The NHL Winter Classic 2020

Yesterday’s NHL Winter Classic 2020 from the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Texas was an amazing way to start off the new decade as a Stars fan. The game itself as well as the coverage of the event on a whole was thrilling to see. Naturally seeing the Dallas Stars come away with a 4-2 victory over the rival Nashville Predators in the end made it that much sweeter, especially after the Stars were down 2-0 in the early part of the game. My compliments to all the folks who put an effort into making it happen, I never thought an outdoor game in such a genuinely warm environment could work but it did and it was an enjoyable way to spend the first day of the new year.

Of course I spent a large portion of the game tweeting and to no surprise at all took a lump or two over a tweet that I think was misunderstood, but it was my fault because I think after looking back on it that I probably could have worded it better than I did. The sport of Hockey is an emotional one, and at times we as fans walk a fine line in wanting to see our favorite team win, but I don’t think that there is a single person out there including myself that wants to see a player get injured trying to win a game.

I should probably clarify what I tweeted out because by far I do not condone what the Dallas Stars’ Corey Perry did when he delivered a head shot hit on the Predators Ryan Ellis and I think he was remorseful for doing so. It was definitely an on-the-edge of your seat moment in the opening minutes of the game and the reactions from the fans on Twitter including myself went on for hours even after the game ended. Sadly both players inevitably missed the rest of the game as the Predators Ryan Ellis did not return after the being helped off, and Corey Perry was assessed a major penalty and thrown out of the game.

Again, Hockey is an intense sport and at times whether you are a fan watching the game or a professional player participating in the game, emotions can sometimes get the better of you. I would like to personally apologize to the all the folks on Twitter who might have seen my tweet and maybe even may have raised an eyebrow at what I said, but in my defense it was purely a reactionary response to Ryan Ellis’ hit on New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich which was equally debated over social media following that game. Having watched both games on live television I learned something from this and that is that the NHL must figure out a better way to set a precedence in how they not only deal with a repeat offender, but what criteria goes into determining the repercussions for players who partake in such tactics. At first thought I was thinking that maybe reviewing these plays on the spot when they happen could work because Ellis’ hit on Buchnevich definitely warranted a major penalty, an ejection from that game, and a league suspension as well, but that would likely slow down the game and leave far too many incidences requiring in-game reviews.

At the time Corey Perry’s hit on Ryan Ellis seemed like poetic justice considering how I felt after watching him get away with hit on Buchnevich, but by far there is no question that he did not have to face the consequences Perry did because for Perry just the shame of being thrown out of a game like the nationally televised Winter Classic seemed far more punishing in itself and the Nashville Predators not only got the five man advantage but they also scored two power play goals on the penalty assessed to Dallas for Corey Perry’s actions. All Ryan Ellis got following his hit on Rangers Pavel Buchnevich was a two-minute minor penalty for elbowing and very lame review of the hit by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety official George Parros.

It is baffling at times but onward we go because the second half of the season is upon us and today the Dallas Stars are 23-14-4 and sitting in third place in the Western Conference’s Central Division eight points ahead of the same division rival Nashville Predators they faced in the game yesterday. Next time something like that happens I will take a moment to think before hitting the send button on a tweet of such a sensitive nature.

Bye Bye 2019, Welcome 2020

Happy New Year everyone. Not sure about anyone else, but I am personally glad to see the new year arrive and if yesterday and today are any sort of foreshadowing to what is ahead, I am excited.

For me last year was what I would term the equivalent of my beloved New York Rangers’ ongoing rebuild, it was up and down, up, and down, and filled with highs and lows. Although last year got off to a rough start when only five days in to the New Year my oldest son and I had a falling out that literally lasted till just about three and a half hours ago when we finally exchanged text messages for the first time in nearly a year, I can’t tell you how that has instantly made the start of 2020 way better than 2019 for me.

We have a rather unusual family dynamic in that all of my children are now over twenty years old, all of them either go to school or have working lives in different states across the U.S., and each of them are so very unique in their own way, and I love them so much for that because it epitomizes who I am times a thousand percent.

My oldest is going to be twenty-seven this year and my youngest will be twenty-one, I have daughters at the top and bottom with two boys in the middle. The boys will be twenty-four and twenty-one this year, and they are my fire as they are both Aries born counter to me being a Pisces. Uniquely all of my kids are born in March with the exception of my youngest daughter who is my earthy Taurus, and characteristically fitting since in her own way she has a very particular way of asserting her beliefs when she wants to. Geographically our lives are so far apart with one in Tennessee, one in New York, one in Florida, and one with me here in Texas. Even though that can be problematic at times we do the best we can under the circumstances.

Since I fervently refuse to regress into the lows of 2019, some of the highlights of 2019 include my youngest daughter making a successful transition from community college to the university life as she is now entering her second full semester at a very reputable college in NY. Her counterpart, my youngest son, graduated with his associate in applied science degree back in May and is now ready to begin his third semester in pursuit of his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice here in Texas. My oldest two are true worker bees as my daughter in Tennessee tells me that she is sometimes working upwards of fifty hours a week at her job where she is content to work among her favorite people, pets. While my second oldest, my son in Florida, is now running his own business and as I have recently learned, he is doing exceptionally well.

It is not easy being a single parent, and even harder being a single parent from a distance but I am so very proud of each of them as they have each done it all on their own terms, and with little if any help from me at all outside of the moral support they might ask for from time to time.

Recipe: Cheezy Meat, Rice and Bean Burritos

Ingredients & Preparation
  • 1.25 lb ground beef or turkey meat
  • 1 cup Red Kidney, Black, or Pinto Beans
  • 1 lg Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro leaves (fresh chopped)
  • 1 cup Uncooked White Rice of choice
  • 2 cups Water
  • 4 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 pkg Large Burrito Size Flour Tortillas (8)
  • 1 tbsp Canola Cooking Oil
  • Kosher Salt
Burrito Seasoning from Scratch
  • 2 ½ tbsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt (iodized table salt)
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup warm tap water
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
Cooking Instructions

In a medium sauce pot, add 1 ½ cups of water, 1 cup of uncooked white rice, 1 tbsp of cooking oil, 1 tsp of salt. Bring water and rice to a boil, lower to simmer and check frequently till water is completely dissolved. Approximately 15 min.

In a cast-iron skillet or frying pan, brown meat, then strain, and return to pan. It is ready now to be seasoned and cooked.

In a small mixing bowl blend the seasonings using a fork to fold and combine the ingredients evenly. Start by adding ¼ cup of warm tap water and lime juice to seasonings mix and whisk gently. Add 1 full cup or a little less of warm tap water, just enough to dilute mix and whisk vigorously to blend. Pour over browned meat in the skillet and bring to slow boil continuously stirring and folding to blend with meat. Set aside to cool.

You will need a very large bowl or Dutch oven style pot to combine and mix the meat, rice, and cooked beans. Once all are fully prepared and mildly cool, start to combine the three ingredients to make one mixture consisting of seasoned meat, beans, and rice.

Using a ladle or large cooking spoon, scoop two generous scoops of mix on to a flour tortilla laid on a flat surface. Add one spoon size scoop of refried beans in to the middle of the meat pile and spread it a little. Then cover by sprinkling shredded sharp cheddar cheese over the burrito mixture.

Fold and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until burritos start to brown around the edges.

*Serve with fresh made Guacamole, Salsa, and/or Sour Cream

Recipe: Split Pea Soup

Ingredients & Preparation
  • 1 spiral ham bone
  • 16 oz. pkg of split peas (rinsed)
  • 16 oz. pkg baby carrots (split in half)
  • 2 cups of ham (diced or chopped)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 3 qts. water
  • 2 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1 Goya ham seasoning packet
Cooking Instructions
  1. In a large dutch oven style pot add 1 tbsp of cooking oil and place on medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the chopped onion and 1 tsp of minced garlic, then cook till onions become translucent but do not let them brown.
  2. Once onions are translucent add 2 tbsp of butter and stir to blend.
  3. Next add 3 quarts of water and a teaspoon of salt (optional) to the pot, bring to a boil.
  4. Once the water is boiling add the spiral ham bone, lower heat to medium, and allow to bone to boil for 45-60 minutes.
  5. Remove bone from water and set aside.
  6. Add 1 qt of chicken broth, ham seasoning packet and stir. Then add peas, carrots, diced ham and return to boil.
  7. Once boiling lower to simmer, slightly crack the pot top to vent, and continue to simmer for a minimum 60 minutes.

Appreciating Music As An Art Form

Author Georgia Cates in her book Beauty from Pain said that “Music is what feelings sound like out loud…” (Cates, 2013), that is profound on so many levels. American poet and writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) said that “music is the universal language of mankind” and while the list of insightful descriptions of music is likely endless, so too can one’s taste in musical styles.

While music as an art form must remain infinite in its diversity to be able to appeal to a broader audience, equally with music genres from Alternative to Zydeco and all types of variety in between, one might argue that there is something in music for everyone.

With respect to taste in music genre and so many parameters to consider, no specific genre could ever solely satisfy my musical palate exclusively. Music has had significance in my life from the very first time I picked up a guitar around twelve years old to how I listen to music now as an adult.

Expressing my appreciation for music in words is very difficult since on any given night if inspired to immerse myself in music I might listen to one or more genres of music but then later physically play music from a distinctively different genre in the same evening.

When it comes to music an art form and the appreciation thereof, it is more about preference rather than good or bad as a valuation. Music is about aesthetics and presentation, thus while a person may have a particular preference in musical style or genre, it seems unreasonable to think that subjectivity can ever be a compliment to appreciating music on the whole as an art form.

Please note the views and opinions expressed in the written works contained within this site are solely those of the individual authors themselves. They are not intended to, nor meant to imply any type of endorsement, professional relationship, or affiliation to any of the individual people, organizations, or associations mentioned in the site’s publication. All written work is the sole property of the author of this website and may be subject to copyright laws 2019.

1968: One of the Most Historical Years in History

The world was changing in 1968 and it was quite possibly one of the most unforgettable years in American history because so many significant things took place that year. At the forefront of this commencing decade both the Vietnam War and The Civil Rights Movement were at full mast. 1968 was the year of the Tet Offensive in North Vietnam which saw an escalation of the American involvement in this tragic war while back home in the United States the public opinion of the war was changing from support for the war to anti-war protest.

It was on April 4, 1968 that following years of civil rights activism James Earl Ray murdered the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee. Then following Dr. King’s death a few months later in August of that same year, that two black athletes staged a silent demonstration at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City by raising their fists during the national anthem in support of the Black Power Movement that was taking place at the time in America.

1968 was also the year that American television viewers saw its first interracial kiss between a white man and a black woman when Star Trek’s Captain Kirk (William Shatner) smooched the USS Enterprise’s African-American Sergeant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), and it was televised in living rooms across America in Technicolor as television technology was continuing to advance the transition from black-and-white to full color. In addition, the American media continued to expand itself as 1968 was also the year that the legendary informational news show 60 Minutes took to the air for the first time on CBS.

In June of 1968 Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles California, and later that same year in August of 1968, the Republican National Convention (RNC) nominated Richard M. Nixon to run as the republican candidate in the upcoming November election against democratic incumbent then President Lyndon B. Johnson. In the end Nixon would win the presidency with Spiro Agnew on the ticket as his Vice President, but later resigned in 1974 to avoid an impeachment following The Watergate Scandal.

Many other interesting things took place in 1968; NASA orbited the moon with the Apollo 8 Mission that made astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders, and Frank Borman the first human beings to set foot on the moon. Boeing introduced the first 747 passenger plane, toy maker Mattel introduced Hot Wheels Collectible Cars, and The Beatles introduced Apple Records. Later that year The Beatles released the White Album in America, while overseas in England the renowned Yardbirds appeared for the first time as what later became better known as the legendary band Led Zeppelin and Andy Warhol died.

In 1968 a gallon of gasoline was around thirty-four cents, a gallon of milk was just over one dollar, and a postage stamp was six cents. A new house cost just over $26,000.00 and the cost of a new car was right around $2,400.00. The Zodiac Killer was still on the loose somewhere in California and never found. It was the same year that the Broadway Show Hair opened for the first time and a little bit further down on Broadway the newly relocated Madison Square Garden also opened its doors to the public for the first time.

In sports, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Oakland Raiders at the Orange Bowl in Miami Florida to win Super Bowl II in 1968, the Detroit Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven game set to win the World Series of 68, the Montreal Canadiens swept the St. Louis Blues in four games to win the Stanley Cup in hockey, and the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in six games to win their tenth championship in twelve years in basketball. Bobby Unser won the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Speedway, and Cale Yarborough won the Daytona 500. Billie Jean King won the women’s singles tennis championship and John Newcombe won in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon, while in golf Arnold Palmer lost the PGA championship by one stroke to Julius Boros in San Antonio Texas that year.

Significantly my birth year is a shared one with such famous entertainment personalities as Will Smith, LL Cool J, Owen Wilson, Celine Dion, Rachel Ray, Lucy Liu, and Lisa Marie Presley. In addition, with other such iconic public personalities as sportscaster Kenny Albert, Baseball hall of famer Mike Piazza and also former MLB player Gary Sheffield, movie personality Daniel Craig who is currently Agent 007 from the James Bond Movie Series which ironically is one of my all-time favorite film series’ and Ziggy Marley who is the son of the late great music personality Bob Marley. Although the above may appear to be completely random and miscellaneous, for me it is all truly remarkable.

Please note the views and opinions expressed in the written works contained within this site are solely those of the individual authors themselves. They are not intended to, nor meant to imply any type of endorsement, professional relationship, or affiliation to any of the individual people, organizations, or associations mentioned in the site’s publication. All written work is the sole property of the author of this website and may be subject to copyright laws 2019.

Poem: Soulmates Journey

A short poem from my collection of creative writing works.

Soulmates are born as one but journey through life as two, they think alike and breathe alike at distances farther than the sun.
Soulmates share a spirit and soul, a certain type of presence, and a never ending flow. They share an extra special relationship that allows each of them to grow.

Soulmates can cast a single shadow that may reflect as one, but they also possess a unique connection that can never be undone.

-The Notably Miscellaneous Life

All written works are the sole property of the author(s) of this website and may be subject to copyright laws 2019. Photo taken by Tyler J. Hicks, September 2013.

Poem: This Place Inside

A short poem from my collection of creative writing works.

There’s a place inside a mind that
if one could see one would find,
this place in a heart that

sometimes brands a yearning to depart
There’s a voice in a head that

if one could hear the things it has said,
about this place inside a soul

that yearns to achieve its goal
It’s a place inside where demons hide,

and when one nears the end
they infallibly collide.

-TheNotablyMiscellaneousLife

All written works are the sole property of the author(s) of this website and may be subject to copyright laws 2019. Photo taken by Mike Kruzynski May 2012 Howe Caverns, NY. Editing and overlay design by Tyler J. Hicks.

Poem: Lust

A short poem from my collection of creative writing works.

When a heart starts to darken and may be in two
like a wretch veiled in shame in regressive review,
when a spirit becomes broken and afflicted by pain
it may shed all its fear with unbecoming disdain,
and when a conscience ignores the illuminated brain
it may be the mind casting aside an endearing restrain,
when a toiling member seeks beckoning trust
then lust leaves the soul in reviling disgust

-TheNotablyMiscellaneousLife

All written works are the sole property of the author(s) of this website and may be subject to copyright law 2019. Photo by Mike Kruzynski, Texas Sunset November 2019.

Poem: As Long As I Am With You

A short poem from my collection of creative writing works.

It wouldn’t matter to me if it was just a silly ride on a bike or an adventurous mountainside hike
A fancy night out on the town and a movie or a show, a concert in the park, or just a quiet walk after dark
When I think of all the ways in how our friendship grew, I think of the future and I promise you to always be true
When I think of our life together as still an open book, I know I will be content forever as long as I am with you
.

-TheNotablyMiscellaneousLife

All written works are the sole property of the author of this website and may be subject to copyright laws 2019. Photo taken by Mike Kruzynski, Canyon Lake TX September 2019.

Recipe: French Onion Soup

Ingredients & Preparation

  • 6 cans -Beef Consomme (10 oz.)
  • 3 cups -Water or Beef broth (approximately 24 oz)
  • 3 large -Onions (sliced)
  • 1 stick -Butter
  • 2 tsp -Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 lb. -Swiss Cheese Slices
  • 1 cup -Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 cups -Seasoned Croutons
  • 1 bunch -Triple Curl Parsley
    *thin sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)

Cooking Instructions

  1. On cutting board slice three large onions into thin rings, cut the rings in half.
  2. In a large dutch oven style pot melt butter on low heat, when butter is completely melted add onions to pot and cover. Stir frequently till onions become translucent. Roughly 10 minutes, but do not let them burn or brown.
  3. Once the onions are translucent add 6 cans of beef consomme, water, and Worcestershire sauce then bring to a boil. When it reaches a rolling boil, lower heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes. If using mushrooms add now.
  4. Preheat oven to broil, place crock pot bowls out, set covers aside, and fill each bowl with some croutons.
  5. Pour soup over croutons to fill bowl, allow to absorb a bit, then add more soup till the bowl is just below full.
  6. Cover with two slices of Swiss cheese, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top, and place in the oven on a flat baking sheet, on the top rack.
  7. Broil till cheese becomes bubbly, melted, and lightly browned if desired.
  8. Garnish top with parsley before serving

REMINDER: the crock pot bowls will be extremely hot, I cannot stress that enough. Use oven mitts to remove bowls from oven and set aside.

Recipe: Grilled Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice or Noodles

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs Boneless Chicken Breast
  • 2 medium Onions
  • 1 bunch Scallions
  • 2 Broccoli Crowns
  • 1 (16 oz) bag Carrots (shredded or chips)
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers (de-seeded and sliced)
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Baby Corn Nuggets
  • 1 (16 oz) pkg Sliced Mushrooms (rinsed)
  • 1 cup Uncooked White Rice, Jasmine Rice, or Lo-Mein Noodles
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
*Asian Stir-Fry Sauce Mix from scratch*
  • 1/4 cup Soy  sauce
  • 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Ginger (fresh ground)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Wasabi Paste
Baby corn nuggets, sliced carrot chips, chopped onion, broccoli, red bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, scallions or green onions
Preparation
  1. Marinate 4 lbs. of boneless chicken breasts in Asian stir-fry sauce from scratch mix, overnight but set aside and refrigerate extra sauce mixture for vegetables.
  2. Brush grill grates with Canola cooking oil and heat grill to 400 degrees and grill chicken breasts.
  3. Once chicken is removed from the grill, chop or cube grilled chicken and set aside to add to mix later.
Cooking Instructions (skillet or wok)
  1. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil on med heat. Add on onions, carrots, peppers, broccoli, and baby corn nuggets, continuously folding while allowing time for vegetables to soften.
  2. Drizzle stir-fry sauce mix to taste while folding.
  3. Once everything has softened, add chicken and scallions, pour remaining stir-fry sauce mix over top, and stir.
    Makes 4-6 Servings
The finished product