Sunday, September 7, 2014


Thug: noun
  plural thugs
  1. a violent person, especially a criminal
  2. (historic) a member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India. Devotees of the goddess Kali, the Thugs waylaid and strangled their victims, usually travelers, in a ritually prescribed manner.
First known use 1810.

Since we're on the topic of thugs, here is a list of well known thugs

Putin - a Megalomaniac Lying Bastard Thug.
IRA - Drunken Wanker Thugs
ISIS- Definitely Not Drunken(except with power) but still Wanker Thugs
Hamas - Hey let's hide rockets and weapons in Mosques and civilian buildings because we care so much about the Palestinian people Thugs
 Pro-Russian Separatists in the Ukraine - Putin boot-lick-in Thugs
 KKK - Stuck in the Past moonshine drinking Thugs
Boko Harum - New Guys on the Block Thugs
Notice anything they all have in common?


They all wear goddamn masks because their power is illegitimate(maybe they are too and probably illiterate to boot) and they are a bunch of bullies who couldn't talk a school girl(are girls even allowed to go to school?) out of her lolly pop using a valid argument and so have to resort to using guns and violence to get their way.

My twin Dirk says "These guys really piss me off. If I were a hot headed younger man I would dig up my dad's M40 from the backyard(where he stores all his Prepper supplies), buy a balaclava and go off and reduce the population."

But then he would just be a Thug and I would have to put his photo up here as well.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

End of Summer

Current Blooms
Dwarf Hosta
Russian Sage
St Michaelmas Daisy

 New Heather from Trader Joe's

 Banana and child
 Half and Half Espaliered Witch hazel
Gentiana "Goetterdaemmerung"

Beers in the Fridge

Boddingtons Ale
Harpoon Summer Beer, very Good, an easy drink, had it last in summer 2012
Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-style  (just got it, no idea who makes it, too lazy to search the web)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Late Summer Blooms

Still seem to be in vacation mode, have not yet transitioned back into work mode. Wish I was back in Aruba.

Current Blooms:
 In the mum family, I didn't plant them so they are a weed.
Phlox, I cut them back early in the season so they don't get too tall. We used to have white, but now we don't.
Erica x Watsonii 'Truro' Summer blooming Heath. Heath have needle like leaves, while Heathers have scale like leaves.
Calluna Vulgaris 'Glenmorangie' True Heather, dwarf with few pale lavender flower in Summer. Yes, very true, very few flowers and quite pale. Foliage tips turn orange in Fall then red in Winter

Beers in the fridge:

 Found this one a bit too hoppy, though I got used to it.
Pairs well with pasta, light and crisp, I buy this a couple of times a year. Had a Peroni at Hostaria Da Vittorio while in Aruba. It was in a brown bottle, but I did not look that close so I am not sure what kind exactly it was. At the other good Italian restaurant in Aruba I had a Moretti.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Past Trip: One Happy Island, July 2014

No not Staten Island, but Aruba, which is 15 miles north of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea. A steady breeze keeps it cool even though most days are sunny, the ocean along the western shore is calm and inviting. Aruba is one of the ABC Islands, Aruba, Bonaire and CuraƧao, three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles.
Our hotel's beach, but we hung out on the beach further down to the left
Just so you don't get the 2 confused, one is a Happy Island and one is where I live and for further comparison.

                                Staten Island               Aruba
Location(Lat/Lon)   40.3N, 74.8W            12.3N, 69.5W
Area (sq. mi.)           58.5 excluding lakes  69.5 no lakes
Coastline                  57 miles                     42.5 miles
Highest point           410ft. Todt Hill          617ft. Mt. Jamanota
July Temp                86F (humid)               82F always and dry and no hurricanes
July Water Temp      72F                            80F
Sand                         dirt brown                  white and soft
People                      basterds                      warm and friendly
Population               472,000                      110,600
Time to Newark       20 minutes                 5 hours
Discovered*            1520 (Verrazzano)     1499 (Alonso de Ojeda)
* by Europeans

Very similar and both are visited by about 1.5 million tourists each year, yet no one actually gets past the ferry terminal in Staten Island, while in Aruba tourists stay for weeks and come back year after year.

  • No work
  • Nice Breeze
  • Nice sand
  • Surf was not up, so I did not get to take a lesson
  • seeing people who should not wear such small bathing suits
Holiday Inn located on Palm Beach 20 minutes from the airport.
Same configuration as our room, but our view was of the parking lot.
All within a short walk from the Hotel. Afterwards we walked back to the hotel along the beach, each evening we cut through a different hotel to gain access to the beach.

Taste of Belgium - Belgium, had mussels and fries and beer
Aqua Grill - Seafood [fish soup, mahi-mahi, coconut flan; salad, red snapper, 2 chocolate brownie martinis]
Hostaria da Vittorio - Italian,  my favorite of the Italian restaurants we ate at. [brushetta prosciutto, orechiette with broccoli rabe & sausage,  strega; pappardelle speciale, panna frutti o al cioccol]
Gianni's - Italian, right on the main strip, had a lot of staff. We tended to eat early and there was quite a line to get in when we were leaving. [fried calamari, spaghetti with octopus, tiramisu; salad, pasta primavera, brownie ala mode]
Papillion - French [shrimps on toast, seared tuna over rice; crab cakes, Grouper, mousse]
Le Bistro - Located in the open air mall across from the hotel. The food was good, but we were just wondering where our food came from. [salad nicoise, snapper Arubiano, key lime pie; salad, red snapper with shrimp, mousse]
There is a fountain/light show at night in the mall. It can be missed.

And we also ate at another Italian restaurant which is not worth naming, though you have to walk along Palm Beach Noord a ways to get there. I had the insalata di Mare as an appetizer which was good, but our entrees were just OK. Other than this place all the food was very good

I would go again.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mid July Flowers

Current Blooms:
 Gladiolus, some suggest digging them up in the fall depending on the zone you live in, we are borderline so we leave them in
 Pink Threadleaf Coreopsis
 Echinacea purpurea, had planted 2 last summer, but only one camp up this spring
Cilantro flowers
 Campanula cochlearifolia 'Elizabeth Oliver'
 Pink Chintz Thyme
 Dwarf Astilbe
Calluna Vulgaris "Alex Warwick" a heather

Sunday, June 29, 2014

2014 Garlic Harvest

Another real nice weekend, biked at the beach.

Harvested 97 new heads of garlic, last fall (October 13, 2013) we planted 98 cloves, not a bad result. We still have some garlic left from the last harvest, though it has been sprouting for awhile.

The spinach and lettuce were done and so we moved the zucchini to the garlic bed and the eggplant plants to the barrel planter.

Smoked Duck:
Brined and smoked a duck this weekend.
Bought a whole 5 lb duck, separated breasts(they were a bit thin) and leg/thighs, rendered fat from all the remaining skin, everything else went in the freezer for stock.
 0.7 liters water
 60 g kosher salt
 16 g sugar
 7 g pink salt
 2 cloves of garlic, halved
 bunch sage, smooched
 bunch thyme, bruised
 3 bay leaves, man-handled
 3 g juniper berries, stepped on
 1/2 cup Madeira
Receipe from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn

Sat the breasts and leg/thighs in the brine for 6 hours.
Let them rest in the fridge for 12 hours
Smoked them for 2 hours using Mesquite.
Came out very tasty, ate the smaller of the 2 leg/thighs for lunch Saturday and Sunday.
Last time I just brined the breasts.

Estate Management:
Minimal this weekend.
Put shade cloth in the skylights, filled a crack betwixt the sidewalk and the curb cut with cement, light gardening, mowed the east lawn.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Start of Summer 2014

Spend Saturday morning trying to free a stuck tub drain stopper, the kind that has a cylinder inside the drain pipe (trip lever tub drain). The cylinder had not been used for a long time and after using WD-40 and vinegar it finally came free. I pulled it out, cleaned it up and reinstalled it.

Current Blooms:
A new Edelweiss, "Mt. Everest" from Edelweiss Periennials.
A Gentiana, Gentiana veitchiorum 'Goetterdaemmerung'  I bought it because of the name. It is the last opera in the Wagner Ring Cycle. Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, and Gotterdammerung. It will have deep blue flowers. 

Another Edelweiss from Edelweiss Perennials, this one is Leontopodium discolor and is native to Japan. The flowers are just past their prime.
Iris and a day lilly.

Beers in the Fridge:
Still have porters in the fridge, but have added summer beers and ales to the collection.
Trader Josef's Blonde Ale - just OK
Smuttynose Brewing's Summer Weizen Ale, brewed with chamomile flowers, better but didn't notice the flowers
Konig Pilsner brewed in Duisburg, Germany. Smelled very flowery, taste was just OK, easily forgetful except for the flowery aroma. Don't expect to buy it again.