Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Duxbury Beach, MA... gale warning, fat swells, astronomical high tide, northeast-facing beach, etc... There's a ten foot concrete sea wall between the houses and the sea, but the storm surge rolls right over that.

This is good surfing weather, although all the surfers I knew in Duxbury go to Rhode Island to surf (although there is good surfing in neighboring Marshfield). The part about riding the Big Kahuna into a 10 foot concrete wall adds tension to your fun.

If the fishing fleet get caught slippin', it isn't unusual for 10-100 lobster pots to wash ashore, and if you get to them before the lobstermen do.... free lobster for a month.

I've also seen sailboats, cabin cruisers, whales, trans-Atlantic cable (the first-ever TA cable- between France and the USA- came ashore on Cable Hill in Duxbury... the first message was sent by Napoleon III), sharks, sunfish, a thousand sneakers, oil filters, and jellyfish be hurled ashore by storms.


Keeping a lawn going is tough on Duxbury Beach. A lot of people just have sand yards. The only plants that grow here without intense labor are beach grass, beach plum bushes, poison ivy and goldenrod.

This isn't even that bad of a storm. I was trapped here in the Perfect Storm (a mammoth 1991 Nor'Easter that they made that George Clooney movie about), and the waves were breaking over  these very same houses. The original house that became the house this picture was taken from was smashed into matchsticks in the Perfect Storm.


Rebuilding these houses means putting them on stilts... usually concrete pilings that create a look where one could park a non-SUV under the house. Duxbury Beach lies between a huge salt marsh and the Atlantic Ocean, and the water can pool up easily. Woe is thee who has a basement in Duxbury.





Monday, January 30, 2006

Tippy Turtle

Your Monday Shoot: Things You Have Other People Probably Don't :

   Tough call...

   I could focus on my blow gun:


   Or I could get into my more up-close weaponry:


   Which I'm pretty sure is illegal:


   So I decided to show off my musk turtle, which is NOT an endangered species in Massachusetts. He was a gift from Monponsett resident Johnny V.  I got my dog from some girl named Tornado:

   His (I think he's a him... musk turtles are fairly hard to identify, gender wise, for a non-professional) name's Tippy, and he's named after a SNL skit... I've had him since he was the size of a dime. He's about the size of a dinner roll, and will be huge if he breaks 6 inches.


   He spends 90% of his time underwater, and has a catfish (named Hunter) to hang around with. When the catfish dies, Tippy (who, in the wild, subsists primarily on carrion) will eat his best friend without a moment's thought. He's already eaten 4 Siamese Fighting Fish.

   The catfish is as homely as a mud fence, but he keeps the tank amazingly clean. These pictures were taken between Fighting Fish 3 and Fighting Fish 4, so it's Strictly Reptile today.

   Tippy and Catfish are united by their hatred of humans. I've raised Tippy almost from the egg, and he'd bite me in an instant if I tried to hold him.

   I do know how to cook turtles, although musk turtles have a defense mechanism (skunk-like scent glands in his urinary tract) that makes the prospect less than appetizing.

   Unless I accidentally kill him, Tippy could easily out-live me. The oldest musk turtle in captivity lived past 50, although people probably weren't smoking a lot of marijuana around him.

   Anyhow, that's Tippy. I also have a dog, but I got to show her off while I was doing some work for my good friend Pastor Mike at the Trinity Curch In Covington, and it cost me several steaks. Tippy just wants to constantly have a fish in the tank with him as he does God's work.

   He's beautifully ugly, and I  love the lil' SOB.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Across The Clear Blue Yonder, Sea To Shining Sea

America is a nation with many flaws, but hopes so vast that only the cowardly would refuse to acknowledge them.  ~James Michener

I love America more than any other country in this world; and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.  ~James Baldwin

America is so vast that almost everything said about it is likely to be true, and the opposite is probably equally true.  ~James T. Farrell

America is a tune.  It must be sung together.  ~Gerald Stanley Lee, Crowds

What is the essence of America?  Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom "to" and freedom "from."  ~Marilyn vos Savant, in Parade

If you want a symbolic gesture, don't burn the flag; wash it.  ~Norman Thomas

How often we fail to realize our good fortune in living in a country where happiness is more than a lack of tragedy.  ~Paul Sweeney

What the people want is very simple.  They want an America as good as its promise.  ~Barbara Jordan

There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.  ~William J. Clinton

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.  ~Elmer Davis

America is a passionate idea or it is nothing.  America is a human brotherhood or it is chaos.  ~Max Lerner, Actions and Passions, 1949

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

America is God's crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming!... The real American has not yet arrived.  He is only in the crucible, I tell you - he will be the fusion of all races.  ~Israel Zangwill

When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea.  He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect.  ~Adlai Stevenson

If you take advantage of everything America has to offer, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.  ~Geraldine Ferraro

We dare not forget that we are the heirs of that first revolution.  ~John F. Kennedy

America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States.  Ask any Indian.  ~Robert Orben

Of all the supervised conditions for life offered man, those under U S A's constitution have proved the best.  Wherefore, be sure when you start modifying, corrupting or abrogating it.  ~Martin H. Fischer

America's one of the finest countries anyone ever stole.  ~Bobcat Goldthwaite

We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.  ~Robert J. McCracken

When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, "Ours."  ~Vine Deloria, Jr.

Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea.  ~John Gunther

Not merely a nation but a nation of nations.  ~Lyndon B. Johnson

What we need are critical lovers of America - patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it.  ~Hubert H. Humphrey

The United States is the only country with a known birthday.  ~James G. Blaine

Oh, it's home again and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that's westward bound to plough the rolling sea
To the blessed land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.
~Henry Van Dyke

What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds.  ~Will Rogers

If you can speak three languages you're trilingual.  If you can speak two languages you're bilingual.  If you can speak only one language you're an American.  ~Author Unknown

America is a large friendly dog in a small room.  Every time it wags its tail it knocks over a chair.  ~Arnold Toynbee

America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.  ~Georges Clemenceau

You cannot spill a drop of American blood without spilling the blood of the whole world.... We are not a nation, so much as a world.  ~Herman Melville

What a pity, when Christopher Columbus discovered America, that he ever mentioned it.  ~Margot Asquith

The great social adventure of America is no longer the conquest of the wilderness but the absorption of fifty different peoples.  ~Walter Lippman

Rachel:  The pilgrims came here to escape persecution from the British.
Elizabeth:  Yes, so they could go about persecuting the Indians.
~ER, "Great Expectations"

Aborigines, n.:  Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a newly discovered country.  They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize.  ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

If America ever passes out as a great nation, we ought to put on our tombstone:  America died from a delusion she had Moral Leadership.  ~Will Rogers

We Americans have no commission from God to police the world.  ~Benjamin Harrison, address to Congress, 1888

America is a place where Jewish merchants sell Zen love beads to agnostics for Christmas.  ~John Burton Brimer

The metaphor of the melting pot is unfortunate and misleading.  A more accurate analogy would be a salad bowl, for, though the salad is an entity, the lettuce can still be distinguished from the chicory, the tomatoes from the cabbage.  ~Carl N. Degler

America did not invent human rights.  In a very real sense... human rights invented America.  ~Jimmy Carter

What the American public doesn't know is what makes them the American public.  ~From the movie Tommy Boy

There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals.  The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong.  ~G.K. Chesterton

Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.  ~Alexis de Tocqueville

Here we write well when we expose frauds and hypocrites.  We are great at counting warts and blemishes and weighting feet of clay.  In expressing love, we belong among the underdeveloped countries.  ~Saul Bellow, about America

America is a country that doesn't know where it is going but is determined to set a speed record getting there.  ~Laurence J. Peter

No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.  ~H.L. Mencken

America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.  ~Hunter S. Thompson

Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so.  ~Gore Vidal

I just don't know why they're shooting at us.  All we want to do is bring them democracy and white bread.  Transplant the American dream.  Freedom.  Achievement.  Hyperacidity.  Affluence.  Flatulence.  Technology.  Tension.  The inalienable right to an early coronary sitting at your desk while plotting to stab your boss in the back.  ~Hawkeye,
M*A*S*H, "O.R."

It is a pity that instead of the Pilgrim Fathers landing on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock had not landed on the Pilgrim Fathers.  ~Chauncey Depew, at an 1881 New England Society meeting in New York

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to.  ~Hansell B. Duckett

Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate.  Being here in America doesn't make you an American.  Being born here in America doesn't make you an American.  ~Malcolm X

Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.
~George Carlin

America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.  ~John Updike
Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered.  I myself would say that it had merely been detected.  ~Oscar Wilde

I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them.  There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.  ~John Wayne

The American experiment is the most tremendous and far reaching engine of social change which has ever either blessed or cursed mankind.  ~Charles Francis Adams

There is a malaise that exists in your land - what appears to many as the sudden and tragic disappearance of the American dream which, in some ways, has turned to nightmare.  ~J.J. Greene

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  It is its natural manure.  ~Thomas Jefferson

It has been an unchallengeable American doctrine that cranberry sauce, a pink goo with overtones of sugared tomatoes, is a delectable necessity of the Thanksgiving board and that turkey is uneatable without it.... There are some things in every country that you must be born to endure; and another hundred years of general satisfaction with Americans and America could not reconcile this expatriate to cranberry sauce, peanut butter, and drum majorettes.  ~Alistair Cooke

America is a mistake, a giant mistake.  ~Sigmund Freud

America! half-brother of the world!
With something good and bad of every land.
~Philip James Bailey

You have to be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.  ~Charles De Gaulle, Time, 8 December 1967

If you surveyed a hundred typical middle-aged Americans, I bet you'd find that only two of them could tell you their blood types, but every last one of them would know the theme song from The Beverly Hillbillies.  ~Dave Barry

[T]he American is a gentle guy; but don't pressure him; if you do he turns toad and squirts poison.  ~Martin H. Fischer

I feel that I am a citizen of the American dream and that the revolutionary struggle of which I am a part is a struggle against the American nightmare.  ~Eldridge Cleaver

In America, with all its evils and faults, you can still reach through the forest and see the sun.  But we do not know yet whether the sun is rising or setting for our country.  ~Dick Gregory, 1964

Love your country.  Your country is the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love; it is the home that God has given you that by striving to perfect yourselves therein you may prepare to ascend to him.  ~Giuseppe Mazzini

May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!  ~Daniel Webster

Americans always try to do the right thing after they've tried everything else.  ~Winston Churchill

[P]atriotism... is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.  ~Adlai Stevenson

America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success.  ~Sigmund Freud

We're Americans - with a capital A!  And do you know what that means?  Do you?  It means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world.  ~From the movie Stripes

We are quite rich enough to defend ourselves, whatever the cost.  We must now learn that we are quite rich enough to educate ourselves as we need to be educated.  ~Walter Lippmann

One characteristic of Americans is that they have no tolerance at all of anybody putting up with anything.  We believe that whatever is going wrong ought to be fixed.  ~Margaret Mead

Americans think of themselves collectively as a huge rescue squad on twenty-four-hour call to any spot on the globe where dispute and conflict may erupt.  ~Eldridge Cleaver

The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation.  ~Woodrow Wilson

Let America realize that self-scrutiny is not treason.  Self-examination is not disloyalty.  ~Richard Cardinal Cushing

America is the best half-educated country in the world.  ~Nicholas Murray Butler

The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colors breaking through.  ~Alexis de Tocqueville

If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag.  ~Author Unknown

"Our country, right or wrong."  When right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.  ~Carl Schurz

This, then, is the state of the union:  free and restless, growing and full of hope.  So it was in the beginning.  So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.  ~Lyndon B.Johnson

Our great modern Republic.  May those who seekthe blessings of its institutions and the protection of its flag remember the obligations they impose.  ~Ulysses S. Grant

Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't.  You cannot shirk this and be a man.  To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.  ~Mark Twain

Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country.  ~Sinclair Lewis

Steel Toe Time

Celtics deal Davis, Blount - The Boston Globe

   Danny Ainge had better watch his nuggets, because I fully plan on kicking him square in the pants if our paths should ever cross. In case you're wondering how to wreck an NBA franchise, you could do no better than to spend a little time following the career of Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge.

   Ainge took over a team that wasn't getting any better than an Eastern Conference Finals visit. He then:

- traded Antoine Walker for Raef LaContract and his 50 million dollar deal, effectively squashing our free agent flexibility for the rest of my daughter's childhood.

- botched the Gin Baker termination, putting 5 million a year on our salary cap for a 7 foot drunkard who is currently operating a Connecticut eatery.

- gave up a first round pick to get Walker back for 25 games, before trading him for peanuts.

- inked long deals with Dan Dickau(which I believe we can get out of next year), Brian Scalabrine, and Mark Blount. The moderately talented Scalabrine is signed through 2000 friggin' 10.

- allowed- no, helped- a conference rival to sign Rasheed Wallace.

- drove a fairly good coach out of town by trading the defensive heart of the team.

- brought in a coach who I believe lost 18 of his first 20 games before being kicked out of Disneyland.

- has openly attempted to trade franchise player Paul  Pierce.

- allows his hand picked coach, Old Man Rivers, to keep promising big man Al Jefferson on the bench.

- made a six year old girl cry back in the early 1980s when he refused to get out of his limo to give her an autograph.

   He's done other stuff, but it is too nice a day to get this angry.

   I grew up watching the Celtics, including ol' Danny Boy himself. They used to be good, although that was back in the day when McHale, Parish and Bird walked down that aisle.

   Granted, Celtic fans are lucky to get a Larry Bird-type player once in a lifetime... and if you throw in Russell and Havlicek, one could argue that maybe we've used up all of our good luck in this sport.

   But to suffer the Reign Of Error that our GM has put us through almost concurrently with Rick Pitino's incompetence makes me think that God isn't on our side anymore, and that he might actually HATE us now.

   You probably can see this coming, but Wally is signed for 10, 11, 12, and 13 million dollars for the next few years. He'll be out there with the pitiful Raef, who most certainly will exercise his option that brings him in $12-13 million a year. In his own jump-shooting, no defense, oft-injued way... he's sort of like a mini-Raef.

   In short, we're ruined. This lottery certainty went out and made itself decidedly worse, for many years to come. No free agents can be signed. I'd say that the Celtics are the Clippers of the East, except for the fact that the Clippers are in relatively good position when compared to the Celtics.

   Ainge needs to be fired immediately. Why? If the reasons listed above or the awful Celtic team we see right now aren't enough, consider that he is still shopping Pierce around. He'll make that deal soon- he has nothing else to offer anyone, save a rookie-for-rookie crap shoot.

   Anyone with even base NBA knowledge must know that Danny will get rooked when this deal goes down. I keep seeing Dallas' Mr. Van Horn in Celtic green during my now daily nightmares. To be bl(o)unt, there are no other oft-injured overpaid white guys out there.

   Red Auerbach in a coma could do no worse than Ainge has done- hell, the coma would have prevented him from making the Davis/Wally deal. Danny needs to be fired, in as humiliating a way as possible.

   The Celtics are going nowhere for a long, long time... and this will lead Danny into a lot of negative publicity. One way he can get good pub is to attend charity functions... which brings him into MY realm.

   When that happens, it's only a matter of time before I cave that sandy SOB in for the ruin he has brought onto the back of what used to be my favorite team.



Tug boat at the Buzzards Bay rotary

Save The Tugboat!!


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Super Bowl Chow

   Long-time readers of this page know that quite a bit of my time is spent in the kitchen. IM me some time... if I don't respond, I'm either in the kitchen or with the kids. My main daytime hobbies are writing, walking, and cooking.

   Mother Monponsett was a fairly serious cook in her day, and my family owned a series of restaurants for many years. All of her children (myself included) were taken into the kitchen and trained how to properly cook. She worked us in shifts, with each sister getting about four years of serious one on one training.

   She was very serious about cooking. I've been yelled at for cracking an egg poorly, if you need a visual. College wasn't easier, but it was less intense. Still, I turned out to be a wicked good cook. I also have a lot of cookbooks- I could probably stack them up to the shape and size one usually associates with home extensions.

   Cooking is an art, and it is one that is rarely appreciated by most. While great chefs often get famous, moms who know how to cook an extravagant dinner usually don't get many props outside of a small circle of family and friends.

   I love cooking for people, and I try to host as many dinner parties as I can. It's sort of half showing off, half socialization via food. A lot of recipe sharing goes on among my friends and I. I'm pretty much the only person I know who goes from Pro Football Chat to Food Chat, one right after the other.

   Anywhooo.... guess who is hosting the Super Bowl this year? That's right, your favorite Smurf is having several of the neighbors over for a sort of open house. I just found this out about an hour ago.

   I also was told that it wold be cool if we had those 6 foot sandwiches that you always see on TV, which sort of made the turkey in my freezer feel left out. There's not a lot of charisma in a 6 foot ham sandwich, so I've been hunting all day for a sandwich recipe that has a little more funk to it.

  The key is to deviate from the typical six foot sandwich offerings. I've chosen a sandwich recipe that I'll basically add zeroes to in order to make the sandwich Allen Iverson-sized. It's also fairly simple, once you get by the complicated stuff.

   That turkey need not worry.. I have plans for that ass! I also found a bakery that has no problem with making me any sort of bread I want, however long I may want it. After that, it's off to the butcher and the deli. I have enough breadboards to cover the countertop, and we'll have a strict No Sloppy Dog In The Kitchen policy that I'm sure my daughter will violate at some point in the pregame.

   Ok... heeeeeeere we go:

    Turkey and Roasted Pepper Panini - poultry recipe on the Worlwide Gourmet

Ingredients for 4 servings

8 large slices crusty Italian bread 8 slices cooked turkey, breast 1 375 ml (12 fl. oz) bottle roasted red peppers, drained, cut in strips 50 ml (1/4 cup) chopped black or green olives, pitted 250 g (8 oz.) sliced Provolone or mozzarella cheese 50 ml (1/4 cup) creamy Italian or ranch-style salad dressing olive oil


  1. Top 4 slices of bread each with 2 turkey slices, 2 to 3 pieces red pepper, 30 ml (2 tbsp) olives and 60 g (2 oz.) cheese.
  2. Spread remaining bread slices with salad dressing and place (dressing side down) on top of other half of bread. Brush outside of sandwich with olive oil.
  3. Heat large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add sandwiches and heat until bread is golden, about 4 minutes. Turn sandwich over and grill second side until golden.

    Sandwich may be grilled on a preheated countertop grill for about 3 minutes, or until bread is golden and cheese has softened.

      <FONTCOLOR=#FFFFFF>Smurf notes:

   The problem here isn't the turkey, which I can just cook the day before. It's fitting that recipe- which seems to involve a Foreman Grill- to the six foot sandwich. This is a potentially Dangerous sandwich when factorted out to Gilbert Arenas' height.

   I may end up using 5 or 6 regular Italian bread loaves, although this would be a startling visual presentation once we lug it out to the serving table.

   Right now, I'm thinking that I can use Italian bread and just move the Foreman grill down the sandwich as I prepare it for shipping, and won't my sister be happy when she learns that she's a part of this plan?

   This is the sandwich featured at the top of the page.


Next, we have...

Lobster Egg Sandwich Recipe


  • 8 slices sandwich bread, toasted, crusts trimmed
  • butter
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped bacon
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup flaked lobster meat
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


Spread toast lightly with butter. Cut 4 slices diagonally, into halves. For each sandwich, arrange 1 whole toast slice with a toast halfon each side. Cook bacon in skillet; add onion and green pepper and cook until tender.Drain off excess bacon grease; add lobster and cook just to heat. Add a little butter if needed for cooking eggs.

Combine eggs, salt, and pepper; beat slightly. Add to lobster mixture in skillet and cook as for scrambled eggs. Spoon cooked eggs with lobster over toast and serve hot. Garnish with tomato slices and olives, if desired.

Smurf Notes:

   Stretching this sandwich to Steve Nash size isn't really economically feasible unless you have a friend who is married to a lobsterman, as I do.

   The transition between sandwich bread to Italian bread adds taste, while also providing a better sandwich to hold while screaming at a lazy cornerback.

   This will be a lot more labor intensive, but it should end up being an astounding chow.


   I'm also going to make a Lobster Pie this week... doesn't this look good?

Lobster Pie With Puff Pastry 

Lobster Pie Recipe - Lobster Pot Pie With Mushrooms and Vegetables

Bake this puff pastry-topped lobster pie in individual bakers or a shallow baking dish. A delicious main dish for a special occasion.


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine
  • 1/2 cup clam juice or juices from cooking the lobster, or chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups diced lobster
  • 2 cups half-and-half, whole milk, or light cream
  • 1 cup cooked mixed vegetables or peas and carrots, drained
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • dash paprika
  • freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon
  • pinch salt, to taste
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • egg wash - 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water


Melt butter in large saucepan. Add mushrooms and onions and stir until tender. Sprinkle with flour; cook until flour is absorbed into the butter. Add sherry and clam juice or chicken broth; stir over low heat until mixture thickens.

Remove mushroom mixture from heat.

Stir in the lobster and cream, then the hot cooked vegetables. Taste and add paprika, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, to taste. Spoon the lobster mixture into 4 buttered ramekins or individual bakers or a buttered 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish. Set aside and let cool down to room temperature.

Take puff pastry out and to thaw for 20 minutes. Cut or roll out, if necessary, to fit dish. Cut vents in the pastry then fit over ramekins or baking dish. Brush with egg wash. Bake at 400° for 20 to 30 minutes or until pastry is puffed and nicely browned.


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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

ゴジラの逆襲... Kids These Days...

   I used to teach at a pretty rough school (a private school, nonetheless), and it wasn't at all unusual for me to get my smurfy little hands on various drugs, weaponry and other goodies that may have otherwise slowed the Learning Process.

   The kids would give it to me, because they knew that I'd generally give it back. While I wouldn't give back pepper spray or cocaine, there's no reason for me to refuse to give back a cell phone or a Walkman. That said, I managed to hang onto some of the more choice items.

   If I found pot on them, I'd keep it for myself. I'd give the less spectacular knives to the security guard, who was a biker. If I found heroin on a student, I hit him and flushed the drugs in front of him. I had a kid give me a bottle of Bailey's once... "We never got to it last night, there's nowhere to hide it, you're gonna find it anyway, and I can dodge a suspension if I just give it to you." This young man had rich parents who wouldn't miss the occasional bottle, and his Common Sense bested his desire to Beat The System.

   I gave back a few knives, to kids I knew who carried them for entertainment purposes only. I had an Eagle Scout who used to go hiking all weekend, and he'd get dropped off at school on Monday morning with a full pack. One time he came up to me and whipped out a huge f***ng Rambo knife, and asked me to hold it for him until the end of the day. I put it in my desk, and occasionally pointed to the map with it. The other students loved it.

   Some of my more thugged-out students would forget to take their EZ Widers or their butterfly knives out of their coat pocket before heading off to school, and I used to end up storing these for the remainder of the school day.

   While it is generally considered to be poor form for a teacher to be handing a Bowie knife to a student, it was my willingness to return said item that ensured that no one was walking around the school with a knife on them.

   When I moved here, I packed up all my stuff, and I'm still unpacking it a little at a time as we get bookshelves built. Each box brings back fond memories, and today I found a doozy.

   The pictures featured here are weapons that I bought off my students.

   The blow gun was something that a kid brought in while we were studying aboriginal cultures, and- while initially upset that I took it from him- he bought into my argument that it would be better for everyone if he wasn't prowling the halls of the school with a blow gun.

   When he came back for it, I just started laying twenties on the table until he cracked. He was out a neat toy, I was out $40, and no one got a 4 inch dart in the neck at MY school that day. To work an old teacher admonition into this... yes, you could take out someone's eye with that.

   I don't even know what you'd call this beast of a double knife, but I took it off a kid who planned on using it to secure money for a date he had with this girl from his neighborhood. The same process went on that got me the blow gun. In the end, I was out $50, he took a girl to Red Lobster instead of Burger King, and I managed to take whatever the f*** you'd call this off the streets.

   This is actually a pretty cool thing to kill someone with, should it ever come up. You can hold this in a fist (Stephen has a pretty giant hand- it looks more like Wolverine or Freddy Krueger when I hold it) while wearing it under a loose jacket, then whip it out and up.

   It's spring-loaded, too... so you could pretty much bring the ruckus to Mike Tyson if you could get inside on him. This is a genuinely ugly weapon, and I thought $50 was a fair price.

   Whatever you may think of this policy, this is the maximum usage these weapons got once I acquired them. I ended up discarding this policy when I came to see myself as a small-time arms dealer after several similar purchases.

   Remember to come back to this article... because if I dug down into the box with the blow gun, the shuriken  and the wrist rocket can't be far behind.

   I even have a rude piece of body armor, which an old student of mine tried to surreptitiously make (with material he had legally gathered from a metals recycler in Everett) when yours truly was the emergency shop class teacher.

   Also, please use caution when commenting on this article... or you just may get a 4 inch dart in the keister, and never hear it coming.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Look Who Came To Dinner....

   The Belly Check  has gone on a Bobby Sands-like hunger strike to protest the officiating in the New England/Denver game. Much like the Harvest, we will return in the fall... angry and perhaps renamed. Until then, High Above Courtside  has a houseguest.

   Still, there are people all across the world that can't bet their hard-earned money until they know just what the good people of Buzzards Bay think, and who am I to interfere with the War Economy? Still, it's an ugly game to wager on. 

  How do we call a game between The Chin and a team that I truly feel didn't earn their spot in the title game? I hate Denver, and I wish Sasquatch rape on all of their fans.... but it's wrong of me to do so.    

  As a WWE fan (it's real to ME, man), I learned long ago that you can't fault a man for taking the last slice of pizza. There are a lot of guys on Chump Street right now who failed to take opportunities that were handed to them, and Denver's place in the AFC title game is proof that Poppa didn't raise no punks.   

   I myself said that the conference finals has a No Bozo policy, and Denver- however they did it- are still drinking when just about everyone else in the bar are resting their heads on the table or vomiting in the parking lot. Some teams are Unstoppable, and some are Immovable.... and others simply don't lose. Denver seems to be in the last category.   

   Denver has thrown a little, run a lot, played tight D and beaten everyone that wanted some. Pittsburgh hosted last year's AFC title game, and just knocked off the Media Champions. They were all over Indy like salt on a peanut...Squirrel, please!   

   In fact, it should be a helluva game. I want snow, and probably won't get it. Both teams can run it, and this may look as much like a 1940s game.. minus the black guys, the hippy QB, and the popular German QB.

   How will it end? Pittsburgh whaled on the team that curb-stomped Denver out of the playoffs last year. John Denver eliminated the guys who ended Pittsburgh's season last year.   

   If I get what I want, Denver will stop Pittsburgh's running game.... only to lose the game due to horrific ref calls that repeatedly hand them the ball on the Denver one yard line.

   Take that, you Rocky Mountain SOBs!!  

   Pittsburgher, 17-16

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


A few notes here...

A) While these waves aren't huge, they are notable in that we usually don't get waves

B) I had access to a camera

C) This counts as sport, as some of my readers may be really small surfers.

D) It was stormy, but no rain had fallen yet. As I took the last one, I could see a white mist moving across the water (the squall)... but the picture I took of it failed to work. I got soaked after taking it, too.

As close as these houses are to the ocean, it isn't that bad when storms come. These are huge waves for this beach. Astronomical high tides can flood around the houses, which is why they are built on stilts. The 1938 hurricane was the last to really eff this beach over, and that had 180 mph+ winds.


If I was this close to the water in east-facing Duxbury with a 40mph wind, I'd be very, very underwater. Buttermilk Bay is south facing (from my end, anyhow), and only incoming hurricanes will really pound it.


You can usually walk over to that sign, which is used to explain shellfishing rules. I tried to zoom in on it, but it was maddddd blurry.

In the above and below photos, you can compare natual seawall vs. concrete block seawall. The rocks can be moved by heavy surf, but the concrete will crack and collapse with more vehemence.

The US Army used this beach to do D-Day test runs, and it has been a cottage village since after WWII.

Unless that global warming stuff is BS, this dude may own a real fancy dock in 2075.



Sunday, January 15, 2006



  It was deeply saddening to me when my Patriots lost, and it will take more than a year (to whenever the following Super Bowl is held) for me to get over it.

   No need for the crying towel, though. I enjoyed a full hearty laugh while watching football today, and that laugh was entirely on a certain punk of a QB.

   That's right, folks... Peyton Manning choked again.

   For however many years in a row now, the media was handing the Super Bowl to Mr. October before he earned it. He then proceeded block his own windpipe with a triple chumpburger of Failure, in a perfect manifestation of what he must know is his destiny by now. His repeated failures are probably taken as an omen of true winter by Indiana aboriginals.

   While his blood isn't on our hands this January, it is all over that sissy field of his in Naptown. I can already see him in Mexico next weekend, waking from his restless sleep with nightmares of this huge Chin tearing him to pieces.

   If his wife slips up and calls him "Tom" or "Ben" every now and then, can you blame her? Chances are, she knows just enough about football to know that her husband can't seem to get the job done.

   Indy coasted into the playoffs on a schedule so easy that they couldn't take it undefeated and get into the Rose Bowl. They rested everyone, and came into the playoffs with a team that- by its' sheer athleticism- was actually better than healthy... and they still folded  up like a beach chair.

   Lots of people lose. My team lost. I root for the Red Sox, who set records for futility that led to a new form of Darwinism- a form which says that God not only gets involved in major league baseball... but that he chooses sides.

   Next year, he'll be 14-2 again, and everybody at ESPN will be telling you that this is the year he rolls to that Super Bowl he deserves. believe me when I tell you that it simply won't happen.

   Even the old guy working at the gas station had Manning all figured out, and I believe that this same old guy is a Russian immigrant who has been at the gas station since Water Whizz closed in September. "The boy is what you Americans call 'a great beeg poo see' if I might say so, " he said as he cleaned my windshield.

   Indeed. Much like my Red Sox, ol' Mr. Manning has taken losing to that next level. Today we had the close loss, made just that more painful by the fact that Belly Check was already out of the picture. All he had to do was execute... and he went out like a sucker.

   I'd dump that clown somewhere while he still has some value. Even in his own dome, he got thrown on the grass like fertilizer. What a punk!

   His next performance is mid-January, 2007.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Thinning The Flock


   It's the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, and it is indeed where the division of the NFL's upper caste occurs. Sometimes a chump team sneaks past a contender. Sometimes, a contender simply blows a game. Sometimes a QB gets his knee torn up. Ish happens.

   The joke is usually only funny for a week, which is when the heavyweights come to the table. To advance now is to outgun Peyton Manning or to outfox Bill Belichick... no mean feat. The conference finals in the NFL generally have a pretty strict No Bozos policy.

   Then you look at the NFC....

   Don't get me wrong- I root for a team that came from nowhere to become the Improbable Dynasty. Anything can happen in the NFL, and usually does.

   Washington has a coach who can ice half a fist in championship karat. Seattle went 12-4. Chicago gives up 13 points in a bad game. Carolina has been to the dance before. None of them has a chance of winning the whole enchilada.

   That doesn't mean that one of them won't do it. Someone from the NFC is guaranteed a spot in the final game. I just wouldn't bet any of them against the Patriots or the Colts. None of them can match the Patriots when it comes to a big game, and Indy's failings have been no greater than the others still left in the chase.

   I've been wrong before, and I'm sure that my view is not the majority view... but I see the essential Super Bowl being conducted next week in Indianapolis' sissy domed stadium.

   If New England wins, they'll admit that no game had them more shook than the Indy game in January. If Peyton wins, it'll all be downhill once he peaks at the defeat of his personal Heartbreak Hill.

   Once you ascribe to that line of reasoning, you are sort of going backwards from deciding the best team issue with the rest of the playoffs once Brady and Manning settle their differences in the conference finals. I'm assuming New England beats Denver, which may not even happen.

   Anyhow... here's how I see it being worked out.

- Seattle vs Washington

   The mere presence of these two teams in the playoffs has probably bankrupted more than one long-range sports gambler who saw Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb being in the playoffs this year.

   I envision Seattle prevailing... if for no other reason than they probably hate saying that, no, actually, they live in Washington STATE. Look for them to take out a lifetime of frustration over this on Southeast Jerome.

   Seattle, 18-17


- Chicago vs Carolina

   Carolina seems to be an overwhelming favorite to me, so I'll wish for Chicago to give them a 11-10 Urlachering in what I'm hoping will be miserable weather, while making the sensible bet on the Pants.


Carolina, 17-13


- Pittsburgh vs Indianapolis

   The chances of Kimo Sabe conducting a repeat performance of his Jack The Ripper act on Manning's anterior cruciate ligament seem pretty small... which is too bad, because it is the only way I see Pittsburgh beating the Colts.

Again, who I root for and whoI bet on are two very different creatures... even when The Chin is involved somehow.

   Indy, 28-13

Thursday, January 5, 2006

I won't be blogging today...

I got them Two Brother/One Dog Blues...








Thanks to:  Magic Eye


Wednesday, January 4, 2006

While Satan Counts His Souls...

  While I'm not that into college ball, it's pretty hard to ignore tonight's Rose Bowl.  USC and Texas lock up tonight in Pasadena for what will probably be the polar opposite of that ''little old lady from Pasadena'' story that you always hear when you talk used cars. This will be huge muscle, big money, high stakes, maximum exertion, supreme athleticsm... you know, the whole nine.

   This game also has all of the people currently playing college football that I can name without looking up. College football is more of a coach show than a player show, and they get more cheddar than is thrown at, say, your college history teacher.

   They probably deserve it. I taught for a few years, and only God knows how I would have done if I had to put the kids in a bus and go take on the kids at Stoneham or Brockton twice a week in front of 70,000 test-crazy loyalists who were being fed $8 beers. MCAS says that I'd win Brockton and lose at Stoneham, but I'd still hate to have my fate determined by people who believed in Santa Claus 12 years ago.

   Even in sports, things happen that shock me. One of them was the success of our very own New England Patriots. When Bill Belichick took over this team, they looked friggin' awful. Writers all around the country united in their disdain for the local team, and we looked to be what NBA fans call a ''consistent lottery team.''

   Instead, we reeled off 3 Super Bowls in 4 years, and essentially ran the NFL like a dangerous pimp for all of this current century. I know children who have never seen anyone else win one. Our offensive linemen and safeties have more lucrative endorsement deals than franchise players like LaDanian Tomlinson or Randy Moss do. Winning all the time does that.

    A huge factor in this was Tom Brady. After Mo Lewis big-manned Drew Bledsoe out of the way, the then-unknown Brady morphed into Joe Montana. Champagne Tom now rolls with an actress, meets the Pope, turns up atthe State of the Union address, has a bunch of commercials, and is the Sportsman of the Year.

   The other thing that put us over the top was bringing in a genius to run the show. Belichick has, so far, destroyed anyone who has come up against him in a game of any consequence. He ran a 1940 play last week. His defenses work with rookies and unsigned free agents. If Bill Belichick was running Gulf War I, there would have been no need for a Gulf War II.

   Belichick was a vast improvement over his predecessor. The team he took over had a sound defense, but they couldn't score with a blow-up doll. Bill got some breaks, but there can be no doubt of the mammoth effect his presence had on the team. It was like night and day.

   So, you can imagine my shock when Pete Carroll became an instant dynasty at USC. Pete was laughably bad here, and his ''jacked and pumped'' is still the worst description of a team I've ever heard an athlete/coach use.. and that list used to include Parcells calling players ''she,'' and Butch Hobson saying ''We ran good.''

   Once he hit USC, he started steady smashing everybody up. He has brought us 2 Heisman Trophy winners. He won the national title last year, beating Oklahoma like a government mule. He's favored to do so again tonight. While the Patriots were solid defensively during his time here, there was nothing showing in his performance that made many think that he'd rule college football shortly after.

   Maybe he recruits really well, due to mothers liking him better than some angry Bear Bryant guy that seems to pop up at all those Southern schools. Maybe good players just figured out where California is. Perhaps there was a deal with Lucifer, as many have suggested is the case with Belichick (who was widely despised when he left Cleveland). Maybe some guys are just better suited to coaching kids than adults.

   Either way, I'd suggest tuning in tonight. Texas has a ferocious defense. They also have Vince Young, who is a regular one-man-gang out there. USC has Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, who just may go 1-2 in the next NFL draft. This will be either a superb game or a stomping... both of which make great TV.

   It may also be a swan song for the former Percy Carroll, who will almost certainly be offered several of the newly-vacant NFL head coaching gigs. He can pretty much pick his spot and name his price, provided he doesn't suffer a 55-0 stomping at the feet of the Texicans.... and probably even if that happens.

   It's tough not to be happy for a guy who was pretty earnest about making my Sundays happy during his time here. It just didn't work out. It's a lot like dumping someone, ending up very happy with someone else... and seeing them 10 years later, perfectly happy in their own right. It worked out for everyone.

   The converse of that is him taking the possibly-available J-E-T-S job, and bashing us twice a year for the next decade. I'd still bet Belly Check over Percy in any battle of football wits... but, as the Rose Bowl should prove, I've been wrong before.