Azalea Festival Queens & Celebrities

I was just visiting the Azalea Festival 2015 web site and started looking at past queens and dignitaries.  I find it hard to believe that the list included Martha Hyer, Esther Williams, Shelley Fabres, Debra Paget & Ronald Regan.df38a6f0967887d693b1f7ee89c8bcfa Esther-Williams-p545 Martha-Hyershelley-fabares-1-sized

I don’t think I ever see a movie with Martha Hyer in it that I don’t say, “Now that’s a pretty woman!”

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Chipotle Mango Salsa

WK9GD.jpgBasically, chunk up everything, mix, and give it enough time for the avocado to break down some to form a creamy sauce.  Use one or two Chipotle peppers, chopped up.  If you like more heat, add more peppers.  The peppers are the unexpected element to this salsa.  You get sweet, and hot.  Vidalia onions are probably best.




vidalia onions 2



Naval Medical Field Research Lab, Building 66, Camp Lejeune, NC

My mother, Vivian M. “Mick/Mickey” Gibson worked about 45 years as a Civil Service secretary.  Most of her time was stationed aboard Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base.  I recall that one of her secretarial jobs was at Building 66, the Naval Medical Field Research Lab on Base.  The time would have been the early 1960s.  I found an official document regarding the NMFRL-CLNC-1963-AD0422922 online.

I rode with my mother, or drove to pick her up, on Base many times through the years. If you were near the traffic circle when the flag was schedule to come down (maybe 6 pm??), all traffic stopped, even in the circle, until the ceremony was over. Mom worked at the Industrial Relations Labor Board (at the main entrance to Camp Lejeune) when she first started working on Base. But, many years, when we were living in the old house on the corner of Hwy. 24 and Queens Creek Road (now the Burger King), she would leave about 7:30 am, and return about 5:30 pm going along Queens Creek Road and on Base via the “Back Gate” (Hwy 172). *Interesting that they built a million dollar hi-rise bridge down at Sneads Ferry some years ago, and a short time later closed public traffic down Hwy 172.

My first dog was “Lassie”. I’m not sure if it was legal, but Rip Jackson had rescued the dog from the Lab. It would have been one of their many test subjects. *One of those mental images that has stuck with me through the years, although I never actually saw this, was that as part of the testing procedures, they would put a cadaver’s foot in a boot and blow it up to see the results. **Note that this was the Vietnam War Era.

Some of the names I recall of persons that she worked with, some secretarial and some not, were Barbara Brainerd, Robin Short & “Rip” Jackson.  One Christmas, mom had Rip Jackson put together some fishing equipment and she gave me that as a present that Christmas.  I still have the Penn “9” reel, which sits above my bathroom medicine cabinet.  It does not work properly now, but probably could be put in working condition fairly easily.

There was a metal fishing tackle box in a copper colored finish.  I recall one lure which looked like a bright white shrimp with several hooks hanging down beneath it.

On Christmas morning, mom and I rode down to the Bogue Sound Fishing Pier.  It was a cold, bright sunny, morning, but there were several fishermen on the pier.  Neither one of us knew what we were doing.  There was an old fisherman located on the pier near where the waves were breaking down below.  He was pulling in sea trout on a regular basis.  Mom nor I ever caught anything.  *We joked about moving near to the old fisherman, and then he would move away from us.  I guess we were messing up his fishing;-)

Aunt Pete & Ervin & Boat 521 Riverside Drive Portsmouth VA 1970

Aunt Pete & Ervin & Boat 521 Riverside Drive Portsmouth VA 1970

I probably did not go fishing again until Irwin Wilkins took me out on his boat during one of the summers when I was up living with my mother in Aunt Pete’s home on Riverside Drive, Portsmouth, VA.  Irwin was my Aunt’s long time “beau”.

Irwin had about a 16ft. boat with an outboard motor on it.  We would put out from my Aunt’s wooden dock.  There was a great difference depending upon the tides.  Once we almost got stuck going out, and would have either had to sit in the boat until the tide came back in, or tried to make it to shore in knee deep mud.  Irwin worked at getting his boat out from the small receding water channel, and finally with much work succeeded.  We would have been out in the James River.

The “body language” tells it all.  I’m taking the picture.  Glad I was oblivious.

Mom & Mustang 521 Riverside Drive Portsmouth VA 1970

Mom Mustang 521 Riverside Drive Portsmouth VA 1970

Bill in front of 521 Riverside Drive 1970

Bill in front of 521 Riverside Drive 1970

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Opal Sweet Apple

20150319_095125I got a couple of these at Walmart in Fayetteville, NC yesterday.  I am about half way through my first one at the office this morning.  It looks like a Yellow Delicious on the outside and it has a white flesh inside, but it is much firmer than a Yellow or Red Delicious Apple.  I’m not sure how I would describe the flavor, other than good.  I think it would fry up well also.

Yes, I would buy more of these.  I like the distinctive flavors of the Braeburn and Honey Crisp apples, but Honey Crisps are about a dollar more, per pound that most other apples.  It surprised me several months ago when I brought 4 large Honey Crisps up to the grocery check out counter, and when they were run up, the price of the four came to a little more than $10 including tax.  Needless to say, that once I got that slap in the face, I paid more attention to the price per pound.

I have found some smaller Honey Crisps elsewhere that were priced about the same as other apples.  Probably an oversight by the grocer.

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Up for Whatever – Bud Lite Beer

What a bunch of “lame-assed” commercials and concept!  Will it make it to three Super Bowls?  They are playing the last Super Bowl commercial several times during the Wisconsin vs Michigan State B1G Championship game.

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Corn Chip Chili Recipe… Really?

cornchipchilirecipe-reallyIs this a filling recipe, or just “filler” for a magazine?  Don’t get me wrong.  The chili and chips look good, but when I read the recipe the first thing that came to mind was, “Well Duh!”

I guess I expected to have a list of ingredients for some good chili.  I’m glad they at least told us to “open the chips and add” because some less experienced cooks might have thrown the bags in without opening them.

Buy some chili, chips and heat & mix, viola!  If you can’t follow these directions, please wait until Taco Bell offers the “Corn Chip Chili” Taco Bowl.  For your next hearty dinner, just stop by Taco Bell and order a couple for your family.

Now I can throw away this clipping.  I had to save it to ask friends if there was a little something lacking in this recipe.

About a year ago, the apartment complex where I am living had a Chili Cook-Off for the residents.  I had never tried to cook chili from scratch (actually liking Wendy’s version… until I became aware that it was giving me regular indigestion) but made my first attempt.  From the initial outcome I decided not to enter the contest and just brought some really, really hot sauce.

Since then, I have tried several times to come up with my own chili concoction, and after several miserable failures, I have come close enough to be pleased.

I have tried ground beef several times, and even put some chocolate in one version.  Chocolate?  If you watch Chef Rick Bayless “Mexico. One Plate at a Time,” fixing mole(s), you realize that chocolate is a valid possibility.  I have put in Smoked Pakrika, green chilies, etc.

In my slow cooker…


Here are the basic ingredients:

  • Pinto beans (1 can)
  • Kidney beans (1 can)
  • Diced tomatoes (1 can)
  • Diced onion (a medium sized onion)
  • Sliced jalapeno peppers (half a cup)
  • Chicken stock (1 can – beef stock might be better)
  • Salt & pepper (freshly ground)
  • Jalapeno, Cayenne, Paprika, Chipotle peppers (ground or whole)
  • Cumin (ground or whole)
  • Garlic (powdered, or whole sliced)

The difference makers:

  • Smoked paprika (1/4 cup +)
  • Dried Spanish Chorizo (not the fresh)
  • Stew beef (is a package 1-2 lbs.)
  • Mild country sausage (1 lbs. – 1 or 2 links skins removed)
  • Sweetner (Agave nectar, Equal, etc.)

I think you could add green, red, yellow bell peppers for extra color and flavor.

Top with chopped Vidalia onion, sour cream, grated cheese (your choice) and open the bag of chips (the “bag for $2″ version).

I think what made this passable for me was the dried Chorizo & smoked Paprika, with enough sweetner.

chorizo-chiliUnfortunately, this photo reminds me of the bathroom scene from “Desperado”;-)

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As winter storm snarls traffic, transportation chief promotes new book

Rather than pointing out that Tony Tata is on a personal book tour in Chicago, on a day when many North Carolinians are struggling with the effects of a “surprise” snow storm, maybe we should be asking the questions as to how WRAL Weather personalities so poorly prepared the public for this storm…

and then, as Greg Fishel and others would probably point out, it was one of those weather events that depending upon timing and the shifting of 50 or so miles on one side of the I95 Corridor, or not, could have caused it to mostly be a “non-event” in the Triangle / Fayetteville Area, or to have had the effects it did.

WRAL Weather didn’t prepare the public adequately, only pointing out the severity last night.  But, then that’s what we are dealing with “weather,” and something that cannot be predicted accurately all the time.  Sometimes you just get it wrong.

But, there have been many accidents and even a fatality.  Where is Tata?

Well, he has been in a video conference with his staff.  What would be the benefit of him postponing his book tour to fly back to NC?  What could he actually do for today’s problems?  Not much, if anything.  Now, if we have another “snow event” tomorrow or later this week and he is still out of the State, then I might have a problem.

If you want to come down on someone really hard regarding putting people in danger, why don’t you ask the question of why the State vs Carolina Basketball Game is still on for tonight? How many people’s lives will be in danger?  What if there is an accident to/from the Game?

Get Over It!

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