Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Barn in Ligonier

by Carson's Premier Catering; Scottdale, PA  (Premier?  Seriously?)

     I went with a group to celebrate Thanksgiving at the Barn in Ligonier with Carson's "Premier" Catering.  Unfortunately, Carson's failed the most important requirement for a buffet:  The items on the buffet line should have a nodding acquaintance with heat ... at least warmth.  The only reason I make any reference to the word 'warmth' is that the room temperature was so cool that indeed anything with a modicum of heat would seem 'warm.'
       I asked for coffee and was served what I can best describe as a tea cup of coffee - I had no idea they made coffee cups so small - in fact, so small that one creamer was almost too much for the cup.  However, I didn't feel so bad when I saw my friends with, for instance, a rocks glass with iced tea in it - not the alcoholic beverage 'iced tea' but just plain ordinary iced tea!
      Back to the buffet line: NO buffet line should EVER be permitted to get that cold if for no other reason than health safety.  Back at the table, I placed some of the linguine against my wrist to see if I was being unreasonable.  I would be surprised if any part of the buffet was over 100º F.  To save time, let me say the entire line was dry where no additional liquid was involved.  That included stuffed breast, white meat turkey, baked fish, dark meat turkey - which I thought was ham from the color, and Brussels sprouts baked within an inch of their life.
       I had taken some linguine noodles - in a white sauce - which I found out later was actually 'clam' sauce - apparently ONE half naked clam dragged through a bucket of cream sauce!  The stuffing came out of the pan like a dry slice, but like the mashed potatoes, was much improved after you added a ladle of gravy. The corn was obviously from a restaurant sized can of corn which was then cooked in a huge amount of butter.
       I went back to try a small serving of the fish and just a taste of the filet mignon.  The fish was cod near as I could tell, and it was very flaky - anything that dry couldn't help but be flaky!  For the filet I asked for a very small taste and I was not disappointed, it was indeed a small taste.  I expected a nice rush of beef flavor, but instead, since the filet had been marinated apparently with Italian Dressing, I experienced nothing that I enjoyed.  You should never have to marinate a choice piece of tenderloin. Especially filet mignon. It is the most tender part of the cow.
       On the plus side, the desserts were outstanding  - particularly the pumpkin cheesecake.  Amazingly, there were two perhaps ten gallon size containers of ice cream with a slotted spoon for your serving convenience sitting on the table - good luck trying to dislodge any ice cream from the solidly frozen bucket with a slotted spoon while trying to hold onto a plate!
       One final note:  I was surprised to see guys in shorts and tee shirts, or dirty, worn and / or torn blue jeans in the mix of customers.   That suggests to me that many who sing the praises of this caterer are not necessarily given to knowledgeable and honest assessment of their product.  Many locals swear by this local caterer.  However, 'local' is not in any way an indication of quality, only a potential recommendation of community support - quality not withstanding.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Post Election Rant to a Friend

I'm okay ... just trying to recoup after the elections.  While I have the opportunity, I have to say how glad I am that you kept the political discussion page going.  Initially, I would have thought that we would have been reduced to more social and casual conversations in the aftermath, but then I never expected the bat shit crazies to "have a new birth of freedom," as Lincoln would say.  It's one thing for the Gophers to stand in a burning house and claim they don't smell smoke, but it's quite another to stand in a pile of ashes and say, "What fire?"

But alas, on our side of the aisle we also have a loose spoke or two. After Lincoln's Gettysburg address, the next day the Democratic-leaning Chicago Times observed, "The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States."  In contrast, the Republican-oriented New York Times was complimentary.  In Massachusetts, the Springfield Republican printed the entire speech, calling it "a perfect gem" that was "deep in feeling, compact in thought and expression, and tasteful and elegant in every word and comma."  I guess I can take some solace in the observation that Lincoln's GOP looked more like today's Democratic party.

I am having some difficulty comprehending the absolute outrage of the GOP members - as if they have every right to lash out at anyone who doesn't perfectly agree with them.  Given the shenanigans from one end of the country to the other to limit access to voting and otherwise limit the number of Democrats who could make it to the polls,  you and I both know that President Obama's margin of victory in both the electoral college and the popular vote - as outstanding as both are  - represents in reality a minimum number of supporters.  Had the election been truly open equally to all, the GOP with have been all but destroyed.

In short, I guess I'm trying to get over the undeniable reality that former President Bush did not 'leave any child behind" ... he practically left entire states behind ... starting with Mississippi!  The last ten days after the election has been for me one jaw-dropping reality after another.  From Poopy-Head to Rush Limbaugh to Bobby Jindal - it's one thing to claim political rhetoric, it's quite another to claim allegiance to fantasy!

I suspect I will be over my bad self shortly.  I certainly have realized that we have a lot more work to do:  supporting a two party system and working to create a 2nd party whose ass is something other than a gorgeous hat, or a "Ticket to Ride" to planet Kolob.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What is Class?

Class never runs scared. It is sure-footed and confident in the knowledge that you can meet life head on and handle whatever comes along. Jacob had it – Esau didn’t. Symbolically, we can look to Jacob’s wrestling match with the angel.

Those who have class have wrestled with their own personal ‘angel’ and have won a victory that marks them thereafter. Class never makes excuses. It takes its lumps and learns from past mistakes.

Class is considerate of others – it knows that good manners is nothing more than a series of petty sacrifices. Class bespeaks an aristocracy that has nothing to do with ancestors or money. The most affluent blue-blood can be totally without class while the descendant of a Welsh miner may ooze class from every pore.

Class never tries to build itself up by tearing others down. Class is ALREADY up and need not strive to look better by making others look worse. Class can “walk with kings and keep its virtue and talk with crowds and keep the common touch.” Everyone is comfortable with the person who has class – because he is comfortable with himself.

If you have class you don’t need much of anything else. If you don’t have it, no matter what else you have – it doesn’t make much difference.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Most emotional and touching performance on X Factor (Emmanuel)

If this handicapped 'kid' from a war zone orphanage can sing Paul McCartney's Imagine - imagine "peace forever" - with such heart and such courage on Australia's X Factor, I'm not sure there's much room let for any of us to complain very loudly when things don't otherwise go perfectly our way..

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My personal shot at people whose education obviously sucks!

Most of my facebook friends are aware at how indignant I get when anyone has so little respect for themselves and for American History that they exhibit how stupid they are and how poor their education has been by reporting, citing, and otherwise repeating statements which either have no basis in history whatsoever (Michele Bachmann's statement that 9 year old John Quincy Adams was a founding father), or are total misrepresentations of fact (Sarah Palin's outrageous and laughable retelling of Paul Revere's ride to warn the British that the British were coming). The proof to me that their education has been without merit or effect is that they cannot even recognize how unlikely some statements would be coming out of the mouths of the founding fathers. Recently a friend posted the following:

“A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government"  

The alleged quote is ascribed to George Washington, sometimes as part of his First Annual Message to Congress (January 8, 1790). Good luck trying to find it anywhere in that message … or for that matter, in any legitimate source of Washington's notes, messages, thoughts, and so forth. The actual likely quote is from George Washington's First State of the Union, and it goes like this:

"A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies."

While I'm on a roll, here's another statement attributed to George Washington at the Second Session of the First Congress, and quoted as freely as the misquote above, but this one is amusing on several levels. The quote: (sometimes referred to as the “Liberty Teeth” speech):

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon, and citizen's firearms are indelibly related. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable. Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than 99 99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place with all that's good. When firearms go, all goes; we need them every hour.”

First, there is NO reference to it or anything like it in any of Washington's personal papers, notes, thoughts, and so forth. Second, the reference to “99 99/100ths” is a very unusual construct to find in any 18th Century comment – this may be the only one! Third, the reference to the “prairie wagon” is a most interesting anachronism; there was no American prairie as yet within the time frame of the 2nd session of the first Congress from February 16, 1790 to August 12, 1790 – the prairie in question belonged to the French.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Just like Susan Boyle did on Britain's Got Talent, this young Korean boy brings an amazing talent to the Korean version of Korea's Got Talent with an amazing story to boot. The song he sings is Nella Fantasia - Here are the lyrics in Italian with the English translation.

Nella fantasia io vedo un mondo giusto,
Lì tutti vivono in pace e in onestà.
Io sogno d'anime che sono sempre libere,
Come le nuvole che volano,
Pien' d'umanità in fondo all'anima.

Nella fantasia io vedo un mondo chiaro,
Lì anche la notte è meno oscura.
Io sogno d'anime che sono sempre libere,
Come le nuvole che volano.

Nella fantasia esiste un vento caldo,
Che soffia sulle città, come amico.
Io sogno d'anime che sono sempre libere,
Come le nuvole che volano,
Pien' d'umanità in fondo all'anima.

English Translation:
In my fantasy I see a just world
Where everyone lives in peace and honesty
I dream of a place to live that is always free
Like a cloud that floats
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul

In my fantasy I see a bright world
Where each night there is less darkness
I dream of souls that are always free
Like the cloud that floats

In my fantasy exists a warm wind
That breathes into the city, like a friend
I dream of souls that are always free
Like the cloud that floats

Friday, February 17, 2012

Randy Pausch - Last Lecture

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 - July 25, 2008) gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving presentation, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

.....JFK Berlin Speech: Ich bin ein Berliner

I am proud to come to this city as the guest of your distinguished Mayor, who has symbolized throughout the world the fighting spirit of West Berlin. And I am proud -- And I am proud to visit the Federal Republic with your distinguished Chancellor who for so many years has committed Germany to democracy and freedom and progress, and to come here in the company of my fellow American, General Clay, who --
 -- who has been in this city during its great moments of crisis and will come again if ever needed.  Two thousand years ago -- Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was "civis Romanus sum."¹ Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner."
(I appreciate my interpreter translating my German.)
There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world.
Let them come to Berlin.
There are some who say -- There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future.
Let them come to Berlin.
And there are some who say, in Europe and elsewhere, we can work with the Communists.
Let them come to Berlin.
And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress.
Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen.
Let them come to Berlin.
Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in -- to prevent them from leaving us. I want to say on behalf of my countrymen who live many miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, who are far distant from you, that they take the greatest pride, that they have been able to share with you, even from a distance, the story of the last 18 years. I know of no town, no city, that has been besieged for 18 years that still lives with the vitality and the force, and the hope, and the determination of the city of West Berlin.
While the wall is the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the Communist system -- for all the world to see -- we take no satisfaction in it; for it is, as your Mayor has said, an offense not only against history but an offense against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, and dividing a people who wish to be joined together.
What is -- What is true of this city is true of Germany: Real, lasting peace in Europe can never be assured as long as one German out of four is denied the elementary right of free men, and that is to make a free choice. In 18 years of peace and good faith, this generation of Germans has earned the right to be free, including the right to unite their families and their nation in lasting peace, with good will to all people.
You live in a defended island of freedom, but your life is part of the main. So let me ask you, as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today, to the hopes of tomorrow, beyond the freedom merely of this city of Berlin, or your country of Germany, to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the wall to the day of peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind.
Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we look -- can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades.
All -- All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin.
And, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wherever You Are (Military Wives) Official Video


Wherever you are my love will keep you safe,
My heart will build a bridge of light across both time and space.
Wherever you are, our hearts still beat as one
I hold you in my dreams each night until your task is done 
Light up the darkness, my wondrous star
Our hopes and dreams, my heart and yours, forever shining far
Light up the darkness, my prince of peace.
May the stars shine all around you may your courage never cease. 


Wherever I am, I will love you day by day
I will keep you safe, cling on to faith, along the dark dark way

Wherever I am, I will hold on through the night
I will pray each day a safe return, will look now to the light 
Light up the darkness, my wondrous star
Our hopes and dreams, my heart and yours, forever shining far
Light up the darkness, my prince of peace.
May the stars shine all around you may your courage never cease. 


May your courage never cease...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

In My Dreams: Military Wives

The official video for Paul Mealor's In My Dreams featuring Military Wives and JonJo Kerr.

Proceeds from the album In My Dreams will go to The Military Wives Choirs Foundation which will help all military communities to establish their own Choirs across the UK.

In My Dreams
Words & Music: Paul Mealor

As I lie here, at night,
As my eyes give-in to sleep,
As I dream of you, here in my arms,
I'm holding you, loving you.

As you sleep there, my love,
As your eyes give-in to rest,
As you dream of me, there in your arms,
I'm holding you, loving you.

In my dreams, you're in my arms,
In my dreams, my heart is holding you; Feeling you; loving you,
In my dreams, you're always there,
In my dreams our love will never die; always you; always love; In my dreams.

All alone here, I lie,
As the darkness falls around,
As I think of you, and your warm embrace; I'm home again; ever safe.

In my dreams, you're in my arms,
In my dreams, my heart is holding you; Feeling you; loving you;
In my dreams.

Saturday, January 28, 2012



The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door.

Dear Dogs and Cats: The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food.. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine/feline attendance is not required.

The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:


(1) They live here. You don't.
(2) If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.
(3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
(4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't speak clearly.

Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:
(1) eat less,
(2) don't ask for money all the time,
(3) are easier to train,
(4) normally come when called,
(5) never ask to drive the car,
(6) don't smoke or drink,
(7) don't want to wear your clothes,
(8) don't have to buy the latest fashions,
(9) don't need a gazillion dollars for college and
(10) if they get pregnant, you can sell their children

Monday, January 23, 2012

This is the last editorial written by Charlie Reese, a journalist with the Florida Sentinel.  Various dates have been supplied for this, originally in 1983, then a 'redo' in March 7, 1995, and possibly August 30, 2008 - the last date for which he submitted an article.

545 vs. 300,000,000 People
-By Charlie Reese
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.
You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the Housenow? He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.
If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan …
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees…
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

What you do with this article now that you have read it… is up to you.
This might be funny if it weren’t so true.
Be sure to read all the way to the end:

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he’s fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won’t be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He’s good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he’s laid…

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
‘Taxes drove me
to my doom…’

When he’s gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax


Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom, if agreed,
stayed home to raise the kids.
What in the heck happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?’

I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Just the same...we'll go to Capri in July

Capri in July

I said July, remember? We’ll go to Capri in July. You’ll love me more beneath the sun, it hides my every flaw even my renaissance stomach.

I have grown so old loving you in such a little time. I’ve let my eyes grow dull my smile become suspect I know you won’t believe it but...sometimes when I’m by myself, people look at me in the old way. When you look at me now I know I’m not the way I was.

In Capri they have so many beaches, little coves you can hike down the cliffs to. There’s always someplace where nobody else goes and the water is so blue.

I’ve tried to stop pretending that it will be all right again, it won’t you know but just the same we’ll go to Capri in July.

San Sebastian Strings and Rod McKuen:

My Friend The Sea