“You’ll be a Huge Hit during the Holidays with my Famous & Easy Summer Ginger Splash!”

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An amazing drink for the summer and spring months, or for a great wow factor beverage during the holidays, my Summer Ginger Splash will make you the talk of the party.  Step out to a whole new level of flavors!

“Summer Ginger Splash” 

For a refreshing and unique twist try this great drink.  I like adding maraschino cherries and a slice of lime or lemon.  Add a zest of fresh ginger on top of each glass and you are in heaven!

Ingredients:

fresh mint leaves (add 1 tbsp. of mint per glass; more or less per your taste)
1 cup cherry juice, OR cranberry juice, OR pomegranate juice OR Guava, OR Peach, etc….
 

4 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups ginger ale

*add a tbsp of sugar if you are using pomegranate juice

Directions
Add the desired amount of mint to each glass. Mash the mint with the back of a wooden spoon or crusher. In a large pitcher, add the cherry and lime juices. Stir. Add the ginger ale. You can either fill the glasses with ice or the pitcher with ice.  Pour into glasses, and garnish with any fruit you like.  Place fruit on a tray and let your guests choose!

TIPS:

****For garnish, after pouring into glasses put a thin slice or a small mince of fresh ginger on top of each glass.  I like it with a slice of lime and maraschino cherries as well!

-Slice up various amounts of fruit.  Peel oranges or grapefruit and cut into slices or chunks,  Use cherries, mango, lychee, blackberry, blueberry.  Use your imagination!

Yield: 4 servings  Enjoy!!

“The Potion of Motion; An Exotic & Easy Drink to Wow Adults & Kids!”

POTION OF MOTION

“Potion of Motion” 

My love for champagne is of legend and this is a great and tasty drink that is amazing for parties.  A great drink for the holidays!  Make it with or without alcohol for a special and fun drink to please the adults and the kids during this festive season.  Add cup up fruit so people can add it to their drink!

Ingredients:

-Drinkable bottle or bottles of brut champagne depending on how many people are drinking.

(FOR KIDS OR NON-ALCOHOLIC VERSION, Use sparkling water; flavor or unflavored; or try sparkling apple cider)

-for one part of the juices you can use cherry, pomegranate, cranberry, guava, mango, orange, grapefruit, or any other juice that you’d like.

-large can of pineapple juice

-tall glasses filled with ice

-sliced fruit of your choice

Directions:

Put as much ice as you’d like in a tall glass of any kind.  (per your taste) Add 1 to 1/2 ounces of pineapple juice. Then add 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite (or exotic) fruit juice (look above).  Fill the rest of the glass with champagne.  For the kids, substitute flavored or non-flavored sparkling water or sparkling apple cider.  Enjoy!!

Tips:

-Add exotic fruit juices like Mango, Guava, Cherry, or other types for a unique and great flavor.  Use your imagination!

-put all of the juices and sliced fruit on a side table.  Put the chilled juices and champagne on ice next to it and let your guests serve themselves.

Awesome!!

“WTF Night; Our Yearly Reunion”

Yes; we actually did coin the term WTF.  We’ve been using it for years before the internet used it.

DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF PAT DAVIS

“You are a tough guy to get to know James”.

I rarely trust anyone anymore and I remember one of my best friends said that to me once when we were just starting out being friends about 20 years ago.  Unfortunately he was right. This is probably the most open I will ever be.  It’s hard but here goes.

I’ve always had a huge disconnect with friends from my high school days.  Most of it is my fault.  We lived such different lives that we never really mixed after our crazy party days.  As a young punk, I was a party boy for sure.  Could play quarters as good as anyone on the planet and could drink like a fish.  I was athletic, loud and fun.  I underachieved and until I grew up when I went to college, I really didnt’ accomplish much.

As more and more of my old school friends contact me I have been cynical.  I mean if they cared, why didn’t they contact me before?  And sure, most are just curious.  They want to know what happened to you and then they want to go back into the abyss.  Some really did miss me.

Growing up in a small town, gossip is the norm.  I know people that I haven’t seen in years talk about me like they know me and saw me yesterday.  You are judged often by who you were in high school and you can’t shake it.  I left my town early because I wanted to be a big fish in a big pond.  It has been a fun ride and I loved the pressure, the sense of accomplishment and the challenge.

My friends mostly married young and had kids.  As time went on we grew apart.  They couldnt’ relate to my life and I couldnt’ relate to them.  Calling them and listening to them correct their kids every 5 seconds on the phone made me realize that we were too different and that wouldnt’ change.  When you marry and have kids you are now in the club and single people aren’t; there is a disconnect almost like you’ve failed or that you were too dysfunctional to marry anyone and sometimes you are even looked down upon.

I could have gotten married lots of times in my life.  As a young person I had 2 great girlfriends that I should have married but after hearing about their own lives I’m glad I didn’t.  Again, time changes people.

I also had many scars.  I had lost people in my life at a young age and it hurt me more than I ever told anyone and will ever admit.  Daily their memory is with me and I miss them dearly.  The men in our family are hard to handle sometimes.  We go off in our own world when things are bad, dealing with it by ourselves which is never a good thing but we dont’ want to bother anyone.  It’s our weakness.

I’ve had many successes in life that I’m proud of but because of the differences in our lives I never felt good sharing them with friends from the olden days.  Many times they didnt’ seem to want to hear it.  Maybe they thought I was being arrogant or bragging, or that they were a little jealous, or worse yet thought I was lying or making it up or making it out to be something special when it wasn’t.  It sucked.  I then began to share things with my family and present friends more because they knew me and had seen what I had accomplished, where my high school friends just remember someone who could party with the best of them.

The mistakes of my youth also followed me.  Many judged me for them and it hurt me tremendously. Outside of my home town I was respected by many all over the world and many looked up to me and even counted on me.  It bothered me to be judged that way.  If I do something wrong or make a mistake it eats at me.  It’s very hard for me to forgive myself and in some instances I never do.  I joke around and have fun a lot to keep people from knowing me.  As a kid like most guys, I was out of control emotionally and was very immature.  In small towns once you are labeled though, it’s hard to beat it.  I’ve come into contact with people I haven’t seen in years and they were pretty nasty to me and that stunk, but it is what it is.

In time I realized it was funner and more fulfilling to share my life with those that really knew me and my friends from the olden days never did.  People that saw me do all of my accomplishments could trust me and relate to me where others only saw the person they wanted to see.

It’s sad because my youth meant a lot to me.  I love my friends from high school; they were a great bunch of guys and girls that have turned into a great group of people that I enjoy to be around.  Unfortunately there still seems to be that wall and it may never be climbed.  I hope that the bridge will continue to be built and in time our relationship will be fun and easy again.  Here is to WTF night 2014!  Let’s do this!

“The Greatest Defensive Backfield of all time! The Oakland Raiders Soul Patrol”

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There will never be a defensive backfield like the Oakland Raiders Soul Patrol of the 1970’s ever again.  They were the most intimidating and greatest group of all time.

The 70’s will always be remembered as probably the greatest era for the NFL.  It’s the era when there were many great teams and great quarterbacks.  Television helped make the Superbowl become a must see event.  Teams like the Raiders, Steelers, Dolphins, Chiefs, Cowboys and Vikings made this a decade of excellence.  The Steel Curtain, the No Name Defense, and the Purple People Eaters are all revered names in NFL lore.  When the Steelers met the Raiders in the mid 70’s, there were no less than 22 hall of fame coaches, owners, and players on the field at one time.  That will never happen again.

The wide receivers of the 70’s never get their due because their numbers weren’t the pinball numbers of today.  In today’s NFL, if you exhale near a receiver it is a penalty.  In the 1970’s it was literally survival of the fittest.  They had to worry about the great physical play of the era and you could not be a wide receiver unless you could go over the middle. I’ve seen pass interference penalties in today’s game where a defensive back literally brushed by a player.  The rules are so comical now that records are being broken almost weekly.  The 70’s on the other hand was an extremely brutal and tough era, and the most talented and toughest defensive backfield of them all was the Soul Patrol in Oakland.

The center of the sporting world in the 70’s was Oakland California.  In 1975 a team lead by superstar Rick Barry silenced all the east coast and their writers by sweeping the Washington Bullets for the NBA title.  The Oakland A’s dynasty had an amazing 3 straight World Series Championships beating national league royalty in the Dodgers, Reds, and NY Mets.  And then oh by the way, for a 25 year stretch the Raiders were the winningest team in all of sports with several division titles, and 3 superbowl wins.  No city ever had so many titles in such a short time.

The Soul Patrol embodied what the Oakland Raiders were all about.  They were tough, borderline dirty, intimidating and extremely confident.  Each member played their role and they roamed the NFL like a pack of wolves.

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George Atkinson Jr.:  (“Butch” 6’ 0”; 180 lbs.)

There may have never been a tougher Raider than George Atkinson.  Listed as 6 feet tall, many say it was more like 5’ 10” but no one had the guts to tell him that.

Atkinson was an intimidator that roamed the field like a lion ready to pounce.  He was the trash talker of the group often seen taunting and intimidating players that were much bigger than he was.  He once broke Russ Francis nose with a vicious forearm hit, and his hits against Lynn Swann of the Steelers are a part of NFL history.  He had blazing speed and in fact still holds the single game record for punt return yardage for the Raiders at 205 yards.

Atkinson took it very personally when someone tried to block him low.  He learned from Tatum to go after a Wide Receiver if they tried to hit their knees or ankles.  In some films you can actually see Raiders defensive backs going towards blockers to actually hit them after they tried to hit them low.  All time great Paul Warfield once said when you went over the middle against Oakland and didn’t account for Tatum and Atkinson, you would not be in the game long without being carried off the field.  Against the run, he could go through blockers and make amazingly hard tackles.  If you ran wide against the Raiders, their DB’s would make you pay.  Atkinson loved to make players pay.

willie brown

Willie Brown:  (6’ 1”; 195 lbs.)

Amazingly Hall of Famer Willie Brown was never drafted when he graduated from Grambling St.  He was signed by the Buffalo Bills who cut him and then he was picked up by the Denver Broncos.  He soon became an all star but was traded to the Raiders in 1967 where he played for the rest of his career.  Unlike the other 3 members of the soul patrol, Brown was fast, graceful and laid back.  He wasn’t a talker but a great defender who was a shut down corner. He had good size and played the run very well, but he was a master of the bump and run, man to man game that the Raiders loved so much.  His famous interception in the Superbowl with the great announcer Bill King’s call of old man Willie is as famous as any highlight NFL films has.

skip thomas

Skip Thomas CB (Dr. Death; 6’ 1”; 205 lb.):

In a day when cornerbacks were just as important in attacking the run as they did the pass, Skip “Dr. Death” Thomas role was to make everyone that came near him remember that he hit them.  What is funny is he was nicknamed Dr. Death by Raiders great Bob Brown who said Skip Thomas looked like the cartoon character Dr. Death.

Skip Thomas was a vicious tackler who was the king of the clothesline tackle.  Many times his padded arm was seen knocking the ball out of wide receivers hands.  When he hit people, sometimes he would actually launch his whole body and his arm swung like a Russian sickle.  It was intimidating, violent and sent the message to not come his way.  He didn’t have great hands but he did have a two year stretch of 6 interceptions per year.  Due to the great talent of Willie Brown, teams would try to pick on Skip Thomas and usually the results were not good.  Sadly he passed away in 2011 at the age of 61, but he will always be remembered for his talent, toughness and personality on the field.

jack tatum

Jack Tatum Safety (Assassin; 5’ 10”, 205 lb.):

When the NFL show with Cris Collinsworth was discussing players that should be in the hall of fame, to a man they all said the same name.   Chris Berman and many others kept bringing up one name; Jack Tatum.

He may have been the most intimidating force in NFL history. Sadly he was mentally saddled with the hit on Darryl Stingley which paralyzed him for the rest of his life.  Many close to Tatum said he really never got over it up to his death in 2010 at the age of 61.

Earl Campbell said no one ever hit him harder than his touchdown run where he and Tatum hit head on.  Sammy White looked like his head had come off in the Superbowl hit that Tatum laid on him when the Raiders dominated the Vikings.

I remember a story that Ahmad Rashad told.  He said that days before the Vikings were to play the Raiders in the Superbowl, Tatum had walked into a room where the Vikings were relaxing.  Tatum walked into the closet and just stood there for a couple of minutes.  He then walked out of the closet and left.  Rashad said that not one Viking laughed or said a word until they saw Tatum walking out of the building.  Rashad said that it was a mind game of intimidation and he said it worked.  He said, “we laughed; we just made sure Tatum couldn’t hear us”.

Tatum was a linebacker playing safety.  He also was dominating against the run and would take on guards and tackles at any given notice.  Many game films show Tatum chasing blockers trying to hit them before the blockers would try to block them.  Tatum was vicious, fearless and ready to hit anyone.  He epitomized the great physical play of the day, and what the Raiders defense always tried to do; stop the run and make the quarterback go down, and go down hard. With a good pass rush, the Raiders defense was hard to beat as was seen in their dominance.

With today’s rules there will never be hits and aggressive play like the Soul Patrol did.  Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers pretty much do as they please and the Soul Patrol would struggle to hold down their play in todays NFL.  In the most physical era though, the Soul Patrol was like a pack of wolves ready to take down any sized prey.  They remain the greatest defensive backfield of all time.

“Mama Dips Famous, Show Stopping Easy Pecan Pie”

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“Mama Dips Famous, Show Stopping Easy Pecan Pie”

From Chef Mildred Council (Mama Dip)

This recipe is so easy that anyone can do it.  This will be the scene stealer at ANY gathering.  For thanksgiving make this a staple that they all will remember.  You might want to make two because seconds are the norm.
Ingredients

  1 stick butter or margarine, melted

  1 cup sugar

  1 cup light Karo syrup (corn syrup)

  3 eggs, beaten

  2 cup chopped or whole pecans (or walnuts or macadamia nuts)

  1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In saucepan, melt butter, but do not brown.
  3. Mix in sugar and corn syrup until sugar dissolves. Let mixture cool and stir in eggs by tempering them. (if you don’t let it cool, you will get scrambled eggs). Tempering means to put a little bit of the hot mixture into the eggs to make them come to temperature. Mix well. Stir in pecans or whatever nuts you choose to use.
  4. Pour into the pie shell (store bought or hand made) and bake for 1 hour. I cover the entire pie crusts edges with tin foil for the first 45 minutes and then uncover for the last 10-15 minutes.

Watch your pie when you are baking!  If your oven runs hot, make sure you take it out a little early. Many overbrown the pie when they first make it.  The filling will be “jiggly” until it cools so dont be fooled into over cooking.  The original recipe has only 1 cup of nuts but I don’t think it’s enough.  I love nuts so I add 2 cups.  You will be a show stopper with this one.  Thank you Mama Dip!!!!

“I Used to be an Open Book; Learning the Hard Way How Naive That Was”

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“I’m an open book”, said the naive person.

I USED TO be an open book online.  Some even brag about it like a badge of honor.  I’ve learned the hard way that this is a bad way to be online.

I remember one time I was out with friends and one of them said how they admired how I was the type of person that was always the first to try new things or to do something new instead of just following what others think or did.  Another friend laughed, “yea, Jim is the dumb one that does it first and finds out all the mistakes so the rest of us don’t have to go through it”.  They both were probably right.

I remember going online years ago.  I was in wonder over the internet.  I put in an AOL disk that I got in the mail.  At 14.8, the speed at that time seemed so fast.  The internet really didn’t have that many websites but I was amazed.  Over time I started using things like Yahoo, EBAY and Paypal.

I have always wanted to think that everyone has good in them.  In reality though it’s naive to think that way especially with people the way they are.  Many people don’t have a conscious anymore.  Half of marriages have spouses cheating and then coming home acting like nothing happened.  People in corporations cheat in business so much it’s not even news anymore.  Even Miss America’s have a sleaze factor.  It’s harder to find one that doesn’t have some sort of sex tape in their past.  Celebrities and athletes sleep around so much they can’t keep track of how many lovers or kids they have.  All the while they walk through life with a smile and living “with no regrets”.  If you have no regrets then you have lots of issues to be honest because you lack a conscience.

The internet and social media has made people dysfunctional communicators.  Look at people on dates; many are texting others, looking at videos or even flirting with other people.  Go to a movie theater and try to find people that aren’t texting people.  We have the attention spans of puppies as well as the lack of communication skills.

Instead of relationships we use Facebook, Linkedin, and many other sites to almost “instantly” learn about someone.  The problem is it’s shallow, lazy and worthless at times.  It takes time to get to know people.  I’ve seen people move in with others after days of meeting someone on dating sites.  It’s sheer madness.  We want it and we want it now.  The problem is you have to build a foundation be it business or in your personal relationships, and it’s more than a profile or mouse click away.

I’ve lost my identity twice and I once was used in a scam in 2000.  When Ebay first started it was fun but it was a hackers paradise.  Many didn’t use firewalls and malware wasn’t even a term yet.  Two German hackers got into my Ebay account and started selling high end Apple products and ended up stealing about $30,000 by having people send them money by western union.

Ebay’s customer support has always been a joke of unaccountable and clueless people but back then they were as smart as Lenny in Of Mice and Men.  You can still call Ebay 4 times and get 4 different people with 4 different answers and because you can’t talk to the same person twice, they can’t be held accountable.  In fact Ebay makes Comcast’s customer support look like Mother Theresa is helping you; and at that time it was so comical that it wasn’t funny.  They literally had a basic email that took forever to get a response from.  They didn’t have a phone number to call on the site.  I literally had to look them up in the phone book, call the corporate office and go through hoops to get someone.  After spending half a day trying to get EBAY to help, we figured out I had been hacked.  When I first signed up for the account I followed their guidelines.  I emailed them after I got hacked as a follow-up and the email they sent me asked why did I do what I did.  I emailed them back their guidelines and said I did what they told me to do.  They then said they were working on changing their guidelines.  You can’t use accountability and Ebay in the same sentence.  That is for another day though.

Again, at this time the western union scams weren’t really a thing yet.  The FBI questioned me to make sure I wasn’t in on it.  I got a new account but what was really funny is that I was getting emails weeks later on my old account from people begging me to take their money; even after I said it was a scam.

I remember being an open book on Facebook the last 5 years.  After a while I ended up having people come to my house and work.  I had one girl that I chatted with a couple of times do a search on me and found my business.  One day I came into my office to see patients in the afternoon and my secretary said, “you’re girlfriend is here”.  Well that was strange because at the time I didn’t have one.  I walked in and this cute young girl who couldn’t have been 22 was there.  I asked her what was going on.  I talked to her long enough to see that her head couldn’t spin around and do a 180 like in the movie Exorcist, but I still wasn’t comfortable.  Eventually I realized that she needed to go so I finally got her to leave.

One night when I was coming home from work, a man was sitting on my porch.  It ended up being a patient; kind of a borderline mentally ill patient that was a pretty scary guy.  It was 11:30 pm and he asked if we could talk and if he could come in.  I actually saw my neighbor looking at him and I talked him into leaving and that if he was having issues that he should go to the ER.

The worst situation I had was a girl I met online and we started to talk.  She lived near me and asked to meet We met a couple of times and would text and talk on the phone sometimes but just friends stuff.  There was just something not right with her and my spidey sense was tingling.  I told her that we should be online friends and that maybe one of these days we could meet because I was so busy.  I’m not a sleazy person and I don’t sleep around and I don’t make out with every girl I meet like so many do so I was just friendly with her.

Some pretty girls rarely if ever hear the word no from a guy and she didn’t take it well.  She went crazy.  She started freaking out telling me who the hell did I think I was and that she could get guys 100 times better than I was.  She then said I was messing with her and that no one messed with her and got away with it.

I’ve always tried dating the sweet and non stuck up girl next door types so the psycho high maintenance I’m going to kill you type of girls was never my thing.  When I saw that in people I would usually flee. Well after she hung up on me I was glad we wouldn’t be talking anymore.

At about 12:30 am I began to get texts.  Now I have a lot of friends that text me at that time because they are night owls and usually bored; but this was different.  It was a girl asking to meet and have sex.  She then began to talk about things that we can do that I’m not quite sure are physically possible; I mean I looked it up and I don’t think those parts go together or can bend that way but I still could be wrong.  Anyways, I texted her back saying she had the wrong guy and said to stop  texting me.

Times have soooooo changed.  Don’t get me started on all the videos and photos young women have sent me.  lol  I remember in high school I had to use mad skills to get my girlfriends to be sexually active but today many young girls and women just need air to breath to get that way.  Class is as rare as a corporation that doesn’t have a scandal.  It just blows me away how people can send near strangers naked photos of themselves and even videos.  It’s both dumb and risky at the same time.  Some diseases are incurable and ALL of the photos and videos you send someone are also infinitely on the internet.

I’ve had teens lie about their age saying they are older and then start talking sex or try to send me stuff.  It’s beyond creepy.  I had nightmares of Chris Hansen from NBC’s to catch a predator knocking on my door asking me how’s it going? In my opinion any parent not on EVERY social media outlet of their under age kids is an irresponsible parent, but that’s for another day.

I realized then that between big business pimping out our web surfing habits, our purchasing habits, and all of our social media information, I was not going to be used or exposed.

I had written for many publications online and I got a pen name.  I stopped posting up family photos and giving personal information.  I closed all of my social media sites and started over.  I told some of my 3000 Facebook followers that I was moving on and that it had gotten too weird for me.  Magically all of the drama ended shortly after.

I now don’t have to deal with the nonsense.  I don’t put my real birthday online, or my address or my name.  We have a generation that would put blood samples online if they were asked to; they are open books and trust everyone.  They don’t have any money now but when they get older and start making money, taking their identities will be like taking candy from a baby.

When I met with my banker once he spoke under his breath and told me not to use the banking application because in reality it wasn’t safe.

Linked in is the worst.  People are obsessed with it; most seem to use it to brag about their accomplishments but I stopped using it.  Why in the world would I tell about myself and my business to people that are competitors so they could no what I am doing and what I’m working on.  Loose lips sink ships even on the internet.

And to be honest, it takes time to get to know people.  I’ve talked to people at times who will tell me their most innermost secrets and I barely know them.  That is weird.  Either they want attention, or they want help.  It blows me away.  I was taught never to air your dirty laundry in public and I don’t.  It’s also not fair to talk bad about someone online.  It takes two to tango and there are two sides to every story.

I think people need to wake up and not be open books.  The world isn’t a safe place and people need to me much more careful.  It takes one identity theft, one bad thing said online, or one picture to ruin a reputation.  Sorry Steve Zuckerberg and Google; I’m not trusting you any more.  Learn from my mistakes; I always make them before everyone else.

 

“Easy, Fast and Amazing Broccoli Soup”

sp-broccoli-basil-cream-sou

Gordon Ramsey’s simple and elegant recipe for broccoli soup shows what’s good about cooking.  Fast, easy, simple and so tasty.  Enjoy on a cold winter night!!

Broccoli Soup:
INGREDIENTS
to taste Water
to taste Salt
to taste Black pepper
2 heads Broccoli very fresh
to taste Olive oil optional, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
Cut the florets off the heads of broccoli. Cut the stems into similarly sized pieces. Add all of the broccoli — florets and stems — into a pot of rapidly-boiling, salted water (2 tablespoons salt in 5 quarts of water). Cover. Cook 3.5 to 4 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, put the cooked broccoli pieces into a blender. Fill blender about halfway with cooking liquid. Blend carefully since it’s hot. Add more cooking liquid as necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Check seasonings.

If desired, add cheese (goat cheese or cheddar cheese) to the bottom of the bowl before pouring the soup in. Serve, drizzled with olive oil or a bit of cream if desired.  Add croutons for a crunch and some love a ton of black pepper in it.  Use your imagination!! Enjoy!!

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