When you Trust Your Heart Over Your Brain

Italian Corn on the Cob.

I wanted to experiment with Flank Steak and started looking through EPI and AR for a method. My recipe of choice called for an Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar and soy sauce marinade, with chopped onions and garlic. It called for a refrigerator time of minimum 2 hours, and up to 2 days. I opted for the 2 days. Grilling was a 3 minutes per side on the hot half of the Weber to sear, and the 3 minutes per side on the cool half to finish. It came out perfect. It was tender and tasty. Success.

I wanted a go with, so I leafed around my signed copy of Molto Mario Italian Grilling recipe book and found the corn on the cob, pictured above. Mario Batali, I feel, is the end-all, be-all on Italian cooking; I have tried many of his recipes and enjoyed them to the max. Nothing short of hero worship.

The recipe called for grilling the corn for eight minutes, spinning the hot cob in a flat dish of Balsamic Vinegar and Olive oil mixed then dredging in hand grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and finally sprinkling with chopped mint. The plate looked perfect, but I had my doubts as to the taste. As I was plating the corn I kept wondering how the Parmisan and the mint were going to blend. I took my first bite and got my answer. The sweetness of the mint did not, in my opinion complement the cheese. My dear friends ranted and raved, but I never trust them, because they always do that. I try to be brutally honest with myself.

Mario, I can’t fly with you on this one.

Memorial Day – What It Means To Me

Normandy Memorial Cemetery

I was born the year WWII started and was seven years old when it ended. I remember well, after dinner, Dad would lay out the front page of the Daily Paper and and show us the progress maps, and explain to us what was going on. The maps showed the front lines, where the various German and Allied Armies were, and how much the lines had changed that day. One very vivid time was when Hitler ordered the Battle of the Bulge, and we all held our breath until the Allied Armies finally held at Bastone and started to drive the Nazis back. It was a fearful time, a time for reflection and a time to honor the men and women who were fignting and had been there four long years without seeing their families and loved ones.

My wife and I took a trip to the Normandy Beaches and toured the battle fields and museums and though the beaches were calm and beautiful that day I knew that all hell had broken loose June 6, 1944 and the tides ran red with American, British and Canadian blood . We came upon the Normandy Memorial Cemetery and I still remember being awe struck by how many graves there were. I had an 8mm camera and started filming the scene before me. As I panned the camera I was struck with an emotion I had never had before. I began to weep as the camera moved and before I knew it, I was sobbing uncontrollably. Each Memorial Day since, I remember that day, the thousands of Grave Stones, the solemnity of the moment.

You men who gave your lives for me in that war and all other conflicts, I praise you, I pray for you, give you my thanks. I am in your unending debt.

Funny Anecdote-It’s Good To Laugh

Toilet seat

I had an early morning flight out of SeaTac Airport, Horizon Airline hub and was sitting in the restaurant having a marginal $12 breakfast and coffee. A woman walked into the area with 5 male children looking like they ranged in age from 16 down to 8 years of age. The boys lounged around in the chairs, laughing, joking and occasionally punching each other; the woman sat oblivious to their antics.

I finished my breakfast and headed to the waiting area for my flight. Before I left the restaurant, however, I walked up to the woman and tapped her on the shoulder. She looked up at me with a smile at which time I said.

“I’ll bet there aren’t many toilet seats in your house that have their lids down”, I smiled.

“They go down?” She asked with a mock shocked look.

We both had a good laugh.

Truth

Truth

Every once in a while you run across something that you know instincitively is the truth. There is a ring to it. It doesn’t have to be re-heard or re-read or re-seen. It is the truth and you know it.

Today I was scrolling through my Facebook and ran across a post that read, “20 Top Rules for Writers” by Stephen King. Well Stephen King is a very successful writer, so I thought I’d look deeper into the post. The one of twenty that got me, the one that I only had to read once, the one that screamed TRUTH, was this.

#19 You become a writer simply by reading and writing.

“You learn best by reading a lot and by writing a lot; the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”

A Little Bit of History in Our Own Backyard

Bison's

Returning home from our trip to Rancho Cordova last weekend, we were absolutely blown away to see that Bison’s have returned to Redbluff. As you head north on I-5 out of Redbluff, look off to the right of the freeway and you will see a herd of these amazing animals, grazing, lazing and conjuring up visions of the old Wild Wild West. Watching them, listening to them grunt and growel made me see them as majestic animals.

It has been said that the Bison (Buffalo) made the western expansion possible; however nearly to its own demise. They provided food, clothing and shelter for the Indians and the Settlers of Westward Movement as well. There were apparently, four American Bison Species, three of which are now extinct; so heavily were they hunted and killed during the 1800’s.

The Bison has been on Earth longer than Humans; Archeologists having found fossil remains as old as 250,000 years. The modern Bison, as shown above, appeared in North America 5,000 to 10,000 years ago.

It is worth a trip to Redbluff to see them. There is an offramp that will take you, over gravel tracks, to an up close and personal viewing point. Enjoy a bit of history in our own backyard.

Old Friends

Friendship

Last weekend my wife and  I went to visit a friend we hadn’t seen in many years. I first met our friend through her husband who had been my best friend my last three years in college. We became neighbors for many years, and lost touch after I moved away from the neighborhood. We met again in Iran on a construction project, I was involved in, that was also the backdrop for my first book, “The Chabahar Incident”. We spent a little over a year there together, I married my second wife there and my old college buddy stood up for me.

Not long after our return to the United States, my old college buddy passed away from a brain tumor. After several years of agony and remorse my buddies wife remarried again and we saw eachother occasionally at weddings, a Super Bowl party or two, and then we both moved away to distant places. We exchanged Chistmas cards, but soon lost touch.

Recently I heard that she had experienced some marital issues and was now alone. I was devistated and wanted to console her, but unable to contact her. I asked my daughter to try and find her contact information and we were successful in getting together last weekend. My wife and I were going to my Granddaughter’s Club Volleyball Tournament where it so happened our friend lived near-by.

We went to her house at 5:30PM where we chatted over a few glasses of wine and killer Bruschetta Pomodoro appetizer, and went out to dinner. At the lovely dinner we talked endlessly of our good times and hard patches we learned that our 72 year old friend was dating, which we thought was marvelous. We talked about my old college buddy with love and reverence, and brought the wonderful evening to a close around 11 PM. Hugs, kisses and heartfelt “I love you’s” sent us on our way.

It was as if we had never lost touch, we just carried on like it was yesterday that we were last together. There is a lot more to this story, as you can imagine, but suffice to say real friendships seamlessly go on through the years and never change, never falter and never lose their veracity.

I Can’t Believe It

WTF

Well folks, it is really hard for me to believe, but it took less than half a day (since my last blog) for the first Republican idiot, Paul Ryan, to come out and say that he cannot, at this time, support the GOP Party’s apparent nominee. The number two person to the President and one of the top ranking Republicans in the nation says he cannot support the man that just fought like a demon possessed to win the Republican Nomination. You all recall at the first or second debate all candidates were asked to sign a pledge that they would support whoever was the party’s nominee. Mr. Trump balked, but then soon agreed that he would do so. Was that all a one-way-street?

So why is it that Insiders are so dead set against Mr. Trump? Obviously Mr. Trump knows how to get things done. He clearly knows how to gather voters, observedly knows how to draw a crowd and is a visibly successful individual. Mr. Trump has hired thousands upon thousands of people, has never held a public office and politically owes nothing to no one. Can it be because he is not politically correct? Is it because he wants to build a wall on our southern border? Do you think maybe it is because he wants to make sure that all Muslims entering the United States are entering for the right reasons.

Don’t believe it for a moment. The insiders are scared shirtless he will upset the apple cart and clean out the political deadwood that is currently chocking our governmental processes.  As a trained businessman it seems only natural that he will relentlessly search out wasteful and ineffective spending, trim government size to more efficiently serve the people and eliminate red tape and the insideous tax-and-spend policies that are bringing this country and possibly the world to its knees.

The Republican Party has come to a line in the sand. Crossing that line may be the beginning of the end for the Republican Party and the end of the two or three party system as we know it. We can no longer cope with the crippling insider mentality that has stagnated our government for nearly eight years. We can’t afford the the complete and total squandering of Americas dwindeling middle class. We certainly can’t tolerate another four to eight years of Obama’s policies, which is exactly what Ms. Clinton will do, she has said as much. WTF, where are we, where are we going, I’m completely lost.

 

Slugging It Out In The Trenches

Trump & Cruz

Since the first Presidential Debate, August 6, 2015 these two men have been slugging it out like no other candidates I have seen in the past, and I’ve seen a few. Not only have they had to deal with 16 competitors, but they have also had to battle Cruz Haters, Trump Haters, the RNC, PAC’s and SUPERPAC’s, So called GOP Party Leader’s (We’ll see where that goes on election day.), TV Pundits (both Left and Right) and the Liberal Media. While doing all of that, and doing a great job I might add, they are endlessly traveling around the country, giving speeches, stumping, autographing, and yes kissing babies. I get tired just writing about it.

None the less and reguardless of your leaning you have to admit that the battle was fought well. “Pathological Liar”, “Lyin Ted”, “Narcissist”, “Pussy” lit up the Debate stages, getting hotter and hotter as time went on. The articulate trained debater against the bombastic in-fighter both making their impressions on the voters.

“Never Trump”, what kind of a thing is that for a Party to do to its frontrunner. Now what are they going to do? With only Kasich in the race, Trump is the only viable candidate. Does the GOP think they can turn their backs on him? I don’t think so. Does the GOP think they can turn their backs on the millions who voted for Trump? I don’t think so. Does the RNC think they can lock the arena doors in Cleveland? I don’t think so.

Regardless of what you feel or believe Trump put up one hell of a fight against “one hell of a competitor” and won. That gives me a lot if insight to what can be expectd from him as President. Congratulations Mr. Trump. Sorry Mr. Cruz, but the best man usually wins. And to the RNC I say, “In the America where I was born and raised, the winner always gets the prize. Deny Trump that, and we can all call you unAmerican.”

And The River Runs On

River

Last weekend we spent two and a half perfect days at a cabin, built in 1904, alongside the Sacramento River in a place called Castella, a few miles south of Dunsmuir, California. The river was flowing at Spring volume, fast and furious. The Cabin was about 50 to 60 feet from the rivers edge, making the sound of the rushing water a predominant mantra. The more I listened, the more relaxed I became, to the point that I really didn’t want to do anything other than watch and listen to the aquatic chant.

We are going to spend five days there at the end of June, and last weekend was a sort of dry run to see what we might have to bring with us. We will be spending the time with our sixteen year old grand daughter and a close friend of hers and then entertaining the girls and their parents over the fourth of July weekend, at our home in Redding, California. It is an annual ritual we look forward to it with great anticipation and we plan accordingly. We get the feeling that the girls really enjoy the visits and we think it is because they are and feel free to be themselves. They spend a lot of time in their room with the door closed, but are ready, willing and able to join in any activities we may have planned for them.

Last year we started a custom that the girls would have to plan, shop for and cook one dinner. After gathering the ingredients they started preparations at 3 PM in the afternoon and diligently organized a dinner that was served at 6:30 PM. When I sat down to eat I was moved to tears over the fact that these two beautiful, young girls were maturing and growing into responsible young ladies. They enjoyed themselves, and we thoroughly enjoyed them and the dinner.

We have a feeling that the River, the Cabin, the girls and our hearts are going to come together in a perfect blend of joy, relaxation and continued revelation of who they are, what they are becoming and where they are going. We can’t wait.