Monday, July 31, 2017

(Virtual) Taormina, Sicily

A (real)  second batch of goat cheese hangs dripping in the sink...and a pot simmers with the vegetables,tomatoes and herbs of summer within, as I begin Virtual Taormina.

Taormina (or Taurmina as it is called in Sicilian) is a municipality within Messina.


About 1200 ft above the sea, a Saracen Castle sits perched over Taormina.

This was the site of the Citadel during ancient times.


Lower, lies the Ancient Theater of Taormina

Laid out in classic Greek design, although built by the Romans.

The first stop on this virtual journey is Isola Bella (Beautiful

Island) Nature Preserve.


Tours are also available of the Capo Sant'Andrea Grottos

Taormina is about 45 minutes away from Mt.Etna. Which is the next stop on our virtual travels!

More Anon...

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The County Fair...Goat Cheese...McCain's Revenge...Who's on First...and More.

Nicole and I, eating our way through the County Fair! 

Bracelet Day.

We took all the Grands! The wheelchair makes getting around so much easier/better for me.

They rode all day, had fair food, checked out the animals barns and saw the usual critters and also alligators and llamas and whatever the hell this was...oh my.

Some kind of a monkey-sloth creature. It seemed to like Emma a lot!

                                         "My Budding Chess Players"

I can see a board and practice cubes in their near future.  Everyone had a great time!

A friend of mine (Diane Y.) was helping with her daughter's goats at fair. Yesterday she brought me fresh (raw) goats milk to make us both cheese.
So last night was spent setting the curd...and this morning bundling it into
a dripping whey cheese ball..

It is still soft and needs to cure before wrapping or adding in herbs...but who can resist a taste.

Spooned a bit still soft on brioche with the addition of oregano and basil...caraway seeds...and thyme.

So easy, and good!

Goat Cheese

1 gallon raw goats milk (room temperature)

2 whole lemons


Heat goats milk to 89 degrees...lukewarm.

Add juice of both lemons and stir. 

Turn off heat, cover and let sit overnight undisturbed

Gather curd into cheesecloth the next morning and twist into a ball. Hang over sink to drain excess whey. This takes about 3 hours.

Open cloth and salt.  Can be eaten soft (as is)...or spooned into container with draining holes to cure until drier and chalky white.

Goat cheese is a very mild cheese and works well with the addition of herbs, seeds, nuts or figs, and fruit.

 The kids brought me three tree-frog tadpoles to add to the frog bog. In addition there are 2 grown frogs that seemed to have found it on their own and taken up residence. It is full of activity now!

Since the heat and humidity are less the Hummingbirds are back to buzzing me and draining the feeder, as well.


War for the Planet of the Apes

this week.

Which, because of the advances made in CGI and VR Acting Methods, is just fascinating. We have come a long way since Roddy McDowell and hours of facial prosthesis and make up.  Good storyline...lots of action...a few emotional scenes and some humor make the monkey movie a must see!  Woody Harrelson is outstanding as the over-the-top (and definitely around-the-bend) bad guy!

Anybody else think he plays these psychotic roles a little too well???

And speaking of bad it is time for

 When last we left our intrepid politicians...

Spicer was out and The Mooch was in.

McConnell and Trump and most of the Senate was trying to ram the new healthcare bill down our throats like Linda Lovelace at a Convention

Trump was tweeting away as fast as his tiny hands would let him.

John McCain (fresh out of brain surgery) reanimated and cast his vote to progress the healthcare bill to a vote.

In retrospect this was an act of brilliance...I will explain in a minute. At the time I was fairly pissed off. 

Trump did a speech in front of the BSA which was (pick an adjective) inappropriate, bizarre, politically inappropriate and bizarre, disgusting. The BSA did finally issue a statement almost denouncing it...sort of...kinda..for godsake please don't stop sending us money.

Not to be outdone...Scaramucci gave an interview using the words: fuck,  cock-blocker,and alluded to one person's ability to (quote) suck his own cock. 

Yeah...once you go over the line and start accusing others of self-fellatio...well...where is the limit, then-eh?

And when the Healthcare vote came down to the wire...Trump's Tweeting got even more bizarre.

Stating he was "banning transgenders in the military" obvious ploy to stroke his fan base (the Trumpettes) because

A.  There was no EO to this effect.

B.  This isn't how legislation is made. We do not legislate by TWEET. It requires Congress.

C. The DOD had no clue what he was prattling about...since there is a distinct line in their own laws which strictly prohibits the very thing he said he was going to do. 

But it had the far right...and the far left salivating like they were Pavlov's Dogs and someone had just rung a dinner bell.

Even the ACLU weighed in...saying if he were even to breath this as legislation they would be on him like flies on shit.

Since McCain voted with them to advance the bill they stayed up all night to pass "The Skinny Healthcare Bill" 

Which actually wasn't a healthcare bill by was basically a repeal of the ACA (Obamacare) and a big fat tax break for the 1%.

And nearing midnight...when it looked a lot like it was going to pass...

John McCain walked back into the Senate and....

looked McConnell right in the eyes...and...


Just like the Romans at the Coliseum.

The LOOK on McConnell's face was probably the best part for me. I have watched the video repeatedly.

"Gelded" comes to mind.

The only thing that could have possibly been better, is to have seen Trump's face at that very moment.

Then I would have had to smoke a!

It seems that John didn't forget

"I prefer my War Heroes NOT to be captured" Donald Trump

after all.

What a perfect "Screw You Very Much."


Proving once again

Revenge IS a dish best served cold.

                                                          "K THX BAI"
A lifetime of votes...but this....this  will be the vote that will be immortalized in history.

(...and to explain why it was better that he forwarded the bill and then killed it on the Senate floor...if he had stopped it before it reached the floor it would have hung around like the Zombie keep crawling back again and double-tapping it on the Senate Floor he effectively KILLED THE BILL. Now they will have to start from scratch,if they start at all. Truly brilliant strategy...)

People in the Trump Whitehouse are dropping like flies after a heavy spraying of RAID. 


1. National Security Advisor
2. FBI Director
3. Press Secretary
4. Chief of Staff
5. Private Lead Counsel

All fired/resigned w/in 6 months.

The most recent casualty Reince Priebus.  Who, like Sean Spicer, stood by his man...right up until the moment TRUMP kicked him to the curb.

Interestingly...Priebus did NOT sign a Non-Disclosure statement. 

So things might heat up in the next week or so.  I hope he starts bitching like a dumped ghetto tramp.

Some Montel-Jerry Springer Stuff.

Could be entertaining.

Just saying.

And who but TRUMP could make you feel a bit sorry for
Jeff "Dobby the House Elf" Sessions...really.

                    "Bad Dobby...Bad Bad Upsets the Master...
                                     Please don't FIRES,  Dobby..."

Oh...and Scaramucci's wife just filed for a divorce...seriously...because she cannot deal with the fact he is willingly Trump's..."cock-holster" Mouthpiece.

Smart Woman. summarize...this week in Politics has been a lot like Game of Thrones.

Without Kit Harrington for Eye-Candy.

More anon...

Addendum:  Only

More days until Rose And Idgy's Early Fall Artist Retreat! 

Can't wait!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cosa Nostra

Cosa Nosta:   the name meaning  "Our Thing"

But you won't find guys like these roaming the streets of Sicily today.

Although Cosa Nostra is still a powerful (and political force), today they are found more like this

Flaunting their wealth, status and power. 
Even found on social networking sites such as Facebook.

And make no mistake. In Sicily they are far from gone. As recently as May 22, 2017- Mafia Boss:  Giuseppe Dainotti was shot in the head (mob related) while riding his bicycle in Palermo.

In fact the separate factions of organized crime families (Cosa Nostra in Sicily...Ndrangheta in Calabria and Cammora in Naples) have been listed as ANOTHER reason the Messina Strait bridge (...yes...that bridge...) should never be built.

(bizarre but true)

Ironically, Cosa Nostra began in the 19th Century when Sicily was making the transition from Feudalism. With fewer than 350 police officers or carabinieri for the entire island (and many of those dishonest and untrustworthy), the formation of the organization was to protect and help those who needed help and protection. The early Cosa Nostra also helped the citrus growers and cattle industry which were often targets of theft. In the 1920's the mafia success rate at returning stolen cattle was 95% as opposed to local officials 10%.

During this time they were looked upon with respect, adoration and yes...often fear. 

Two of the mafia-connected officials emerging in 1956 in Palermo were Vito Ciancimeno and Salvatore Lima. They rebuilt the city after WWII bombing securing 80% of the building contracts to just five people. Construction companies unaffliated with the mafia were forced to pay protection money.



In the early 1960's the usually trafficked cigarettes lost favor and a new form of trafficking emerged in drugs. 

And in 1962 gave rise to the first Mafia War.

There was a crackdown and nearly 2000 arrests were made. The Sicilian Mafia Commission was dissolved and would remain inactive until 1969.

By the 1970's they returned strongly...with  "Lucky" Luciano Leggio at their helm as Don.

By 1982 Cosa Nostra controlled 80% of the Heroin Trade.

With the rise of the Coreleonesi trying to dominate Cosa Nostra the Second Mafia War began and many were caught in the cross-fire.

In the 1980's Magistrate Giovanni Falcone would wage a personal war against Cosa Nostra. With the help of informant Tommasso Buscetti he would help arrest and hold the Maxi Trial 1986-1987 in which 474 mafiosi were put on trial. Of those, 342 were convicted.


His victory was short lived when in 1992 he was killed on May 23rd as 1000 kg of TNT positioned beneath a highway he was travelling- was detonated remotely.

As of 2016 the head of Cosa Nostra in Sicily was Matteo Messina Denaro.

He is on Italy's Most Wanted list and has not surfaced publicly in many years.

He would be 55 now.

More anon...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Fair...Goodbye Spicer...Game of Thrones Return...and Spidey-Senses

And the country fair begins!

James,Nicole and the Grands spent the evening enjoying the parade last night and shared photos this morning with me.

The rainbow in the mist was awesome!

Planning my own trip out this week.

So...Idgy was right. If you build it they WILL come. After the terrible raccoon/tadpole incident I had pretty much given up on a Frog Bog this year.

The frogs had their own idea.

At first only two swimming about...their own personal  "frog spa"

Now when I walk out on the patio the water roils and there are several plopping into The Frog Bog. 

And one of my Bobs (I call them all all the Hummingbirds are named Doug...)

This morning after an early rain they were even trilling!

Going to pick up meal-worms and give them Sky-Food soon.

Several years ago, I had a small frog bog...and after a while I was greeted by this when I sat out with my morning coffee.

All waiting expectantly for Sky-Food.

Speaking of waiting expectantly-

Sunday marked the Return of Game of Thrones. Season 7. Only 6 episodes left in this season...and then 6 next season...and...then we all suffer withdrawal...or return to Season 1 for a re-watch.

Loved the Première which set up all the "players" this year. 

And the final fall of House Frey which was deliciously done.

I think either Jamie (or Cersi) will be gone by the end of the Season and it appears House Lannister is woefully short on alliances (and heirs)

I didn't care for the Dust Up between Sansa and was out of character for the both of them. 

Am wondering what Little Finger is up to.

Loved Arya letting the band know she was on the way to Westeros to kill the Queen.

Didn't know who Ed Whatshisname even no disconnect from the fantasy for me.

Loved Dany and Tyrion heading to Dragonstone did they know it  was sitting abandoned? 

Thought Sam and the Citadel scene was grotesque but hilarious...loved the fact Jordah was still alive...though advancing with greyscale...and think the pile of dragon-glass will help an eventual win over the white walkers. Maybe it may even be used as a cure for greyscale.

Since the White Walker King touched Bran...and Bran has went behind The Wall...the white-walkers now have access behind The Wall.
Never a good thing.

Euron from the Iron Islands is still a slimy troll , as he attempts to form an alliance with Cersi, and I hope it ends badly for him.

It was nice to see The Hound have a moment of humanity.

And tomorrow it continues...

In this Country we have

Games of Thrones: The Home Version 

playing out.

Sean Spicer has finally resigned. Told you on June 1st he wasn't long for This Administration.  Another Miz Cleo Moment.

Even while he "stood by his man" and made up bizarre explanations for "Covfefe"

The Spicer Débâcle reminds me of the old joke about lab techs who had replaced the lab rats with lawyers...

When asked WHY...the techs explained

"There are some things that even RATS refuse to do."

Spicer's replacement is a young slick financier...mafiosi sounding:

Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci.

Why does this not even surprise me?

Perhaps Scaramucci, in Italian, means

"I will Kiss Ass for Money and Power."

I hope Spicer writes a book...because I am sure there is one hell of one from an Insider's perspective. I'll read it.

And time will tell how long The Mooch will cover for Trump's crazy ass.

Even rats know when a ship is sinking and jump off...just saying.

and not-so-patiently waiting for Mueller to nail this crazy to the wall.

If you don't understand by now...

Felt saddened to hear of John McCain's, Glioma (and that they immediately sliced and diced it) someone who is heading into my own 10th year post-diagnosis (who refused the whole slice and dice, chemo and irradiation...because they never actually get the whole thing...cells are microscopic...and it always redoubles its efforts, making you horribly sick, incapacitated...and kills you, anyway.) I have never regretted my decision and feel it was the right one.

If I don't wake up tomorrow, I will have enjoyed ten additional (wonderful) years with my children and grandchildren, friends and family...and life!

Although I rarely agree with his politics...I think he is an honorable man.

I am (also) fairly certain he will now be dead in a year or less- ala Ted Kennedy.

Saw Spiderman: Homecoming

Which was exceptional.

I highly recommend it! Loved Peter trying to figure out what his new improved suit could do...funniest bit in the film. Tony Stark was predictably wonderful with biting sarcasm. It was nice to see Michael Keaton his Nicholson-esque method acting- he plays a great villain. Peter's geeky friend stole the show after finding out his buddy was actually Spiderman!

"Yeah...but can you, like, lay eggs?"

Picking the last of my patio beans today and composting the plants...replanting the pots with dwarf sunflowers for a pop of Fall color in September. Tidying the borders and doing another pinch back of the herbs...replanting (set) my basil as the rains ruined it (and I tend to use a lot of fresh basil).

Painting a bit later on the Olive Grove Scene.

(...okay...and watching another episode of Salvo!)

Have a GREAT weekend!

Perhaps a spa bath and some pasta...

                                                                                   Life is Good!