TDZ Retrospective: Top 10 — Stuff I learned from my Dad (and Granddads too)

Originally posted 19 June 2011.

I was blessed to have a Dad, Granddad, Great-Granddad and several uncles who were positive influences in my life.

#10: It is okay to be a nerd.

#9: To be careful where you park your ride. This was a painful but practical lesson my dad taught me. When I was in 5th or 6th grade I left my bike setting in the middle of the driveway. I had been warned not to do this. After many warnings my dad “impounded” my bike. He chained it to a rail in the garage and charged a small fine. I think the fine was around 25 cents. However, because I couldn’t pay the fine that day I also had to pay interest. By the time I had the money the total was a couple of dollars.

#8: Encouraged my creativity.

#7:  You are never too old to try something new.  This was something my great-granddad modeled.

#6: Actions have consequences, both positive and negative.

#5: Pay attention to the small things. My dad had a  shoe repair shop.  He insisted that all shoes be cleaned/shined. He even insisted on refinishing the soles of every shoe in for repairs. At the time it seemed ridiculous because refinishing the bottoms of the shoe. That had nothing to do with the quality of the repair work.  He said that people judged the quality of the repair job in part based on the way the shoes looked. If they looked as good as new, then customers would be impressed by it. I learned that paying attention to the details is helpful.

#4: The importance of hard work and doing a job right. My dad may have been one of the toughest boss I have ever had.

#3: Family is important. 

#2: To keep trying in spite of obstacles that at times appear insurmountable. My dad always tried to encourage me to keep going when things were tough.

#1: They shared God’s love in both actions and words.

Review : Blaze Pizza

BlazePizza1.jpgBlaze Pizza offers a custom-built fast fired pizza. Blaze is a chain but we visited the location in Gainesville, Florida. All pizza’s are a 10″ thin crust personal pizza. Fired in 180 seconds. They offer several options of crust, sauce, cheese and other tasty toppings. It is kind of a mash-up between bistro style pizza and a certain well-known sandwich chain, only with quality, fresh ingredients.  They are able to accommodate just about any dietary need.


Food: Outstanding. I prefer thin crust pizza cooked in either a wood or brick oven, so this is a dream place for me. 

Selection: Almost unlimited. They offer 9 signature pizzas and an infinite number of custom creations. They have 7 different cheeses and a wide range of other toppings. All of the usual toppings plus some gourmet toppings as well. Oh did I mention they have an awesome selection of cheese. It might not be good to get all of the cheeses on a cheese pizza next time though. It was a rather amazing pile of cheesy goodness.

Service: Fast, super helpful.

Atmosphere: One of those minimalist trendy kind of places. I like it even though it can get loud.

Allergy Rating: Awesome. The staff is well-trained. Do allow a little extra time. If you have an allergy go ahead and ask for a manager each time so someone will walk your pizza down the line. Otherwise it might get tricky.

Overall: Awesome!

Chicken Nuggets — Updated

My chicken nugget recipe is one of my most requested recipes. I’ve updated the recipe since some since it was first posted.chicken nuggets (3)


  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • About 1/2 cup of Italian dressing or other marinade for chicken
  • about  1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Grill blend — whatever I have on hand or I make my own.
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVOO)


  1. Cut chicken into bite size pieces.  Put in marinade for at least 30 min.
  2. Make basic grill blend if needed. All directions are estimates.  I store mine in a small canning jar with Ball Herb Shaker Lids. Mix the following:
    • 1/2 dried parsley
    • 1-2 TBS of black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon or less of course sea salt
    • 1 TBS of chipotle smoky paprika
    • 1-2 TBS oregano
    • 1-2 TBS brown sugar
    • 1-2 TBS garlic salt
    • 1-2 TBS onion salt
  3. Heat skillet on med.  While skillet is heating, put flour, salt, pepper, paprika and other seasonings in a bowl, paper bag or plastic bag.  Dredge or shake chicken pieces in flour.
  4. Pour enough EVOO  in skillet to lightly coat bottom of pan. Add chicken and saute until golden brown.
  5. While chicken is cooking make a dipping sauce if you like.

TDZ Retrospective: That Room

Originally posted June 7, 2010

We moved into a new house at the first of May. I quickly had most of the house unpacked except one room. The room is supposed to be a guest room/office but became the dumping place for all boxes. I felt defeated every time I walked in the room and saw the mess.

I wasn’t supposed to happen that way with this move. This time I made plans and was organized with the packing. I had the boxes labeled and numbered. Instructions were given to those helping where things were to go. Somewhere along the way my plans fell apart. Instructions were ignored and things were dumped in that room. Eventually it became so full of junk that even the door wouldn’t close.

Life can be like that room sometimes. Despite plans and good intentions sometimes things get derailed. Just like “that room” it can be discouraging when I mess up once again or life gets out of control.  Yet, there is hope, if I am willing to turn to God rather than try to fix it myself.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philipians 1:6 (NIV)

Top 10: Unusual Team Mascots 3.0

Back by popular demand Top 10 Unusual Mascots. Professional teams have been included in version 3.0.

#10: Webster University Gorlock is a mythical creature that was designed by Webster staff. It has the paws of a cheetah, the horns of a buffalo, and the face of a Saint Bernard dog.WUGorlock

#9: The Albuquerque Isotopes  are a Minor League Baseball team based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The team is the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado RockiesABQIsotopes

#8: University of North Florida Ospreys UNFOsprey

#7: Richmond Flying Squirrels  are he Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants team in Richmond, Virginia. RICHMONDFlyingSquirels

#6: Cairo High School Syrupmakers  is nicknamed the “syrup city” because Roddenbery’s syrup plant was formerly located in Cairo. During a driving rainstorm in the middle of a football game many years ago, workers at the local syrup shelter brought over their rain coats labeled “Roddenbery’s Syrup” on the backs of the jackets to keep the players dry. Reflecting this heritage, the Cairo High School football team was named the Cairo Syrupmakers. In 1986 ESPN named “Syrupmaker” the number one nickname for a high school sports team. The girls teams are the “Maids” and the boys teams the “Makers”.CAIROsyrupmakers

#5: Leigh Valley Iron Pigs are the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.LEHIGHVALLEYIronPigs

VTHokies#4: Virgina Tech Hokies  According to the Virgina Tech website the word Hokie   has nothing to do with a turkey, the schools previous nickname. It was coined by O.M. Stull (class of 1896), who used it in a spirit yell he wrote for a competition.  Stull won the $5 top prize for his cheer, now known as Old Hokie:

Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy.
Techs, Techs, V.P.I.
Sola-Rex, Sola-Rah.
Polytechs – Vir-gin-ia.
Rae, Ri, V.P.I.

#3: The Las Vegas 51s, formerly known as the Las Vegas Stars, are the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets. LV51sCosmo

#2: Texas A&M Aggies — So I was a little surprised to see that the Fighting Texas Aggies were listed as an unusual mascot. Of course, The Big Guy is an Aggie so that is just normal around our house. Aggies is derived from the school’s name Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University. Texas A&M home of the Twelfth Man. During a game in 1922the Aggies suffered so many injuries in the first half the coach recruited student E. King Gill out of the stands to suit up and stand by, ready to play if needed. Gill didn’t play. Today Aggies stand during games to support their team.


12th Man

Reveille, the first lady of Aggieland, is the official mascot of Texas A&M. Unlike other school’s mascots Reveille is a five-star general and the highest ranking member of the Corps of Cadets. The current Reveille is Reveille IX. She was officially introduced on May 9, 2015.



#1: St. Francis Xavier University X-Men — No Dr. Xavier’s school doesn’t really exist.  St. Francis Xavier is one of the oldest Universities in Canada. However, the do have a cool name.STFXXmen

TDZ Retrospective – Top 10: More Unusual Team Mascots

Originally posted, December 8, 2010.

The piece I wrote about unusual team mascots has been one of the most popular posts I’ve written. I decided to do a second list. Several of the teams in this list were from the comments of the 1st list.  This time I have included college mascots as well. Also, I have only included official mascots. This eliminated mascots like Delta State Fighting Okra.  While Mr. Okra is an unusual mascot the schools official mascot it the Statesmen.

#10 Blooming Prairie (MN) High School Awesome Blossoms: While the mascot does look mean for a flower, it isn’t that intimidating. Wonder if they have some sort of sponsorship with Outback Steakhouse.Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms

#9 Chickasha (OK) Fightin’ Chicks:Chickasha Fighting Chicks

#8 Sheldon (IA) High School Orabs: The name is a combination of orange and black.

#7  Speedway (IN) High School Sparkplugs: The town of Speedway is on the west side of Indianapolis. Actually I think the mascot is pretty cool looking. Speedway High School

#6 Poca  High School (WV) “Dots” : While not very threatening it is appropriate.

#5 Scottsdale (AZ) Community College Fighting Artichokes: It seems that the students chose the Artie the Artichoke as the college mascot in as form of protest. The students were furious because they felt too much money was being spent to make the school a junior college sports powerhouse. The other ran three choices for mascot were the rutabaga, and the scoundrel.  At first the administration voided the election, but the artichoke stuck around long after the political fight ended.Scotdale Community College Home of the Fighting Artichokes

#4Yuma (AZ) High School Criminals: Apparently the nickname Criminals started out as an insult against the team from a rival team. At one time Yuma High was housed in what had been a territorial prison.

Yuma High School Criminals

#3 Boiling Springs (PA)  High School Bubblers: Couldn’t find a logo for this one.

#2: Lone Oak (KY) High School Purple Flash: Couldn’t find any information about the origin of the mascot. But because purple is my favorite color, they have made it to the top of my list.

#1: Texas Christian University Horned Frogs: In doing research for this post I discovered TCU Horned Frogs listed on another list of unusual team mascots. Being from Ft. Worth I was pleasantly surprised to see my hometown team listed.  I really never thought about a horned frog  being unusual.  A horned frog or horny toad as it is called is really a lizard not a frog. Horny toads are indigenous to the Southwest United States.