Month: February 2021

Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Hate To Be Amazed by The Matlock Twins

By Ron Powers   Hate To Be Amazed by The Matlock Twins I’m a sucker for clever band names. So, when one of my colleagues recently introduced me to a new band called “The Matlock Twins”, I just had to investigate. Once I heard the tunes, the case was closed. This band was guilty… of making great music that is. Their self-titled debut EP consists of four well-constructed songs that have a dreamy new wave meats jam band feel to them. For me, the standout track is “Hate To Be Amazed” and I’d like to share my experience with the song here. The track starts with a swaying groove laid down with drums and bass. This is quickly followed with a layer of Fender-Rhodes-style keys and guitar with the reverb cranked up. The mood of the song starts to take root as the topline is introduced. With an aching and melodic sweetness, singer Alex Levene delivers the poignant lines, “In time I’ll find my one / and she’ll have met someone.” Lines like these elevate the emotional impact of the song and offer a vulnerability that most listeners appreciate. For the pre-chorus the band switch things up, introducing a driving rhythm with guitar and bass. This creates a building tension while moving toward the chorus. There is also a cool chord transition in this section that reminds of The Beatles’ “Octopus’s Garden”. The pre-chorus finishes nicely, led by the vocal melody which provides the culminating emotion needed to lift the song into its chorus. Although a lament, the chorus has a serene beauty to it. I am particularly struck by the vocal performance. The authenticity in the delivery and distinct timbre and tonal quality of Lavene’s voice gives “Hate To Be Amazed” a rare and original shine. Combined with excellent…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Bringing Fish into View

Go Fish By Steve Chaconas   Bringing Fish into View “Fishfinders” don’t find fish as much as they find locations where fish might live, however they require angler interpretation. Subsequent generations with computers interpret sonar signals and provide views beyond the boat bottom to hundreds of feet around the boat.   It’s been 5 years since Garmin electronics released their game-changing LiveScope technology. It provides a new view of underwater fish hangouts with more than just a spec, blob or arch. Fish shapes in motion, including their position on cover and the lure presented to them, are easily identified.   Improvements and tournament wins are making this a must-have for pros and weekend anglers alike. Many pros are covertly using LiveScope to avoid conflicts with other sponsors. Pros not crossing that line lamented at seasons’ end they need to find a way to come on board or fall behind the fishtronics curve.   How good is the new Garmin? Falcon Boat Mercury pro angler Troy Morrow was hanging in against top pros. But Garmin’s LiveScope turned his career around in the last 2 years when he helped to pioneer the new LiveScope system. There was a learning curve as these units are much more effective when making frequent tweaks.   Morrow, a quick study, demonstrated his prowess on the Potomac River in 2019. Fishing was tough for the pro field in a series of three events a week or so apart during the heat of the summer. While anglers targeted thick river grasses, Morrow relied on LiveScope to find and catch fish on rocks, docks and submerged wrecks. “I like to fish hard targets. That narrows down what to hit. Seeing cover, a broken post or stump, I don’t have to make 10 casts to find it.” Morrow sees underwater targets…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

From the Trainer

From the Trainer by Ryan Unverzagt How are your fitness resolutions working out? It’s common by the second month that your well-intentioned lifestyle changes might be disintegrating earlier than anticipated. Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself less than enthusiastic. As I have mentioned in previous articles, find a reason to stay motivated. Make it personal. Something like, “I want to lose weight because…….” Instead of “I need to lose weight.” Applying true meaning to your fitness goals will make exercise a little easier to tolerate. Keep the momentum going into February because this month will cruise by. This month’s exercise is called the Kettlebell Wall-Sit. It’s an isometric exercise, meaning there is no movement even though your muscles are working. A typical wall-sit is designed to target the quadriceps femoris muscle group (front of the thigh). The goal is to “sit” in an imaginary chair against the wall for a predetermined amount of time. To reap the full benefits of this exercise, you must establish a 90 degree knee angle. Anything less does not challenge the quads appropriately. Another mistake is to grab the thighs and push off using your arms. This maneuver, along with leaning forward to “rest” your forearms on top of the thighs is considered cheating. The reason for using the kettlebell (or dumbbell) is to eliminate these cheat moves. First, your hands are occupied holding the kettlebell. Second, holding it with straight arms directly overhead prevents leaning forward. Your shoulder blades should always stay in contact with the wall. Third, it adds more resistance than just your body weight. Keep your feet hip-width apart and avoid lifting the heels. You don’t want your toes crammed into the front of the shoes. Push through the heels to maintain your position and evade slippage on the floor….

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Healthy Habits Are the Key

Fitness by Nicole Flannigan   Healthy Habits Are the Key Now that the New Year is in full swing and we have all climbed back on the treadmills and weight machines, it’s time to make sure we can keep going. The most difficult part of changing your habits is the change itself. The best way to make a lasting difference in your life is to change things a little bit at a time. Even when you have the workout part down to a science it’s what you do outside the gym that counts as well. We all know that exercise is not the only answer to solving our weight loss problems.  With a well-balanced exercise and nutrition plan you will get much more out of your workout and your everyday life. It is not your imagination, sitting at your desk (at home or at the office) all day can really make your behind as wide as the chair that you sit in. Many people who work in an office building don’t get much of a chance to be active throughout the day. As a result, that nine to five job just gave them an extra 10 to 20 pounds. Those of you who are working from home have the opportunity to move around between Zoom meetings. Here are some ways to whittle that waistline while you’re hard at work. Reduce those rolls: Replace that ordinary desk chair with a ball. By trading your chair in for an exercise ball you will help your posture and strengthen your core improving your stability and burning calories. Walk and talk: If you tend to take a lot of calls during the day get headset and walk while you talk. Get a pedometer or FitBit and track how many extra steps you take in…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush


First Blush by Genivieve LeFranc                                                                           “THE SCENT OF A WOMAN” Coco Chanel once said, “A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” While this pearl of wisdom may be true, I believe a woman who skips her scent spritz is missing out on one of the joys and mysteries of femininity. Perfume is one of the easiest ways to instantly feel sexy and beautiful, and is the perfect gift for both men and women, whether you’re treating yourself or being gifted by your valentine.   Perfume has the power to add sophistication, femininity, and flair with a simple spray. The options for fragrance are ever-expanding, which makes it easy to find something for everyone—from herbs and essential oils for Mother Nature types, to body mists and lotions for more reserved girls, to designer fragrances for those fierce fashionistas on top of trends. However, there are a few tricks to remember to ensure you smell like a meadow of flowers, not a closet filled with old ladies and fur coats.   The ultimate commandment when wearing perfume is less is more. You want to attract others with your enticing scent, not clear the room! There is a very fine line between just right and too much, and an overpowering douse of perfume ruins the notes of even the most beautiful, delicate fragrance. Apply to your neck or décolletage, behind the ears, on your wrists, or all three! Contrary to common wisdom, do not rub your wrists together! This muddles the various top notes in a fragrance and can alter the scent. For Valentine’s Day (or night!) mix it up and get creative where you spray your sexiest bottle of perfume. Mist your undergarments, lingerie, sheets, or brush through your hair. Just remember the alcohol in perfume can be drying to…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

The Importance of Planning

Financial Focus By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce   The Importance of Planning Between the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread social protest, various natural disasters, and several hotly contested elections, the year 2020 was one pretty much impossible to even begin to predict. Such a volatile and uncertain environment may make setting and sticking to an investment plan seem like an exercise in futility. Yet the best investment plans are usually precisely the ones that have anticipated in advance how to adapt to changing conditions. It all starts with planning. Why planning can make a difference In its 2019 Retirement Study, Wells Fargo found that investors with a planning mindset felt they had greater personal control over such matters as personal debt, investment performance, career, and their overall financial life. The planning mindset was defined according to four key components: “I am able to work diligently toward a long-term goal.” “In the last six months, I have set and achieved a goal or set of goals to support my financial life.” “I prefer saving for retirement now to ensure I have a better life in retirement.” “It makes me feel better to have my finances planned out in the next 1–2 years.” According to the study, approximately one-third of workers 1 have the planning mindset. Those workers are nearly twice as satisfied with their overall financial life as those without a planning mindset, nearly twice as confident that they’ll have enough money saved for retirement, and five times more likely to have a plan for dealing with the unexpected. Steps to becoming a better planner The good news is that all investors have the ability to develop or strengthen planning skills that can help them improve their financial outlook. The first step is to obtain general financial education, which could include reading…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Conspiracies, political hijinks, social disorder…COVID-19.

Caribbean Connection By Billy Phibbs   It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… As for 2020, it was pretty much the worst… all the time…   Conspiracies, political hijinks, social disorder…COVID-19.   The pandemic has been and still is the uncrowned king of 2020’s epic reign of disaster and disorder. This prickly shaped little microbe of pestilence has made mask wearing both fashionable and argumentative, trapped millions in their homes, and has forced a world filled with eager travelers to hold fast in their respective homes, shackled to their couches, dreaming of adventure.   Here on St. John, we suffered as well. Exiled on an island with stay at home orders, we were forced to seek socially distanced entertainment at one of the many bland and uninspiring beaches. As the days merged into weeks, all we could do was lay in the sun and count clouds or take a dip in the turquoise bath water of the Caribbean Sea.   It was truly awful…   Then something happened. The desolate streets once again began to fill as travel restrictions were lifted. What was once a ghost town populated by very tan, slightly bored (but cheerful) community members was once again bustling with tourism.   We were thankful. Our economy is based mostly on tourism and small businesses were thirsty for monetary support.   But something was strange about these new tourists. The usual mesmerizing euphoria and doughy eyed amazement of our beautiful island wasn’t captivating them. Smiles were half covered by poorly worn Covid masks. Their manners and actions had gone feral while locked in captivity causing them to dart around erratically in a ravenous state. Store closures, half capacity restaurant dining, no bar service, and pandemic signs listing rules and regulations for public safety caused…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

New Orleans’ Po Boys – Laissez les bon temps Rouler

Let’s Eat By Charles Oppman New Orleans’ Po Boys – Laissez les bon temps Rouler With Mardi Gras fast approaching on the 16th, we thought it only fitting to publish the recipe for a Nawlin’s favorite.  Every so often a marvelous dish is created, one that is so special, so memorable it becomes a classic. The famous New Orleans’ po boy is one such creation. But what is a po boy exactly? Let’s start with what it isn’t. It isn’t a hoagie, a sub or a grinder. Those are northern creations made with soft, gummy bread. Po boys are made with baguettes that have a crunchy crust and a soft, tender crumb. Po boys are uniquely New Orleans. They symbolize the city’s social and cultural heritage. Po boys have an interesting history. Bennie and Clovis Martin left their Raceland, Louisiana, home in Cajun country in the mid-1910s for New Orleans. Both worked as streetcar conductors until they opened Martin Brothers’ Coffee Stand and Restaurant in the French Market in 1922. The years they had spent working as streetcar operators and members of the street railway employees’ union would eventually lead to their hole-in-the-wall coffee stand. The streetcar workers’ strike began on July1, 1929. It was a protracted and vicious labor dispute. The sympathetic Martins provided large French bread sandwiches to the strikers. Bennie Martin said, “We fed those men free of charge until the strike ended. Whenever we saw one of the striking men coming, one of us would say, “Here comes another poor boy.” The name stuck, but was quickly shortened to “po boy.” Also called an “Oyster Loaf”, the oyster po boy is one of the most popular varieties of this legendary New Orleans’ sandwich. Po Boys can have a variety of fillings; seafood, roast beef, turkey, ham,…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

A Nice Package

Exploring VA Wine By Doug Fabbioli   A Nice Package In these writings I sometimes make an attempt at explaining a few of the different parts of my job, sharing insider tidbits and hoping to make it interesting to both the wine geeks and the non-wine geek consumers. This month I want to get a little deeper into the bottling and packaging of wines. Wine has been stored in many different vessels over the centuries. Oxygen is not a friend to a finished wine, so storing it in smaller vessels, always full, is an important part of the planning. If you were quenching the thirst of an army in Roman times, drawing wine right from the barrel into pitchers to fill mugs worked just fine and barrels were the best way to store it. Those soldiers drank a lot and drank it fast. Finer wines are usually consumed in much smaller quantities than a legion of Roman soldiers might put away, so bottles make more sense. Although wine bottles have been around for ages, it is still an evolving process: when we consider consumption, cost, and perception, some winemakers are changing things up quite a bit. Canning wine has become popular but I found that our volumes are such that I could not make the numbers work. Even with the ciders, I would spend more on the package than on the product inside. We have been using the three liter pouches for some of our wines, and that seems to be working out well. As the pouch empties, air does not enter so the wine can stay fresh for months. This method will not work for the ciders, though, as the effervescence will dissipate as the pressure of the pouch drops. We have been using kegs for the ciders as…

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Pets of the Month

Pets of the Month-February 2021

Xandra, Adult, Female, Brown Cottontail Rabbit   Xandra is a shy girl who is hoping to meet her best friend who will help her feel comfortable and loved. She’s a sweet bunny at heart and just needs that certain someone who can help her show that. Xandra loves treats and playing with her toys and would love to enjoy both of those things with you! Schedule an appointment to meet Xandra at Xandra’s Photo courtesy of Dirty Paw Photography   Sailor, Adult, Female, Calico Domestic Shorthair   Sailor is one sweet girl! She greets her friends with purrs and loving head nudges and loves to be rubbed behind the ears. She also loves to play. Sailor could play all day! Until it’s time for a nap at least. Miss Sailor is looking for a family who knows when it’s play time and when she’s ready for a little space and quiet. Could it be you? Schedule an appointment to meet Sailor at Sailor’s Photo Courtesy of AWLA     Sammy, Adult, Male, Tricolor Treeing Walker Coonhound   Hi there! My name is Sammy and I am the cutest thing on three legs you have ever seen! That’s right – I said three legs. I recently had surgery to remove one of my front legs but am all healed up now and ready to go! And go I do! I am a very active guy who loves to run and play and can keep up with the best of them. Because I am so active, though, I would do best in a home with children over the age of 12. I am very social and love everyone I meet. I am also very loyal and affectionate. At the end of a long day of playing, I would like nothing…

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