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Most summers, there’s a song. The one you hear over and over all summer long and for some reason, you still turn it up. To this day, when you hear it, it takes you back to THAT summer and a wave of memories floods over the beaches of you mind.

I’m NOT talking about a collection of songs that have the word “summer” in them. I am referring an individual song that filled the air waves in summers of certain years. The one that played so much you heard it even if you just drove to the corner store and you switched the station and there it was again.

You might not even really like it, but it sucks you in. Sometimes you profess to people that you get sick of it, but secretly, you don’t get sick of it at all. Often times you crank the car radio to 11 when driving alone, since you can’t admit in public that you like the song. You take the long way home just so you can hear the catchy refrain again.

So in no particular order, just to keep you on your toes, here goes. Here are five such songs that come to mind. I am going to start with my own guilty pleasure from three years ago.

California Gurls 2010

Summer of 2010, it was “California Gurls” by Katy Perry, featuring Snoop Dogg. (Spell check wasn’t on that day.) It played every hour if you hit the dials enough. “Sun so hot, it melts your popsicles.” Wanted to change the station but admit it, you cranked it instead.

Heck, listening to it now. “Fine, Fresh Fierce, we got it on lock … Oooh oh oooh”

When Doves Cry 1984

“Dig if you will the picture …” The Prince man in his prime before he became a mere symbol, screeching out the screams with the rhythmic drum beat and mesmerizing keyboard.

“How can you leave me standing, alone in a world that’s so cold…” Hot song in the summer of 1984. Sang random verses all summer long.

Miss You 1978

Ladies and gentlemen, the Rolling Stones featured a rap before rap was rap on this one. “I been walking Central Park, singing after dark, people think I’m craaaaaaaaazy .. (bass beat bass beat bumbumbumbum) … Stumblin’ on my feet. Shufflin’ through the street… asking people t-t-t what’s a matter with you boy.”

I have recollections of random falsetto echoes all over the parks in Chicago, sometimes sounding only vaguely on key in 1978. Who hoo hoo ho ho ho, who hooo ho oh ho Lord I miss you.” Whenever that song come on, still recall that summer.

Hey There Delilah 2006

Monotonous yet catchy ballad dominated a 2006 summer scene once. Wanted to change the station, couldn’t do it. “Oh it’s what you do to me.” Two questions. Who IS Delilah and DID she do to him?

The song even reached number one in the Czech Republic.

Light My Fire 1967

You know that I would be untrue.
You know that I would be liar.
If I was to say to you.
Girl we couldn’t get much higher.

This song got air play at least every hour in 1967, no lie. A Doors summer classic from 1967, also dubbed the “Summer of Love.”

Let me know if you got one. Not a summer song per se (sorry Chad and Jeremy) but an overplayed song that defined a summer and takes you back to that point in time.

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I hear there may be an opening for a new host on the Food Network and I would like to submit my resume for the job.

I can cook. It took a few years for me to get it down, but I did. My first venture with chili involved tomato juice. It was good, but runny. I have evolved since those days. Since then, I actually won a chili cook-off at my office and people asked me for the recipe.

“Uh, recipe?” I replied. Some day I will have to write those down.

My wife meticulously follows the recipes when she cooks and she’s good, real good. Me, not so much on the recipe thing. Rarely use a measuring cup. Almost never use a measuring spoon. This has backfired a time or two, I will admit. (Hint: Make sure the spice has a shaker type top. If not, the whole darn thing goes in your stew with one swift shake.)

Usually, I go on line with something in mind for what’s left in the fridge. I print out 2 or 3 recipes that seem relatively similar in nature and spin my own original meal from that.

Last week, I realized I had a bag of tilapia fillets and some other stuff in the fridge that needed to be used. Here’s what I cooked.

I call it “Usin’ Whatcha Got …a Fishy Treat”:

Bake thawed tilapia filets in a casserole dish (we have a 9×13 casserole stone, so I used that) coated with olive oil at oh let’s say 350. I had 6 filets. Throw in a splash of lemon juice and white wine, not a lot, just enough so you can see it at the bottom of the stone.

Cook covered with the last 13 inches of aluminum foil in the drawer for 10-12 minutes. (Or, I love this one in recipes. Cook until done. But for this, cook until not quite done. Why? Because they will cook again). Take from oven and set aside to cool.

While the fish is cooking make the Tasty Tila Topping, (TTT)

Sauté in olive oil:
1 red pepper chopped
1 green pepper chopped
4 stalks celery (more or less if you have more or less)
1 onion chopped (6 Green onions if ya got em)

(I was thinking some black olives might have worked well with that, but alas, my wife had used the last 2 leveled tablespoons of those the night before.)

Sauce:
In a small pan heat 1/4 cup or however much is left in the sour cream container
Add half as much mayonnaise.
And if ya got some in your fridge, 1/4 cup or whatever’s left in a jar of Alfredo sauce.
Simmer at very very low heat until warm.

Using a 100 foot open frame fiberglass tape measure, chop the now cooled tilapia, into precise 1 ¾ inch cubes. JK. Just cut the tilapia 4 or 5 times.

Find that bag of flour tortillas that’s left in your fridge.

Like a Bob Marley Cuban cigar, roll equal amounts of the chopped tilapia and a heaping teaspoon of the TTT in the tortilla. (Not a measuring teaspoon. Use one of those in the drawer and eyeball it.) Place next to each other in that big brown casserole stone .

Top the tilapia tortillas with the remaining TTT then spread the sauce on top of that.

With whatever cheese you have left, sprinkle a light covering over the whole thing. (I had some shredded mozzarella & grated parmesan which I mixed together and it worked out good.) Colby or provolone or cheddar or whatever probably will work too if that’s what ya got. I don’t know cause I didn’t have any. (Using whatcha got baby.)

Cook until done. Hahahaha. When the cheese is melted, slightly brown, it’s done. Let’s say 10-20 minutes depending on your oven.

At this point, Emerill says BANG.
Me, I said nothing and waited. My wife is not fish lover.
Her comment, “I’m surprised. I actually like it.”
BANG. SHAZAM. HALLELUJAH .
It worked.

Disclaimer: I recommended a small amount of white wine cooked with this dish. Reason: You may need the remainder for consumption if this recipe doesn’t work out.

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Well here it is again. Some call it Independence Day. Some just call it The 4th of July. Whatever you call it, a celebration is in order to commemorate the birth of the USA USA USA.

There are many traditions associated with the 4th of July. Fireworks, for sure. A sprinkling of patriotic songs are in the mix. Hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. Apple pie. Parades, picnics, backyard barbeques are all part of the celebration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence way back in 1776.

I have a friend who has an uncle named Samuel. Each 4th of July Uncle Sam has a pig roast on his back forty for family and friends. His wife, Betsy makes home made pies with cherries imported from the very orchard where George Washington chopped his famous tree. OK, I cannot tell a lie. I made that one up.

In our house, it’s milk shakes. Not sure when it started or why it started or how it started, but at one point, we were whipping up cup after cup of delicious, frothy, founding fathers foam for all who wished to partake. Kids I didn’t even know came back with cups asking for more. Was it good? It was just like the 4th of July.

Oddly, this tradition was often followed by watching fireworks on TV. (Yeah, I know, lame. But they wouldn’t let me into the park with my blender.) For a few years we had these goofy looking 3D glasses to enhance the experience of the explosions on our 32″ color TV and boy were we on the cutting edge. We still rely on that TV but sadly technology passed us by.

On celebrating the Declaration of Independence, founding father John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776. “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” (1)

Wedwand is wondering what you do to celebrate the 4th of July, so do share your traditions. What special way do you celebrate the 4th of July?

Footnotes:

1) American University Professor James R. Heintze has an excellent website on Fourth of July Celebrations if you care to view. http://gurukul.american.edu/heintze/fourth.htm

The Adams quote according the Heintze, “is the exact text from his letter with the original spellings.”

Ironically, founding fathers, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe all actually died on July 4th. But their spirit lives on. “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” — Final sentence of the Declaration of Independence adopted July 4, 1776.

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