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Marine Car Wash, Saturday, October 1

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This is an excellent way to demonstrate your support for the U.S. military.  The funds help to support the community, veterans services, youth development, and citizenship education.  I'll be taking my car, hope to see you there!

Marine Car Wash

Oct 1, 2011  9:00 am - 3:00 pm



Bring your dirty cars out for another great MAG-39 fundraiser.




Gourmet treats by Jesse Bluma @PointeViven

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Chorizo and Pepper Sandwich

Soyrizo and Pepper Sandwich
Pointe Viven - Jesse Bluma. All rights reserved.

OK, so it is not chorizo; however, this sandwich does make a terrific meal on a fall or winter night.  Chorizo is a general term for sausage used in Spanish, Portugese, and Mexican cooking.  Typically it is made with pork, spices, and chilis.  Soyrizo is made with soy beans, a healthier option than chorizo.  Don't worry about the flavor, your family members and friends will never know if you don't tell them. 


Sourdough bread 
cooking spray
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
2 organic large red sweet peppers
1 package Soyrizo (12 ounces)
mixed salad greens
balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
Swiss cheese


Apply cooking spray to grill pan or grill machine.
Preheat the grill pan or grill machine to medium heat.

Place two slices of bread on the grill.
Grill both sides of the bread slices. 
Set aside.

Slice the peppers into 1" strips, removing membranes, keeping seeds if you desire more spice.
Toss with extra vigin olive oil.
Place pepper strips on grill, cooking for approximately 12 minutes.
Set aside when cooked tender.

Remove Soyrizo from package. 
Form Soyrizo into sandwich size patties or chorizo size slices.
Cook according to package directions.
Set aside when cooked.

Lay grilled bread slices on cutting board.
Layer each bread slice with a slice of Swiss cheese.
Top one slice of bread with cooked peppers.
Add the cooked Soyrizo patties or slices.
Lightly drizzle the sandwich ingredients with balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing.
Bring the two pieces of bread together.
Slice the sandwich in half.
Plate the sandwich.

Wash and dry the mixed salad greens.
Plate the salad greens next to the sandwich.
Lightly drizzle the greens with balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing.

* Makes about four sandwiches.

Serve this sandwich with one of my gourmet treats.

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Lemon Camellia Mini-Bundt Cakes by Jesse Bluma

Lemon Camellia Mini-Bundt Cakes
with lemon and black tea glaze
Pointe Viven - Jesse Bluma. All rights reserved.

Spot on flavor for lemon fans,
featuring a mixology of lemon 
juice, lemon zest, and black tea.

Gourmet treats by Jesse Bluma @PointeViven

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Knott's Scary Farm Tips by Jesse Bluma

Knott's Scary Farm Tips

Knott's Berry Farm is a popular place during the Halloween season.  Attributable to having "the largest and most haunting Halloween experience in Southern California, with unimaginable scares and innovative thrills that can’t be found anywhere else.  The fully transformed theme park encompasses 13 uniquely haunted mazes and attractions, sinister shows and more than 1,000 horrifying creatures lurking in the fog and hiding in every corner of the park.  This year’s Halloween event has all the ingredients of a truly terrifying nightmare.  Unlike most dreams, Knott’s Scary Farm is a nightmare you can’t wake up from -- which makes it the thing to do for Halloween this year."

Park Tips

* The rides were more scary for me than the mazes.  Kids 13-18 may be a bit more frightened.

* Go early to avoid lines.

* Wear clothing that identifies you as a group if you take children 13+.

* Avoid going on weekends.

* Skip the Calico Mine Ride—the least scary of performances.

* Eat before going to the park.  The food inside the park is expensive.

* Take all items out of your pockets prior to the security search at the entrance.

* Look for coupons in the mail or online.

* Layer clothing for changes in temperature, even in California.  Especially important if you wish to ride on any of the water attractions.  If you dare to ride Bigfoot Rapids, there is a dryer located next to the ride for a charge.

* Knott's Scary Farm is at night, if you go during the day the park is emptied out prior to the fright night.  During day hours wear sunscreen, even in the cooler months.

* Avoid soda pop and go for the water.  The body needs water to function properly with all the walking.  

Visit Knott's online for more details about Scary Farm.

"XCELERATOR The Ride® hydraulically launches you off the line at an electrifying top speed of 82 mph in 2.3 seconds through an exhilarating 205-foot ascent and immediate descent at a 90-degree angle."

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Adopt a Horse--Equine Advocates: Deserves a Cookie

Adopt a Horse--Equine Advocates
Pointe Viven - Jesse Bluma. All rights reserved.

I adopted Beau a few years ago.
 Join the saving of horses with Equine Advocates.

"Since 1996, Equine Advocates has helped rescue thousands of horses from slaughter, abuse and neglect. At Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY, we have rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules—and a few other animals too! On the sanctuary grounds, we have an Education Center where visitors of all ages attend seminars, workshops and symposiums on equine issues, care and natural horsemanship. All visitors get to meet our amazing equine residents.

Beau is an unregistered Thoroughbred born in 2003. He, his sire, Clive, and another Thoroughbred, Marty, came to Equine Advocates in 2008 after a ruling in a judicial proceeding where the former owner was charged with animal cruelty for neglect. Beau is doing really well, has put on lots of weight and is very content at the sanctuary with his best pals, Marty (from the same rescue), Jeffrey Mac & Connor.

Equine Advocates is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) equine protection organization which I founded in 1996 after rescuing my first horse from slaughter. His name was Gandalf. Since that time, we have rescued thousands of equines, including horses, ponies, donkeys and mules from slaughter, abuse and neglect. We have grown significantly over the years with our very energetic and compassionate staff. We have done a great deal, but there is still much to be accomplished."

Gourmet treats by Jesse Bluma @PointeViven

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O.C. skeptical of Obama's ‘No Child' waiver plan

Jeanne Matson, center, a fifth-grade teacher at Prospect Elementary in Orange, works with students on their social studies project to built a Native American village. Prospect Elementary was in the minority of schools that met all No Child Left Behind targets in 2011.


Orange County public schools could struggle to implement proposed reforms required to waive No Child Left Behind Act sanctions because of a lack of money and other challenges, local educators said Friday.
But without a waiver, an increasing number of the schools are likely to be labeled failures under the federal law.
President Barrack Obama on Friday announced that states can opt out of the much-maligned federal accountability system if they agree to implement reforms that include tying teacher and principal evaluations to student test scores, enacting standards to prepare students for college and careers, and adopting national common education standards.
"The federal government really did not cut us a break with this waiver plan. All these reforms will cost schools money they just don't have," county Superintendent William Habermehl said. "The better solution would have been for Obama just to give states unconditional relief from NCLB for two or three years while they figure out how to fix the law."
California's willingness to even apply for the waivers also remains unclear. State Superintendent Tom Torlakson has already expressed concern over the ability of the cash-strapped state to enact such sweeping reforms.
Federal relief
Obama outlined a plan for states to seek waivers from the federal law, which increasingly identifies more public schools as failing.
"To help states, districts and schools that are ready to move forward with education reform, our administration will provide flexibility from the law in exchange for a real commitment to undertake change," Obama said. "The purpose is not to give states and districts a reprieve from accountability, but rather to unleash energy to improve our schools at the local level."
No Child Left Behind passed in 2001 with strong bipartisan support. But over the years, critics have said the law has forced schools to emphasize standardized testing above everything else.
Under the law, schools are to meet steadily rising achievement benchmarks until 2014, when all students are to be proficient in English and math – a standard educators frequently criticize as impossible. Schools that receive federal funding for at-risk students face sanctions that include having to offer free tutoring, changing leadership, converting to charters or state takeover.
The waiver would eliminate the requirement that 100 percent of students at schools need to pass state tests by 2014. In exchange, states with waivers would gain more control over how troubled schools are handled as long as they adopt the president's proposed reforms. Waivers will be given to qualifying states early next year.
Obama bypassed Congress in issuing an executive order, saying action was needed because lawmakers have not stepped in to improve the law for years.
O.C. and NCLB
In Orange County, 61 percent of the nearly 600 public schools failed No Child Left Behind testing targets this year, while 38 percent now face sanctions. Both numbers have steadily increased each of the last few years as testing targets have grown tougher.
The county still had higher passing rates than schools statewide, where 67 percent of schools failed and 40 percent face sanctions.
Schools with high concentrations of English learners and special education students often fare the worst as the federal system holds all student groups to the same standards.
Anaheim Union, with 17 of 20 campuses failing, and Santa Ana Unified, with 43 of 60 schools failing, were among the districts with the highest rates of failing schools. The districts also had among the highest rates of English learners.
Officials in both districts said Friday they were reviewing details of the proposed waivers before they could comment on whether to support the president's plan.
Districts with very low concentrations of English learners, including Irvine Unified, with 27 of 34 schools passing, and Los Alamitos Unified, with all 10 campuses passing, had the most success with No Child Left Behind.
Educators often argue that the California's accountability system, the Academic Performance Index, is a better measure of school performance than the one-size-fits-all federal system because the API takes into account demographic differences among schools and rewards campuses for steady improvements. About 87 percent of schools locally met all API requirements in 2011.
Capistrano Unified Superintendent Joe Farley said educators across the state have been advocating for years for No Child Left Behind to follow a formula similar to the API.
"I have schools that make significant progress each year, many that score in the high 800s on the API, and the federal government still calls them failing schools," he said. "There is consensus that the law needs fixing."
Waiver for California?
Torlakson, the state superintendent, sent a letter in August to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan calling for unconditional relief from No Child Left Behind. Torlakson said it was unfair for the federal government to impose reforms without paying for them. Torlakson did not comment Friday to the president's waiver plan.
Two years ago, the president also championed reforms that tied teacher evaluations to student test scores, and called for states to adopt common national education standards. His administration offered states millions in grants in the Race to the Top program, but California was not selected because too few school districts applied.
The state has since moved toward adopting common core standards in math and English. But implementation has been delayed somewhat by ongoing state budget cuts.
Recent legislation to require districts to use state test scores to measure teacher performance has also stalled. Teachers unions have argued that such systems have no proven track record of accurately gauging the impact of teachers on student learning.
Joanne Fawley, president of the Anaheim Union teachers association, said the lack of federal funding for the reforms and the ongoing debate over teacher evaluation systems could hinder California's application for the waiver.
"The money schools would need to spend to build evaluations systems or buy textbooks needed to adopt new curriculum standards could be better used right now to lower class sizes," she said.
Many local educators said that despite the waiver plan, the state is already moving towards some of Obama's proposed reforms.
"We're working now more than ever to promote career and college education programs that are better preparing our graduates for success," said Farley, the Capistrano superintendent. "We've also been moving towards common curriculum standards. But whether that's enough for the state to seek a waiver, I just can't say right now."
The Associated Press contributed to this report

Salmon au poivre et les fraises by Jesse Bluma

Salmon au poivre et les fraises


Four 6 ounce salmon fillets, skin removed (visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch for the best choice of salmon)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup organic or natural chicken broth (I prefer Wolfgang Puck)
4 Radicchio lettuce leaves
1 cup in season organic strawberries
(You may also add 1 persimmon, diced.)
1 organic lemon
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
2 tablespoons organic honey


Gently wash the strawberries in a strainer.
Gently dry the strawberries with a clean paper towel.
Use a knife to remove the stems.
Halve the strawberries with a knife and set aside.

Wash the lemon and pat dry with a clean paper towel.
Roll the lemon, pressing firmly with the palm of your hand.
Carefully cut the lemon in half and squeeze one of the halves over the strawberries.

Blot the salmon fillets with a paper towel.  
Salt the fillets on each side. 
Pepper each side of the fillets. 
Bring oil to a hot heat in a large skillet.  
Bottom side up cook the salmon in the skillet for one minute.  
Use tongs to turn the salmon over and then slowly add the chicken broth.  
Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce to a simmering heat. 
Cover the pan and simmer the fish for about 5 minutes (the salmon should flake easily with a fork).

Peel off 4 large lettuce leaves, wash, and pat dry with a clean paper towel. 
Place the lettuce leaves cup side up on one large platter or on individual plates.  
Neatly drizzle the lettuce with the balsamic vinaigrette dressing. 

Use tongs to remove the salmon fillets, place one on each leaf of lettuce, then neatly flake each fillet with a fork.

Place the strawberries around the fish. 
Drizzle the salmon and strawberries with honey.

*Reminder:  Wash kitchen surfaces and hands before, during, and after cooking.  

Gourmet treats by Jesse Bluma @PointeViven

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Runner carries injured foe half mile to help in middle of race: Deserves a Cookie

Did you catch this story?  

Runner carries injured foe half mile to help in middle of race
By Jonathan Wall

Josh Ripley didn't have to stop. Running in a recent cross country meet for Andover (Minn.) High, the junior varsity runner was making his way through the trail at the Applejack Invite when he heard a loud scream during the first mile of a two-mile race. Most of the other kids running didn't pay much attention to Lakeville South runner Mark Paulauskas, who was writhing in pain at the time, as they passed by.

The only person who decided to pay attention was Ripley. As an Anoka-Hennepin school district release reported, Ripley immediately noticed Paulauskas holding his bloody ankle. Then, instead of running back and calling for help, he did the only thing he could think of: He carried the injured runner a half mile back to coaches and family members.
"I didn't think about my race, I knew I needed to stop and help him," Ripley said in the school district release. "It was something I would expect my other teammates to do. I'm nothing special; I was just in the right place at the right time."

After dropping Paulauskas off with his coaches, Ripley proceeded to go back and finish the race -- even after carrying a kid for a half mile on the running trail. Admittedly he was a bit winded, but still completed the course as scheduled.

For the rest of the story

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$16 muffins, $8 coffee served in Justice audit

A muffin on display at a Panera Bread Co restaurant in Chicago February 12, 2009. …

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As the U.S. government grapples to find ways to trim the bloated federal deficit, a new report suggests officials might start with cutting out $16 muffins and $10 cookies.
"We found the Department (of Justice) spent $16 on each of the 250 muffins served at an August 2009 legal conference in Washington," said a DOJ Office of Inspector General report released on Tuesday.
The DOJ spent $121 million on conferences in fiscal 2008 and 2009, which exceeded its own spending limits and appeared to be extravagant and wasteful, according to the report that examined 10 conferences held during that period.
The review turned up the expensive muffins, which came from the Capital Hilton Hotel just blocks from the White House, as well as cookies and brownies that cost almost $10 each.
The department spent $32 per person on snacks of Cracker Jack, popcorn, and candy bars and coffee that cost $8.24 per cup at another conference, the report said.
The DOJ also spent nearly $600,000 for event planning services for five conferences, the document said.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said most of the gathering were held when there were no strict limits on food and beverage costs, adding the DOJ had taken steps since 2009 "to ensure that these problems do not occur again."
Word of the agency's extravagant spending drew a swift response from Capitol Hill.
Senator Chuck Grassley, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee which has oversight of the Justice Department, said the report was a blueprint for the first cuts that should be made by the "super committee" searching for at least $1.2 trillion in savings.
"Sixteen dollar muffins and $600,000 for event planning services are what make Americans cynical about government and why they are demanding change," Grassley said in a statement. "People are outraged, and rightly so."
(Reporting by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

FDA confirms Listeria outbreak is linked to cantaloupe grown at Colorado farm

Hyoung Chang/AP -  Bill Sackett looks at cantaloupes that are not subject to the recent recall at his Rocky Ford, Colo., farm market. Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., about a hundred miles from Rocky Ford, has issued a recall of cantaloupe following a Listeria outbreak that has killed at least two people.

FDA confirms Listeria outbreak is linked to cantaloupe grown at Colorado farm

By Dina ElBoghdady, Published: September 19

An outbreak of food-borne illnesses that have killed four people and sickened nearly three dozen others is linked to cantaloupe produced at a Colorado farm, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed Monday.

The FDA identified Jensen Farms, a family-owned operation that says it has grown cantaloupe for two decades, as the source of melons contaminated with a strain of Listeria, a dangerous but uncommon bacteria that thrives in cool temperatures.

The company had distributed about 300,000 cases of cantaloupe to 17 states before recalling its entire crop last week, just days after Colorado health officials flagged potential problems. On Friday, the state confirmed that Jensen Farms was the source of the tainted cantaloupe, and the FDA did the same Monday based on its own laboratory testing.

Although the company did not sell cantaloupe directly to retailers or wholesalers in Virginia, Maryland or the District, federal and company officials cannot guarantee that some of the melons did not make their way into the region. “We know who we sell to and who our customers are, but our customers may resell to another company,” said Amy Philpott, a company spokeswoman.

On Monday, some of the area’s largest grocery store chains — Giant Foods, Safeway and Whole Foods — said they did not carry any of the cantaloupe at issue.

The incident marks the first time that a Listeria contamination has been linked to whole cantaloupe and one of the few times it has been linked to produce in general, federal officials said. Listeria infections are more commonly associated with deli meats, hot dogs, unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses.

Unlike many other food-borne pathogens, Listeria multiplies in cold areas such as refrigerators, said Robert V. Tauxe, a deputy director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can spread quickly in damp buildings, dripping off pipes or ceilings onto food.

While investigators have yet to determine how the cantaloupe became tainted, one of the simplest ways for people to get infected is by “passing a knife through the melon” and spreading the bacteria from the surface into the flesh, Tauxe said. The longer an infected melon sits in the refrigerator, the more quickly Listeria will grow.

On Monday, the CDC announced that 35 people in 10 states were infected, including four who died. A dozen of them were in Colorado. The remainder were in California, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.

The FDA, which put out a separate statement on its investigation Monday, said that cantaloupe from other Colorado farms has not been linked to the outbreak.

David Acheson, managing director of food and import safety at consulting firm Leavitt Partners, said that Listeria infections are rare, but they result in hospitalization about 75 to 80 percent of the time. “It’s a very virulent bacteria in susceptible patients,” Acheson said.

The groups most vulnerable to serious illness from Listeria are the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. The CDC reported that people sickened by the cantaloupe ranged in age from 35 to 96, with a median age of 81.

Pregnant women must be especially careful because even though they may not develop symptoms if infected, the effects can be devastating to the fetus, resulting in miscarriages, stillbirths and birth defects.

Federal officials said that the number of affected consumers may rise because it can take several weeks for the bacteria to manifest itself into a clinical illness. Symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, a stiff neck and headaches.

What to do in a Power Outage

What to do in a Power Outage 

On September 8, I came home to find no power, no electricity for lights, cooking, or street lights to drive at night.  Representatives for San Diego Gas and Electric explained that the outage was due to an error at a substation in Arizona.  If caught in an electrical outage make the most of it, maybe it is time to evaluate what is important and truly necessary.  Serious injuries excluded, a power outage for a day is not the most horrible event in the world.   

"The following are some suggested supplies to have on hand in case of an outage or other emergency:
Battery-powered emergency lighting (or flashlights, at a minimum);
Portable or battery-powered radio;
Wind-up or battery-powered clock;
Nonperishable foods and water (including a manual can opener);
First aid kit; and
Telephone that does not depend on electricity."

I was prepared for the outage with my emergency kit, see here.

The absence of street and building lights allowed for a good view of a real night sky at the beach.

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