Archive for January, 2016


January 31, 2016

Here is an amazing song (Gratitude), by an amazing talent (Amin Toofani on guitar) that has been around for a few years.  Enjoy!


Cheesy Turkey Bacon Bites!

January 30, 2016

If you like cheese, if you like turkey, and if you like bacon (and heaven help you if you like all three), here is a quick and easy cheesy appetizer to try out before your next dinner party.

Inside-Out Hot Brown Bites
Cooking spray
1-1/2 (5 ounce) finely chopped Parmesan cheese
1-2/3 cups milk
¼ cup butter
3 T all-purpose flour
½ cup (2 ounce) shredded medium Cheddar cheese
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper
4 ounces thinly sliced deli turkey cut into 2” squares
4 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
½ cup diced fresh tomato
Garnish: fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil, and lightly coat with cooking spray.  Spoon Parmesan cheese by T ½ inch apart onto prepared baking sheets forming 12 (2-1/2 inch) rounds on each sheet.
  2. Bake 1 sheet at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and beginning to set. Working quickly, transfer cheese rounds to a lightly greased 24-cup miniature muffin pan pressing gently into each cup to form shells.  Repeat procedure with second baking tray.
  3. Microwave milk for 30 seconds on high or until warm. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Whisk in flour; cook whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened.  Whisk in shredded Cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.
  4. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Line each Parmesan shell with 2 turkey pieces and fill each with 1 t cheese sauce.  Bake 5 minutes.  Remove from pan to wire rack and top with crumbled bacon and diced tomato.

“Once Upon a Midnight Dreary, . . . “

January 29, 2016

“. . . while I pondered,
weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten
lore —
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came
a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my
chamber door.”   The Raven [1845], st. 1

On this day in 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was published for the first time in the New York Evening Mirror.


January 28, 2016

Here’s the next installment of manners and etiquette (courtesy of the Goops)?

I’m sure that I would rather die
Than have my playtmates see me cry;
It twists your face and knots your forehead,
And makes you look all cross and horrid;
And every one who sees you cries
“What is the matter with your eyes?”

Source: Goops and How to Be Them: a Manual of Manners for Polite Infants Inculcating Many Juvenile Virtues Both by Precept and Example by Gelett Burgess.

Simply Wonderful!

January 27, 2016

While I truly enjoy my job/occupation, I also look forward to that frabjous day when I will be able to officially retire and be paid to not work.


frab-juh s \, adjective;

 1.  wonderful, elegant, superb, or delicious.

This word was first coined by Lewis Carroll (1872) in Through the Looking Glass; possibly an attempt to combine “fabulous” and “joyous.”

College Basketball 2016, Week Twelve!

January 26, 2016

127 Wow, the upsets continue.  Following a three-game losing streak (losing two of them by only one point) Michigan State was finally able to get a win against #7 Maryland. What a wild year in college basketball.  It just further proves that on any given night, any team can beat any other team (ranked or not).  And, SMU suffered its first loss of the season; there are no undefeated teams remaining in the top-25.  The Big Ten currently has five (5) teams in the AP top-25: Iowa (#3), Maryland (#8), Michigan State (#12),  Indiana (#19), and Purdue (#21).

Next up for the Spartans: on the road against Northwestern (Thursday) and then at home against Rutgers (Sunday).  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Kansas (#3) losing to unranked Oklahoma State.
Kansas (#4) losing to Iowa State (#14).
Villanova (#4) losing to Providence (#16) by six (6) points.
Xavier (#5) losing to unranked Georgetown.
West Virginia (#6) losing to unranked Texas.
Maryland (#7) losing to Michigan State (#11).
SMU (#8) losing to unranked Temple.
Michigan State (#11) losing to Nebraska by one (1) point.
Arizona (#12) losing to unranked California by one (1) point.
Butler (#18) losing to unranked Creighton.
USC (#21) losing to unranked Oregon.
USC (#21) losing to unranked Oregon State.
South Carolina (#24) losing to unranked Tennessee.

The close calls this week (won by six points or less [two scores] or in overtime) included:
North Carolina (#2) defeating unranked Virginia Tech by five (5) points.
Villanova (#4) defeating unranked Seton Hall by one (1) point.
West Virginia (#6) defeating unranked Texas Tech by four (4) points.
Maryland (#7) defeating unranked Northwestern by six (6) points in overtime.
SMU (#8) defeating unranked Houston by four (4) points.
Providence (#16) defeating Butler (#18) by three (3) points.
Louisville (#17) defeating unranked Georgia Tech  by four (4) points.
South Carolina (#24) defeating Ole Miss by three (3) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Oklahoma (#1) defeating Baylor (#13).
Iowa (#9) defeating Purdue (#22).
Miami (#15) defeating Duke (#24).
Providence (#16) defeating Butler (#18) by three (3) points.

Baked Ravioli!

January 25, 2016

When I have served ravioli in the past, I normally just boil the pasta and top it with my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce.  Last week I ran across a recipe that takes my process one step further — you top it with cheese and bake it in the oven.  The obvious benefit to this variation: you can make this a day ahead  and then just pop it in the oven . . . perfect for those days when you know you don’t have a lot of time for the prep.  Enjoy!

Baked Ravioli

2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons of dried thyme, or oregano
1 can (28-ounces) whole tomatoes
1 can (28-ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 pounds frozen ravioli
1-1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and season with the salt and pepper.  Cook while stirring occasionally until softened (about 5 minutes).  Add the thyme and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer (breaking up the tomatoes as you go) until the sauce is thickened and reduced to about 5-1/2 cups (20-25 minutes).

2.  Meanwhile, cook the ravioli in a large pot of boiling salt water just until they float to the top (pasta will continue to cook in the oven).  Drain the pasta and return to the pot.

3.  Toss the sauce with the pasta.  Pour the pasta into a 13×9 baking dish and sprinkle with the cheeses.  Bake until golden (about 20-25 minutes).  Cool slightly before serving.

Humor Me!

January 24, 2016

Here’s a joke that has been around a while; rumor had it that it was based on a true story (which is difficult to substantiate).  Funny nonetheless (despite procedural inaccuracies).

Recently a routine police patrol was parked outside a bar in Austin,Texas. Following the “last call” for drinks, the officer noticed a man leaving the bar who was apparently so intoxicated that he could barely walk. The man stumbled around the parking lot for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing.

After what seemed an eternity in which he tried his keys on five different vehicles,the man managed to find his car and fell into it. He sat there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the bar and drove off.

Finally he started the car, switched the wipers on and off–it was a fine, dry summer night–, flicked the blinkers on and off a couple of times, honked the horn and then switched on the lights.

He moved the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little and then remained still for a few more minutes as some more of the other patrons left in their vehicles. At last, when his was the only car left in the parking lot, he pulled out and drove slowly down the road.

The police officer, having waited patiently all this time, now started up his patrol car, put on the flashing lights, promptly pulled the man over and administered a breathalyzer test.To his amazement, the breathalyzer indicated no evidence that the man had consumed any alcohol at all! Dumbfounded, the officer said, “I’ll have to ask you to accompany me to the police station. This breathalyzer equipment must be broken.”

“I doubt it,” said the truly proud Redneck. “Tonight, I’m the designated decoy.”

Baby Boomers and 2016!

January 23, 2016

Did you know that the oldest baby boomers will be turning 70 in 2016? Here is a snapshot look at the demographics of these boomers:

  • Ethnicity
    • 76% Caucasian
    • 9% African-American
    • 9% Hispanic
    • 5% Asian
    • 2% other
  • Education
    • 30% are College graduates
    • 14% hold an advanced degree
  • Wealth
    • $55,900 is the median household income
    • 78% live in a single-family home
  • Marriage
    • 62% have been married once
    • 23% married twice
    • 9% married three or more times
    • 6% never married
  • Military service
    • 40% male
    • 1% female
  • Turning 70 in 2016
    • 3.4 million were born in 1946
    • 2.1 million still living
  • Politics
    • 38% Democrat
    • 36% Republican
    • 12% Independent
    • 13% none
  • Voter turnout
    • 84% vote in local elections
    • 84% vote in statewide elections
    • 91% vote in presidential elections

Here are some of the celebrities who will be turning 70 this year:

  • Danny DeVito
  • Michael Douglas (Jr.)
  • Dianna Ross
  • Timothy Dalton
  • George Lucas
  • John Rhys-Davies
  • Jacqueline Bisset
  • Danny Trejo
  • Sam Elliott
  • Stockard Channing
  • Gary Busey
  • Barbara Carrera
  • Ken Howard
  • Dennis Franz
  • Richard Belzer
  • Gladys Knight
  • Lorne Michaels
  • Ben Stein
  • Cathy Lee Crosby
  • Tim Reid

Source: AARP Bulletin, Jan/Feb 2016 issue, 2014 American Community Survey, and 2013 Scarborough USA+ Survey.

Watch Your Speed!

January 22, 2016

Did you know that today marks the tenth anniversary of the use of digital photography to enforce speed limits?  This initiative began in Scottsdale, Arizona, on the freeway known as Loop 11.  Through the use of digital equipment, the city was able to capture the photos of drivers traveling in excess of the speed limit and started sending traffic citations to these violators via the mail.

Today also marks the anniversaries of . . .

  • the creation of the first National manufacturing association (1895) — The National Association of Manufacturers of the United States — at a convention held in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Thomas P. Dolan was the first President of the association.
  • the first commercial television station west of the Mississippi River (1947) — KTLA-TV, Hollywood, California, which began operations at 8:30 PM from a converted garage.  The announcer was Dick Lane.
  • the development of the first anti-aging skin cream (1988) — despite being first formulated in 1968 by Albert Klingman (a dermatology professor at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School), the first clear evidence of this product’s anti-aging properties weren’t reported until 1988 by John Voorhees (and colleagues) at the University of Michigan Medical Center in the January 22nd issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Source: Famous First Facts (6th ed.), by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, & Janet Podell.