Culinary no-no: The paczki edition

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

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Back by popular demand.

Photos of the Week (02/23/20)

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A pictorial week-in-review posted every Sunday.

1) Buses carrying passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship leave a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Japan. Photo: AP

2) President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump ride in the presidential limousine as they take a pace lap ahead of the start of the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, Feb. 16, 2020. Photo: AP

3) NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Newman wrecks during the final lap of the Daytona 500, in Daytona Beach, Florida, Feb. 17. Photo: USA Today Sports

4) Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich enters his house in Chicago after his release from Colorado prison after President Donald Trump cut short the 14-year prison sentence handed to the former governor for political corruption. Photo: AP

5) Roger Stone, former adviser to President Trump, arrives with his wife, Nydia, at the E. Barrett Prettyman courthouse in Washington, DC, Feb. 20. Stone was sentenced after being found guilty on seven felony counts of obstructing a congressional investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Photo: Getty Images

6) Democratic presidential candidates (from left) former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former vice president Joe Biden raise their hands for questions during the Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas, Feb. 19. Photo: Getty Images

7) Dagmar Turner, 53, plays the violin while surgeons remove her brain tumor at King’s College Hospital in London, Jan. 31. Photo: Reuters

8) In Jacksonville, Florida, Juliana Stratton, the lieutenant governor of Illinois, sits in a box to highlight the plight of a 19th-century Virginia slave who mailed himself to Philadelphia, trying to escape slavery. Stratton’s visit to the historic Underground Railroad site in Illinois was one of several she is making statewide in observation of Black History Month. Photograph: Darren Iozia/AP

9) The abandoned 77-meter (250-feet) cargo ship MV Alta is seen stuck on rocks near the village of Ballycotton south-east of Cork in Southern Ireland, Feb. 18, 2020. Photo: AFP

10) A tapestry designed by Renaissance artist Raphael is installed on a lower wall of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican as part of celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of his death in this handout photo released. Phoot: Reuters

11) A tourist takes a picture of a mockup of an Emirates Airbus A380 jetliner made of flowers at Dubai Miracle Garden in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The mockup A380 is covered in over 500,000 flowers and plants. Photo: AP

12) In Cologne, Germany,  revellers take part in Women’s Carnival Day. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Week-ends (02/22/20)

A look back at the people and events that made news the past week. Week-ends is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…


Holly McNally

Natalie Reilly

Jessica Jewett

Kids and their tunnel of kindness


The coronavirus

Matthew Neumann


“Wisconsin is reaping incredible returns on our responsible fiscal management and wise economic investments over the past decade.Now is not the time to change course. Governor Evers would rather increase our future spending obligations, setting our state up for ever-increasing budgets with no end in sight. The plan is financially prudent and rewards our citizens for their hard work by giving them their money back.”
State Rep Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego) on passage of Senate Bill 821 that increases the maximum individual income standard deduction by 13.2 percent and reduces the state of Wisconsin’s debt by $100 million. The bill now goes to Gov. Evers for his consideration.

“Between 2017 and 2018, the use of vapor products increased 78% among high school students, and by 48% among middle school students. Nearly half of 12th graders reported using vapor products. After decades of smoking going down, suddenly the numbers have been spiking again. It is what can only be described as a public health crisis.”
State Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield) on the passage of Assembly Bill 422 that would increase the age to purchase cigarettes, tobacco, nicotine, and vapor products from 18 to 21. The bill would penalize both licensed and non-licensed retailers who sell these products to individuals under the age of 21. The bill now goes to the state Senate.

“If there is anything that should be bipartisan, it should be our culture of having a drink and talking about politics.”
State Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, on legislation that would bars to stay open until 4 a.m. when the Democratic National Convention comes to Milwaukee

“This is not a priority. We as a state will survive.”
State Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, on the 4 a.m. bar proposal

“You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, and up comes the corn.” Billionaire Mike Bloomberg in a quote he made in 2016 that was discovered this week

“Mini Mike hates the farmer. Never mind, I don’t think he’s going to be the candidate anyway, to be honest with you.”
President Trump at a rally in Phoenix

Bloomberg wouldn’t last 3 seconds as a farmer… but like his comments on minorities, you can tell he really hates regular hardworking Americans. He will never fight for them because he couldn’t care less about them.”
Donald Trump Jr

“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.’ And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg. Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women and supporting racist policies like redlining and stop and frisk.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at this week’s Democratic debate slamming Mike Bloomberg

“I don’t think there’s any chance of the senator (Bernie Sanders) beating Donald Trump. The best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses!”
At this week’s debate Bloomberg took a shot at Sanders’ electability

“When you asked Bernie how much it cost last time he said…‘We’ll find out.’ “It costs over $35 trillion, let’s get real.”
Joe Biden at this week’s Democratic debate after Bernie Sanders defended the cost of his signature “Medicare for All” healthcare plan, which would eliminate the private insurance industry in favor of a government-backed healthcare system that would cover all Americans

“And we all know how I feel about billionaires. I don’t think that in a place where 60 percent of Americans can’t even, you know, make more than $40,000 a year that the presence of a billionaire who largely makes their money off of businesses underpaying their workers like Walmart, like Amazon, like so on, should exist.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) stated during her Wednesday interview on “The View” the billionaires behind companies like Walmart and Amazon should not exist because they underpay their employees

“I hear he’s getting pounded tonight — you know he’s in a debate.  I hear that pounding. He spent $500 million so far and I think he has 15 points. Crazy Bernie was at 30.”
Just minutes before President Trump regaled a friendly crowd in Phoenix, Democrats watched billionaire and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg make his debut on the debate stage ahead of Nevada’s party caucuses on Saturday. Trump took aim at the new target,  Bloomberg.

“What a wonderful country we have. The best-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses. What did I miss here?”
Bloomberg at this week’s Democratic debate

“If that’s what happened in a Democratic debate, you know, I– I think it’s quite likely that Trump will chew him up and spit him out.”
Bernie Sanders saying he was surprised at how unprepared Mike Bloomberg was at this week’s debate

“We don’t care who the hell it is, we’re going to win.”
President Trump on the eventual Democratic nominee

“Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history.”
Barack Obama in a tweet on Monday, trying to take credit for the economy

“With an economy this good, it’s no wonder Barack Obama is trying to take credit. But I believe the saying is: ‘You didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen’.”
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)

“We want to express our most profound and everlasting gratitude to President Trump. How do you properly thank someone who has given you back the freedom that was stolen from you? He didn’t have to do this. He’s a Republican president. I was a Democratic governor. And doing this does nothing to help his politics. President Trump is a man who is tough and outspoken, but he also has a kind heart.”
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, speaking to the press eight years since he went to prison on corruption-related crimes, including trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. President Trump commuted Rod Blagojevich’s corruption sentence.

“Doctors should be able to write prescriptions for housing the same way they do for insulin or antibiotics.”
Homelessness should be treated by doctors in the same way they treat patients with the flu or diabetes – with a prescription – California Governor Gavin Newson (D) said

“Doctors should write you a prescription, because you’re talking crazy talk.”
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro responding to Newsom

“I feel every single guy over there deserves a beating. I think the commissioner completely handled it the wrong way. But that’s the way he did it and we got to live with that. I know a lot of people disagreed with the way he handled this decision. He should be embarrassed of himself.”
Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis became the latest major leaguer to take aim at the Houston Astros in the wake of their sign-stealing scandal. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one season for the team’s actions in using video to steal catcher’s signs in 2017 and 2018, and the pair were fired by Astros owner Jim Crane. Manfred fined the Astros $5 million and stripped them of their next two first- and second-round draft picks.


A recent survey of student attitudes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reveals that conservative-leaning students are the likeliest ideological group to self-censor their beliefs, for fear of social and other reprisals, and that conservatives are by far the most disparaged cohort on campus. The study also finds that leftist students are far more likely to reject free speech norms, and are least tolerant of opposing viewpoints.


An Economist/YouGov poll found that Trump was leading a generic Democrat by over 50 percent, 52-48. The poll also discovered that people suspected that all of the individual Democratic candidates would “probably lose” to Trump. Only 29 percent felt that either former Vice President Joe Biden or Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) could beat Trump.


The day after a widely panned debate by the Democrat presidential hopefuls, the headline in The New York Times reads: “Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump.” Liberal media outlets are using the report to already cast doubt on the legitimacy of Trump’s re-election, should he win again in November.


Video consent before sex?

Never-Trumpers; the Daytona 500; Trump and Valentine’s Day; Trump’s economy;how good are the Bucks?

Here are this week’s highly interesting reads:

Today’s highly interesting read (02/21/20): Are the Milwaukee Bucks the Best Team of the Millennium?

Today’s highly interesting read (02/20/20): Trump’s economy is so good that Dems’ new talking point is Obama built it

Today’s highly interesting read (02/19/20): The Cruel Reality Of Life As One Of The Media’s Never-Trump Waterboys

Today’s highly interesting read (02/18/20): Leftists Angered over the Daytona 500 Should Blow it Out Their Tailpipes

Today’s highly interesting read (02/17/20): A Trump Valentine’s Day Story

The Barking Lot – America’s Finest Dog Blog (02/22/20)

The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…Written by my lovely wife, Jennifer and me.  It opens with the weekend dog walking forecast followed by the main blog from dog lover, Jennifer. Then it’s DOGS IN THE NEWS and our close. Enjoy!

THE WEEKEND DOG-WALKING FORECAST: We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors.

TODAY:  Mainly sunny. High of 44. “C+”

SUNDAY:  Partly cloudy.  High of 49.  “B-”

Speaking of dog-walking…

Now, here’s my lovely wife, Jennifer with this week’s main blog.

Kevin and I “argue” about exactly three things:  the thermostat setting (typical man vs. woman temperature disagreements,) my fondness for ‘80’s music (no decade could ever produce a single decent song since the 1970’s,) and reading fiction vs. non-fiction (I watch zero TV.  Reading fiction is my entertainment and escape from reality.  It’s my guilty pleasure.)

Specifically I enjoy reading the suspense/mystery/horror/supernatural works of Dean Koontz.  I don’t remember when I discovered his books, but after the first one I was completely hooked.  While his individual novels may differ in characters, setting, and plot it’s like sitting down to chat with an old friend every time I open a new book.  He has such a distinct style of writing that within a few paragraphs I can feel “at home” once more.  In my single days, reading his novels late at night caused me to jump at a startling sound or forced me to turn on a light that wasn’t really needed.  I actually like that.

Besides just crafting stories that bring shivers to my spine, I appreciate his recurring themes of love, hope, joy, and wonder.  More often than not, these feelings are brought to life by canine characters in his books.  I had always enjoyed the photos on the back and references to his own dog, Trixie.  Then came the back page notation about “the spirit of Trixie.”  Indeed, Trixie had passed away and I felt very bad for the Koontz family.

Dean, Gerda, and Trixie

Occasionally (or once really, about five years ago) I read a non-fiction book, when it is also penned by the aforementioned Mr. Koontz.  And, you guessed it – Trixie is the subject.  As a former dog owner who had to deal with the death of two beloved pets, it was not easy reading about the end of Trixie’s life.  But I thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful anecdotes that Dean offers.  He echoes so many of my feelings and philosophies about dogs enriching our lives.  Like any proud parent, he happily brags about his Golden girl and I don’t blame him a bit.  She was truly a remarkable dog.  It goes without saying that I highly recommend reading this story… as well as having a few tissues on hand if you’re prone to tears.

I am now eagerly awaiting another novel featuring his favorite animal.  As soon as I can get my hands on a library copy, I will devour Devoted in likely less than 24 hours.  Since I follow his fan page on Facebook, I saw the article The Sacramento Bee published a few days ago.  In the Q&A section, Koontz offers his usual humorous anecdotes about life & dogs.  What a great interview!

An author who can simultaneously frighten me half to death AND wax poetic about America’s best pet?  I might not be his biggest fan, but I’m in the top two!
—-Jennifer Fischer

Thanks Jennifer!

Time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.

Heartbreak for dog owners: Popular breed more prone now to cancer.

Saying goodbye to a dog with dementia.

Professional baseball player’s surprising post about dogs goes viral.

NY Times: Dog parks are rife with problems — for you, and for your dog. Again, that’s the NY Times. There is another view.

Sales for refrigerated dog-food makers soar.

‘Cuss Collar’ will swear every time your dog barks.

We are always happy to share these stories with you. From the incredible file.

From the dogs are amazing file.

Last week Jennifer blogged about whether dogs love you. Here’s more.

This dog is a mayor.

Dog with ‘wonky’ face named Picasso thriving in new home, owner says: ‘Perfectly imperfect.

Hallmark Channel helps shelter dogs find fairytale forever homes.

Dogs are going nuts for this.

A pigeon that can’t fly befriended a puppy that can’t walk. Cute stuff.


HERE’S OUR DOG PHOTO(s) OF THE WEEK. wearing masks are seen at a main shopping area, in downtown Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus. Photo: Reuters

Dog grooming during the Moncler show at Milan fashion week. No, I don’t understand the spacesuits. Groomers are aware that sudsy water, chemicals, and flea treatments fly off dogs shaking their coats out. Photograph: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

What is that?

We close as we always do with our closing video. A bunch this week.

Browser is something else. From not so far away Lake County, Illinois…

NEXT…Blind canine Stevie Wonderful was named Pedigree Foundation’s 2020 Rescue Dog of the Year. The 9-year-old Border Collie has been a Canine Greeter at Cleveland Clinic for two years. He joined a talented group of canine companions who bring smiles to the faces of patients, family members and staff as they greet visitors in the hospital’s lobby. Three years ago, Stevie was found on the side of the road with a rusty chain wrapped around his neck. He was taken to Indian Summers Border Collie Rescue where he was literally saved. Every Wednesday, Stevie reports to the Cleveland Clinic as a Canine Greeter, a job at which he excels.

CUTENESS ALERT for our next video from Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

Opening in theaters this weekend…

The film is getting poor reviews because the dog is not a real dog and that’s very noticeable.

Finally, not sure where this was taken but the video made the rounds on social media this week.

And I can’t resist. One more.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for stopping by.

We’d really appreciate it if you forward this on to other dog lovers you know. Let them have some fun!

See ya, BARK, next Saturday!

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Goodnight everyone, and don’t get snubbed this weekend!

Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.

We start off this week with pictures, a whole bunch. All of the following women have something in common. See how many you know.

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You probably recognized quite a few of those artists. Famous entertainers, every single one. They’re all in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

To clarify, that last photo is Whitney Houston. Last month she was on the list of the latest Hall of Fame inductees.

So, a little over 30 pictures above of some very talented HOF members. Not enough according to Ann Powers, National Public Radio’s music critic and correspondent. Only 8% of the inductees are women, and Powers made a case that 41 other women should be included. It’s an interesting list. We’ll examine a few and see if you agree with Powers’ reasoning.

Let’s get started. Powers writes that the most serious snub is that of Carole King.

“But she’s in as a songwriter (in partnership with her ex-husband, Gerry Goffin)!” That weak argument has stood between King and the placement she rightly deserves for too long. Tapestry is one of the biggest-selling albums of all time and the definitive emotional soundtrack for countless women and men of the baby boom.”

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King wrote “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” for the Shirelles with then-husband Gerry Goffin when she was 17. And that’s not all:  “Take Good Care Of My Baby” (Bobby Vee, 1961), “The Loco-Motion” (Little Eva, 1962), “Up On The Roof” (The Drifters, 1962), “Chains” (The Cookies, 1962; The Beatles, 1963), “One Fine Day” (The Chiffons, 1963), “Hey Girl” (Freddie Scott, 1963), “I’m Into Something Good” (Herman’s Hermits, 1964), “Just Once In My Life” (with Phil Spector for The Righteous Brothers, 1965), and “Don’t Bring Me Down” (The Animals, 1966).

While she was recording Tapestry in 1971 James Taylor recorded King’s “You’ve Got A Friend,” taking the song all the way to No. 1.  Tapestry spawned four GRAMMY Awards® — Record, Song and Album Of The Year as well as Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female honors.  With more than 25 million units sold worldwide, Tapestry remained the best-selling album by a female artist for a quarter century, and King went on
to amass three other platinum and eight gold albums. Tapestry was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1998.

Remember, we’re talking about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Again, Powers writes:

“Never simply confined to the country genre, the legendary (Patsy) Cline showed both the raw emotion and willingness to transcend musical boundaries that rock and roll supposedly pioneered.”

Dean Martin, Jerry Lee Lewis,  Gene Vincent, Ringo Starr, Anne Murray and Bob Dylan all recorded “You Belong To Me.”

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Yes, those are the Jordanaires, Elvis’ backup singers, featured on that recording.

Why isn’t Cline, a huge star, in the Rock Hall of Fame? One reason could be that her final four Top Ten country singles didn’t make the pop Top 40.

Cline died in a plane crash in March of 1963. She was only 30.

The next song has the same title but it’s a totally different tune.  From Powers:

“As witty a social commentator as Randy Newman and as heartfelt a memoirist as her most-gossiped-about husband James Taylor, (Carly) Simon was the most glamorous Everywoman in an era when feminism and pop pushed each other into new territory.”

Simon believed singing would be a great way to overcome her childhood stuttering. It worked. She recorded more than a dozen Top 40 hits.

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Some tidbits about Simon. She had flings with Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, Jack Nicholson and Cat Stevens, and was married to James Taylor.

A breast cancer survivor, King suffered from anxiety and depression.

She was the first artist to have won three major awards — Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe. Simon is now 74.

What about Connie Francis? Powers says she also needs to be inducted.

“The top singles artist of the late 1950s, Francis embodied teenage girls’ yearnings – the rocket fuel that made rock and roll run – but was, for too long, considered too ‘pop’ for the Hall. Such distinctions make no sense in the era of Ariana Grande.”

In 1958, Cashbox, Billboard and the Jukebox Operators of America named Connie Francis as the #1 Female Vocalist. She was named Top Female Vocalist by all the trades for six consecutive years, a record never surpassed. Francis remains the most commercially successful female singer of all time with an estimated world-wide sales figure in excess of two hundred million.

This song came out in 1959. That same year Francis said in an interview “Rock ‘n’ roll is a masculine kind of music. ‘Come on out baby we’re going to rock’…suited for a man to sing…The mistake that many girl singers have made is trying to compete with the men [whereas] I’ve tried for the cute angle in lyrics.”

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In early November of 1974 Francis was on tour and was returning from a theater to a Howard Johnson Motel where she’d been staying. There she was brutally robbed, beaten and raped at knife point. The incident made headlines across the globe. The case went to trial where Francis was awarded $2.6 million for the motel chain’s failure to provide a safe room. It was the largest amount ever awarded in a case of sexual assault in the world, but brought no satisfaction to Francis. Following the attack she went into seclusion for the next seven years.

On being rejected for the Hall of Fame Francis once said, “I have no plausible explanation for this oversight, and I’m certain, that if asked, the ‘impartial’ members of this committee couldn’t dream up a logical explanation either. But I take solace in the fact that I’m not alone, because there are many other multi-million-seller artists who’ve also been inexplicably overlooked by this ‘exclusive’ club, as well. It’s a colossal joke. As a matter of fact, in the very unlikely event that I were ever to be nominated, I would undoubtedly decline. It’s nothing but a patently and unabashedly political issue.”​

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

You can read Ann Powers’ article here to see who else she thinks deserves to be in the HOF.

And now Powers with our close.

“The queen of contemplative pop, whose reputation has been rehabilitated by young critics and musicians who understand the power in her soft approach, is as influential on current pop as any screaming rocker. She released her first single in 1966.”

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On the morning of February 4, 1983, Karen Carpenter collapsed at her family’s home in Downey, California. She was taken to a local hospital, but the medical staff was unable to revive her. Carpenter died of heart failure after a longtime battle with anorexia. She was  32.

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