George Rucker's Newsletter for January 24, 2017

Another week another letter,


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When I was young you could tell what day of the week it was by what we were eating for supper.  You would think that one would get sick of certain types of food after eating it 45 to 50 times a year, week after week.  I still feel a nostalgia for the food during that era - meatloaf, mac and cheese, spaghetti, American chopped suey, hot dogs and beans, deviled eggs and a few others.

Some things I did not like - Tuna Noodle Casserole, Beet soup (Borscht).  I do not like them to this day.

Writing this letter made me think of American chopped suey and believe it or not there are a ton of recipes for this dish.  I decided to make it this past weekend and combine some of the recipes I liked and as if you did not know I read suggestions of recipe changes by others who made the dish.   This recipe will be as I made it for the football game against the Houston Texans weekend before last.  I consider it mine although with a lot of influence from others.

My version of American Chopped Suey with a hint of Lasagna:

½ pound of hamburger

½ pound of sweet Italian sausage

1 large chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 jar prepared spaghetti sauce

1 ½ cup water

1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 or 2 teaspoons of onion or garlic salt or one of each.

1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained

Cheese (you choose or mix) mozzarella, Parmesan, cheddar, etc.

1.  Cook and stir the ground beef, sausage, onion in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking the meat up as it cooks, until the meat is no longer pink and started to brown, (about 10 - 15 minutes).  Drain of grease add garlic and cook for about 10 more minutes.

2.  Stir water, spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, seasoned salt, bay leaves and all the dried spices.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  Stir macaroni into the mixture, cover, and simmer over low heat until the pasta is tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. (I like the macaroni taking on the spice and sauce taste.  Some of you possibly can cook the macaroni separately and skip this 25 minute part.)

4.  Remove from heat, discard bay leaves and serve with cheese

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I know you will find this hard to believe....

A Texas A & M Study Calls Obama 5th Best President in America.  Good research work by a fine institution.

Obama Rated 5th Best President In Our History.

From a total of 44 U.S. Presidents:   Obama is rated as the 5th best.  The A & M's Public Relations Office released this statement.

"After nearly 8 years in office, Americans have rated President Obama the 5th best President ever."

These are the details according to Texas A & M:

     1.  Reagan and Lincoln tied for first.

     2.  Twenty three presidents tied for second.

     3.  Seventeen other presidents tied for third.

     4.  Jimmy Carter came in fourth, and

     5.  Obama came in fifth.

This is reasonable.

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Remember you don't have to be on a southern plantation to be a slave, if you are dependent on government entitlements you just have a different slave owner.

PASS THIS ON TO EVERY THINKING AMERICAN YOU KNOW!

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Never let it be said I am not fair . . .


A good Catholic Joke (one I hate)


The Pope and Trump are on the same stage in Yankee Stadium in front of a huge crowd.  The Pope leans towards Trump and said, “Do you know that with one little wave of my hand I can make every person in this crowd go wild with joy?  This joy will not be a momentary display, but will go deep into their hearts and they’ll forever speak of this day and rejoice!”


Trump replied, “I seriously doubt that!  With one little wave of your hand . . . Show me!”


So the Pope backhanded him and knocked him off the stage!  And the crowd roared & cheered wildly and there was happiness throughout the land!


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This letter’s invention will be the Submarine.  If interested the US Navy has a museum located nearby in Groton, CT on the Thames River. I have been there more than once as it is just stuff I find interesting.  There is another advantage for the visit as it has a rather large Military Exchange that Patty and I both like for shopping.


First a bit of history.  In 1775, American David Bushnell built the Turtle, a hand -powered underwater device.  In 1864, the Confederate navy’s H.L. Hunley became the first military submarine to sink an enemy vessel, the Union’s sloop-of-war USS Housatonic.


People have always been fascinated by submarines, from Captain Nemo’s submarine Nautilus in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea to the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” to today’s powerful, sleek modern vessels.  Whether it’s an antique diesel-powered World War I sub or a modern nuclear one, all submarines are based on a simple principle: the ability to adjust buoyancy.


In all submarines, buoyancy depends on the boat’s ballast tanks, which are found between the sub’s inner and outer hulls.  A submarine resting on the ocean’s surface has positive buoyancy, which means the sub is less dense than the water around it causing it to float.  To achieve positive buoyancy, the ballast tanks must be mainly full of air, not water.  To submerge, the submarine must become denser than the water, or achieve negative buoyancy.  The crew opens vents on the top of the ballast tanks, allowing seawater to enter and forcing air out and the sub begins to sink.


Adjusting the water-to-air ratio in the ballast tanks controls the exact depth of a submarine.  Neutral buoyancy, meaning that the density of the submarine equals the density of the amount of water it displaces allows the sub to remain in a static position.


This static position is the same when scuba diving.  The exception being is you add weight to your weight belt until you no longer sink or rise to the surface.  (I added this sentence as neutral buoyancy is important while scuba diving, one of my old pastimes.) If you get into trouble you can discard your belt and will rise to the surface without swimming.


Submarines first made a significant military impact in World War I, when German U-boats used torpedoes to sink ships in the Atlantic Ocean.  And by the end of World War II, Germany had used U-boats again to sink almost 3,000 allied ships.  Submarines, though only about 2 percent of the U.S. Navy during World War II are credited with destroying more than 30 percent of the imperial Japanese navy.


Today nuclear power is used in all large submarines, but due to the high cost and large size of nuclear reactors, smaller submarines still use diesel-electric propulsion.  Besides torpedoes, modern submarines also carry ballistic missiles and cruise missiles both of which can be launched when the sub is underwater

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It has been two months since the election and the Clinton Foundation gets some bad news.  During the election many troubling things were learned by the American people about Hillary Clinton.


Probably the most notable was the realization that the foundation had some very controversial dealings with foreign governments.  The documentary “Clinton Cash” exposed several situations that looked like clear cut cases of pay for play.


Now it looks like the Clinton Foundation has fallen on some hard times.


From the Daily Caller:


The Clinton Foundation announced it’s laying off 22 staffers on the Clinton Global Initiative, keeping with a plan to deal with the negative spotlight put on the organization during former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign


The layoffs will take effect April 15, the Clinton Foundation said in a filing with the New York Department of Labor Thursday citing the discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative.  The move is part of a plan put in motion ahead of the presidential election in order to offset a storm of criticism regarding pay-to-play allegations during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.


It has been reported that all donations to the foundation have dropped off dramatically (more than 37%) and that’s likely to get worse because the American people have a clearer understanding of where the money is actually going.


Why would anyone give money to the foundation at this point?  There is no advantage for “play for pay” anymore.


You have to imagine that things are going to get worse for the foundation before they get better.

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It has been two months since the election and the Clinton Foundation gets some bad news.  During the election many troubling things were learned by the American people about Hillary Clinton.


Probably the most notable was the realization that the foundation had some very controversial dealings with foreign governments.  The documentary “Clinton Cash” exposed several situations that looked like clear cut cases of pay for play.


Now it looks like the Clinton Foundation has fallen on some hard times.


From the Daily Caller:


The Clinton Foundation announced it’s laying off 22 staffers on the Clinton Global Initiative, keeping with a plan to deal with the negative spotlight put on the organization during former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign


The layoffs will take effect April 15, the Clinton Foundation said in a filing with the New York Department of Labor Thursday citing the discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative.  The move is part of a plan put in motion ahead of the presidential election in order to offset a storm of criticism regarding pay-to-play allegations during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.


It has been reported that all donations to the foundation have dropped off dramatically (more than 37%) and that’s likely to get worse because the American people have a clearer understanding of where the money is actually going.


Why would anyone give money to the foundation at this point?  There is no advantage for “play for pay” anymore.


You have to imagine that things are going to get worse for the foundation before they get better.


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I just read an interesting article, the Pittsburgh Mills Mall was sold in auction for $100.00.  This sounds like one great deal at first however the winner was the Wells Fargo Bank.  The bank was owed $143 million dollars so they in fact are not winners at all.


The mall has 1.1 million square feet and assets of roughly $11 million  I am sure the Wells Fargo Bank is just protecting their interests and hoping for the best for their investments and shareholders.

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I used to think I was just a regular guy, but . . .


I was born white, which now, whether I like it or not, makes me a racist.


I am a fiscal and moral conservative, which by today's standards, makes me a fascist.


I am heterosexual, which according to gay folks, now makes me a homophobic.


I am non-union, which makes me a traitor to the working class and an ally of big business.


I am a Christian, which now labels me as an infidel.


I believe in the 2nd Amendment, which now makes me a member of the vast gun lobby


I am older than 70, which makes me a useless old man.


I think and I reason, therefore I doubt much that the main stream media tells me, which must make me a reactionary.


I am proud of my heritage and our inclusive American culture, which makes me a xenophobe.


I value my safety and that of my family and I appreciate the police and the legal system, which makes me a right-wing extremist.


I believe in hard work, fair play, and fair compensation according to each individual's merits, which today makes me an anti-socialist.


I believe in the defense and protection of the homeland for and by all citizens, which now makes me a militant.


Recently, a sick old woman called me and my friends a “basket of deplorable's”.


Please help me come to terms with the new me . . . because I'm just not sure who I am anymore!


I would like to thank all my friends for sticking with me through these abrupt, new found changes in my life and my thinking!


I just can't imagine or understand what's happened to me so quickly!


Funny . . . it's all just taken place over the last 7 or 8 years! As if all this crap wasn't enough to deal with.


I'm now afraid to go into either restroom!

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In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Louisiana State University .


On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee, inspected the elephants foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.


The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.


Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.


Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.


Probably wasn't the same damn elephant.


This is for everyone who sends me those heart-warming bullshit stories.


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Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested that the elderly woman should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.

She apologized to the young girl and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days."


The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."


The elderly women said that she was right -- our generation didn't have the "green thing" in its day. She went on to explain:

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.


Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But, too bad we didn't do the "green thing" back then.


But she was right. We didn't have the "green thing" in our day.


Back then we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.


But that young lady is right; we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.


Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.


But she's right; we didn't have the "green thing" back then.


We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.


But we didn't have the "green thing" back then.


Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family's $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the"green thing." We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the "green thing"

We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off... Especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smartass who can't make change without the cash register telling them how much.

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Every once in a while I find a recipe that came out as good as any meal I could have purchased in any restaurant.   This one had five stars and both Patty and I rate it the same.  As usual it is always best to cut, mince, measure etc. all the ingredients ahead that you can.


One Pot Creamy Chicken Mushroom Florentine


Ingredients


    1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into one inch pieces

    1 tablespoon butter

    1 teaspoon olive oil

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes

    4 ounce small mushrooms, sliced

    1 tablespoon flour

    2 cups chicken broth

    1½ cup half and half

    1 teaspoon salt

    ¼ teaspoon pepper

    ½ teaspoon garlic powder

    8 ounces linguine, broken in half

    ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

    2 cups fresh baby spinach


Instructions


    In a large skillet over medium high heat add the butter and cook the chicken until golden brown and no longer pink. Add the olive oil and cook the garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and mushrooms until tender. Add in the flour and cook for another minute.


    Slowly add the chicken broth, half and half, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and whisk until incorporated. Add the linguine and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the pasta is tender.


    Remove from the heat and add the parmesan cheese and spinach and stir until the spinach starts to wilt. Serve immediately.


Note: Leftovers are also great even if heated in the microwave.  Probably as there is not a lot of butter/oil to separate from the food.


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I will see some of you later at exercise.  Have a great day.


George


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As usual for a copy to your email just put “Letter” in subject line and email grucker@capecod.net

Some older copies of my email letters can be found at the end of the following web site: www.capecod-beaches.com

Do you like rice served in a Mexican restaurant?  I is easy to make without using any of the boxed mixes.

Mexican style rice.

Ingredients

1 cup rice, white, basmati and jasmine work great
2 cups Progresso chicken broth
1 10oz can Old El Paso enchilada sauce
salt and pepper to taste


Directions

In a large skillet or saucepan add the rice, Progresso chicken broth and Old El Paso enchilada sauce. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stir well, cover the pot, then turn down the heat to a medium.

Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked, stirring occasionally.

Season with salt and pepper.

Top with tomatoes, green onions and cilantro or whatever else you prefer before serving.

I could personally just have rice, or rice and beans for lunch or dinner. I know not everyone feels that way though. This rice works as a filler for burritos as well. You’ll find that it’s simple to remember, too; which allows you to just whip it up whenever as the perfect side. This rice goes so perfectly with pretty much anything that you don’t have to pay too much attention to your main dish.

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