Thursday, October 30, 2014

R.I.P. Phil Mineo

Last Saturday night i got home to learn of the passing earlier that day of Phil Mineo. Phil is my old friend Rob's dad, he was a great man who was always kind and generous to all of us in our friend group.

Some of my memories of Phil include how much he loved his baseball card collection. during my brief stint as a collector, Phil and I had some marathon conversations. When I got older and eventually got into a career in public education, we found more common ground as Phil was a lifelong teacher in the public schools; again, some great conversations.

Much love to the Mineo family and all whose lives were touched by Phil...he will be missed!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Real Email

The above is an actual email I received from the customer service department after I emailed them requesting some specs on a hiking boot made by the company (Khombu).

While the greeting is entertaining, being called Mr. Christopher (which is my first name), I really enjoy the combination of the name of the person emailing me as it is followed by the department in which they work.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Flight of the Concorde

I remember when the Concorde first came out, all the hype, all the talk, and look at it - it's quite amazing to look at; that was especially true for a teenage boy when it was first introduced to the masses.

I was super excited that I lived in NY because I knew with JFK airport so close, I would get to see one every now and again. I recall the first one I ever saw, I can almost feel my jaw drop the way it did that day and hear the sound it made at it passed over.

It amazing to think of the engineering marvel that plane represented considering it was conceived and designed in the 1960's. Can you even imagine a cruising speed of 1350 miles per hour? Here's a link to an interesting account of a then 18 year old: CLICK HERE.

I found this video that someone shot on board. It's a bit longer than it needs to be but interesting anyway;

Do you have any Concorde memories, ideas, stories, etc?

Bearded Wunderkind

Not too long ago, I made the decision to grow back facial hair after about a two year absence. The decision was influenced this time by my girlfriend, who asked if I would grow it back - I was happy to oblige.

I used to grow it around every year or so but had slowed down in more recent times due to the heavy graying.

What I've learned though, is that the graying isn't a problem, it's what I chose to perceive the graying stood for...aging, and aging alone.

The reaction, for the most part, has bee positive - many have indicated that I look "distinguished". A old friend mentioned that I look better now than I did 20 years ago.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In My Ears X

Two in one day? Why not just one long one? Simple...the one that posted earlier was typed in about a week ago and somehow I set it to publish in the future, that being today. Today's list is today's list...the things I've listened to since that list.

Peter & Gordon - Original Hits
All the songs that are on the greatest hits I listened to a while back but more songs in addition to those. This is a more robust compilation and better produced recordings and masterings.

Twin Forks - Twin Forks
Described as an "Americana Folk Rock Band", and accurately so. I first heard them on NPR and wanted to check out the whole record, glad I did.

Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams
Dum Dum Girls - Too True
Another NPR find.- unique but clearly influenced by a variety of popular musical acts. Very different, but nice.

Laura Cantrell - Humming by the Flowered Vine
Just the album title alone would hook me. I wanted to hear more after the CD I listened to a few weeks back. Again, authentic, and terrific.

Jeremy Messersmith - Heart Murmurs
I hope you don't tire of me saying, "NPR find", it's a primary source of new music for me, has been for some time. Minneapolis based singer-songwriter that makes music worth hearing.

Fountains of Wayne - Sky Full of Holes
Love this band a lot, didn't discover them until they had been around for years but glad that I did. This is one of those artists whose work I am going back to rediscover.

In My Ears IX

Here's what I've been listening to of late:

Jake Owen - Easy Does It
Jake Owen - Barefoot Blue Jean Night
Jake Owen - Days of Gold
I've heard Jake Owen on radio, seen him on TV a few times but never really listened to his records, so it was time.  It was all prompted after hearing him perform a single from his latest album (Days of Gold) called "What We Ain't Got" (song links to the exact performance I saw).

U2 - Songs of Innocence
This is the "controversial" newest U2 record that magically appeared in everyone's iTunes library. I was happy to receive it for free. First listen was too casual, not sure what I heard, second listen made me appreciate it. For me, it sounds like a U2 record, and I think it's a good one.

Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, A True Star
This is a very different kind of record, and when Todd Rundgren is the artist, different means different! Released three weeks before Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", this record shifts from experimental through pure pop and pays homage to a number of Rundgren's influences, most notably, The Beatles. Fun to listen to after so many years.

Mark Knopfler - Kill to Get Crimson
There are a few artists, Knopfler being one of them, where I am slowly revisiting their catalog. Knopfler's music ages as gracefully as any and it's always nice to hear.

Laura Cantrell - When the Roses Bloom Again
A Nashville darling - authentic!

Bob Mould - Body of Song
Another of the artists I've been revisiting - inspired after hearing his interview with Marc Maron.

Against Me! - Searching for a Former Clarity
Against Me! - New Wave
Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Against Me! - White Crosses
Though they have been recording and releasing music since 1997, I have only heard of them recently from hearing something on NPR's All Songs Considered. Wow! What I've missed all of these years - just great modern day American punk rock.

Monday, October 20, 2014


One of the thing I did this past weekend was go to our friends reunion. We haven't had one in about 3 years or so and it was really great to finally get back together and see everyone.

Instead of karaoke, there were some guitar players strumming, it was a nice change and lots of fun.

The kids are all growing so fast, but it was still fun watching them scamper around, and in some cases, mingle with the adults.

Oh yeah, the food kicked ass!

Much love to John and Jane who so often have graciously opened their home to us!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The "E" Word

Do you know the word I am speaking of? The "E" word...Ebola.

That word, Ebola, is everywhere you look, every day, 24 hours per day. Over the years, there have been many different times when such a word has had the same power of striking fear in the hearts and minds of everyone, everywhere.

Hard to imagine isn't it, that in this day and age where it seems almost anything is possible, that the mere mention of a word can stop us in our tracks.

It's a bit scary, isn't it?

I will tell you what concerns me even more than this disease, that is how the press has handled releasing information to the public. I think all of the fears and concerns and panic is because the information we receive is so sensationalized for maximum zazz, to attract viewers as opposed to being reported properly, in clinical terms and the simple interpretation of those clinical terms so every day folks can truly understand what Ebola is, what the real risks are and why instant panic only worsens the situation.

The Power of People

Sometimes, the most powerful experiences come from simple ordinary people that come together for a common purpose.

After reading that, I feel like a could write on an on and no matter what I write it will not be any more meaningful that that first sentence above this one; so this post will remain short, but all will have been said.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Post Script

The title of this post may not really relate to the content of the post but for some reason, the title hit me, even before writing this into, much lest the post that will follow - so I went with it.

I am serving on a search committee at work to fill a job position in my department. It's wild to see the variance in applicants and resumes. It's baffling that some have absolutely zero qualifications, and I say that just using the job description they are responding to, yet still apply and talk themselves up in their cover letter.I find this baffling!

At least the applicant pool is manageable. Only other search committee I served on had about 70 resumes to sift through, this one is less than two dozen.

This committee process we use is quite odd, first interview and these candidates are being bombarded by anywhere between 4 and 10 interviewers...daunting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Follow Up and Something New

To follow up on yesterday's trash can thing, the morons who pick up my trash left it behind. before I continue, please don't think I just casually call them morons for one thing, they have proven time and time again to me and others in my town (as evidenced by posts on town discussion board) that they are indeed morons who take zero pride in their work.

For next week, I will put that garbage can inside of the larger recycle can and fill the rest with other recycles and it will probably be gone because they wouldn't have had to life one more item.
I had a parent of an autistic student come to me practically in tears asking for help to recover a paper that may have been lost. I am meeting with them after lunch - she was almost in tears and mentioned that she is in the midst of chemotherapy and spend more than eight hours working with her son to do this paper and will do it again but wasn't sure where she would get the strength to do it.

I can only hope that whatever happened to the paper that it is indeed recoverable, I want to be able to do that, though I know there is only a chance that it is possible and I made it clear to her that the chances were possible, but not necessarily probable.

Really beautiful weather here today, if you too are experiencing nicer weather than you expect, enjoy it and be grateful!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cat Got Your Tongue

Oliver, my cat, loves yapping. One of the times he gets particularly vocal, and this is a newer thing, is dinner time. Sometimes when my daughter and I are sitting at the dinner table, he'll go over to the basement door and start yapping until one of us cracks open the door so he can go down.

We have no idea what it is about the basement that appeals to him but we constantly joke about how he has a secret life down there, a girlfriend, perhaps he enjoys a workout...haha!

Today, as he torpedoed down the stairs, my kid yells (as the cat), "hurry, I gotta get to my daughter's recital!" Such laughter, I am only now catching my funny! 

Trash Can (No Picture)

I really think I should have snapped a picture of my trash waiting for pickup and then one post pickup to add a little (and I emphasize little) zazz to this post.

Last night, among my trash out for collection, I placed an old trash pail in hopes of it being taken away. Now, this is not a typical outdoor trash pail, I suspect that could be a bit tricky to dispose of, instead, it was an old (not very old, just older than the built in contraption in the new kitchen setup) step on the thingie and the top opens kind of deal. I just left the think next to the recycle pail.

There was a part of me thinking that some passerby may claim it, this has happened so often with other things I've left for trash, but as of around 7 am when I pulled out of the driveway, it was still there.

Of course, if it is gone when I get home, which is my hope, I will really have no idea if it was the less than competent trash people or some passerby who saw treasure in my trash. Ultimately, it matters not since my goal was to be rid of it but that will not stop me from some amount of wonder.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Scoop on The Stoup

I think I've mentioned "The Carve", and The Farmer's Market here on the blog. The Carve is a vendor, a food vendor that really had a big impact this year not only with their consistently outstanding food, but with the right attitude toward supporting the local community and by being good friends to those they served.

I managed to attend the farmers market in all but 4 Saturday's this summer and for each of those week's, I found myself indulging in food served from "The Carve" (except for the one week they ran out of lobster one customer before me - haha).

A few weeks back, I had the idea that in a show of gratitude to John and Marie, along with their staff, I would cook something and bring it to them. I knew what I wanted to do but it required time that I did not have, so I resorted to the "Lasagna Stoup" recipe (the one I posted yesterday).

It seemed to go over well, in addition to The Carve staff, I invited the "Birch Tree" bread company, who not only served as a vendor at the market all summer but they were also the source of bread products for The Carve.

It rained all morning and afternoon, attendance was low, but it was glorious nonetheless.

Thanks again John and Marie! See you next summer!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Recipe: Lasagna Stoup

The following recipe is by Rachael Ray. I saw her make it on TV a few years ago, banked the recipe but until today, never made it. In my next post, I will discuss the recipe further, any thoughts or tweaks, and why I chose today to make it -  but will offer a brief "definitely recommend" here.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound ground beef sirloin
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated
3 - 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-32 ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth
1-28 ounce can Italian crushed tomatoes
1 pound lasagna noodles, broken into jagged pieces
1 cup basil leaves, torn
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, to pass around the table


In a soup pot, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat.
Add the beef, season with salt and pepper and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in the onion, carrots and garlic and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in 2 cups water, the chicken broth and tomatoes; cover and bring to a boil.
Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the stoup in bowls and dollop with the ricotta.
Pass the parmigiano-reggiano at the table.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Identity Theft

Let me start by saying that I did not have my identity stolen. On one website that I frequent they not only had to change my password, but now I am no longer able to use any of the passwords that I have previously used and they required me to answer not one, not two, not three, not four, but five different security questions.

The selection of questions to choose from was plain ridiculous. I am reasonably certain that There is only a very small chance that I will be able to remember the answer to any and/or all of these questions.

For me, there comes a point where there such a thing as being too secure and that the cost of that security may even be greater than the cost of recovering from the theft it is designed to prevent. I know for some that statement is a bit of an over dramatization, and in some ways, it is. However, I do believe that this at its core is true. There is a point where it is impossible to remember all of the passwords for all of the accounts we are required to maintain just to get by on a normal day.

I guess that's all I have to say about this for now.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

What's Going On?

Perhaps those of you who read regularly have noticed a little bit of a slow down in posting here. The last time that happened, it happened pretty dramatically, and it was during a rather difficult time in my life.

I can tell you that while the slow down this time in not nearly as slow, more important, the reason is far from grim.

I miss everyone and I love all of you!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Is there a Guide with That?

Doesn't it feel like nothing comes with a good instruction manual or guide book anymore? That feels like a bad sentence but I am not going to over analyze (or give a crap).

I wonder how many cool features of gadgets go completely undiscovered because they aren't so obvious to find and there is no documentation.

I remember way back when Word Perfect was "the shit', the primo word processing program for a PC. We used to sell it on 5.25" floppy disks; the package weighed about 20 pounds because in addition to the box containing all umpteen floppies, there were 19.25 pounds of books to go through. Now it's even an effort to get the software on some kind of media, it comes in empty boxes with a slip of paper telling you to download it from a website and put in a million codes to get clearance,

Have you ever discovered a something about a device or gadget or piece of software long after you've owned it?

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Blessing of the Animals

I don't have pictures to share, though if I did, you would enjoy them...unless you are not an animal person, then you would ignore this post.

Once a year, in celebration of St. Francis of Asissi, we have the blessing of the animals at church and boy, the unpredictability, even more than with young children, just makes for a fun and happy service.

While dogs are by far the most common, there have been cats, birds, hamsters, I believe a guinea pig and others. For those that can't, or prefer not to, bring their pet, a photograph comes,along with a a story...

It's just a fun thing!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Fatigue Friday

Dragged my ass for a part of the day, especially late afternoon at work, really hit the crash wall big time.

If you read and cared anything about my post the other day, the "Beautiful Songs", post - I've linked each to a you tube video so you can hear the song if you are unfamiliar.

I've also begun one more list, the songs that after I made the first 25 and I realized, hey!

Work was odd today, Friday is often not super busy but I was busier today than any other day this week! there's no end to the unpredictable nature of being a computer geek.

Trader Joe right now is all about pumpkin something, in every's pumpkin with reckless abandon!

I am having the hardest time keeping my eyes open...I can't even procrastinate right now...grading will have to wait, bang out something at least....later.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

25 "Beautiful" Songs

My buddy Dan posted, as a reply to a challenge, a list of 25 "beautiful" songs - as much off the top of your head as possible, no real intricate thought involved. Dan of course challenged the rest of the planet and so being a part of this planet, here goes:

  1. Weak for Love - Daniel Lavoie
  2. Tonight's the Night - Rod Stewart
  3. Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen
  4. Nobody Knows Me - Lyle Llovett
  5. Have a Little Faith in Me - John Hiatt
  6. I'm In Love with You - Steve Forbert
  7. Deep River Woman - Lionel Richie
  8. Colour My World - Chicago
  9. In Dreams - Roy Orbison
  10. Anymore - Travis Tritt
  11. She's a Natural - Rob Crosby
  12. Just as Long as I Have You - Don Williams
  13. Ribbon in the Sky - Stevie Wonder
  14. You Send Me - Sam Cooke
  15. Mary, Did You Know? - Mark Lowry
  16. Nikita - Elton John
  17. Landslide - Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks
  18. Still in Love with You - Brooks & Dunn
  19. Shoot the Moonlight Out - Garland Jeffreys
  20. I Could Not Ask for More - Sara Evans
  21. Hurt - Johnny Cash (his version in particular)
  22. Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning - Alan Jackson
  23. The Dance - Garth Brooks
  24. We're All Alone - Boz Scaggs
  25. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
Feel free to take the plunge, no pressure from this guy!

UPDATE: Over the course of the next few days, I may consider adding links to YouTube for each song. The key word here is "may".

UPDATE 2: All are linked to YouTube :)