Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Shelbys: From My Husband ~ "One Year Ago Today..."

The Shelbys: From My Husband ~ "One Year Ago Today...": One year ago today, several of my children and I headed out the front door on our way to our neighbors swimming pool for an early morning s...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What will we as America’s citizens write in this next chapter of our history?

What will we as America’s citizens write in this next chapter of our history? Will we settle for being herded by our leaders’ understanding of what is best for us? Or will “we the people” once again rally together, educating ourselves as to the best possible solutions for a way forward, communicating to our leaders our collective desires, and demonstrating that we truly are a nation that rebels for positive change? ~ Dr. Benjamin S. Carson

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Help Support Water Monkey In His 2012 Charity Hike

I found out about this through one of the blog I follow (and trust) Stick's Blog 

Raul Perez (AKA: Water Monkey) Will be hitting the trail for another charity hike for The H3 Initiative: Hammock Hiking for Humanity, so he needs our help. His goal is to raise $3,000. Let's pass this around to all our Bloggers, FBers, Tweeter friends, etc, etc, etc.

The charities which he will be supporting are:

Strength For Life – A non-profit organization which provides free exercise classes to those going through chemo therapy and cancer survivors

Appalachian Trail Conservancy – 20% of the donations received by Strength For Life will be donated to this organization. 

Alzheimer’s Foundation - Their mission is to provide optimal care and service to individuals suffering with dementia; and to help their caregivers and their families. 

Everyone that donates more than $10 is entered into a series raffles. The drawings will be held on May 19th, 2012.
For more information, check out Water Monkey's video and his personal blog Trail Name – Water Monkey .

It is heart warming to know that there are still people in this world who take their passions and turn it into a means to make a difference for those in need… may God bless your efforts Raul.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Go to:

Esther The Musical is an open audition for all ages.
GREATER WORKS PRODUCTIONS in Long Island N.Y. is holding open auditionsfor their 2012 production of Esther the musical. Auditions will be held Thursday December  29th 7pm-9pm  & Saturday January 7th 4pm-6pm at Little Pebbles School. (303 Ocean Avenue East Rockaway 11518)
Please prepare a brief song of a musical theatre style (No Pop Music) dance is a plus, bring your own music on CD, flash drive, I-pod or you may sing A-cappella. In addition, we are seeking male & female dancers with cartwheel and flip capability.  Bring headshot and resume to audition if available. Rehearsals will be held twice a week in East Rockaway. Performances are April 20th , 21st , 27th and 28th,  2012 . For more info. or inquiries, please e-mail

Friday, December 9, 2011

Naomi sings at Sip This

So.... I haven't been blogging for awhile. I guess life gets busy. One of the things that has kept me, or more correctly us, so busy is my oldest daughter Naomi's college plans. Naomi plans on pursuing a Vocal Performance and Music Education major; and the two (2) schools she's been looking at are Nyack in NYC and Five Towns in Dix Hills. The preparation for the interviews and auditions have proved to be a lot of work (we won't even go into how or if we can pay tuition, that's in God's hands.) We have been very fortunate though to have been put in contact with Daniel Orama of The School of Music who has dedicated a lot of time to work with Naomi to get her ready. Daniel and his wife Tami have been a real blessing and literally were a God send, but I'll share about all that in another blog. What I really want to talk about, or at least post, are some clips of a recent performance at Sip This in Valley Stream. So, here they are...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October 31st

Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences Commonly Known asThe 95 Theses
by Dr. Martin Luther

Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, the following heads will be the subject of a public discussion at Wittenberg under the presidency of the reverend father, Martin Luther, Augustinian, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and duly appointed Lecturer on these subjects in that place. He requests that whoever cannot be present personally to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing.
  1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent", He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
  2. The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
  3. Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one's heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.
  4. As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward repentance) the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven.
  5. The pope has neither the will nor the power to remit any penalties beyond those imposed either at his own discretion or by canon law.
  6. The pope himself cannot remit guilt, but only declare and confirm that it has been remitted by God; or, at most, he can remit it in cases reserved to his discretion. Except for these cases, the guilt remains untouched.
  7. God never remits guilt to anyone without, at the same time, making him humbly submissive to the priest, His representative.
  8. The penitential canons apply only to men who are still alive, and, according to the canons themselves, none applies to the dead.
  9. Accordingly, the Holy Spirit, acting in the person of the pope, manifests grace to us, by the fact that the papal regulations always cease to apply at death, or in any hard case.
  10. It is a wrongful act, due to ignorance, when priests retain the canonical penalties on the dead in purgatory.
  11. When canonical penalties were changed and made to apply to purgatory, surely it would seem that tares were sown while the bishops were asleep.
  12. In former days, the canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution was pronounced; and were intended to be tests of true contrition.
  13. Death puts an end to all the claims of the Church; even the dying are already dead to the canon laws, and are no longer bound by them.
  14. Defective piety or love in a dying person is necessarily accompanied by great fear, which is greatest where the piety or love is least.
  15. This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, whatever else might be said, to constitute the pain of purgatory, since it approaches very closely to the horror of despair.
  16. There seems to be the same difference between hell, purgatory, and heaven as between despair, uncertainty, and assurance.
  17. Of a truth, the pains of souls in purgatory ought to be abated, and charity ought to be proportionately increased.
  18. Moreover, it does not seem proved, on any grounds of reason or Scripture, that these souls are outside the state of merit, or unable to grow in grace.
  19. Nor does it seem proved to be always the case that they are certain and assured of salvation, even if we are very certain ourselves.
  20. Therefore the pope, in speaking of the plenary remission of all penalties, does not mean "all" in the strict sense, but only those imposed by himself.
  21. Hence those who preach indulgences are in error when they say that a man is absolved and saved from every penalty by the pope's indulgences.
  22. Indeed, he cannot remit to souls in purgatory any penalty which canon law declares should be suffered in the present life.
  23. If plenary remission could be granted to anyone at all, it would be only in the cases of the most perfect, i.e. to very few.
  24. It must therefore be the case that the major part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of relief from penalty.
  25. The same power as the pope exercises in general over purgatory is exercised in particular by every single bishop in his bishopric and priest in his parish.
  26. The pope does excellently when he grants remission to the souls in purgatory on account of intercessions made on their behalf, and not by the power of the keys (which he cannot exercise for them).
  27. There is no divine authority for preaching that the soul flies out of the purgatory immediately the money clinks in the bottom of the chest.
  28. It is certainly possible that when the money clinks in the bottom of the chest avarice and greed increase; but when the church offers intercession, all depends in the will of God.
  29. Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed in view of what is said of St. Severinus and St. Pascal? (Note: Paschal I, pope 817-24. The legend is that he and Severinus were willing to endure the pains of purgatory for the benefit of the faithful).
  30. No one is sure of the reality of his own contrition, much less of receiving plenary forgiveness.
  31. One who bona fide buys indulgence is a rare as a bona fide penitent man, i.e. very rare indeed.
  32. All those who believe themselves certain of their own salvation by means of letters of indulgence, will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.
  33. We should be most carefully on our guard against those who say that the papal indulgences are an inestimable divine gift, and that a man is reconciled to God by them.
  34. For the grace conveyed by these indulgences relates simply to the penalties of the sacramental "satisfactions" decreed merely by man.
  35. It is not in accordance with Christian doctrines to preach and teach that those who buy off souls, or purchase confessional licenses, have no need to repent of their own sins.
  36. Any Christian whatsoever, who is truly repentant, enjoys plenary remission from penalty and guilt, and this is given him without letters of indulgence.
  37. Any true Christian whatsoever, living or dead, participates in all the benefits of Christ and the Church; and this participation is granted to him by God without letters of indulgence.
  38. Yet the pope's remission and dispensation are in no way to be despised, for, as already said, they proclaim the divine remission.
  39. It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, to extol to the people the great bounty contained in the indulgences, while, at the same time, praising contrition as a virtue.
  40. A truly contrite sinner seeks out, and loves to pay, the penalties of his sins; whereas the very multitude of indulgences dulls men's consciences, and tends to make them hate the penalties.
  41. Papal indulgences should only be preached with caution, lest people gain a wrong understanding, and think that they are preferable to other good works: those of love.
  42. Christians should be taught that the pope does not at all intend that the purchase of indulgences should be understood as at all comparable with the works of mercy.
  43. Christians should be taught that one who gives to the poor, or lends to the needy, does a better action than if he purchases indulgences.
  44. Because, by works of love, love grows and a man becomes a better man; whereas, by indulgences, he does not become a better man, but only escapes certain penalties.
  45. Christians should be taught that he who sees a needy person, but passes him by although he gives money for indulgences, gains no benefit from the pope's pardon, but only incurs the wrath of God.
  46. Christians should be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they are bound to retain what is only necessary for the upkeep of their home, and should in no way squander it on indulgences.
  47. Christians should be taught that they purchase indulgences voluntarily, and are not under obligation to do so.
  48. Christians should be taught that, in granting indulgences, the pope has more need, and more desire, for devout prayer on his own behalf than for ready money.
  49. Christians should be taught that the pope's indulgences are useful only if one does not rely on them, but most harmful if one loses the fear of God through them.
  50. Christians should be taught that, if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence-preachers, he would rather the church of St. Peter were reduced to ashes than be built with the skin, flesh, and bones of the sheep.
  51. Christians should be taught that the pope would be willing, as he ought if necessity should arise, to sell the church of St. Peter, and give, too, his own money to many of those from whom the pardon-merchants conjure money.
  52. It is vain to rely on salvation by letters of indulgence, even if the commissary, or indeed the pope himself, were to pledge his own soul for their validity.
  53. Those are enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid the word of God to be preached at all in some churches, in order that indulgences may be preached in others.
  54. The word of God suffers injury if, in the same sermon, an equal or longer time is devoted to indulgences than to that word.
  55. The pope cannot help taking the view that if indulgences (very small matters) are celebrated by one bell, one pageant, or one ceremony, the gospel (a very great matter) should be preached to the accompaniment of a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.
  56. The treasures of the church, out of which the pope dispenses indulgences, are not sufficiently spoken of or known among the people of Christ.
  57. That these treasures are not temporal are clear from the fact that many of the merchants do not grant them freely, but only collect them.
  58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, because, even apart from the pope, these merits are always working grace in the inner man, and working the cross, death, and hell in the outer man.
  59. St. Laurence said that the poor were the treasures of the church, but he used the term in accordance with the custom of his own time.
  60. We do not speak rashly in saying that the treasures of the church are the keys of the church, and are bestowed by the merits of Christ.
  61. For it is clear that the power of the pope suffices, by itself, for the remission of penalties and reserved cases.
  62. The true treasure of the church is the Holy gospel of the glory and the grace of God.
  63. It is right to regard this treasure as most odious, for it makes the first to be the last.
  64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is most acceptable, for it makes the last to be the first.
  65. Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets which, in former times, they used to fish for men of wealth.
  66. The treasures of the indulgences are the nets which to-day they use to fish for the wealth of men.
  67. The indulgences, which the merchants extol as the greatest of favours, are seen to be, in fact, a favourite means for money-getting.
  68. Nevertheless, they are not to be compared with the grace of God and the compassion shown in the Cross.
  69. Bishops and curates, in duty bound, must receive the commissaries of the papal indulgences with all reverence.
  70. But they are under a much greater obligation to watch closely and attend carefully lest these men preach their own fancies instead of what the pope commissioned.
  71. Let him be anathema and accursed who denies the apostolic character of the indulgences.
  72. On the other hand, let him be blessed who is on his guard against the wantonness and license of the pardon-merchant's words.
  73. In the same way, the pope rightly excommunicates those who make any plans to the detriment of the trade in indulgences.
  74. It is much more in keeping with his views to excommunicate those who use the pretext of indulgences to plot anything to the detriment of holy love and truth.
  75. It is foolish to think that papal indulgences have so much power that they can absolve a man even if he has done the impossible and violated the mother of God.
  76. We assert the contrary, and say that the pope's pardons are not able to remove the least venial of sins as far as their guilt is concerned.
  77. When it is said that not even St. Peter, if he were now pope, could grant a greater grace, it is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.
  78. We assert the contrary, and say that he, and any pope whatever, possesses greater graces, viz., the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as is declared in I Corinthians 12 [:28].
  79. It is blasphemy to say that the insignia of the cross with the papal arms are of equal value to the cross on which Christ died.
  80. The bishops, curates, and theologians, who permit assertions of that kind to be made to the people without let or hindrance, will have to answer for it.
  81. This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult for learned men to guard the respect due to the pope against false accusations, or at least from the keen criticisms of the laity.
  82. They ask, e.g.: Why does not the pope liberate everyone from purgatory for the sake of love (a most holy thing) and because of the supreme necessity of their souls? This would be morally the best of all reasons. Meanwhile he redeems innumerable souls for money, a most perishable thing, with which to build St. Peter's church, a very minor purpose.
  83. Again: Why should funeral and anniversary masses for the dead continue to be said? And why does not the pope repay, or permit to be repaid, the benefactions instituted for these purposes, since it is wrong to pray for those souls who are now redeemed?
  84. Again: Surely this is a new sort of compassion, on the part of God and the pope, when an impious man, an enemy of God, is allowed to pay money to redeem a devout soul, a friend of God; while yet that devout and beloved soul is not allowed to be redeemed without payment, for love's sake, and just because of its need of redemption.
  85. Again: Why are the penitential canon laws, which in fact, if not in practice, have long been obsolete and dead in themselves,—why are they, to-day, still used in imposing fines in money, through the granting of indulgences, as if all the penitential canons were fully operative?
  86. Again: since the pope's income to-day is larger than that of the wealthiest of wealthy men, why does he not build this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of indigent believers?
  87. Again: What does the pope remit or dispense to people who, by their perfect repentance, have a right to plenary remission or dispensation?
  88. Again: Surely a greater good could be done to the church if the pope were to bestow these remissions and dispensations, not once, as now, but a hundred times a day, for the benefit of any believer whatever.
  89. What the pope seeks by indulgences is not money, but rather the salvation of souls; why then does he suspend the letters and indulgences formerly conceded, and still as efficacious as ever?
  90. These questions are serious matters of conscience to the laity. To suppress them by force alone, and not to refute them by giving reasons, is to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christian people unhappy.
  91. If therefore, indulgences were preached in accordance with the spirit and mind of the pope, all these difficulties would be easily overcome, and indeed, cease to exist.
  92. Away, then, with those prophets who say to Christ's people, "Peace, peace," where in there is no peace.
  93. Hail, hail to all those prophets who say to Christ's people, "The cross, the cross," where there is no cross.
  94. Christians should be exhorted to be zealous to follow Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hells.
  95. And let them thus be more confident of entering heaven through many tribulations rather than through a false assurance of peace.

Much food for thought...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where Their Footsteps Left No Trace

Well, it's been awhile since last blogging, but here goes...
We recently visited the big city (NYC) to check out Nyack College. My oldest daughter Naomi, Lord willing, will be off to college next year. Nyack was recommended by my good friend Daniel Orama who is Naomi's vocal instructor and the founder of The School of Singing. Naomi's desire is to study vocal performance. Nyack has an excellent program in vocal performance and like GCA (Grace Christian Academy) Nyack is Christ-centric with it's studies. 
Speaking of Daniel, Daniel and his lovely wife Tami have been such a blessing to our family. I look forward to how God will work in the lives of the Smiths and the Oramas. With God's help maybe we can be as much of a blessing to the Oramas as they have been to us. 
That being said, that's not actually what I planned on blogging about. However, it is most definitely a topic for a future blog. 
While we were in NYC we stop in St. Peter's Church. I'm accustom  to checking out the different churches when we happen upon them. In the narthex of St. Peter's was a grouping of five mixed-media panels by the British artist, Roy Ray. This body of work immediately caught my attention and held me captive their grip. Not only were they well executed but, moreover, they were a poignant and blaring message of humankind's lack of care for the sanctity of life. Each panel depicted a devastating historic event. Included were Hiroshima, Auschwitz, Dresden, Coventry and New York on 9/11.
The following verses came to mind:
Isaiah 2:1-5
The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.
Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. 

Matthew 22:37-39

And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
Romans 5:6-9
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 
Humankind won't and can't change in and of themselves, not until there is peace made with God; and that peace can only come through Jesus Christ the Lord.
~ Mofongo

Where Their Footsteps Left No Trace

Hiroshima and Auschwitz
Dresden and Coventry
New York 9/11

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Good-bye Kawasaki of Yonkers

So, here's the scoop…

Come the close of day on Friday, May 13, 2011 (somewhere around 4 PM) I will no longer be working at Kawasaki Rail Car (KRC) in Yonkers. KRC has been my place of employ since August of 2010; and I might add my port in the storm. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I met a lot of good folks there. I truly did. KRC has also proved to be a great opportunity to expand my proverbial envelop. I learned a few things for sure.

That being said, I will particularly remember the Hiker Extraordinaire (AKA phattire) who incidentally started me blogging and reminded me of my love for the hike. And then there’s the Barefoot Running Scientist (AKA Rocket Scientist making sense) Who’s challenged me to think a bit more deeply about things in general. These two, for whatever reason (and it’s beyond me as to why), have had a profound effect on my life. That’s the plain facts folks. Of course it doesn’t hurt that they bought me a great steak (although that has really nothing to do with it.) They will be in my thoughts and my prayers (whether they like it or not… LOL!) I will make every effort to keep in touch with these guys. I have a strange feeling that our paths will cross more than once. Who knows what’s in store. I’m a firm believer in providence.

Things change and life goes on. What changed you might ask. The short of it... Dorcas and I had just been talking about my need of finding something closer to home (job wise that is.) I’d actually been praying about it on my travels into the job. Well, not long after that (a week or so) I got a text from an old colleague and friend who wanted to know how the commute was going. So, I gave him a call and he asked how much I needed to make if I worked closer to home. Next thing I know I have an interview. Then the brothers and the sisters started to pray and God answered.

I now have a job at least half an hour closer to home (more when you take into account the traffic I've been facing going home from Yonkers.) I am blessed. No more $200 plus (gas... tolls... repairs) to get to and fro work every week and I’ll be home more often with the family. O, yes, I’ll get at least another hour of sleep too!

So, as I sip my Grandpa Chacha’s I’ll say good-bye to the folks at KRC… I’ll catch you on the flip side!

~ Mofongo

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Backpacking and Camping Links I Often Use & Visit



New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation


Reserve America


Catskill Mountain Club

ADK Mountain Club



Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS)



Friday, April 29, 2011

Complete Kupilka Starter Kit Giveaway - today is the last day

I just sent in my entry answers (see below) to Brian's Backpacking Blog to try and win a complete Kupilka Starter Kit (I believe today was the last day to enter and I just got the email off at 11:35 PM - cutting it close I think.)

My love of backpacking, and the rush one gets from being up in the mountains, started many moons ago as a Boy Scout. I was never very good at sports but, I loved the outdoors. It was a place of wonder and beauty. However, after making Eagle Scout, and for reasons I can't remember, I stopped backpacking. A good amount of time passed before I got the bug again and hit the trails. This time  it was with one friend or another hiking bits of the Catskills and bits of the Adirondacks. Those friends moved on though and my equipment begun to collect dust again as it hung in the garage. Then the bug came again. My hiking buddy is now my 11 year old son. I may not be able to take him down the sports path but I can certainly take him down a mountain trail.

As far as "going lighter" yes, well, at 55 I think differently about the Boy Scout adage, "Be Prepared." To be prepared use to mean (to me any way) having everything I could ever need or want with me on my back. That kind of always made my pack pretty heavy (40 - 50 lbs.) And guess what, I never used even half the stuff I packed. OK, to the point, when I began to gear up again I learned about all this light stuff that actually worked. Wow! This is great! As far as restrictions, it is pricey! Especially for a father of four (LOL!) I'm not a gram counter but, I do try to lighten the load.

Right now I'm using a Eureka Forte Sq 2. I purchased this tent primarily base on price and weight. I found it on sale and squeezed it into the budget. It is reasonably light with room enough for my son and me and our gear. I do have a one man bivouac type shelter that I use if not camping with Aaron.

I live on Long Island. Right now most of my backpacking takes place upstate in Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks. We usually hike during the Spring and Fall. My goal is to get up into the High Peaks in the Adirondacks in the near future. I did do some subzero camping way back when. I not sure that'll happen any day soon. It was a rush back than though (maybe 25 years ago.)

Our trips, so far, have only been over nighters. As time allows, that will change. There is nothing like getting away for a week or more in the beauty of nature! Away from it all. Not to mention it is a perfect way of spending quality time with my son. No T.V., no computer, no Game Boy, etc. if you know what I mean.

Camp cooking use to be hobo meals, mickies in the coals, s'mores, eggs and bacon, salami and cheese, gorp, etc. Now I try to go simpler. Yes, the salami, cheese and gorp still comes with us but, I also try to use more freeze-dried. It means less clean up, less time and less weight. It also makes for more time for better things like the trails. Mountain House has some pretty good stuff. I am still looking into this idea of freeze-dried since I'm concerned sodium and cholesterol. I do love to eat too so this still needs some thought.

The stove I now use is a simple MSR Fast & Light Pocket Rocket canister-fuel stove which I light with my SL3 - Fire - with Magnesium Fire Starter / Whistle. That almost sound like an advertisement doesn't it? This truly is a great little stove and it'll boil 1 liter of water in about 2 minutes, which is just enough for my son and I. It's quick, it's light, it's easy and it works! It sure allows for plenty of time for bigger and better things.

I use canister primarily for ease of use and ease of stowing in the pack.

To date I have never used a wood burning stove. That being said, I would love to try a Backcountry Boiler. As far as soot, I would think the storage sack would help with that. As you say, "it's a trade off for a readily available fuel source."

I can't say enough good about my GSI Outdoors Halulite Ketalist Cook set. Wow, does it ever perform really well.  On the last hike we took we used it to heat up water to make hot cocoa and coffee, which I might add really hit the spot after a good day of hiking. We sat on one of the rock ledges in awe while we sipped our drinks. As I said before, it took only about 2 minutes to boil 1-liter water. It sure allows for plenty of time for bigger and better things like spend time with my son.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

West Mountain (Timp-Torne / A.T. and Beechy Bottom Road) Loop from Anthony Wayne to The Village

Yesterday we had a dynamic day of hiking on the West Mountain Loop, which we grabbed, from the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area. An excellent description of the trail can be found at the following address: Although the whether was a bit on the gloomy side, hiking with family in the great outdoors plus a hint of Spring all around us soon dispelled that gloom. What a paramount day! There were plenty of rocks to scramble up and numerous striking panoramic views. At the end of the day we were tired but pumped. The awe of it all left me wondering how some can says there is no God?

We even got the chance to try out my MSR Fast & Light Pocket Rocket canister-fuel stove which we lit with my SL3 - Fire - with Magnesium Fire Starter / Whistle. Wow, they performed really well.  We used it to heat up water in my GSI Outdoors Halulite Ketalist Cook set tea kettle to make hot cocoa and coffee, which I might add really hit the spot! How’s that for an advertisement? Too bad I have no sponsors. By the way it took only about 2 minutes to boil 1-liter water.

Now as for today… well today I spent another day with other family members. This time hiking in NYC (how’s that for extremes?) It was wet and rainy and we were cold and soggy. We went to the Village (the west end of lower Manhattan) by way of the east end of upper Manhattan. I think I’ll leave that one alone. In years to come it will be remembered and laughed about for sure. Today we will just say it is an inside joke. So, anyway, we went to see about possible summer acting classes for my oldest daughter. Although nothing went as planned (since there really wasn’t a plan) and we didn’t come away with classes, I hope we do find something for her. More importantly I think she knows we really took her seriously and want to help her in this. Dear Lord, your will be done and please provide the means.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring has sprung...

Magnified natural snow crystal

I woke up at my usual 4 AM this morning and was out to my Jeep by about 4:30 only to find a coating of snow… my first thought… RATS what happened to Spring! Then I was reminded of the conversation I had with my wife last night… Dorcas had shown me photos she had come across on the internet. They were of natural snow crystals. We were commenting on how beautiful and intricate their symmetrical designs were; as if a master artist hand-crafted each one with great care and precision. Each one with its own special pattern, each one so different from the next, each one just as striking. Exquisite!

Magnified man-made snow crystal

And then we looked at a photo of a man-made snow crystal… well, you tell me...

Of course there's always Designer Snow Flakes made in a lab under controlled conditions...

Check out:

Another reason for me to emrace the theory of Intelligent design.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

A wise old owl

“A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?”

I visited to the Owl Bar in the historic Belvedere in downtown Baltimore on my last business trip.

Besides the good food and good company, I couldn’t help but imagine the stories that old owl could tell… my mind continually wondered pondering as my eyes scanned the joint.

The Owl Bar has been around from the early 1900s when WWI officers frequented the bar in their off hours, to the days of prohibition, when it became a speakeasy… so, I’m told.

The only thing missing was a piano man.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pernil... just like I promised

So, here's the buzz on pernil... just like I promised.
Pernil is pork shoulder and although it's a cheap cut of meat I personally think it's one of the tastiest... that is if you cook it right. The trick is to cook it low and slow baby. I usually cook mine throughout the night and keep vigil while sleeping on the couch (which is close to the kitchen.) My wife always accuses me of keeping her up when I make a pernil... not because I'm making so much noise (however, I've been known to do that too) rather it's because she say it smells so good. Man does it every too... the aroma of that roasting pernil wafts all through the house making everyone hungry. My wife's family always says I make it better than the Puerto Ricans. That's not true though... maybe just as good but, no better (boy, that was a meager attempt at humility... ha, ha, ha!) Any way OK... so, here we go... oh, BTW, all amounts are approximate...
10-15 lb Pernil (Pork shoulder)
2-4 heads of garlic
salt / pepper to taste (at least 4T / 2T)
1/4 cup or so olive oil
a splash red wine vinegar (about 2T)
dry oregano (about 1T)
4-5 limes
Mash pealed garlic with salt and mix in pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar and dry oregano (making a paste) - set aside
Rise pernil and separate the layer of fat and skin from the meat with a sharp knife leaving a bit still attached at the bone end - pierce the meat all over on both sides
Rub the whole pernil with lime juice letting it soak in to where you have pierced as well
Place the pernil in a baking dish and rub the entire pernil (bottom and top) with the garlic mixture making sure to get it into where you have pierced (you could also stuff the piercings with garlic cloves)
Pull the skin and fat layer back over the top and cover the baking dish tightly with tin foil - bake covered at 275 for around 8 hours (or until the meat has becomes fork tender) then remove the foil and raise the heat to 450 and bake until the skin become hard and crispy - remove from the oven and let rest about 10 minutes and then 'pull' the pernil with a fork - ENJOY