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Questions We’re Often Asked: Berry-Bearing Shrubs

Garden getting beyond you? Perennials overflowing? Expense of annuals increasing like weeds? Could be time to call in the shrubs! Not all tower over that tallest gardener. Indeed, a selection are more on the abbreviated size. Flowers in season would be nice. But berries to brighten the off-season, bring winter colour would be even better.

Surprisingly oft overlooked are the Cotoneaster. A form will be found for any size garden and to tolerate extreme winter climates. Most bear a profusion of small white flowers in late spring followed by long-lasting red fruit. ‘Bearberry Cotoneaster,’ C. dammeri, is a truly prostate species with the selection ‘Skogholm’ slightly taller and more vigorous. ‘Rockspray’ (C. horizontalis) is another dwarf form growing to a metre high but not quite so hardy. ‘Creeping Rockspray’ (C. adpressa) is hardier and slightly shorter. Taller and living up to its botanical designation is C. bulata ‘Floribunda,’ up to two metres high with mases of gorgeous red fruit on large clusters. ‘Hedge Cotoneaster’ (C. lucida), one of the hardiest, is good for just that, hedges and bears black fruit on two-metre-plus bushes.

By Wes Porter - Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - Full Story

Jefferson Davis ‘Memorial Day’ Funeral Train

Don’t let the memory of our Southern men and women of the Old Confederacy ever die!

The birthday of Jefferson Davis is June 3rd. Davis served as President of the Confederate States of America, United States Senator and Secretary of War under United States President Franklin Pierce.

If you listen closely, and the wind is blowing in the right direction, you might hear a train whistle in the distance.

When I was growing up near Atlanta, Georgia this and the sound of “Taps” from nearby Fort McPherson were special sounds. Today, air conditioners and closed windows segregate the sounds of the trains, owls and the wonderful sounds that are nature’s symphony at night.

By Calvin E. Johnson Jr. - Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - Full Story

Anti-Ageing Herbs

Researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, announced late last year that four genes that reprogram adult cells into embryonic-like stem cells can also reverse some signs of ageing [Cell: 167, 1719-1733 (2016)]. It was merely the latest in a long line of investigation into longevity.

Methuselah, son of Enoch, according to the Bible (Genesis 5.21) lived 969 years. The story of the Fountain of Youth was ancient before it became connected—erroneously—with Juan Ponce de L√©on, having surfaced in the 5th century B.C. writings of Herodotus, who was inclined to believe anything. Chinese medicine and myth is replete with accounts of anti-ageing herbs while India’s ancient Ayurvedic medicine is literally the “knowledge of longevity.”

By Wes Porter - Saturday, May 27, 2017 - Full Story

Fist Fight offers good audio and video - but that doesn’t help

If you like your comedy movie foul mouthed, mean spirited and populated with sexual predators, Fist Fight is for you. But if it’s representative of today’s comedy films, I weep for popular culture and the society it supposedly reflects.

Rocky or Fight Club it ain’t!

Fist Fight is set on the last day of school, also known as Prank Day, when the students perform pranks on the faculty. Judging by the pranks, these students put a lot more effort into this day than they do into their studies. On the other hand, I think if these folks were my teachers I’d have played hookey a lot more than I did in my misspent youth.

Greetings from 97-year old World War II Veteran

Fellow Veterans and Friends of Veterans

Aldo Dipre`, 97-year old World War II Veteran as he convalesces at the Los Angeles VA.

Photo taken by his loving wife Yvonne who watches over him with the same loyalty and vigilance that our U.S. Military protects our American Flag and U.S. Constitution.

God Bless America and the Veterans Revolution!

 

By Robert L. Rosebrock - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - Full Story

Why a crackly crust is essential to a baguette’s aroma and taste

An authentic French baguette is one of those key staples that foodies hunt for. Now scientists have gained new insight into why a crisp crust is a must for this quintessential bread. They report their findings on how crumb and crust structure affect aroma — and therefore, perceived taste — in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The smell of baked bread that’s fresh out of the oven is mouth-watering, but the effect of aroma doesn’t stop there. Chewing food also releases molecules that waft in our mouths, interacts with olfactory receptors and influence how we perceive what we’re eating. Understanding this dynamic could help food scientists improve the taste of products. Taking the baguette as an example to explore this possibility, Anne Saint-Eve and colleagues wanted to see how its texture would affect its aroma when chewed.

The researchers had three study participants eat samples of nine baguettes, each with different crumb and crust densities, water content and elasticity. An analysis of volatile organic compounds that are exhaled through the “nose spaces” of the participants along with their chewing activity showed that firm bread and brittle crust led to more chewing and a greater rate of release of aroma molecules. The findings could help food scientists create new bread types better tailored to meet consumers’ expectations, the researchers say.

Effect of Bread Crumb and Crust Structure on the in Vivo Release of Volatiles and the Dynamics of Aroma Perception

By American Chemical Society - Sunday, May 21, 2017 - Full Story

The Last Full Measure of Devotion

Someone once defined military veterans as those who recognize that love of God, fellow man, and country is the willingness to write a blank check, payable for an amount up to the last full measure of devotion: life itself.

On August 16, 1960, Colonel Joe Kittinger proved his willingness to write such a check by ascending in a helium balloon to an altitude of 102,800 feet — almost twenty miles.

Wearing only a thin pressure suit, he placed his life in God’s hands, and stepped out of the gondola.

Raymond Burr: Orchid Grower and Vintner

When in 2008 actor Raymond Burr was featured in a Canada postage stamp “Canadians in Hollywood” it came as a surprise to many of his countrymen. ‘Perry Mason’ and ‘Ironsides,’ yes, but a Canadian? There was many another surprise behind the portly façade of the well-known legal eagle. Not the least was that, with his long-time partner Robert Benevides, he was a highly successful orchid grower and vineyard owner.

Raymond William Stacy Burr was born 1917 in New Westminster, British Columbia—and returned there after his death to be buried with his parents in Fraser Cemetery. Between those two incidents he led a full and eventful life for 76 years.

By Wes Porter - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - Full Story

Making Mole Hills Out of Mountains

North American gardeners may be puzzled by their counterparts in Western Europe’s vituperation of moles. What damage can these rarely-scene little fellas do to lawns and gardens? Europe’s version is different, very different. The size of a small cat, it excavates an extensive series of tunnels in pursuit of worms and other prey. In doing so, the excavated earth is pushed up into a series of ‘mole hills.’ First recorded there in Elizabethan times, as lawns and grass tennis courts became popular they have been the despair of groundskeepers and amateur gardeners ever since.

By Wes Porter - Saturday, May 13, 2017 - Full Story

ESPN: Look, we re-upped with Tim Tebow, so get off our case

We love Tim Tebow here - even if he does play in the Mets organization - and we’re always happy to hear that something positive has happened in his career and in his life. So when ESPN re-upped with Tebow on his deal to be part of its college football studio offerings, we were nothing if not pleased. If Tebow wants to do TV while pursuing his baseball dreams, we’re all over it.

But we couldn’t help but wonder: Does ESPN usually make such a big deal out of an existing talent re-signing? Because if one were inclined to be a little suspicious, one might almost suspect they had an ulterior motive in trumpeting this:

ESPN has announced a multiyear agreement with Tim Tebow, who will continue as an analyst on the SEC Network.

By Dan Calabrese - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - Full Story

“’Pologize, Dice!”

As a boy growing up on Dad’s Mississippi Delta farm in the 1950s, I looked forward to Saturdays, mainly because I didn’t have to go to school, but also because Friday’s paydays were always followed by Saturday’s dice games.

I watched and listened, crouched beside Jaybird, my best friend and mentor. After I grasped the fundamentals of craps, as the old black man called the game, he spotted me some change and let me join in.

“If you win, repay me and keep the rest,” he said. “If you lose, repay me from your allowance for doing chores.”

By Jimmy Reed - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - Full Story

Into The Heartland

Rumors of my death are exaggerated. The reason my wife Mary and I dropped off the face of the earth is because we have not had internet for almost a week, which as y’all know feels like an eternity. We drove up from Florida to close on our new home in a tiny West Virginia town, population 500. Why?
To move close to our parents and family.

The drive up from Florida was quite interesting. The number of Trump signs on display in yards, rooftops and billboards tells me Trump has connected with every day Americans like no other president before him.

By Lloyd Marcus - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - Full Story

TULIPS BRIGHTEN IAN FLEMING’S OTTAWA

It will be another year at least before Canadians can grow their own marijuana. Following Royal Assent, the Liberal government intends to bring the proposed Act into place no later than July 2018, announced Health Canada. At that time, adults would legally be able to possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis in public, and grow up to four plants per household at a maximum height of one metre from a legal seed or seedling. But, warns Health Canada, Until the new law comes into force, cannabis will remain illegal everywhere in Canada, except for medical purposes. But if you’re renting your home, you may have to think again. The national landlord group Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations says the federal government should change its proposed marijuana legislation bill to ban people from growing plants in rented homes of multi-unit buildings.

By Wes Porter - Saturday, May 6, 2017 - Full Story

Oh by the way, Led Zeppelin might reunite this year

First we heard it from this guy last weekend:

I have some well placed sources in the industry telling me that Robert Plant has agreed to reunite Led Zeppelin for Desert Trip 2017.  Rumor has it they turned down a reported $14 million dollar pay day to play at last years festival and that this year there are “millions & millions” of more reasons why they should do it.

By Dan Calabrese - Friday, May 5, 2017 - Full Story

Israel’s surprising way of teaching skills for innovation

On the global scale, Israeli youth are falling behind in academic achievements.

According to recent research conducted by PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), Israel is in the bottom 40 percent in mathematics and science. Israel consistently trails behind countries such as China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and Austria.

Yet it has the highest density of startups per capita in the world and is ranked No. 2 in innovation, according to the World Economic Forum’s competitiveness report.

How is a country so successful in technological entrepreneurship, which demands extensive knowledge in mathematics, science, finance and business, so far behind in math and science education?—More…

By ISRAEL21c - Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - Full Story

Heartwarming: When singer’s mic fails, 18,000 Canadian hockey fans fill in on U.S. National Anthem

I’ve been to a lot of NHL games. When you’re born in Detroit, they slap your butt to get your lungs working, then they pretty much issue you a set of Red Wings tickets and a little jersey.  That’s just how it works in Hockeytown. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, hockey fans are a different breed. There’s not a happier, nicer, more congenial crowd in professional sports.

By Robert Laurie - Monday, May 1, 2017 - Full Story

Roger Goodell actually does something good . . . lays the smack to marijuana advocates

Just because the culture is moving in a certain direction does not mean that direction is wise. It usually just means that the people behind that direction are more determined than the people who might be inclined to resist it, or that they’ve managed to strike fear in the hearts of all who might oppose them.

Or that the resistance figures it’s no use because they’re going to lose anyway.

By Dan Calabrese - Monday, May 1, 2017 - Full Story

Anyone who thinks ESPN’s decline isn’t because of its liberal bias is either in denial,

Last week all-sports cable TV channel ESPN sent out pink slips to 100 employees, many of them on-air personalities. Profits have been declining since last year in large part because of the 12 million viewers who, since 2011, have dropped their subscriptions.

Yet even at this late date, there are those who insist this has nothing to do with the network’s pervasive left-wing bias, preferring to blame it on customers switching over to mobile viewing.

Among the usual suspects promoting this view is Kevin Draper of Deadspin.

By BombThrowers - Monday, May 1, 2017 - Full Story

Virgilene’s Mean

Uncle Virgil wanted a son to name Virgil, Jr., but ended up with a bunch of girls. When the last one came along, Aunt Lillian refused to let the child be named after her father, reasoning that a girl named Virgil would be worse than a boy named Sue. Grudgingly, Auntie agreed to let Virgilene be the child’s middle name. Everybody but me called her Alice, her first name.

Virgilene was as uncomely as they come, and because her buckteeth poked out like a piranha’s, she was so ugly that she’d make a freight train take a dirt road. I not only made fun of her middle name, but also of her frightful fangs.

Questions We’re Often Asked: Coriander

Herb of the Year for 2017 is Coriander (Coriandrum sativum). Herb Day falls on Sunday, 30th April—great times then to celebrate this zesty herb. Until recently best known in the West at least for its seeds as an essential for curries and chilli sauces along with some soups and stews, the foliage, known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, is gathering fresh disciples by the day as an essential addition to many an exotic dish.

By Wes Porter - Sunday, April 30, 2017 - Full Story