Monthly Archives: January 2014

Random blog about Baby Boars

I wasn’t going to post today. No one on the birthday list tickled my fancy and I didn’t do any baking… but then I was researching BOARS for a design project and discovered the ultimate cutest creatures in  the animal kingdom… baby boars.


Like their domesticated cousins, baby boars are called piglets. They are usually born into a litter of between four and six siblings (although first litters generally smaller, and some litters can be much larger.) They usually weigh between 1 1/5 and 2 1/4 pound (750 to 1,000 g) at birth.

Mother boars usually have 1 litter a year, with as many as 14 babies. The mother may build a ground nest of sticks and grass, or just scratch together whatever leaves are on the ground nearby.  Her babies live here for 1 week until they are big enough to follow her around. They are born with light brown fur that has white stripes from head to tail.  Mother boars can be very dangerous when protecting their babies; fathers live off by themselves. After about 45 days, the babies can find their own food, but may still stay with the mother. When they are 4 – 6 months old, they turn a cinnamon brown color.  At 1 year old, they are full-grown and have brown or black fur.  Some keep reddish stripes as adults. [Pelotes Island Nature Preserve]



Before you go looking to adopt a baby wild boar keep in mind that they will grow up to be an ADULT wild boar! But until then there’s this…

baby-boarYou are welcome.


wild-boar baby_boar-7742.BabyWildBoarSusscrofa young wild boar boar-baby pup and boar Baby-Wild-Boar


Muffin Tuesday PB&J&B Muffins

Yesterday I spent way too much time on the Mozart bioBlog so I didn’t have time to make any muffins… thus I bring unto you… MUFFIN TUESDAY! Today I have for you PB&J&B (Peanut Butter, Jelly and Blueberry) Muffins. I’ve done a double batch so I could send a few off to college kiddos, but you can just as easily halve this and make a single batch.

IMG_6938 b

 PB&j&B Muffins


2 cups sifted All-Purpose Flour

1 1/2 cup Buck Wheat Flour

2 tablespoons Wheat Bran

1/2 cup White Sugar

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

2 tablespoons Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

2 cups Skim Milk

1/2 cup Lo-Fat Greek Yogurt

2/3 cup Peanut Butter

2 Eggs

4 tablespoons melted Butter

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup Jelly

3/4 cups mashed Blueberries

3/4 cup chopped Almonds (or Peanuts)



1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prep 24 muffin cups with cooking spray.

2. Combine Flour, Buck Wheat Flour, Wheat Bran, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt in a large bowl.

3. In a blender combine Milk, Yogurt, Peanut Butter, Eggs, Butter and Vanilla. Blend on low.

4. Pour the liquid into the dry and mix until well combined.

Action shot!

Action shot!

5.  Put  about 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup.

6. In a small bowl combine the Jelly and the mashed Blueberries.

7. Divide the Jelly/Blueberry mixture evenly onto each of the muffins.

8. Cover the Jelly with another 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter. Try to do this so you have enough for all the muffins.

Muffins in the fore ground are complete, those in the back left have the jelly, but not the top layer of batter.

Muffins in the fore ground are complete, those in the back left have the jelly, but not the top layer of batter.

9. Sprinkle the chopped nuts on top.

10. Bake for 20 minutes. Muffins are done when they are golden brown and pass the toothpick test. LET COOL (the jelly will be hot!)

I loved the flavor of peanut butter and the sweetness of the jelly. The little pop and zing of the blueberry was extra nice surprise. Alas I didn’t have any tasters around to give me a second opinion. I did give the ladies at the post office a few, but I couldn’t wait around to see what they liked or didn’t like. Guess you’ll just have to whip up a batch and judge for yourselves. 😉

———————————————————————————————————–For all of you in the South East US dealing with the ice and snow today… be careful Y’all! Be patient on the roads (if you have to go out on the roads.) AND build me an Olaf snowman! (Olaf was my Secondary Saturday Character two weeks ago.)  Cheers! Rita

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1.27.14 Thought of the Day

“My great-grandfather used to say to his wife, my great-grandmother, who in turn told her daughter, my grandmother, who repeated it to her daughter, my mother, who used to remind her daughter, my own sister, that to talk well and eloquently was a very great art, but that an equally great one was to know the right moment to stop.”–Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Painting of Mozart by Barbara Krafft (1764–1825) (Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Painting of Mozart by Barbara Krafft (1764–1825) (Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on this day in Salzberg, Austria in 1756. Today is the 258 anniversary of his birth.

The youngest of seven children, only Wolfgang and he sister Maria Anna (whose nickname was Nannerl) survived infancy. His father, Leopold Mozart was a composer, teacher and violinist. Leopold began teaching Nannerl to play the keyboard. Little Wolfgang looked on and was soon absorbing the basics of the instrument. By four years old Leopold would play a game with his son, teaching him a minuet  which Wolfgang would play back “faultlessly and with the greatest delicacy, and keeping exactly in time… At the age of five, he was already composing little piece, which he played to his father who wrote them down.” [Mozart: a Documentary Biography]



Portrait de Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Salzbourg, 1756-Vienne, 1791) jouant à Paris avec son père Jean-Georg-Léopold et sa sœur Maria-Anna [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]

Portrait de Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Salzbourg, 1756-Vienne, 1791) jouant à Paris avec son père Jean-Georg-Léopold et sa sœur Maria-Anna [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]



Starting in 1762 the Mozarts began to tour Europe. At first Leopold, Nannerl and Wolfgang all performed, but by 1769 Nannerl was left at home, and Leopold focused his efforts exclusively on Wolfgang.  The purpose of the tours was to showcase the talents of the family and to try to get a position as a court composer. In March  of 1773, at 17 years of age,  Mozart was appointed as assistant concert master for the Royal Court of  Salzburg. Wolfgang was prolific in composing a number of instrumental pieces (string quartets, symphonies, sonatas) and vocal works (masses minor operas). Most notable works from this time period were his violin concertos (espeically K. 216, 218 and 219) and his breakthrough Piano Concerto  in E-flat (K. 271). But Salzburg offered him neither the salary nor the opportunity to write operas that he desired and he began to look elsewhere.

Here’s Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in D, K. 218

He resigned from his post and traveled to Augsburg, Mannheim, Paris, and Munich touring, and looking for a new position. Eventually he wound up in Vienna as an independent composer and performer.

The year 1784, proved the most prolific in Mozart’s performance life. During one five-week period, he appeared in 22 concerts, including five he produced and performed as the soloist. In a typical concert, he would play a selection of existing and improvisational pieces and his various piano concertos. Other times he would conduct performances of his symphonies. The concerts were very well attended as Mozart enjoyed a unique connection with his audiences who were, in the words of Mozart biographer Maynard Solomon, “given the opportunity of witnessing the transformation and perfection of a major musical genre.” []

In 1776 and 1777 he had back to back operatic successes when he joined forces with librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte for  The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.

Circa 1780: Family portrait: Maria Anna ("Nannerl") Mozart, her brother Wolfgang, their mother Anna Maria (medallion) and father, Leopold Mozart, by artist: Johann Nepomuk della Croce [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]

Circa 1780: Family portrait: Maria Anna (“Nannerl”) Mozart, her brother Wolfgang, their mother Anna Maria (medallion) and father, Leopold Mozart, by artist: Johann Nepomuk della Croce [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]

Emperor Joseph II appointed him “Chamber Composer” a decade later.

It was a part-time appointment with low pay, but it required Mozart only to compose dances for the annual balls. The modest income was a welcome windfall for Mozart, who was struggling with debt, and provided him the freedom to explore more of his personal musical ambitions. [Ibid]

His financial problems continued, due in part to his lavish spending, and in part to the fact that Austria was at war. The composer sank into depression.

The two-year period of 1788-1789 was a low point for Mozart, experiencing in his own words “black thoughts” and deep depression. Historians believe he may have had a cyclothymiacs personality with manic-depressive tendencies, which might explain the periods of hysteria coupled with spells of hectic creativity. [Ibid]

He rallied in 1791 (his final year). He composed The Magic Flute, one of his most beloved Operas, along with piano and clarinet concertos, a string quintet in E-Flat and his Ave Verum Corpus . All the while he was working on his Requiem.

Here’s Mozart’s Ave Verum:

Mozart died at the age of 35 on December 5 1791. The cause of death is unclear. While his death certificate list  “Military Fever” as the final cause, there have been over 100 theories on how he died (including mercury poisoning and rheumatic fever.)
He composed more than 600 works in his short life. “Works that are widely acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music.” [The New World Enclyclopedia]

Paul Newman 1. 26.14 Thought of the Day

(Image courtesy: Detroit

(Image courtesy: Detroit

“If you’re playing a poker game and you look around the table and can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you.” — Paul Newman

Paul Leonard Newman was born on this day  in Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA in 1925. Today is the 89th anniversary of his birth.

The second of  Arthur and Theresa Newman’s two boys, Paul took an early interest in acting. He made his debut as the court jester in Robin Hood on his elementary school stage at the age of 7. The Newmans lived in the wealthy Shaker Heights neighborhood of Cleveland, where Arthur owned a sporting good store. Paul graduated from Shaker Heights High in 1943 and attended Ohio University of Ohio for a while before he was kicked out for unruly behavior (including crashing a beer keg into the president of the University’s car.) He joined the Navy with hopes of becoming a pilot, but when it was discovered he was color blind he became a radio operator. He served three years in the service.

[Image courtesy:]

[Image courtesy:]

Back home he went to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. He received his BA in drama and economics in 1949. He developed his craft in several summer stock productions before moving to New York and joining the Actors Studio.

In 1953 Newman had his Broadway premier in Picnic. He follow that with The Desperate Hours  and Sweet Bird of Youth.  He did TV appearances on series like Tales of Tomorrow and Appointmen twith Adventure.

His first film role was anything but successful…

In 1954, a film Paul was very reluctant to do was released, The Silver Chalice (1954). He considered his performance in this costume epic to be so bad that he took out a full-page ad in a trade paper apologizing for it to anyone who might have seen it. He had always been embarrassed about the film and reveled in making fun of it. [IMDb]

But second time was a charm and he was pleased with his work as Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956). After Cat on a Hot Tin Roof came  The Long, Hot Summer with Joanne Woodward (who would soon become his second wife.) [Ibid]

[Image courtesy:]

[Image courtesy:]

The 1960s would bring Paul Newman into superstar status, as he became one of the most popular actors of the decade, and garnered three more Best Actor Oscar nominations, for The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963) and Cool Hand Luke (1967)…1969 brought the popular screen duo Paul Newman and Robert Redford together for the first time when Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) was released. It was a box office smash. Throughout the 1970s, Newman had hits and misses from such popular films as The Sting (1973) and The Towering Inferno (1974) to lesser known films as The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) to a now cult classic Slap Shot (1977). (Ibid)

He finally got the Best Actor Oscar statue in 1986 for his role of Fast Eddie Felson in the Color of Money. (Color of Money was the long awaited sequel to The Hustler.)

In all he was nominated 10 times for Academy Awards over a span of 5 decades.

[Image courtesy: People]

[Image courtesy: People]

Films were not the only thing on his mind… A passionate race car driver since the early 1970s, Newman became co-owner of Newman-Haas racing in 1982, and also founded “Newman’s Own”, a successful line of food products that has earned in excess of $100 million, every penny of which Newman donated to charity. He also started The Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, an organization for terminally ill children. He was as well known for his philanthropic ways and highly successful business ventures as he was for his legendary actor status. [Ibid]

Newman died of lung cancer at the age of 83 in 2008.

[Image courtesy:]

[Image courtesy:]

Secondary Character Saturday: Walt Disney (Saving Mr. Banks)

(Image Courtesy: Disney, Inc)

(Image Courtesy: Disney, Inc)

WHO: Walt Disney

FROM: Saving Mr. Banks

BY: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith


PROS: Friendly, Motivational, Charming

CONS: Manipulative

(Image courtesy: Disney, Inc.)

(Image courtesy: Disney, Inc.)

BEST SHINING MOMENT: Revealing the story of his difficult youth when he takes P.L. Travers to Disney Land

LEAST SHINING MOMENT: Trying to sneak in the cartoons when she clearly is against it.

WHY I CHOSE HIM: Admittedly I’m giving this nod more to Tom Hanks than Mr. Disney — and that might have something to do with the fact that I just saw Captain Phillips. Hanks was wonderful in both films, but he was definitely the lead (and title) character in the latter, so I can only honor him on Secondary Character Saturday for his work as Uncle Walt in Saving Mr. Banks.

John Hurt 1.22.14 Thought of the Day

“If you do an interview in 1960, something it’s bound to change by the year 2000. And if it doesn’t, then there’s something drastically wrong.” — John Hurt


John Vincent  Hurt was born on this day in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England in 1940. Today is his 74th birthday.

His movie career dates back over 50 years  (starting with Young and Willing), but his first serious role was in 1966’s A Man for All Seasons. He earned Best Supporting Actor  BAFTA  nomination for his work as Timothy Evans in the film. He worked steadily through the lat 60’s and early 70’s. In 1971 he won a BAFTA for his best supporting work in 10 Rillington Place. and another, for best Actor, for The Naked Civil Servant in 1975

In 1976 he co-starred in the BBC drama I, Claudius as the debauched Roman emperor Caligula. In 1978 he won a Golden Glob and BAFTA (and an Academy Award nomination) for his work in Midnight Express. The same year he did the voice work for Hazel in animated film Watership Down (he later played General Woundwort for the TV series) and Aragorn in the animated The Lord of the Rings.  He rounded out the decade by playing the ill-fated Kane in the Sci Fi classic Alien and Raskolnikov in the BBC’s Crime and Punishment.

The Elephant Man brought him another BAFTA (and Golden Globe and Oscar noms.) In 1983 he starred in The Osterman Weekend  and was the Fool to Olivier’s King Lear.

In 1984 (the  year)  he starred in 1984 (the movie) as Winston. 15 years later, having learned his lesson that 2 + 2 = 5,  he flipped roles and played Big Brother (on-screen) for the Paper Zoo Theatre Company’s production of the Orwell novel.

Besides his voice work younger audiences will recognize Hurt as Mr. Ollivander from the Harry Potter series.

(Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

Retarded, Gay and Fat

Reblogging this gem from Texana’s Kitchen.
Texana’s Kitchen

Texana's Kitchen

Several years ago, when my boys were in the 10-14 age range, I fought a long battle with them over “retarded”. Everything and everyone was, apparently, retarded.  My Human Resource Director hat got on my head, and they had to hear about how hurtful it was to say those things, and what if you had a little brother or sister that was challenged and you heard someone saying that…yada yada yada. Finally they quit with the retarded.

At 12-16, everything and everyone in their lives was gay.  And I don’t mean happy.

“Shut up—you’re gay!”

“That’s soooooo gay….”

“Man, you’re such a fag……..”

So, months of redirection and constant reminders ensued.  That it was hurtful, that there really are people who are gay, and that they are lovely people with actual feelings and that by using their nature as an insult, you are being hurtful.  So they finally stopped with…

View original post 1,483 more words

Lead Belly 1.21.14 Thought of the Day

“We all in the same boat brother. You rock it too far to the right you fall in the waddah, rock it too far to the left you fall in the same waddah, and it’s just as wet on both sides.” — Huddie Ledbetter

Lead Belly singing and playing the 12 string. (Image courtesy: the Lead Belly Foundation)

Lead Belly singing and playing the 12 string. (Image courtesy: the Lead Belly Foundation)

Huddie William Ledbetter was born on this day on the Jeter Plantation, Louisiana in 1889. Today is the 125th anniversary of his birth.

He was the only child born to sharecroppers Wesley and Sally Ledbetter. When he was five his family moved to Leigh, Texas.  His uncle Terrell gave him his first instrument, an accordion, shortly afterward. Ledbetter went on to master “the piano, harp, mandolin and harmonica but he is best remembered for his 12 string guitar.” [The Real Story of Huddie Leadbetter 1889 – 1949] He stopped attending school after 8th grade and left his father’s farm by the time he was 20. He went on the road to play music (when he could get the gigs) and work as a day laborer. It was said that he could pick 1000 pounds of cotton in a day. He also worked on the railroad lining tracks.

Lead Belly with Josh White and others. (Image courtesy: the Lead Belly Foundation.)

Lead Belly with Josh White and others. (Image courtesy: the Lead Belly Foundation.)

But Ledbetter was short-tempered. He once said: “ “When I play, the women would come around to listen and their men would get angry.” In 1918, he fought and killed a man in Dallas and was sentenced to thirty years  [ Lead Belly Foundation]

After serving seven years of hard labor he wrote a song asking Texas Governor Pat Neff for a pardon. 

“Please, Governor Neff, Be good ‘n’ kind
Have mercy on my great long time…
I don’t see to save my soul
If I don’t get a pardon, try me on a parole…
If I had you, Governor Neff, like you got me
I’d wake up in the mornin’ and I’d set you free”
       [The Real Story of Huddie Leadbetter 1889 – 1949]

Neff took his word for it and released him, and Ledbetter left Texas for Louisiana. By 1930 he was back in prison, this time in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, in Angola for attempted homicide. There he was interviewed by John and Alan Lomax

 The Lomaxes had discovered that Southern prisons were among the best places to collect work songs, ballads and spirituals and Leadbelly, as he now called himself, was a particular find…Over the next few days the Lomaxes recorded hundreds of songs. When they returned in the summer of 1934 for more recordings Leadbelly told them of his pardon in Texas. As Alan Lomax tells it, “We agreed to make a record of his petition on the other side of one of his favorite ballads, ‘Goodnight Irene’. I took the record to Governor Allen on July 1. On August 1 Leadbelly got his pardon….” [Ibid]

He moved north with the Lomaxes and began to perform in the folk community where his talents earned him the title “the King of the Twelve-String Guitar”.

Leadbelly recorded for a variety of labels, including Folkways and he performed tirelessly. Over the next 9 years his fame and success continued to increase until he fell ill while on a European Tour. Tests revealed that he suffered from lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and he died on December 6, 1949. [Ibid]

He wrote over 500 songs in the following genres:

  • children’s songs
  • field songs
  • ballads
  • square dance songs
  • prison songs
  • folk songs
  • blues

 Some of his most famous songs include:

  • Good Night, Irene
  • Midnight Special
  • Cotton Fields
  • Boll Weevil
  • Kisses Sweeter than Wine
  • Rock Island Line

His name was changed several times through out his life, but he preferred Lead Belly.

Lead Belly's guitar, "Stella". (Image courtesy the Lead Belly Foundation)

Lead Belly’s guitar, “Stella”. (Image courtesy the Lead Belly Foundation)

Muffin Monday: Mango Muffins

Final product -- Mango Muffins

Final product — Mango Muffins


2 2/3 cups White Whole Wheat Flour

5 teaspoons of Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Salt

1 cup Agrave Syrup (or 1 cup Honey)

1/3 cup  Vegetable Oil

1 cup cold Milk

1 Egg

1 1/2 cup of mashed Mango



1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (400 if using Honey). Prep 24 medium muffin cups by spraying with baking spray.

2. Mash Mangos and set aside.

Mashing the Mango

Mashing the Mango. I used frozen Mango Chunks that I let thaw in the refrigerator. 

3. In a large bowl combine the Flour, Baking Powder and Salt.

4. In a smaller bowl combine the Agrave Syrup (or Honey), Oil, Milk and Egg

5. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and combine until moistened.

6. Add the Mango.

Mixing in the Mango

Mixing in the Mango

7. Divide batter evenly into the muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes (18 if you are using Honey). Muffins are done when they turn golden brown and pass the toothpick test.


These almost remind me of pineapple upside down cake, but with out the super sweet shot of brown sugar. They are moist but not gooey. Hope you like them.


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