NOTRE DAME IN FLAMES: profound history lost

Anything which offers profound history to a nation and the world itself deserves a moment of silence when destroyed.  It doesn't matter if it's purposeful destruction, such as the case with ISIL members and cultural heritage or a neolithic tomb turned into a picnic table, or a possible accident such as Brazil's National Museum. Such is the case today with Notre Dame.  One need not be Catholic or even Christian to fathom the gravity of the situation.
The Cathedral has sat in disrepair for years.  
"Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre-Dame received one of its most significant overhauls between 1844 and 1864, when the architects Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc redid the spire and the flying buttresses and added several architectural tweaks.  That restoration followed decades of neglect and partial damage at the hands of French revolutionaries, and was prompted in part by Victor Hugo’s publication of his 1831 novel “Notre-Da…

2019 WEATHER: Mother Nature 0, Gruffchick 1

You know shit is going down hard when the locals come out of their houses to point and stare at the fast-approaching storm front.  Such was the case this evening as we made our way from Warren to home.   
Most people up north have a good sense for the weather. Better Half and I should as well, given our passion for aviation and our volunteer service during disaster relief missions.  However, neither of us really paid much attention to today's weather other than, "It's supposed to rain some after 7 PM."  We planned to be home by then.
Ah the best laid plans of chicks and men. 
We planned to leave early, say 9 AM.  We planned to just drive up to properties in the Youngstown OH area.  We planned to just drive back home.  But we overslept, and had to run down south to pick up my mother's meds, and the truck needed gas, and we weren't on the road until after 2.  What to do?  Carry on!
Last week's early spring temps carried into the weekend and, thanks to the…

REFLECTION: Rare Astronomamagal Creatures and the Imagination

Today's entry is a hat tip to one of my favorite artists, Sebastien Millon (AKA Sebreg). 

As found on his About page: Sebastien Millon is an artist.

His work is noted for its lack of vision and his art is usually muddled in a turbid stew of crockery.

Many artists, art critics, and frankly most of the public views his work with great disdain and disrespects everything he is about (no one actually even knows what he is about, including the artist himself).

Sebastien Millon's work lacks truth, vision, and sadly, any artistic integrity.

Critical Praise of Sebastien Millon:

"I like his work. But not as much as I like drinking." -Drunky Bear

"Fuck Sebastien Millon. He is a little bitch." -Bunny

Tongue-in-cheek or just all-around cheeky, his wit and artistic talent have banished many a stormy mood cloud.  It's more than whimsy.  Some moments are profound while others summon up recollections of our childhood and an imagination not yet stained by pragmatical adu…

FAMILY: Abdalla Receives Carrocci award

I not a fan of the local papers though I do browse them now and then. Sometimes I'm treated to a pleasant surprise.

Such is the case today.  My aunt, deceased several years now, made the news.

Nothing bad, of course, and not due to anything involving her in person.  Rather, it was an award given to one of our local officials, Fred Abdalla Jr. That award is named after my Aunt Helen.

STEUBENVILLE — Life came full circle for Fred Abdalla Jr. on Saturday when he was presented with the Helen Carrocci Child Advocate Award.

Carrocci was a longtime deputy at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, leading investigations in child abuse cases. After her retirement, she continued her mission to protect children by bringing together agencies and partners in the community to coordinate investigations. She founded A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center in 2002, where children can be interviewed and examined in sexual abuse cases.

Abdalla has been the chief probation officer for Juvenile …

HOME DELIGHTS: Deli-Style Beef Barley Soup

Beef barley soup is one of our favorite meals.  Though the price of beef has risen considerably over the last two years, the recipe we use allows for the cheaper, tougher cuts of meat.

The recipe originally came from Mr. Food Test Kitchen.

"Our recipe for Deli-Style Beef Barley Soup is so authentic-tasting, it'll have you wondering whether someone swapped yours with one from your favorite deli. This nutritious and hearty soup is great for cold winter nights, 'cause it'll warm your heart and your tummy." Deli Style Beef Barley Soup The simplicity appeals to me.  It takes very little time to prepare, contains only a few ingredients, and isn't weighed down by heavy spices and salt.

I've toyed a bit with their recipe, mainly because the menfolk in this family don't know the meaning of "normal portion" when it comes to this meal. I generally get 8 servings out of this recipe, though it's considerably less if my father grabs a mass…


Too tired to blog, so here's some food for thought:
Natura nihil frustra facit
When you look outside, you see the sun shining which enables us to see when we’re outside, you see trees invisibly producing oxygen so we can continue to exist. Natura nihil frustra facit: “Nature does nothing in vain.” It means that – and this is going to sound cliché – everything happens for a reason. Everything happens of necessity. It reminds me that, even though I should enjoy life and enjoy as many fun activities as possible, I should also make sure that every task I undertake has some meaning or is somewhat significant. Which brings us to the next one…

Quam bene vivas refert non quam diu “It is how well you live that matters, not how long.” Most of us are somewhat afraid of the inevitable that is part of being human: death. However, that fear is probably not associated with actually dying, but more with how you’ve lived your life. Did you accomplish all your goals and dreams before it w…


"Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Pi Day is an annual opportunity for math enthusiasts to recite the infinite digits of Pi, talk to their friends about math, and to eat Pie." - PiDay.Org

And then there are those that take infinite digits to new levels.

However you celebrate - be it in a STEM-based activity in your classroom or just eating pie - may your Pi Day be a happy one.