Politics Can’t Split These Sisters!

This is the kind of story we need to see in these tumultuous political times.

On Fox and Friends (believe it or not)…there was an interview with two Michigan sisters who are running for commissioners seats (in separate districts) in Kent County.

They are identical twins..but not in their politics.

Jessica Ann Tyson is a Republican.  Monica Sparks is a Democrat.  They sat down together for an interview to talk about how their ideologies will not break their extraordinarily strong sisterly bond.

With all the partisan differences we see every day in our political discourse, this is the kind of story that gives a bit of hope that no matter what side of the aisle we fall on,  there is more that unites us then divides us.

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Welcome to “G’s Kitchen”

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No…I haven’t decided to abandon journalism to go into the restaurant business.

After long days of working in the city..my wife Karen takes great care of me and sees to it that i have a fabulous meal when I get home.  We’re not complicated here.  My wife always tells me when it comes to meals, “I do simple well.”  but the meals are always great!

Some weeks ago..I decided to return the favor.  So, on my weekday off day, I open up what I call ‘G’s Kitchen’..and make a meal for her..because she works long days from here at home.

Part of the challenge for me is not going back to old habits.  My wife has called me the “Crock Pot King” because I have done many a meal in the slow cooker (but I did go back to the familiar for one of them).  The other challenge is my wife doesn’t do a lot of meat (beef, pork, etc.) so it’s a test for me to see what I can come up with.

One of the meals I was most proud of was the pizza I made…well, sort of.”

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Greek Pizza (photo credit: KReative Works)

It’s really just a store-bought cheese pizza..but Kalamata olives, marinated mushrooms and feta cheese placed on before baking put it over the top.  My thanks to Whole Foods for the ingredients.

I did go back to my crock pot roots for this tortellini dish.

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Cheese Tortellini in Vodka Sauce (photo credit: KReative Works)

The vodka sauce goes in the slow cooker along with fresh mushrooms and oregano.  Again..my wife is getting away from meat.  A company called Gardein makes a ‘beefless ground’ that — if you season it right — you’d never know the difference. Set the crock pot on high for 3.5 hours.  Add in store-bought tortellini of your choice for the last 15 minutes to warm through and …Viola!

One of the more recent meals had a daunting centerpiece:  swordfish.

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Baked Swordfish with Zucchini Noodle Salad (photo credit: KReative Works)

I seasoned the fish and put each one in a foil packet to steam in a 425-degree oven for 20 minutes.   Whole Foods again came through with zucchini noodles, marinated mushrooms and artichokes that I put together.  It turned out great.

I’m not a cook.  But..every time I can make my Karen a meal she can enjoy after her hard day at work..and it puts a smile on her face..my work in ‘G’s Kitchen’ is well worth it.

By the way…a glass of wine with dinner never hurts either.

A Farewell Epilogue: Billy Graham

For many, funerals are sad occasions.

However…the one I covered in early March to say goodbye to Rev, Billy Graham was not as solemn as you might think. Thanks go to Rev. Graham’s children and his sister for that.

Photo credit: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Sister Jean remarked about always marveling about seeing her house on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. The home was deconstructed from its original location in — brought to the grounds and restored to its original appearance.

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Jean got the biggest laugh after saying she argued with her husband about which room in the house was hers. Fabulous!

The words of siblings Gigi, Ann, Ruth and Ned were inspiring. Their quips (at one another) were funny.   You could tell these were kids — who despite having to share their father with the world – saw the man speaking at all those famous ‘Crusades’ as just Dad.

The most visible of the children, Franklin, poignantly said he still couldn’t think of his father without thinking of his mother. Ruth Graham died in 2007. Rev. Graham is now buried next to her at the library.

Photo Credit: Franklin Graham via Twitter

Funerals are what they will be. I think that’s why many take to calling them ‘Celebrations of Life’. It is a positive take on what will be a reality for all of us.

It also falls in line with that ‘better place’ we all aim to get to.

Seeing Charlotte

I could not depart the ‘Queen City’ without taking a quick look around.

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Charlotte is a great place with lots to see and do.   The great thing about covering stories on the road is you often get to reconnect (albeit briefly) with friends in the broadcasting biz. I ran into some of my old videographer buddies in NC as well as Skip Foreman of the Associated Press and Fox News multimedia reporter Terace Garnier. I also saw this guy with me below. Ryan Burrow and I did radio together in Memphis.  He now travels the country for ABC Radio.

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I also had to get this shot…specifically for my wife Karen.

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But I must admit…there is always one thing that beats the heck out of going on the road and reporting the news.

Coming home.

Doping …Where You’d Least Expect It!

Have you been following the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea?

If you have, you should already know that — because of doping at the Sochi, Russia games four years ago — the Russian National Team was barred from competing at these games.  Russian athletes that were allowed to compete marched in under the name ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’ (OAR) and under the Olympic flag.

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Photo credit: nationalpost.com

Well…what would the Olympics be without some kind of scandal.

The New York Times reported Sunday (2/18) that a Russian athlete may lose his bronze medal after failing a preliminary drug test.  The athlete –Alexander Krushelnytsky — competes not in skiing.  Not in speed skating.  Not even in ice hockey.   His sport:

Curling.

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Photo credit: curlingzone.com

Yes…curling.  The same sport a good friend of mine in the radio biz described (in jest) on Facebook as:

“The most fun you can have on ice with doorstops and a Swiffer while wearing bedroom shoes !”

To be fair…the drug that was found was meldonium — a heart medication that helps increase blood flow.   It’s not really known why the athlete was taking it…but that substance has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency since 2016.  Testing is part of a review of that ruling to determine how long the drug stays in the system.

The Times article reports that the increase of blood flow, scientists say, could increase oxygen to muscles…meaning more endurance.   Curling is not cross-country skiing, but the vigorous ‘sweeping’ of curling could make more endurance a benefit.

The article says Krushelnytsky competed in mixed doubles…and did most of the sweeping.   Hmm.

In any case…because of this Russia will remain under scrutiny because these athletes competing under the Olympic flag were said to be put through a rigorous testing regimen to even be allowed to compete at these games.

Goes to prove the more things change…the more they stay the same.

But ‘juicing’ in curling??!!  Come on.

That’s What He (Allegedly) Said.

Most of you have heard about it by now.

I was taking time off when it happened.  A good buddy of mine suggested putting some thoughts on it in this space.  (Thanks, Jim)

In discussions about immigration to the United State, President Donald Trump is reported by the Washington Post to have said this in reference to people from Haiti, El Salvador and several African countries:

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

One line.  One thought.  One question.  One HUGE topic of discussion.

For us in the media world…this proved to be a great dilemma.

We have always practiced this rule..whether written or unwritten:  NEVER edit comments that are directly attributable to the President of the United States.

That means every “um”, every “uh” every coughing fit and pregnant pause stays in if encased in an important presidential quote.  But does that..and should that..include foul language?

With I’m sure a great deal of thought given to potential Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fines, here’s how the networks handled it..according to the Washington Post which broke the story.

NBC and its cable outlet MSNBC used the word..spoken on the air (after a disclaimer) and in graphics.  CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta did as well..although many of that cable network’s anchors opted for the watered-down “S-hole”.  CNN also used the unedited word in its on-screen graphics.  ABC and CBS opted to use “blank” instead of the ‘S–t” part of the word.  Fox News used an asterisk to replace the first vowel in the expletive.  However..one Fox host on one of the network’s panel shows was quoted as interpreting it this way:

“If it’s true, this is how the forgotten men and women in America talk at the bar.   This is how Trump relates to people. If you’re at a bar, and you’re from Wisconsin, and you’re thinking, ‘They’re bringing in a bunch of Haiti people, or El Salvadorans, or people from Niger.’  This is how some people talk.”

That may be true…but the President of the United States is not at “a bar”.

The President of the United States is not one of “the forgotten men and women in America”.

The President is on the world stage, and should carry himself as being so.

This is all evidence that…one year into it…we are witnessing a presidency unlike no other.   You really didn’t need me to tell you that.

If it looks that way to us, imagine how wide the eyes of the world must be right now.

The President was also reported to have asked why can’t we have more people come here from places like Norway.

Maybe this episode…is why they’re staying home.

 

On A Scale Of 10: Eleven Clinton

Even though we live in New Jersey, my wife and I are Southerners through and through.

Shortly after we moved here, we discovered a restaurant just around the corner from us that whenever we needed a fix of ‘back home’ food, we could always count on them for it.

I raved about Duke’s Southern Table in this very blog after we ate there.  Here’s a reminder.

Since then Duke’s closed its doors..and we longed for someone to come in and take up the mantle.  We got our wish.  And guess what?  It’s in the very same restaurant space that Duke’s was.

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Courtesy: Eleven Clinton

Eleven Clinton opened late in 2017 and gave us back our taste of the South.
My bride..the lovely Karen.. ordered the Fried Catfish Platter with a side of collard greens.  She was quite pleased.

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Courtesy: KReative Works

As for me..it’s become somewhat of a tradition that if I go to a new restaurant and they have Shrimp and Grits on the menu…I will order it.  After all..when you are a native Charlestonian..there is a standard all bowls of Shrimp and Grits must meet.  I must say this one measures up.

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Courtesy: KReative Works

We topped it off with a Red Velvet Souffle.  It’s baked to order..so we had to wait a bit.  It was indeed worth it.

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Courtesy: KReative Works

The evenings are also filled with live jazz and blues.  After all..if the phrase ‘smothered blues’ is under your name on the awning, you have to live up to it.

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Courtesy: KReative Works

We are so pleased that Eleven Clinton is finally open..and adding to the ever-evolving Newark, NJ restaurant landscape.   You can see the website and menu by clicking here.  If you pass through Newark..plug 11 Clinton Street into your GPS and you will not be disappointed.

No More ‘Men Behaving Badly’!

Bill Cosby.  Roger Ailes.  Bill O’Reilly.  Harvey Weinstein.  Kevin Spacey.  Senator Al Franken.  Representative  John Conyers.  Charlie Rose.  Matt Lauer.

The list is long (likely even beyond even what we know)…and the allegations know no bounds.

We are in the midst of a substantive transformation in the relationship between men and women in the professional environment.  What we’ve seen come out over the last year or so in the sexual harassment allegations is..not a sign…not a signal..but an out-and-out pronouncement that this behavior will no longer be tolerated..and women will no longer be silent.

There IS a line, and it’s not okay to cross it.

As a career journalist, a number of these cases hit close to home.  It is at the same time shocking…but (quite honestly) not completely unexpected.  Journalism…for the longest time…was a ‘boys’ club’.  A segment of the movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy made light of it…but it wasn’t far-fetched at all.   That environment is no longer acceptable with more diverse newsrooms in every medium…and at every level.

We…as men…must understand that it’s all about respect.   If we don’t understand this, we will be swept out with the trash.  This is not to say that there aren’t people out there who may try to take advantage of what I’ve heard called this “age of empowerment” to simply get people who aren’t liked out of the picture.   I hope that doesn’t happen…because it will diminish that quest for respect that is so richly deserved.

Actress Angela Lansbury of Murder, She Wrote fame recently commented…controversially…on this in a Radio Times interview saying:

“There are two sides to this coin. We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us — and this is where we are today.  We must sometimes take blame, women.  I really do think that. Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped.”

I can’t say I agree.   Women being attractive and taking pride in making themselves so is NOT an ‘invitation’ for disrespect.

Again…there IS a line, and it’s not okay to cross it.

We as men should be paying very close attention right now.   The lifting of women’s voices that started just a day after this year’s presidential inauguration will not die down.

And when it comes to sexual misconduct or harassment…or bad behavior of any kind, there is no more hoping that no one speaks out…and that the truth will be hidden — even up to the highest office in the land.

That will be a story for another day.