The View From Here

musings by John The Irishman

Archive for March 2007

(not) So Much to Say

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Been busy lately inside and out trying to get the house in order for Spring & Summer – my most favorite seasons.  Like most of you I have home repairs, yard work, garden prepping, and just plain shaking off the scales of the Dormant Season.  I am also considering a change of venue for how I spend 9 to 5 – more on that later.

What is suffering through all of this is this site, and dinner time – I have a “creative block”.  While I don’t consider myself an actual “writer”, the creative portion of my brain seems to be focused on things other than “this”.  I’m suffering in the kitchen also – the place I do some of my best work !  It will most certainly pass, but for right now I don’t have anything that I’m passionate enough to post about.

Future posts about food & the kitchen (really ?), mountain & road biking, college football, the Jeep, career-stuff and how to save a ton on your grocery bill will almost certainly (hopefully ?) be coming soon.  As many have penned over the centuries,  with any luck, “This Too Shall Pass…”


Written by johntheirishman

Friday, 30 March, 2007 @ 5:56 at 5:56

Posted in blah-blah-blah...

Spring Has Sprung in NEO

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I can’t tell you how much I LOVE this time of year !  Everything comes to life, the top comes off the Jeep, and we have a promise of around 6 solid months of good weather – at least for Northeastern Ohio – and it’s only gonna get better !

The last couple weeks have been nice enough to persuade the ground to allow the plants to shoot forth – the little purple Crocuses by the dryer vent, the Tulips & Daffodils & Clematis are all starting to show themselves – Honeysuckle too.    Soon we’ll also have an over-abundance of Roses, Daisys and assorted wildflowers as well.  But my FAVORITE plants of all are bustin’ out also – Spring Herbs !

Spring Herbs – that harbinger of the season, that foretelling of gloriously fresh Summer dishes, that…that…ahhhh…fresh herbs !  We have quite the assortment growing here too.  Why, in the kitchen alone are Rosemary, Parsley, Basil and Mint.  Outdoors : Chives (regular & garlic), Fennel, Oregano, Thyme, MORE Parsley and two kinds of mint – not to mention Green Onions, Leeks, Strawberries, Raspberries and even Apples & Peaches.  I’ll have to plant more Rosey & Basil since they’re annuals – the others mentioned come up all on their own.

If you love food like we do, I can’t stress enough how much fresh herbs enhance a dish.  Whether it’s a simple Basil Pesto, maybe some Tabouli, or just adding fresh Cilantro or Oregano to a creation you just can’t go wrong.  I get a great deal of satisfaction knowing I can just walk outside and get whatever I require – that’s fresh !  And if you stick with the basics and give them a little “growing room”, they’ll reward you year after year – you just sit back an reap what you’ve (previously) sown…

Written by johntheirishman

Sunday, 25 March, 2007 @ 19:37 at 19:37

Posted in 1470, 44107, Eats

Breakfast Eye Opener (orig. posted 03/19/07)

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Slim and I are out for breakfast yesterday at our favorite place – only place we like really – to go when we decide to have breakfast out.  We go to a restaurant called My Friend’s Deli, which is just across the 44107 border on the Cleveland side.  Food is good, and the place is normally chock full of eccentrics – just how we like it !

MFD is undergoing a renovation, and some booths are now surrounded by thin drywall, making the acoustics a lot “better”.  We sat next to a couple that didn’t have their “quiet voices” on and heard something a bit disturbing.  They were talking about a mutual friend – it went something like this :

“Yeah, so-and-so’s brother told him he was going to commit suicide, and he told him ‘Go ahead’ – so he did…”

What a sad commentary for the state of our society today – the brother didn’t care, and the people discussing it were basically unmoved as well.  I was horrified !  Why do we put such a low value on human life ?  This is not TV or Hollywood or a video game – this is reality, and we get one shot at it…

Update : In Britain, a depressed man hanged himself while his webcam fed the live images to a chatroom he frequented.  He was egged on by others in the chatroom and told to “get on with it” & “do it”.  Here’s an excerpt from the article :

They confirmed Mr Whitrick told friends in the internet chat room of his plans to kill himself but, thinking he was joking, they egged him on telling him to make sure the his webcam was on.

Mr Whitrick, using the user-name Shyboy-17-1, switched on his webcam and went ahead with his grisly plan.

One anonymous user said: “He tied a rope around an uncovered ceiling joist and stood on the chair as he tied the rope around his neck.

“Some of us chatroom users, talking to Kevin over text chat, microphones and video tried to convince him to step down, but others egged him on telling him to get on with it.

“We just couldn’t believe he was doing it – it was surreal.

“One chatter said: ‘F***ing do it, get on with it, get it round your neck. For F***’s sake he can’t even do this properly’.”

Written by johntheirishman

Saturday, 24 March, 2007 @ 7:20 at 7:20

Ridiculous Factoid of the Moment #1 (orig. posted 03/11/07)

with 6 comments

I peruse several magazines every month since I have a hard time reading books.  I guess I need the “quick fix” that magazines offer – a few paragraphs or pages and then off to the next topic.  I won’t go into the list but I think there are around 8 or 9, including Time.

Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report (you’d think they could have picked a shorter name) all seem to report on the same items, but I’ve mostly only read Time for the last few years.  So I’m reading this week’s issue and I come across an interesting blurb about the RED Campaign.  The RED Campaign was started last year “to benefit the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria” – very noble.

Something NOT so noble in my opinion ?  The fact that Gap, Apple and Motorola have spent an estimated $100 Million on marketing and advertising.  Sounds OK, right ?  Except so far the charity has raised only $18 Million worldwide !  In these corporate giant’s attempts to “attach” themselves to a cause, they have spent much more to get noticed than to actually help the cause – terribly misguided.

The Unites States is probably the most charitable nation the world has ever known, and we are blessed to live here.  From children collecting money for UNICEF to big business to the Buffets & Gates’ – there are some things this country does right !  I feel that when all is said and done we will be judged on how we treated our fellow man while we were here – I’m very serious about that.  Certainly not the only thing, but a big percentage of the compulsories.

 I commend these companies for trying, and in the long run maybe the monies raised will greatly surpass the amount spent.  Instead of trying to “cash in” on the cause, maybe they should just give the money straight to the existing charities trying to fight these dreaded diseases.  I guess you have to “spend money to make money” as the adage goes…

Update : Interesting article on MSN today –

Written by johntheirishman

Thursday, 22 March, 2007 @ 7:19 at 7:19

Posted in Fax & Figgers

“Breaking News : Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Kidnapped the Lindbergh Baby !”

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Sounds like a headline from The Weekly World News, that beacon of the grocery store tabloids, doesn’t it ?  Yeah, right next to “Bat Boy” and “Bigfoot Sighting at Local Taco Bell”.  KSM, under intense US interrogation, broke like a tea cup – or did he ?  While testifying, he basically admitted that he was the mastermind of over two dozen terrorist attacks, the Kennedy assassination and the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.  OK – I’m kidding about the last two – you caught me.

 I guess what strikes me most is that I find it almost unfathomable that ONE MAN was responsible for planning :  9/11, the 1993 WTC attacks, the Bali nightclub bombings, an attempt on Pope John Paul II, the Embassy bombings, shoe-bomber Richard Reid and the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.  He was one busy terrorist !  These are basically the most reprehensible terrorist acts in recent history – sure glad we caught the “main” person responsible.

Ok – as I take a deep breath, I realize maybe it IS possible that he had a hand in all these activities.  But what do I REALLY think ?  I think it’s a deflection move on the enemies’ behalf to steer us off course, even just a bit.  Admitting freely, in court, that he was behind it all and caving during testimony is just not modus operandi for these “people” – I use the term loosely.  Basically an “aw shucks – ya got me !”.  I just don’t buy it, but I wonder just how old was KSM when the Stock Market crashed in 1929…

Updated : Associated Press Story published this morning –

“Officials : Mohammed Exaggerated Claims”

WASHINGTON – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s claims that he was responsible for dozens of successful, foiled and imagined attacks in the past 15 years relies on a loose definition of the word “responsible.” Officials say the 9/11 mastermind was key to some plots but a bit player in others.

Written by johntheirishman

Thursday, 15 March, 2007 @ 19:25 at 19:25

Posted in Conspiracy Theorem

True Crime (updated – originally posted 03/03/07)

with 12 comments

I read on the internets this week that two paintings were stolen from the home of Pablo Picasso’s granddaughter in France.  It’s been a while since we’ve had a good art theft, hasn’t it ?  While I am certainly against stealing – after all, it is one of His Commandments – I can’t help but be intrigued about it.

Back in the day, before drive-bys, crack dealers, road rage, identity theft, etc…, your “majors” were murder, gambling, prostitution and theft.  Ah, theft – would a crime by any other name sound so sweet ?  Let me explain.  Again, while I don’t agree with it, there is a certain romanticism about it.  Jewel thieves, cat burglars, antiquities traders and diamond smugglers – Hollywood crimes !

Part of me thinks it’s the movies I like to watch : To Catch A Thief, the Indiana Jones trilogy, Bond movies and The Maltese Falcon to name just a few.  In To Catch A Thief, Cary Grant is a retired cat burgler who gets set up by a copycat then tries to clear his name.  He goes to great parties, woos Grace Kelly (wow !) and lives in an awesome house on the French Riviera. Indiana Jones is in search of hidden treasure, only to have it stolen by the Nazis.  James Bond, well, he’s BOND !

You can’t help but fall in love with the genre – international intrigue, fast cars, beautiful women, exotic locations – the whole nine yards.  And while it may be Tinseltown’s version, it may not be far from the mark.  The Picasso thieves planned their caper, executed it masterfully, and possibly even stole it for some anonymous buyer.  Authorities all over Europe are searching for activity in the art dealing underworld, waiting for the perps to “surface”.  How do you fence $70,000,000 in stolen art ?  See what I mean – exciting isn’t it ?

OK – reality check (*sound of needle across a record*) – theft is theft is theft, and stealing is wrong.  Ms. Picasso is missing something that was very near and dear to her, and she probably feels violated and just wants her grandfather’s paintings returned unharmed.  Or did she set the whole thing up to collect on the insurance money ?  After all, they are just paintings, and money is money.  Does she have a lover on the side, and at this moment they are jet-setting to Monte Carlo in his private plane so that they can be together ?  Maybe HE is the one who arranged the heist ?  Hmmm…

Update : A jewel thief in Belgium steals $28 Million in diamonds from an Antwerp bank.  If anyone sees anything on the internets about these two crimes, please feel free to comment so we can stay updated.

Written by johntheirishman

Thursday, 15 March, 2007 @ 6:00 at 6:00

Posted in Randoms

Finally – NEO Get’s a Break !

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Weather break, that is !  Northeast Ohio had highs in the low to mid 70’s today – first time since Fall 2006 !  It is truly a harbinger of things to come, and the sooner the better !  It’s hard to beat the Lake Erie region in the Summer.

We spend a fair amount of time outside on the patio when the weather breaks.  Most meals are spent on our patio with the torches lit and a fire in the trusty chimnea – light gives heat.  Tonight was no exception as we dined outside for the first time in 2007.  It may have only been a simple Grilled Pork Tenderloin Salad, but the evening held the promise of things to come – many meals, many friends & relatives, many fires – and many more memories…

Written by johntheirishman

Tuesday, 13 March, 2007 @ 20:07 at 20:07

Posted in 1470