Sunday, August 31, 2014

Another Relative Cut From Patriots


Number 48 Danny Aiken became the third Aiken to be released from the New England Patriots in the past few seasons. Aiken joins wide receivers Kamar Aiken and Sam Aiken as Aikens who played for New England and then were released.

The latest Aiken served as long snapper for the past three seasons for New England -- a respectable stint. A long snapper does touch the football; he comes out every time the Pats punt or kick a field goal or extra point, hikes the ball to the holder, and then gets pounded by a 300-plus-pound opponent. Aiken performed admirably -- except in the AFC championship game last season when he hiked the ball over the punter's head.

It is unclear whether there are any future family members in the Patriot pipeline. "It's clearly an exceptional family," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. "We'll keep trying."

Added Thursday, Sept 4

Late-Breaking News... Long-snapper Aiken has re-signed with the Patriots! After a brief workout with the Denver Broncos (we know he wasn't serious about playing for them), he's back on the team. Never count out those Aikens!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blight Strikes Again


Vermont farmers and gardeners are looking both ways, glancing at the sky, and knocking on wood. "It has been a perfect weather year so far," they are saying. Not to rainy, not too hot -- it has been an ideal growing season.

My tomatoes were certainly thriving in the perfect Summer of '14 conditions; just two weeks ago I had hundreds of fruits of all sizes and colors hanging on the vines. I should qualify my this year's garden by disclosing that I bought all my plants at the Burlington Farmers' Market this year (none from seed) -- and every variety I purchased was specifically "Blight Resistant." Followers of this blog know I have a history of blight issues.

Well, the masked marauder moves quickly. Today, my tomato plants are dead. The fruits are rotting on the ground. The blight spores are probably -- as we speak -- seeping into the soil, ready to lie in wait for next year's victims. I hate this silent killer!

I harvested tons of tomatoes before they were ready as soon as I saw my plants beginning to wither, and they are trying to color on my window sills. But a tomato that has been touched by the blight doesn't last as long as a healthy one.

But I am not done fighting. I intend to bag up all the dead plants and rotten fruit and bring them to the dump. Then -- mark my words -- I will not plant tomatoes in my garden next year. That's right: tomatoes in baskets and pots up here by the house where I can keep a close watch. You nasty blight: I will not go down without a fight! (Queue theme from Rocky I.) There WILL be a rematch... and we will come back bigger, stronger, and more determined than ever! Take that!