Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Thoughts on Memorial Day: Editor Opinion

Monday, May 30th is Memorial Day, a day when the citizens of this country take time to remember the fallen soldiers and the men and women how paid the “final Price” for our liberties and freedoms, we also take time to pay tribute the ones who survived and came home to make their way in the world.

I am a patriotic American, I believe in the founding fathers vision of a free society where we would all live in harmony and work together towards a perfect union of brotherhood. I believe that this is possible, but only through the work of everyone towards a common goal and a common good. I state this because I want to make it clear that I feel that this Memorial Day we need to expand our feelings about who deserves the praise and how we should show it.

In this country, there has been a common belief that “We’re Number One” or “Our Way is The Only Way”, but, don’t you think that everyone everywhere would feel this way about their country as well? I would propose that everyone would feel that their way of life, their social and political structure, their religious beliefs are just as important, just as pure, just as worth dying for.

Rather than putting up a flag and firing up the BBQ and sucking back a beer “for old glory”, lets open our thoughts and hearts to all of those who gave up their lives for all of us. Let us think of the Soldiers, Police, Fire Fighters, Volunteers and Journalists... EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE how gave their lives in the pursuit of Freedom, it should not matter what country, which war or what time period. I would also like to add that we remember the Civilians, Aid Workers, Men, Women and Children who died.

When I discussed this, I was asked by an associate “So, should we honor the Terrorists from 9-11?”, I would say that we should not honor the act of terror or honor terrorists, but in their minds and hearts, they believed themselves to be “Freedom Fighters”, if you find that you cannot, for one day expand your remembrance to forgive those who would hate us for only a day, them lend your hearts to their Mothers, Fathers, Children, the ones left behind to bear the burden and shame of their fallen family member’s actions, and remember their victims, who did not have a chance to fight back.

In the recent months, people around the world are rising up against oppressive regimes and trying to make their lives better, some we agree with, others we may not atone. There have been Natural Disasters like we have not seen in ages. People everywhere on the brink of destruction, not trusting anyone from anywhere, but if you just take a moment to forget which side of the pond we are on, and just think of the people, in themselves genetically the same all over the world, all of the “Fallen Heroes” deserve a salute.

Our nation was built on the Christian principles of Freedom and Forgiveness, I see on Auto Bumpers the stickers “WWJD” or “He Lived so we would be forgiven” well, what would Jesus do? The Lord and Savior would be the first to reach his hand out and share his love, why can’t we all?

This Memorial Day, Remember why we are a Free People, and Who Gave us that Freedom, God Bless America and Everyone Else.

Review of In Search Of Beethoven & In Search Of Mozart

Article first published as DVD Review: In Search Of Beethoven and In Search Of Mozart on Blogcritics.

This Special Collector's Edition-Three Disk Box Set of the Microcinema Exclusive educational documentary series titled In Search Of Beethoven & In Search Of Mozart is as much brilliant as the composers whose lives are touched upon. Directed by Phil Grabsky, these two documentaries take you not only into the lives of both Beethoven and Mozart, but into their worlds, what inspired them, created them and gave them reason and cause to create the music that has spanned time and is still as unique and powerful as when it was created.

Filmed in locations in and around the European cities, homes and haunts of the composers, In Search Of Beethoven & In Search Of Mozart, the films take you into the very footsteps of the masters, it is obvious that there was extensive research into the lives of both Beethoven and Mozart. There are commentaries by noted Historians, Conductors and World Renown Performers, whom have made the works of Beethoven and Mozart the focus of their careers. The viewer gets a glimpse into the private journals of both Beethoven and Mozart, and find out the until now known reasons for why they lived as they did and why they were not only well known and famous in their lives, but also the tortured geniuses that would invoke, in their music, images of love, hope and the divine.

Beethoven and Mozart, both musical contemporaries, living at the same time in very similar places, went on to lead very different lives, you learn of Beethoven’s desire to live an aristocratic life, how Mozart, at the age of five, wrote his first piano piece, at an age when most children are unable to play piano! In Search Of Beethoven & In Search Of Mozart show you the Highs and the Lows of the composer’s great lives in the era of invention and revolution.

I sat down to watch In Search Of Beethoven & In Search Of Mozart with my wife, both of us enjoy classical music and documentaries, we found ourselves riveted to our seats. The series is not “dry” or monotone, but vibrant and intriguing, the commentators/narrators spoke with enthusiasm and the information about the composers lives showed them as the “stars” of their times and as people whom fell prey to the same issues that we have today dealing with social matters, politics, war and personal issues, it was very dramatic. Shortly after our kids came into the room and they were interested too, my daughter, who is eight years old, was completely still and afterwards watched the third disk, which had extras like deleted scenes, interviews and complete movements by the symphonies and concerto ensembles that performed pieces by the composers in the documentary. I feel my children learned about the lives of Beethoven and Mozart just as much as I did, and it was a great way to expose them to culture and music.

It is difficult to tell you more without exposing too many of the secrets of the documentaries In Search Of Beethoven & In Search Of Mozart, the series will be available for purchase on May 31st, 2011 at your local retailer, online or at the web site for the series, I would advise you to mark your calendar and get this series.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Food Review -Hawaiian Kettle Style Chips

Article first published as Food Review: Hawaiian Kettle Style Chips on Blog critics.

Summer, a time for family outings, parties and having the friends and family over for many occasions, and all of them include snacks. I have had my share on company rich events and I like to have crunchy snacks around to keep the guests happy until the BBQ is done, and I have found a new treat I would like to share with you.


Hawaiian Kettle Style Chips by Pinnacle Foods have fabulous and uniquely satisfying taste that is sure to please the most ardent snack fan. The chips are not paper thin but thick and crisp, not oily but full of the natural rich potato flavor with just a hint of salt. I tried four of the varieties of chips they make and I would like to tell you about them.

The Original Flavor is naturally sweet and bold in its simplicity, great for eating plain or with your favorite dip, I like onion dip or plain sour cream, but I think any of your choices would be just as great.

The Sweet Maui Onion has a snappy taste, not too strong on the onion, but it has a “caramelized” onion flavor that brings out a natural tone and texture that does not need any dip or sauces to make it taste better.

The Luau BBQ flavored chips are a spicy treat that, unlike other BBQ flavored chips is refreshing and not too heavy on the tongue. It has a delightful zest, a peppery after taste that lingers just long enough for you to reach for another chip.

Finally, The Wasabi Flavored Chips, with a deep tongue curling heat, makes your taste buds “self-cleaning”, have a glass of water or your favorite beverage ready, you will need it. If you like spicy hot foods, this is it, I loved it!

Any of these varieties would be great to eat with your favorite BBQ meal, after game party platter or alone on an afternoon watching the tube, Hawaiian Kettle Style Chips by Pinnacle Foods, look for them next time you’re out shopping for your family.


Joseph Timmons

Food and Wine Critic for Groove Studio One Magazine

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pictures say it all























29th Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival


A Weekend of Wine and Fun for Everyone

IMG_9934This year’s 29th Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival was a fabulous event and a fantastic weekend of exploring the fine wines produced by the local vintners and wineries of the Central Coast of California. Paso Robles and the surrounding counties, which is well known for it’s plethora of beautifully scenic locations and for it’s wonderful agriculture is considered the place to grow the best grapes possible. Many of the local wineries have produced some of the best known award winning wines recognized around the world, and this year’s selections is no exception.

IMG_8978I personally tasted over 200 different varieties, Red and White, from outstanding wineries, such as Ortman Family Wines, Still Waters, Vina Robles, Arroyo Robles, Halter Ranch, Justin Wines and so many more. Paso Robles is home to over 275 Wineries, Tasting Rooms and Growers Ranches that make the area the ideal for both the wine industry and the community.

IMG_9859In addition to a vast choice of wines to sample, there were many booths that were hosted by the fine food/epicurean dealers and restaurateurs of Paso Robles - Cheese Makers, Farm Service Providers and Growers. This is an event that not only supports the wine industry, but all of the community businesses and services. Paso Robles is the kind of town that has managed to grow with the times but still retain the charm and elegance of “The Old Days”, a simpler time when you knew your neighbors by their first name and you could sit on the porch and watch the world go by with a smile, in short, an American Town, a place to call home.

IMG_9074While at the festival, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing the hosts of the very popular radio show about wine called “The Cork Dorks”, Adam Montiel and Jeremy West host this fun and freaky show that talk about the wines of the central coast with a humorous note, not to take themselves or the appreciation too seriously has made them the “go to” guys of wine.

IMG_9110“The Cork Dorks” are on Krush 92.5 FM which streams live on the internet. Jeremy an Adam are very well versed on the community and the wineries and had this to say about their radio station, their show and the community: “KRUSH is an interesting type of station as that it blends the Singer / Songwriter style of music with the California Wine Lifestyle, it’s really about getting down to who the winemakers is and what they are about, we get to know them and show them as a person, not just what they sell”, said Adam Montiel. Jeremy West pointed out “There is a multitude of winemakers who just love what they do and want to bring that same love of wine to the community with an industry that is designed to support the community”. Adam then added “We mix music, community and a love of life”. The Cork Dorks takes their irreverent spin on living life to the air and makes the daily drive time fun.

Mark Sullivan photoThe day was well rounded by a special cooking demonstration with Chef Mark Sullivan of Spruce, a very popular restaurant in San Francisco. This was Chef Sullivan’s 2nd year doing demonstrations and the final product was delicious. Chef Sullivan stated he loves the Town of Paso Robles, its people and its natural charm and wanted to prepare a special dish for this year’s fair patrons, a dish that reflected the natural and wholesome charm of the community. The dish prepared was a Farroto (a grain much like Risotto, but creamy in texture) finished with Morel Mushrooms, braised spring vegetables and finished in a sherry wine stock. The chef then added “I would pair this with a light to medium bodied Red Wine like a Pinot or Merlot, something light but a fair bit of acidity to cut the rich creamy flavor, or a rich white, like a Chardonnay”.

spruce-raddatz-2008-300x199We then went on to talk about his restaurant, Spruce, located at 3640 Sacramento Street in San Francisco, is a modern fine dining restaurant that has a family friendly, health conscious menu, but also has a unique atmosphere with an elegant yet warm and inviting décor, it is the toast of the town.

IMG_9892I will admit, it is sad that the 29th Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival was only one weekend long and it has passed, but I look forward to next year’s event with excited anticipation and I await the next year’s selection of fine wine temptations. To you, Paso Robles, I raise my glass and hope to see it filled once more.





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