Canada Geese and Inline Skates do not mix well

(All Pictures are from Wikipedia.org – hopefully I got the attributes correct!)

Once upon a time, there was a boy.

He lived in the fabled land of Philadelphia, PA.

Philadelphia skyline (2015)
By Mefman00 – modifications by Maps and stuff (Brian W. Schaller) – Wikimedia file – cropped bottom to make it a 3:1 ratio panorama for use in Philadelphia article infobox; also cropped a bit from top, left and right; increased contrast, CC0, Link

 

He grew up to become the Police Commissioner and later the Mayor of that fabled land and his word had a lot of weight.

He enjoyed driving through one of the most beautiful places in a major city, and the largest municipal park of any city, at least at that time.  Fairmount Park.

Fairmount Park stretched from the Art Museum and the Rocky Statue along the Schuylkill River and out to the City Line.  The actual green belt stretched well beyond the reach of the city for quite a long way.

As that former Mayor, Frank Rizzo, went through the park, he noted the wildlife and once famously commented “Someone feed those damn ducks”.

And the ducks were fed.

ParkingLotMotherCanadaGoose.jpg

By PumpkinSky – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

They weren’t ducks, they were Canada Geese.  Personally I can’t say I remember ever seeing any Damn Ducks there, just the geese as well as many other birds that would stop by.  Some lived there, others moved on as Philadelphia was in the middle of the Eastern Flyway.  You can always see some wildlife among the trees and grass in that park.

Schuylkill River in Fairmount Park..JPG

By Ngilmour3Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Over time, they built the park up to have more facilities.  The boathouses were improved, parking areas expanded, a grandstand added, and a trail that would stretch from Independence Hall to the Art Museum, then uninterrupted by traffic out to beyond Valley Forge.  It would be paved with black asphalt, and that was how I got involved.

You see a ribbon of “Black Ice” is a perfect place to inline skate.

Yes, to paraphrase a theme song to a tv show, This Is Bill, And He LOVES to Skate.  (apologies to Bam Margera).

Philadelphia Museum of Art 2005.jpg

By User:Rgordon6~commonswikiWikimedia file, CC0, Link

And skate I did.  The main “city” loop, from the Art Museum to Falls Bridge and back was 8.6 miles.  All “black ice”.  Smooth asphalt to roll on with 8 and then 10 wheels, mile after mile.

While eventually I outgrew that trail and explored the trail from the city, west past Valley Forge, and out to Oaks and the Perkiomen Creek, I did eventually log 21,000 miles on inline skates in the years from 1993 on.

Those geese were still there, doing what geese do.  Eating grubs, grass, and small critters they would catch.

Now Birds in general have a quirk.  They tend to flock together and scatter in fear.  The biological response for a bird is to lighten the load before they launch and then fly off to safety.

Yes, they poop where they stand.

Canada Geese are for the most part docile creatures, being as big as a watermelon, but they do tend to stand their ground.

Take a flock of geese and if you’re on skates, it is you that is going to stop, not them.

Unless you’re a 6’4″ 225 Pound skater cruising along at 16 mile per hour, 4 minute miles, and having questionable stopping ability.

Yes, add to all that I’m stubborn too.

“Move it you damn birds!” as I am braking to give them time to leave.

Sometimes it worked.

Other times, they got ornery.  Actually more often than not they tend to stand their ground and hiss.  Oh and they do charge you.  There are quite a few times when you are flying down the trails and there’s 10 pounds of grey, black, and white chasing after you.

Stopping does not always guarantee you aren’t going to get by either.  They may decide that those loud shorts you are wearing are ugly and you need to be told that.  Flapping wings, hissing, and lightening the load for a launch, they’d come after you.

Luckily they don’t tend to corner well and are fairly easy to duck.  Or Goose.  Or whatever is your preference.

At one point I realised I am bigger than they are and would spread my arms wide and start yelling “CLEAR THE TRAIL GOOSE I’M COMING THROUGH!”.

Or not.  They’d take their time as I’m doing a break check slowing down in case I end up wiping out on their load lightening move.

That happened a few times.

Arms out wide, the goose refused to yield as it just ducked (goosed?) down its head against its body and started flapping itself.

This one time in mind the goose started flapping around my legs that were now splayed out on some questionably wet pavement to tell me it wanted me to go.  I’m flapping arms at it to convince it to move on.

A Stale Mate.  Me and Those Damn Ducks.

Eventually the “ducks” cleared off and I got up and went on my way.

I picked up one thrown flight feather and stuck it in my trail bag/fanny pack and finished my 30 mile workout.

That feather rode quite a few miles in there after that.

So the moral of the story is that if Mayor Frank Rizzo wanted those Damn Ducks Fed, you will have to watch out for them on the trails.

The current day echo of that story is that there are quite a few Muscovy Ducks here in WIlton Manors.  A woman two blocks away insists on feeding them.  So they learned that they are probably safer walking lazy circles around the neighborhood and parking under cars and shrubbery and making other baby ducks than they would be in the waterways that they belong in.

That in turn feeds the Foxes, Raccoons, and Opossums that I have seen eating baby ducks here.  So if you feed the ducks, you’re really feeding the predators.

Predators good, ducks annoying.  At least what they do under my Jeep is.

Better the predation happens than my having to learn how to spatch cook a duck.

Hmmmmm…..

Did I ever tell you about the time I walked out onto my little front porch?  A pool table sized area of concrete with 17 ducks by count making more baby ducks?  All hissing at once?

Yeah, I run them off now.  I figure if I can’t go after Those Damn Ducks in Fairmount Park in Philly, I can convince them not to mate under my Jeep here in Florida.

After all, ducks mating are violent, but that is a story for another day.

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I taught my hen to count her eggs. She’s a mathemachicken.

So as someone who skates at a park, two things.

Never smoke, and

Never smoke in a park.

Just don’t start!

 

And since they’re short, it’s a two-fer.

 

A man is smoking two cigarettes at a park

Another man walks up to him and asks, “Why are you smoking two cigarettes?”

He replies: “I’m smoking one for myself and one for my brother, he is in a no-smoking prison.”

Satisfied with the answer, the man walks away.

A few days pass and he sees the same man at the park, but he’s only smoking one cigarette.

Excited, he goes up to the man and asks, “Did your brother get out of prison? You are only smoking one cigarette.”

He replies: “No, I quit smoking.”

 

 

A man stumbles upon a magic lamp…

He rubs the lamp and a genie pops out!

The genie says that he will grant the man only one wish, and that he has to pick from three choices. He can either be the richest man in the world, the most popular man in the world, or the wisest man in the world.

The man says “We all know that money does not bring happiness, and that popularity just makes you a slave to the whims of others, but wisdom is everlasting. I want to be the wisest man in the world.”

The Genie goes “poof” and suddenly the man’s face assumes a serene expression. He sits down, rubbing his chin in thought. Then he looks towards the genie and says, “I should have taken the money”.

Bought some velcro today. Its a rip off.

At the park, I am skating around an airport and a golf course. Those golfers are kind of focused. Or clueless. I’m on the fence about that one.
But I can see this sort of thing happening…
Anything you say, dear!

Several men are in the locker room of a golf club. A cellular phone on a bench rings and a man engages the hands-free speaker function and begins to talk. Everyone else in the room stops to listen.

MAN: “Hello”

WOMAN: “Hi honey, it’s me. Are you at the club?”
MAN: “Yes.”

WOMAN: “I’m at the shops, and I found this beautiful leather coat. It’s only $2,000; is it okay if I buy it?”
MAN: “Sure, go ahead if you like it that much.”

WOMAN: “I also stopped by the Lexus dealership and saw the new models. I saw one I really liked.”
MAN: “How much?”

WOMAN: “$90,000.”
MAN: “Okay, but for that price I want it with all the options.”

WOMAN: “Great! Oh, and one more thing… I was just talking to Janie and found out that the house I wanted last year is back on the market. They’re asking $980,000 for it.”
MAN: “Well, then go ahead and make an offer of $900,000. They’ll probably take it. If not, we can go the extra eighty-thousand if it’s what you really want.”

WOMAN: “Okay. I’ll see you later! I love you so much!”
MAN: “Bye! I love you, too.”

The man hangs up. The other men in the locker room are staring at him in astonishment, mouths wide open.
He turns and asks, “Anyone know whose phone this is?”

Monarch Extinction or Fake News and a reason to keep your adblocks up to date?

Here I am.  In the South Eastern portion of a state named after Flowers.

I just saw a Monarch butterfly float past the window.  It’s February and I do see them daily, I didn’t think much of it.

The other day I was sitting in my Jeep.  I was at Pompano Airpark in the south eastern parking lot.  Putting on my inline skates for a workout.  A Monarch butterfly floated between me and the next car of to do whatever it was that butterflies do.

They are here.  But in a state named after Flowers you would expect that.  Lots of nice Nectar to drink, places to visit, fields to float through.

Along with my favorite Monarchs are Swallowtails and others, flashing black and yellow in their own dazzling display while floating on the breezes.

Then I get home and am confronted with a rather frightening news story screaming that their numbers are Below 1% and Heading towards extinction!

Pretty shouty and frightening titles if you ask me.

Except.

 

Those two links I have above?  Almost Word For Word copies of each other.  If you click on the links, expect to have more shouty advertisements for bogus things that you were not interested in popping up on you shilling some nonsense that you will never follow through with.

Any time you find that the majority of the search of a specific phrase, pick your search engine, I have been using Duckduckgo.com lately, are identical in a search – think fake news.

Those who support that sort of … prank have been busy in recent years.

At any rate, any time you see something like that, it’s a red flag.   Keep your antivirus programs and your ad blockers up to date, someone has a farm of web pages, none of which really are all that worthwhile.

If you are in the west and are witnessing a drop in the numbers, plant butterfly weed and milkweed.

Even if you aren’t, it’s a good idea.

As for me?  Any time I get a web site throwing up a nonsensical pop up urging me to sign onto their newsletter list, I immediately go in and start blocking things.

It’s a sure sign it’s not really worth bothering with.

And plant some milkweed, ok?  After all the Monarchs really could use our help.

How do you get your husband to stop looking at your emails? You rename it instructions!

Could not resist that title.
Gerald Posing wanted nothing more then to be a Deacon

It was perfect, right? He could have a family and do good deeds every day.
Posing rushed into seminary the second he got out of high school.
He studied and he studies, and he was top of his class in every subject.
He did not gloat, and he helped people in every way possible.
Sadly, on the day of his anointing, Posing died.

His friends were heartbroken, as were the professors of theology, so they went on his behalf to the pop, who gave Posing the title of honors deacon.
To this day, he is still Deacon Posing

 

 

A Georgia State trooper pulled a car over on I-75 about 2 miles north of Macon.

When the trooper asked the driver why he was speeding, the driver said he was a Magician and Juggler and was on his way to Atlanta to do a show for the Children’s Hospital. He didn’t want to be late. The trooper told the driver he was fascinated by juggling and said if the driver would do a little juggling for him then he wouldn’t give him a ticket.

He told the trooper he had sent his equipment ahead and didn’t have anything to juggle. The trooper said he had some flares in the trunk and asked if he could juggle them. The juggler said he could, so the trooper got 5 flares, lit them and handed them to him.

While the man was juggling, a car pulled in behind the State Troopers car. A drunken good old boy from Byron got out, watched the performance, then went over to the Trooper’s car, opened the rear door and got in.

The trooper observed him and went over to his car, opened the door asking the drunk what he thought he was doing. The drunk replied, “You might as well take me to jail, cause there ain’t no way I can pass that test.”

Why is ‘Dark’ spelled with a k and not a c? Because you can’t see in the dark.

Time to tell a story of a far off planet some time in the future. Why in the future? Because we have no way to travel interstellar distances quickly.

After all, there is no intelligent life out there, and sometimes, I wonder if there is any here.

I guess I have to stop watching Science Fiction, huh?
An astronaut is the first to step onto an alien planet.

An astronaut is the first to step onto an alien planet. The alien’s are so excited that they change all their signs to English, and even rename some of their places and landmarks after Human places and landmarks and things.
The astronaut decides the first place he wants to go is a pub. He sees a nearby alien and asks, “where’s the pub?”

The alien gurgles back but his suit translates to the astronaut in real time. The alien says, “just around the corner!”

The astronaut heads around the corner and sees it! It’s labelled “The Keyboard” and he asks the bouncer, “Why is it called the Keyboard?”

The bouncer replies, “the boss loves all things human and changed his name to reflect that. Ask him, he’s the bartender.”

So the astronaut enters the Keyboard and goes to the bartender.

“Excuse me, do you own this pub?” The astronaut says.

“I do.” The bartender gurgles back.

“Why is it called the Keyboard?” The man asks.

“Well,” the alien gurgles in reply, “since I knew you humans were coming I updated the name!”

The astronaut is on the edge of his seat…

“The reason it’s called the Keyboard is because… it’s a space bar.”

The Original Pizza Story and The One Ingredient Pizza Sauce

There is a story I was told, time and again.

When the Allied troops were fighting the Nazis in Italy after the fall of Mussolini they eventually approached Naples.

Due to the Volcanic Soil from Mount Vesuvius and other volcanos, the soil there is extremely rich.  The climate in the area is perfect for growing tomatoes that are held to be better than anywhere else.

(Ok, maybe AS good as the home grown tomatoes that are from South Jersey, but I digress.)

However, due to the impoverishment caused by the Fascists and the War, there was very little to go around.

The troops came upon pizzas made with only about four ingredients.  Crust made from Flour, water, yeast and a little salt.  Mozzarella made from milk from the few cows that were left.  A simple red sauce made with those tomatoes and almost always a touch of basil.

Yep, that’s it.  A Margarita Pizza.  Or however my spell check forces me to spell it.

(I have seen it Margherita on Menus as well.  The picture is labeled like that, the article uses the other spelling.)

Crust, Sauce, Basil, Mozzarella Cheese.  Heat in a wood burning oven.  Serve.

It was a hit and brought back to the US and became a favorite here and worldwide.

Mind you, to me, pizza made with Pineapples or Cheddar Cheese are an abomination, but I am quite fond of Mushrooms and perhaps sundried tomatoes on occasion.

About that sauce?

A week or two ago, I went to downtown Miami and went to what was an Italian restaurant.  They had all the prerequisite items on the menu and a simple Marg(h)erita Pizza in their wood burning stove.   I got that and it was excellent.

As I sat there I was pondering the sauce with my lunch partner.  We decided that if there was anything more in that sauce than a little basil and San Marzano Tomatoes, we couldn’t tell.

San Marzano Tomatoes are the name for the “DOP” for that area – The Protected Area.

So we got a can.  I used a 100 year old potato masher and mushed them down to a chunky mash.

Then I turned the heat onto medium low and cooked them down for 90 minutes.

Allowing the sauce to cool and rest until the next day, because tomato sauces are always ALWAYS better “tomorrow”, I waited.

I made the pizza you see in that picture.  It was almost identical to that $16, Serves One, Pizza.

We cracked it.  Simple is best if you want an Authentic Pizza.

Mind you, I will say that Neopolitan Pizza in any of the major NE US Cities is supposed to be better, but this was an awesome pizza with a no fuss sauce that I would put up against anything I’ve had elsewhere.

So much for artisanal, you can be an artisan too!

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 26 Ounce Can of San Marzano Tomatoes, peeled, with Basil.  (800 grams)

That’s it.

Recipe Process:

  • Open can into sauce pan.
  • Use potato masher to rough-mix the Tomatoes.  If you use a blender, you want chunks so just pulse.
  • Warm the sauce pan to Medium Low – 3 on a regular American Stove.  (You know that Iconic one that goes “Lo”, then 2 to 8, then “Hi”?)
  • Cook the sauce, stirring frequently, until the desired thickness is achieved – it took me 90 minutes on a slow simmer.
  • Set the sauce aside in the refrigerator until tomorrow to allow flavors to rest and meld.
  • Use promptly.