Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday Recap - It Was a Wild Ride

Whew I'm glad that's over. I'm not sure I can take much more of that. What am I talking about? How about yesterdays Michigan Wisconsin game. Watching that game yesterday was like being on a roller coaster of emotions. In the first half I went from trying to figure out if they would ever win another game this year, to are they ever going to score again, to are they ever going to get another first down again. I knew a year ago when Michigan lost its entire offense and hired a new coach to instill a new offensive system this could be a long ugly year. I just didn't think it could get this ugly. Then the second half started. I mean how bad could Michigan lose? 38-0? I didn't think so because Wisconsin is the type of team to come out and run the football to take time off the clock, of course I was counting on Michigan not turning the football over 5 times in the second half too.

Then it started, slowly at first, you could see the game starting to change. Michigan's defense started to exert themselves, and let's give the defense huge props here because they never quit, they stopped Wisconsin on several 3 and outs. Meanwhile the Michigan offense started to eek out a first down here and there. Pretty soon they are moving the football. Michigan finally scores and the game is now 19-7.

There's a pulse, the stadium is finally coming to life, the offense is starting to show flashes of what it can do. Another 3 and out for the Wisconsin offense. The Michigan defense is starting to take over the line of scrimmage. Meanwhile the offense gets the ball back and promptly drives down the field and scores another touchdown, score 19-14. Now I am on the edge of the couch urging the defense on to stop them again and give the offense another chance. I didn't have to wait long, I didn't even have to wait for the offense to get another chance. The defense took matters into their own hands and intercepted the first pass and returned it for a touchdown. I am no longer sitting on the edge of the couch I'm now standing, celebrating with the 109,000 fans in the stands and the countless others watching on TV, silently singing the Victors fight song in my head while the band is playing it on TV in the background. The score is Michigan 20 Wisconsin 19.

There is still a lot of time left on the clock, too much time on the clock if you ask me. How long does it take for 8-9 minutes of a football game to tick off a clock? When it is your favorite football team and they are struggling for wins this season and are hanging on by a thread that 8-9 minutes seems like an eternity.

Then Michigan stops them again and the offense gets the ball back. A long run by Threet, classic spread offense play, a few runs up the middle and Michigan pounds the ball in the end zone again. I can't believe what I have just witnessed. Michigan down 19-0 at half, only 1 first down in the first half, 5 turnovers in the first half, and now they are ahead 27-19 with 4-5 minutes left in the game.

Michigan isn't out of the woods yet. They only have an 8 point lead and all Wisconsin needs is a touchdown and 2 point conversion to tie it up. If you are a Michigan fan you know they are capable of blowing a lead like this and end up breaking your heart. The last 4-5 minutes are a nervous time trying to get the clock to speed up trying to get this game to end. Wisconsin had other ideas, they drive the ball down the field and score with only 13 second left on the clock. The score is now 27-25, within one 2 point conversion of being tied. Now it's time to pray. This isn't Notre Dame where touchdown Jesus presides over the football field and miracles just happen, nope this is Michigan where is seems bad things tend to happen to the home team. I didn't want overtime, regardless what happens Wisconsin still is the better team and I figured if it went into overtime Wisconsin would pull out a victory. I am now sitting back down nervously waiting for the 2 point conversion try. Wisconsin quarterback drops back, passes, and caught in the end zone.


I slumped back into the couch thinking overtime. But I was also thinking I don't care how this game comes out Michigan showed me something today. They showed me they won't quit as a team. They showed me they can be competitive this year. They showed me what is in store in the future with the spread offense at Michigan and all the athletes Michigan has. The defense showed me they are a presence to be reckoned with, they will keep Michigan in games this year and if the offense can muster a little bit of offense they will have a chance to win. Regardless of what happens I am extremely happy with the second half.

But wait a minute, there is a flag on the play, a penalty. Who is it on? Come on, please be Wisconsin.

Ref: "Penalty Wisconsin, illegal formation, 5 yard penalty, replay 2 point conversion attempt."

I can't believe it, is Touchdown Jesus in the Michigan tunnel somewhere looking over the Wolverines? I don't care what it is Michigan has a second chance. Now I am back to standing up to watch the last play.

The Wisconsin quarterback drops back and fires the ball through the end zone.


Now I can go to the party tonight where all the Wisconsin grads will be and not have to listen to them tell me how Michigan is a terrible team and is not longer relevant.

While watching the first half I couldn't help but think it looked more like men verses boys out there and sadly to say Michigan was the boys. It was hard to watch, the fumbles, the interceptions, the futility of the entire offense. It's a good thing Michigan has a good defense. I know they gave up 19 points in the first half but the offense kept putting them in bad field position. Out of those 19 points there was only one touchdown scored.

But today the boys grew up a little bit. Do I think Michigan football is back and a force to be reckoned with? No, I am realistic and I know there will be plenty of rough stretches ahead with this young team. I am just hoping they finish at least .500 so they get to a bowl game. This is a team that can beat any team in the Big 10 but at the same time they can lose to any team in the Big 10 and I think their chances of losing are better than their chances of winning. I have said it before and I will probably say it again this team will only go as far as their defense can take it.

If nothing else at least for one day they gave me some hope.

I watched some of the MSU game and I have to say I am not as impressed with them this week as I was for the last 3-4 weeks. Maybe they had a slight letdown after their big win over ND last week, it wouldn't surprise me if that is what happened. I thought their defense was better than they played yesterday and the offense looked to one dimensional. MSU is relying on Jevon Ringer too much and somewhere down the line they will pay. I'm not sold on MSU anymore and I will have to give them a couple of more weeks to see how they play.

I didn't get to watch the Notre Dame game but it looks like they got their offense untracked. Now let's not forget this was against a terrible Purdue defense but ND still managed to score 38 points and for that we must give them their props. ND has an easy schedule from here on out (other than USC) and it wouldn't surprise me if they play on new years. Shoot let's be honest ND can have 4 losses and play on new years and still be in a BSC game. I can't complain to much though because Michigan gets bowl games they don't deserve too.

Michigan Tech didn't fare to well this weekend. They traveled to that team in Grand Rapids and played. Here is the article from the Michigan Tech website this morning.

"ALLENDALE, Mich. — No. 2-ranked Grand Valley State controlled tonight’s battle of nationally-ranked teams, defeating No. 23-ranked Michigan Tech, 52-6. The Lakers improved to 4-0, while the Huskies fell to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

GSVU scored on each of its first five drives and seven-of-nine possessions in the first half to grab a 45-0 lead at halftime.

In the second half, Tech took its opening drive to the endzone. Phil Milbrath chewed up 34 yards before Steve Short found Keith White open across the goalline. Tyler Cattelino’s extra point bounced off the right upright, leaving the score 45-6.

After stopping the Lakers on their first drive of the second half, Tech’s Akeem Cason broke off a 63-yard run to the GVSU 10. The visitors worked their way to a second-and-goal situation before turning the ball over on downs.

Grand Valley capped the game’s scoring at the 5:29 mark of the fourth quarter.

Cason finished with game-high 98 yards on 11 carries. Short was 8-of-15 for 66 yards.

Defensively, Tech posted nine tackles for loss including four sacks. Eleven different players had tackles for loss. Drew Vanderlin recorded seven tackles including 1.5 sacks. Freshman Chet White had a team-high nine tackles in the game.

Michigan Tech will return to Sherman Field next Saturday (Oct. 4) for Homecoming. The Huskies host Ferris State for a 1 p.m. kickoff."

Next week will be another tough test with Ferris. Let's hope for a better outcome.

Regarding this weeks top five I think we are in a highly fluid situation. With the best teams in the SEC and Big 12 conferences they will continue to knock each other in and out of the top 5. With the limits being place on scholarships the big time programs like Michigan, ND, LSU, Florida, USC, etc. can't horde all the players out of high school anymore. This has evened out the competitive edge in college football and made it much more exciting to watch. You never know anymore who will win or who will lose.

Here is this weeks top 5 and I am sure it will change by next week.

1. Oklahoma
2. Alabama
3. Missouri
4. LSU
5. Texas

A lot of people have Penn State in their top 5 this week but all I can say is sorry I am not sold on any team in the Big 10 or the ACC.

This weeks top Heisman candidates again in no particular order.

Knowshon Moreno - Georgia - Running Back
Tim Tebow - Florida - Quarterback
Chase Danials - Missouri - Quarterback
Jeremy Maclin - Missouri - Receiver
Javon Ringer - MSU - Running Back
Colt McCoy - Texas - Quarterback

And one last thing for a Saturday recap we must mention the passing of Paul Newman. He was one of my favorite actors while growing up. He will always be remembered for his movies but let's not forget about his foundations and charity work. He has donated over $250,000,000 to charities over the years. He is a true patriot.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Week 4 - Detroit Lions vs. The Bye Week

Boy oh boy what a week for Lions fans. The ax finally fell on Matt Millen even if it was 2 years to late. I don't mind giving someone a chance but 7 years of futility? Come on Mr. Ford, no wonder your auto company has problems. In his seven years of drafting he drafted a wide receiver 4 different times. What other team has ever done this? I don't have a problem with Roy Williams or Calvin Johnson, both are worthy of a number one draft pick but Mike Williams and Charles Rogers? If the Lions did their homework on these two guys they would never have drafted them. Rogers had problems with illegal drugs while at MSU and Williams never had a good work ethic while at USC. These are things that a good scouting department will find out BEFORE they draft a player.

The first thing Millen did when he joined the Lions was fire the head of scouting for the Lions. I can't remember the guys name but can you guess where he ended up? How about the Pittsburgh Steelers. And we all know what they have done for the last seven years. I'm not saying the Lions would have the same success if they would have kept this scout but I really doubt if they would have sunk to such lows if he was still in charge of scouting.

Right now this team is a mess with the seven years of incompetent scouting. Millen has left the team with little talent but at least he is gone. Hopefully the Lions will get it right this time and hire someone with experience in building football teams. I am hoping for Floyd Reese or Ron Wolfe. Reese built the Tennesse Titans who went to the super bowl a few of years ago and Wolfe rebuilt the Packers from nothing. Whoever they hire can't do a worse job then Millen.

Let's talk about this weeks game. The Lions vs the bye week. Tough call but I give the advantage to the bye week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday Dinner - 21 September 2008

The summer of 2008 has come to a close but the weather is still nice enough to grill outside. It's hard to tell how many more nice Sundays we will get for grilling but I am taking advantage of them while I can.

I try to do simple Sunday Dinner Episodes that are easy to reproduce in the home or outside on the grill. I think this weeks episode is a great example of this. Let me introduce you to Brick Chicken....
This is one of those things I have been wanting to try for sometime now. I was going to do it last weekend but the weather prevented me from trying. I really doesn't get much easier than this for cooking. Just follow along and see.

First the cast of characters for the first scene of this episode.

You may recognize these characters if you have been following along for the last few months. That's right these characters are for brining a chicken. But before we an brine the bird we have one thing that needs to be done.
We must cut the backbone out so the chicken will lay flat on the grill. Once the backbone is out we can mix up the brine, insert the bird and put everything in the ice box for a few hours.

When it comes time to grill take the bird out of the brine, rinse off and pat dry with paper towels. Patting the chicken dry is what will make the skin golden brown and crispy.

Time to get ready to introduce the cast of characters for scene 2.....
Pretty simple eh? I told you this would be simple cooking with simple ingredients. Brush or spray on olive oil and season with whatever seasonings you like. What is in the picture is what I chose, okay I didn't choose these ingredients they came from the my Weber grilling cookbook.

Now this is where this version of cooking chicken is different than others. You place the bird skin side down over high indirect heat and place bricks on top of it.

So you don't think that looks like bricks on top of the bird? Well good eye, since I don't own any bricks I used my cast iron frying pan with a lid on it.

The reason for the bricks (or frying pan) is it presses the skin down onto the grill for more even cooking. The second reason is the bird is suppose to cook a lot more even throughout.

After about 40 minutes flip the bird over and finish cooking it for 5 minutes or so directly over medium hot coals.

After it's cooked and plated with the rest of the meal it looks like this.....

That corn on the cob is best, I cooked it just like I did a couple of weeks ago. The chicken will get a 4.75 out of 5 forks. Nice and juicy, cooked evenly through and nice browning from the weight of the bricks, opps I mean frying pan. Definitely worth another try especially because how easy it is to cook.

In the end though let's be serious, it's just another way to cook chicken.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Classic Movie Scenes

After I looked at a post the other day with someones favorite Family Guy scenes it got me thinking about a post I have thought about doing for some time now. I have wanted to post some of my favorite movie scenes of all time but with all the elections stuff, football and meals to cook I haven't had time. Tonight I am finally going to take the time to do it.

If you watch these scenes you might see a pattern, perhaps a disturbing pattern.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, best western ever made, okay maybe Blazzin' Saddles is.

Cool Hand Luke, one of my favorites.

The Shining - This is the best of Steven King and the best of all suspense movies. I know a couple of punks that will remember this scene.

Fistful of Dollars, perhaps my favorite scene of all time. Whenever this movie comes I at least watch until the movie gets to this part.

Apocalypse Now, I love the smell of Napham in the morning. I love this scene he sits there and talks like he is in a mall parking lot. Bullets flying all around him and it doesn't faze him in the least.

The first Diry Harry movie where all the classic lines of Clint Eastwood came from.

More Dirty Harry from Sudden Impact.

Another from Sudden Impact

I could go on and on with Clint Eastwood movie scenes but I will stop for now. Maybe next time I will do some of my favorite comedy scenes.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday Recap

It's another early Sunday morning and while I am contemplating todays Sunday Dinner Episode I thought I might as well get yesterdays football games out of the way.

Michigan - A great day for Michigan football, they never turned the ball over one time, didn't give up a point on defense and the coaching was flawless. Oh, what did you say? Michigan didn't play yesterday? Well that was probably a good thing since the lawn didn't need mowing yesterday. I guess I will save the lawn until next weekend when they play Wisconsin.

Michigan Tech - Yes MTU Huskies, believe it or not they were on national TV Thursday night. They showed up on Fox Sports Detroit and also on CBSC which is the college sports station for CBS sports. I found them in time to watch the second half. Here is the game recap from the MTU website:

"Phil Milbrath exploded for 189 yards and four second half touchdowns to lead Michigan Tech to a 47-21 win at Northern Michigan tonight at the Superior Dome. The win, witnessed by 8,672 people at the dome and a national television audience on FSN Detroit and CBS College Sports, was accompanied by the Miner's Cup, the traveling trophy for the rivalry."

Pretty impressive eh?

Sorry all I could find for sports at MTU.

MSU and Notre Dame - Since they played each other yesterday this will be easy. I'm not sure what to make of this game yet. Is ND's offense that bad or is MSU's defense that good? I think it's the ND offense since they really haven't done much this year other than a couple of drives against San Diego State and maybe one against Michigan last week. I think Charlie needs to find another quarterback because the one he has now isn't showing any improvement. I will give credit to the MSU defense though they look much improved from a year ago.

I will give ND's defense props though. If it wasn't for Ringer this game would have stayed in the single digits for the final score. Any games ND wins this year will have to come from their defense, they are much improved. All I can say about the MSU offense is it's a good thing they have Ringer.

Since we are 4 weeks into the season it's time to start posting my top 5 football teams.

1. USC - Didn't play this week but still looked good
2. Oklahoma - Didn't play this week but still averaging over 50 points a game.
3. Missouri - Won over Buffalo 42-21
4. Florida - Won over Tennessee 60-6
5. Georgia - Won over Arizona State 27-10

Who to watch for: Any team in the SEC conference.

Top Heisman hopefuls (In no particular order)

Knowshon Moreno - Georgia (Don't you love that first name?) - running back - 23 rushes, 149 yards, 2 TDs
Tim Tebow - Florida - quarterback - 8 for 15 passing, 96 yards, 2 TDs
Chase Danials - Missouri - quarterback - 36 for 43 passing, 439 yards, 2 TDs
Jeremy Maclin - Missouri - receiver - 14 receptions, 168 yards, 2 rushes, 25 yards, 1 TD
Rey Maualuga - USC - Linebacker - Didn't play this week (I got to have a defensive player in there)
Javon Ringer - MSU - running back - 39 rushes, 201 yards, 2 TDs.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Week 3 - Detroit Pussycats vs. San Fransico 49's

There is no reason known to man why I should keep following the Lions. Well maybe there is one to see how close they end up to the number one pick in next years draft.

This week they are playing a team in as bad as shape as they are in. Will this give them a chance? Hell no. The 49's are the team that hired Mike Martz after the Lions fired him last year. After that they signed the second or third string quarterback from the Lions roster last year and inserted him as their number one quarterback. I read somewhere this week where Martz would still prefer Kitna over O'Sullivan. I say give him to them, please.

I expect O'Sullivan to have a career day tomorrow. Martz is the type of guy that will do anything to get revenge on a former employer. He thinks he is a offensive genius and his system will work anywhere. I am not a Martz fan but I too think his system will work against the Lions. Everyones system works against the Lions.

As for the Lions if you watch last weeks game I think Kitna quit on the Lions and the fans. I think he quit before he threw the interceptions, in fact I think he quit before the game started. The players know this too because there is a lot of distention inside the locker room right now. Kitna doesn't think Martz should have been fired from the Lions last year. He believed in his system and likes to play in his system. Some of the other players don't share the same sentiments as Kitna about Martz and so there is a locker room divided. I think the only way to cure this problem is to get rid of Kitna and play one of the other quarterbacks. It is time to make changes, big changes if the Lions ever want to be a NFL franchise again.

My prediction for the game is SF 38 Lions 13. Kitna will be replaced at half time and hopefully cut from the team before the bye week gets here. It is time to play one of the other quarterbacks.

Luckily Michigan doesn't play this week so I can avoid some more embarrassment this week. Since they don't play I thought I should throw my 2 cents worth in on the MSU vs Notre Dame game. This might the year for MSU, it has been about 20 years since the last good year. ND will struggle against the MSU running game (the MSU running game is called Ringer). ND gave up large chunks of yardage last week to Michigan who is inexperienced with all the freshman starting for them. I just can't see ND stopping MSU. I also think ND will have a huge letdown this week and couple that with MSU having this game circled on their calender for the last year I think this could get ugly. Prediction MSU 35 ND 17 and that's being kind.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunday Dinner - 14 September 2008

Mother nature reared its ugly head this weekend and completely changed my plans for this weeks Sunday Dinner Episode. I shouldn't complain because I can't begin to even count how many Sundays in a row I have been able to use the grill outside. Sunday morning when I woke up the rain was still coming down (thank you Ike) so I jumped into the car and headed to the grocery store with a new plan for this week.

I always have a few things stored away in my noggin just for days like this. Since it is fall and the weather is cooling off it's a good time for some chowder. And since it is turning to fall and I am making chowder the wife is asking me to make corn chowder.


The wife likes her corn chowder so come fall she will ask and ask for me to make it so I thought I might as well get it out of the way this year. Besides this is a good time for corn chowder because you can still find good corn on the cob.

Let's meet this weeks cast of characters.


Quite a cast this week don't you think?

First thing to do is find that old friend called the dutch oven. Some of the best winter time meals come from this vessel. Start out with browning some apple smoked ham.


While the ham is browning we might as well chop up some veggies.


I can't remember if this is a mirepoix or trinity. Just looked it up on the internet it is a mirepoix. Whatever, throw it in the pot......


.....and cook until veggies are soft.


I should mention this because like every other week I forgot one cast member in the picture above, the white wine. I used about a half of cup of white wine to deglaze the dutch oven after the veggies were cooked. I let this cook until the white wine is almost evaporated and then I move on.

Chop up some potatoes and add them to the pot and then just add enough chicken broth (low sodium) to cover potatoes and bring to a boil. While waiting for the pot to come to a boil we might as well cut the corn off the cob.


Hey don't throw those cobs out we can still use them. Add the cobs to the boiling mixture and turn down to a simmer.


Let simmer until the potatoes are tender.


Once the potatoes are tender you have a decision to make. Do you like your chowder thick or thin? I prefer mine thick and since I am cooking today I am going to make it thick. All I do is take a spoon and smash the potatoes against the side of the dutch oven until I have the chowder to the thickness I like.


Once this is done I add the corn we cut off the cobs earlier and then I add the half and half.


If you can find real cream it is much better but if you are like me you don't really need any real cream in your life. I suppose you could use regular milk too but hey let's not get to carried away.

I heat this back up real slow so the corn will cook but I don't let it come back to a boil.

While the chowder is heating back up I get my garnish ready.


And cut some bread because whenever you are going to have soup you need bread.


And now it is time for the final picture with everything put together.


A little close up of the garnish.


I love green onions on any soup, chowder, or chili.

This weeks Sunday Episode gets a 5 out of 5 spoons. I think the apple smoked ham and the fresh corn on the cob put this chowder over the edge. I think it might be my best effort to date for corn chowder.

The next cold day you have give this one a try. Easy to make and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. I have made it several times without ham or bacon and it still comes out good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why You Can't Trust Politcal Ads

Have I ever mentioned that I hate political ads? The candidates distort daily what was said the day before by the other candidate. The reason I am bringing this up tonight is because after I got home tonight and turned on the news (yes it was Fox News) there was a great example of what a candidates will do to distort the news. This clip is appearing in an Obama campaign ad.

Here is what was really said.

I can't believe a candidate is allowed to distort a quote this bad. I know it happens to both sides but this is ridiculous. How can a candidate do such a hatchet job on a quote? Where is the responsibility? Why do us Americans put up with this crap during every election? This is the type of crap that turns off people from voting. Don't the candidates know this or are they just to out of touch to care? Whatever it is something has to happen and hold people accountable for this kind of BS. Let's get this straight I am not blaming Obama for this ad. I blame his political machine who will stop at nothing to get him elected.

I'm sure Obama doesn't screen every ad for him running for president just like McCain doesn't either but somewhere someone has to take some accountability for these ads. Just like Harry S. Truman said "The buck stops here." Obama and McCain need to rein in their marketing departments and stop this crap before they turn off the entire voting population.

As I write this tonight I am listening to Gov. Hucklebee say the same thing I have been ranting about. Just knock it off, both of you and talk about the real issues that Americans care about.

This is one more reason why you can't believe a lot of the stuff your see or hear. It's enough to make your head spin.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Tread is Cut

That's it. I've had enough. Today I took the first step to rid myself of the Lions. I reached down and cut the thin thread of hope I had left for the Lions. For the rest of the year I am going to take delight watching them fall all the way down to the first pick of next years NFL draft. The race is on and I'm not sure anyone can stop the Lions from getting that pick.

What is it with Kitna? He has never won with any other team he has been with so what makes the Lions think they can win with him? I just don't get it. Am I the only one who thinks the Lions would be better off with either Orvlosky or Stanton? The Lions would be better off with one of the Michigan quarterbacks right now. How can a quarterback be so stupid as to throw the three interceptions in the fourth quarter? These weren't great interceptions the Packers came up with they were bad throws. Believe me I am a Charles Woodson fan but he didn't do anything great to intercept those balls.

And speaking about Charles Woodson I am still upset the Lions didn't go after him when he was available 3 or 4 years ago. This guy takes away half the field all by himself when he plays corner on defense. With him on the field all the Packers have to do is defend the other half. How could the Lions miss this? He did the same thing in Oakland when he played there. Oh that's right, the reason is Matt Millen.

I'm not even starting with Matt Millen. I don't have enough time or memory on my computer to go there.

I have to give the Lions defense credit today though. After they gave up huge chunks of yardage in the first half they could have quit but they came out and played a good second half. They only made one real mistake and that was on the long pass play that set up the go ahead score in the fourth quarter. Even after this score the Lions still had a chance to win. All they had to do was drive down the field and kick a field goal. Thank you Jon Kitna.

If I were the Lions I wouldn't even let this guy hold the clip board on the sidelines. Hey Millen SEND HIM PACKING NOW!!! Please before it's to late.

Okay I'm done, I feel better. Go Patriots.

Oh yeah one more thing if you can't call me when your favorite team is losing then don't call me when they are winning. Don't expect me to get up and answer the phone just so you can rub it in.

Okay now I'm done.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Recap

Okay I will give credit where credit is due Notre Dame won the game today. Both teams had to play in the same conditions with the same refs. But I must give a recap of the game and the way I saw it.

First of all Michigan. The youth of Michigan's offense really came out in this game. In the first quarter alone they committed two fumbles, one was a lateral behind the quarterback, and they were costly. Once Michigan was down by 14 points I knew they would have a hard time coming back because their offense isn't clicking yet. I have to give the young Wolverines credit though because they did fight back only to give the ball up down near the goal line, twice. It is hard to win when you give up the ball like that. Hopefully they will learn.

The defense was alright, they didn't really do anything to lose the game but they didn't give a dominate performance like I was hoping to win it either. The defense will need to get better because the offense will struggle all year to win games for them.

After ND beating them today I think I may have to revise my picks for the rest of the year. I am hoping for a 4-8 season now.

As for ND I hope the fans don't get to caught up in this victory because ND didn't really win this game as much as Michigan lost it. Michigan out gained them on offense and that isn't a good sign considering Michigan's recent struggles on offense. I will give ND's offense a break because it was pretty ugly weather during the game. Michigan gave them the first 14 points of the game. Let's keep in mind too that ND gave up 131 rushing yards to a freshman running back behind a very inexperienced offensive line. Wait until ND plays MSU, a team with a real running game.

This is a feel good game for ND and they needed one but next week against MSU they will be brought back to reality. But enjoy it for this week. It wouldn't surprise to see ND show up in the top 25, heck they will probably show up in the top 5 rankings because the national media will be gushing all over them thinking the magic of Charlie Weis is back.

As for MSU I watched the game and it was pretty ugly. I have to give them a break though because of the weather. MSU was lucky to have a running back of Ringer's capability for a day like today. He certainly made the difference today. He will give ND fits next week. This could finally be the year for MSU with a win next week they should have the confidence to play with anybody in the Big Ten. I will give props to MSU's defense too for getting a shut out today.

It is half time for Ohio State right now and it isn't looking good. USC's speed is showing up in the game. OSU looks a half step slower right now. I will say this though that Terrel Pryor is going to be a great college quarterback. Michigan was so close to getting him and what a difference it would have made if they did.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Week 2 - Green Bay Packers vs Detroit Lions

Sometimes all we have is hope and sometimes the hope we cling to is a thread, a very, very thin thread. The thread of hope I cling to is frayed and looks like it might be about to snap. This thread of hope is about 40 years old now so you would expect the thread to be old and worn out. You may wonder what is on the other end of this thread of hope or you may already know, it's the Detroit Lions. I don't know why this thread hasn't broke by now and if it doesn't break soon I just might end up cutting it with a pair of shears.

Now mind you there are ways to fix it but the problem is only the Detroit Lions can fix it and I am not sure they can do it. How can they fix this thin thread of hope and start to make it into a thick rope? How about start by finishing the season at or above .500. From here make the playoffs and maybe just maybe actually win a playoff game. Then we can start to dream Super Bowl. Just imagine if the Lions won the Super Bowl the celebration in downtown Detroit. It may not equal the Cubbies if they ever win the World Series but it would be close.

After last weeks debacle in Atlanta where the worse team in the NFL last year manhandled the Lions little hope was left for the rest of the year. I mean how can you give up 7.6 yards per carry and three of those carries was the quarterback taking a knee at the end of the game. How can you allow the worse team in the NFL to set a new franchise record for rushing? How can you let a rookie quarterback playing his first game in the NFL complete his first pass for a 74 yard touchdown? Where are these great wide receivers of the Lions? And why aren't the Lions utilizing them more? Where are this years draft picks? Are the picks so bad that they can't even start on a team like the Lions? That whole game was an embarrassment for a Lions fan.

The Packers, whom the Lions play on Sunday, looked like the same old Packers of the last 16 years. Their defense was good and the offense looked like it never missed a beat even though Brett Farve is gone. Aaron Rogers even threw a couple of passes like Brett would throw.

It's just like the old saying goes "The more things change the more they stay the same." With that being said this weeks prediction Lions 31 Packers 17. That's right you read that right, Lions 31 Packers 17. Why would I pick the Lions? Only by gut feeling. I have a theory (one of many when it comes to picking winners and most don't mean a thing) when picking NFL teams; when a team is on the road and loses bad watch out when they come home to play. They usually play with a chip on their shoulder and they go out with something to prove. Same holds true in reverse when a team comes off a good home game and goes on the road, especially after playing on Monday night, they can have a let down. That is my hope for this week no matter how thin the thread may be getting.

Let the laughter begin.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sunday Dinner - 7 September 2008

It's a new chapter in the Sunday Dinner Episodes starting with this week. Now I must warn you this weeks episode might not seem so different from this past summer but as long as the weather holds out I will still use the grill. Plus if I am going to be doing some tailgating episodes I almost have to do them with a grill. I mean let's get real have you ever saw a stove and oven at a tailgate party?

This weeks episode is something I have been wanting to do for some time now. Originally I was going to post this meal as a random weekly post but the more I thought about it the more I thought this would make a great first tailgating Episode.

What am I talking about? Well let's take a look......
Photobucket Image Hosting
Hamburgers, well at least for the wife mine is actually a cheese burger.

You are probably looking at the picture right now thinking to yourself "That cheap bastard didn't even use hamburg buns." There is a reason for that, the first hamburgers ever made were made with plain white toasted bread with no condiments. The place that claims to have invented hamburgers is still in business today and still uses the same gas fired toasters they used in the beginning. And from what I understand if you go in there and ask for ketchup you won't get it. I'm not that radical and maybe I am being a little cheap by not using hamburg buns but I get tired of watching half of them mold and being thrown out.

I normally start out with sirloin burger because it has little fat content but the store didn't have sirloin this week so I had to settle for ground chuck. Sirloin does cost a little more per pound but when it is just the wife and I it doesn't really add to no more then a few pennies.

Hamburgers are on of my favorite food groups so I don't know why I don't eat them more. In the summer we eat them about once per month and in the winter even less. Maybe it's that fast food stigma that gets attached to hamburgers. I stay away from fast food so maybe that is why I don't eat many hamburgers any more.

Enough of the chit chat let's get on with the real reason we are here. First let's introduce the main cast of characters.
Photobucket Image Hosting

If you noticed I didn't use the above mentioned white bread for toast. I use the bread I have on hand and this week like all weeks it is wheat bread.

First things first and we must cook the bacon.
Photobucket Image Hosting

After the bacon comes the onions....
Photobucket Image Hosting
I spray olive oil on them and then sprinkle some salt and pepper on them too.

After the onions have a good start it is time for the star of the show, the burger.
Photobucket Image Hosting

Once the burger is cooked it is time to bring out the structural engineers and start building the burger, my ultimate burger.

Stack those grilled onions on...
Photobucket Image Hosting

Now some bacon....
Photobucket Image Hosting
And yes that is apple smoked bacon.

And now for the finishing touch....
Photobucket Image Hosting
Grande Provolone cheese, simply the best of provolone cheeses.

Lower the grill top for a couple of minutes and presto.....
Photobucket Image Hosting ultimate cheese burger. Oops not yet we must prepare the toast.
Photobucket Image Hosting
Spray a little olive oil on the bread and watch them carefully it doesn't take to long to burn them. Believe me I know I have done it.

The only thing left to do is to decide on condiments.
Photobucket Image Hosting
My choices are kosher dill pickles, stacker style, dijon mustard, and Frank's Red Hot.

Put all this together and this is what you have....
Photobucket Image Hosting

The ultimate cheese burger, well at least my ultimate cheese burger. That's the beauty of hamburgers there is a thousand ways to make them and everybody has their own favorite.

The potato salad will get a 3.5 out of 5 forks because our quaint little market didn't have fresh dill available and I was to lazy to drive into Plymouth to find it. The burger will get a 5 out of 5 because after all this is MY ultimate burger.

Now tell me what is your ultimate burger?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Saturday Recap

I thought I should do a quick recap of football games played on Saturday especially since Michigan and Notre Dame play each other next week.

Boy oh boy Michigan could have lost this game as easily as they won it. The offense doesn't look good right now and I am not sure they will fare much better throughout the season. On the plus side Michigan has athletes at all the skilled positions it's too bad they are all freshman this year. The offensive line doesn't look good and you need a good offensive line with any offense to have any consistency. I would have more confidence in the running backs and quarterbacks if the offensive line could block. Let's talk quarterbacks, hey coach settle on one and only one quarterback. I don't care which one, although I prefer Treet, but settle on one and try to develop him. Treet missed some easy passes to some wide open receivers. If he completed his passes this game would have been a lot different. I think he will get better but it will take time.

Now the defense is a different story. The defense is playing the way people thought they would. They gave up some yardage to the Miami offense but the Miami quarterback is pretty good but still only managed to score 6 points against Michigan. For Michigan to finish above .500 this year the defense will have to continue to play this way. Oh boy I sound like a Notre Dame fan hoping to finish .500.

Notre Dame
I am going to give ND a pass this week. It is tough to play your first game against a team that has already played a game the week before even if it was San Diego State. You can see Jon Tenuta has put his stamp on the defense as they chased the quarterback all over the field. The offense is a different story. Jimmy Clausen showed flashes of what people expect him to be. Let's be serious though doesn't Clausen look more like a surfer dude that belongs on the beaches of California waiting for a tasty wave to ride? This offense should be better than it is by now. Charlie deserves the credit here as he is suppose to be a offensive guru. This could be a long year. I may have to revise my prediction for next week to 3-0 and I am not sure what team will get the 3. With Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue on the schedule in the next three weeks the year could go down hill fast for Notre Dame. If it does it will give ND plenty of time to find a new coach for next year. How about Brian Kelly or Skip Holtz?

Michigan State
Didn't watch any of the game but it looks like they might be on track this year. I don't know how good EMU is but when you win 35-7 against anybody these days it is pretty impressive. My only concern is the running back Ringer carrying the ball 35 times for 135 yards. They need him and if they continue to overwork him he may not be there by the end of the year when they need him most. Could this be the year?

Ohio State
Who cares right? They got caught looking ahead to next weeks game with USC. I was rooting for Ohio, the other Ohio, and the big upset but OSU got it together in time so this couldn't happen. Damn.

This years sleeper team is East Carolina coached by Skip Holtz. They defeated the Virgina Tech and West Virgina University in consecutive weeks. Pretty impressive. They have an easy schedule the rest of the year so it is conceivable for them to be undefeated by the end of the year. Is Skip a master motivator like his dad Lou? Did Lou burn to many bridges when he left ND? Could Skip be in line for the ND job next year? Time will tell.

Sunday Update:
It's official the Lions have been eliminated from the playoffs. Is there a dumber quarterback in the NFL than Kitna? There is a reason he has been cut from other teams. Do the Lions actually think they can win with him? I want to see Drew Stanton. If they are going to loose why not play a quarterback that might have a future with the Lions.

And don't get me started on the defense.

Anybody know of any other teams that might need a new fan? Tell them to send their resume to me I'm looking.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lights, Camera, Action

I got this idea a week ago about posting what it takes to get my Sunday Dinner Episodes on my blog. I never gave it much thought but I put in a lot of time to get these done. It may be time better spent elsewhere but it is my time and I can use it anyway I want.

1. Either early in the week or close to the weekend I try to come up with an menu or recipe I haven't done yet. As weeks go by this gets more and more difficult to do. I have grilling cook books, past recipes I have saved and the internet to search but it still takes time. I also have to find recipes both the wife and I like.

2. I will normally decide what I am cooking and then I decide how I am going to cook it. Just because I might find rack of lamb in a recipe book doesn't necessarily mean I am going to cook it according to that recipe. Now I have to search for the way I want to cook it or the way I think I or the wife might like it best. This takes time and I normally do this on Saturday morning before we go shopping so we only make one trip to the store. Going to the store around here can be a bit frustrating too. When we lived in Virginia we could find almost anything we needed for the recipes I use. Around here some items you would think should be easy to find isn't always necessarily so. I do try to use recipes with simple ingredients because the last thing I want to do is buy $5 ingredient and use it once.

3. When Sunday rolls around I figure out how much time I will need to cook the meal. I usually end up late because I never alot enough time. Once this if figured out I have to have get the camera set up to take pictures.
I never use a flash inside anymore I only use my tripod for still shots. This has made a big improvement in my pictures and I recommend it to anybody taking still shots inside.

4. Ingredients need to be lined up for their photo session but I always seem to miss an ingredient.
This actually helps because now everything is already out for me to use. As I use the ingredients I put them away so I don't use them twice.

5. At some point while I am preparing the meal of the week I have to go out and start the charcoal.
It will normally take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to have good hot coals to cook from.
Now it is time to decide do I cook over direct or indirect heat and do I need hot or medium coals to cook with. What I am cooking for the week will decide what heat or method I cook over. By now I have dragged the camera outside to start taking pictures of the cooking operation.

6. Time to start cooking.
By this time I am normally rushing around trying to take pictures while the food is cooking and also not letting to much heat escape by leaving the lid off to long.

7. Once everything is cooked it is time to eat. Not so fast my friend before we can eat pictures need to be taken of the final plating of the meal.
Now we can sit down and enjoy the meal.

Now you may be thinking to yourself "That doesn't seem to bad." Well to be honest I am only half done now. For me that is the easy part the hard part is still coming up.

8. By this time all the pictures have been taken. I normally will take between 40 and 50 pictures by the time I am done. Thank goodness for digital photography. The pictures get uploaded into the computer and I sort through them all getting rid of pictures I don't like. I try to save the best of the pictures and also try to get down to less then 10 for posting.

9. Once I have chosen the pictures I want it is time to Photshop them. That's right I use Photoshop on all my pictures thanks to my much older sister. This takes time cropping, adjusting contrast, sharping, adjusting colors, etc. I think it's worth it because it will take an average picture (one of my average pictures) and turn it into a good picture.

10. After the Photoshopping has been done I upload all my pictures to the Photobucket website. Why do I do this? I discovered you can control the size of the pictures much easier. Plus it gives a backup place for my pictures. I discovered the Photobucket website from older sister again. I couldn't figure out how she was able to get those nice big pictures on her blog until one day I noticed if you double click on the picture it would take you to her Photobucket site where she stores her pictures. Well I'll be a monkeys Uncle that is how she does it. I have been doing it ever since I discovered this. If you double click on one of my pictures it will now take you to my Photobucket site where all my pictures reside that goes onto my blog. If you ever see a picture you want from my blog you can go here and get it. And to let you in on a little secret every now and then if you go there you can get a sneak preview of upcoming posts. Sometimes I upload my pictures a couple of days before I post them on my blog.

11. This is the hard part for me. This is the part I wish I had paid more attention in English class. This is the part where I must write the Sunday Dinner Episode. Sometimes I think I would be better off letting the pictures tell the story. It takes me anywhere from 1-2 hours to write an episode. I will write, edit, write, edit, write some more, edit some more and when I finally think I am done I hit preview and so I can view what it looks like before it goes on my blog. I normally will find mistakes and correct them and then hit preview one more time and check it again. I still make mistakes that get onto the blog but oh well, I knew when I started it wouldn't be perfect.

12. Finally I feel comfortable enough to hit the little orange button that says "Publish Post" at the bottom of the screen and let the whole world see what I am up to on Sunday.

There you go, this is what I do every week to get Sunday Dinners on my blog. This is why every now and then it takes a few extra days to get the Sunday Dinner Episode on my blog. I enjoy doing it because if I didn't I wouldn't do it.

Enjoy your Sunday Dinner this week.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Week 1 - Lions vs Falcons

After my rousing success last week predicting the Michigan vs Utah game I thought I might as well try with the Detroit Lions too. I have been a long time Lions fan in fact just about as long as I can remember. I'm not one of these people who lived in the state of Michigan and for some ungodly reason roots for some other team. I'm also not one of those people that left the state and turned into a fan of the local team. Nope, I am a fan of the Lions through thick and thin and believe me there has been a lot of thin since I have been watching them.

Since I have been a fan of the Lions I have endured through Wayne Fonts "Deer in the headlight" comment and Daryl Rogers "What does someone have to do to get fired around here?" There have been so many quarterbacks it's hard to keep track of them all. The first quarterback I can remember for the Lions is Bill Munson and the latest Jon Kitna.

But the Lions have had their bright spots too. How about Lem Barney? He was a great cornerback and my favorite Lion along with Charlie Sanders when I was a kid. I got to see these favorites of mine along with Altie Taylor when they used to tour the state in the winter playing basketball in the local high school gyms. There have been others since like Barry Sanders, Robert Porche, and Chris Spielman.

I know the last few years have not been kind to Lions fans but one of these years, one of these years they will surprise everyone and turn it around. I am hoping it will be this year as I do every year.

I was thinking about doing a week by week prediction on the Lions season in one posting but I think I will do a prediction every week instead. My predictions will not be based on emotions, at least I will try not to let it, but I will try to honestly give my assessment of the upcoming game as best I can. I will warn you however I don't have the time to research the other team so most of my predictions will be based on how I think the Lions are playing at the moment, what they have done in the past, and the 3 win and lose rule. What is the 3 win and lose rule? Well for some reason most NFL teams won't win 3 games in a row or loose 3 games in row. It happens but more often and then not the 3 win or lose rule works.

Let's get on with this weeks game. This week the Lions go down to the Georgia Dome to take on the Atlanta Falcons. If there is one team in worse shape then the Lions it is the Falcons. The Falcons bring in a rookie quarterback and a new coach. The Lions finished the preseason 4-0 but that doesn't mean a thing right now because everyone starts over when the real season starts. But one thing I did see during the preseason games I was able to watch was a defense that is tackling better than I have seen them tackle in years. They led the entire NFL in defense in preseason and when is the last time this happened? It is the defense that gives me some hope this season. They revamped the secondary and if they can get a little pressure on the quarterback this year the defense will be just fine. That's why I think the Lions defense will handle the offense of the Falcons.

The offensive of the Lions will be interesting this year. I don't think they are as good as they looked during preseason because after all Jon Kitna is still their quarterback. I have never been a Kitna fan but with the two receivers he has all he has to do is throw the football up in the air and let someone run under it. This is the recipe the Minnesota Vikings used years ago when they had Randy Moss and Cris Carter playing receiver for them. But we are talking about Kitna here and who knows what we will get from week to week from him. There are reasons he has been let go by other teams and if you watch him you can see why. He doesn't always make the right decision and sometimes he can't make a decision. That is one reason he takes so many sacks during a game. Which brings me to the main problem the Lions may have this year. The same problem they have had in prior years, they just don't have a good offensive line. Oh they will be fine this week against Atlanta and people will be persuaded into thinking the Lions have finally turned the corner but as the season mounts and injuries start to take their toll on the thin offensive line the offense will start to sputter.

Just not this week. The Lions will play a great defensive game and the offense will look like a bonafide NFL offense. The Lions receivers will have great games and the running game will get their yards this week. I also think the Falcons will struggle on offense with their rookie quarterback. Final prediction Lions 24 Atlanta 13. Lions 1-0.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sunday Dinner - 31 August 2008

Well well look at this the Sunday Dinner Episode posted the next day. How efficient is that? It helps to have Monday off and the only thing I really need to do today is read some more for my upcoming test. Oh I better not forget to go pick up the wife either since she will be arriving on the boat around noon today. And speaking about the wife since she is gone this is my chance to make a Sunday Dinner I have been looking forward to for a long time. Since she doesn't like seafood or mushrooms can you guess what this dinner will be all about? If you guessed seafood and mushrooms you would be correct.
Shrimp and seafood skewers with a portabella and roasted pepper salad. Mmmm good.

Let's get started.

First let's introduce the cast of charcters for the Portabella and Roasted Pepper Salad:
Lots of flavors going on here but first thing we must do to make this salad is "FIRE UP THE GRILL!!!"

Roast the peppers.........

Mix a marinade up with the ingrediants in the above pic and apply to the portabella mushrooms..........
From here is is pretty simple cut up the peppers and mushrooms, mix together with some capers and some of the marinade that was reserved from the mushrooms and let set for an hour or so at room temperature.

Enough about salads though let's get to the real stars of this episode:
Scallops, shrimp and anduille sausage.

First thing that needed to be done was to make the marinades for both the scallops and shrimp. The scallop marinade is a little more involved because it starts with browning the anduille sausage on the stove top with onions, EVOO and water. Once the water evaporates and the little brown bits form on the bottom of the pan the pan gets deglazed with the white wine vinegar. Dump what is left over from the pan into a bowl and add oregano, a little more EVOO, salt and pepper. Add the scallops and let marinade.

For the shrimp mix together lemon juice, EVOO, paprika, granulated garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over the shrimp and let set for a half hour or so.

Once this is done it is time to go outside and one more time "FIRE UP THE GRILL!!!!" Yeah the original fire wasn't hot enough to use again.

Once the fire is hot enough it is time to fix up the skewers.....
....and head out on put them on the grill.

Aren't they looking good?
Just wait until they are done. Oh wait through the magic of pictures they are already done.
How about a closer look....
Oh my don't those look good but before I can sample one I must, as hard as this is, get the entire meal on a plate to take the final picture.

The salad will get a 4 out of 5 forks. It could have used more mushrooms in it but it had good flavor. Definitely a keeper.

I will give the shrimp a 4.5 out of 5 forks and the scallops a 4.75 out of 5 forks. The marinade on the scallops was great. I wasn't to sure about marinading the the scallops but it turned out the be the way to do it. I might have to put the wife on a boat more often so I can enjoy my seafood. I must admit I think it is my favorite type of food. And what a better way to top off a meal of this caliber then with this.....

That will do it for the summer portion of Sunday Dinners cooked on the grill. Oh I will still be using the grill into the fall for some Sunday Dinners but it is time to do something new for the fall. I am still not sure what I am going to do so I was hoping for some suggestions. I am leaning towards doing some tailgating episodes but that takes me right back to the grill and I would like to wean myself off from the grill before winter gets here.

Regardless what happens stayed tuned because Sunday Episodes will continue.