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July 4th Blog Hop Giveaway - Sky Rockets in Flight (July 4 - 10)

Welcome to the July 4th SKYROCKETS IN FLIGHT Blog Hop GIVEAWAY July 4th - 10th Hosted By: Bells of HangingWithBells | Tigris of TigrisEden's Garden of Books Danielle of Lush Book Reviews |  JoJo of JoJo's Book Corner Up for Grabs in my giveaway - 12 books & $25 in Gift Cards Click Here--------->SEE PRIZE STASH, RULES and ENTRY FORM<--------Click Here

Book GiveAway: Complete Jon Acuff Library Each Day

If you've read this blog for the past few months, you've witnessed my metamorphosis into a full-fledged fan of best-selling author, blogger and speaker Jon Acuff. During the past three years, Acuff has published the following three books: his first was Stuff Christians Like; followed by Gazelles, Baby Steps and 37 Other Things Dave Ramsey Taught Me About Debt; with his most recent Wall Street Journal best-seller titled Quitter. I've read each of these titles within the past two months, and I ...

Happy Birthday Dad

Thanks as ever to Rochelle for guiding us towards another challenge and to Adam for his great photo this week. Today would have been my father’s 90th birthday.  Due to the date he has been in and out of my mind all day. When I saw the prompt this week I knew I had to write about him and so I crave your indulgence. Happy Birthday Dad Some weekends he would take off on his motorbike, heading for the Lake District and the ...

Flavoring Whole Food Plant-based Diet

Taste is a funny thing; part biology  part learned and always infused with expectations. We expect certain flavors to meld. An expectation many cooks fail to meet! A great example is in an interview excerpt shown in Forks Over Knives, The Extended Interviews.  In it Doug Lisle tells a story about trying to get his father to switch to a whole food plant-based diet. After one meal, his Father stated that if he had to eat like that for the rest of ...

Winey Chicken

This recipe is courtesy of Greedy Girl’s Diet: Eat yourself slim with gorgeous, guilt-free food with permission of the author, Nadia Sawalha I am always keen to try new recipes especially those which are filling yet with not too many calories. My biggest problem with losing weight is that I usually only have to look at food and I pile on the pounds! However, at only 211 calories per serving this recipe from the “Greedy Girl’s Diet” is not only low ...

Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective

“Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity.” Robert Morgan Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective – Kwoma Ceiling, New Guinea Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective – The Cloisters Garden, New York After spending the month of February contemplating the word – Perspective – for NaBloPoMo, I was nicely surprised to see it as the chosen word for this week’s photo challenge. One thing I know for sure is that 10 people can look at a painting or photograph and come away with different opinions about what they ...

Word traps, verbal snares, and blog traffic

By Charles Redfern He’s there.  I’m convinced of it.  There’s a three-inch tall, invisible man perched on my shoulder.  He twists, bends, and breaks definitions while whispering in my ear, paralyzing me because I’m checking, re-checking, and re-re-checking my motives.  And he poses as my counselor.  He’s on my side.  He’s looking out for me.  He wants me to be a better Christian. He revved up rapid-fire whispers when I read Lauren Holgate’s Ladasi blog of January 17. She lists a host of web ...

World’s First QR Code Made of Fresh Flowers

Mark’s & Spencer (or M & S, as most people call it), a leading British retailer that sells clothes, home decor items, luxury food products and flowers, has created the world’s first Quick Response (QR) Code made out of fresh flowers. The massive 5m (16fr) x 3m (10ft) floral code was made using almost 10, 000 fresh flowers, including pink roses, daisies and cymbidium orchids. photo via http://2d-code.co.uk photo via http://2d-code.co.uk The code was displayed at the Westfield White City, a major shopping ...

10 000 Plants Adorn London’s Largest Living Wall

Living walls have been a hot trend in gardening and landscaping for the last few years and the trend doesn’t seem to be going away! Just last month, London, UK unveiled its largest living wall on the side of two prominent hotels near Buckingham Palace. The Rubens at the Palace hotel is the home of an impressive 350 sq. m (3 770 sq. ft). vertical garden, containing 10 000 live plants, which includes ferns, buttercups, crocuses, lavender and winter geraniums.  There ...

The Lotus Flower

Scientific name: Nelumbo nucifera Lotus flowers are aquatic perennials native to Asia that can be found growing in marshes, lagoons, ponds and flooded fields.  They can also be cultivated in water gardens, for those that have the space. These plants can grow up to 5 feet in height and can spread up to 10 ft. across! The roots are planted firmly in the soil of the pond. The large green leaves are so highly repellent, the phenomenon has been called “the ...

Flower Arrangements that Don’t Need Vases

To vase or not to vase, that is the question. Do flowers need vases? Most often than not, the answer is yes, especially with fresh cut flowers. But as German artist-photographer Diana Scherer illustrates with her “Nurture Studies,” sometimes the flowers are even more beautiful without the constraints of a vase. Through the course of six months, she nurtured the growth of flowers from seed in the confines of a vase. During that time, Scherer carefully monitors the plant, making sure ...

Spring 2013 Wedding Flower Trends

Spring, the season that symbolizes new beginnings, hope and all that good stuff, is the perfect time of the year to have a wedding! The weather is generally quite enjoyable; it’s not too cold or too hot. Many fresh flowers are available this time of the year. Plus, the cost of flowers is usually less expensive than a summer wedding, where fresh flowers are in high demand. Here are some spring wedding flower trends of 2013: Soft, Romantic Colours Pastels for spring isn’t ...

Fun Flower Facts: Lantana

Lantana is a genus of 150 flowering shrubs native to tropical America and Africa and belongs to the verbena family. The plant produces clusters of bright, vibrant tubular flowers in shades of yellow, orange, pink, and white in various colour combinations. The fragrant flowers will change colours with maturity. Lantanas will start off with one colour and gradually change into another, resulting in multiple colours in same plant.  After flowering, toxic berries will appear. The berries will start off green ...

Fashion Friday: Pretty Flower Braid Updo

  Here at Fun Flower Facts, we love flowers! If you haven’t figured it out already, we blog about everything related to flowers, from floral art to fun flower facts to gardening tips and home decor. And today, we’re talking hair and how you can transform your long, luscious locks into a beautiful flower. Are you ready to give this style a try?  get some hairpins and a comb ready! It is not as complicated as it looks. If you know how ...

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Tor Constantino - The Daily Retort

Yet Another Reason I Hate Funerals….

Nondescript Casket

My immediate family spent the majority of last week at my
in-laws home in New York
because my wife’s grandmother passed away.

While I think it’s extremely important to celebrate the
memory of the deceased; support and sympathize with the survivors and offer a
degree of closure for the living via the various death-induced services and
rituals – I hate funerals.

As a former news reporter, I had to attend dozens as an
uninvited gawker amidst grieving strangers and then trying to speak with
someone on camera – yuck. Within my own family, the funerals for all my grandparents
and both my parents further soured an already distasteful experience – double

However, the latest funeral affront I experienced last week
was the seemingly unending cavalcade of culinary creations that crammed every
inch of table and counter space at the in-laws single-story rambler.

As an aside, death is a natural part of our existence but
I’m convinced that the ritualistic events around death make most people
uncomfortable. They frequently don’t know the unspoken etiquette to engage
grievers – it’s not something you can practice for in advance or take an online
class titled “Funeral 101: communication tips.”

The awkward nature of attending a wake, memorial gathering,
funeral service or graveside burial adds a layer of stress to a stressful
situation.  How many times can you tell
someone that you’re “Sorry for their loss” or “Quite a lovely eulogy the pastor

After a point, conversations experience a metaphorical death
of their own – and the easiest thing left to talk about is the food that
everyone brought. Apparently death brings out the inner sous chef in all of us.

And what types of cuisine do people bring the grieving???

Comfort food.

Don’t get me wrong, the care, love and attention that people
pour into food preparation for such events is humbling and appreciated.
However, they also tend to pour in tons of sugar, shortening, oils, salt and butter
to ensure maximum calorie density in an effort to assuage the pain of

It’s ironic that the very foods that people tend to prepare
for post-mortem funeral gatherings are overloaded with the cholesterol-raising,
heart-stopping, clot-forming, artery-hardening, stroke-inducing ingredients
that medical science continues to urge us to avoid in an effort to extend our

I don’t know whether such food prep is an unconscious
attempt to thumb a nose at the Grim Reaper, or an unspoken ethos to unabashedly
indulge in the edible extremes that life has to offer – because life is too
short – but I hate it, because I ate most of it last week.

Which brings me to this week’s WeightWatcher weigh-in, where
I apparently gained +5.0 lbs in seven days.
I have no one to blame but myself, but I am focusing an accusatory eye
toward the strawberry trifle, twice-baked ziti, home-style chicken and biscuits
as well as various baked in which I partook last week.

Damn, I hate funerals!

Assuming that all of my relatives can make it through the
week this side of eternity – I’m hopeful that there will be less of me to write
about after next week’s weigh-in.


Tor Constantino - The Daily Retort

A topical blog that focuses on issues of faith, family, finance and fitness. I have more than 20 years experience as a former journalist and current PR practitioner. Additionally, I'm a father, husband, marathoner, writer and believer.

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