FACTS, FAKE NEWS AND FACEBOOK – BY TOM CURLEY

As the drip, drip, drip of the Russia investigation is turning into a torrential downpour, the news cycle has been diverted to another story.

It appears the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama is a PEDOPHILE! A guy who had, or tried to have sex with CHILDREN!!

The facts are damning. The case against him is solid. So solid, in fact, most Republicans in Congress have come out against him and said he should drop out of the race. So, who isn’t denouncing him? Well, SCROTUS of course. What a surprise. Plus a whole bunch of Alabama Republican voters. The excuses some of them have come up with are mind-boggling.

How about: “Mary was under age. Joseph was much older, so Roy Moore is just being biblical.” Yes, that is real. I did not make it up. They also said “He might be a child-molester, but at least he’s not a Democrat.” That’s real, too.

My first thought at this was, is there no line that can’t be crossed with these people? Is there nothing this guy could do that would make them say “Enough. I’m out!”  Kill a puppy? Torture a kitten? Eat a baby?

But then I realized that the most probable reason they think the way they do is because they don’t believe the news reports. It’s all “fake news.” We live in a bizarre world where if people read news they don’t like, they refuse to believe it. Why?

Well, I think it’s mostly because of Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Most people get their news these days from social media. Not newspapers, not cable news, not network news, not local news. Just Facebook.

And where does the news on Facebook come from? Mostly from people on Facebook. All those folks sharing and sending stories they see on Facebook to their friends. Email is also a popular way to propagate “the new News”. I think the reason that this new “News” delivery system has been so successful is because you get the stories from your friends.

People you know.

There is only one small problem here. YOUR FRIENDS DIDN’T WRITE THE STORIES!

They just pass them along. 99.9% of them don’t check to see if they are actually true. It only takes about 30 seconds to go to snopes.com to see if a story is true, but almost nobody ever does it.

Unless your friend is an actual reporter you should take anything you read online with a grain of salt. Some with a grain of salt the size of a grapefruit.

That’s a lot of salt!


Here’s a sad fact. Almost all the stuff you see online is not true.


There is no pill, cream or exercise that will make your penis larger. There is no program from Bill Gates, Disney, or any other company that is donating five dollars to a cancer charity every time you forward an email.

You are not going to lose 50 pounds in two days using “This belly busting miracle food!” Nor is there a Nigerian Prince who is going to send you 25 million dollars. Did I mention there is nothing that’s going to make your penis larger?

Your friends mean well, but they’re your friends. They are not journalists.

The Russians managed to send fake stories to over 120 million Americans using Facebook. Mostly because people shared and tweeted those fake stories. Facebook is like the 9-year-old friend who knew everything about everything you had when you were nine. You believed every word he said. And he was always full of shit.

Babies come from Amazon.com

Try this as a general rule on whether or not the story might be true. If you read it on social media, check out where the story actually came from, not who sent it to you. 

News is news. It’s supposed to be factual reporting on what is going on in the world. It’s not supposed to be what you would like to be going on in the world.

P.S.: If you pass this blog along to at least ten people, absolutely nothing good or bad will happen to you, but it sounds like a good idea to me.

ANOTHER GREY DAY – ATMOSPHERIC MORNING

When I was a kid, I had a book. It was published by Disney and this was a long time before Disney became the big name it is today. It was called “Seasons” — or something like that. What was impressive were the drawings.

Each chapter (a couple of pages, large print) was a drawing with a short description of the month. Clearly, the drawings were from somewhere in this area — obviously New England or someplace similar.

I always remember November. It showed an almost empty field. Trees, standing naked except for clinging brown leaves … and wind. A couple of “people” (Disney anti-humans) holding their coats closed and heading into the wind.

No picture I’ve ever seen of November has so well captured that grey, chilly mood of this month. It is that kind of day.

SOMETHING OLD – THURSDAY’S SPECIAL

THURSDAY’S SPECIAL: TRACES OF THE PAST Y3-10


The old town of Tombstone was rebuilt to make the movie “Tombstone.” That’s the one with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer and it was all shot in this town. The OK Corral is here, too and you can see the gunfight every day at 3 pm, in season. So it’s old … but it has been rebuilt. It’s a great place to be. Everything looks just like the movie, including the saloon. Except, of course, you can buy modern tee shirts and all that kind of stuff.

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MY BEST-EVER COOKIE RECIPE – BY ELLIN CURLEY

For a short while, many years ago, I had the fantasy that I could start a dessert catering business from home. I spent a year collecting and testing recipes and producing marketing materials. After all that, I discovered that my town didn’t allow any type of commercial cooking from a residence without a professionally licensed kitchen. I had been given misinformation when I inquired before starting this process.

The cover of my marketing flyer

The year of experimenting with and tweaking recipes was a wonderful time for me. I threw myself into the process of education and invention. My concept was to adapt old-fashioned English desserts into exciting and new American treats.

I first discovered English ‘puddings’ (the English word for desserts) on a canal boat trip through the countryside of England. The local pubs we ate at served glorious dessert concoctions that were different from the average American dessert. I was infatuated and became obsessed with these recipes. I bought some English cookbooks specializing in this genre of English baking.

One of the paperback cookbooks I bought in England

One very popular English treat is called a ‘Flapjack Bar’. It has no relationship to the pancake that we refer to as a Flapjack. This bar has more in common with our Rice Krispie Treats. It’s a soft and chewy, sweet bar made from oats rather than Rice Krispies.

Flapjack Bar

Everyone who tried my Flapjack Bar loved it. We especially loved the crispy bits around the edges of the bar. It occurred to me that I could get an all crispy snack if I flattened the ‘bar’ into a cookie. I experimented with different recipes and finally came up with the perfect ‘Flapjack Cookie’ recipe. I checked with my friend in London. No one in England has come up with my idea, so I’m very proud of my invention.

This cookie became the most popular item when I tested my recipes on family and friends. People went crazy for this chewy, crunchy, tasty, unique cookie. When I was invited for dinner, I was often asked to bring some of my addictive cookies.

I consider this cookie to be one of my most creative and successful ideas. I would like to share the recipe with you so you can enjoy it too.

My Flapjack Cookies

The recipe is incredibly simple, quick and easy to make. It’s pretty foolproof too. However, the key ingredient is something that is very popular in England but is not always easy to find in America. It’s called Lyle’s Golden Syrup. It’s the brown sugar version of clear corn syrup. It has the delicious flavor that makes this cookie unique. It also insures the right texture. I’ve tried to replace it with honey or corn syrup and it just isn’t the same.

NOTE: You can find half a dozen versions of this for sale on Amazon, so don’t give up. Just type “Lyle Golden Syrup” into the Amazon finder and it will pop up … in bottles, cans, and various sizes.

Lyle’s Golden Syrup in can and plastic bottle

I can get Lyle’s Golden Syrup in the honey and maple syrup section of my supermarket. I have also found it in the English/Irish part of the international aisle in other supermarkets. Some gourmet food stores will also sell it. If you can’t find it locally, go online and order it. You can use it in dessert recipes instead of honey or corn syrup. It gives everything a wonderfully different taste.

These cookies will last for up to a week if you keep them well covered. You can also freeze them and defrost them naturally (no microwave). Another option is to freeze extra balls of the pre measured batter and take them out when you want to make a fresh batch of the cookies. Just add a minute or so to the cooking time if you’re cooking them frozen.

Ready to bake frozen balls of cookie dough

You can also add chopped dried fruit or nuts to the batter to vary the flavor if you want some variety. I used chopped dried cranberries or chopped skinless almonds (I started with the diced almonds and further cut them down a bit).

Here is the recipe. I hope you like it as much as I do!


FLAPJACK COOKIES


5 oz. butter (unsalted)
3 oz. Lyle’s Golden Syrup
7 oz. light brown sugar
2 ½ cups (8 oz.) quick oatmeal oats
¼ cup (1 oz.) shredded sweetened coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Put parchment paper on cookie sheets.
  2. Heat the butter, brown sugar and syrup until butter has completely melted. Add the vanilla and mix through.
  3. Mix the oatmeal and the coconut together.
  4. Stir the sauce into the dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.
  5. Cool slightly till batter thickens a bit.
  6. Place heaping teaspoons of the batter (about .5 oz per cookie) on the cookie sheets. Place cookies at least 2” apart.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are a dark caramel color.
  8.  Cool completely till firm and crisp before removing from sheet.

Notes: (1) For Cranberry Flapjack Cookies, add 2.5 oz. chopped cranberries to dry mix. (2) For Almond Flapjack Cookies, add 1.25 oz. chopped almonds to dry mix.

NOVEMBER DOGS

That time of year has come again by which I mean the period when I don’t go out a lot to shoot. Right now, there isn’t much to shoot. The trees are almost naked and whatever leaves remain on them, are not especially interesting. The dogs think this is a great time to catch up on their sleep.

Garry is on the computer, writing something. All’s quiet throughout the house. All we’ve got on today’s agenda is a trip to the doctor for Garry’s shoulder and a trip to the pharmacy for dog drugs.

I love filling prescriptions labeled “Bonnie” Armstrong (she gets eye drops) … or “Duke” Armstrong. Some people might suspect Garry is the Duke. He has an emotional relationship with “Duke” Wayne. Okay, not necessarily mutual but at least they had one, good, long chat, right?

But the pictures? Around the house. Maybe around the grocery store. No broad landscape vistas for now. When the snow falls, maybe then. So hard to know what will happen. But for now and for the month to come until we turn the year, it’s local, personal. Interior for the most part. It’s that time of year again.