Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Because we all need a hero, and that hero is John Krasinski.

Oh, I’m in. I’m all in.

[Recipe below]

Taco Spaghetti
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: spaghetti, taco, taco spaghetti
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning (1.25-ounce)
  • 1 10 oz Ro*Tel® Mild Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 roma tomato (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until beef has browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; stir in taco seasoning. Drain excess fat.

  2. Stir in Ro*Tel®, tomato paste, spaghetti and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-16 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and top with cheeses. Cover until melted, about 2 minutes.

  4. Serve immediately, garnished with tomato and cilantro, if desired.

You’ve all heard many a story about a little dog called The Spark. He’s battled coyotes, squirrels, horseflies, spiders, sweepers, the occasional hobo, and a lady in a power suit. Little dude is fearless, and he proved it again today.

Sparky and I welcomed a new addition to our family a few weeks ago, a little Maltipoo named Lilly that needed a home. Sparky has welcomed Lilly with open paws (ok, he does have to let her know who’s boss every now and then) and for the most part it’s been smooth transition. Whenever we’re around other dogs Sparky makes it clear that he’s Lilly’s protector, always staying between her and any potential danger.

Which brings me to our latest adventure . . .

Today I took Sparky and Lilly to a local state park, a place with a huge lake and plenty of room to run around. As I pulled into the parking lot near the dam I noticed a large American Black Vulture sitting there. It had its wings outstretched and it was massive. It had to have a wingspan of close to 6-feet and of course had one of those hairless heads and nasty looking hooked beak. I’d read about these creatures before and knew how mean they could be. Just recently I’d read this in the Louisville Courier-Journal:

They’ll devour slimy newborn calves, full-grown ewes and lambs alive by pecking them to death.

First the eyes, then the tongue, then every last shred of flesh. 

Yeah, so I knew I needed to keep an eye out, and especially up.

As we parked it flew away, but not before Sparky had spotted it and gave a low, gutteral growl. Not much gets past The Spark, man.

I got out of the car first, just to have a look around and scan the skies. I mean, I was pretty sure we’d scared the beast off but better safe than sorry, especially where my dogs are concerned. Plus, I figured no flesh eating bird in its right mind would swoop down with a human standing right there.

All was clear.

The pups hopped out and started doing their thing, trotting around and sniffing everything in sight. I made sure to stay close, especially to Lilly. After all, Spark is 22-pounds, experienced and a badass, but Lilly weighs probably 8-pounds and wouldn’t know danger if it stared her in the face. Spark was about 20-feet to my left, Lilly no more than 15-feet in front of me.

And then it happened.

First I thought Sparky had spotted a squirrel or rabbit and was making a mad dash for it. He was heading straight ahead so I thought he’d fly past Lilly in his hot pursuit. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw it – the damn vulture was making a dive at Lilly.

For a brief instant I thought Sweet Lilly was a goner. What flashed through my brain was that poor little girl, who’s already been through so much, being carried off to be eaten alive by that winged monster.

Fortunately, somebody wasn’t going to let that happen, and that somebody was Sparky.

Not on my watch, you flying freak.

I promise you that behemoth was 20-feet up and diving as The Spark made his charge, growling and barking like a dog possessed. He leaped up and I swear, for just a split second, that I thought he was going to make contact. Instead, the beast made an excellent life choice – it got the hell out of there.

And as the big bird rose and flew away, Sparky gave chase, looking up and growling as he ran. I’m telling you that dog would still be giving chase had I not ordered him to come back.

Lilly? She was standing under me, shaking, and did so until Spark trotted back and they nuzzled noses together.

And as we walked back to the car, Sparky constantly the skies, ever watchful.

In retrospect, Lilly tore a toenail a couple days ago. It’s being treated but she’s still limping pretty badly. I believe the Black Vulture saw that and estimated Lilly was easy prey.

What it underestimated was the furry ball of protective fury they call The Spark.

I gotchu, girl.

 

 

This question was asked on Twitter, and one man’s answer touched my soul. Here it is:

My wife, my 3-year daughter and I were on a vacation in Alaska. One evening we went for a walk after dinner. Upon our return we found a Grizzly Bear between us and the door to our cabin. As we came through a clearing it stood up on its hind legs and roared, showing its teeth and growling. It then made a move towards us.

Without hesitation my 11-year old Bull Terrier, Duke, charged the bear and leaped towards its throat. As that was happening I ran my daughter and wife into the cabin, grabbed my rifle and ran back outside. The bear and Duke were gone, but I could hear sounds of the battle off in the dark woods.

Finally everything became quiet and I could hear the bear crashing away through the forest. I looked for what seemed like forever for Duke, and I was assuming the worst. Finally he came limping through the underbrush to me, bleeding badly. He’d fought like a son-of-a bitch. 

I rushed him to a local vet and he licked my neck and face all the way there. He seemed to be more worried about me, and that he was glad I was ok. When I got there I found out he had a broken leg, broken jaw and a 9-inch gash on his side.

He never made it.

Would I give five years of my life to Duke?

Yes.

After all, he gave my entire family our lives.

Dogs. They’re truly a gift to mankind.

Well played, Flea. Well played.

I’ll take The Block at #1.

We all love the deliciousness of a regular deviled egg, right? Now imagine that same deliciousness, deep fried in greasy, tasty awesomeness. Again, you are welcome.

These little balls of tasty goodness are also known as Poutine Poppers, and they apparently originated up in America’s Hat, sometimes known as Canada. They are basically cheese curd encrusted fries and I am dying right now. Anywho, Poutine Poppers also known as Cheese Stuffed Potato Bites!

Click here for the recipe. Thank you and goodnight.

PS- You’re welcome.

Thank you and goodnight.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup graham crackers crumbs
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cups white chocolate, melted
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • sprinkles for garnish
Instructions
  1. Line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, graham cracker crumbs, maple syrup and salt. Using a whisk or hand mixer, mix ingredients until smooth and fully incorporated.

  2. Using a small cookie scoop, form mixture into balls and place on prepared baking sheet.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine melted white chocolate and coconut oil and stir until smooth. Dip peanut butter balls in white chocolate and place on cooling rack (excess chocolate will drop off).

  4. Top with sprinkles, then refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes.

A man by the name of Cody Bondarchuk has posted the following on the Twitter machine:

From Cody Bondarchuk’s Twitter account:

Cody Bondarchuk
@codybondarchuk
“I worked at McDonald’s for two and a half years and I put 11 nuggets in almost every 10-piece I ever made.”

7:27 PM · Nov 15, 2019Twitter for iPhone

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new American hero and his name is Cody Bondarchuk. 11-McNuggets per order over a  2 1/2 year period adds up to about $1,600 worth of McNuggets that this Man-God has bestowed upon humanity. I can think of few other humans who have given back to the community like Cody Bondarchuk has. God bless you my man. God bless you.

Ladies and gentlemen, sometimes something comes along that is so great, so awesome, so awe-inspiring that words do not do it justice. This is one of those times. Without further ado, I give you an Oreo cookie that is not double-stuffed but triple-stuffed. Thank you and goodnight.

New studies show that having a dog as an inside companion can lengthen your life by as much as 24%.

I’m crying. You’re also crying.

Seriously. You hate Christmas if this is not in your yard in 2-months. It’s 72″ tall and sells for a mere $50! Get one!

Everyone had a Little Tikes Car, right? If you didn’t have one your kid did. Folks my age didn’t because they didn’t come out until 1969 and we had to build our own go-carts with wheels from our Radio Flyer Wagon and scraps from our garage. Anywho, that’s neither here nor there but it looked like this:

Well everyone that didn’t get the pleasure of having a Little Tikes Car, I have good news. They are now available in adult versions! You heard that right, and it gets even better – these babies can reach a cruising speed of 70 miles per hour. Check it!

Man, I can just see myself motoring down the highway in that bad boy, just impressing the hell out of everyone who crosses my path. Can’t. Wait. Sparky will love it.

PS- I may add a windshield. You know, because of bugs and birds and rain and whatnot.

Check it. Click and scroll too see whole photo.

GearPatrol.com: Living Vehicle, a California-based luxury mobile home manufacturer, has unveiled its new 2020 Series trailer. The model is designed for full-time living and spending substantial time off the grid. It’s a luxury apartment on wheels — one that will minimize your energy consumption and water waste.

The 28-foot-long trailer offers 220-square feet of living space. Its design maximizes that by offering a lofted queen-sized bed that stores in the ceiling and a fold-out patio deck. Reconfiguring the dining area and opting for an optional fold-out Euro loft bed can increase the sleeping capacity to six.

Want to go off-the-grid and off-the-road? Living Vehicle can outfit the 2020 trailer for overlanding. The trailer has a steel-reinforced aluminum frame, a rear incline for an improved departure angle, and 16-inches of ground clearance. The “Off-Road Option Package” adds off-road tires, additional ground clearance, and a matte black body liner.

The cooking setup is versatile. The “Chef’s Kitchen” package adds an oven, a propane grill, an instant hot-water system, a dishwasher and an ever-critical six-bottle wine cooler. The trailer features a movable kitchen island, permitting outdoor cooking and improved flow within the living space.

Even if you are technically off the grid, Living Vehicle still has you set with multiple “Netflix and chill” options. The trailer comes standard with a WiFi source and a 42-inch 4K TV, and there’s an optional 70-inch home theater setup with a 4K projector.

Living Vehicle plans to produce a “small batch” of 25-trailers for the 2020 Series. Pricing for one starts at $199,995. That is expensive for a trailer (though on par with other luxury trailer options). But if you’re ready to embrace that full-on mobile life, it’s less expensive, better designed, and far better equipped than most apartments.

Lofted Queen-Size Bed? Check. Fold-Out Patio Deck? Of course. Chef’s Kitchen? Why not? Wine Cooler? Sure. WiFi source, 42-inch 4K T, and an an optional 70-inch home theater setup with a 4K projector? Duh. But hey, where’s the hot tub? Do you expect me to live like a damn hot tubless savage? Come on, Living Vehicle. You’re better’n’at. On the positive side, at $199,995 they’re practically giving these things away. Only 25 left kids! Get in line!

PS- Who even considers this camping? Last time I camped I pulled my $17 K-Mart Pup Tent from the hatch of my ’78 Ford Pinto, built a fire with limbs and a wadded up newspaper, stuck some dogs on a sharpened stick, popped a cold Stroh’s and went to town. Those were the days, man.

PPS- Pretty sure my little 2017 Hyundai Veloster could tow that beast with no problems. Veloster is a combination of velocity and roadster after all.

 

SOURCE – Pizza Hut finally found a new place to hide cheese… inside of a giant Cheez-It.

The pizza chain just announced the addition of a brand new item to their menu, called the Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

The Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza was created after Pizza Hut realized that their largest fan base — college students — was also fond of Cheez-Its, according to a press release.

Now available nationwide, the new “pizza” looks like a giant Cheez-It, albeit stuffed with mozzarella cheese (pepperoni is also available). A single order comes with four large squares containing the mozzarella inside a cheese-baked crust. It also comes packed with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Sweet God Almighty. I promise you that there is no ocean I wouldn’t swim across, no mountain I wouldn’t climb, no fire I wouldn’t walk through to try the new Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza. Then again, there are a couple Huts within 12-miles of me so that’s not really necessary I guess. Anyway, how in the hell did it take someone this long to come up with this idea? I mean really? Pizza? Cheez-Its? ‘Tis a match made in heaven, man.

PS- In my exhaustive research I came across a recipe for Cheez-It Crusted Chicken Fingers and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

Big word guy here. Everyone knows that. I’ve written several blogs about words, including the classics William Shakespeare, Rad Bro of Avon and Inventor of Words, 7 Redundancies We Need To Eliminate, Moving Forward, Allow Me To Reiterate, A Message To Social Media Users, 11 Examples of Why We Should Let Kids Name Stuff, Mispronounced Words: My Top 10, My 15 Favorite Palindromes, Here Are Some Words That Need To Make A Comeback, Word Up! Snorkel, Curds and Uranus and the legendary Cool Beans! Words and Phrases That Need to Make a Comeback.

So yeah, a lot.

And I once had a kid claim that “dude” was a word that only young folk should use, so of course I had to point out to him that it’s been around for at least 150-years, and that it was even used with regularity back in the stone age when I was in high school. And yes, I wrote about that too, in the blog The Etymology of Dude. 

Which brings me to today’s little piece about words that are older than you think. Let us proceed . . .

HIPSTER

Seriously. “Hipster” shows up in the 1941 Dictionary of Hash House Lingo (yes there was such a thing) and it meant “a know-it-all.” The words hip and hep had been around since the early 1900s, meaning being up on the latest and knowing what’s what. And by the way, I’m old enough to remember beatniks being called hep cats. God I’m old.

UNFRIEND

Think “unfriend” is a word brought upon us by Facebook? Naw. It’s been around a long time. It shows up in this example from 1659: “I Hope, Sir, that we are not mutually Un-friended by this Difference which hath happened betwixt us.” Cool. On a related note, if you don’t think I’m going to use the word “betwixt” henceforth you’re out of your gourd.

HANG OUT

Hang out has been used as a verb for passing the time since at least the 1830s. In the Pickwick Papers Charles Dickens wrote: “I say, old boy, where do you hang out?” True story.

PUKE

Puke has been around since the 16th century, man. The word, not actual puke. That’s been around forever. Anyway, while it is often claimed that Shakespeare invented the term, puke has been found in earlier sources. It meant then what it means now, to vomit. To hurl. Barf. Heave. Spew. Upchuck. You get the picture. But it also used to be a causative verb, meaning to make someone vomit with a tonic or potion. Your doctor might have you purged, bled, and puked for your own good. That’s disgusting, but I get it. Sometimes puking does make you feel better.

FUNKY

Funky was used as a term describing music back in the 1930s, but the “strong smell” meaning has been around long before that. Since the 1600s funk was slang for the stale smell of tobacco smoke, and by extension, anything that stank. Cheeses, rooms, hobos, and especially ship’s quarters could be described as “funky.” And oh by the way, I saw Wild Cherry perform “Play That Funky Music (White Boy)” on High Street in Columbus, Ohio 6-months before they hit it big. Boom.

FRIGGING

Wait, what you say? I kid you not. Frigging has been around since the late 1500s and has served as the more family-friendly substitute for that other F-word. Check out this 1943 quote, man:  “This shunting frigging new arrangement has got every flaming thing foxed up.” People used to talk way cooler than they do now, amirite?

LEGIT

Legit as a shortening of legitimate has been around since the 1890s. It started as theater slang for things associated with legitimate (as opposed to vaudeville or burlesque) theater. From the 1920s on, it referred to underworld or shady occupations or places. If you were “on the legit” you were being honest. Kewl.

So there ya go. Words that are older than you thought they were. I hope you learned something today, kids.

 

 

 

As many of the local readers of my site know, I lost my mother on July 22nd. I haven’t written anything about it because frankly it was just too difficult. I’d already written several stories involving Mom, including A Right Cross With Love, Traveling Through History With Mom, The Greatest Teachers, and one I simply titled Mom. They all tell, in different ways, what my mother meant to me.

My sister Sara and I have been going through our mother’s house, trying to sort through everything. The other day we found a box containing notes that family members had written to Mom for her birthday a few years ago. My late sister Karen had asked that everyone in the family write notes to tell Mom what she meant to them. I went through them and found mine, and I think they are a pretty good reflection of my mother’s influence on me. Some are funny, some are sad, but together they paint a pretty accurate picture of what my mother meant to me.

Here they are, the notes I wrote to Mom . . .

  • Mom, you taught me to be independent. On my very first day of school in 1st grade I panicked on my way there with my sisters and I turned and ran back home. When I got there the door was locked. I’d just left so I knew you were in there. I knocked and knocked but there was no answer. After awhile I simply turned and went to school by myself. Only when I was older did I realize what you were doing – teaching me independence. Thank you Mom.
  • Mom, I have so many great memories of you as I grew up. I remember that you would let me lick the icing off the mixer after you made a cake. I loved those times.
  • Mom, you were my teacher in 4th grade. I thought I had it made! My Mom was my teacher! Woohoo! You paddled me the 4th week of school. And yes, I deserved it. I was pushing my boundaries and you were sending a message to not only me but the rest of the class. The message was received, Mom. Loud and clear.
  • Mom, I love our regular trips to Jerry’s for pizza. We’ve been doing it for over 20-years now and I cherish every moment.
  • Mom, you believe with all your heart that I can do literally anything I want in life and be the best at it. You always have. Thank you for loving me and for always, without fail, believing in me.
  • Mom, you are always, without fail, happy to see me. That means everything to me.
  • Mom, you are without a doubt the toughest person I’ve ever known. I guess growing up on a farm with two brothers will do that, right? I’m so lucky that you’re always on my side.
  • Mom, I became a teacher because of you. You impacted so many students in your career and I saw that. I wanted to be just like you. I wanted to try and have an impact just like you did. If I have impacted students positively, you are the reason for it.
  • Mom, I love you because no matter how badly I’ve screwed up or how many stupid mistakes I’ve made in my life, you’ve always loved me and supported me unconditionally.
  • Mom, I know without a doubt that you’re the best person I’ve ever known.

Last summer my mother lost her oldest daughter and her husband of 70-years, yet throughout all the loss she stayed amazingly strong. Even recently, as the end neared, Mom remained the same kind, sweet, loving person she’d always been.

I passed by Mom’s bedroom window when I’d go into her house over the past several months. My sister Sara would too. When I did I’d always stop and look in at her, both on my way in and out. When I left I’d always do something dumb, like acting like I was on an elevator, walking down stairs, or just making a funny face or something. Mom would always laugh and laugh. I just wanted her to be happy in her last days, and I think she was.

When Mom finally passed she was in her home with her family, where she was comfortable and where she knew she was loved.

Quite simply Mom was the toughest, smartest, sweetest, most honest person you could ever hope to meet. Oh sure, if I messed up she’d let me know about it but I never, ever felt as if she was disappointed in me. Unconditional love like she gave to me was priceless, and I will miss it.

There won’t be anymore trips to Jerry’s, but the lessons my mother taught Sara and I will stay with us the rest of our lives.

Mom had some flowers she called Naked Ladies, some call them Resurrection Lilies or Surprise Lilies, that grew every year just outside her bedroom. Every year several would sprout up about this time of year. This year just one single Naked Lady popped up, and it’s beautiful. It’s almost as if Mom is letting us know she’s OK, and that Sara and I are going to be OK too. And although Sara and I are the only ones left and we both feel a tremendous void in our lives, we will be O.K. We have to be. We have to carry on and be strong, because you know what? That’s exactly what Mom would want us to do.

Capybaras are awesome creatures, man. Their calm and motherly nature attracts animals of all varieties to them, as is evidenced in the photos below. Some say they radiate peace, which is an amazing trait, but the truth is that in the wild Capybaras live in large groups so a female Capybaras take care of not only their own offspring but others as well. This helps them to be great mothers who will adopt just about any animal they encounter. In fact, animal rescue shelters will give young animals to a Capybara because they know it will do a great job of raising them. Capybaras, man. They’re cool.

Hero.

DAVIDSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A dog suffered multiple snake bites Monday night in Davidson County while protecting his owner.

Haley McCormack was headed inside her home after work and said she didn’t see the copperhead snake that was lurking near her front porch. “As I pass the corner of my front porch, the snake is already recoiled back,” McCormack explained. “Arlo lunged out and actually grabbed it by its tail.”

Her pit bull, Arlo, proceeded to kill the copperhead snake before it could bite her. While trying to kill the snake, McCormack said Arlo suffered at least three bites to his face.

The dog was rushed to the emergency vet and doctors administered antivenom.

According to McCormack, doctors gave Arlo a positive prognosis. “He’s my hero. He didn’t hesitate to jump in and save me.”

Hell yes Arlo jumped in to save Haley McCormack. That’s what dogs do, jump in front of dangerous animals and save their owners. Arlo didn’t think twice about ripping a highly poisonous snake to shreds, even if it meant getting bitten in the process. A cat would have hightailed it out of there and eaten your corpse after you were dead. Dogs, man. We don’t deserve ’em.

PS- Somebody in Ross County has been driving around and calling the authorities on people who leave their dogs tied outside when it’s too hot.

PPS-

 

This baby was invented by a Frenchman named Franky Zupata and it is outstanding. Man, if I had one of these “personal flight systems” I’d be flying all over town like a boss. I’d put Sparky in one of those doggy backpacks and we’d be off. Be sure and check out all three videos. Wild stuff.

PS- Actually I’m 90% sure if somebody flew one of these contraptions where I live some redneck would think it was an alien and blast it out of the sky.

 

NRK Radio- A 1-year-old explorer made an epic journey from Norway to Canada, covering 2,176-miles in 76-days. That young explorer was an Arctic fox. 

Scientists were left “speechless” by the fox’s journey, Greenland’s Sermitsiaq newspaper reports. Researchers from Norway’s Polar Institute had been tracking the young female fox on a GPS, according to BBC News. They freed her into the wild on the east cost of Spitsbergen, the main island of the Svalbard archipelago of Norway.

The fox started her journey in March, at just under a year old. She walked nearly 1,000-miles from the archipelago near the North Pole to Greenland. She completed this leg in just 21 days, then began the second part of her trek.

The fox then walked about 1,242-miles farther to Canada’s Ellesmere Island. The whole trek took her just 76-days, averaging about 28.4-miles a day. Some days, however, the ambitious fox walked over 96-miles.

No fox has been recorded traveling that far, that fast before.

Eva Fuglei, a research scientists at the Polar Institute, spoke to Norway’s NRK public broadcaster about the fox’s unlikely journey. “We couldn’t believe our eyes at first,” she said. “We were quite thunderstruck.”

This fox went much further than most others tracked before – it just shows the exceptional capacity of the little creatures. Researchers think the fox curled up in the snow to sit out the bad weather.

The fox could have traveled even farther, but scientists stopped tracking her when she reached Canada in February, because her transmitter stopped working, the Polar Institute said. 

96-miles in a day? That’s .67 miles per minute for a 20-pound animal the size of my dog Sparky. Thunderstruck indeed. And little dude did it by crossing large portions of the frozen freaking ocean, man. That’s intense. I wonder where she was going? Had to have some sort of purpose. You don’t make that journey without good reason. And it’s sad that her transmitter stopped working. We have no idea where she is now. Hell, she could be chillin’ on the beach on Prince Rupert Island for all we know. Animals, man. They never cease to amaze me.