biting moments toward the finish.  And while there were only a couple of upsets this week, several teams had some close calls enroute to their victories.   The Big Ten currently only has three teams ranked in the AP top-25 poll: Michigan State (#8),  Ohio State (#15), and Nebraska (#21).  There are only five remaining unbeaten teams in the top-25 (Florida State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Baylor, and Notre Dame).   Next up for the Spartans, a second road game to Bloomington, Indiana, to take on the Indiana Hoosiers.  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Auburn (#2) losing to Mississippi State (#3).
Arizona (#10) losing to unranked USC by only two (2) points.
Georgia Tech (#22) losing to unranked Duke by six (6) points.

The close calls this week (games that were won by a touchdown or less) included:
Baylor (#5) defeating TCU (#9) by only three (3) points.
Notre Dame (#6) defeating unranked North Carolina by only seven (7) points.
Alabama (#7) defeating unranked Arkansas by only one (1) point.
Oklahoma (#11) defeating unranked Texas by only five (5) points.
Oklahoma State (#16) defeating unranked Kansas by only seven (7) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Ole Miss (#3) defeating Texas A&M (#14).
Baylor (#5) defeating TCU (#9).
Oregon (#12) defeating UCLA (#18).
Georgia (#13) defeating Missouri (#23).

Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Ten!

October 11, 2014

We are a nation obsessed with our food.  Take for example the popular reality television show Man vs Food where Adam Richman eats his way across America taking on one ludicrous eating challenge after another.  One long-standing “contest” (since 1972) occurs every 4th of July in Coney Island, New York (a Brooklyn Neighborhood) — Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest!  The winner in the men’s division this year was Joey Chestnut (eighth year in a row) who comsumed 61 hot dogs (and the buns) in 10 minutes (the runner up consumed 56).  Wow, that’s a lot of hot dogs.  The female winner this year was Miki Sudo who consumed 34 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes while the female runner-up consumed 27.75.

Interestingly enough, women competed against the men until 2011 when a separate contest for the women was begun.

Here’s a link to the list of past winners.

If you were ever inclined to enter a food-eating contest, what food would you choose and why?

A Collector’s Portfolio!

October 10, 2014

IMG_0747Last summer while on vacation in the Traverse City, Michigan area, I was fortunate enough meet one of the local artists (Charles R. Murphy) and acquire “The Art of Charles R. Murphy: a Collector’s Portfolio.”  The limited edition (250), numbered, and signed portfolio includes articles and information about the artist and the giclee print process as well as a collection of eight (8) giclee prints (signed by the artist).  I had purchased one of his original watercolor paintings (Granite Valley)a few years ago and was delighted to add this collection of giclee prints to my collection.  Here is the first installment.  Title: Neighborhood Fabric #8, Artist: Charles R. Murphy, Medium: giclee print, Enjoyment: complete!


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