What is in your backyard? I don’t mean a swimming pool or a vegetable garden. I mean, what is it in your neighborhood that you wish weren’t? The NIMBY crowd irritates me. Sure, nobody wants a nuclear power plant next door or an oil derrick. Granted, most neighborhoods with houses and apartments don’t usually sprout such things. That doesn’t stop people from complaining.

My wife constantly rides me about complaining. She hates complaining. She hates complaining so much that I get sick and tired of her complaining about how much she hates complaining. Unfortunately, I have to agree. I think we all complain too much. There are lots of different people in this wonderful world with lots of different interests. If my neighbor paints his house with polka-dots I will not write my city counsel person. I will seek him out and tell him how much my mother loved polka-dots and tell him that she would have been thrilled that someone painted their house like that.

I live across the street from a little league baseball park. There are two very well manicured diamonds and on a few nights a week and Saturday mornings the park is filled with kids in little uniforms learning how to be good sports and having a ton of fun. They are accompanied by obnoxious parents who drive ridiculous SUVs and other expensive and ostentatious vehicles. They run the stop sign and generally wreak havoc on the street. Despite the soccer mom mentality and the danger to the other children in the hood, I love the park. When I hear a giant cheer at 8 in the morning, even if I am sound asleep, I smile from ear to ear. Those screams and cheers are from friends and family participating in the proper raising of the next generation. But, above all, it’s the sound of a child’s simple delight that fills my heart with joy.

Today is the championship and I’m going to go over and watch the end of the game. In the meantime here is a great starter to be served with the one from yesterday.


  • 3 Ripe Medium Size Tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • Small Bunch Fresh Basil, chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Baguette


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Grill or Grill Pan, etc.
  1. Mix the tomatoes, garlic and basil in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add a good drizzle of olive oil, about 2 tablespoons, a little splash of balsamic vinegar and mix together and let sit for a good hour.
  3. Salt and Pepper.
  4. Grill good thick slices of baguette.
  5. Serve over the toasted baguette. You can optionally add a piece of shaved parmesan or pecorino and even a basil leaf.

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