Thanksgiving, my favorite day of the year

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Thanksgiving is a day I look forward to each and every year. I don’t have a lot of them left, so they mean more to me than ever. Until recently there wasn’t a single Thanksgiving that went by without there being an 18 plus pound, plump, juicy, stuffed turkey in my oven. It didn’t matter whether there were 15 people of just my wife and me. It didn’t matter if we were home, or in Turkey, or Israel, or Chabahar, Iran, or Spain, or Kuwait, we had a bird creating the essential aromas of the day in our oven.

This year we are having ten of our nearest and dearest family celebrate with us. We will eat too much, we will drink too much and we will laugh and smile too much. My feet will ache from standing in the kitchen for too many hours, my stomach will hurt because my belt is too tight, my face will hurt from laughing too much, and my heart will ache with the love I have for all my family, present or away.

During the three and a half day event I often catch myself looking at one of my guests and smiling as I think back over the years I have spent with them, how much they mean to me, and how far they have/we have come. Sometimes, most times, I get caught staring and I smile back because I think that my thoughts have mass and that mass has penetrated the bond between us.

In this world of insanity, terrorism, corruption, power mongering, cheating, lieing, stealing and you name it, there has to be a day when you can recharge your heart and soul, revitalize your beliefs; rejuvenate you faith in God, yourself and your loved ones, and refresh your outlook on the world. I choose Thanksgiving as that day, and it works for me, every single time.

It will be twelve long and arduous months before the next Thanksgiving, so I for one, am going to get the most that I can out of this one.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.



Terror is defined as “the cause of great fear“. Terrorism has been a tool for fear-mongering since Eden. I traveled all over the Middle East and Asia between 1978 and 1998 and was fortunate enough to never experience a Terrorists strike.

One day in Tel Aviv, Israel, my wife and I were strolling on Diesengoff Street, on Shabat, looking in store windows and trying to find a place to have lunch. There were hundreds of Israelis doing the same, it was a beautiful day. Suddenly there was a loud bang. My wife and I stood looking around and everyone else was on the ground. Slowly everyone got up and it was determined that the noise came from a backfiring truck. That is terror. The Israeli lives with it daily and reacts to it almost instinctively. My wife and I were not inured and therefore had no reaction.

We live in a free country. Freedom, means freedom for all, and it has a price. Terrorists use freedom to their benefit, and the only way to combat it is to declare war on it. That means that anyone suspected of being a terrorist does not get to share in that freedom if he or she insists on practicing terrorism in the free world.

Hollande, bless him, understands that, and he immediately issued orders to search out the Terrorists, their families and friends and bring swift justice for the mad acts preformed in Paris on November 13, 2015. The French have since rooted out holed up members of the group, finally killing  Abdelhamid Abaaoud and detaining seven more suspects in Saint-Denis. The French have shown the free world how to deal with terrorist acts and terrorists themselves, lets see how we handle it if, God forbid, the dirty work continues here at home.

And the Pendulum Swings. Or does it?


I have always thought that the Political Forces in our country operate much like a pendulum. They swing to the left, and they swing to the right, but with each swing, they always swing back through the center, or middle, or norm, whatever you want to call it. Thus I have always felt that our great country would stay on an even keel, charting our destiny in accordance with our Judeo-Christian beginnings.

The last seven years has taught me differently however. If Outside Political Forces operate on the pendulum, pulling it further left or right, or stopping its motion altogether, it no longer swings back through the center. Outside Political Forces include a duplicitous Media, Super PACs, the Super Wealthy, Political Machines (Like the Clinton’s), Lobbies and Corruption, just to name a few. These forces are not elected by the people nor do they reflect the common weal nor do they affect all citizens equally, as promised by the Constitution.

Only if the pendulum swings unfettered will it insure the charting of our path to greatness. Only if we are watchful of the Outside Political Forces will it arc accurately and true to our values. Only if we become aware of all of the pitfalls and deal with them swiftly and concisely can our political system work properly.

Confessions of an Addict


I’ve got to admit, I am addicted to Solitaire, namely Klondike, single card draw. I play incessantly. I play against high score. My record is 9446. When ever I am bored, without a project, alone, feeling like blobbing, etc, is when the need strikes me.

I am currently reading two books, writing my third book, maintaining a blog, completing a consulting gig, close to starting another consulting gig, enjoying retired life with my wife an best friend of 42 years (37 years married) and taking a “Great Courses” course called “Big History” (A history of mankind since the big bang). So where do I get time to be bored, you might ask.

I don’t know. The moments just pop up on occasion, and I reach for my Galaxy 5 and start tapping away.

If anyone has a remedy, please comment. Throwing away my Galaxy, PC or my wife’s I Pad are not options.

What we need to know about this great country of ours

Statue of Liberty


This great country is a land founded, settled and built by the hard work and sacrafice of immigrants. With the exception of those descendants of indigenous Americans, every single American living today is the progeny of an immigrant. Some of ours are recent immigrants, some very early, but every one of them an immigrant. So What.

They came from all over the world; Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, bringing with them their heritage, their values, their ethos and their desire to live free. Think for a moment about someone, so desireous of freedom, that they would uproot, give up everything they have ever known and travel thousands of miles to an uncertain fate. Think for a moment about the early settlers that crossed this vast nation fighting the elements, enduring physical hardship beyond imagination, suffering diseases of every kind and bewildering uncertainty. Just think for one moment about the 90 soul Donner Party that left Springfield, Illinois, in April 1846, bound for California, losing 45 of their party within 30 miles of their goal, that winter, all in the name of settling this marvelous, abundant and free land.

Think of the fighting required to obtain our freedom, and then try to wrap your head around the fighting that has been required to keep our freedom, and the freedom of others. To date, over 1,300,000 Service men have offered up their lives for our freedom. Putting it another way in todays terms and numbers, one serviceman/servicewoman laid down his or her life for every 250 Americans alive today. Think about that November 11th.

As a first generation son of Danish immigrants, I can tell you that I love this country with all my heart and soul. I pledge allegiance to its flag, to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, and would fight for the right to make that pledge.


Lamb Shanks

Lamb Shanks

So…., Lamb Shanks was the first on my bucket list of shunned meat cuts to try to cook. My “175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics – By Judith Finlayson” had several recipes, but the one that intrigued me the most was “Lamb Shanks with Luscious Legumes”. Ingredients included 16 0z Navy Beans (two cups), carrots, celery, onion, garlic, orange zest, beef stock and a dry red wine. Got the whole thing assembled by 9AM and flipped the switch of my Kitchen Aid Slow Cooker to low (10 hours cooking time).

My wife said that the house smelled marvelous all day from cooking odors, my Border Collie walked past the cooker at least  ten times during the day for a closer whiff. My reaction was slightly different, I thought there was something off with the aroma, just different somehow. The “come on” picture in the cook book looked something like the one above, but with a lot more gravy.

When the moment arrived to plate the meal, I looked inside. Beans everywhere and no gravy whatsoever. I picked out the shanks and placed them on a plate. I then picked the meat off the bones, it fell off actually, and placed it on individual plates. I then scooped a ladle of the bean, carrot, onion, celery mixture and placed it over the meat.

It was barely edible. We ate the dry meat, and a few fork fulls of the veggies, got up and dumped our plates and the cooker remains in the garbage. My Border Collie, Buddy, raised and eyebrow, but I doubt even he would have enjoyed it. Don’t know what I did wrong, but the beans soaked up every ounce of liquid and fat and were mushy to the taste. UGH!!! Scratch that one off my bucket list for good.

Next up is Country Beef Ribs.