Rats, Squirrels and Hummingbirds

Rats: 

Have you ever lain awake at night listening to them scurrying about in your attic? Sadly, we used to occasionally endure this sleep depriving interruption. At the time, we used rat poison and traps in the attic to address the problem.

A few years ago we changed exterminators. We changed our strategy and placed six bait boxes around our house with fresh rat poison. The goal is to kill the rats before they became unwelcome household guests. 

Squirrels:  

A friend once told me that squirrels were just rats with a bushy tail and better PR. Although fun to watch, they can be quite destructive. I have fought these pesky rodents for years as they continually found their way to my bird feeders.

Our exterminator came for his quarterly service last week.  After he filled our bait boxes with fresh rat poison, I asked if there was anything he could do to control my squirrel population. His solution: move my bird feeders away from the house. So, I had Juan move my bird feeder to the backyard.

Hummingbirds:

I decided to try attracting hummingbirds after moving my sunflower and suet feeders to the backyard. They began appearing in just a few short days. My simple recipe: 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup warm water.

Hummingbirds are birds native to the Americas. They are the smallest of birds, most species measuring 7.5–13 cm (3–5 in) in length. Known as hummingbirds because of the humming sound created by their beating wings which flap at high frequencies audible to humans. They hover in mid-air at rapid wing-flapping rates, which vary from around 12 beats per second in the largest species, to in excess of 80 in some of the smallest. Of those species that have been measured in wind tunnels, their top speed exceeds 15 m/s (54 km/h; 34 mph) and some species can dive at speeds in excess of 22 m/s (79 km/h; 49 mph).

These amazing little birds are yet another reminder of God’s omnipresence.

Hummingbird by Seals and Crofts is about Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith. You may like to learn about this faith as you enjoy listening to this song. Click here for lyrics

Posted in Inspiring Secular Music, What's Going On | 1 Comment

Anchovy Pizza

Pizza: I’ve heard people say that even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good. Agreed. Everyone has their favorite. First, there is the choice of crust. Do you like your’s thin and crispy, hand tossed, folded over New York style, or Chicago deep dish? Some restaurants now even offer gluten-free crust. What about the sauce? Tomato based red or creamy white. Finally, meats, veggies, or both? There are literally hundreds of ways to combine ingredients to create your perfect pizza.

In some ways, it is hard to beat the classic cheese pizza. This pie is always a winner, even with children having the most finicky palettes. 

Perhaps no other topping invokes a visceral passion amongst pizza lovers as anchovies. You may love or hate them, but you can’t say they aren’t flavorful. Why do pizzerias offer anchovies, even though no one ever orders them?

Italian tradition

According to slate.com; Italians have been putting fish on bread for at least 2,000 years. Ancient Romans topped their flatbreads with garum, a ubiquitous condiment made of fermented fish parts. And fish was one of the toppings for pizza when the dish was first developed. This happened in Naples during the late-18th and early-19th centuries. The original varieties were: 

  • Bianca, with olive oil and salt
  • Margherita, with milled preserved tomatoes 
  • con Pomodoro, with sliced tomatoes, and 
  • Marinara, with tomatoes and anchovies. 

These pizzas were peasant food, and anchovies made an ideal topping—they were cheap, plentiful, and could be preserved almost indefinitely in oil and salt. Pizza marinara got its name from Neapolitan sailors. There’s no indication they ever asked for green peppers or pork products on their pies.

I inherited my love of anchovy pizza from my father. Dad and uncle Lester used to order Pizza Marinara from a traditional Italian pizzeria In Springfield called Neapolitan’s. It is my favorite to this day.

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Fathers Day Sports Edition

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. For my Father’s Day post I’m covering the epic week we had in sports. Retirements, record-setting performances, breakthroughs series, devastating injuries, and fallen dynasties. We may never see another week quite like this one.

Is began innocently enough on June 9. That is when Charles Glenn sang the national anthem before game six of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Glenn, 64, who has been singing the national anthems at St. Louis Blues games for 19 years, retired after this season. I encourage you to click on the hyperlink to read more about Charles Glenn’s story. 

Then on June 10, I heard this: Tony Parker is walking away from basketball after 18 seasons in the NBA.

The 37-year-old San Antonio Spurs player confirmed his decision to ESPN’s The Undefeated in an article published on Monday, also tweeting, “It’s with a lot of emotion that I retire from basketball, it was an incredible journey! Even in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would live all those unbelievable moments with the NBA and the French National Team. Thank you for everything!”

St. Louis was hardly singing the Blues on Wednesday night. But it was singing the city’s hockey team’s praises. The St. Louis Blues beat the Boston Bruins in a dominant performance in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. It’s the Blues first NHL championship title since the team was added to the league in 1967. The Blues were the last of the six teams that joined the league that year to have won the championship.

Goaltender Jordan Binnington started the 2018-19 hockey season with the San Antonio Rampage and ended the season as a Stanley Cup champion with the St. Louis Blues.

According to Daniel Reynolds of SBNation: At this time last year, the Toronto Raptors were not in the NBA championship discussion. They had been destroyed in the playoffs once again, they had no obvious way forward to improve. They had their new head coach but were still staring at another grind of a season with no real light at the end of the tunnel. And yet here we are: the Raptors are the 2019 NBA champions.

“I don’t know if it’s related to five straight seasons of playing a hundred plus games and just all the wear and tear, but it’s devastating,” an emotional Steve Kerr said after Game 6 discussing Kevin Durant’s ruptured Achilles and Klay Thompson’s torn ACL. Time will tell how these injuries affect their careers and the way the NBA game is played going forward.

Congratulations citizens of St. Louis and Toronto for your teams’ first championships. Here is a YouTube video of Charles Glenn’s final regular-season appearance as Blues’ anthem singer. 

Posted in What's Going On | 5 Comments