Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ms. Net's Famous Lemonade

Whenever two or more Dublin natives are present, food is always served.  So, really it was just a matter of time before I showed up to Momma's work on a day where delicious goodies were dished up.  In addition to your usual sandwiches and cake, Dublin City Schools usually has the most delicious lemonade that's ever tickled your tongue.  For months now, the ladies at the office have been perplexed by Ms. Net's Famous Lemonade.  But after much trial and error, Momma and I have it down.

So, with Fourth of July parties quickly approaching, volunteer to bring the beverages, and try the recipe out for yourself!

What You'll Need To Make a Gallon:

-4 Lemons
-1 Can of Condensed Minutemaid Lemonade  (found on the frozen juice aisle)
-5 oz. of Bottled Lemon Juice
-3 1/2 Cups of Sugar (No, that's not a misprint!)

For starters, cut your lemons into halves.  Pick out as many lemons seeds as you can.  Sure, some are bound to wind up in your finished product, but the least amount of lemon seeds the better.  Then, squeeze the four lemons, getting out as much juice as possible.

Afterwards, cut up the halves in tiny sections, and drop them all in your lemon juice.

Dump the frozen condensed lemonade in with your lemon juice and slices.

Next, you'll need to make a simple syrup with your bottled lemon juice and sugar.  Basically, you just put the lemon juice in a pot, gradually add the sugar, and stir until it comes to a boil.

Pour the simple syrup into your pitcher.

Add water to fill up the rest of the gallon.

Be careful to completely stir your lemonade.  Otherwise, your sugar will stick to the bottom of the pitcher.

Finally, place Ms. Net's Famous Lemonade in the fridge.  If possible, let it sit overnight so all the ingredients meld together.  Of course, if you're in a bit of a hurry, just be sure to add ice!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

34 Sure Signs You Grew Up In Georgia

Inspired by Buzzfeed's X number of ways to know your from____, I've created my own list.  So,  here's 34 sure signs you grew up in Georgia.  Stone Mountain, Coca-Cola, and that  bench in Forrest Gump should be ringing a bell right about now.

1) When a waitress asks you if Pepsi is okay after you order Coke, you always chose another drink.
For Georgians, Coca-Cola is better than water! 
2) Baseball=Atlanta Braves!
And, you better know how to do the Tomahawk Chop.  
3) There's a Waffle House involved when you give directions.
4) People ask you if you know Honey Boo Boo.
5) Your hometown is mentioned in at least one country song.
6) Someone you know has used a football schedule to plan their wedding date.
Good luck if you're a House Divided.  
7) Forget Dunkin’ Donuts; Krispy Kreme are the only kind you’ll eat.

8) You think people who complain about heat index in their states are sissies.
And, you know not to go by the temperature when it's time to get dressed. 
9) You see nothing wrong with double names.
10) You're out of school for a week when snow flurries are predicted.
11) Ray Charles sings your state's most sacred song, "Georgia On My Mind."
12) Whenever you leave the country people ask you what it was like growing up on a plantation wearing hoop skirts because their only Georgia reference is Gone With The Wind.

13) Despite all her recent flack, Paula Deen is your cooking idol.
It's Butter Time Baby! 
14) And at trip to Savannah is never complete without a stop by  her restaurant, The Lady and Sons.
Of course macaroni and cheese is a vegetable! 
15) 1996 was your year.
16) From kindergarten to sixth grade, you always completed six hours of recreational reading because that meant a free ticket to Six Flags!
17) When you think about your hometown, churches decorate every street corner.
18) You got up-close and personal with PANDAS at Zoo Atlanta!
19) You know when tomatoes, peaches, and Vidalia onions hit perfection.
20) You proudly boast that America can thank Georgi for its 39th President, Plains native Jimmy Carter.
21) Your parents pushed you to constantly keep a 3.0 and chose a Georgia college…HOPE Scholarship!
22) You never missed a high school football game.  And, you still remember the name of your cheerleader or quarterback crush.
23) Your Saturdays were always spent watching college football.  Whenever your team beat their SEC rival, you went to school on Monday and totally made fun of your friends who rooted for the rivals.
24) You know the Allman Brothers Band called Middle Georgia their home for 10 years.
25) During your elementary school days, you confused Mount Rushmore and Stone Mountain.
What?  Both were mountains with men's faces. 
26) You know the best fried green tomatoes come from The Whistle Stop Cafe.

27) You're not a golf whiz, but you know everything about The Masters.
And will always remember this Bubba Watson moment 
28)  You boast that Macon's Cherry Blossom Festival is the "Pinkest Party on Earth."
Even the poodles are died pink. 
29) Drinking non-sweet tea is a crime.
And besides your Momma's, Chick-fil-A's got the best. 
30) You use “Sir” and “Ma’am” if there’s a remote possibility that the person you’re talking to is least 30 minutes older than you are.

31) Ted Turner is your media god, bringing joys like constant cartoons, TCM and CNN News.
32) You've searched for the Savannah bench Forrest Gump sat on.
33) Regardless of where you lived, taking a weekend trip to Atlanta was always worth mentioning on Facebook.
"A-T-L Bound"

And last but not least...
34) You laughed at Floridians who try to argue they're Southern too.
Because that's not how Southern Belles behave. 
Did I miss any other obvious ones?  Let me know in the comments section. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Paula Deen Fans Dishing Up Outrage

Paula Deen fans are dishing up deep-fried outrage after the Food Network announced its decision to drop her from their celebrity chefs roster.

Watching the Queen of Comfort Food was a weekend ritual for fan Marilynne Wilson.  A nurse from Jacksonville, Florida, she believes the cable network "jumped the gun" in refusing to extend the cook's contract after she acknowledged using racial slurs in the past.

Similarily, the Food Network's Facebook page is bombarded by comments from angry Deen fans; many claim they won't be watching the channel anymore.

"The Food Network Sucks", one viewer wrote.  "I would watch Paula Deen all day long and not care what she does in her free time.  I just want to learn some good cooking."

The decision to drop Deen, whose daytime shows have been Food Network fixtures since 2002, came two days after a sealed court deposition surfaced in which the chef acknowledged using the N-word.  However, the 66-year old added it'd been a long time.

"Things have changed since the '60s in the South," Deen said.  "My children and my brother object to that world being used in any cruel or mean behavior."

Deen and her brother, Bubba Hier, are being sued by a former manager of The Lady & Sons for sexual and racial harassment.  Deen's lawyer calls the allegations false.

Nonetheless, an hour after Deen issued a videotaped apology, the Food Network released their own statement on Friday, saying "it will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it express at the end of this month."

So what do you think?  Should the Country Cooking Guru have been fired?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Sesame Street" Creates First Muppet With Incarcerated Parent

Along with catchy tunes and lovable muppet stars, the children's television show Sesame Street  is
famous for tackling sensitive topics like divorce, hunger and military deployment.

Once again, they're breaking barriers with the introduction of a new character on their web series "Little Children, Big Challenges."

Donning blue hair and a green nose, Alex becomes the first muppet to have an incarcerated parent.

Parents in prison--on Sesame Street?  It's not as narrow of an issue as you might think.  According to a recent report, one in every 28 U.S. children has a parent in federal prison.  Sure, it's not Sesame Street's job to fix that problem, but they do feel responsible for helping children handle the handcuffs.

The episode deals with Alex's 'big feelings" about his father's absence and incarceration.  Sophia, an adult character from the webispode, steers the conversation because she too had a parent in prison as a child.

In addition to the clip, there's a tool kit with activities and tips to provide comfort to young children dealing with these tough issues.  Sesame Street hopes to educate children on how tough it can be for someone with an incarcerated parent, while at the same time letting children know they're not the only ones.

Talk about your teachable moment.  No wonder Sesame Street has won 143 Emmy Awards during its 40+ years on television.
So, what do you think?  Are you surprised that Sesame Street is addressing this topic on its show??

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Top TV Dads

Donning his Fathers Day duds of course. 

In celebration of Father's Day, I’ve compiled a list of TV’s greatest gift to fatherhood.

1) Heathcliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show--Seeing as how I'm spending my days in front of the computer streaming Seasons 1-8 of The  Cosby Show, let's just say the Huxtables are always on my brain.  So, it's really no surprise I'd say Heathcliff tops my list, but just think about the life lessons he taught us, all while keeping the comical antics and playful admonishments rolling.  If I was guaranteed a dad like Heathcliff, I'd want to be one of five too.  Plus, all his sweaters; seriously, he's got the most amazing wardrobe ever!

2, 3, and 4) Danny Tanner/Joey Gladstone/Jesse Katsopolis, Full House--A single father to  three young girls, Danny Tanner picks up the pieces after his  wife dies with the help of his brother-in-law and best friend.  The nearly perfect "dads" may be a bit clueless,  but let's be honest:  Danny makes sure the house is spotless; Joey keeps the laughs rolling with his endless supply of cartoon impersonations, and Uncle Jesse looks beautiful while singing them to sleep with sweet lullabies.  

That face...
5)Tim the Toolman Taylor, Home Improvement--The host of Tool Time, Tim's the quintessential "man's man."   He's a  bit accident prone too.  So, when he's not in the garage working on his hotrod or chatting with the upper half on neighbor Wilson's face, he's Jill's other half as they tackle the trials of raising three boys.  And, the grunt…well, that'd put him on the list by itself.

6)Eric Taylor aka Coach, Friday Night Lights--Coach Taylor is not only a loving dad to teen daughter Julie and baby Gracie Bell but also serves as a father-figure to all the boys on the East Dillon  football team.  I'd say he's the profoundly decedent bedrock of a great father and a great coach.  Plus, you'll always remember “Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose.”

7)Andy Griffith, The Andy Griffith Show--No list would be complete without doting dad  Andy Griffith.  Throughout the 60s, he weekly warmed the hearts of audience members, keeping Opie and the folks of Mayberry on a high standard of morality and proper behavior.

8)Mike Brady, The Brady Brunch--Famous for his morality talks, architect Mike Brady effortlessly headed up his blended family of six children.  Whether you saw The Brady Brunch when it first aired or only watched episodes once they hit TVLand, one thing's for sure, you've got to love Mike Brady!

9)Sandy Cohen, The OC--By far, Sandy Cohen was the best TV Dad of the 2000s.  He not only gave Ryan Atwood a home when his family abandoned him but also supported Seth with inventing the wonderful holiday known as Chrismukkah.  Then there's the eyebrows...

10)Dr. Jason Seaver, Growing Pains--Dad to four, stay-at-home psychiatrist Jason  was patient and kind when it came to juggling four children. For seven seasons he kept the peace between troublemaker Mike, honors student Carol,rambunctious Ben, and cute kiddo Chrissy.

11)Ward Cleaver, Leave It to Beaver--Whenever I had a sick day during elementary school, all my watching was turned to TV Land.  Of all the old time-y dads, I'd say Ward Cleaver was the best. The archetypal suburban parent, Ward would often give one of his boys a stern talking to after they committed a misadventure.  Besides dishing up moral instructions at the end of each episode, he also made sure Wally and Beaver thanked June for her always hot meals.

12)Fred Flintstone, The Flintstones-- When you hear the phrase "Yabba Dabba Doo", only one person's name comes to mind.  Yes, I realize Fred Flintstone is a cartoon character. But, as far as TV dads go, he's one of the best.  By no means is the prehistoric papa perfect, but we know behind the blue-collar bravado lies a heart of gold.  Plus, he always has a soft spot for dinosaur Dino and daughter Pebbles.

13)Eric Camden, 7th Heaven--When he wasn't busy balancing the schedules of seven children, Eric was spending time helping churchgoers and troubled teens.  A great example of a father trying to keep his kids on the right path, starting in the mid ‘90s he tackled moral issues better than anyone on TV.

14)Howard Cunningham, Happy Days--Regularly offering solid fatherly wisdom, Howard Cunningham always seemed to have time to be a part of his children's lives.  Plus, he and Marion's home (and kitchen) was always open to any friends  who stopped by.

15) Jed Bartlet, The West Wing--He might not be as fun as other dads, but it's hard to deny having your dad be the President of the United States would be pretty cool.  Plus, there was that whole thing where Zoey was kidnapped...

And, if I’m missing an obvious addition be sure to list it in the comments section!

Monday, June 3, 2013

My U.S. Open Predictions

I finally get to put my sports knowledge to good use.  Here's a look at my latest article for NBC.

When the U.S. Open tees off on June 13 at Merion Golf Club -- the first time the Open's been held in Pennsylvania in more than 30 years -- Tiger Woods will be the heavy favorite. But Tiger's not the only one with a chance to win. Here's nine other golfers primed to win the major championship.

Webb Simpson. As the reigning U.S. Open champ, Simpson's been a bit up and down as of late, but a second place finish at the 2013 RBC Heritage and top 15 at the Players Championship means he's streaking at just the right time. The 27-year-old former Wake Forest star says his game plan for taking on the historic site is to look at it as two different courses. Simpson knows if he drives well, the first 13 holes offer nine wedge opportunities. The last five, though, are some of "the hardest that we have ever had in the U.S. Open," he said to ESPN.

Kevin Streelman. He may not be a household name, but the 34-year-old Streelman ranks as one of the world’s best. Coming off his first PGA win in March and second place finish in the Players Championship, Streelman's going in to the U.S. Open with confidence. That should give him a mental edge to help him improve on his 2012 59th place finish.

Adam Scott. Sure, Scott finished nine under par at Augusta National to win the Masters this year. But can the Aussie keep the Grand Slam dream alive in the U.S. Open? Tabbed as the next big thing in golf, he is among a pack of players that include Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedker and Justin Rose with 25-1 odds to win the Open -- just behind favorites Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood. Merion does present a challenge, though: Scott drives at just over 41% accuracy, and the course is a course suited for those with a strong par-four game and short-iron style.

Rory McIlroy. A bad stretch of holes doomed Rory McIlroy at the Masters, pushing him out of the top 10. But he's prospered in U.S. Open preparations since then, with four top 10 finishes in his last six events, and the Northern Ireland native ranks number two in the world. One of the best putters in the game, he’s itching to be back on top. He's succeeded on this stage before -- McIlroy won the U.S. Open in 2011.

Brandt Snedeker. One of the key elements to winning a major tournament is putting. Reigning FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker is recognized as one of the best putters on tour. In February, after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AM, he was ranked No. 4 in the world. Going in to the last day of the Masters, he was tied for first before flopping in the final round and finishing in sixth place. Since then, he’s turned his attention to the U.S. Open by prepping for Merion. Merion’s East Course has consistently been rated among America’s toughest courses. Snedeker's been spending time at the course, including a trip before the Masters and a round in mid-May. He said Merion was a “great venue” than got him “jacked up for the U.S. Open.” The key to his success will be it cool during late holes.

Graeme McDowell. Given his U.S. Open pedigree, McDowell is one player who invites intrigue. Like Snedeker, the 2010 U.S. Open champ has already played the Pennsylvania course. He's also showed the ability to handle windy conditions and tight confines at the RBC Heritage Tournament in April, where he claimed his second PGA Tour victory. Merion’s Golf Club is a minute track set to feature thin fairways, high rough, and slick green. His ability to play tough will serve him well as he fights for a spot atop the leaderboard.

Phil Mickelson. Mickelson's won 41 times on the PGA tour, including four major championships. He's been inducted in the World Golf Hall of Fame and received almost $70 million in prize money. Still, he's never won the U.S. Open. Five times, the lefty finished second. Coming off a rough run at the Masters, he'll have to control the ball and give his short game more of a chance if he hopes to cure his “always a bridesmaid” streak at the U.S. Open.

Justin Rose. At the Masters, Rose was in excellent form from tee to green -- but he struggled with his short game on Augusta's lightning-quick greens, and finished 25th. Rose vowed to focus on his putting, and that's going to be key as the 32-year-old heads into the U.S. Open. Usually one to put himself in good position during the majors, he finished last year's tournament tied at 21.

Luke Donald. A permanent fixture in the top-10 for over two years, the 35-year-old Donald has never received universal acclaim because he still hasn't won a major championship. That could change at the U.S. Open. He’s recognized as possessing one of the best short games on the tour. With an emphasis on positional play and plenty of wedge approach shots, Merion is his ideal course.