Archive for January, 2013

Last of the Classical!

January 31, 2013

On this the birthday of Franz Peter Schubert, why not take a moment to enjoy some of his wonderful compositions?  There’s his Unfinished Symphony (no. 8 in B Minor), Ave Marie, Serenade, and many more.  Franz Schubert is considered the last of the classical composers and one of the first romantic ones. Schubert’s music is notable for its melody and harmony.

Or if you are really in the mood to try something different, why not take the following tutorial and teach yourself how to play Serenede?  Of course, you will need to have access to a piano . . . perhaps I’ll make this my weekend project.

Some Serious Flexibility!

January 30, 2013

Here is a woman who represents the epitome of flexibility.  Man, can she contort.  And the “boa” bodysuit sure adds a nice touch of realism to this “human snake.”  This is pretty amazing in my humble opinion.


January 29, 2013

When it comes to employment, I’ve been fortunate.  From my humble beginnings on the family farm, to the part-time jobs I held as I worked my way through college, to the full-time careers I’ve pursued post-college, I’ve had job security and have managed to stay employed (and never underemployed) throughout most of my adult life.  As this infographic points out (courtesty of, finding employment to match your training or your degree is getting harder and harder to accomplish.  I know far too many people in this predicament and truly empathize with them . . . but, a job is a job.

America's PHDs on Food Stamps

College Basketball 2013, Week Thirteen!

January 28, 2013

Block_S“Twas another wild week in college basketball there were fifteen upsets among the top-25 and eight close calls (wins by two scores or less).  Three of the top-25 actually had two losses this week (Louisville [#5], Minnesota [#12], and VCU [#19]), and three unranked teams (Villanova, Georgetown, and LaSalle) recorded victories over two top-25 teams.  Michigan State had a couple of road games this week (at Wisconsin and at Indiana) and remains in the hunt near the top of the Big Ten conference (in second place for now) which now has only five teams (down from six) in the top-25 (Michigan [#2], Indiana [#7], Minnesota [#12], Michigan State [#13], and Ohio State [#14]). Next up for the Spartans this week: a home game against Illinois.  Spartans are looking good as we approach the midpoint of the conference season.  Go Green!

The upsets among the top-25 this week included:
Duke (#1) losing to Miami (#25).
Syracuse (#3) losing to unranked Villanova by four points in overtime.
Louisville (#5) losing to unranked Villanova and also losing to unranked Georgetown by only two points.
Arizona (#6) losing to unranked UCLA.
Butler (#9) losing to unranked LaSalle by only one point.
Kansas State (#11) losing to unranked Iowa State.
Minnesota (#12) losing to unranked Northwestern and also losing to unranked Wisconsin by only one point.
New Mexico (#15) losing to unranked San Diego State.
Creighton (#17) losing to unranked Drake.
NC State (#18) losing to unranked Wake Forest by only two points.
VCU (#19) losing to unranked Richmond and also losing to unranked LaSalle.
Notre Dame (#24) losing to unranked Georgetown.

The close calls (wins by six points or less [two scores]) among the top-25 this week included:
Syracuse (#3) defeating Cincinnati (#21) by only two points.
Kansas (#3) defeating Kansas State (#11) by only four points.
Indiana (#7) defeating Michigan State (#13) by only five points.
Michigan State (#13) defeating unranked Wisconsin by only two points.
New Mexico (#15) defeating unranked Colorado State by only five points.
Oregon (#16) defeating unranked Washington by only five points.
Missouri (#22) defeating unranked South Carolina by only six points.
Ole Miss (#23) defeating unranked Tennessee by only six points and defeating unranked Auburn by only two points.

The losses to higher-ranked teams among the top-25 this week included:
Kansas State (#11) losing to Kansas (#3) by only four points.
MIchigan State (#13) losing to Indiana (#7) by only five points.
Cincinnati (#21) losing to Syracuse (#3) by only two points.

National Drug Facts Week!

January 27, 2013

Did you know that tomorrow marks the start of National Drug Facts Week?  Here is part of the press release from NIDA and ONDCP.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) National Drug Facts Week (NDFW) is a health observance week to help teens shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse and to get factual answers through community-based events and activities.

In observance of National Drug Facts Week, the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s “Above the Influence” (ATI) campaign encourages community partners to work with local teens, schools, or community groups to organize an event or activity to raise awareness about the dangers of drug use. To equip community partners with guidance on how to successfully plan activities during Drug Facts Week, NIDA offers an online toolkit, complete with the booklet Drug Facts: Shatter the Myths; suggestions on how to plan activities in your community; and ideas on how to find experts to take part in local events.
The online toolkit and other FREE materials for teens are available on the National Drug Facts Week website, including the National Drug IQ challenge quiz which will become available on January 28 – the beginning of Drug Facts Week.
The “Above the Influence” campaign also provides community leaders with the ATI Activities Toolkit – a suite of activities designed to engage youth in a dialogue about the negative effects of substance use and other risky behaviors. Partners are welcome to use these materials as a supplemental resource when developing activities and tactics in addressing issues of influence, peer pressure, and risky behaviors during National Drug Facts Week. For questions or information about “Above the Influence”, please contact us at
For more information on National Drug Facts Week, including how to register your event, become a partner, or connect on Facebook, please visit the NDFW website or call 301-443-1124.

Perspi- What?

January 26, 2013

Today I will compare and contrast a couple of words that at least look similar enough (spelling-wise) despite their far different definitions/meanings.  The words in question: perspicacious and perspicuous.  For example, if you wish to characterize a person as having or showing great insight, use “perspicacious.”  If on the other hand, you wish to describe a person who expresses things clearly, use “perspicuous.”

Or, you could certainly show your perspicacity by thinking and writing perspicuously.


\pur-spi-kay-shuhs\, adjective;
1. having keen mental perception and understanding; discerning.


\per-spik-yoo-uhs\, adjective;
1. clearly expressed or presented; lucid.


January 25, 2013

paindemotivatorI have long been fond of (and was even known to have uttered a time or two) the phrase: “pain is just weakness leaving the body.”  So when I ran across this demotivator I couldn’t resist posting it.  Couple this with the fact that we have been battling a mouse problem at work since before the holidays, and this post is certainly timely and apropos.  Thanks again to the folks at for this humorous respite from the rigors of the work week.

Happy Friday!  The weekend is nearly here.

Just Like Mom Used to Make!

January 24, 2013

There was this pork chop and rice recipe that mom used to make that was simply to die for.  It was a real crowd pleaser.  And the fact that it was easy to prepare made it one of my favorites in no time at all.  Before long I was getting more and more adventurous with my cooking  and the older, simpler recipes just didn’t get prepared as often.  But that doesn’t mean they have been forgotten.  So last night, I dusted off the favorite pork chop and rice recipe and paired it with carrots au gratin (I’ll post this recipe in the next week or so) and freshly steamed broccoli.  And, being the bread-lover I am, I threw in some cheddar crescent rolls.  Then for dessert, the piece de resistance: a Triple Layer Cheesecake (I’ll highlight this recipe in next month’s “Cheesecake of the Month” posting) . . . yum!  So next time you find yourself at a loss for what to prepare for dinner, and want a quick (except for the 1-1/2 hour cooking time) and easy recipe, give this one a try.

Pork Chop and Rice

1 cup raw, long-grain rice
1 package dry onion soup mix
4-6 pork chops
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1-1/2 cups of water

Lightly grease the bootom and sides of a roasting pan. Spread the long-grain rice in the bottom of the pan. On top of the rice, sprinkle the dry onion soup mix. Brown and season your pork chops in a skillet and lay on top of the rice. Spoon the cream of mushroom soup over the top of the chops (cover them as completely as possible). Pour the water over it all. Cover and cook for 1-1/2 hours at 350 degrees.

Happy Birthday Edouard!

January 23, 2013

Edouard-ManetManet was one of the first nineteenth century artists (French painter) to utilize everyday kind of events and modern-life subjects.  And he was considered a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism.  A couple of his early masterworks The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia were quite controversial.  What’s art without a little controversy over some nudity now and again?

A couple of my favorite Manet paintings include The Railroad and The Surprised Nymph.

“It is not enough to know your craft – you have to have feeling. Science is all very well, but for us imagination is worth far more.”

“You would hardly believe how difficult it is to place a figure alone on a canvas, and to concentrate all the interest on this single and universal figure and still keep it living and real.”

Democracy or Republic?

January 22, 2013

Democracy_MobRuleDid you know that the word “democracy” cannot be found in either the Constitution or in the Declaration of Independence?  Do you know the real distinction between a democracy and a republic?  In a republic the sovereignty is in each individual person. In a democracy the sovereignty is in the group.   America is a Republic, a “government of the people, by the people, for the people?”  And, as we state in our pledge of allegiance:  ” . . . and to the Republic for which it stands . . . ”     A pure democracy is represented in this graphic — majority rule — which reminds me of Rome and a quotation from my all-time favorite movie: Gladiator, “. . . Rome is the mob . . .”

Here is a video that explains the basic types of government really well.