Saturday, February 28, 2015

All the news...

The Weather Pages

Guess what?? Tomorrow (or today, or yesterday, depending when your eyes fall on this) is the first day of spring!!  Meteorologically speaking.  Practically speaking, we still got snow on the ground and are expecting more (or a wintry mix, or rain) tomorrow.  Seems like it will never end.  And, I believe to further rub it in Daylight Savings Time starts next week..  Lions and lambs…

Living “on the water” as they say, always provides something interesting to see, whether it is bright sun illuminating the same three crafts that I somehow never tire of photographing

Or maybe a fresh sunrise when the oyster boats start arriving to work the beds

And spend most of the day in (lately) the icy waters harvesting the bivalves

Perhaps a subject for a future post, while in the “old days” they used hand tongs for gathering the oysters. But, most of what we see today are referred to as “patent tongers”, and described from one source: “the patent tong is similar to the metal part of hand tongs, but they are larger. They are hinged so that they open as they are lowered and close as they are lifted. They are attached to a cable instead of wooden handles. A motor aboard the boat raises and lowers them. The patent tongs allow the watermen to gather a larger amount of oysters in a shorter time.”

So they spend their long day dropping their clamshells down to the bottom, closing them, haul them up, dump on the sorting table, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat……

We often see them in groups

A hardy breed of people.  Hope the bay and oysters (and crabs) survive our assault on them.  That culture needs to remain..

The Food Pages (Can’t escape)

Well, I had no choice but to break my more or less solemn vow to never support chains when I can possibly avoid them.  And, the other night a board meeting of one of the civic associations I belong to held at

So I had no option but to go in.  Actually, to be brutally honest (as I sometimes am), I have had a morbid curiosity as to what the inside was like.  I had watched it rise from the ashes of its chain predecessor McDonalds at the same location.  I gather the process is that you come in the door, pay some fee, and then you are turned loose to consume as much as you wish, or can.  It seems to be larger inside than what you might expect from the outside.  The “food side” consists of more steam table stuff than you can possibly imagine (and this isn’t the whole lineup)

And, as you can see tables on the other side.  There is probably one of every kind of item you can imagine all grouped below clever signs denoting the type available in that section

And while I didn’t partake some did. 

With apologies to the owner of the plate it isn't very appetizing.  We were in a separate room, but I kept my eye open on the main space and noted people trooping up to the bar time after time.  Oh, and they don’t serve any type of alcohol, so our Board won’t be using them again.  So hopefully that will be the last time the Bottom Feeder steps foot inside this latest entry to the chain.  By the way, the place was quite full..  sigh..

More bites:

The new Popeye’s near us seems to be doing gangbuster business.  Don’t know if it is the newness factor or the food, but have seen their drive through line wrap around the building. Of course I never have sampled their fare (and won’t – despite that despicable commercial on TV begging me to try “her” shrimp… hunny).  A facebooker recently complained her fries were cold.  Awww, too bad.

Apparently the Jamaican place south of the base’s gate three will be leaving the old “Charlie’s Deli” location to occupy the spaces once used for Cerro Grande here in “the Park” behind the Belvedere – oops I mean Day’s Inn.

There’s something going on in San Souci, with rumors circulating that the strip of stores along the Coffee Quarter side (including Bollywood) will be vacated for a Burlington Coat Factory.

In Leonardtown, the old Winegardner used car show room near the corner of Hollywood Leonardtown Road and Rte 5 will become a Dunkin’ Donuts.   Guess it could be worse, but will mark the “chain” camel’s nose under the tent near the downtown. 

What we used to know as The Tides, will soon become Elements Eatery and Mixology, presided over by the former proprietor of Blue Wind Gourmet, which is now presided over by the former proprietor of DB McMillan’s. 

And finally, those of you/us that are pretty much driven to patronize “chain” grocery outlets (Shoppers, Giant, Food Lion, etc.) might enjoy an occasional jaunt to Prince Frederick and visit “Nick’s of Calvert”, sister to the one in Clinton.  They feature custom cut meats at very reasonable prices, and somehow, unlike St. Mary's, can sell beer, wine, and liquor, also at very reasonable prices, and have a great variety.   They have a large section devoted to (kind of) local beers from breweries like DuClaw, Raven, Heavy Seas, Mully’s, and others. They did not, however have the Gin I am seeking, Half Moon Orchard.  I have also found that the staff is very helpful and nice (are you finding everything?).  A nice place, too bad it (seems) so far away.  I think the Prince Frederick location is much nicer that the (yes, older) one by Waldorf.

So that’s it, enjoy your spring and please don’t forget to

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This and That..


Well, it got me again.  MFO was asked to make a presentation to the local Genealogical Society on how to preserve their “stuff”, old photos, newspaper articles, letters, etc., things that relatives tend to hang on to and pass to surviving relatives.   Hand me downs tend to pile up in basements and attics and then somebody takes an interest in keeping them but they are not sure how to preserve them.  Enter the archivist!

So MFO put together a very nice program covering the various options for making sure these things will survive human, insects, humidity, light, and all the enemies of things historical.  It was of course was in the form of a powerpoint presentation, which i was to manage while she spoke.

Which then led me to face,  once again, my enemy: “technology”.  Remembering my recent losing battle with the demon wires and cables, I decided that this time (By Golly) I would be ready.  I got a “loaner” projector, cables and such, set it up in my office, brought in my IT support staff who walked me through the process of “this little thing plugs in here; Fn F8 will toggle between laptop display and projector; don’t be afraid when the laptop changes aspect ratio; start Powerpoint, then Slide Show” etc.  In the end I had the presentation on the laptop, and as a backup also on a “stick”.

Further, I even talked to people who had been to the Higher Ed center recently and was assured that “everything works fine”.  I even asked a friend to bring his projector so I would have my loaner and his; nothing can go wrong!

So after practicing a couple of times with the home lashup, we went to the Higher Ed Center a full forty five minutes early to set things up.  In the meeting room were two ceiling mounted projectors aimed at two screens on either side of the podium which also contained the dangling wires.  Perfect!  I set up my laptop, called up the presentation, knew exactly what to do with the VGA cable, plugged it into the port on the computer, turned on the projectors, and…. By this time I’m sure you know where this is going… nothing.  “NO INPUT DETECTED” was clearly and boldly projected on the screens.  Unplug, plug, restart, open, Fn F8, “NO INPUT..” resolutely remained for all to see.  The chair of the meeting said she would go and get the IT guy who would make it all play.  Young, eager kid.  Good deal.  Fuss, trace wires, scratch head, go get another little terminal box, re-hook up….”NO IN….”.

After more head scratching, and “I don’t understand this”,  I mentioned that I had the presentation on a stick, he allowed as how maybe we should try that.  Inserted into “their” desktop, everything perked up and worked fine.   She proceeded to dazzle them with the array of “things” you can get for preservation, tips on storage practices, how to handle documents, everything..   They were all very appreciative of her talk.  There is equipment for preserving everything.  

So, once again careful preparation may mean nothing.. (be hopeful, but always carry a stick).

Check, please!

After we returned home, we enjoyed a victory (content wise, not hardware) cocktail.  Speaking of which (the clever writer segues into a favorite subject), there was an interesting article in the Washington Post Food section last week.  It featured a picture of what turned out to be a Manhattan, a story was about “How’d We Get to The $22 Cocktail?”.   Seems that the Rye Bar in the Capella Hotel in Georgetown is serving a Manhattan for that price.   There is discussion on how and why one should pay that sum for that drink.  Many things go into the bottom line.  Ingredients, handling, and so forth.  A classic Manhattan is Rye (more often now Bourbon), bitters, and sweet vermouth.  (the bottom feeder substitutes Dry Vermouth, and omits the bitters).  First, for this beauty, the drink is mixed six weeks before it sees a glass and spends its time in a 55 gallon charred bourbon barrel to age.  It is made with Dad’s Hat rye ($42 for 750ml), Dolin Vermouth (~$15) , a dash of Byrrh ($25), homemade bitters (?), and served with an orange peel.   Tasting notes include terms like “coffee, almonds, and vanilla.  Why there is no cherry component, I am not sure.  Is it worth it?  They say yes, as do many people since they have been serving it for a couple of years.  The article goes on to talk about “expensive” cocktails, with “The Cocktail Bill” served at Fiola (D.C.) for $45.  It is remarkably like a Sazerac.   They do mention that the “typical” cocktail goes for about $12 - $14 (at big city bars).  Interesting piece..

Steinbeck was right..

It IS the Winter of our Discontent…  seems like it refuses to release us from its grip.  We have however, enjoyed watching the ebb and flow of the ice, more than we’ve ever seen.  This morning there was only a small patch of “clear” water (the dark blue strip below), although I imagine the ice wasn’t very thick.  Not many working boats out this morning..

And same thing toward the bridge:

And no, we have NOT opened the pool, it’s just the accumulated (frozen) water and ice from the recent storms on the pool cover.  

Beer Dinner

We went down to the Ruddy Duck Ale and Seafood House last Sunday for their first “beer dinner”.  I have pretty much sworn off “wine dinners” because mostly they tend to be an opportunity for the distributor rather than for the diners.  How many times have you heard: “here’s a fun little wine”, which, oh by the way is available for purchase.  So, I was kind of interested in seeing how a beer based dinner would be handled.  The passionate (I don’t use that word often, but it fits here) head brewer at Ruddy Duck, Matt (Glass), spoke about each of the five beers offered, what its flavor profile was and such.  A nice touch was that each beer was served with a “contrasting” as well as a “complimentary” food item.  Michael Kelley talked a little about the food with each course (Chef Nelson was in the kitchen for this event).   The beers kind of ran the gamut from lighter to heavier and darker.   Of course, like wine, you like what you like, and you don’t like what I like kind of thing, a proper situation.  But, my favorite beer was a Schwarzbier; a dark German Lager.  It was served appropriately with a house made smoked bacon and duck sausage, with an imaginative little accent of a “chocolate dipped bacon straw”.  

A little story accompanied the beer called “Badian Brown”, and I won’t get the details correctly, but an apprentice brewer named “Ian” made a faux pas when trying to brew something else and came up with a brown beer that was not originally intended.  Hence the “bad” part…  But, however, comma, regardless of the intent he came up with a pretty nice brew, on the order of a Newcastle Brown Ale.  Quite tasty.  It was served with a complimentary dish of Lobster Risotto and contrasting Rockfish Skewers/Malt vinegar (think fish and chips). 

Anyway, keep your eyes open for another.  And Matt NEVER used the phrase “fun little beer”..

And yes, we were


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Storm Stories

Well, I hope all those people who have been wistfully pining for “real winter” are happy now.  I think their wishes were answered. What a run it’s been lately.  Living on the water always adds extra interest to any weather that happens by, and after the “big wind” day (see last post) our shore line was as far “out” (i.e., as low a water level) as we had ever seen it

extending to almost the end of our neighbor’s pier.  And, as cold as the temperatures were, you can see it gave all the pier footings “socks”.  MFO allowed as how they made the pilings look like Clydesdales. 

And what is it about President’s Day?  Why is there always a storm?.. c’mon George and Abe, give us a break!!  But, there it is..

Our storm saga begins with preparations last night before it really got snowing, gathering batteries, flashlights, and especially following conventional medical advice to hydrate and consume plenty of liquids..

And besides hydration you have to make sure you store calories, in this case a dandy hot ham and cheese and bowl of nourishing chicken noodle soup.

Note that Ball Cap, unlike SOMD tradition is NOT on the head (frontward OR backward), and hydration continues

Then came the long, demon filled dark night… Is the power still on?.. is the furnace out of propane?  What was that noise?  Is it STILL snowing?  Would the generator start? (yes, no, don’t know, yes, and thankfully not tested) and we finally awoke this morning to a sight we have not seen since living here (not just in the house, the whole area) for 18 years.  Actual ice on the river.

It stretched almost across to the Solomon’s.  I posted one on Facebook, and got a reply from somebody who remembered their grandfather talking about driving over to the Solomon’s on the ice.  They guessed it was in the late 40’s or early 50’s.
Anyway, of course everybody on Facebook has to post a picture of snow on “something”, so I joined in with my trashy version

And the scientific metering device.

Which, in order to save your eyes, was indicating about a healthy seven inches.   Think we were, for once, the epicenter at least in Maryland.

And a friend from over near Leonardtown was kind enough to share her version of a more mobile gage, the: “Corgi Snow Meter”

And while humans and beasts (don’t forget the birds, folks) are toiling with the elements, our dancers, just twirled and gazed out at the ice filled river

But perhaps the nicest sight of all on a day like this is a friend who doesn’t ask, just says “I’ll be over” and does. 

And before we depart, just a mention of another of our favorite sporting events, the Westminster Dog show.  It was on last night and will conclude tonight with a few more groups and the coveted “Best In Show”.  Our Granddog “Stanley” the Wire Haired Pointing Griffon, better known as a “Griff” will be competing in the Sporting Dog class.  Every year I comment on the show, and every year I say pretty much the same thing, the real show is watching the “handlers”.  I’m sure they are paid handsomely, but it doesn’t seem that many of them invest their wages in clothes or memberships at the gym.  With a few exceptions, they are generally, how can I politely say this, potential candidates for the Biggest Loser Show.  And instead of wearing slimming clothing the are in some frumpy baggy dress or oddly colored ill-fitting sport coats.  And by God, a lot of them still carry the little treats for the canines IN THEIR MOUTH. 

Anyway, we will anticipate the finale tonight with perhaps a little less angst and one eye out the window.  And after yesterday and last night, I’ll be damned if I will be


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Take another little piece of my Heart...

Well, did you have a nice Valentine’s Day as we did yesterday?  More on that in a moment, but we awoke this morning to gale like conditions whipping the river into a frenzy

At least we’re not shoveling stuff like those folks up in New England.   As a quick aside, there are those (and I think I’ve taken crap for expressing this opinion before) who keep on wishing for snow.  Especially on face book, every time there is a prediction for snow, there are always those who say something like “bring it on!”.   I never quite understand their motive.  Yes, it is pretty (for a while) but anything over an inch or so is not welcome in this office.  You could always drive up to Boston...

Enough of that.  Back to St. Valentines.   Anybody who knows MFO and myself would never accuse us of being “romantic”.  I am sure there are those who have been hitched for over fifty years like us who are still “in love” and express it, but we don’t.  The fact that we’ve endured each other for that length of time probably says something.    Anyway, one of the things we do both love is….(wait for it….) food!  What a surprise.   So, rather than attempt any outing on what some restaurant people would call “amateur night” we stayed in.  And, we had ourselves a pretty nice meal.

However, being together for over half a century must result in some connection, because we both came up with the same idea for dinner.    I don’t know how many of the readers remember the early days of food television when there was a show called “The Galloping Gourmet”, which debuted in 1969, before anybody ever dreamed of Iron Chef, and crap like that.  It featured  Graham Kerr as (the British) galloping chef.  He was always lighthearted, had a great enthusiasm for cooking, and a glass of wine was never far from his hand during the show.  He always ended the show by inviting somebody from the audience to share the dish (and a glass of wine) he prepared.   The series terminated as a result of a rather serious car accident.  A quick internet check reveals he is still alive at 81.  Hope he still enjoys his wine.

Anyhow, MFO latched on to one of his dishes called “chicken for two”, consisting of chicken breasts, onions and green peppers, tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, capers, and (surprise) wine.  We break that out occasionally so yesterday seemed like a perfect time to revisit it.   Also, fittingly for the day, we paired some shrimp (and remoulade) with a bottle of (very good) bubbly for cocktails

For the Chicken, I dug deep in the cellar and came up with a nicely aged bottle of Chardonnay from the always reliable Talbott Vineyards I think procured during a trip to the Monterey peninsula (read on)...

Serving the chicken over pasta made a very nice plate

And, to cap off the meal MFO prepared a lovely Apple Pie, appropriately decorated

So it was a very nice evening, hope yours was as well.  


And today is another special day in the sports world, probably my second favorite golfing event, the final round of Pebble Beach (the same round of the Master’s remains premier).   Not only because of its natural beauty, but a lot because I had the chance to play the course with FOJTE as part of his fortieth birthday celebration.    One of my most cherished (life) memories was walking up the 18th fairway, and (if you don’t count that shot that went in the Pacific ocean) I think I parred the hole (don’t correct me FOJ if I’m wrong).  But the best part was that the “ladies” were waiting for our group on the patio of the Lodge, at a table with a chilled DMOTRWAT cocktail waiting for me along side a dish of warmed nuts.  We enjoyed recounting the round, looking over that famous golf hole to the azure ocean.  Priceless.

We also had some nice dinners there for which we shed the golf togs to be


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cheese, Chapels, and Cubes..

Have you ever noticed how much toothpaste is actually left in the tube when it seems empty?

What caused that, I don’t know (well, actually just the voice of experience).

Not too much going on lately, just a few this and that’s…

Cheese Please!

We joined another couple for dinner at Bistro Belle Maison last Friday, and experienced the “new” menu which will remain more or less constant for a while, and the daily specials are on a chalk board on the wall.  Gone is the little letter sized single page with just small and main plates.  The “new” is larger, and I think without counting there may have been more selections on this menu than the old one pager.  Personally I liked the little one, but then I don’t run the place. One of the options on the menu was a Duck Confit, which I was attracted to, but a bout with a delicate stomach lately steered me toward a Coq au Vin selection.

Normally, I begin an evening dinner with a cocktail, and lately I have sort of steered away from my DMOTRWAT when going out, because: a) I don’t want to go through the hassle of explaining or returning the DM, and b) I have taken to having my cocktails “up” so they are not watered down (so no OTR), and c) they are much more attractive that way.   So generally when out, I will have a martini, generally with gin, although Gray Goose gets the nod occasionally.  And all the drinks get a lemon twist (so the WAT still applies).  And, any drink served up with clear alcohol should be stirred, not shaken.  Hey! Wait a minute Bottom Feeder!!  What about that iconic bon vivant James Bond who always wanted his (vodka) martini “Shaken, not Stirred”?  well, I thought the same thing, and found a little article that purportedly addressed that very point.  A team of doctors in England conducted a thorough study of the famous spy.   Apparently every December they undertake a somewhat tongue in cheek study, and in 2013 they launched an investigation based on their premise: “Ideally, vodka martinis should be stirred, not shaken,” the researchers report in the British Medical Journal’s Christmas issue. “That Bond would make such an elementary mistake in his preferences seemed incongruous with his otherwise impeccable mastery of culinary etiquette.””  After dissecting all Fleming’s novels of Bond, they came to the conclusion that: The heavy-drinking 007 most likely suffered from an alcohol-induced tremor that forced him to shake his martinis. In fact, they argue, the British Secret Intelligence Service agent with a license to kill consumed so much alcohol that he ought to be dead”  if you would like to read the full article, I’ll include the link here.

Whew, anyway, a shaken (up) martini will get watered down, and will be served with a myriad of little bubbles which destroys the crystal clear appearance of the drink.  Back to the point, the last time I was at the Bistro they had Green Hat Gin (distilled in DC), along with others (including Hendrick’s which I don’t so much care for).  So I tried that, it was a bit floral but different, so I asked if they had that this time.  No, they didn’t but they did have Half Moon Orchard Gin, a New York product distilled from wheat and apples.  Okay, I’ll try that.  I actually liked it better than (I remembered) the Green Hat.  Wasn’t quite as herbal and not overpoweringly floral.   I haven’t looked for it locally, but on the web the damn stuff is expensive, at least on a single bottle retail basis.

Finally getting around to the food, we ordered a cheese plate for the table, a chalk board Seared Ahi Tuna, two Coq au Vins and MFO two small plates, a beet salad and some little turkey meat balls.  Tough to find a good cheese plate around here, but if you’re a cheese head (non football) this one is a keeper.  Large portions, obviously just cut, and a great selections of soft, hard, sheep and cow.  Lovely.. 

Chapel Update (a quick change of subject here)

Folks by this time should know that I volunteer at Historic St. Mary’s City as a “Chapvol” during the time when the museum is open.  Meaning I sit out there in the rain or sweltering heat or on the occasional nice days and tell museum visitors about the reconstructed brick chapel of 1667.  I enjoy telling folks about the history of the original chapel, and the effort that went into the reconstruction.  And it is always entertaining hearing what they are interested in, or not (“How much of this is original?”).

Anyway, most people know three lead coffins were discovered in 1990 within the chapel and between archeology and research and a bit of putting two and two together, it is believed that they contained the remains of Philip Calvert, his first wife Anne Wolsley, and a child by (perhaps) Philip’s second wife.  The discovery was a major archeological event, and the raising was a great undertaking,  The were considered such a valuable find that they spent four years featured in an exhibit in the National Museum of Natural History called “Written in Bone” which proved to be immensely popular.  So finally they were returned to the City.  We are planning to return them to their original location, with a glass ceiling so they can be viewed.

So recently excavation within the chapel began, preparing a crypt area for their viewing.  I went down the other day and got a few shots of the volunteers at work.  By being the photographer you can avoid any suggestions that you pick up a shovel.  It is hard work.  I felt sorry for them (not enough to join in).. Fill up the wheel barrow, wheel it outside, dump it, bring it back, do it again.

Repeat as necessary.  It should be an exciting exhibit when the Museum opens to the public again in late march.  Make your plans to come and see us after March!

17th century transportation outside the chapel

Ice not in cubes

Did you slip and slide this morning?  It was nice when it was on the trees and not the streets!   Better in a glass...


And after you thaw out, you can


Friday, February 6, 2015


As some people always say (MFO, for instance) “it’s the technology that gets you”.   How many times have you been in a meeting/seminar/presentation when time has been lost struggling to get the projector/laptop/screen to talk to each other in order to proceed.  Well, I had a good lesson in the “gets you” department yesterday.

Our Rotary Club received a grant to support a series of after school sessions for high school sophomores with an aim to stress the importance of staying in school and going to college.  It is held weekly in one of our local high schools, and lasts about an hour.  Various Rotarians present a “who am I and what do I do?” show to expose the students to a wide spectrum of occupations and stories of how and why the speaker got there.

I was asked to participate as being an Aeroelastic Engineer.  So, Mr. Aeroelastic Engineer, how do you explain things like eigenvectors, eigenvalues, normal modes, natural frequencies, modal coalescence, and oscillatory instabilities to a bunch of kids in their second year of high school?
Well, you gather all the video clips of flutter models destroying themselves and things like the Tacoma Narrows bridge coming apart, in flight instances (F-117 crash) and stuff like that. Then surround it with simplified diagrams showing pitch and plunge motion, also bring a metal bar and "C" clamp with you to make a “doinger” to show cantilevered bending, and so forth.  I got the presentation put together wh  I finally made a stab at constructing the “cardboard wind tunnel”, with a small “wing” and rubber bands, powered by a window fan.   Of course I waited until a couple of days before the class to make it, but I made it, and of course the damn little thing wouldn’t flutter.  Add washers (mass) to leading edge, trailing edge, more, less, nothing.   So I decided to work in the “test, analyze, and fix” conundrum and go with what I had.

I contacted the host (here comes the technology) and was assured that there would be a projector, a screen, and a laptop with proper cabling, and all I needed to do was bring the presentation on the stick.  Error number one:  “Okay Fine”.  So I loaded up the MOMSTER with the assorted props and drove over to the school.  With some help, I unloaded the stuff in the howling wind, navigated the security at the office and proceeded to the class room.

The “students” were already there, absorbed in conversation, cell phones, and their snacks.  Okay I’ll hurry… where’s the projector?  “Um, we can’t seem to find one”.  Yikes!  My host offered his laptop, thinking maybe we could “gather round” the screen.  Well, the video clips are pretty small to begin with.. do you have sound? “I can crank up the internal speakers”.  About this time a school person showed up with a projector, “borrowed” from another source.  Great.....  Whoops!! The laptop cabling isn’t compatible with the projector.  Teacher who owned room offered her laptop (students remained remarkably unconcerned),  and finally hooked it up, slides projected and we began.. “Okay kids, Mr. Moody is going to begin”.

A few of the kids wrested their attention from whatever they were doing and looked my way.  Did a little promo on being an engineer and then launched into the flutter stuff.  I started out with the famous quote from the Air and Space Magazine from 1987:  “When the flutter guys started talking to their bosses, everybody else just sort of looked at the ceiling”; which has remained true to this day.  Believe me.

I got them back with the video of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and then clicked into some of the wind tunnel model clips, which resolutely refused to run on the computer.  Some link didn’t hook up or there wasn’t a plug-in installed on the machine.  Finally, by transferring the slide back to the ill cabled laptop, the thing played but it was about the size of a postage stamp.  Very few got out of their chairs to come and look at it, but there was one young man who was interested, so maybe one benefit.

After staggering through the remainder of the slides, we set up the wind tunnel and demonstrated the lack of fluttering cardboard wing.  There was some interest in that, and the same young man fiddled with the washers. A lesson in life, things don't always work out!

About that time it was time for them to leave, so I wrapped up the session extolling the benefits of education, no matter what you choose to do.  Maybe that one kid….

I can’t really blame the kids, a subject that was beyond their experience, terms they never heard, and bouncing back and forth between laptop, screen and general thrashing.  The subject was tough enough, but the technology always gets you.  How hard is it for all these components to talk to each other??


when i got home, you can be I was ready to

and the ritual prelude (think clinking glass noises)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Don’t usually get around to doing a daily update, but can’t resist today.  Happy Ground Hog day by the way, we get six more weeks of winter.   Back when I did an F-18 daily with the Feeder attached to the bottom, one ground hog day I repeated the same opening paragraph multiple times.  What a clever fellow I am…

Don’t usually get around to doing a daily update, but can’t resist today.  Happy Ground Hog day by the way, we get six more weeks of winter.   Back when I did an F-18 daily with the Feeder attached to the bottom, one ground hog day I repeated the same opening paragraph multiple times.  What a clever fellow I am… (ha ha)

Anyway before yesterday’s Super Bowl drifts into the archives of sports talk shows and columns, I just have a couple of things to note.  One, it was a great game regardless of which team you were supporting.  As you know, I was happier that the Seattle team didn’t win, more than I am glad that the team from New England did win.  Once again, one “big play” figured heavily in the outcome.  At least it wasn’t the result of a “Bad Call” (at least by the referees), or some controversial turn of events.  I hope it will help to quiet “the twelves”, and maybe the shine of the golden boy Seattle coach will dull a bit.  Arrogance is hard to shed (and i will exclude Russell Wilson from this comment, he seems like a decent sort).  Secondly, I was amused by a posting I saw in FaceBook in some thread, the gist of which was: “The Patriots didn’t beat us, we gave the game away!”.  I would place a fairly healthy wager that this same person was more than willing to claim that his team’s wonderful play resulted in victory in the previous game with Green Bay.  What goes around, etc.

By the way, our food was just right..and although we had no jerseys, we were


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Scraps and Scrapple

Scraps (a little lame but always love that alliteration):

Well, just a short note to begin the Super Bowl Day festivities.  I can’t tell you how glad I am that today is the “the Game”.  One, it will be interesting to watch, but two,  MAYBE it will terminate all the rants about deflation; media circuses (I’m only here….); debates on NFL commissioner failings; how great a QB (insert Brady or Wilson here) is; on and on..  Anyway, we’re having a few friends over, mostly to have a little party rather than being riveted to the TV (well, maybe the commercials).  I don’t have much of a dog in the fight, although I would rather NOT see the Seattle team win, which is also not to say I am FOR the team from New England (kind of the anybody but Seattle thing – and I fear I am going to be disappointed.  Enough of that..

We are ready to welcome guests, taking an impartial approach.

A to the food, we aren't going “all out” on the menu, it is kind of a collaborative affair, but will include:

Cold Salmon; nodding to Seattle
Baked Beans and Brown Bread; New England
Bill’s Brats; Nationwide appeal with maybe a nod to Green Bay who SHOULD be there (sorry)
Fluff (see above)
Apple Crisp – again for the northwest

And stuff you gotta have like:

Black bean dip
Lil’ Smokies
Cheese Straws
Cold Shrimp/Remoulade
Fried Cheese Curds (see above, a culinary experiment..)

Along with assorted adult beverages:

Hard Cider (northwest)
Assorted Beers (including Sam Adams Boston Lager)
Wine (most likely including a Northwest Pinot Noir)

It is noted that there are no New Orleans (whose team who laid an egg this year) based dishes save the remoulade.   How’s your Menu??  Mostly have a good time regardless of the outcome of the contest.

Scrapple and the Church Ladies

And just like the super bowl, there is a yearly gathering of the Friends of the St. Louis County Libraries (FOL for short) to enjoy brunch at a local church here  (St. Georges Episcopal) in Valley Lee.  I think this is the Nth year I’ve attended and the Nth time I've “reviewed” it, but people always ask so here is N + 1:

One of the reasons I like it is because you get “real” food prepared by “real” people.  I use the term “Church Ladies” as a generic, when in reality the head person is a male.  In fact this year I learned he is an Abell, a venerable county name, but I don’t think related to the branch that has the diner over in Compton.  I hear this one is from the Ridge area, a whole different story.

Anyway, they always serve food made “from scratch” and I don’t think you’ll see a Food Service truck anywhere near there.  The menu is invariably the same from year to year, and is served buffet style every year.

It begins with a quiche (which I thought was quite good this year, just plain), then a green chili egg casserole;  then on to the meats
Scrapple (ALWAYS present)

Roasted Pork loin

With apple slices, and then (not pictured) pork sausage patties (formed by hand – not those perfect circles), and then (ALWAYS) Kugel (a baked pudding or casserole, similar to a pie, most commonly made from egg noodles or potato. It is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dish, often served on Shabbat and Yom Tov).  Why such a dish should turn up at an Episcopal church in rural Maryland might be worth some study, but it has always been present. 

This year there were some (wide cut) green beans steeped in vinegar and bacon fat. Those MAY have been new. The vinegar was very apparent (hint, I didn’t eat, only tasted).  
Also on each table was a bowl of a salad that is named after a town in our area - are you old enough to remember it?? There were many people at our table who said "My Mother used to make this all time!"

Dessert was served, a nice little chocolate mousse with a raspberry layer in the middle.  Nice and light. (much needed after scrapple and pork loin before noon!)

And also besides the food, there is usually an interesting program, and this year was no different.  Our Department Aging has several events one of which is offering twice yearly tours of the Amish and Mennonite communities, and the lady who leads those tours was our speaker.  She talked in general about their culture, her experience with her sort of friend/contact which resulted in several stories about their interaction.  We don't understand them, they don't understand us, and further don't care.  Many of the stories were quite humorous.  

She handed out a list of their businesses around here along with directions on how to find them.   There are 17 “stops” on her tour, but there are many more places listed.  I think I knew this but one of them is a dairy where they are producing cheese.  Sounds like a feeder journey!  Learned some about their marriage practices, children (can’t speak to you unless given permission by parents, and most likely don’t understand English), and factoids like Amish have beards and drive gray buggies while Mennonites have no beards and drive black buggies.  All through her presentation she kept saying “in general” and “there are variations”.  

Fascinating stuff about a culture that flourishes right here in our county.  She also mentioned that younger members are leaving because the cost of land is so high around here.


Okay, so go fix your snacks, cool your brews, get your pillows to throw at the TV, plan your potty breaks (during the game NOT during commercials) and GO…   TBD,

And today, I guess you can be

DFF(ootbal).  Are ya ready for some….