Tuesday, May 31, 2011


This will be my last pasta post for about 2 weeks. I am leaving early tomorrow for a trip home to visit family and friends. I expect I will be eating a lot of pasta, but probably not cooking...and this is OK with me. But I will be back! Maybe with some new ideas.


Angel hair with everything…a.k.a.…panic pasta because I discovered I was out of garlic and could not serve the Aglio Olio Crude I was planning to do. But, being the tiger that I am in the kitchen...I quickly stopped crying and got to work looking for an alternative, and here it is...in all its splendor.


From the herb garden_basil, oregano, parsley.
From the CSA folks…green onion, grape tomatoes
From the pantry…Kalamata olives, finely chopped, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, and olive oil.
From the frig…Asiago cheese and Fennel fronds


Halve the tomatoes and place in bowl. Add the chopped herbs and onion, plus olive oil and a few splashes of red wine. Chop the Kalamata olives and add, along with salt and pepper.

Place the cooked pasta in a serving dish and mix in the “sauce”. Drizzle w olive oil and grate some Asiago cheese on the top.


What can I say…neither of us missed the garlic! This recipe is a keeper.

Monday, May 30, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 5...DAY 23


Pasta with tuna and artichoke hearts


Frafalle...(Bow ties)
OLive oil, garlic, shallots
Dill, fresh oregano
Frozen artichoke hearts
1 Can tuna in oil
Lemon juice
White wine, butter
Red pepper flakes


Saute the garlic and shallots w the red pepper flakes in oil until soft. Add the artichoke hearts and a splash of white wine and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add one pad of butter during the cooking. Add the dill and lemon juice. When the pasta is done (al dente) add to the pan and mix in the tuna. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.


Patience worked today so it was 8 PM when we sat down to dinner...late for us, but normal for some, especially the Italians. When I was in Bologna I was usually the first one in the restaurant for dinner...they didn't open until 7 or 7:30 in the evening. But I digress because I'm embarrassed to say that P and I both rated this dish as delicious! We try to be critical, honest we do.

And the cherry tomatoes? They were a last minute addition to add color for the photo.


Tomorrow morning I will leave on a 12 day trip to visit family, friends, and roots in what was once my corner of the world. The trip will end with my 50th class reunion at Lebanon Valley College...now that is hard to believe.

watercolor by Julio Rodriguez

It will always be home, not Elkton, Maryland or Wilmington, Delaware, but Landisville, New Jersey, even if the only Renzullis remaining are resting quietly under the oak trees at Friendship cemetery. But cousins Joan, Angelo, and Dan are only a few miles away and visiting them has become one of several “traditions” that have come to define my trips home since moving to Paducah 9 years ago. My friend Obie and I will drive the 30 plus miles from Wilmington through flat, pristine southern New Jersey farm land to Joan and Angelo’s home where we will spend the next several hours enjoying memories, wine, and an abundance of good food…always some pasta.

Another tradition also involves cousins, this time from the Rondinelli side of the family. Obie and I will drive another 30 miles, this time north into south Philly to Danny and Linda’s house. Danny’s brother Joe who now lives in central New Jersey will also be there, and once again there will be wine and food (it is impossible to sit at their kitchen table and not have Linda place not one, or two, but three or more tasty morsels before us…bread, cheese, cold cuts, peppers, and even broiled lamb chops…all of this before dinner!) From there, Danny, Joe, Obie, and I drive to a café about 12 blocks away (6th and Bainbridge) where we enjoy our annual repast, martini’s and crepes. Family obligations can be demanding, but I refuse to renege on my responsibilities.

A third agenda on every trip home consists of a visit with my dear friend Hal, a man with whom I have shared my journey and my soul for over 40 years. I cannot imagine how it would have been without his presence. We will sit and talk, drink some coffee and talk some more. Probably go out to lunch where we will talk even more. It is a relationship that is quiet, trusting, and without any demands; we are aware of our history and our commitment to one another. On some occasions, I can arrange for Hal, Obie, and I to go out to dinner, and having the pleasure of dinning with two very special friends, I am reminded once again of my very good fortune.

I cherish these visits, returning to old friends and familiar places, eating and drinking, laughing, and rejoicing in mutual memories. But as important as they are, they are steps behind the primary purpose of these trips…to be with my daughters and their families. When I decided to move to far western Kentucky I knew I was placing time and distance between us. I told myself that this was OK because of the wonderful relationship I have with my children, in part because it was true and in part to avoid feeling guilty about doing so. Recently I find myself missing the times we had together, especially the shared dinners. I don’t know if this is a function of my age, or evidence that still another chapter in my ever-evolving life is about to begin. Whatever the reason, it is something I will have to resolve for myself.


How many times a week, or month, do you eat pasta for dinner? And when you do, is it a one dish meal, or is it part of a larger meal?

Thanks for your input.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 4...DAY 22 Sunday Pasta

It's Sunday...and that means Sunday's gravy. Today I used sausage instead of chicken or pork neck bones. The recipe/process is essentially the same, just substitute sausage for the other meats. (see posts on 5/8 and 5/ 22) Life long habits are hard to break, although this is one I have no desire to change.

This is the end of the fourth week of the Pasta Quest and I have to say that I am not tiring of the exercise. However there will be a break in the action when I leave for a trip back home next week. Fortunately since I will be visiting family in New Jersey and Philadelphia there will be no shortage of pasta in my diet.


After spending several years in the bowels of my large file cabinet I decided these prints deserved to see the light of day. They were all completed in the early years of this century (now THAT sounds ancient) and reflect my restless range of interest in subject matter.

Contained...clay mono type...10x10

Moonset...clay mono type...14x16

At the Stretcg...clay mono type...16x20

Wild Eyes #1...20x14

Wine Glasses...16x12

Saturday, May 28, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 4...DAY 21


Penne with asparagus and smoked salmon


Olive oil, shallots, garlic, celery
Fennel fronds, chopped
Asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
Smoked Salmon
Red pepper flakes
White wine, butter
Lemon juice


Cook the shallots and garlic in olive oil. When soft, discard the garlic and add the asparagus, red pepper flakes, and butter. Cook for several minutes before adding a splash of white wine and juice from half a lemon.

Add the cooked pasta, mix, and add the rest of the lemon juice. Add the smoke salmon, mix, and drizzle w olive oil. Dust with the chopped fennel fonds and serve.


It is difficult to improve on olive oil and lemon juice. The smoked salmon and the fennel add a delightful touch to this dish.

I'm not going to rate this dish because I don't think I have any more credibility with my rating. Everything is a nine or ten.



Starting this summer, I will be offering individual art instruction in my studio. My intention is to offer instruction and guidance based on the individual needs and desires of each participant. Each session will be limited to no more than 3 participants.

Areas covered include basic fundamentals of drawing and painting (watercolor, acrylic, oil, and pastel) and the basics of clay printing.

Before signing on, I will meet each participant individually to talk about their expectations and how I can help them, and review any artwork if available, (no charge for this meeting). There are no requirements for participation. Previous experience is not necessary and the timing and frequency of the sessions will be very flexible to accommodate each one’s schedule, to the extent possible.

Because of the individual nature of the “class” each participant may choose the length of time that fits this or her needs…1, 11/2, or 2 hours, and the frequency…weekly, biweekly, or monthly…this is all very flexible.

More than anything else…this has to be fun for all of us.

Fees…$40.00 per hour ($75.00 for 2 hr. session)
Plus $15.00 per session if I supply materials

For more information contact me by e-mail, phone, or…God Forbid...slow mail!.



Friday, May 27, 2011



Your relationship with others will be as varied as the people you encounter and will be determined by many factors, not the least of which will be your own personality and psychological style. But regardless of who and what you are, there are certain basic tenets that I would urge you to follow.

Be respectful of others, regardless of their position in our socio-economic conscious society. Be your real self with both the room maid and the hotel manager.

Be tolerant of ideas, beliefs, and behavior that differ from yours; no one has a monopoly on the truth.

With grace forgive the weaknesses of others and do not judge what you may perceive to be their shortcomings.

Forgive first offenses. Overlook minor slights.

Enable and nurture; be one who helps other achieve their own selfhood. Act in such a way that others will feel better for knowing you.

Be honest toward others. Do not present yourself to be other than who you are. And do not deceive or use others to achieve your own way or goals.

Be gracious and humble about your own accomplishments and success and be mindful of those blessings you have been given. You did nothing to be born into a loving and supportive family and to have the economic advantages so many others lack. Do not be so quick to take credit for what you perceive are you own accomplishments, more often than not there were many forces not of your own doing, that helped shape them.

Do not take credit for God’s grace.


Pride and humility, when misplaced and/or excessive, are undesirable and to be avoided. But when appropriate, they reflect strength of character and self-assurance.

Be proud of who you are. Be proud of your gifts, and your dreams. To claim your destiny and pursue your dreams, unafraid and trusting, is an act worthy of pride. Pride in yourself, as a creation of God, and the souls that have gone before you is an act of worship.

Paradoxically, acknowledging the source of your gifts is an act of humility.

It is proper to be proud of your commitment and your efforts to become all that you could be, just as it is proper to acknowledge that many of the resources you possess to make this journey possible were gifts to you. Be proud of your accomplishments and humbled by what has been given to yo

Thursday, May 26, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 4...DAY 20


Once again we're enjoying the fruits of the Amish labor. The fun part of this whole endeavor is coming up with ways of using the produce we receive from them every week.

Pasta with Swiss Chard, mushrooms, and Cannellini beans


Shell pasta
Swiss Card, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 Can Cannellini beans
White mushrooms, cut
Green onions, garlic,
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Red pepper flakes

Cook the mushrooms, garlic, and onions with a dash of fresh lemon juice, then add the beans and basil and cook for 5 mintues before adding the Swiss Chard. Cook for another 4-5 minutes before adding the pasta and mixing well.

Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Option…omit the mushrooms, cook the greens in olive oil with the garlic and the beans.


P gives this a 10, and I’m giving it a 9.5 because I liked last night’s just a little better. Don’t skimp on the Swiss Chard because like spinach, it really cooks down. If you can find it fresh and tender you will love its flavor. Since my stay in italy I have learned to love the Cannellini beans, but navy, northern, or small white beans can be substituted. My preference would be small white beans, but they are not readily available…at least not here in Paducah.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 4...DAY 19

To avoid any confusion...this mornings post was last night's dinner. This post is this evenings' dinner.


Spaghetti with baby broccoli, diced tomatoes, and bacon

1 can diced tomatoes
Olive oil, garlic, green onions
3 pieces Bacon cut into ½” pieces
Basil, Oregano
Baby broccoli florets, chopped

Place the diced tomatoes, with their juice in a small bowl and add 1 clove of finely chopped garlic, olive oil, basil, oregano, and salt, and set aside. Today’s tomatoes were prepared 24 hrs earlier.

Cook the bacon, remove and set aside on paper towels, and discard the fat. Saute the garlic and green onions in olive oil along with red pepper flakes. Remove the garlic and discard, and add the broccoli with a splash of white wine. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes and simmer.

Add the pasta to the pan, mix well, and sprinkle with the bacon and drizzle w olive oil.


This was incredibly good, with a very distinct flavor. I think preparing the tomatoes 24 hours earlier gave them time to “ripen”. (They were originally intended to be used in a bruschetta lunch.)

Sadly there were no leftovers or me to share with Keyth.

Regarding my wife's coat...she has ice blood in her body and is the only person I know who is cold in 80 degree weather.

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 4...DAY 19

Last night's pasta was shared with Aynex and several of her friends at an impromptu dinner party. The evenings festivities, along with several glasses of wine, kept me from posting this last night.


Spaghetti with Bolognese sauce


Ground pork
Garlic, onion, celery
Carrots -2
Basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
Cream or whole milk
28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes


Brown the pork and remove. Deglaze pan w red wine and add to the meat. Saute garlic, onion and red pepper flakes, when soft, add the carrots and celery and cook for a5 minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes and add the meat, cover, and simmer for 2 hours.

While the pasta is cooking add cream to the sauce and cook over low heat uncovered.


After several minutes of eating, Aynex gave this a 10. Later she wanted to replace that with an 8, but was not allowed to do so because she had gone back for seconds! P and I gave it a 10. The remainder of the guests were too busy eating to offer an opinion.

Pasta is always better when shared with good friends. The conversations were animated, and on occasions rather low brow, and the laughter was infectious. Good taste prevents me from providing any specifics.

Monday, May 23, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 4...DAY 18

When I bought the baby spinach this morning I had a specific sauce in mind...and it wasn't this. Some time during the afternoon while doing absolutely nothing in the studio it came to me. I'm sure that somewhere, sometime, someone else has done this, but until I find that out I will enjoy thinking of it as my own.

Scampi-Florentine alla Renzulli


Angel Hair pasta
Baby spinach
1 tsp. tomato paste
Garlic and green onions
Red pepper flakes
Splash of white wine
Lemon juice from ½ lemon


While the pasta cooks, sauté green onions, red pepper flakes, and garlic in olive oil with the tomato paste. Cook until onions and garlic begin to brown, then remove and discard garlic, add the shrimp, white wine, and butter. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the spinach and lemon juice. Add the pasta and mix. Salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil.


OK…here is the new system. Everything is a 10 unless otherwise noted. This was really good, with a unique flavor, and is one of the best we’ve enjoyed so far. Of course, as you have probably noted, we enjoy everything.

I know I’m rather vague in my directions, so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask me.

As far as wine pairing is concerned....yes


and the series ends, at least for now. What comes next remains to be seen.

Foreground...initially. I wasn't satisfied with the overall effect.

The finished painting...after adding glazes of Dioxazine purple and Cadmium yellow medium to the foreground.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 3...DAY 17


Sunday pasta…spaghetti with a pork based gravy.

This is the meal that makes the whole house smell good enough to eat. There was a time…almost magical when I look back now…when I could tell my mother’s gravy from aunt Dolly’s, aunt Era’s, aunt Mary’s, and uncle Fatty’s. Of course hers was my favorite, but they were all wonderful, and I bet all of my cousins could say the same thing!


Olive oil, garlic, onion (optional), and red pepper flakes
28 oz. can of San Marzano whole, plum tomatoes
Basil, dry or fresh
“Splash” of red wine
Pork neck bones


Brown the meat in olive oil, remove, and deglaze pan w wine if needed. Add all scrapings and residual wine to the meat. Add oil to the pan, cook onion and garlic until soft (add red pepper flakes if desired). Add tomatoes and herbs and cook for 5-10 minutes then add the meat to the pot, cover, and simmer for 2-3 hours. Cook with lid off to thicken sauce if needed.


I can’t possibly rate this meal. Whether I use pork, or chicken, or sausage, this gravy and the spaghetti never fail to take me home…to my parents, our farm, the kitchen, and the 3 of us sitting down to dinner on a Sunday afternoon. It is so much more than just a dish of pasta; it is a lifetime in a meal.

OK, so I’m getting a little sentimental now, but isn’t that what family meals are about? Certainly it is what I am about. Every pasta dish I prepare is a link to parts of my personal history that I do not want to lose.

SEVEN....and out

This will be the last painting in this current series; I expect to have it completed by the end of the day. I'm using only 2 colors,ultramarine blue and raw sienna, plus titanium white.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Red Oxide landscape...acrylic....24x48"

This was done with Red Oxide, Cadmium Yellow medium, and Titanium white.

This is the 6th painting in this series. One more is in progress and will probably be the last of the series. I'm getting an itch to move on to something else, probably watercolor or mixed medium.

Friday, May 20, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 3...DAY 16

Tonight we enjoyed one of the simplest, most basic, elemental pasta dishes possible.
Aglio Olio Crude...pasta with uncooked olive oil, garlic, and parsley. My mother never made this...it was only after she died and my father was cooking that I tasted it for the first time. I was immediately addicted to dish and have not prepared this with the cooked garlic as it is usually served. Thank you dad!


Aglio olio crude.


2 cloves garlic finely chopped
fresh parsley finely chopped
grape tomatoes, halved
Olive Oil, salt and pepper


Drain the cooked pasta, saving some of the water. Place in serving dish and mix in the garlic, parsley, and tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Add about ¼ cup of the past water.


I don’t usually use the tomatoes in this dish but I had some that had to be used or tossed. P gave it a 10…I gave it 8.5 because I didn’t have my favorite olive oil to use. It is usually a 12!!!


OK, I've paid my homage to the sea and now it is back to mother earth. I'm still riding the wave of this new work; I keep waiting for the enthusiasm to begin to fade but so far it is more than holding its own.

This current piece is 24x48, and like the previous paintings, it is all about the sky. I still don't know what will happen to the foreground...will probably find out later today. I have several ideas in mind, but no clear cut preference at this time.

Red Oxide sky...acrylic in progress...24x48

I have several completed drawings waiting for me to begin a new series in watercolor and pastel...I may spend some time with them (street scenes from Bologna) and take a break from the acrylics and big skies.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


best describes how I feel about the new work I'm doing. I'm excited about it, but am comfortable taking my time and approaching each piece with much more deliberation than usual. I don't know where this will take me...into a new series with evolution of the technique, or perhaps new subject matter or compositions.

Currently the focus is on color and light, and of course, the horizon, which continues to hold tightly to my interest. All of the paintings in this series have been done using a palette limited to 3 colors plus Titanium white. Varying the size and shape of the canvases has provided some variety to the work.


A seascape was not my original intent, but when I completed the sky all I could see below it was the sea. I'm not sure it is finished. I'm mulling over the need to use a glaze to slightly decrease the intensity of the water. It needs to be looked at for a day or two.

In all of these paintings my goal is to "suggest" a sky, or a field, or as in this case, the sea.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 3...DAY 15

This is one of my creations...like all the others there is nothing fancy about it except the taste!

Penne pasta w zucchini, sausage, celery.


Loose sausage
Zucchini, cut into small pieces
Celery, chopped
Garlic, chopped
Tomato paste, 2 tablespoons
Olive oil
Ciabatta bread cut into crouton size pieces


Cooke the sausage and remove from pan. Deglaze pan with wine if needed, add olive oil and 1 pad of butter and cook the bread until golden brown and remove. Add more oil and cook the onions and garlic along with 1 tablespoon of tomato paste until soft. Then add the zucchini , celery, and sausage, along with a splash of white wine and cook. Add the pasta and mix well then top with the croutons and grated cheese…we used Romano tonight.

Add the pasta and mix. Salt and pepper to taste.


Patience gave it a 10, after all, it is my birthday. I’ll give it a nine and a half. I don’t think I would change anything when I make it again.

I forgot to mention…salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and Basil.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Where I pursue the simpler pleasures of life...

The afternoon was like every other, sitting at my desk in the studio after lunch with iTunes playing on the laptop behind me. Actually I wasn’t sitting AT the desk, but was facing away from it with my chair back and my feet resting on the small 2 step ladder that serves as my foot stool, deciding whether I would read, or close my eyes and “rest”. I looked at the shelves to my left and saw the row of black loose-leaf notebooks that held the photos and slides of my work from the 1980s to the present, as well as promotional material I created during those years. It was all designed to promote my art and create a measure of commercial success. That was when my AHA moment occurred, in an instant, without any previous thought or inclination.

The content of those binders represented a chapter in my life that was ending, if not ended. I no longer have any interest in spending my time and energy pursuing ambitions to get into important galleries or museum shows. As long as that is a conscious goal it is almost impossible to escape the pressure, which is always tucked away in some corner of the mind, to be influenced by what one thinks a gallery, or the art world in general, wants to see. Looking back, I think I’ve done a pretty good job and maintaining my independence and doing my own thing, but even so, I felt the pressure. In that brief moment, the pressure disappeared, and I was flooded with a sense of liberation, and it was great!

Actually this was a process that had been going on for several years…consciously working to remove myself from those pressures and ambitions, but in that moment, it moved from my head to my heart.

I have no intention of giving up my art, and every intention of making it better. I will continue to market/promote myself and my art., but on my own terms, as I see fit.

Monday, May 16, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 3...DAY 14

Tonight I had the pleasure of sharing our table (OK...counter!) with out dear friends Aynex, who is visiting from Maryland, Nikki, who is visiting from Park Avenue, and Julie from 7th St. three very sophisticated diners. After just the tiniest bit of thought I decided we would have our pasta with salmon, asparagus and baby broccoli in a light lemon/butter cream sauce.


Pasta w salmon, asparagus and broccoli


Shallots & garlic (pressed)
fresh dill
Asparagus cut into 1” pieces
Broccoli timed to bite sized pieces
1/3 cup of heavy cream
Olive oil, salt, pepper. Red pepper flakes
Lemon juice
White wine


While the pasta cooks, sauté shallots, red pepper flakes, and garlic in olive oil. Add the asparagus and broccoli and cook for 5-6 minutes before adding the salmon with a splash of white wine and lemon juice. When the salmon appears cooked through add the cream, stirring constantly.


Aynex, who is VERY critical, gave this a 7, Nikki, and Julie gave it a 8.9, and I would give it a 9. Everyone gave it a thumbs up. Aynex thought the sauce was too thin, and that there could have been more salmon…and I consider this a valid observation. Nikki would have preferred the salmon rarer (she is a big fan of sushi.)

The pasta was good…the company was better.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

NO BARNS...NO TREES...and no pasta quest tonight

I've added two more paintings to this series and have yet to add a tree or a barn. I know at least one person who appreciates this.

The series now numbers 5 paintings, and I suspect there will be another 2 or 3 more before I change direction. So far all but one of the paintings were done over previous works; they were quite willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of art.

Sun lit landscape...acrylic...24x30

Red-orange landscape...acrylic...14x18

Patience and I have been invited to dinner tonight so there will be no Pasta Quest posted this evening. But we will be back again...with gusto...on Monday.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 2...day 13

For most of my life fresh crabs were readily available, and my mother would make the most wonderful pasta with the crabs cooked in the tomato sauce. I can still taste it after all these years. When I saw the tubs of crab meat in our local supermarket (Kroger at Park Ave.) I knew what I had to do. Of course I could not duplicate what I remember...but it was close enough to take me back to my mom and dad and the spaghetti with crabs that we shared.


Angel Hair pasta w crab meat in light tomato sauce.


Claw crabmeat…8 oz tub

Shallots & garlic (pressed)
4-5 finely chopped mint leafs
1/3 cup of heavy cream
Olive oil, salt, pepper. Red pepper flakes
¼ cup of sweet vermouth
14 oz. can dice tomatoes


While the pasta cooks, sauté shallots, red pepper flakes, and garlic in olive oil. Add the tomatoes and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to blender; add the mint leaves and puree. Return to skillet and add the crabmeat and cook. Before the pasta is done add cream and stir.
Add the pasta and mix. Salt and pepper to taste.


Unfortunately Patience was dealing with an upset stomach and could not partake of this exquisite meal, and it was exquisite. My modesty prevents me from giving this anything higher than a 9.5.

Friday, May 13, 2011

PASTA QUEST DAY...week 2...day 12


Angel Hair w asparagus, grape tomatoes, prosciutto


Angel hair pasta
Asparagus cut into 1”pieces
Shallot sliced thinly
Garlic I clove pressed
Grape tomatoes cut in ½
Prosciutto sliced into thin strip
Olive oil
Fresh lemon juice


Cook prosciutto in olive oil, remove and set aside.
Add garlic and shallots to pan and cook for 4-5 minutes before adding the asparagus and tomatoes plus salt, basil or dill and red pepper flakes if desired. After 3-4 minutes add the lemon juice. Cook for another 4-6 minutes before adding the pasta to the pan.


Exercising the cook’s prerogative I decided to add some white wine and cream to the dish…, which turned out to be a good decision. Both P and I give this a 10. I know, we give out a lot of 10s…but hey, you gotta call a spade a spade, and this was good!!